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Social Media Engagement

My hate / love affair with Instagram

I go back and forth regarding social media. How much time should I spend on it? Is it worth it? Is it fun? Is it necessary? Which medium is best for me and my peeps? What do I enjoy/despise doing?

I’m so conflicted about it. One minute I think I’ll dive into Instagram Live Stories and then next I don’t want to have anything to do with any of it and just want to sit on my deck and bask in the sun, watch the birds at the feeder, sniff the lavender roses, and read the mysteries I can’t get enough of. (What I love most about them, is the characters say what they really think. No filters. No political correctness. So refreshing!)

But then I snap out of my reverie and remember that I’m creating some new work that I’ll be sharing soon – and how will people hear about it if I’m not in touch? How will I stay connected to….well, you.

I just listened to a podcast, one of my new favorites, called Hidden Brain on the positive impact of deep work.

Cal Newport, a computer scientist who was interviewed, eschewed social media altogether and had a strict schedule so he could accomplish everything he wants to. In the old (and not so old days) Newport noted that influential thinkers had a set of specific habits to get great work done “all seemed to have this drive to, on a regular basis, cut themselves off from their lives of business, and communication and distraction and isolate themselves to think deeply.”

hidden brain podcast

Hidden brain NPR podcast

Carl Jung took himself out to a stone house that didn’t have electricity or water he built by a lake in the countryside to immerse himself in his work. Mark Twain had a cabin he’d retire to on his property to be alone with his thoughts and his family had to blow a horn to call him in for dinner. J.K. Rowling holed up in a hotel near a castle in Edinborough to put her in the mindset to finish her Harry Potter books, specifically, The Deathly Hollow. Each one of these creatives took deep uninterrupted time without distraction so they could produce their important work.

Back to Instagram stories (which has been such a distraction for me!).

I’d like to try hopping on there to answer your questions. Do some casual Q&A on Instagram stories about pitching the media, publicity, confidence, storytelling, the magic of speaking up + more.

What do you think of that? Do you like the idea?

And if so, what time works for you?

Some possibilities.

5pm PT / 8pm ET some evening. Please specify best days.

Saturday at 1pm PT / 4pm ET.

Sunday at 10 or 11 am PT / 1 or 2pm ET.

Since it’s live you would actually be there in the moment with me. So, yes, I can save them to my camera roll and post them later to my website, but the point is to hang out with you in real time — the next closest thing to being in person.

So I’d love to hear back from you on this. Just put: “IG” in the subject line and let me know what time works best for you. Once I get a good sense of that I’ll jet you and email and share some times.

Also, please follow me on Instagram here so we can communicate there as you have to be on Instagram in order to attend the live stories. And I’d love to know if you’d like more photos of me or something else…

If you feel called to Instagram here is a great course from Melissa Camilleri who has also created a supportive community with integrity and spirit that helps you navigate all the changes that happen in social media.

Here are the Instagram people I can’t resist watching or following. (Warning, be prepared for a time sink). 

whiteshantyathome – I was first struck by a photo of her kids all playing musical instruments in the living room like some miniature orchestra. Then I started following her life. She’s like an old fashioned renaissance woman who talks honestly about the challenges of motherhood, creates beauty, talks about God and goodness while raising and homeschooling 5 kids in a converted barn she calls home. How does she do it all?

Instagram influencer

Instagram influencer mom pioneer

chriselleLim – This former stylist rocks clothes and decor and am fascinated by her rise a blogger to an influencer and mommy to CEO of her own company and clothing line.

bloggers_boyfriend – Who is this guy? You never see his eyes or hear his voice. Love the mystery. He satisfies my wanderlust and the street colors are something to lust over. He knows how to style a grunge and glam shot worldwide at places I’ll never be able to go. Plus, I want to inhabit every outfit he wears even though it’s menswear.

lizmariegalvan – Secret desire…OK I admit it I want to live on her farm and have her sheep as my pets, and just collect beautiful things to sell in a shop. (My mom raised me on thrift stores and garage sales so – confession – we collected a garage full of vintage stuff for the farmhouse we never bought) Future dream? Maybe.

Instagram influencer

Instagram influencer Interior design

champagneandchanel – Can’t stop watching this tiny gal with big Texan hair (teasing and extensions) who wears an x small. There is something compelling about her even though she only puts on clothes in front of a mirror and talks about them. I feel kinda weird watching this. I mean, why?

casa_colibri – Former pole dancer with dreadlocks, piercings and tats, who does yoga inversions at her Costa Rican home / retreat center. Need I say more?

