Category Archives: Taining

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5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

With over 500 million active users per month, it’s clear that Instagram is no small player in the world of social media. There is plenty of potential for brands to leverage and broaden their outreach. But how do you cut through the noise and navigate a platform with such vast scope? You learn from the pros, of course. Here are seven Instagram tips that your competitors are already following right now. By taking these on board, you will be well on your way to mastering Instagram for your own brand.

5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

Are you on the lookout for content marketing advice to improve your overall strategy? Check out our previous post.

Show what your online business does in a creative way

Show what your online business does in a creative way

credit: fedex

Instagram is the perfect social channel for you to showcase the visual element of your brand. No matter what you do, there will be a creative way for you to document and showcase it. Consistent, visual storytelling cuts through the mediocre noise on Instagram. To grab people’s attention and build an audience that anticipates your next post, you need to get creative with how you share your ideas and tell your brand’s story.

Take FedEx, for example. This brand successfully uses images of their delivery service and combines it with posts of happy customers receiving parcels and flowers. This tactic not only makes an otherwise rather functional and unglamorous service look attractive, but it also serves to tell the brand’s story by giving it a human face.

Brainstorm the different processes your business is involved in, and how they affect your customers. With this information, you can create stories and come up with ways to creatively show how your brand’s day-to-day operations work.

The most successful brand storytelling involves bitesize micro-stories that tie into your brand’s values, mission and customer experience. You want to develop a strong brand presence on your Instagram feed that represents your overall brand image. Check out this post for more examples of visual storytelling.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with Instagram stories

Instagram Stories are a new function, recently rolled out across the social network, which allow you to use a slideshow of videos and images that remain accessible for 24 hours. This feature is in direct competition with Snapchat’s stories, but has the additional benefit of being linked to Instagram profiles. This means that with an Instagram profile for your brand, you have the opportunity to not only bedeck your feed with visual marketing, but to get creative with film and a story to really engage your audience.

Here are some things that you should know about Instagram stories:

  • Stories are displayed at the very top of your follower’s timelines
  • They can be used to display your behind-the-scenes content. This is often less staged and lower quality than the permanent posts on your profile
  • The story function really enables you to experiment with different types of content and see which gets the most engagement. Photos, short videos, Boomerangs, Rewind videos, and live videos are all available for you to get creative
  • The additional functionality of face filters, text and stickers allow you to really customize your posts and make your mark. It’s very easy to edit your posts on the go

Your posts will autoplay in the chronological sequence they were added, and you can post an unlimited number of times. This feature only works on the mobile app. Check out these unique brands to see how other people are making innovative use of Instagram Stories.

Take your audience behind the scenes of your business

As mentioned, brand storytelling is a really great way to interest your audience and add an extra dimension to your image. The more story you can provide, the more you open your brand up to engagement and conversation.

Some customers are naturally curious about where their products come from, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to answer their questions with your Instagram feed. For example, if you are a Fairtrade company, you could show your customers where you source your raw materials from.

Take your audience behind the scenes of your business

credit: fairtrade USA

The Fair Trade USA instagram does this to great effect. This non-profit organization shows exactly who crafts or handpicks the raw materials that go into fairtrade certified products. By doing this, their target audience can buy these products, safe in the knowledge that they are cruelty free. This kind of story is what evokes empathy from audiences and encourages them to buy products.

If you have an interesting brand story, don’t be afraid to show it off. Perhaps you started off as a hobby crafting jeweler to help keep food on the table? Let your audience know about your story and why you started your brand. Any kind of shareable information that connects you to your audience is very useful for social media. 

The power of micro-influencer collaboration

The power of micro-influencer collaboration

credit: mary orton

Another really great way to broaden your outreach on instagram is to harness the power of collaboration and employ an influencer. Micro-influencer collaboration aligns your brand with their values and mission. This often works more effectively than using hashtags, as the act of following hashtags is often more manual for the user. Banana Republic promoted its clothes to audiences that are defined by their sense of style and interest in fashion. The micro-influencers selected were fashion and lifestyle focused, and this helped Banana Republic to reach a large, but targeted, audience of consumers.

Micro-influencer marketing might be the biggest thing this side of 2017, but don’t worry – you don’t necessarily have to part with a large sum of money to hire their services. Consider offering them some free products to sample, and perhaps they will post to their Instagram feed or story without payment.

