Starting out on Instagram can be a disheartening experience. Even with the flood of users accessing it every day, attracting new followers can feel like an agonizingly slow drip.

Don’t despair, though. With the right approach, you can turn your luck around. This article will give you 50 tips to help boost your follower count in no time.

1. Improve your Instagram experience with SocialMeep.

SocialMeep is the leading platform in Instagram automation. With its sophisticated artificial intelligence, it can target and interact with real users for you. This takes the workload off your hands, and will bring you rapid and organic growth.

2. Follow other users.

You can’t expect people to follow you if you don’t do the same for others. Use the Explore tab to find accounts whose personalities and interests align with your brand. Don’t hesitate in following users who don’t have many followers. They might appreciate the attention. There’s also a list of “Suggested Users,” which you can find by clicking the icon in the upper right on your profile and choosing “Find and invite friends.”

3. Give out likes and comments.

Feel free to like as many posts as you want. Give them to anything that catches your eye, or to any user who you think might enjoy your brand. Furthermore, leave a positive comment on these posts as well. Compliment them on their photography skills, or their choice of subject. You might just make somebody’s day and earn a follower in return.

4. Have conversations.

If somebody leaves a thoughtful comment on your post, you should write a reply back to them. Instagram is a social platform first and foremost. It thrives on connecting people and fostering meaningful interactions. So, get out there and make some friends!

5. Use hashtags.

Hashtags are an absolute necessity on Instagram. Without them, nobody would be able to find your posts if they didn’t already know your username. Hashtags are the primary way of searching for content.

Take a look at the most popular hashtags on any given day. Consider which ones you could contribute to in a relevant way. You can add up to 30 hashtags to a single post, although I wouldn’t suggest going any higher than a dozen. You don’t want your captions to get cluttered. Take it one step further and use a smart Instagram Bot to automatically engage with users within your target hashtag audience and convert them into followers. 

6. Create branded hashtags.

If you have enough followers, you could get your own hashtags trending. Just ask them to add the tag to their content. Doing this will extend your reach out further than before. You can also connect the hashtags to any campaigns you are currently running.

7. Make high-quality content.

Content should be your primary focus on Instagram. It is the key to gaining followers. If you aren’t putting out visually pleasing photos and videos, then you won’t get anywhere on the platform. Socializing isn’t enough. You need to put in the time, money, and resources to make your content look professional.

8. Develop a recognizable style.

Your aesthetics should reflect your brand’s identity. Think about what you want to convey with your content.

Are you serious and committed to your customers? Relaxed and fun-loving? Humorous and irreverent?

You can communicate these things through the compositions and colors of your content. This will give viewers a better understanding of the brand while viewing your page. If they like the image that you project, then you might win them over as a follower.

9. Light your photos well.

There are too many poorly lit photos on Instagram. Some are downright incomprehensible in how dark they are. Avoid this by making sure that your photos are bright enough to be clear. Just make sure that you don’t overcompensate and wash it out with too much light. This is where Instagram editing apps can really make you shine.

10. Feature faces often.

According to recent studies, people tend to enjoy pictures more if they have faces in them. In fact, Instagram posts with faces tend to get 38% more likes than those without. This makes sense when you think about it. Our brains are hardwired to recognize faces and interpret their expressions. So when somebody is browsing through a feed, faces are more likely to stand out to them.

11. Write fitting captions.

Don’t neglect the captions section of your posts. Some brands do the bare minimum with them, which is a mistake. A good caption can complement your content and even enhance it. The most impactful captions either provide contextual information, entertain the viewers, or provoke thoughts and feelings.

12. Ask viewers questions.

Instagram is filled with people who want to be seen and heard. One way you can provide this to your audience is by asking them questions. You can solicit their personal opinions and preferences, or get their thoughts on the direction on your content. Who knows, they might even provide some valuable insight that you could use in the future.

13. Post frequently.

If you aren’t active on Instagram, then not enough people will be able to discover your account. Try to post at least a couple times each day. Be sure to space out your posts if you post more than that, though. You don’t want to dump all of your content at once and clog people’s feeds.

14. Post at the right times.

Another thing to keep in mind is the times at which you are posting. Some studies have shown that posting at 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. EST tended to yield the most engagement on average. However, there are some days in which other times are better. Overall it seems to vary depending on which day of the week it is.

The best thing to do here is do research and pay attention to your intended audience. Take note of when they seem to be the most active, and when they are more dormant.

15. Incorporate your username on printed materials.

If your business makes fliers, pamphlets, signs, decals, or any other physical marketing, then you might want to include your Instagram handle somewhere. All you need is some space for the Instagram logo and then your username next to it. That should be enough to guide curious viewers to your account.

16. Call your audience into action.

If you want something, then you should try asking for it. Put a call to action in your captions to encourage interaction with your posts. A CTA can be a short phrase such as “tell us your thoughts in the comments,” “tag a friend who this reminds you of,” or “visit the link in our bio for more information.”

17. Keep consistent.

Viewers enjoy consistency. They like knowing what they’re going to get before they commit to it. It also gives your brand a sense of identity and reliability.

Try to maintain a similar tone across your posts. Find an attitude that fits your brand and stick with it. Come up with unifying themes across your posts, and follow them for awhile. Think about how your content flows together as a whole.

18. Be authentic.

Authenticity is one of the most respected traits that anybody could have online. It’s easy to understand why, as the internet is filled with phonies, imposters, and scam artists. Honesty and openness feels rare in comparison.

Be truthful and sincere with your audience. Don’t pretend to be somebody that you’re not. Address criticisms and admit when you are wrong. Viewers will find this refreshing and will be more likely to follow you.

19. Make an emotional appeal.

The strongest connection you can make with a viewer is an emotional one. If you can evoke joy, sadness, awe, inspiration, or wistfulness, then you will have accomplished something noteworthy. It will make you stand out in the vast sea of boring, dry marketing around you.

