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was a time when Facebook was the ONLY social media tool that was worth a small business owner’s time. Well, like everything in the internet world, things have changed. I can’t say that I know exactly what Facebook will be like in 5 years but there are a few things I’m realizing right now about this aspect of the social media world. Facebook is making it harder and harder for small businesses to reach an audience. Why? Well, it’s genius on their part. They allowed businesses to start up and use Facebook marketing for FREE and now that millions of businesses depend on Facebook

to stay open, they are charging for “Reach”.  They are going to make a KILLING on this if they continue in the direction they are currently headed. The hard part for us is that if we want a large percentage of our fans to see our posts, we have to PAY for it. By the time the “Promotion” takes place, the post is old and we missed our golden window of opportunity.  So what is a small business to do?! Well, to be honest, I’m not sure what to do about the Facebook crisis except keep doing what I’m doing. We have 18,000 fans on Facebook and yet our posts reach an average of 5,000. That sounds like a lot but when you think about the ratio… it’s horrible.

This is where Instagram comes in! There are several reasons why I absolutely LOVE Instagram and I think that EVERY small business should have an account!

1. Even if you’re not going to commit to use the account, you still need to make it and SAVE your name!! It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it was already taken. If you don’t have an account, stop everything you’re doing and make one right now!!

2. Young people LOVE it! What does that mean? That means that our future brides 5-8 years down the road will not be on Facebook anymore (it’s considered “Mom” territory now)… they will be finding us on Instagram and Twitter!

3. Your images are GUARANTEED to be viewed by all of your followers (unlike Facebook!)

4. Instagram gives small business owners a chance to share about more than just their business, they can share their LIFE!

5. Instagram is SIMPLE. Facebook has become so complicated and overwhelming sometimes. Instagram is refreshingly easy to navigate!

There are also a ton of little tips and tricks for improving your Instagram account!! :

1. Make sure your BLOG LINK is under your profile! If you’re using instagram to announce a blog post, this is the easiest way to push mobile traffic there! If you don’t have your blog URL under your profile, you’re making it REALLY hard for people to view what you’re announcing.

2. Find a good balance between personal posts and business posts!! If I posted 15 instagrams of Bokeh in a row, I would lose followers. If you look at my Instagram account, I try really hard to balance this! Lets be honest, it’s hard to not post 15 in a row… look at this cutie!

3. USE HASHTAGS! And create your own! For us, our most common hashtags are #kjbride #katelynjamesbride #kjweddings and #Bokehthebichpoo . I know using Hashtaags has a bit of a learning curve but it is WORTH it! By using hashtags for our wedding images, we have created a hashtag that our brides are using now!! I love seeing a KJ Bride use the #KJbride hashtag when she posts about her own wedding!

4. Follow your clients! I love following my brides on Instagram! I feel like I’m caught up on their life when I arrive the day of the wedding. If you run your business personally, this isn’t weird at all. If you want them to follow your posts, it’s only fair that you follow theirs as well!

5. Keep your “selfies” under control. I’m really not big on sharing pictures of JUST my face. haha Maybe it’s a confidence issue or maybe I just follow a lot of our high school kids from youth group and I see selfies non-stop! ha! HOWEVER, I did just post one last night because I had my hair and makeup done for a video shoot that we were working on. I think a selfie every now and then is OK and it’s helpful for your followers to see YOU…. but not every other day. This is just my personal opinion!!

6. Follow vendors/leaders in your industry and LIKE their posts! The more you interact, the more interactions you’ll receive in return! If you receive gifts from friend and vendors in your industry, post about them!! It’s just the nice thing to do. :)

7. Host giveaways through Instagram and have followers repost an image with your name tagged! This is a great way to gain some followers every now and then!

8. Share some of your REAL images. We don’t JUST post iPhone shots on Instagram, we post our work as well! We just save images from a blog post or from our facebook page and we post them on our Instagram account with one of our hashtags!

9. LINK YOUR POSTS! This is HUGE! So often during coaching sessions, photographers say “It’s just too much to keep up with!”.  Well, with instagram, this isn’t an excuse anymore! You can link EVERY post to twitter and facebook with two easy clicks! So when you update Instagram, you’re updating all of your social media at once! Genius right?! :)

10. Last but not least, be POSITIVE. No one wants to follow a Negative Nancy. It’s just common sense. If you’re running a business, you can’t have rants on social media about the grocery store worker that ticked you off…. it’s just not professional. Keep everything you post engaging and uplifting!

 

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