Instagram influencer

Yoga Instagram influencer

gwennieth – Has 2 kids that can’t walk or talk. The oldest just turned 17. She says, “Scared that I wouldn’t know what to do, how to love her, how to communicate, how to move on with ‘normal life.’…I saw a little girl who knew nothing but love.” People never cease to amaze me. How they can manage hardship, what they can do, hold, love.

Instagram influencer

Instagram influencer mom


4 Ways to Use Instagram Stories To Scale Your Business

By Guest Blogger Alex Slichnyi

The hype about particular social media platforms seems to come and go. A few years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing someone using Snapchat. Today, it is all about Instagram.

Instagram Stories is gaining popularity by the day as this feature allows users to take a behind the scenes sneak peek at new products, services, and events.

Launched in 2016, Instagram Stories became an instant hit, adored by 300 million daily users.

On average, users under 25 spend around 32 minutes a day on Instagram, while those in older age groups spend more than 24 minutes per day.

Considering these stats, it’s clear that this feature offers an amazing opportunity for businesses to reach a broader range of audience and promote their brand, taking the engagement on a whole new level.

In fact, according to Instagram, 1 in 3 of the most viewed Stories are from businesses.

With over 50% of businesses on Instagram already using Instagram Stories, this feature is definitely something to consider for your social media campaigns.

  1. Plan Less And Publish More

If you post content on your feed every day, there is a chance that you will be marked as spam or you could annoy your audience so that they unfollow you.

Stories are different, you can post as many as you like and users have the option whether they want to watch it or not. Really, the more you post, the better.

Plus, because the content will only be around for 24 hours, it doesn’t have to be too perfect or planned. In fact, a non-planned post can help the brand look more human and relatable.

2. Go Live

Live marketing and Instagram Stories go hand in hand. Consumers are becoming increasingly attracted to live streaming, with more people watching live content every year. Instagram Stories gives you the option to stream live, so as a business you could use this to stream events, have a live Q&A session, or capture a spontaneous moment in the office.

3. Drive Engagement

If you have over 10,000 followers on your Instagram account, then some cool new features will become available to you. You can use the swipe up function to lead people to links, which is a great way to help drive traffic to specific web pages.

Other cool features include inserting a poll or a question into the Story, which offers new opportunities for engagement.

4. Boost Organic Reach

Ranking on Instagram can be a confusing process, but you may notice that accounts that have active Stories tend to show up in the search results related to the searched hashtag or location. Plus, as you are able to place hashtags and locations on your Story, it offers more opportunities to appear in related searches.

If you are interested in using Instagram Stories on your own account, you can take a look at the infographic below to find some examples of how other brands use them successfully.

Instagram stories

Alex Slichnyi, community manager at 99firms.com, is an avid learner of all things IT. He is a savvy SEO specialist who loves traveling because it allows him to experience hands-on the many facets of life. This hands-on approach can be seen in his work, which is meticulously crafted with daring vision by an open, yet methodical mind that likes to probe, test and improve. Communicating and learning are Alex’s core values that drive him forward.


10 Ways to Boost Business Performance by Power of Social Media

By guest blogger Monica Wilson

Creating a business and getting it off the ground is itself a huge achievement for a budding entrepreneur. Yet, soon the entrepreneur learns that starting the business is only the beginning. Some business people lose their strength to keep going when they discover that they must invest as much effort in promoting their business as they did launching it. No wonder so many businesses do not make it to their first anniversary.

All the same, unlike in the past when marketing required big budgets, today many marketers leverage the power of social media to help even the smallest of enterprises make considerable headway in the marketplace. Experian reports that 80% of today’s marketers have already embraced social media marketing. In a few years, this percentage will be very close to 100%. Given how significant social media has become to the well-being of today’s businesses, marketers must know how to do it effectively. The following are ten ways you can boost the performance of your business by leveraging the power of social media.

Define your target audience first

The excitement of starting a new company often drives many businesses to post generic content that no one wants to engage with on social media. Social media is not just about uploading videos and images and adding captions to them. It is about creating a platform that connects you to your audience, starts a conversation and leads to conversions. None of these things can happen if you fail to clearly define your target audience.

Take time to learn more about the habits of your target audience, the type of content they would want to see and how you can make your products better for their consumption in future. Without a clearly defined target audience, the information you would obtain about people’s response to your business will be false. Use the data-rich features available on Twitter and Facebook to narrow down your target market so that you can put all your energy towards getting this target market to know your brand and its products and services.

Engagement is the key to success

The more posts you publish on social media is not equivalent to increased engagement. To attain any noteworthy success, you must be patient through the process of growing an audience that is willing and excited at the through of engaging and connecting with your brand. Take time creating unique content that speaks to your audience. The idea is to, without necessarily saying it, create an assurance to your audience that someone is listening to their complaints, queries and comments and will respond with answers.