20. Be a storyteller.

Storytelling is ingrained in every culture. We tell stories to communicate information, entertain audiences, and make deeper connections with others. A well-told story can captivate people and bring them back for more.

Instagram has endless opportunities to tell stories. You can tell it in a single image, or in the captions of a post. A narrative can be formed between multiple pictures, or within the span of a short video.

21. Hold contests and giveaways.

Who doesn’t like free stuff?

You can get hundreds, possibly thousands, of Instagram users to flock to your page with a contest or a giveaway. To ensure that you gain followers, you can ask them to follow your account in order to qualify. You can also ask them to use branded hashtags or like certain posts to help spread brand awareness.

22. Have limited-time sales.

What’s the next best thing after free stuff? Discounts, of course.

Occasionally holding limited-time sales is an easy way to get more followers. You could make a post with a special coupon code, or put it in an Instagram Story. The latter will disappear within 24 hours, so it gives viewers more incentive to closely monitor your activity.

23. Geotag your photos.

If you are a business with a main store or central location, then geotagging is the way to go. Any images that you tag will appear on that region’s Instagram page, and consequently will be visible to anybody from that area who visits it.

24. Tag any relevant people.

Locations aren’t the only thing that you can tag. You can also tag other Instagram users. Do this whenever it is relevant to the content of your photo, such as if you take a snapshot of an influencer at an event. This will make it show up in their feed. Hopefully they’ll share your post in return.

25. Work with influencers.

Influencers are an essential part of any marketing plan. The reason they are so effective is because people trust them. They are seen as dependable, influential people within their communities, so their opinions about brands are valued.

Find an influencer that meshes well with your brand’s image. If they have an actual passion for your products, then it will shine through. Work out a deal that benefits both parties, such as sending them products for review.

Just don’t try to control their content if you form a partnership. It’s important that they maintain their authenticity and don’t seem like “sell-outs” to their fans.

26. Host a takeover.

A takeover is a particularly fun event that you can do with an influencer. This is where you give the reigns to your account to another user for awhile. It can really spice up your content and attract lots of new visitors.

27. Exchange shoutouts for shoutouts.

You’ve probably seen the #s4s hashtag if you’ve browsed Instagram long enough. It stands for “shoutout-for-shoutout.” This means they’re looking to trade mentions with other people. You can’t really lose when you participate in a #s4s agreement. Both parties involved get exposure to each other’s follower base, which will hopefully result in a crossover between them.

28. Share user-generated content.

Sometimes you’ll see incredible content from followers that features your brand. If you’d like to share it on your page, then try asking the user for permission to do so. Most of the time they’ll likely say yes. Putting a spotlight on UGC will motivate others to make content for you, in the hope that you’ll showcase their work too.

29. Cut down on filters.

When Instagram was first introduced, filters were a staple on the platform. However, in recent years, people seem to be using them less and less. Now it’s common for most posts to have no filter at all. So consider using them less, or not at all.

30. Spend extra time on editing.

Even if you don’t use filters, it’s still a wise idea to tidy up pictures before publishing them. You want your content to look the best it possibly can. So if you need to tweak the brightness or contrast levels, or crop the photo just right, then go ahead. It’ll be worth the effort if it results in a more appealing image.

31. Give viewers a peek behind the scenes.

People are always intrigued about what goes on behind the scenes of businesses. Need proof? Check out the countless television shows and web series that cover this topic.

One of the benefits of sharing behind the scenes photos and images is that it humanizes the brand. It shows your audience that there are real people working to make the products that they own.

32. Cross-promote your Instagram on other platforms.

Are you already established on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, or any other network? Then don’t forget to let your followers on those websites know that you’re on Instagram too. Some of them might be unaware of your account, or never thought to look up if you have one.

33. Approach everything with a plan.

It’s never advised to dive in and improvise on Instagram. In almost every case, having a clear strategy has proven to be a better idea.

Create a list of goals that you hope to achieve, starting with the smallest and most practical ones. Figure out ways to accomplish them, and come up with backup plans if something doesn’t work out. Schedule your posts weeks or months in advance if you can.

Aimlessness is the central reason why so many accounts flounder and fail to see stable growth.

34. Team up with other brands.

Not everything has to be a competition. In fact, brands tend to prosper when they pool their resources and work together.

Perhaps there’s some sort of promotion you can run cooperatively with another brand, like a charity event or fundraiser. Maybe there’s a uniquely visual way that your products connect that would make for a neat campaign. Either way, you’re sure to reach a wider audience than you would alone.

35. Hide unwelcome tagged photos.

The internet is filled with trolls and haters. Anybody who has been on it for longer than a day can tell you that. Instagram isn’t unlike every other website in that regard. You will eventually run into some unsavory users who will try to drag you down and scare away your followers.

One way these types will mess with you is through abusing the tagging system. They might tag your username to some content you wouldn’t want associated with your brand. If this happens, don’t worry. It’s easy to hide these posts so people can’t view them from your profile.

Go to your profile. There should be an icon that looks like a person on a box, somewhere beneath your bio next to the bookmark icon. Tapping it will bring you to Photos of You. From there, tap on the settings icon in the upper right corner. It will give you a scroll-down menu of options, including Hide Photos. Then you can select the photos you want to hide and hit Hide from Profile to confirm.

Additionally, under settings, you can also choose Tagging Options. If you tap Add Manually, then all tagged photos of you will need your approval first.

36. Remove inappropriate comments.

Another thing that could be turning away potential followers are the comments sections on your posts. Nobody wants to join a community that seems hostile and contentious.

You can take care of this problem by deleting the offending messages. Tap the speech bubble beneath the comment, swipe left on it, and then click the trash icon. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t be afraid to curate a comments section when necessary. It’ll turn it into a more inviting place for newcomers.

