The WeWorkers Are Assembling

Grim Reality Of The Co-Working Company’s Freefall Spurs Employee Organization Effort

A disastrous IPO failure, scandalous ouster Of CEO Adam Neumann, and a messy takeover effort by SoftBank have pushed thousands of employees at The We Company to organize, demanding the company treat them with special care and concern through what is likely to be a challenging restructuring.

The co-working company’s S-1 filing revealed a whole bunch of chicanery, mostly in service of enriching Adam Neumann, its founder and CEO. Neumann’s bad behavior, however, has come with an immense human cost: he had thousands of employees beneath him, and after an emergency takeover by SoftBank, the company’s largest investor, their livelihoods are now in jeopardy. (Neumann himself is walking away from the flaming wreckage with more than a billion dollars.)

As the WeWorkers Coalition, the group sent an open letter to their company’s management that at once acknowledged the grim reality of their situation and also the We Company’s future. “Thousands of us will be laid off in the upcoming weeks. But we want our time here to have meant something,” they wrote. “We don’t want to be defined by the scandals, the corruption, and the greed exhibited by the company’s leadership. We want to leave behind a legacy that represents the true character and intentions of WeWork employees.” That legacy includes demands for a seat at the decision-making table, more transparency and accountability, more diversity, and more serious investigation into sexual misconduct, among other reasonable requests.

Though the WeWorkers Coalition isn’t an official union effort, it is a collective expression of workers’ concerns, in line with recent collective efforts at other large tech companies like Google and Amazon. The WeWorkers Coalition told the Times that they’d received advice from the workers organizing at Kickstarter, who have been attempting to form a union in spite of sustained opposition from management.

“We are not asking for this level of graft,” the WeWorkers Coalition’s letter reads, in reference to Neumann’s outsized payout. “We are asking to be treated with humanity and dignity so we can continue living life while searching to make a living elsewhere.”

5 Fool-Proof Hacks To Get More Instagram Followers in 2019

When it comes to Instagram growth, it’s simply not as easy to get more Instagram followers in 2019 as it was a year or two ago.

With over 1 billion monthly users, an ultra-smart algorithm, and tons of clever, creative brands on Instagram, it’s a competitive place if you want to grow your account and boost your following.

So if you really want to stand out, show off your brand, and get more followers on Instagram, you have to work smarter and harder. Here are 5 ways to gain more Instagram followers this year.

1.Get More Instagram Followers with a Branded and Complete Instagram Profile

If you want to get more Instagram followers in 2019, you need to pay attention to what your Instagram profile looks like as a whole.

Your feed is the first opportunity you have to make a great impression and entice people to hit the “follow” button. And since your Instagram profile is becoming as important as your homepage, you want to make sure it looks on point.

When someone visits your Instagram profile, they will decide in seconds whether or not to follow your business. How do they make that decision? By quickly scrolling through your feed, reading your bio, or clicking on your stories highlights.

When it comes to converting visitors into followers, it’s no longer just the editing style of your photos that need to be consistent.

You also want to have a great Instagram profile photo, an effective Instagram bio, active stories, and coordinating cover photos for your Instagram highlights.

Luckily, it’s easy to build a professional-looking feed with a well-curated and cohesive Instagram aesthetic!

Gorgeous Instagram aesthetics aren’t a new trend on Instagram. In fact, businesses of every size, from startups to super-brands, are curating their feeds to appeal to new followers.

Your feed doesn’t have to adhere to the all-white, picture-perfect, minimal aesthetic of Instagram to be successful, it just needs to be consistent with your own brand and target market.

But what’s important for 2019 is that you make sure every aspect of your feed and every post aligns with the aesthetic you’ve chosen for your brand.

So whether you’re posting on Instagram Stories, publishing an IGTV video, or creating highlights for your profile page, you need to make sure everything aligns with and represents your overall branding and Instagram aesthetic.

2. Share Selfies to Get More Instagram Followers (Yes, Really)

There’s no denying that Instagram is still a very social place. And people want to follow accounts that they can relate to, regardless of whether that’s a brand, influencers, or person they went to high school with.

So it’s important to make your Instagram account as personable and relatable as possible, and really show off what your business and brand is all about if you want to get more Instagram followers.

Plus, did you know that photos with faces get 38% more likes on Instagram?
One of the easiest ways to introduce new audiences to your brand is through video. You can immediately set the tone, share some behind-the-scenes footage, and show off what sets your brand apart.
Plus, there’s no better spokesperson for your business than your employees! Why not ask your team to post and share content about your business plans, launches or special campaigns this year?

