Happy New Year! It’s 2017. For many of us, the new year is a clean slate. At home and in our businesses, it’s an opportunity to check in with ourselves and get really clear on what we want.
Because you’re you- an already-successful businesswoman and mom- you’ve likely settled on a few goals already. That’s great! Thinking through and then writing down your goals are important first steps.
However, you can’t stop there. You need a plan. And you need that plan to be simple and something you can integrate into an already-busy life.
At our next meetup Robin Camarote will lead us in an exercise to set goals and an action plan for 2017:
- cover the essential elements of strategic planning
- create a 90-day action plan that you can use right away in your business or personal life
- discuss tactics for overcoming obstacles when they arise, and
- talk about when to recommit and when to ditch a goal.
We’ll also talk about common derailleurs and distractions. Together, we’ll share strategies for staying focused on your priorities without feeling overwhelmed or burnt-out.
Wednesday, January 25th, 2016$20/person
9:30-11 Redwood Restaurant, Bethesda Row Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.
Meetup Recap: Instagram Tips For Your Business
blog for even more Instagram tips. Are you following me on Instagram @anjvarma? If not, would appreciate the follow – it is my favorite social media channel and I try to make it interesting! And if you want more social media and marketing tips for your business, check out my new ecourse Marketing On A Shoestring Budget!I’ve included the highlights from Christine’s talk below, you can head over to her
Familiarize yourself with Instagram for Business
There is a good amount of information here to get you started and for you to figure out how to set up a business page. There is also inspiration from businesses that are doing it well. I also try to keep up regularly with the Instagram Business Blog for good ideas, new features, best practices, and more.
Use 11 #s that are current/relevant & pertinent to your industry
A study showed that 11 hashtags is the right amount for the best engagement. Often times people struggle to get to that many and too many more can really clutter the description. People today asked about putting hashtags in the comments, and ultimately they serve the same purpose as putting them in the description but they make it look much cleaner. So if you want to reach an even wider audience and use more hashtags, putting some in the comments can clean things up- but doesn’t do anything different from a search and discovery perspective.
Balance fun pics with business pics
People like to use Instagram to see behind the scenes of a business. It is a great visual way to pull back the curtain. You should be thoughtful when you do this- obviously you don’t want to give competitors too much information. But this is a chance to give your brand some personality. Show your team on an outing to get ice cream or after a big meeting. Have an adorable office dog? We want to see him!
Connect your Facebook Page
I mean this in two ways. If you have a strong Facebook fan page, then make sure you have a link to your Instagram account or an app tab with your Instagram stream that you post about (with the mobile friendly link). This will help your FB audience learn about your Insta account and follow you there too. I also like using Instagram to post to my fan page because it actually shows the image and the copy. I do NOT like linking Instagram posts to Twitter because it just shows a link to the post not the actual picture in your tweet (tweets with images and videos get more engagement!).
Cross promote on other social channels
Obviously you should use the channels where you already have a following to promote your Instagram account.
Embed Instagram videos in your blog
If you are writing a blog then it looks very cool when you include an embedded Instagram video (or picture) in your post. This also will make people aware of your account and they can follow you very easily.
Respond to comments- and most importantly ENGAGE!
Don’t post it and disappear! Check back and see what people had to say. Did they like it? Did they want more? Did they have questions? Be sure to respond and engage with them- they are much more interested in you when you talk back.
Follow your followers back
This is a great way to create a following and engagement. Follow them back. You will see that many people will also follow you back if you spend some time in discovery finding key partners, people you want to know, potential clients, etc.
Run an Instagram photo contest and promote it on Facebook
This is a great way to increase followers and engagement. I suggest looking at Woobox or Shortstackto help you facilitate a contest. You also must be familiar with appropriate T&Cs for your state and include them. There are a few ways to do this- comments, tagging, photo submissions. Be sure you understand what your objectives are before you decide on how to run your contest. You can promote it on Facebook via your fan page or ads to drive more awareness.
Utilize apps to make your content amazing
This is where I could spend all day! My favorite part of what we do for our clients. We utilize amazing apps that help raise the bar for content creation on a regular basis. Since I have so many favorites I am going to list them and let you discover all of the awesome things they can do for your Instagram content.
- Pic Collage
- Video Cover
- Photo Blur
- iMovie for iPhone
Meetup attendees shared their favorite apps, websites, and resources to help run their business. Here were a couple of popular recommendations:
Nicole Krug of Social Light provided an overview of the basics of SEO as well as easy ways you can begin incorporating into your business website. See below for a full recap of Nicole’s recommendations as well as the excellent resource recommendations that attendees shared at our event.
SEO Basics & Recommendations
What is SEO?
SEO – Search Engine Optimization, in its simplest form it means being found on Google (or Bing or Yahoo)
Keywords – when someone searches or types something in the search engine, you want your website to come up. Types of keyword searches:
– Your name
– Your business brand
– Your industry
Google doesn’t want to see website in a bubble. If you don’t link to anyone on your site or give credit they don’t like that. And even more important to who you link to is who is linking to you. “linking is the modern day of giving credit” – it builds your credbility the more links that you have going into your site. If all things are equal when comparing two sites but you have more links to your site than your site will rank higher.
Does that include links from social media channels or just websites?
Websites rank much higher than social media. There is also a domain authority score, so if someone with a high domain authority score like The Huffington Post links to you that will help to increase your SEO.
If your content is shared often via social media it will help your SEO.
The age of your site also has a factor. Think about that before changing your domain or rebranding. You want to try and keep the authority that you have established.