Work on your social profiles

Businesses with big ad budgets sometimes jump fast to ad campaigns and neglect their social media profiles. They spend little time creating social profiles that will get the attention of anyone who happens to visit them. Consequently, they find themselves hardly growing an audience without spending money when the opportunity to grow organically keeps evading them just because they have lackluster profiles.

Don’t make this mistake. Make sure your profile clearly reflects the image of your business you wish to see on display. Remember to optimize the bio so that everyone who comes across the profile is left with little doubt that you have what it takes to deliver excellent products and services.

social media management for business

social media marketing tips

Determine when it is best to post on social media

Social media users in different social networking sites have certain hours of the day that they are most active. Understanding this will help you craft a social media posting schedule that has the best chance to succeed. CoSchedule reports that social media posts published on Saturdays and Sundays have 32% more engagement than those published in other days of the week. The same also said the best times of day for social posting is 9AM, 1PM and 3PM.

Utilize tools and opportunities made available by social networks

Social media marketers know many tools they can use to grow on social media. For instance, HootSuite is excellent for scheduling; Growr is perfect for growing an Instagram following; Buffer is ideal for managing Twitter. However, before you consider third party tools, you should exhaust the functionality of those tools that the social networks have made available. Facebook has scheduling and analytics tools and Twitter has Tweetdeck and its own analytics tools. Use these tools and measure the changes you will see in your efforts in social media marketing.

Offer exclusive, entertaining, useful information and deals

Asking people to follow you on social media can seem odd yet it works. All the same, you should provide value if you want people to follow and engage with your brand. That is why you should think about the promise you can make to those who follow you on social media. This is especially necessary when you are just getting started building a social media following. Talk to your marketing team about creating value that you can leverage on social networking sites to make your audience feel special and part of something great and beautiful.

Video is as social as you can get

For a few years now, marketers have been talking about the power of video in marketing on social media. Yet, few business executives have decide to invest considerable resources towards creating video content. Those who have embraced video have clear results to show. Perhaps this is why YouTube remains one of the most visited website in the world and the second largest search engine platform the world over.

Practically everyone wants to watch videos. Indeed, available statistics show that 82% of Twitter users regularly watch video content on the platform. On Facebook, users watch around 100 million hours of video every day. So, why not create videos for them to watch as part of your social marketing initiatives?

Leverage communities

Consider using employee advocacy programs to leverage communities. This way you can take advantage of the numbers and use your content to reach more people on social networking sites. You can find social media communities on Facebook, Pinterest as well as on LinkedIn. Look for a group in your niche and join. Through this community, you can advertise a product or service to people you are certain that they have some interest in your products or services.

Experiment with content creator communities

Sometimes you may find yourself with no viable ideas for creating content to publish on your social media channels. This is why content creator communities come in. Some of the most popular communities include Viral Content Buzz,Social Buzz Club and Triberr.

The reason these communities exist is to help content creators find creative ways to present content, brainstorm on new and unique content and improve social media promotion initiatives. Furthermore, participating in these communities will give you the perfect opportunity to learn from other content creators regarding what works and what doesn’t.

Share on the right platform & at the right time

Any marketer will tell you that each social media platform has its own unique culture. For this reason, a good plan in social media marketing should include creating customized content plan for each social network. For example, Instagram is big on hashtags, Twitter is perfect for real time conversations and Facebook is ideal when have a lot to say.

Take time to understand the culture that exists in each social platform and how it can help you advance your business. Additionally, familiarize yourself with new and emerging networking sites and see if they offer new opportunities that the existing platforms struggle to offer. Whatever you do, resist the temptation of copying and pasting everything you post in one platform into another. This “dumping” approach will result to low engagements and uninspiring social media marketing results.

Social media industry watches believe that it is still at its infancy and that many things will change as it matures. Businesses that will invest in learning the most effective ways of marketing on social networking sites will continue to record impressive results that will bring conversions and increase sales.


These 5 Questions Will Cure That Horrible Bloggers’ Block

By Guest Blogger Sarah Von Bargen

Friends, a warning.

This post will not give you copy and paste ideas for blog posts. This is not where I suggest starting a meme-worthy post series like “what’s in your purse?”

(Not because I don’t want to know what’s in your purse because I totally do. What’s your stance on those round chapstick ball things?)

Women with huge handbags B&W

Sarah Von Bargen Blogging

These are more start-of-the-brainstorming-session, open-to-your-interpretation suggestions. They’re a great place to start when you’re sitting down to plan out next month’s content.

With that said, here are five questions to ask yourself when you’re filling in that editorial calendar.

Am I working on any projects or offerings that I want to build buzz for? Can I give my readers a sneak peek of any upcoming stuff?

