Last November Instagram announced a new feature on photos and videos! The ALT text or tag. What does ALT text mean? ALT text stands for alternative text. If you have added images to your website or blog, this is probably something you are already familiar with. ALT text strengthens the message of your articles with search engine spiders and improves the accessibility of your website.
Instagram announced that they introduced ALT text to make the platform more accessible for visually impaired users. ALT text descriptions can be read by screen readers so visually impaired readers can hear about the photos in their feed.
How do you add it?
Open your Instagram account and add a photo and caption. Then go to Advanced Settings at the bottom of the page.
Scroll down to accessibility and write ALT Text.
Next add the ALT text.
Your followers will not actually going to see this text. Instagram will automatically set your alt text on every image if you don't add them. However if you do use them strategically, you will be able provide further SEO value for your brand. Your photos are now going to start getting rankings on Google Image search.
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your Instagram strategy, I would love you to come to my Instagram For Business Workshop on the 5th of February in Guildford. If you can't make this one, subscribe to my email list to get notified about the future workshops.
As 2018 comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on what has worked well this year and my expectations from 2019.
I started my business towards the end of 2015 and 2018 has been my best year. I worked with some amazing businesses. At times I was too busy and worked long hours but lots of exciting things happened.
I was featured on Metro, Enterprise Nation, Talented Ladies Club and on a couple of other websites.
I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic clients with whom I have built relationships and collaborated on various projects. I had the chance to go to 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister’s Financial Advisor alongside other business owners in October. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I was very happy about.
Online networking is great but meeting people face to face lets us nurture those relationships. This year I tried to attend more events to meet people and it will be one of more priorities in 2019.
In March I delivered my first workshop in London and throughout the year I partnered with my client We Give It to deliver workshops to the charity sector. In February, I will be delivering a workshop for the first time in my hometown in Guildford.
I invested a lot in my business this year. I am working with a business coach to help with my mindset and to develop my business. I have been taking courses in photography and filmmaking. I have thoroughly enjoyed the creativity this brings, I will continue to develop my skills in this area.
When I get too busy with client work, my own social media channels, my email list and blog suffer. This year, I will make sure that I make time for these.
In February I will be starting a Facebook Advertising Course with one of UK’s top Facebook Ads Expert. I feel very excited about the impact this will have and all the other possibilities 2019 holds.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a prosperous New Year!
If you'd like to work with me in 2019, there are a couple of ways you can do this: One to one Power Hour sessions, workshops or daily social media marketing: you can check out my all services here. Any questions? Just drop me an email.
Hashtags play a crucial role in social media marketing. Using the right hashtags will help you cut through the noise and get your content seen.
By engaging with the key hashtags in your industry, you will be able to discover new accounts to follow and engage with. Consequently, you can reach a wider audience and influencers.
Hashtags evolve and change all the time. Some hashtags get oversaturated,some are not used much any more. So it's a good practise to check them from time to time.
But how do you find the best hashtags?
There are a couple of tools.
1. Ritetag: This is a tool that I mostly use for Twitter but it also analyses hashtags for Instagram.
It has browser extensions so you can quickly look up hashtags and analyse them. It suggests hashtags to get seen and lets you know about the ones you should not use.
I searched #smallbusiness, and as you can see from the below photo, it also suggests me other popular hashtags that are related to it. Not every one of these may be related to my business, but it's good to have alternative hashtags to maximise the reach.
2. Makelight Hashtag Tool is the one that I use regularly for Instagram. It indexes hashtags and you can see how many photos each hashtag contain. Hundreds and thousands of photos are being published every second so some hashtags are very large.
If you only use the most popular hashtags, your content might not get the best exposure. Therefore it is better to use some popular hashtags and some not so popular ones to cut through the noise.
When you search a hashtag in Makelight, it tells you how many photos are indexed under that particular hashtag, how many times it is posted (every few minutes, every hour etc.. It also gives you related hashtags.
3. Display Purposes for Instagram. This tool gives you a number of hashtags around the keyword you enter, however it doesn't let me know how big or small that hashtag is so I don't tend to use it. Although if you want to, you can go to Instagram and find out how many times each hashtag is used.
4.Hashtagify.me is another tool that tracks hashtags both for Instagram and Twitter. It has some beta features which are still being developed. It gives you some statistics around popularity and suggests other hashtags that are popular.
I personally like Ritetag for Twitter and Makelight for Instagram. There are a couple of other tools but these are the free ones. It is worth trying out which one you like to use most as they have different user interfaces.
Instagram sometimes bans a hashtag if they find inappropriate content or something that violates their community guidelines. At the time of writing (2nd February) #ValentinesDay is banned.
This is what I see when I search for it.