37. Participate in local events.

The internet isn’t the only place that you can make your Instagram presence know. You can even promote it in your own backyard.

Get involved in your local community. Hold events and gatherings that are exclusive to your area. These can be great opportunities to distribute materials that mention your Instagram account.

38. Share Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories is a lot like Snapchat, but with more features. It’s been gaining in popularity lately and has surpassed its competitor in terms of users. That’s why it would be a shame not to use it.

The biggest advantage to Stories is that they can be discovered by users other than your follower base. Another upside is their temporary nature, which means you can spend less time fussing over them. Also, you can do live streaming video through Stories.

39. Produce lots of video content.

It wasn’t until last year that Instagram expanded its video capabilities. The maximum video length was expanded from 15 seconds to a full minute. Ever since then, video content has swelled in prevalence on the platform.

While photography is still the most favored medium on Instagram, that shouldn’t dissuade you from making videos. Some brands have found enormous success in making it their primary form of content, such as Red Bull.

40. Include some emojis.

A recent study found that adding emojis in your captions often leads to a higher rate of engagement.

Think of them as colorful splashes of emotion that liven up your writing. Not only do emojis save you character space, but they can also convey tone and ideas.

41. Optimize your profile.

Every part of your profile should be optimized for maximum appeal. This includes your profile picture, name, and bio. Make certain that everything looks good, reads well, and represents the brand.

42. Make sure your account is public.

If your account is private, then nobody will be see your content. Rectify this by going into the settings on your profile and disabling Photos are Private.

43. Invest in Instagram ads.

Instagram offers a variety of advertising options. Your ads can come in the form of photos, videos, or carousels of multiple images. You can also buy ads for Instagram Stories.

44. Review with analytics.

Utilizing an analytics tool can assist you in figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Hootsuite, for instance, can tell you which posts resonate with your audience the most. It can also give you detailed information about your followers.

45. Don’t be pushy about sales.

On Instagram, it’s better to blend in than stand out. Nothing makes you stand out more than being blatantly promotional. Viewers generally don’t like it when brands are overly pushy, as it feels like an intrusion into their casual browsing.

46. Pay attention to trends.

Keep track of the latest trends and styles. Capitalize on them whenever it fits with the brand, so that you can remain fresh and current.

47. Keep an eye on the competition.

Carefully observe your competitors. What are they doing to get followers? What mistakes are they making? Knowing these things can aid you in formulating your Instagram strategies.

48. Use apps to create collages.

A beautiful collage can make for an alluring piece of content. Try using Instagram’s own Layout app to make your own. It’s intuitive, totally free, and available for both iOS and Android.

49. Carefully curate your feed.

Always have a bigger picture in mind. Think about how each post will look alongside each other in your feed. If your page has visual cohesion, it will draw more followers in.

50. Find a niche and fill it.

Some brands try to be everything for everyone. They go for the widest market possible and end up stretching themselves too thin in the process.

Remember that it’s perfectly fine to occupy a specific niche. The audience may be smaller, but they are more enthusiastic. This usually results in greater levels of engagement, especially with groups that feel ignored or underrepresented.

The Kardashians make somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 for a single sponsored Instagram post. Top bloggers can charge anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000 for an Instagram content collaboration. It’s clear that those who have a significant and loyal Instagram following can monetize it.

There are a number of ways to turn Instagram followers into financial success, including becoming an Instagram influencer or micro-influencer, launching a social media consultancy and starting an ecommerce business. Here are 10 proven ways you can build a successful business around Instagram followers.

1. Become an Instagram influencer.

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular among marketers of all stripes. One study found that roughly 95% of marketers who use some form of influencer marketing believe the strategy is effective. That means it is likely that more and more marketers will be in need of Instagram influencers of all kinds.

While it will be difficult to amass millions of followers, even micro-influencers have an important role to play. Micro-influencers with a small number of passionate Instagram followers can successfully work with brands of all sizes to deliver a highly targeted message to prospective customers. Brands like Mercedes, Reebok and KitchenAid use Instagram micro-influencers as part of their social media strategy.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

The software engineer who started the account CoderGirl (above) has built a following of loyal tech enthusiasts. As a result, she has been able to form valuable partnerships with tech-related brands like Vettery.

2. Start a social media marketing consultancy.

Amassing a large Instagram following is no easy task. It requires a deep familiarity with Instagram marketing best practices. Rather than become an influencer yourself, you can help brands craft more effective Instagram marketing strategies by becoming a consultant.

Reaching out to small- or medium-size brands through Instagram direct message or email can be an effective way to get your foot in the door as a social media consultant. Or you can use freelancing platforms like Upwork to connect with businesses actively looking for help with social media marketing. You can also reach out to social media marketing agencies to see if they are looking for contributions from freelancers like you.

3. Launch an ecommerce store.

Instagram marketing has served as a driving force behind the success of a number of popular ecommerce brands. From fashion companies like Brandy Melville to health brands like Women’s Best (below), Instagram is well suited for ecommerce.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Instagram provides brands with a platform to show off interesting products in a way that is attractive to prospective customers. Furthermore, Instagram has recently released a number of new features, such as the “buy now” advertising button, to help ecommerce stores.

4. Develop a lifestyle brand.

Unlike an ecommerce store, a lifestyle brand usually offers the target audiences a wide variety of products and services catering to those who wish to live a particular type of life. Examples include GORUCK, Burton and Patagonia.

Instagram serves as an ideal medium to launch a lifestyle brand, since the platform provides marketers with an excellent way to showcase activities and products aligned with a particular point of view.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Take a look at GORUCK’s Instagram profile. The channel showcases GORUCK products, outdoor activities and GORUCK community events as a way of evangelizing a particular way of life that prioritizes physical fitness and social responsibility.