If you want to integrate micro-influencers into your marketing strategy, there are a few things you should know first:

  • You should consider whether your chosen micro-influencers fit in with your brand and values. Ultimately, you want to piggyback from their established presence and gain access to their following. You need to be sure that their demographic is the right one for you to gain maximum ROI
  • If you are a local or smaller business, consider finding micro-influencers from your local area, with a local audience. This would allow you to be hyper-targeted with your outreach
  • When searching for the right micro-influencers to work with, you should aim for followers with a similar amount of followers to you, otherwise, you may risk not being taken seriously

 For more tips on how to collaborate on Instagram, this article is for you. Once you’ve decided which influencers to target, it’s time to make contact. Consider emailing them directly, rather than direct messaging them on Instagram. Emails tend to get higher response rates, as direct messages are often overlooked.

Analyze the performance of your posts and build on them

As with any marketing strategy, it’s really important for you to analyze the performance of your Instagram posts to make sure that you’re barking up the right tree. You need to make sure that you are spending your money in the right way, broadcasting the right kind of content, and targeting the right audience.

There are many apps and subscription services that allow you to track hashtags, engagement levels and mentions of your brand on social media. Keyhole tracks all of these, and even integrates seamlessly with online store creators like Shopify. This means that Keyhole can access all of your ecommerce business’ data in real-time, and give you the most up-to-date reports. Trackmaven is another great product that puts you in the driver’s seat of your social feeds.

Whether you choose to go down the micro-influencer route, or have a go with Instagram’s new story function (or perhaps all of these ideas!) – don’t forget to consistently analyze your engagement levels. The truth will be in your metrics, and data is essential to constantly improve on your marketing strategy and make sure you’re investing your budget in the right areas.

Which of these tips will you take onboard? Let us know in the comments.

Guest Blogger: Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.

Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer. Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing consultant and freelance writer, working with large brands to grow their reach. She loves sharing her expertise with other entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them reach success.


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2015 SXSWi Recap by J.R. Atkins

Some of my friends and clients ask what the big deal is with South by Southwest Interactive or SXSWi. In short; ideas, technology and trends are introduced there that affect our lives and business. Technology such as Twitter (2006), Square (2009), Foursquare (2009), Uber (2009), Pinterest (2010), iPad2 (2011),  Microsoft Surface (2012), Google Glass (2012), Pebble Smart Watch (2013), Oculus Rift Virtual Reality head gear (2014) and see more historic trends at 22 Years of SXSWi.

At the 2015 SXSWi Festival I noticed the following 5 tech trends worth noting.

  1. New social Media App – MeerKat – Spontaneous video via Twitter
  2. Health Tech – Mobile App: Measure by Phillips Healthcare
  3. 4k TV – Samsung – 2X the Pixels
  4. International Flair – It’s a global event – Krista Hendriks, Utrecht Area, Netherlands
  5. com – It’s like UBER for overnight dog care

Please let me know if you find any of this interesting or beneficial to you or your business.

  1. MeerKat: http://meerkatapp.co

MeerKat is a new app that allows users to easily live stream video from their cell phonesJ.R> Atkins uses MeerKat via their Twitter accounts. You can “Schedule” a video and your MeerKat followers will get a notification of when you are about to begin. Or, you can create a live “stream” in the moment for those who are watching. Like Twitter, MeerKat video can be seen by anyone. It’s similar to a Google Hangout or Skype video call but much easier. Just download the app, sign in with twitter and click on “schedule” or “stream” and you’re ready to broadcast. The idea is making use of our desire to have a spontaneous connection.

Related story by David Gilbert of the International Business Times.

  1. Measure: in beta test

Nike Fit bit bits the dustPhillips Healthcare is building an online portal that will allow you to feed your data from non-Phillips devices such as a Fitbit, Moves App, Misfit Flash and Phillips devices such as Blood Pressure Cuff. Even the data from my Nike Plus (no longer supported by Nike) can be uploaded to the portal.

Moves App used by J.R> AtkinsPrior to this portal, each App or fitness solution had a separate place to store and view data. With the Phillips Measure platform, you could, in theory, import health measurement data.

During my visit, I was able to meet the developers, debug some code and gain some keen insight into the future of Individual Healthcare Monitoring. A person to follow is Hans Notenboom, Global Head of Digital at Philips Healthcare based in the Netherlands.

  1. Samsung Curved 4k TV: http://www.samsung.com/us/video/tvs

Samsung 4k curved TVI first heard of 4k in early 2014 from one of my videographer friends and I was think, “I’m just getting use to HD.” 4k means 4000 pixels vs HD which is 2000 pixels. So 4k is 2X. A 4k TV will have a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160.