If you’re working on a brunch cookbook, write a post about the magic of brunch, link to your favorite brunchy recipes, tell people you’re working on the book, and tell them they can join your list so they’ll be the first to know when it comes out.

If you’re writing an ebook about getting over a break up, share a story about one of your breakups, what you learned from it, tell readers what you’re working on, and invite them to join your list. You get the idea!

Am I trying to grow my Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest followers this month?
Think about what you can write that pairs nicely with each of those platforms. If you’re trying to grow your Instagram following, do a roundup of Instagrammers you think people should follow (Kaelah does a nice job of this). @mention them so they know you’re talking about them and remind your readers that they can follow you.

If you’re trying to grow your Pinterest following, create content that relates to some of your best, most popular boards. Tell readers if they like this, then they’ll really love your Pinterest board on the same topic. 

Is there anything happening this time of year that’s particularly important to my readers and clients?
Do your readers care that it’s tax season? That it’s New York Fashion Week? The shoulder travel season in Europe? Chinese New Year?

woman torn jeans fashion

blogging tips

Think about the events that matter to your people and write content that helps them prepare and enjoy those events. During college graduation season I wrote about how to be a grown-ass woman and during the holiday shopping season I wrote about how to prepare your shop for a deluge of sales and customers.

Have there been any Big Deal developments in my industry or community that I should talk about?
What does it mean for your clients and readers when Facebook changes their policies? When gay marriage becomes legal? When there’s a polar vortex? When Apple releases a new phone? When New York makes Airbnb illegal?

I’m sure you stay up to date on the news and big developments in your industry and I’m sure you’ve got capital O Opinions. Share those with your readers! And if the developments are challenging or troubling, share any ideas about how to deal with them.

Have there been any big changes (good or bad, big or small) in my life that lead to epiphanies that would help my readers + clients?

Of course, if you blog exclusively about food it might be a bit weird to blog about your cat-ownership realizations. But most epiphanies aren’t industry-specific! I mean, I wrote about the business lessons I learned from creating a cat calendar.

Readers love to learn more about you and your life; they’ll probably enjoy hearing more about you while learning something useful.

Sarah Von Bargen

Sarah Von Bargen has been writing for 16 years, blogging for 8, and solving people’s problems online since dial up internet. Grab her free book ‘7 TRICKS FOR A POLISHED + IMPRESSIVE + PRODUCTIVE ONLINE LIFE’ here or follow along on Twitter


The life-Changing Magic of Speaking Up. (This is my story. What’s yours?)

As a high school student in Palo Alto, California, I was irrepressibly curious and constantly looking for strange and exciting new experiences to try out. And if those “strange and exciting” adventures meant that I could make a little extra money on the side? Even better!

That’s how I wound up sitting in a laboratory with a guy in a white lab coat who explained that he was conducting an important scientific experiment. I was going to be compensated for my time and, so it seemed, helping to further a scientific discovery. This was great!

“There’s a man sitting in another room, on the other side of this wall,” Mr. White Coat explained to me. “This man is taking a test and if he answers a question incorrectly, you must give him an electric shock.”

Mr. White Coat shocks me the 15 volts to show me how it feels. Ow! I jerk in my seat. Tolerable, but definitely painful.

“Remember,” Mr. White Coat reminds me. “If the test subject gets the wrong answer, you shock him.”

The test begins. The man taking the test gets a string of wrong answers. I shock him. Wrong answer. I shock him again.

With each progressive shock, the man on the other side of the wall — the man I am shocking — begins to yelp, then cry out, then scream. It sounds like the pain is becoming unbearable. I glance up at Mr. White Coat and he urges me to keep going. After the third shock, the man on the other side of the wall SCREAMS out, “Stop! Please! STOP! Let me out!” and starts pounding frantically on the wall. I yank back my hands and stand up.

“This experiment is over. I won’t shock him any more. He’s screaming. It obviously hurts.”

Sternly, he urges me to sit down and continue. “You agreed to this experiment so you have to finish it.”

“No, forget it, I won’t do it,” I tell him. I gather my things and prepare to leave. Mr. White Coat puts his hand on my shoulder to stop me and says,

“Wait.”

Photo Credit: Death to stock photo Experimenter The Movie

Photo Credit: Death to stock photo Experimenter The Movie

“The man on the other side of the wall is also participating in the experiment. He wasn’t really being shocked. You weren’t hurting him. He was just pretending. He wasn’t the test subject. YOU are.”

You can imagine, my teenage jaw fell right down to the floor. I was stunned and also relieved.

He went on to explain that he and his colleagues were conducting an experiment to see how people obey orders and respond to “authority figures.”

The results were pretty troubling.