5. Begin a media company.

Rather than selling a product or service, you can use your Instagram audience to launch a media company that sells ad space. Instagram can be used as a channel to distribute new pieces of media content to the target audience.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Media companies of all sizes, from the New York Times to Vox News (above) use Instagram as a way of sharing important photos, videos and quotes with Instagram users.

6. Become a professional storyteller.

Assuming you already use Instagram to tell compelling stories through images, video or Instagram captions, you can monetize this ability by helping brands to construct compelling narratives.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Becoming a professional storyteller is a bit different from becoming a social media marketing consultant. A storyteller is usually the person who is developing content on behalf of brands. Take Zach Houghton as an example. While he does use his personal Instagram account to promote various destinations and activities via sponsored posts, he also helps organizations to tell compelling Instagram Stories through his consulting.

7. Charge people for in-depth gated content.

If you have developed an audience of truly dedicated followers, you can always charge them to consume longer-form content. Instagram can then become an effective marketing channel to distribute preview content that encourages your followers to purchase the full piece.

Jimmy Chin used Instagram to do just that. Chin amassed nearly 2 million Instagram followers. He then went on to create the movie Meru, which was essentially a long-form version of the content he frequently posts on Instagram.

8. Go on a professional speaking circuit.

Becoming a professional speaker can be a great way to build a well-regarded personal brand. One recent estimate found that the average professional speaker makes around $6,000 per speech.

Depending on your area of interest, you may be able to market yourself as an industry influencer if you are able to build a large enough Instagram following. Often, event organizers are interested in working with speakers who are able to promote an event to an audience of prospective attendees.

Becoming a professional speaker can also help you to build a larger Instagram following, which can in turn create a cycle of more speaking gigs thanks to a large online presence.

9. Use your following to land a new day job.

Perhaps your Instagram account is something you simply maintain for fun. If that’s the case, it can be used to advance your career by showing your current or future employers that you are regarded as an industry expert. Consider mentioning your Instagram presence (if relevant) the next time you interview for a new position.

10. Survey your audience to develop a new product or service.

The key to developing a successful business is learning the wants and needs of the target audience as quickly as possible. Instagram can provide you with convenient access to prospective customers if used correctly. From there, your Instagram followers can help you to launch a new product or service, and may even become early customers. 

Conclusion

Instagram has already helped celebrities big and small to establish new revenue streams. The platform can help readers like you launch a successful business venture, assuming you are able to build a dedicated following.

From becoming an Instagram influencer or consultant to launching an ecommerce business or media company, once you have a loyal Instagram following a wide variety of monetization options become available.

UPDATED: October 2020

Hi Brand Managers – and fellow Instagrammers, the Holiday isn’t over yet, you can still pull off a wonderful social media marketing campaign.

There are three commonly used social media campaigns that can help your brand regardless of the stage of your social media marketing presence. Whether you are still building a brand community or are more focused on your social media ROI, you can successfully leverage these common campaigns by focusing on your campaign strategy.

1)  Contests

Contests  are one of the most widely used campaigns out there. They are low maintenance and, with most social platforms, are relatively easy to implement.

Use if:

  • You are more focused on community building.
  • Your timeline is tight.
  • You are able to provide offerings for the winners.

Do:

  • Use rich relevant design to grab the attention of your community and reach out to a new audience.
  • Offer new or favorite products and services to raise more awareness
  • Take advantage of paid advertising. Sweepstakes are counterintuitive and result in less social sharing.

Don’t:

  • Require extensive demographic data.  Consumers tend to have privacy concerns and may not participate.
  • Rely solely on the sharing features of social media to promote your campaign. People purposely tend not to share Sweepstakes to increase their chance of winning.

2)  Charitable Campaigns

Charitable Campaigns are more popular around the holidays and often benefit from the spirit of giving and sharing that people practice this time of the year. These campaigns are great for building customer and brand relationships. In a study reported by “NewMediaandMarketing”,  68% of the consumers cited shared values as the reason of their loyalty towards a brand.

Use if:

  • You are more focused on raising awareness and gaining a loyal community base.

Do:

  • Provide information on your targeted goals and details for the audience you are reaching to.
  • Share the results of the charitable contributions with your audience after the campaign is over. .

Don’t:

  • Require extensive personal information from the contributors.

3)  User Generated Content Competitions

User generated competitions bring the greatest social amplification as they require the user to promote their own content in order to participate and win. These campaigns can be very innovative and often go viral.  Note – these campaigns work best if they are custom made and have a dedicated community manager.

Use if:

  • You are looking for greater social amplifications
  • You have a more extended timeline.
  • You have enough resources to implement and moderate the campaign.

Do:

  • Work on a strong strategy and story for your campaign.
  • Think about stories that involve using your product or services.
  • Consider options that provide content moderation

Don’t:

  • Build the campaign around stories that are not relevant to your product and services just for the hope of going viral. Having the stories center around your products and services can help with your brand promotion and awareness.

Social media is no longer dependent solely on community building.  If you do not start with a strong strategy, it is unlikely that you will get the desired value from any of the aforementioned campaign options. Webtrends not only provides the competitive strategy and implementation solutions for your future campaigns but also provides an award winning analytics solution to measure and optimize your campaigns.

Source: blogs.webtrends.com

Embrace Social.

To get customers talking about your company, you need to give them something to talk about. There is nothing more word of mouth worthy than surprising and delighting customers.

Using a dataset of more than 2 million link-containing retweets I compared those that contained an “!” and those that did not.

Social media is a great tool for your job search and career – after all, relationships are often the key to a new job opportunity. But with all of the advice about making these connections, you might be wondering, ‘How exactly do I approach potential employers on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn?’