Samsung took over a restaurant in Austin and turned it into an “experience” with fresh juices, snacks, a big video wall made of Samsun Tablets, a virtual reality experience and a blogger lounge.

The curved, 4k TVs were the big thing for me. Unlike the past, you don’t have to wait for the Cable and local TV stations to upgrade to 4k. YouTube, Netflix and Hulu are already broadcasting shows in 4k. So now that a 60” HD TV at Walmart id $600 or less, get ready to upgrade to 4k for $2500.

 

  1. International Flair

Meet Krista from the NetherlandsWhile having lunch at a sidewalk café in Austin, I met Krista Hendriks who was in town from the Netherlands to give a presentation on “Cuddly Drones” a project exploring the emerging surveillance culture, exploring the democratization of surveillance tools and how do teach children to critically explore this drone-filled future? Yea, you can meet people anywhere, but at SXSWi there is an instant level of trust and interest around how technology is affecting our lives.

Technology is bringing our world closer together and SXSWi is helping. Check out her profile on LinkedIn.

  1. com: www.Rover.com

J.R. Atkins uses Rover.comMy dog, Forte, travels frequently with me and he went to Austin to see the sights and keep me stress-free. Yet, I needed an overnight dog sitter so my wife and I could party on Saturday night. In steps Rover.com, an Uber like solution to help you connect with home based dog sitters. Download the app and in just a few minutes you are connecting with locals who can keep your pet overnight for about ½ the price of a Vet or animal boarding service. Send a message, confirm, and set up the drop-off and pick-up time. Rover.com covers the collection of fees. I called their customer service and had a great experience.

Events Worth Considering

03/30/15 – Principles of Social Media (CTC)
04/01/15 – LinkedIn for Success (CTC)
04/06/15 – Successfully use of Facebook (CTC)
04/08/15 – Using Video for Success (CTC)
04/10/15 – Selling in the Digital Age (CTC)
04/14/15 – Website Trends (CTC)
04/18/15 – Successful Marketing Plans (CTC)

04/22/15 – Social Media Basics – Lewisville Chamber & SCORE

04/23/15 – Your Effective Strategy Plan – Webinar


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The Value of Continuing Education by J.R. Atkins

If you consider yourself even somewhat successful in life, then you probably have an appreciation for continuing education. It does not matter if your education was attained in an artisan fashion through an apprenticeship program or if you hold a PhD from a prestigious university. Once we reach a level of skill and knowledge and begin to apply it, we find there is more to know. Some professions require CE units to continue one’s eligibility to practice their craft. For the rest of us, we are left to find our own way.

As I reflect on the past few years of growth and continuing education, I find that I receive this education in the follow ways:

  1. J.R. Atkins likes Duct Tape SellingConversations – With people with different perspectives, different backgrounds and life experiences, and often smarter than me. The DFW World Affairs Council is a good place for this.
  2. Books – Both fiction and non-fiction, especially about growing companies, new technology, and suspense thrillers. Two recent reads are Duct Tape Selling and Tribal Leadership.
  3. Workshops – Anything from a 30 minute Webinar to a full day with an expert, often about new products or businesses, such as my client, Financial Halo and their Prescriptions at Cost Program.
  4. Conferences – South by Southwest interactive (SXSWi) is one of my favorites, but I also attend world affairs related conferences such as “Walking with Palestinian Christians” in Tipp City Ohio.
  5. Structured Course Work – Self-study or guided by an expert such as the Academy for Spiritual Formation a 2 year course that meets each quarter for a week at a retreat center.

 

I also see a trend in the types and topics of continuing education:Prescription Medications at cost

  1. Industry Knowledge – skills, regulations, new developments
  2. Self-Improvement – Being vs. Doing
  3. Skill Development – WordPress, Public Speaking, Patience, Writing
  4. Spiritual Development – Prayer, Giving, Mission work
  5. Financial Development – Reducing expenses and increasing wealthJ.R Atkins needs your suppot to attend the Academy
  6. Management – New trends, Leading Projects, Online Management Tools
  7. Leadership – Beyond setting an example and motivating to help people attain their potential

 

As for frequency, I usually attend at least on big conference each year where I travel away from my local area and spend 2-5 days in a hotel thinking, learning, writing, planning and growing.