I see that there are 10.648.881 posts under #ValentinesDay and it shows me the top photos.
However it is a different story if I scroll down.
As you can see below, there is a note from Instagram saying recent posts have been hidden because they have been reported.
If I had a gift shop, I would probably be promoting some items at this time of the year using this hashtag and if they weren't getting much exposure I would wonder why. I have been keeping an eye on this particular hashtag for almost a week now, and it has remained hidden.
This is why we should not rely on using the same hashtags day in, day out. We really need to be careful about them.
I would love to hear from you if you use these hashtag tools. If there are others that you like, please share in the comments.
As always, if you have any questions or need help with social media marketing, please get in touch.
Social video has become hugely popular in the last few years. As a result, there are a lot of tools in the market that enable you to create decent quality videos on your smart phone.
Almost all the social media platforms are encouraging people to share and consume video and it definitely is a great way to connect with your audience.
Today I would like to share five apps that I use frequently for my business:
1. Ripl Ripl app has built-in templates so it's super easy to use. All you need to do is adding photos / text and customising your design. Amazing!
2.Adobe Spark Video: Adobe Spark Video has built in story templates: Promote an idea, Show and Tell, Teach A Lesson etc. Add photos, text, music and voila! Adobe Spark Post app also has an animation option that is equally eye-catching.
3. InShot Video Editor is great for editing your videos on your phone, add music, text, stickers etc. It literally transforms your video!
4. Flixel lets you create beautiful cinemagraphs. Being able to create these videos on the go, is absolutely mind blowing!
5.Clips by Apple. If you're an Iphone user,chances are you already have the Clips app. Like the above mentioned apps it has some features to make your videos more exciting by adding text and music but it also has an additional feature which sets it apart:It has a voice recognition feature and thanks to that you can add text overlays with your voice!
There are many more apps in the market. But these are the ones I use frequently these days?
What are your favourite apps to create video? Let me know in the comments.
If you don't have the time to do it yourself, this is a service I am offering. Just get in touch and we can talk about your requirements.
Social media platforms are immensely powerful for businesses but when they are not used wisely, they can cause some problems. When you are starting out, it's important to define your objectives and strategically plan how you will achieve these goals. But before you dive into the world of social media, I would love to share a few points:
1. Don't spread yourself thin.
With so many social media platforms out there, it's really important to decide which are the best for your business. If you're not outsourcing social media,it's difficult to keep on top of them. The best thing is to choose two and branch out if / when you can handle it.
2. Don't be salesy.
People go on social media to have fun,to share news or to educate themselves. If you constantly share posts about your products and services, people get bored.
It's not about you or your business, it's all about your community. Before sharing any post, ask yourself: Does this post entertain, inform or educate my community?
3.Don't forget that your community is watching you.
Dedicate a staff to monitor the platforms and answer each and every comment. If you receive negative feedback, don't get aggressive.Take the conversation offline and bear in mind that sometimes negative feedback help you improve your business. Remember your community is watching! Angry customers can be very helpful in amplifying your message if handled well.
4. Don't leave your social media to unqualified staff.
Managing a company's social media accounts is very different from managing a personal account. You need a strategy and expertise to achieve your goals so make sure you have a qualified expert to look after your accounts.
5. Don't buy followers.
It might sound like a good idea if you are just starting out but don't ever fall into this trap. Yes, you might have thousands of followers but the number of followers don't mean anything. The important thing is having an engaged community, even if it's a small one. You won't gain leads from a group of people who are not interested in your products.
Social media is not magic. It works but it takes time and requires effort! If you don't have the time or the knowledge to do it yourself, just get in touch and we can talk about your requirements.
Building a vibrant and growing community is no mean feat. It requires hours of planning and execution.
First things first: we must know our ideal client. Who are we trying to reach? What is their lifestyle? Where do they hang out? What are their problems? How are we going to solve these problems? To be able to connect with the audience, we need to know them and send them the right message.
Plan and schedule your content
Think about what you want to achieve: Creating a buzz around a campaign or an event, drive website traffic, increase brand awareness. Consistency is the key to success and this can only be achieved by planning. Plan your content with your end goal in mind, around key dates, Christmas, Easter etc. Once you have a plan, you can start scheduling it. If you’re scheduling in advance, always remember to tweak things for any last minute news or crisis.
Don't just broadcast.
Remember that social media platforms are social. Ask questions, reply comments, be kind and friendly. When dealing with negative comments, be careful because your community is watching. Last but not least, show the human side of your brand. Make sure your posts are not too salesy. People buy from people so nurture the relationships you’re building and sales will follow.
Use the analytics to gain insights.
All social media platforms have analytics tools that give in depth data. You can get a lot of insights about your audience (for example how old are they, where do they live, when are they online) as well as how successful the content that is shared.