If you can get your team involved in creating company content for your brand, it adds more personality and behind-the-scenes insights for your followers. You may find your page will be seen by new audiences that already have connections with your employees and have an interest in your brand!

So next time you’re crafting an Instagram story, or planning an IGTV video, think about including more face-to-face screen time and introducing your followers (both old and new) to your brand.

3. Create Instagram Ads that Help You Get More Instagram Followers

Instagram is a very competitive marketplace for brands, but there’s a real opportunity to build your followers if you present the right type of ads to new audiences.

Running your own Instagram ad campaign isn’t that difficult, but it can be intimidating to many small business owners and influencers who haven’t done it before.
There’s a whole host of different types of Instagram ads you can run for your account — from feed-style images and videos to promoted Instagram Stories ads that will appear as your target audience taps through stories. What’s important is making sure you’re targeting the right audience in the right way!
Thankfully, targeting an audience on Instagram with a sponsored post couldn’t be easier — Instagram does all the hard work for you!

Instagram already pulls in a “similar audience” that you can share the post to, or you can easily create your own audience in the app by choosing an interest, age range, and the genders you want to promote to.
For example, if you’re posting a photo about a tea shop in San Diego that’s frequented by millennials, you can boost your post to people who are interested in tea, live in San Diego, and are females between the age of 20-35.

But remember, half the battle with Instagram ads is knowing what kind of content resonates most with your audience. So spend some time investigating whether your audience enjoys video content over still images in their feed, or if Instagram Stories is where you get the most engagement.

Finally, make sure you have a strong call-to-action in your Instagram ads.

Whether that’s driving your audience to visit your profile, shop your feed, or check out your latest collection on your website, you want to make sure you’re guiding them to your homepage where they can learn more about your business and offering.

4. Promote Your Instagram Content on Other Platforms to Get More Instagram Followers

If you want to get more Instagram followers, it’s time to think about your Instagram strategy as a part of your wider marketing efforts and look at how you can grow outside of the Instagram app.

Instead, think about how your other marketing channels — like your website, email newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube — can lead your audience to your Instagram page.

Cross-promoting your Instagram content on other channels is a really easy way to guide your existing followers to your Instagram page (where they’re likely to tap follow as they already know your brand!) or introduce yourself to new audiences if they’ve found you from a different platform.
For example, most of my personal Instagram growth comes from including screenshots of my feed, embedding my posts, or linking my username in blog posts that I write.

I also make sure to include my Instagram handle with a CTA in my author bio, email signature, and anytime I am speaking at a conference, I encourage people to ask me questions over Instagram DM. Basically, I try to naturally plug my Instagram handle wherever I can (because I really want swipe-ups).

Here are a couple of tips on how to start cross-promoting your Instagram content on other platforms:

Integrate your Instagram feed into your website design: this is such a simple change that could really help your get more Instagram followers. If you’re hosting your website on WordPress, there are tons of different plugins that can help you integrate your Instagram feed into your website. Now every visitor that comes to your website will see your beautiful Instagram aesthetic and might just want to see more and follow!

  • Invite audiences to ‘find out more’ on Instagram: If you have a platform, like YouTube, for example, that’s really thriving with an engaged audience, you can use this follower-power to invite audiences to check out your Instagram feed, especially if you’re sharing something exclusive there. For example, if you are a fashion brand, you could share a preview of your new collection on YouTube and invite your viewers to check out the big reveal of the whole collection on Instagram Stories on a specific date.
  • Add Your Instagram to Your Email Marketing Campaigns: whether you have a small footer with links to your social accounts, or send an entire email focused on increasing your followers, don’t ignore the power of your email list if you want to get more Instagram followers!

5. Collaborate With Awesome Brands to Get More Followers on Instagram

The power of a collaboration or a co-marketing campaign for your business is huge!

Teaming up with like-minded and complimentary business and brands will introduce your profile to a new and engaged audience you may never have reached before.

So when an Instagram user discovers your profile through a co-marketing effort, they’re likely to hit that follow button if they have similar interests or are the right demographic for your brand.

Plus, co-marketing campaigns don’t have to be complicated or costly! What’s more important is who you partner with. You want to make sure that you have a mutually beneficial partnership and that both your audiences will benefit from your collaboration efforts.

The 7 Key Building Blocks of the Best Facebook Business Pages

We’re back with another highly-requested building block post, this time covering how to build and optimize your Facebook Business page. The OG social media hangout, Facebook is still a valuable source of new leads and traffic, and can provide a huge ROI with Facebook Ads for small business. Best practices incorporate the following 7 tips to optimize your Facebook Business page.