What about you? What kind of continuing education do you attend and how often? What would you say is the best source of development for you? I’d appreciate you sharing your experience and ideas on the blog so others can see, but any communication method that is good for you is good for me.

P.S. Note that I have two locations now:

North Texas Location: 8745 Gary Burns Dr # 160-210, Frisco, TX 75034J.R. & Stacey Lead a Ministry now

Central Texas Location: 1105 Bridge St, Gatesville, TX 76528

And my wife and I have started a ministry for spiritual growth called Something Different Ministries.

Events worth considering

 


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What is “Duct Tape Selling” about?

J.R. Atkins likes Duct Tape SellingSelling is changing! Or more like, Selling has changed! Once upon a time the sales person offered insight and information about products and services that could be found nowhere else. Not true anymore. Between Social Media, Websites, John Jantsch, and other online tools, the buyer has all the information of the world at their fingertips.

In his book, Duct Tape Selling, John Jantsch offers the solution to selling in today’s information overload environment. “With social networks such as LinkedIn, the sales person may have a relationship with a prospect before the prospect knows he or she has a need” says John. When sales people do a good job of using social media, the content they share positions them as a subject matter expert and a resource for the prospect. This requires a tighter integration between the Sales and Marketing teams.

The Marketing Team is usually responsible for developing content. Instead or in addition to publishing content through mass media, they can share it via the Sales Team’s social media channels for a more personal approach. This also creates the opportunity for a prospect to respond directly to the sales person via the social media channels.

According to John, “this approach to sales and marketing requires a shift in company culture and a possible change to the compensation model.” The company needs to see the sales team as an extension of the marketing department as well the source of sales. The sales person’s online reputation requires time to build and may not match up with short term sales goals based on an “old school” cold call, knocking-on-doors model. “Prospects are too sophisticated for the old approach” says John.

I hope this short article has caused you to consider how you and your company are using social media to create more sales results. Duct Tape Selling is available on Amazon and look for John Jantsch speaking in your local community.


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A new look for LinkedIn Groups

Do you log into LinkedIn and think “is something different today?” The answer is yes. With the new development platform they rolled out last December, LinkedIn can make changes multiple time per day. Occasionally the change is big enough to sen out an announcement like the one below.

LI Groups update

The big change in this announcement is how you can add a “Hero Image” to your group page similar to “Cover Image” on a Facebook page.

Good luck with your LinkedIn Group and let me know if you have questions or comments on this blog post.

 


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So What Do You Do?

“So what do you do? I see you everywhere but I’m not sure what you do.” I hear this on a regular basis, so I thought I’d share three projects from my current work to help explain what I do. On my website you will see that I am an Author, Speaker and Consultant. But what kind of consulting? Take a look and tell me what you think.

come to ArtOfficial on 9/19/13Project 1 – ArtOfficial September 19, 2013 at ZOUK – Social Media Marketing and Emcee

ArtOfficial is a very unique event combining Visual Art, Performing Art, Music, Business Networking, and Fashion while raising money for non-profits. You may have seen posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube that I created with the help of the participants. We are using HootSuite to post content, monitor activity and comments. The goal is to have over 1000 people attend the event from 5:30pm when the doors open till late in the night when ZOUK closes. Please come join us. (Purchase Tickets)

J.R. Atkins is Director of Social Media for Orpheus Chamber SingersProject 2 – Orpheus Chamber Singers 2013 Season – Director of Social Media

As the name suggests, Orpheus is a group of professional singers performing Chamber music. The group performs a series of concerts each year, usually in the DFW area. For example, Orpheus Chamber Singers will perform a series of works to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the John F Kennedy assassination on November 10th in the City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District. As the Director of Social Media, I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to promote events and communicate with the community of supporters. Check out the season schedule at www.orpheuschambersingers.org.

J.R. Atkins is Marketing Director for the Ghosts of Wimberley MovieProject 3 – The Ghosts of Wimberley Movie – Marketing Director

A full length feature film ”The Ghosts of Wimberley” is being produced by Pecan Street Productions of Austin Texas in conjunction with SOMA Inc. of Dallas Texas. The screenplay is written and the film directed by David A. Cox of Austin, an award winning director. I built the website and the social media properties and post frequent content using HootSuite. You can see interviews with the Director and Producer on YouTube, the Website, and Facebook as well as pictures on Facebook and Twitter. Filming will begin in fall of 2013 with the movie releasing in 2014.