Here’s what  several experts have to say about forging professional relationships online:

1. Pick The Right Target On Social Media: For any organization, there may be several active voices on social media. Focus your energy on building a single relationship with a single person. Look for a voice who is active and engaged with their audience. These are blog authors or tweeters who reply to comments. With this person, share regular feedback and relevant resources (without stalking them). Be patient. Real relationships take time. – Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula

2. First, Be a Good Follower: Before approaching a potential employer on social media, follow them for a while to understand their approach and what they like to write about. Retweet their posts or mention them over a sustained period of time, weeks or months. Then, when you want to reach out, they’ll be more receptive to hearing from someone who has already expended capital promoting them.  – Dorie Clark, Author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future

3. Find Commonalities So You Can Say, ‘Oh You Went There Too?’: It’s all about the connections, finding the one thing you have in common with someone. Using LinkedIn as an example, find someone that works at the company you’re interested in that you have a connection with, could be someone you worked with, fellow alumni, or member of professional association. Use this connection to reach out and ask for help reaching the right person to talk with about opportunities.  – Paul Kostek, Air Direct Solutions

4. Strike Up a Conversation First: Don’t approach employers online by first saying, “Hey, can you get me a job at XYZ place?” Establish a rapport first, whether that means tweeting back and forth a conversation together or Instagramming a photo of one of their products and a clever way that you used it. – Heather Taylor, social media manager, MyCorporation.com5. Job Seekers Should Use Social Media to Show Their Value: Social media is a great tool for job seekers to use when connecting with employers. The best way for job seekers to approach employers is to use social channels to show off their knowledge and value. Share an interesting article, start a thought-provoking discussion, or take part in an industry chat. Once initial contact has been made, job seekers can share their video resume or work portfolio to show employers what they can do. – Josh Tolan, Spark Hire

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Blogging

Picture this:

I’ve enjoyed our time together but there is so much more I could tell you about my abilities. I hope you’ll take a look at my blog (the Web address is on my résumé) so you can see for yourself the way I think about things.

You have just extended your interview by another 15 to 30 minutes and that may make all the difference.

Quite a number of people have ended their interview this way.

Your ability to create cutting-edge content may just be your cutting-edge over other job seekers. An average employer will prefer to employ an applicant he/she perceives has a deep knowledge about the happenings in the industry to employing someone he/she perceives otherwise. Trust me, your blog can aid the perception of your boss to-be about you. The importance of a functional blog to a job seeker cannot be over emphasized, especially in 2013 and beyond.

So, what will you be blogging about?

  • Your Industry: I believe every job seeker should have a pre-determined industry they want to dive into based on the knowledge they’ve acquired over time. Set up your blog and begin to blog on stuffs about the industry. Take for instance, I belong to the Technology sector, so hardly will you find anything short of that on my blog. Therefore, if you’re entering into the oil sector, start blogging about it right away.
  • Latest Trends in your industry: Writing blog posts on the current trends in the industry tells your prospective employer that you are current and you know what’s happening in that industry. You’ll create your Aha! moment most especially if your potential boss ends up learning something new about the latest trends in the industry on your blog. Trust me, it’s possible.
  • Your opinions: Don’t just report the happenings in your industry. Take it further by telling your visitors what you feel about it. It’s important we know where you stand. Your blog should not just be a collection of latest news. NO! You can even move to the point of giving your own suggestion on how things should be done. Do so, as long as you’re sure of what you’re saying. Your potential employer will either agree with you or respect you for your opinions. The former is likely to happen. He may even open an “educative” argument with you the next time he sees you. What a great way to connect with your new boss!
  • How-to/Tips: To show that you’re well informed about the industry, you might also want to consider blogging about certain tips that can be beneficial to your readers (Yes, your potential boss inclusive).

Don’t be afraid that you know only little about your industry, especially if you’re a fresh graduate. All you have to do is to be a regular visitor of the top sites in your industry consuming as much information as you can. You can’t blog about what you’re ignorant of. So, visit your industry related blogs, see what others are blogging on. Take a clue from their posts, form your own opinion and get right to your PC and pour it down (Hey, I mean improve on what others blog on).

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Recruiters have pretty much figured out this Facebook recruiting thing, right? Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a lot of incorrect notions out there, Let’s correct some of the most popular misconceptions –

Myth #1. My business doesn’t need a Facebook fan page: Facebook is quickly becoming your other home page. 40% of the Fortune 100 companies receive more traffic to fan page than website, depicting Facebook as an extremely engaging and scalable way to reach out to your audience. Source – webengage

Myth #2. Facebook Or LinkedIn: use both, Facebook has 5x more registered users than LinkedIn, and these users spent 3x more time on Facebook than all other social networks combined. LinkedIn is a great tool for recruiting senior professionals, but can you really ignore the largest social network of all time for your recruiting needs? Source – comScore

Myth #3. Only Gen Y Candidates are present on Facebook: 65% of Facebook users are 35 or older and the average Facebook user is 40.5 years old.  Facebook is most definitely not just for the young hip crowd, more experienced candidates are hanging out there too. Source – pingdom

…Are you taking advantage of Facebook recruiting? Share your views in the comment section below :-)

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5 steps to establishing your e-Rep

Image Source: www.intuic.com

These days an online presence is not just enough. It is not enough to have a Facebook account, or to tweet or to have a Google + account. In a world where Facebook has hit the 1 billion mark, Googe plus is currently at 400 million users, Linked In at 175 million users and Twitter stands at 140 million users. You need to answer the question what is your E Rep?