Many of the people controlling the “shock” button kept shocking, and shocking, and shocking, and shocking…up to 450 volts (“Danger: severe shock”) despite horrible screams and pleas coming from beyond the wall.

According to The Atlantic Magazine, in one variation of the experiment, 65% of the people shocked the other person to “death.” (Not really, of course, because the actor was just pretending. But they didn’t know that.)

When asked, “Why did you do that? Why did you keep administering the shock?” most people would respond with some variation of, “The guy in the white coat told me to do it!”

Pretty staggering, right? As this experiment, first conducted by Stanley Milgram — which went on to become a famous, historic experiment, and is now a Hollywood movie called Experimenter — demonstrates, most people do not question authority. If someone who appears to wearing some kind of “uniform” doles out an instruction, most people simply obey.

I was one of the few people who wouldn’t obey. Why? Because I won’t be bullied into hurting somebody, even if I’m told that I “must.” (“Must” is not a word that I like and I do not like being told what to do.) But I do know that it comes from my family, who has always taught me to stand up for what I believe no matter what. And to be kind and to help others who are in distress.

So this non-conformist attitude came from the example of my upbringing. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been wired that way — and it definitely carries through to my work today.

Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photo Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ The Dalai Lama

Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photo Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ The Dalai Lama

When a client said to me, “My publisher wants to put out a press release that doesn’t accurately represent my work and the content of my book and I don’t feel right about it, but don’t feel like I can say anything. After all, they know best.” I told my client, “Don’t go against your own moral compass. Let’s come up with a new strategy and present it to them.” That’s what we did and it was readily accepted.

Or when another client said to me, “A sales expert told me I had to use his coaching model to get clients, but those aren’t the people I really want to work with,” I told my client, “Then stop that. We can find another way that reaches the people you resonate with.” I helped her get her first $10,000 client for a new program we devised. She was elated and said, “You turned my world upside down. What you have really opened my eyes to is another level of living. One to which I have aspired, but my only model was ‘become a guru.’  (shudder) Not only are you helping me, you are modeling a way of thinking that uplifts my spirit.”

When I see someone doing something that’s painful, unethical, ineffective, or that just “doesn’t feel right” for whatever reason, I urge them to speak up. I urge them to stop. I urge them to trust their instincts, rather than blindly trusting “The Man in the White Coat.”

Your “speaking up” story can be anything you want. Stopping a person from beating their dog. Telling a teacher that you DO in fact have singing skills. A time when you spoke up in a meeting and suggested something totally opposite to the common group think.

Speak up for what is right

Speak up for what is right

By speaking up and choosing to behave differently than your peers, you could transform your industry, change your customer’s lives, or (who knows?) even save someone’s life.

When you feel the urge to speak up or defy the “orders” you’ve been given, do it.

With very, very few exceptions, you will not regret it.

Can you think of a time when you spoke up and it changed your life or someone else’s life? I want to hear your story.

Here’s how to share:

  • Head over to Instagram (download the app here to sign up if you don’t already have an account).

  • Once you’re logged into Instagram, follow me and then post a photo plus some text. For the text, briefly tell a story about a time in your life when you chose to speak up—where you were, what you said, and what happened next.

  • Include this hashtag somewhere in your text: #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and tag me @susanharrow

  • Guidelines: please keep your story brief. 250 words or less. Think: “sound bite sized.” Also, please keep your story G-rated and appropriate for kids and teens to read. Extra credit for concise stories!

  • Please do your Instagram post by November 24 and encourage friends to participate, too!

  • Not on Instagram? No problem. Do the same thing on Facebook. Please “like” my page and remember to use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and to tag me @susanharrow.

Prizes!

Prizes for everyone

Every single person who shares a story on Instagram or Facebook receives my E-book Girl On Fire—which shows you how to speak up in 10 of life’s trickiest scenarios—just for participating!

Here’s how to get that prize (and be entered in the contest for the grand prize):

Go to Instagram or Facebook.

  1. On Instagram follow me and then tag EITHER the photo OR the text using @susanharrow.
  2. Post your story and image. NOTE: Make sure that you own the rights to the image or have creative commons commercial use rights. All submissions must have an image as well as text. Need some photo inspiration? Go here.
  3. Use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp.
  4. Tag me: @susanharrow.
  5. Go here to download your prize!
  6. I’ll announce the grand prize winner on December 9! (I hope it’s you!)

(Note: this is purely an “honor system” situation. No big hoops to jump through. If you posted a story, then go ahead and get your prize! It’s yours for the taking. Enjoy.)

Grand prize for one person 

I will also select one story—the one that I feel is the most poignant or had the most impact—and that storyteller will receive the grand prize: My 6 month mentorship program to get prepared for publicity for or to launch your publicity program (Worth $11,500). I’ll announce the grand prize winner on my Instagram account and my Facebook Page on December 9. (Follow me on Instagram at @susanharrow and on Facebook to stay in the loop!)