Social media should be the main ingredient of any marketing strategy. While some marketing techniques may get a bit expensive, this one is free and may bring you big profits.

It’s vital to have your Facebook Business Page correctly optimized with some SEO best practices in order to maximize conversions. First of all, there is a correlation between a well-developed social presence and your search rankings and in the end, a Facebook Business Page becomes a “second home page” for your online business. Since there are many rumors about Facebook Business Page Optimization on the Web, let’s put this straight. Within this post, you will learn some essential rules that will leverage your Facebook page. Let’s start with the optimization basics!

7 Key Building Blocks of the Best Facebook Business Pages

1.Choose the right name

When it comes to correct optimization, it is fundamental to find the right name for your Facebook Business Page because you choose it once and it is permanent. It’s key to remember that the first word of your Facebook page title is the most significant in the eyes of Google.

This is why stuffing your page title with generic keywords won’t work. Doing so might make it look spam-like and discourage people from getting engaged, let alone sharing your updates. You need a brandable name that represents your business and shows its personality. This is the real intent behind any Facebook Business Page.

2. Customize your vanity URL

Never settle for the dynamic URL which is automatically generated when you sign up. On Facebook, you can easily personalize your address and unify it with your brand name. Make it unique and easy to remember. If you match your Facebook vanity URL with the page’s title you are going to strengthen your brand recognition. Moreover, personalization will hugely improve the findability of your page both in Facebook search and in search engines.

3. Fill out your profile

Make sure that your avatar, cover photo, bio and profile info are complete and contain up-to-date information. A complete profile reveals your professional attitude and is a clear signal to your audience that you are engaged. Moreover, aim for consistency across all of your social media channels, and make sure that the main visuals match. Utilize a Facebook cover photo that is 851 x 315 px.

4. Pay special attention to the “About us” section

The truth is, your visitors want to know all of the details about your business: where your office is located, what service you offer, what your working hours are and so on. Therefore, provide them with complete information. The “About us” section is a good place to emphasize values and benefits your products or service may bring to the customers. Similarly to Meta Description, you need an apt description short enough [you get 155 characters] in order to be correctly displayed in the search engine snippet, both on desktop and mobile. Make sure that you choose an appropriate category:

  • Local business or place
  • Company, organization, or institution
  • Brand or product
  • Artist, band, or public figure
  • Entertainment
  • Cause or community

Complete your short description diligently and use accurate wording (including targeted keywords) to concisely characterize your business. Build your marketing personas and improve the communication with your targeted audience by using the appropriate voice and tone.

Pro-tip: Remember to add the link to your website or landing page within the short description because it strongly improves the findability of the particular offer or content page.

5. Sprinkle your business page with keywords strategically

Optimizing for keywords remains crucial, even when it comes to social media. Place your targeted ones in the most important, strategic parts of your page. Include them in the URL, page title and “About us” section because they will be visible on the front page and will appear in search results.

Remember that the name of your page corresponds with the title tag and your short description works as the meta description tag. However, make sure that you do not overuse keywords: stick to a top six and mention them naturally in the proper context.

6. Include the phone number and address in your Facebook page

The current Facebook design shows your business category, location, phone number and business hours straight away, on the front page. Therefore, make sure to fill out your street address, city, state, zip, and local phone number. Adding the address helps with indexing your brand for local search results and increases page following. Google simply pays more attention to pages that give specific contact information.

7. Optimize Facebook updates

Look for new features that you should implement; Facebook is constantly introducing new useful tools that are going to make running your business easier. To keep your page well-optimized, make sure that you keep an eye on any new features that emerge and implement them when available.

Embroiled WeWork CEO Resigns as Reports of Drug Use and Bizarre Behavior Surface

The Demise of WeWork’s Adam Neumann

The writing was on the wall as a failed IPO, massive workforce layoff, and staggering company devaluation ($47 billion to $15 billion) all combined to catalyze the resignation of embattled Israeli co-founder and CEO, Adam Neumann. WeWork, the co-working conglomerate catering to hip freelancers and remote workers, has been on a dizzying slide the last few months, with deep market criticism of their planned IPO making headlines almost daily.

“While our business has never been stronger, in recent weeks, the scrutiny directed toward me has become a significant distraction, and I have decided that it is in the best interest of the company to step down as chief executive,” Neumann said in a statement.

Critics assert that WeWork is an office subleasing company masquerading as a tech giant; the entity acts as little more than a landlord and should be valued as such.

