As a full-time social media strategist and SEO blogger, I spend the majority of the day immersed in virtual communities. I am the online “face” of eight companies from across the country in a variety of states and cities from Texas to Colorado, and along the central coast of California.

I believe in the power of social media and how this innovative platform can be used for more than building a following or increasing sales. The power of social media lies in the connection you can create with someone whether they are a block, a state, or several continents away. When working with any of my clients, I stress the difference between working with Silver Light Media as opposed to other public relations firms is my insistence on Creating Inspired Connections.

Many people don’t know that I started Silver Light while enrolled as a full-time college student at Boise State University. I had a limited budget and minimal amount of time to dedicate to the marketing of my business. After graduating from college in May of 2014, I had time to start thinking about my marketing efforts like I never had before while I was enrolled in college.

I relocated from Boise, Idaho to Denver, Colorado and wanted to connect with new people through social media as well as in-person. During this time having people submit photos to a hashtag on Instagram was a somewhat new practice that was taking off. I decided I wanted to have a hashtag for my business that would be inviting enough for others to submit photos to it as well.

Crafting A Hashtag

If you are using social media for your business and don’t already have one, I invite you to consider crafting a hashtag for linking and community-building purposes. In case you don’t know the purpose of a hashtag is to link related content together for search purposes. Being aware of its use you can see how having a hashtag specifically for your business can help with user-generated content creation. Whenever I start working with one of my clients on a social marketing campaign, I always add in user-generated content if it is applicable because it is highly efficient and easy to generate if you take strategic steps, first. I will save those steps for my next post, but I will share a little more from my brainstorming session.

Many businesses use their company name as a hashtag. I thought about and often do use #silverlightmedia as a hashtag on some of my social media posts. The only problem with this hashtag was for me; it didn’t give anyone a reason to use it. So I started to think of ways to tie my business name to some action or feeling that other people could associate with when posting their photos.

Since my company tagline is Creating Inspired Connections, I pulled from my rhetoric. I’ve always loved the word inspire and its derivatives. To me, the word reflects positive emotions that captivate us to feel something. I began to think of how I could combine “Silver Light” and “Inspire” since I knew all the words, together, would be too long, so I took the first letter from each word “S” and “L” with the plural “Inspires.” It wasn’t my first instinct to use a character but the look of the tag “#SL_Inspires” seemed more ecstatically pleasing than “#SLINSPIRES.” I typed the tag into Instagram and found out no one had used it. My new hashtag and one of my smartest branding moves I’ve ever made for my business finally manifested.

Building A Social Media Community

I will be the first to admit the first month starting any content strategy campaign is TOUGH. Mentally prepare yourself if you are ready to take the leap. Social media platforms are hindering organic reach more each day so be prepared to revise your strategies if needed and don’t give up be consistent in your posting, especially during the initial stages of starting a new platform.

When starting my hashtag, I had seen countless of other posts that I was using as an example. It seemed easy, “Use this hashtag on your post for a chance to be featured.” Seemed to be the general breakdown of what every photo sharing platform was emphasizing, the trouble is how do you know when people are going to start submitting to that hashtag? If you are persistent, probably sooner than you think, I started using it on my posts and including a call to action at the end. One day I checked my #SL_Inspires hashtag and was excited to see another user had used the tag.

My First Tagger – Jacque B from Pagosa Springs, Colorado

If you are looking to build a hashtag interacting with the first few people that engage is critical. I was ecstatic the day Jacque B – @jacquebblackie on Instagram used my #SL_Inspires tag. Jacque B was the first person to use it apart from myself. I immediately shared her photo to my following thanking her with credit. When you are in the beginning stages, make sure to give as much praise as possible.

You never know if you say something the person likes they could “Regram” the photo sharing it with their followers in turn, or at least you will get the person engaged enough to use the tag again. This stage is where community building starts. If you are looking to build not simply a following but a “virtual community” you MUST be willing to be as active in that community as possible. After, Jacque B’s feature more users started to use my #SL_Inspires hashtag. My community grew with photographers taking gorgeous landscape shots and sunset captures.

Silver Light Media in collaboration with Nathan Lopez Photography are excited to announce commercial branding photo shoots to ignite your social media strategy with captivating visual storytelling. Ever wish your photos could be themed to represent a particular esthetic?

Each image will tell a unique story thanks to Nathan Lopez‘s commercial photography. The landscape, portrait, wedding and event photographer specializes in black and white photography with a minimal of amount of retouch and edit and was a 2015 Exposure Awards – Feature in the Digital Gallery of Paris, France. Click Here to learn more about his work.

Each social post will reach a broader range of your target audience thanks to Aryonna Richard‘s social strategy and creative writing. Working in line with the photography Nathan captures; Aryonna’s content marketing will attract an audience, inspire a connection, and complete the storytelling experience. She’s built multiple Instagram accounts with a following of over 10K by emphasizing community engagement.