This will be so fun and inspiring!

Whether you have a story about a huge, life-altering moment—or a small, quiet, everyday act of bravery—I want to see how you decided to speak up.

 

Small print: 

In submitting a photo and story (The Work) you give memy publisher, and its licensees and assigns permission to use any and/or all of the material from your post including the photo in all editions and derivations of The Work throughout the World, in all languages and all media, whether now known or hereinafter devised, and in the advertising, publicity, and promotion thereof. Proper credit will be attributed to you in The Work.

 

In submitting a story with an image/photograph you grant the permission requested above and warrant that the material indicated below does not infringe upon the copyright or other rights of anyone. If you do not control the rights requested by this post in their entirety, please provide me with the name and address of any other party from whom permission is required.

 

I cannot wait to see your story. Whether it’s a story about a gigantic act of courage — or a small, everyday act of bravery — it all counts and it’s all amazing.

This blog post was inspired by a lovely & very popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It’s delightful. You should read it. 

Speak your mind. Stand your ground. Sing your song™.


The Life Changing Magic of Speaking Up – A Story Contest

Share your story & get a prize! For…

The Life Changing Magic of Speaking Up™

Can you think of a time when you spoke up and it changed your life — or someone else’s life — for the better?

Maybe you saw a classmate bullying someone on the schoolyard and you spoke up and said, “Back off!”

Maybe you witnessed harm being done to a child or animal and intervened.

Maybe a colleague made a bigoted or sexist comment and you objected or said, “You need to apologize. That’s not OK.”

Maybe you had a “funny gut feeling” to call, visit or email a friend, parent, sibling, or client at a particular moment and your message changed the course of their day — or life.

Maybe you asked for a pay raise, a promotion, a new project, or an opportunity that you wanted—and you got it.

Maybe you bravely got onstage—or published a blog post—to share a true story from your own life and it led to a beautiful opportunity, inspired your audience to take action, or shifted your whole year in an unexpected way.

When you speak up—honestly, courageously, straight from the heart—your words can unlock incredible opportunities, open people’s eyes, help to correct wrongdoings, biases, and misconceptions, and make the world a better place.

The life-changing magic of speaking up contest

The life-changing magic of speaking up contest

Speaking up is magical.

I love hearing stories about people who have chosen to speak up—what they did, what they said, and what happened next—and I want to hear your story. 

To reward you for sharing your story, I’m turning this into a CONTEST with a delicious prize for EVERYONE who participates! (Hooray!)

Here’s how it works:

  • Head over to Instagram (download the app here to sign up if you don’t already have an account).
  • Once you’re logged into Instagram, follow me and then post a photo plus some text on your feed. For the text, briefly tell a story about a time in your life when you chose to speak up—where you were, what you said, and what happened next.
  • Include this hashtag somewhere in your text: #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and tag me @susanharrow
  • Guidelines: please keep your story brief. 250 words or less. Think: “sound bite sized.” Also, please keep your story G-rated and appropriate for kids and teens to read. Extra credit for concise stories!
  • Please do your Instagram post by November 24 and encourage friends to participate, too!
  • Not on Instagram? No problem. Do the same thing on Facebook. Please “like” my page and remember to use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and to tag me @susanharrow.

Prizes!

Prizes for everyone

Every single person who shares a story on Instagram or Facebook receives my E-book Girl On Fire—which shows you how to speak up in 10 of life’s trickiest scenarios—just for participating!

Here’s how to get that prize (and be entered in the contest for the grand prize):

Go to Instagram or Facebook.

  1. On Instagram follow me and tag EITHER the photo OR the text using @susanharrow.
  2. Post your story and image. NOTE: Make sure that you own the rights to the image or have creative commons commercial use rights. All submissions must have an image as well as text. Need some photo inspiration? Go here.
  3. Use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp.
  4. Tag me: @susanharrow.
  5. Go here to download your prize!
  6. I’ll announce the grand prize winner on December 9! (I hope it’s you!)

(Note: this is purely an “honor system” situation. No big hoops to jump through. If you posted a story, then go ahead and get your prize! It’s yours for the taking. Enjoy.)

design

Grand prize for one person 

I will also select one story—the one that I feel is the most poignant or had the most impact—and that storyteller will receive the grand prize: My 6 month mentorship program to get prepared for publicity for or to launch your publicity program (Worth $11,500). I’ll announce the grand prize winner on my Instagram account and my Facebook Page on December 9. (Follow me on Instagram at @susanharrow and on Facebook to stay in the loop!)

This will be so fun and inspiring!