Scoffs at the very notion that WeWork should be considered and valued as anything besides a real estate business dealing almost exclusively in physical space grew boisterous recently as Neumann embarked on an eccentric, at times desperate, promo tour ahead of the failed IPO launch. Silicon Valley is no stranger to tech companies employing erratic chief execs, often embracing the bizarre behavior of the likes of Elon Musk. But Neumann was no Musk. He was not building electric cars. He was not building rockets. Hell, Neumann wasn’t creating anything. WeWork can try as they might to convince the Valley that they are a tech company, but they are simply a very sexy, very hip, office space landlord. With kombucha!

Neumann’s tragic fall was fast tracked when The Wall Street Journal ran an piece detailing some of the ex-CEO’s personal scandals. Specifically, the WSJ exposed an incident from last summer in which Neumann and friends smuggled a sizeable haul of weed aboard a private trans-Atlantic flight. The jet owner recalled the plane, and left Neumann and crew in Israel to find their own way back to New York City.

Still, WeWork and Neumann continued their eccentric roadshow in anticipation of a wildly overpriced IPO debut, and the company filed its IPO paperwork in August. WeWork’s plan to go public collapsed rapidly in the wake of the official filing after heated criticism and waning investor interest threatened the company’s capacity to raise the $3 billion necessary to access its $6 billion credit line.

Silicon Valley venture-capital market was reluctant to bite. Investors weren’t convinced WeWork was a tech company. And here’s the rub: The tried-and-true property industry wasn’t interested either, because WeWork had so thoroughly convinced enough people that it was a tech company that its price-tag had spiked too high.

Spiraling losses, increasingly bizarre behavior, and questionable corporate governance combined with an exodus of top staffers, including the departures of more than a dozen top officials, to seal Neumann’s fate. On August 15th, Morgan Stanley backed out of the IPO after losing the lead underwriter role in the deal. In late August, #WeWTF started trending online as an NYU professor demolished the company’s valuation. After some tumultuous talks with SoftBank, WeWork’s largest shareholder, the company halved the initial IPO valuation hoping to encourage investor interest, to no avail. The IPO was put on hold, and the board formally announced changes to company governance, including Neumann’s authority. Neumann’s voting power was slashed to 10 votes per share, and Neumann’s wife Rebekah was banned from the board.

On September 16th, Reuters reported that WeWork’s IPO was indefinitely delayed, and the company’s delayed plan to go public decimated bond prices. WeWork’s bonds fell as much as 7 cents on the dollar, the most since they were issued in April 2018. Finally, on September 24th, Neumann announced he was stepping down from his role as WeWork CEO. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Tuesday that Neumann would step down as WeWork CEO, but remain chairman of the We Company, with reports stating Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, two current executives at the company, have been named co-chief executives.

More to come as this unfolds.

Interested in stories like this? Subscribe to Content Culture, our occasional digital magazine for creators.

Just Because You Can Buy An Email List, Doesn’t Mean You Should

A lot of my clients come to me asking how to quickly grow their email list, and want to know if they can buy an email list rather than build one from scratch. My answer? Yeah, you can buy an email list, but that doesn’t mean you should.

It’s an all too familiar feeling for marketers: maybe you’ve just started with a new company or closed a new freelance client; specifically, a company or client that is just starting to build an email list from the ground up. You’re faced with the daunting, uphill, and tedious task of growing said list from zero to hero. Oh, and they want it done, like, yesterday. No pressure.

Sometimes, desperation can motivate irrrational behavoir. Sometimes, you think, it’s okay to take a short cut to produce, at surface level, the results your client wants. Optics, baby. The short cut in question: can’t you just buy an email list, rather than grow it organically?

Yeah, you can buy an email list. You can specify key demographics and characteristics that the contacts on that list must meet, and you can select for psychographic information, too. But, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Here’s why.