Google likes to see regular content. Blogging has become huge factor in SEO. It gives you another way to put out the keywords. One rule of thumb – when you write content, Google likes deep content. 300 words minimum – longer content – however make sure you use bullets, pics, headers to break it up for the reader otherwise your content won’t get read.
What is the best way to use keywords to enhance SEO?
Google will penalize you for keyword stuffing so a quick rule of thumb is 1-2% of keyword density. Create a list of 10 company keywords, brand, industry and keep those in mind. The modern way of doing SEO is having a page per key word. And, when you are writing your blogs, write your blog post first and then figure out how you can integrate you keywords into the post.
Also determine some of the less competitive keywords that can be associated with your business and shoot for those because you have a higher likelihood of coming up.
What are some of the resources that you recommend to manage SEO?
For WordPress – I like Yoast plug in and Google Analytics. With the Yoast plug in you can plug in your site and blog posts and it will tell you how you well you have optimize SEO and will prompt questions like did you use links, headlines, etc to help you improve SEO optimization. It is free.
Google also wants to see images and that is good for your readers too. When you upload an image don’t save it as a generic number – rename the image with your keywords. That helps to increase your number of key words on your site but also it helps for you to possibly come up when images come up google.com.
For blog images I use Getty Images – they are free and you can embed them. It has a small credit towards the bottom.
Metadata – information about your site or pages. When you run a search and you see the title and the description. For your Metadata title 40-70 characters and for Metadata description – 154 characters. Characters with spaces.
For local businesses, what are best SEO tips?
How much does it cost to outsource SEO?
It is expensive, typically $1500-$3000/month.
At every meetup I open the floor to attendees to share some of their favorite resource recommendations – the apps, website, books that help entrepreneurs to manage business, home, or both. Excellent resource recommendations were provided this last meetup:
1. Unroll Me -After you sign up, see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want.
2. Perch – consolidates social media posts so that you can easily follow your competition
3. Dropcam – easy monitoring system to watch employees or home when you are gone
4. Canva – app to easily help you design flyers, cards, graphics, banners and more
5. Slide Bean – easy way to make professional presentations
6. Genius Scan – pdf scanner
Join us at our next meetup on April 29th when we will be talking spring trends and recommendations on what to wear at networking events, meetings, and when on the go to both mom and business events.
At my February Meetup I shared a sneak peak of my e-course Marketing On A Shoestring Budget. I shared effective ways to market your business and increase revenues at little or no cost using strategies such as partnering with influencers, leveraging social media, and enhancing your current customer experience. I will be sharing more on this topic closer to launch of my course (hopefully in the next two months!) As always, I also opened up the floor for everyone to introduce their business and share a resource that is helping them either personally or professionally. There were several excellent, helpful recommendations made. See below for the details and hopefully there are one or two suggestions that will want to try out! And if you are in DC, save the date for our next meetup on Wednesday, March 25th!
1. Perch – App that consolidates the latest Facebook and Twitter, Yelp, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare, Groupon, and Living Social making it easy to stay up to speed on you and your competition.
2. E-myth – Michael Gerber’s book which shares why most businesses don’t work and what to do about it
3. Headspace – Meditation app
4. LinkedIn University – Online training program for building your business on LinkedIn
5. Shopify – Platform for businesses to manage every aspect of their business — from products to orders to customers, selling online, in retail stores, and on the go.
6. Word Swag – Ever wonder how people add text on pictures or make pics of quotes on Instagram? They use apps like Word Swag. Excited to try this one out!
7. 40 Day Mind Fast Soul Feast – This book provides a daily read which will guide your mind and soul as you realize your dreams.
8. The Daily Entrepreneur Book – 33 Success Habits For Small Business Owners
Washington Post On Parenting Editor Amy Joyce shared excellent tips on pitching the media and great insight into how the Post works. I’ve included a summary recap of the highlights of our discussion below plus the great resource recommendations shared by entrepreneurs who attended our event.
Familiarize yourself with the publication you are pitching and the reporters who you are pitching to. No one is going to run a commercial for your business so think of a story that you can pitch that highlights your business and tells a story.
2.) Any tips for sending a good pitch? Best medium and timing?
Familiarize yourself with with reporters’ social media channels – follow them and share their content. Amy admits that she is inundated with email and email pitches and it becomes hard to respond to all emails, which is why she will often see Twitter and Facebook messages/pitches more than email. Amy recommends not emailing on weekends because it is more likely to get lost in the shuffle. And she does not typically respond to phone inquiries.
If you have an idea for a story, Amy recommends sending the shell of the story (or the whole story) so that the editor/reporter can easily review and determine if a good fit. She also recommends that you reach out directly instead of going through a publicist.
3.) How does the Post differ from other media outlets?
The Post is more “old school” and traditional. Other mediums are likely more flexible than the Post.
4.) How has your work environment and the Post changed since being acquired by Jeff Bezos?
The day to day hasn’t changed that much other than it feels like a more stable environment.
5.) What were some of the most popular posts in On Parenting last year?
Meetup attendees shared several excellent resources that help them to manage both their business and their personal lives! Check out their recommendations below:
– 5 AM Miracle Podcast – Weekly podcast dedicated to dominating your day before breakfast
– Money Love Challenge from Kate Northrop – This free challenge delivers 21 daily, bite-sized action items for you to pay loving attention to your money.
– Create a vision board
– Cozi app – time management, scheduling, family organization
– Startup Podcast – a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one
– Asana – task management/task sharing app
– Favado App – app highlights sales/coupons in the grocery store
– Pure Wow – lifestyle website with great food, fashion, and home tips