Whether you have a story about a huge, life-altering moment—or a small, quiet, everyday act of bravery—I want to see how you decided to speak up.

I can’t wait to see your story!

This contest was inspired by a lovely and very popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You can buy the book here. 

Small print: 

In submitting a photo and story (The Work) you give me, my publisher, and its licensees and assigns permission to use any and/or all of the material from your post including the photo in all editions and derivations of The Work throughout the World, in all languages and all media, whether now known or hereinafter devised, and in the advertising, publicity, and promotion thereof. Proper credit will be attributed to you in The Work.

 

In submitting a story with an image/photograph you grant the permission requested above and warrant that the material indicated below does not infringe upon the copyright or other rights of anyone. If you do not control the rights requested by this post in their entirety, please provide me with the name and address of any other party from whom permission is required.

The $20K Facebook Post

By Nancy Marmolejo

I was chatting with my colleague Nancy Marmolejo about how she was getting so much traction of Facebook. If you offer high-ticket programs or services this is something you’ll want to consider as it’s a “new” and innovative Facebook Marketing strategy. I’m just going to copy the post here with a few of my edits… read it… then if you want to reach out directly to Nancy to talk to her about this, simply go here.

Facebook Marketing with Nancy Marmolejo

Facebook Marketing with Nancy Marmolejo

The public is on to you. They’re sensing something isn’t entirely real when you post in social media. It’s all gotten SO contrived. Your carefully crafted photos, status updates, and strategically planned posts — come across like you phoned them in. It’s not the real you. And people see that. I see that. We all see that…we’re not buying it…literally.

Simply put, these overly “airbrushed” posts is not the kind of engagement that results in revenue.

Look, let me share this with you. Do you know what it’s like to post something that speaks from the heart and then have someone — a total stranger who isn’t even on your list — hire you for $20K? I do. It’s awesome. Sure beats doing a launch, paying JV partners or forking out thousands of dollars for Facebook ads.

Have people ever private messaged you asking how they can work with you?

And I’m not talking low level work, but high-level, high priced work that’s gratifying and profitable and amazing.

People who are ready to take action and don’t want to jump through your funnel to get to you. They want you NOW. 

What if posting about your dog on Facebook could fill your programs? That resulted in getting a bunch of newclients just for talking about something you love? Or what if sharing about your favorite juice bar could get a person to invest in your highest level offer?

No selling. No posing. No B.S. Just you being you. All while you’re still “on brand” and authentic.

Welcome to the world of real engagement… that converts.

For close to a decade, social media has been “my thing” to get clients.

People have been asking me for YEARS how I have successfully mastered social media engagement and Facebook marketing. “How do you get all these comments on your posts? How did you get so-and-so in on that conversation? How come you get clients — high-end ones — from social media and I don’t?”

What if Posting About Your Dog on Facebook Could Fill Your Programs?

What if Posting About Your Dog on Facebook Could Fill Your Programs?

For example, one woman, who regularly signs up 5 figure clients into her high-end program, put out a video to invite people to it. But it got zero traction. No engagement. No one watching it. Once I worked with her to change the wording in the Facebook post her engagement went wild! She has over 1000 views and counting and has converted a number of her ideal clients into her program.

It’s an ART. But like any art form, it can be taught. What’s cool is it will become YOUR art. Your voice. Your magic.

I can teach you how. But I want to do it right, so here’s how it’ll get YOU the best results.

I’m inviting 10 people to do this with me. I will teach exactly what I do, why I do it, how I do it, and how to customize it to YOU so you find your irresistible social media voice. (Hint: you don’t have to be anyone but yourself to do this. But you can’t see yourself the way I see you… that’s why mentoring for this is so important!)

Tell me why this would be valuable to you. I’m offering a small number of free consults to anyone interested in doing this work with me. Tell me about your challenges and what you’d love to see happen here.

Nancy Marmolejo has been in business since 2003,and has won numerous awards in business innovation and achievement, been featured in 5 books (and counting!), has over 100 media credits to her name, and maintains a great reputation in her industry as a thought leader. Her own Talent and Genius draw from a fascinating upbringing in a family business, a first career as an inner city school teacher, and an insatiable curiosity that drives her. She’s a genius at finding yours.


Snap. Post. Kaching: 4 Ways to Get Engagement and Sales on Instagram

Guest post by Melissa Camilleri

As long as you haven’t been living under a rock the past couple years, you’ll know that Instagram should be a key component to your online marketing strategy, especially as a service-based business, where the competition often believes Instagram will not work for them. Newsflash: it can and it will. With over 300 million+ active users, it’s pretty certain your people are on Instagram. So, it behooves you to show up there, too.