So there you have it. Besides speaking and writing books I work on projects in the area of Digital Marketing, Social Media and Mobile Apps. I look forward to reading your comments. Please reach out via:

Phone: 214-707-1705
Email: jratkins@SomethingDifferentCompanies.com
Blog: http://somethingdifferentcompanies.com/blog/

Events Worth Considering

9/3         Will Your Biz Idea Work?
9/3         The First Tuesday Networking Group
9/4         The CXO Collective of Dallas
9/5         American Marketing Association Happy Hour
9/6         1st Friday Urban Professional Happy Hour
9/9         Social Media Overview with J.R. Atkins
9/9         HootUp with SEO/SEM Group
9/13       From Social Media to Mobile Apps with J.R. Atkins
9/13       Friday Night Salon with Dallas Humanities & Culture
9/14       Kollaboration Dallas 2013
9/15       DFW Independent Publishers Meetup
9/16       Social Media Overview with J.R. Atkins
9/16       Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Benghazi Attack
9/17       D Magazine Best Doctors in Dallas 2013
9/18       The Marketing of the Ford F-150
9/18       Can Brick & Mortar Stores Survive?
9/19       ArtOfficial
9/20       TEDxCity2.0 Simulcast
9/21       Grand Opening of Dallas Arboretum Children’s Garden
9/23       Facebook Basics & Why with J.R. Atkins
9/24       Last Tuesday Happy Hour at The Ritz Carlton
9/25       Network After Work ~ Dallas
9/25       George Packer…Inner History of the New America
9/26       Membership in the Digital Age
9/28       Dallas PMI Workshop
9/30       Facebook Basics & Why with J.R. Atkins


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Do You Have Digital Meetings?

What I mean is, when you meet with others, are there digital devices involved? Are there laptops, phones and tablets on the table with people “typing” away on their phones and keyboards? As I visit organizations, I see that the use of digital devices in meetings really depends on the organization culture. Some organizations are digital oriented, others focus on short meetings with updates and actionable items while other have meeting that are so slow and boring that if people could not use their device, they’d fall asleep.

J.R. Atkins comments on devices in meetings

I also see this as the clashing of two cultures, a digital oriented culture and a non-digitally oriented culture. Have you heard about the lady that thought the associate pastor was surfing the web during church when he was actually reading the Bible online? There all kinds of issues that arise. We ask ourselves “are they paying attention to me?” Yet others are less sensitive, and they think “sure, go ahead and tweet while we are talking.”

My associate who specializes in Culture Building says we, as a group or a company, get to choose and build the digital culture of our organizations. We should reach an agreement as to the level of digital device use during our meetings. talking. I’m ok with that.”

What do you see in your organization? Can you use a device in your meeting? Is your organization wrestling with how to deal with devices in your meetings?J.R. Atkins address the use of devices in meetings

I look forward to hearing from you by phone, email, or blog.

Events Worth Considering


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Have you Downloaded your Facebook data?

Some people do not care about having their data incase Facebook “goes south” tomorrow but some do and may not know how to download a copy. I suggest my clients do this at least monthly. Here is how.

  • Go to Facebook settings in the uper right hand corner of your page.
  • Click on “Account Settings”
  • Under the work “Language” click on “Download a copy” of your Facebook data
  • Click on green “Start Archive” button
  • It will turn grey and say “pending” while your data is compiled.

When the archive is complete, Facebook will send an email to you.

Good Luck!

J.R. Atkins tells you hhow to download your FB data

 

 

 


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Good Blog post on Twitter, 5 Useful Tools by Daniel Sharkov

5 Useful Twitter Tools that Will Save You Lots of Time and Energy

Dallas social media consultant J.R. Atkins likes the work of Faniel SharkovBy Daniel Sharkov

Whoever says that success on Twitter (and social media success for that matter) is possible without the use of any additional apps and tools is either a newbie, a celebrity or someone, pretending to be the latter.

Unfortunately if you want to utilize the full potential of Twitter, you need some outside help.

If I have to be honest, building the following, getting the traffic and the retweets that I have now, would’ve been impossible without a couple of handy Twitter tools.

In the following article I will share what I consider to be the 5 best Twitter tools to help you save time, tweet better and get more followers:

 
1. Tweepi – Managing Your Followers
2. UberSocial – Helping You Stay in Touch on the Go
3. Buffer – Keeping a Steady Flow of Fresh Content
4. IFTT – Automating Part of Your Tweeting (And Much More)
5. Triberr – Multiplying Your Twitter Reach
 
 

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