Seven Reasons You Should Never Buy Your Email List

  1. You violate the rules of consent under The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under this act, you must have explicit consent from your contacts to send them emails. Explicit, in this case, means the checkbox a person must click to opt in to an email subscription isn’t pre-checked when they see it on your website. And when you buy your email lists, the people on it haven’t been given this option — making you non-compliant with GDPR before you send your first email.
  2. Reputable email marketing services don’t let you send emails to lists you’ve bought. If you’re using email marketing software now or plan to in the future, you’ll find that reputable companies will insist that you use opt-in email lists. Why waste your time on sending out a campaign that won’t even get to your contacts’ inbox?
  3. Good email address lists aren’t for sale. Unless your company is in the middle of a merger or acquisition, you’re not going to come across a high-quality email list you can purchase. If it’s for sale, it means the email addresses on it have already been deemed non-responsive or unqualified for marketing outreach.
  4. People on a purchased or rented list don’t actually know you. Even if the opt-in process includes language like, “Opt in to receive information from us, or offers from other companies we think you might enjoy,” the fact is the recipient doesn’t recall having a prior relationship with you, specifically. This makes it highly likely for the recipients to mark you as “spam” when you arrive in their inboxes. Hey, if they don’t recognize you or remember opting in to communications from you … can you blame them?
  5. You’ll harm your email deliverability and IP reputation. If you purchase a list, you have no way of confirming how often those email addresses have been emailed, whether the email addresses on that list have been scrubbed for hard bounces to prevent identifying you as a spammer, or from where those email addresses originated. Are you really willing to risk not only your email deliverability, but also the reputation of your IP address and your company?
  6. You can come across as annoying. How do you like it when you get an email in your inbox from a company you’ve never heard of? I bet that’s not the kind of company you want to buy from or work for. Enough said.
  7. Your email service provider can penalize you. Buying email lists doesn’t just damage your deliverability and brand reputation — it can also put your email account at risk. Email clients like Gmail, Yahoo!, and Outlook don’t want to be associated with accounts that recipients repeatedly flag as spam.

Generating your own list of email contacts who have opted in to receive content from you doesn’t just comply with legal regulation and protect your brand reputation. It also presents you with opportunities to grow this list through genuine relationships with new customers.

The contacts on your email list have to be actively engaged with your content. They should be earnestly interested in that content, too. Your email list should be comprised of contacts that have opted in to receive content from you, because those are the contacts that have raised their hand and said “Tell me more!” Sharing targeted and thoughtful content with these high quality contacts will allow you to nurture a genuine relationship and increase the odds that those contacts might convert to customers.

Remember, content is king, but community should never be ignored. Create real relationships with real contacts, build a quality email list, and nurture that list as you would water a vegetable garden. Then, sit back and watch it grow.

We’ll be sharing some of our best practices for growing your opt-in email list, the right way, over the next few weeks. If this is a pain point for you, consider joining our updates list and get these articles delivered right to your inbox.

What are your best practices when building your email list?

How High Will Lyft Fly? Ride-Hailing App’s IPO Debut Pops 20% On Friday


The market has spoken, and the battle of the ride share apps has culminated in a runaway success for Lyft, as the company’s debut on the public market raised about $2.3 billion on Friday. The highly-anticipated initial public offering was fueled by a heavy appetite for the stock, exceeding analysts’ initial projections and selling over 32 million shares at $72 a piece. As trading began, stock prices briefly topped out at $87 a share, settling at around $80 a share by 2 p.m. EST.

The first of many “disruptive” tech companies anticipated to go public this year, Lyft beat competitor Uber to the punch despite filing for their IPO on the same December afternoon. Details released prior to the start of trading revealed lightning in a bottle for Lyft: its IPO prospectus revealed robust revenues despite posting big losses in 2018.

John Zimmer, Lyft’s co-founder and president, told CNBC on Friday morning that the company was excited, sharing “We’re ready to be held accountable. We’re excited … In our case, I think what we’ve seen in talking to investors [is] that more people are maybe surprised to see the numbers that we’re putting out and I think this is a great part of the process. For us this wasn’t the goal — this is a milestone along the way — but we feel like it helps us with additional access to capital.”

Still to be determined, though, is how the stock will perform when competitor Uber enters the public market in April. Similarly positioned disruptive tech companies also slated for the open market this year include Pinterest, Slack, and Postmates.

Lyft trades on the Nasdaq under the LYFT ticker symbol, and the lead underwriters for the debut are J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse and Jefferies.

Instagram Live Hack: Using IG Live To Create Webinar-Style Videos

Ah, Instagram. My happy place. We all know Instagram is a fantastic platform for sharing visual content and engaging with our target audience. It is a fantastic tool for small businesses who want to increase brand awareness and interact with their most likely customer base. So, let’s say that your brand has a great Instagram profile, a distinct IG Bio describing your business, and you are sharing a constant stream of high-quality content via your Posts and Stories. Sounds like your brand has conquered the ‘Gram, right? Wrong. Instagram Live is your next project.