Have a unique product, service, brand or company? Let your online media reflect your vision. 

Check the marketing photos Nathan Lopez and Aryonna Richard have collaborated on since beginning projects in February of 2016.

Did you know the average person gets distracted in less than 8 SECONDS? Now more than ever each photo you post must tell a story in order to capture the attention of your audience. Inc Magazine even suggests…

An estimated 84 percent of communications will be visual by 2018.” 

Their article titled “16 Eye-Popping Statistics You Need to Know About Visual Content Marketing” suggests over 80% off content is SKIMMED online and that specifically, brands need to be vigilent about shaping their online media.

Facebook posts from brands that included images earned 87 percent of all engagements.”

In today’s hyper visual world it’s more important than ever before to use marketing materials that visually brand your company. If you’re thinking okay, so where and HOW do I start the process?

It’s easier than you think with a complimenatary consultation. Schedule an appoinment to meet with the visual storytelling duo Nathan Lopez and Aryonna Richard, here, or by calling 208.284.5570. We are here for your creative branding and content maketing needs.

 

Did you know you can manage your Instagram Business account from Facebook?

Wait, hold up, did you miss the news that Instagram created specifically profiles for businesses? I’ll help you understand the latest changes from this visual and social powerhouse in this post.

With 500 million plus monthly active users and 95 million daily posts according to Instagram’s website this platform could help you reach more customers than before. With creativity driving the medium let users be inspired by the lighter side of your company’s story.

Businesses have been a part of Instagram’s community since the beginning showcasing services and products. If you have an Instagram profile, you are using for your business quickly convert it to a Business Profile for increased insights, analytics, and the option to run advertisements.

From your profile home page click on the option wheel at the top and click ‘Switch to Business Profile’ to convert your account. 

If you have a Facebook Business Page, your accounts will link giving you the options to run ads via Facebook Advertising. After converting your account, you’ll notice ‘View Insights’ & ‘Promote’ under each post. Click on ‘View Insights’ and you’ll see the Impressions, Reach, and Engagement for each post. Click ‘Promote’ and Instagram will open Facebook Ads giving you the option between two calls to actions.

 

instagram-reach

Convert your account and understand the impact of each post.

 

Visit your website

Call or visit your business 

Next, you will need to select an Action Button. Click ‘Select Button Text’ to choose between:

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If you follow me you know I’m active on social media. Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn I make sure to cover the basics, but my favorite social networking platform is Instagram. I fell for how creatives use it to share their inspiration, being a sucker for sick photography edits; I love the way Instagram pioneered visual storytelling.

In the last few months, Instagram upped its features. In case you haven’t noticed, Stories have been introduced and recently updated on November 10, 2016, to include Boomerang and Mentions. The platform is even starting to test links inside some stories (hint) that upgrade may be coming for everyone shortly.

Boomerang 

This feature lets you turn any moment into something unique. You don’t even have to leave the app, take a Boomerang inside Instagram. Swipe right from your feed, and you’ll be able to open the camera used to share a story. If you are familiar with sharing stories, you’ll notice a new format picker that lets you select Boomerang mode. Tap to record and the camera will put a series of photos into a movie that plays backward and forwards.

Mentions

Already a staple, if you’re used to sharing updates on Instagram. Now the app lets you share who you’re with just mention them in your story. Mentions in stories work the same way they do in captions and comments. After adding text to your story type “@” followed by a username, then select the person you would like to mention in the post. The username will appear underlined when the link is clickable. Click the user mentioned, and you’ll see a pop-up appear that takes you to their profile.

The person mentioned in the story will also receive a notification via Direct Message that they were mentioned in someone else’s story. Tap the preview button to go to the story for as long as it’s live. If you are mentioned by someone who doesn’t follow you, the notification will appear via Message Requests.

Coming Soon

The ‘See-More’ Link Feature is now appearing in select stories. Watching someone’s story and feeling inspired to dig deep? Soon you’ll spot ‘See More’ Links at the bottom of stories. A test phase is taking place that let’s verified accounts add links making it easier for their followers to learn more. Discover newly released music or read a related article just tap ‘See More’ and swipe the app up, there you can view the link right inside.

Want to learn more about these Instagram updates? Click Here to view our Contact Page, a great place to schedule a complimentary consultation with Silver Light Media to discuss any of your social media, branding, or publicity needs. We offer consulting, training, and account management.

New to Instagram Stories? I’ve captured screenshots below of our views for insight into the numbers you could be gaining by using the feature. Call 208.284.5570 to learn how to be more influential to your audience with a custom Instagram Strategy.

Love & Light

Aryonna Richard

IG: @aryonnarichard

TW: @aryonnarichard

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