Here are 5 steps to get you started

  • You must know yourself: What makes you stand out from other users. That is the most crucial information you need as you begin the step of building up your E-Rep. What is your difference? your unique selling point? That is the key to standing out. It is not enough to go with what the current trend or flow in social media conversation. For instance, you might decide to go into political commentary because that is where the conversation is going. If you are unable to sustain this, or even to connect, it will all be a waste of time. Do a search of individuals, brands or organizations similar to yours, study what they do and take time to define and carve out a niche or USP for yourself.
  • You must know your audience: Now you know exactly who you are and what stands you out, the next step is to find your audience. On social media sites, this can be very tricky, a lot of times, it will be a trial and error exercise but if you are consistent in following the activities of brands similar to you and monitoring participation and responses to your activities, you are on the right track.
  • You must be able to communicate yourself/brand clearly: So you know yourself and your audience, how do you keep them coming at you? How do you connect with them on a personal basis? Social networking is mostly about short and straight-to the point conversations that give room for more comments and reactions. Once you learn how to state your point clearly and get replies from your audience, you have started communicating
  • You must network: It is called a social network for the very purpose. Did you join Twitter to be watched, well except you are Kanye West, it is pointless. It is a give and take process. You must give of yourself and that includes commenting, liking posts asking questions and creating relationships generally. You must set yourself out there, people need to know you are ready to have an online conversation and to keep it going over time. You must also listen and talk.
  • You must be consistent: This is perhaps the most difficult part of building an E Rep. Consistency is difficult to maintain but it is often times the most crucial part of an online relationship. You need to be actively known for something and that can only come when other users begin to associate you with something. So pick a stand and stick with it.

According to Marena Elena Duron of #Brand Chat, “It is not volume of people – it’s the deeper relationships you form online that will bring forth the volumes of people who see you as credible and worth connecting with.”

What do you think?

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No, you’re not stupid, but the following makes you look so. Your friends won’t tell you the truth. Here’s where you can get the truth from. We have a deal to put you on the right path in your social media journey, right? So, here you go:

  • My Day on Twitter: How useless can this be to your followers? Who cares how many RTs you got today, or how many people followed you? Why should you fill our timeline with such irrelevant tweet? It’s like clapping for yourself after having sex. Of what benefit is that to your followers? I thought this went away with 2012, but it is sad to still see folks subscribe to this trash. Here’s a way out. If you really want to know how well you’re doing on Twitter (RTs, followers et al), there are services that send those stats to your email or as DM. Subscribe to any of those services and save our timeline.
  • Now following, Please follow back: Emm, where should we follow you to? Why must I follow you simply because you’re now following me. Where does begging for follow backs take you to. There are  more intellingentt way to make people follow you on Twitter than begging. Why should anyone even be a slave to follow backs or the number of followers? I don’t need an answer.
  • Talking about yourself all the time: I understand this is so tempting, but please, do less of it. Talking about yourself all the time is plain annoying to some of us following you ‘cos of the value we expect you’ll tweet. Filling our timeline with stories of what your dog ate in the morning without adding a good slant to it is not cool. If your primary value on Twitter is to catch  fun, I bet there are better ways to go about it than telling us about yourself always.

Tweeting every thought: What happened to processing our thoughts before sharing them with third parties? Perhaps this is gradually eroding with the development of social media. Why should you tweet everything that comes to your mind all the time. Need samples? Check your timeline and it’s just easy to decode that. I understand that Twitter is thought amplifier, but amplifying all thoughts is one of those things that just make you look stupid to folks

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Money-Rain_zps8600daab-920x613

In the past 3 months, I have had numerous conversations with a couple of social media managers and just ‘normal’ folks trying to achieve one or two results with social media. It’s been funny, really. First, these calls often reveal to me that many people still haven’t gotten a hang of this social media wave and that there are too many myths and misconceptions about the social web.

First and most frequent subject of discussion is the link between result and the means to the end. It usually starts with “…we need to get xyz through Twitter, where do we start from”, or “we just want to increase talkability on social media”. Some even say “we have an event next month, and we want to create awareness about it, so people can register”, some others then say, “we just launched our blog and want to get 70,000 views per day…”. Several others.

After giving several suggestion and alternative routes to the means, I then move to the part that scare most away – money. So, let’s talk about it here.

While creating social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook etc.) may be free, generating big kick-ass results is not necessarily free. Delete necessary. It’s actually not free. So, the first myth you need to get off your head is that social media is actually free in its entirety. Next is to get the bug on your boss or client.

While managers are beginning to realize the importance of social media to their business, many are still not making enough provisions for it in their budget. Typically, they just ask a random staff who’s fairly good with internet stuffs to create their profile and start posting stuffs. Then, they follow that up by setting an unrealistic goal and baseless KPIs to measure performance. This is where I get phone calls. After two months of ‘posting everything’, target is not achieved. The accidental social media manager then becomes discouraged, overwhelmed and frustrated – “but I am doing everything”.

His boss wants to be on every blog, every Google search page, everyone’s Facebook timelines like Jumia, Konga and several other examples of ‘successful’ ad campaigns. They want to generate buzz on Twitter like Osun State did for Opon Imo (the tablet recently launched) and the likes. As great as this intentions are, bosses and clients often forget one thing. Money.

My response is simple. Get your boss to support you with a decent budget to drive the results he desires. For every ad you see on a blog, someone is paying the bill. Google is not a charity organization. Facebook is a public company with shareholders waiting for dividends and bonuses; then institutional investors expecting a heavy ROI at the end of the year. The only way they can achieve that is by charging you a premium (ad revenue) for the wider reach you desire.

In some cases, you need to pay local influencers and opinion leaders to help drive your agenda on social media. These guys have put in huge efforts (perhaps, when you were busy arguing whether Facebook and Twitter are here to stay or not) to build their following. So, you expect them to talk about your business (that earns you profit. Not them) all day without receiving something in exchange? You’ve got to be kidding. Maybe if it’s a social initiative.

I’ve not even talked about the advanced tools you may need to pay for at some point. All these and many more all prove that social media is not free.

Here’s the bottom-line, when next your boss or client (for agencies) gives you that ‘big target’, ask him to put his money where his “heart” is. Simple. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things that can be done without money, but for those who desire to generate the impact the big brands are generating, you’ve got to be good at spending. Period!