There are always a few underutilized tools within most social media platforms, but I would be willing to bet that Instagram Live is perhaps the MOST underutilized tool for small brands and businesses. Last year, Instagram updated Instagram Live to be even more robust and useful; Instagram Live now allows you to invite a friend to join your Live Broadcast, and displays that second user in split-screen format, just like most webinar platforms. This allows you to create webinar-style content right within the Instagram platform and reach all of your existing followers with just a few clicks.

So, why is this a helpful tool for businesses on Instagram? Well, first and foremost, anyone who has looked into creating a webinar for their brand knows the cost associated with recording, hosting, sharing, and saving that webinar. Few platforms offer any free or free-mium pricing plans for webinars; the few that do are extremely limited in scope. As a substitute, your business can use Instagram Live to create a webinar-style experience, broadcast that content to people who are already interested in your brand and follow you, and co-host your broadcast with another user within the platform. Oh, and it’s free.

By adding another user to your Instagram Live broadcast, you are amplifying your existing reach and can gain exposure to their followers as well as your existing followers. This is incredibly valuable for smaller businesses looking to grow brand awareness and followers. Not to mention: it’s totally free, totally easy, and lives within the Instagram app that we already know, use, and love.

Want to go pro with this hack? Make sure to save your Instagram Live broadcast at the end, and then share that broadcast on your IGTV channel and as an IGTV preview on your posts and stories. This content will remain on your Profile until you remove it, right next to your highlights. New and existing followers can access that content on demand right from your Profile, and share it with others as they would a story or post. This amplifies the reach of your content and increases user engagement. Pretty cool, huh?

Still feel like a rookie when it comes to your Business Instagram Profile? Check out my last post about optimizing your Instagram Bio to learn everything you need to know about creating a recognizable and actionable bio on Instagram.

The Keys To Optimizing Your Instagram Business Profile: What Your Brand Is Doing Wrong, And How To Fix It

One of my primary roles in my digital marketing business is creating, implementing, and measuring social media campaigns for my clients. As marketers, we know that an authentic and engaging social media presence is a major pillar to successful lead generation for small businesses, as it creates a space where prospects can become aware of and engage with our brand on a platform where, frankly, they already spend much of their time.

As a business, you should have an Instagram profile page dedicated to your brand. With 500 million daily users and more than 80% of Instagram accounts following a business account, it’s tremendously important that your business prioritizes Instagram as part of their social media strategy. An optimized Instagram business page is critical to this strategy, but so many of my clients get this seemingly simple task wrong. Their Instagram profile pages are often incomplete, inconsistent, inappropriate in tone or content, or a combination of the three; these errors combine into a poor user experience when potential followers engage with your brand on Instagram and contribute to stagnant or negative growth.

To this end, one common request I get from new clients is to help increase their following on social media, with the majority of them wanting to grow the number of Instagram followers on their business page. They often come to me frustrated (and rightly so) because they find the task of gaining new followers tedious and complex, and don’t really understand how or why they are losing followers or remaining stagnant in growth. The reality is that Instagram tends to edit its own algorithm (the formula with which the platform decides which content is relevant and valuable enough to present to its users) quite often, and these constant changes can add to the complexity of successfully navigating the platform and achieving new growth.

An Instagram business page is essential to your brand identity and should be used to interact with your target demographic of potential and existing customers. The best Instagram business pages, or profiles, are branded consistently, easily identifiable, clear in what they are offering or representing, and have easy to find contact information including a link to your business’s website or landing page. Content-wise, your profile needs a recognizable profile picture, an informative and interesting bio, and a steady stream of posts and stories to capture the attention of your existing and new followers. Your goal is to have an Instagram Business Profile that tells your potential followers who you are, what you care about, and gives them a reason to follow and engage with you.

To break this down into actionable steps, your Instagram Business page should at a minimum contain the following basic elements:

An easily identifiable and searchable profile name.

This is not somewhere you need to reinvent the wheel. If you are a hair salon, your profile name should be the name of your salon. If you are a self-help author with a blog, your profile name should be the name of the blog or the name you use in your existing media. If your name is already taken, consider adding an underscore or period to the name, or add a modifier like the location or industry.

A clear, professional profile picture.

Depending on your industry or business, this can be the brand logo or a professional headshot. If possible, use the same branding across platforms, i.e. the same profile picture on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

An easily searchable Business Name

You’ll want to add your full Business Name to the “Name” section of your profile. This will appear under your profile picture when users search for your business or brand.

An informative and interesting bio.

Instagram allows you 150 characters to describe your business or brand in your “Bio” section. This description should be delightful, actionable, and informative. Be sure to include your personality here; this is one of the most prominent features of your Instagram business page, appearing directly under your Profile Picture and Business Name, and is an important place to capture the attention of your prospective followers.