If you haven't set up Google Analytics on your website, I highly recommend you do this in order to track traffic from social media. Monitor the activity, reflect on the results and adjust your strategy.
Consistency is the key to success on social media. Building an engaged community is a lot of work and takes time, but it works.
As always,if you need any help, please get in touch.
Having a Facebook page is no longer a luxury! In today's world, if you have a business, it is almost inevitable that you will have a Facebook page. But how do you optimise it so that you can get the best possible results from it?
1. Start off with your page name. Choose a name that is possibly the same across all your social media platforms. Usually this will be your business name or if that is not available you can use some variations but usually people will search by the business name so make sure you find a search-friendly user name. Don't choose a name thinking that you can easily change it later as changing page names can be tricky.
2. Another way to make your Facebook Page more discoverable is with a vanity URL. For example mine is www.facebook.com/socialthyme Once your Page has 25 Likes, you can set a custom URL.
3.Choose a cover photo that reflects your brand or business. If there is text on the cover photo, when viewed on mobile, it is likely that the text will get cut off so be careful with that. Alternatively choose a cover photo without text. It is a good practice to change the cover photo every couple of weeks as it creates interest.
3. Fill in the about section of your business. Make sure you add your business website and depending on your business, you might want to add a customer response time and address etc. Think about what kind of information your clients might need and make it easy for them to contact you. People love contacting businesses via their Facebook pages whether it's about a problem they are having or when they are happy about your products/services and they want to share it with the wider world.
4. You can add a call-to-action button such as "learn more" as seen above. Depending on your business, you can choose "Download the app", "book services" etc. You might want to try different buttons and see what resonates best with your audience.
5. There are different type of templates which you can choose according to your business. You can find this option under edit page. For example if you have a restaurant there is a special template and if you are a service based entrepreneur, there is a different template that will serve you better. You can find the edit page option under the settings.
6. Choose your audience so that Facebook shows your page to more relevant people. You can access this option from the settings. You can choose the demographics of your audience and their interest and language. This will help Facebook to put your page in front of the people who I am targeting. As a social media manager,I prefer to engage with people in the UK who are entrepreneurs and business owners. I can potentially target any country in the world or any English speaking country and I might get people following and engaging but the I am not doing this because I'd rather reach to people who are more likely to buy from me.
These are just a few easy steps to use Facebook strategically for your business. Facebook constantly changes things around, adds new features etc. So every now and then, go to the settings of your page and check if there is anything that's new and if relevant for you, use it!
If you need more ideas to improve your page, read this: 7 tips to improve your Facebook page
7 social media tips that you can start implementing straight away
If you need more help, please get in touch.
If you have never used Twitter before, it can feel a bit daunting. How can you possibly tell something in just 140 characters? Do you need to read every tweet? How do you use those hashtags? Should you follow everyone who follows you?
Twitter is one of my favourite social media platforms. Unlike some other social media platforms, there is no barrier between you and your followers and this is fantastic! But how can you make the most of this fabulous tool to grow your community?
1. First things first: Optimise your profile. Your Twitter bio should clearly indicate what you do in your business with a link to your landing page. No one wants to follow an egg, so don't forget to change your profile photo either with a professional head shot or your logo.
2. Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter. It simply is not possible to to read every tweet from everyone you follow. The best thing you can do is to segment the people you want to follow into groups.
I created different lists for various topics such as Education, Foodies etc. I add people to these lists and when I check out my Twitter account it makes my life much easier because I can see all the tweets from my favourite people in one place. You don't have to follow someone to be able to add to a Twitter list.
You can add anyone by clicking on the gear icon on their profile and then click on to add/remove from lists. You can set your lists as public or private. If you add someone to a public list they receive a notification of this. However they don't if it's a private account.
3.Now that you have Twitter lists, have set times throughout the day-maybe once in the morning,once around lunch time and once in the evening depending on your schedule. Spend 10-15 minutes engaging with the people in your lists. Reply their questions, share their content, retweet their tweets. Be helpful and be kind. This is how you connect with people and build relationships with people on Twitter.
4.Use images to stand out from the crowd. Twitter is like a traffic lane with hundreds and thousands of tweets at a minute. To get the attention you need to stand out with your visuals: branded images, gifs and so on. If you need some help with this, here are my favourite tools to create social media images that convert.
5. Be consistent. Use a scheduler to share curated and created content that will add value to your followers. It's okay to tweet the same content a couple of times through out the day. This will let you catch different audiences at different times. As long as you share great content, people don't complain!
6. People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter search. For example if you search #smtips you can find lots of social media tips. I can simply search this hashtag on Twitter and if I think something worth sharing, I can retweet them to my followers. Spend some time to research your industry specific hashtags and make a note of them so you can use them later.