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thinktherefore

by Mark Amaza

Mark Amaza is the Chief Thinker/CEO of MINDcapital, a strategy, innovation and branding consulting firm by day; coordinator of NIGERIA:UNITED, a youth-based movement working to foster national unity despite our religious, regional and ethnic differences; public speaker; loves to conjure up abstract thoughts and connect random events; bibliophile; avid music lover; FC Barcelona fanatic; expectant of experiences.

In the latter half of the last decade, the world witnessed the birth of a hybrid form of the World Wide Web, known as Web 2.0. The most distinguishing feature of Web 2.0 is the democratization of the creation of content, where internet users such as you and I can create and upload content onto the web. That content could be in the form of music, videos, pictures, or plain text. Quite a number of websites and online services (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) have been built around this self-publishing feature and added with it the ability for us to connect with each other, thus birthing social networking.

One other very important feauture of Web 2.0 is the birth, rise and spread of web logging, shortened to ‘blogging’. A weblog (although no one calls them that anymore; they are just called ‘blogs’) is a site where an individual records his personal opinions, with links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis. A person who updated his blog regularly is thus referred to as a blogger. Today, there are millions of blogs out there on practically every different subject and field under the sun.

Naturally, Nigerians have not been left behind in the blogging movement, as many of us, particularly those of the Facebook and Twitter generation have a blog set up and updated with some regularity. With it has also come the talk of if everyone must be a blogger and whether or not some bloggers were just part of a ‘me-too’ craze.

However, I am of the opinion that we do not even have enough bloggers out there. As a matter of fact, I believe that everyone should be a blogger. Let me explain my views:

  1. For anyone who has tried writing an article and sending it to a newspaper or magazine and encountered rejection, the gift of self-publishing your own work will be a god-send. No longer would you have to rely on some editor to consider your piece privileged enough to be published in his/her paper. You can now write, publish and promote yourself. And it is free too, with so many blogging platforms to choose from: WordPress, Blogspot, Posterous, Tumblr, etc., and they mostly have mobile versions so you can upload content to your blogs from your phones.
  2. Blogging teaches us how to express ourselves excellently. No matter what your blog is about, the fact that you are always writing something makes you get better at writing and articulating your ideas. From there, the jump to speaking well is not so much. Blogging, therefore, can also be used as an avenue for self-development.
  3. You can use blogging to promote yourself as an expert in your field. For example, anytime I want to read something pertaining to Nigerian economics, I go to Feyi Fawehinmi’s blog or Nonso Obikili’s blog, or to Rotimi Fawole’s blog for an interpretation of the law. Now what the three of them, amongst many others have done is that they have made themselves stand out in the sea of economists and lawyers that abound in this country. This gives them influence they can easily leverage for many things such as securing clients, etc.
  4. Blogging also gives you the opportunity to pursue and talk about your passion if it is outside your regular job. Say you are an engineer with a passion for football. You can easily set up a blog and rant about football all day, thereby allowing you to pursue your passion. It is that easy, really!
  5. Blogging does not have to be a full-time job. We don’t all have to be a Linda Ikeji or anOmojuwa, hoping that we rake in money through our blogs. It could be an avenue for self-expression. In fact, when you pursue blogging from this angle mainly, you will be given opportunities to make some money through it beyond what you expect. I can testify to this.
  6. In case you do not want to set up your own blog, you can write for the litany of sites that aggregate content from writers. Though they can be called blogs, they function more like online newspapers and magazines.
  7. For every blog, there is an audience. As a person who most times rants about politics and the occasional random stuff, I very well know that not everyone will read my blog posts. And so also will it be with you, no matter how interesting what you write is. The key is finding and having your niche and fully serving it. Even this erotica blog has its audience and a devoted one at that. So now that you know I read erotica, let me try and regain my halo. Moving on…..

In the end, do not shy away from blogging unless you have nothing to say, or do not want to say it. Whatever it is: political analyses, football commentary, short stories and poems, etc. Be free to talk.

I predict that the time will come one day where job-seekers would be asked for their blog addresses. I feel that time is almost there in the developed world. This is because it speaks a lot as to the intellectual soundness of a person.

Looking forward to being regular visitors to your blogs

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Who is a social media influencer?

A social media influencer is a person who has the ability to affect/influence the thinking of others in his network/social community. They range from just normal every folks to companies, celebrities who share relevant content that are of interest to a community.

Before you start a social media campaign, it is important to identify who the Influencers are in your social community as they are very useful in spreading the word about brands, product or services. Influencers usually can use their presence on social network for personal gain or as ambassadors/reps for a brand or company.

So how do you identify INFLUENCERS? Are they the ones with thousands of followers?  The highest number of Facebook friends? The most controversial? Not necessarily.  Here are a few tips on how to identify Social Media Influencers