Link in Bio

This is so incredibly important! The only place you can include a clickable link on your Instagram business page is in the “Website” section of your profile page. It is imperative that this link be functional, traceable, and directs your followers off of Instagram and onto your website or landing page. By including this link, you can easily encourage followers to move off of Instagram and onto your specific campaign. It is relatively friction-less from a user experience perspective and can be changed out frequently depending on where you want to direct your target traffic. You can use the phrase “Link In Bio” on posts and stories, giving users a specific and clear call-to-action with which they can further interact with your content.

Quality Photos

Instagram is a visual platform, and at all times your business page should reflect high-quality, relevant visual content. The user base on this platform, in particular, is attentive to the quality of your visual content, and your published posts should have a beautiful and relevant subject, a well-framed and well-shot photo, and a solid editing job.

Consistent Posts

Best practice on Instagram is to be consistent with publishing content. You want to create an expectation in your followers and then deliver on that expectation every single time. Content scheduling is a great tool for all businesses to use and something that I will dive in to in a separate post. Remember, although research shows there are “peak” hours to post, make sure you are tailoring your content to your user base (which you can find in the Insights section of your page).

The best times to post on Instagram are the times when your potential followers are most active on the platform! A good rule of thumb to get started is to publish towards the end of the workday in your time zone (for example, Mondays and Thursdays at 4 PM). Once you publish a few posts at times you think are most likely to be effective, make sure to look into your analytics via the Insights section of your page to determine what times are working and what times are not. Then, tweak your posting schedule as necessary to reflect those insights.

Engagement

One final thing: I cannot stress enough the importance of engaging consistently and authentically with your community on Instagram. Your social media team should be dedicating time every single day to interacting with your existing followers and potential new followers. It is critical that your brand appear active and authentic on Instagram. Every comment on a post should be liked and responded to by your brand, however brief.

You should be commenting on other posts as well — and not just with an emoji. Search a hashtag that you are currently using (more on that in an upcoming post) or an influencer that you want to emulate, and then engage with those posts by liking and commenting on them frequently. This technique is by far the most successful way of growing followers and increasing organic engagement on your own Instagram Business Page. Instagram is incredibly community-oriented; to win on this platform, you must engage authentically and consistently with the community.

Let’s Get Real: Do Marketers Really Need Twitter in 2019?

Honestly, Twitter is kind of a hot mess these days, right? Burdened by PR scandals galore, innumerable fake bot accounts, troublesome trolls, and nasty political battles, it certainly feels like more of a chore than a benefit to get involved with this particular social media platform. So, do you really need it? Does Twitter actually offer any unique value to marketers that can’t be found in equal or better quality elsewhere?

The answer is not all black and white, unfortunately. Twitter is in a league of its own when it comes to sharing news in real time; we’re talking minute-by-minute citizen journalism that, more often than not, beats any other traditional news outlet to the punch. The downside here, though, is that this rapid dissemination of current events doesn’t always lend itself to pristine accuracy, and the ubiquitous anonymity of the users that share these stories does little to promote accountability. We’re all getting a little sick of hearing about “Fake News,” right? Well, Twitter is the epitome of the little Fake News engine that could.

So, is there anything positive we can utilize Twitter for when it comes to our digital marketing strategy? Call me overly optimistic, but I actually think that, trolls and bots aside, Twitter is a fantastic platform to incorporate into your brand’s marketing stack. In my opinion, Twitter’s greatest value is in its reach and frequency; unlike Facebook or Instagram, in which users tend to get annoyed with brands that share too much and too frequently, Twitter users tend to expect, accept, and even appreciate persistent content. I have yet to find any statistic that indicates Twitter users favoring less frequent content. In fact, studies show that users have a positive view of brands that share more, not less.

Twitter is also a fantastic ecosystem to interact with your customer base meaningfully and transparently. One of the best uses of a branded Twitter account is customer service interactions. Social listening is key here, so make sure that your marketing team is checking Twitter multiple times a day for mentions of your brand, product, and service. By policing tweets that mention your business and responding directly to them (regardless of whether that tweet is positive, negative, or neutral), you create an invaluable customer service experience for that user. Moreover, the exchange between brand account and user account is likely to be shared if the outcome is positive, resolute, or informative. This is a fantastic way to answer common customer concerns, share pragmatic and practical expertise, and interact with your audience in a cheerful, delightful, and beneficial way. I absolutely consider Twitter an invaluable resource for your customer service strategy, contributing to your brand’s long term growth.