Don't use too many hashtags! One to two hashtags are enough and research shows that these tweets get more reach than those with more hashtags. You also want to leave some space for people to retweet your tweet so it's good to be careful about this.
You can also come up with your own hashtags. For example if you're running a campaign you can come up with a catchy hashtag like #ThisGirlCan. You can also use a branded hashtag to create brand awareness. For instance, I could use #SocialThyme to create brand awareness. However no one is likely to search this hashtag on Twitter, I would only use it for brand awareness. The second hashtag would be to use an industry specific one, for example #socialmediamarketing which is what people would be searching on Twitter.
7.Use Twitter Chats to increase your reach and grow your following. There are many industry or location specific tweet chats happening every day. These are set hours that are held once a week. They are usually hosted by one twitter account, and the host will encourage networking and interaction between the people who participate in the chat. Here is a list of Twitter Hours happening in the UK. The list is not very up to date so do check if it's still happening before you start posting.
8. Use a @ before their name to mention someone. They'll get a notification of the post. It’s common when people tweet a link to a blog post from your site or if customers are commenting about your company. Once you send a Tweet mentioning another account, they’re likely going to reply and @mention you. Getting an @mention in Tweets makes your account more visible as your tweet is now going to be seen by their followers and this in turn can help you earn new followers. Engaging with industry influencers in this way helps you grow your account.
9. Finally, if you are only pushing out automated content, you are just broadcasting which puts people off. Think of Twitter as an online party. You wouldn't go to a party and start selling your products, would you? Share great content, engage with people, build relationships and sales will follow.
If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments. If you feel you don't have the time/don't feel inclined about using Twitter yourself and would rather someone else manages it for your business, please get in touch.
A couple of weeks ago Instagram rolled out an amazing new feature: They introduced location and hashtag stories on the explore page.
What does this mean for you and how can you utilise this for your business?
Here is a story I shared earlier today with the location sticker of my town Guildford.
Using the location sticker gives my story more context. Anyone in Guildford can see the stories on their explore page in the Instagram app.
Instagram randomly selects posts to be part of the larger Location Story and if your story gets selected and you have the chance of reaching to people outside of your followers which is amazing. You need to swipe up your story and check the stats to see if it was selected.
My story was selected. Now let's see how many people engaged with my post
At the time of publishing this post the story got 47 views and 41 of these were from the Guildford story! Bear in mind that the story is there for 24 hours so this number will increase. For comparison, you can see the story on the left which I shared yesterday,reached only 35 people as I did not use a location or hashtag sticker.
There is so much potential in this! If you have a cafe/restaurant or a local shop or if you are organising a local event, a training; you can reach the local people with this tool. You can reach the travellers in your area. If you are at a conference, you might be able find some people who you might want to network with.
Now let's click on the Guildford sticker and see what happens: It gives me the option of viewing the top posts.
There is a beautiful cake from a local blogger, a photo from a local music store, a local photographer, a floral farmer which I might consider to follow and engage with. As you can see it gives me the option of connecting with a variety of people in my town.
Similarly if you use a hashtag sticker, for example #Fashion #LondonFilmFestival etc on your story you can use that to reach people outside of your followers.
It is not out there yet, but if the rumours are true, soon there will be a search option within the stories.
I hope this gives you some ideas about how to utilise the Instagram Stories location feature for your business.
Read this if you are not sure how to get started with Instagram stories. As always if you have any questions or need help with your social media, just send me an email.
One of the questions I frequently get asked is "Which social media platforms should I be using for my business?" I have written a post about this a couple of weeks ago. Ideally, you should be on at least three of the platforms however if you are a solopreneur juggling all the demands of your business or if have never used any of the platforms before, this can feel very overwhelming.
Each platform is different and each one requires a different strategy and tactics. Cross posting or linking the accounts just doesn't cut it. If you really want to see benefits from social media marketing, you need to invest in time and effort to create and curate content and do the engagement with your community. Setting up the accounts and posting whenever you can without a strategy will not bring you leads.
Consistency is the key. You need to show up every day! You need to be posting valuable content, educating your audience about your products or services whilst engaging with your community and the wider world.
So what do you do?
I believe that less is more, even in social media! I would highly recommend that you start small. Decide how much time you have and choose one or two platforms to start with.
If you are starting from scratch, it will take a while to grow the number of your followers. But please don't feel discouraged. An engaged community who comments, likes and shares your posts is much more valuable than a big but non-responsive community.
Once you feel comfortable with the platforms you have been managing, perhaps after two or three months, it is the time to add another platform into the mix. Now that you are more familiar with social media marketing, you won't find it that difficult.
However if you would rather focus on the other aspects of your job and outsource social media marketing, please get in touch.