  • Using Social Influence Measuring Tools(SIMT) : Websites like the popular KLOUT tracks a user’s Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Foursquare activity and helps you understand a person’ influence on all platforms. Another SIMT is Peer Index which measures interactions across the web to help you understand individuals impact in social media. Others twitter specific tools include TWEET GRADER, TWITTER COUNTER
  • Quality over Quantity:  Quality of content remains the basis of influence on social media. Influencers truly engage, they have interesting conversations with people in their network, they usually post the funniest, wittiest, most informative things and are really interested in sharing. Popularity on social networks or the amount of followers an individual has matters BUT doesn’t necessarily make them a social media influencer. A lot of people have a huge number of followers but not the ability to prompt engagement and conversations. They have no influence over their followers, they usually have that many followers because  they engage in some silly online antics. Companies are usually swayed by large followership which is normal, if you identify someone with 60,000 followers you would readily choose them over someone with 10,000 followers because you assume they can reach more people. All I am saying is apart from their large network it is important to take other things into consideration. A large followership is not the most important  aspect of being a social media influencer, it is just one of many. A large followership is also useless if you are not able to engage and interact with those in your social community.
  • Will The Real Followers Please Stand Up: Did you know that is possible to buy facebook likes, ,twitter followers and even youtube views? Well now you know. Thankfully for twitter there is a site that helps you find out how many ‘fake’ followers or bots an individual has. A bot is an entity that tweets but is either not a real person or never has anything personal to say. Mechanical, automatic. I stumbled on a site recently http://fakers.statuspeople.com that helps you find out how  many fake/real/ followers an individual has on twitter. If you enlist the help of an influencer who has 50% fake followers it defeats the purpose because messages about your brand are not reaching real people.
  • Look for thought leaders: Thought leaders are individuals in the social community whose tweets get the most retweeted and replied. They are usually seen as leaders in a chosen field (music, politics, film, sports) whenever they speak about a particular issue people tend to take them serious. These individuals as brand ambassadors can be very effective. They are highly respected and have opinions that are greatly valued.  Find an active, subject led influencer.
  • Social Sharers: Social Sharers, these are individuals who have knack for sharing any and every information. They are the go-to person for the latest information on anything ranging from music, entertainment to politics. They are steadily pushing out important information that people need and as such people see them as a valuable part of their network. Social Sharers can also be bloggers, or just individuals who just can’t help but share information on their platforms. They can be very useful in pushing out a message about a brand. They are the ones forever sharing links on whatever social platform you are on, they always seem to be the first to get the information about that topic that is currently HOT. They are sharing stuff on facebook, twitter, blogs, linked in, Google +, youtube. I am sure you have seen one of two people in your network that fit this category.

Celebrities: Certain high profile celebrities can drive immense amounts of buzz with just one share. These celebrities are usually well respected and most times have a likable personality. With celebrities, individuals like the more social, engaging celebs. The celebrities that take the time out to interact with them. Celebrities who are VERY active on social media networks. For example Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Don Jazzy, eLDEE the Don, Banky W, Wizkid, Iceprince and so many others. If one of such celebrities recommends your twitter handle you can be sure that people will definitely follow you and for the next 3 hours the mentions just won’t stop. That is how much social power they have come to have. Celebrities have been known to recommend a thing and in hours its buzzing all over the internet. For example, Take latest internet sensation South Korean Rapper– PSY whose comical video and dance – Gangnam Style has taken over the world. The video had been gaining views in a slow pace but after several celebrities got wind of it, celebrities like Britney Spears, T-Pain, Josh Groban, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry and  tweeted about him the buzz for his funny video went ballistic. He even appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show. With over 500million views since July of this year, he has one of the most viewed videos in YouTube history. Look for the popular celebrities who are very active on social media networks but be sure to also be ready to pay them. It’s not free you know.

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Recently, the campaign about everyone setting up a blog has gotten hotter. Really, not that it’s bad in itself; it’s only that many people get into the blogosphere with dreams of overnight success and an aim to cash out big time without minimal efforts. This was the basis of a one hour plus discussion last Friday between I and one of my clients.

His need was simple, he wants high traffic to his blog; not just that, he wants ad-clicking traffic. He requested that I explain how Google adsense works and also get it working on his site. Then I told him it’s pointless to get adsense working when you barely get less than 10 visitors on your site. The focus shifted to traffic. First things first, you’ll say.

So, I started ‘lecturing’ him about the importance of great unique contents on his blog. After few minutes of explanation, he seems not to get the whole gist of a great content, so I asked him a very simple question – “Why should people visit your website”? That was the killer question. He had no solid answer to that question…revealing the major reason for his failure.

This is one of the major reasons why people fail in the blogosphere. Installing WordPress or any other blogging platform is the simplest part of blogging. The real sh*t lies in churning out unique content on a consistent basis. And for that to happen, the main reason for the blog has to be defined. See it as a value proposition. As simple as the question is, you will be shocked at the number of bloggers that have no answer to it.

As a blogger, no one owes you a single visit to your blog. The acceptance of this fact should push you to do your assignment on how to get constant traffic. As a newbie blogger, about 90% of your traffic will come from organic sources (i.e. search engines etc), it is your duty to retain them. If they visit the first time and see no concrete reason why they should make a repeat visit, you may NEVER have them back. Every hit is another opportunity to win the heart of a wondering visitors, and it can only be won with a value-adding content. People only move to a place where they perceive value. If your blog falls short of that, I’m sorry, you’ll never get it.

At SocialMeep, we are yet to win the kind of traffic we’re aiming but we have watched our average daily traffic increase overtime. We’ve seen how people flood in on certain days based on the type of post(s) we publish. I make bold to say that it all started with a mission – a mission to be the one-stop destination for all things social media. Helping businesses and individuals get the social media advantage in their endeavours. Almost every single visitor I know have testified to the kind of value they get on every visit. Dear blogger, what are your visitors saying about your blog? Pause, ponder and re-strategize.

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blogger_podcast_01

Last week on Technology 101, we considered the various importance of owning your own website/blog. As promised last week, we will talk about one of the most popular platforms you can use to create yourblog, Blogger.

“Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was created by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. Generally, the blogs are hosted by Google at a subdomain of blogspot.com.” – (Wikipedia).

Follow the steps below to get yourself a blogger account:

  • Visit www.blogger.com.
  • Click on Get Started.
  • A form will be displayed, ensure you fill all details appropriately and click on continue

If the form was filled correctly, you will be taken to a page where you’ll need to name your blog and assign a URL. You need to choose a suitable name for your blog. It all depends in what kind of topic you are going to be blogging about. You may also want to use your name or nick name if it is a personal blog. Your URL is simply the address of your blog. The best way I can explain the idea of URL is to compare it with your house. You may name your house “Amazing Grace Villa”(Blog Name), but when people want to visit you, you’ll have to them an address to “Amazing Grace Villa”. At least, you will have tog

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