Consider that 85% of users expect businesses to provide customer service support on Twitter. Eighty. Five. Percent. That’s astronomical! If your business is not interacting with Twitter users for this purpose, you are making a huge mistake. Being responsive on Twitter creates transparency, trust, and confidence. Interacting authentically with users ensures your brand seems helpful and approachable. All of these qualities — transparent, trustworthy, reliable, helpful, approachable, responsive — are the qualities that your potential customer wants and expects from a business or brand in 2019. The opportunity to cultivate your brand’s image should not be missed, and Twitter is the ideal platform to execute on this goal.

Remember, people are in a discovery mindset when they’re on Twitter, and because of that mindset, your brand or business is likely to leave a lasting impression on users. Twitter is a “right now” platform, and the best brands exploit that sentiment with ease and authenticity. Brands come to Twitter to be what people are talking about right now: make sure they are talking about you.

My Secret To Great Content: Why ‘Chunking’ Is The Key To Successful Marketing For Your Small Business

We all know the golden rule of digital marketing: content is king. And because of this rule, we are constantly tasked with creating new, engaging, and innovative content for our small businesses. I want to share a secret of great content creators with you: content chunking. Sounds weird, I know, but trust me. Chunking is one of the most efficient ways I’ve found to easily create and curate valuable streams of content for your target audience.  If you aren’t naturally inclined to push out 700+ words for a blog article or create a visually compelling infographic for your next email campaign, then read on.

First, let’s start with the basics. For small businesses, our digital marketing strategy should always include a robust portfolio of content that meets our prospect’s needs and aligns with all stages of the buyer’s journey. Let’s say you own a hair salon and are trying to increase traffic to your website and appointments scheduled online. We know that our website should not just be our business card listing hours and location, but it should also serve as a resource for potential and existing customers. To be a resource, we must offer relevant and valuable content on our website designed to engage our target prospect. By establishing our brand as an authority in our industry, we cultivate trust. Trust is key! Prospects must trust your brand if you have any hope of converting them to leads and customers.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

What is content ‘chunking’?

Enough of that lecture. Now onto the real lesson at hand: content chunking. Simply put, content chunking is a method of creating one large piece of content (an eBook, for example) and then breaking that large chunk into smaller pieces. Those smaller pieces become content assets in and of themselves, and you have done no extra work. In the eBook example, this could be as simple as taking each chapter of the book and creating a blog post from that chapter. From each blog post, you could pull three sentences to serve as an Instagram caption. From there, you could grab one short quote to serve as your next Twitter post, and so on. The idea is that once you have created the large piece of content, you can then whittle away pieces from the mother piece for use on different channels, which serve different stages of the buyer’s journey.

This method ensures two main things. First, it guarantees that your content campaign is cohesive and consistent. Because all of your content pieces are being driven by this one piece of mother content, you don’t have to worry that the messaging is inconsistent. Second, this method ensures that keywords are being used robustly across all platforms without resorting to keyword stuffing (which we know is a big No-No according to the Google Gods). The resulting content is chocked full of your intended keywords organically, which is a plus for SEO.

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

An Example of Content ‘Chunking’

Let’s examine another example just to make sure this idea is clear.

Tim is a professional organizer with a home organization business. He wants to attract new visitors to his website and convert those visitors to leads and customers. Tim uses social media, including Instagram and YouTube to share videos with tricks and techniques for his audience. He also shares before and after shots of current projects. Sounds like he’s doing all the right things.

Tim now wants to go full speed ahead with a content marketing campaign to increase brand awareness and present his business as the solution to his target audience’s problem: a messy, disorganized home but no time to fix it themselves! Video content is a great tool for this campaign. Tim could create one long YouTube video about the process he uses to organize a client’s space, including tips similar to what he already shares on social media. From that mother content, Tim can break out a few 60 second clips to use for Instagram and Facebook posts. Tim can also capture a transcript of the long video and turn it into an article (or multiple articles). He could also take a short clip of the video to include in his next email marketing effort, with a link to the longer content.

So from this one mother piece of content, Tim has derived multiple smaller forms of content that are appropriate for different platforms and different audiences. All of his content is keyword-rich without being keyword-stuffed, and is therefore doing well in search engines. Most importantly, the content features a consistent brand message and is a valuable resource for his target audience, allowing him to easily position his business as the solution to their home organization problems.

Makes sense, right? Read a little more about the impact that content has and the importance of creating your small business website to share content with your customers here. What do you think? Do you use this strategy?