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Likely, you already have a presence on Instagram. If you’re anything like I was when I first started using the platform, your growth has been slow going and your reach not quite multiplying in the way you see it happening for other businesses. It’s frustrating to be in this space. In fact, I know that feeling well.

It took me one full year to grow my following on Instagram to 1000. But I was determined and focused. I observed and took action. I put in place some key strategies that took my Instagram (@shopcompliment) from 1000 to 17,000 the following year. These days, I’m adding an average of 1500 new followers per month and get 70% of my website traffic and conversions from Instagram. I’m selling multiple five-figures month after month, and my Instagram strategy is a large part of that.

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.00.35 AMI have no special photography or tech training under my belt. Just sheer will + an iPhone + a pretty good sense about people. There are some key things you can do to make sure your efforts on Instagram are giving you a solid ROI for your time– no matter your business model.

Here are my Instagram marketing tips –  four things you can start doing today to give you the foundation to start actually making money on Instagram:

1. Show up consistently.

It is essential that if you have an Instagram account, you are posting at least once a day to maintain a part of the conversation. Posting consistently will keep you top of mind in your customer’s heads. Did you know that studies show that a potential customer has to interact with a brand a minimum of 7 times before ever taking action? The more you post, the quicker this will happen. I do suggest posting no more than 3 times per day, with your posts at least 3-4 hours between posts. Anything more frequent will just clog your followers’ feeds and get annoying.

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2. Get social.

Interact with the people who comment on your photos. @Mention them back. Ask them questions. Share your gratitude. And don’t be afraid to leave comments on other people’s pictures, too. Be generous with your likes. Follow back people who are consistently interacting with you. It’s called a social network for a reason! Let people get to know you, and seek ways to get to know your followers.

3. Post with your ideal customer in mind.

What does she like about your brand? What is on her mind at the time of the day you’re posting? What does she talk about with her friends? Where is she when she buys from you? What are her dreams? What are her problems and how does your product solve them? When you write the captions of your photos, keep her in mind. Write directly to her. You’ll find that your engagement will grow authentically with people who are excited about what you’re putting out into the world.

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4. Understand that your numbers are less important than engagement.

Don’t get me wrong, the number of followers you have is definitely important. Followers act like little votes of confidence and give your brand credibility. And because people do what they see other people do, the more followers you have, the more followers you will get.

But, what good is a bunch of followers who don’t ever book your services? (I’ll give you a hint: NO GOOD AT ALL.) Numbers aren’t everything. Authentic engagement is what matters most. You build engagement by building relationships. By putting some key strategies into place (like the ones listed above), you can make sure that you are building trust and turning the followers you do have into raving fans and eventual customers.

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.58.30 AM
Melissa Camilleri is the Founder + Creative Director of Compliment– a gift brand she launched in 2011 while she was a full-time high school English and AVID teacher. She credits Instagram for helping her grow her business from a production line on her dining room table to the socially-responsible corporation it is now. At the urging of her business-owner friends who wanted to replicate her marketing success. Tens of thousands have attended her virtual courses, participated in her workshops, and studied under her guidance. She believes we rise by lifting others. She lives and loves in Northern California.

Say hello to Melissa on Instagram @shopcompliment.

Want more ways to leverage Instagram for your service or product-based business?

Register now for FREE webinar with Melissa Camilleri


3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

 

Social Media Tips

Social Media Tips
Photo by: deapeajay

Sometimes I’m totally obsessed with pinning, tweeting, and blogging. Then I catch myself….Whhhhaaaaat am I doing? This isn’t work.

Or is it?

Dunno. I go back and forth.

Is sharing this pic good for my brand because I think it’s funny—or cute?

Maybe.

Some things to think about BEFORE you post something on social media.

1. Does this link really represent a great article that will help my further my business or brand?

I admit I ALWAYS click through and read any article before I share because some people are fabulous at writing headlines/titles, but don’t deliver on content. Are you curating your content closely to make sure that you don’t send something that is potentially offensive or worthless? Don’t be in a super hurry to promote things just because others think it’s great. I’m not always of the same opinion.

3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

Best times for social media posts
Photo by: Fey Illyas

2. Should I schedule my posts during optimal times?

Sometimes. I have discovered that, though our Sprout Social app may tell us the best times to tweet and post to Facebook, it doesn’t always predict who is online in the wee hours. I’ve had tons of favorites and retweets when I’m skimming for content ideas on those nights I can’t sleep.

Surprised? Yes, so was I. So don’t always believe the stats as when your tribe is or isn’t tweeting or Facebooking. Learn from your own experience. Those tools are great, but they aren’t God. They are algorithms, not people. The only way to find out what’s piquing your tribe is to choose things that please you or have already piqued others. (Though, neither is a guarantee). Lady luck plays a huge part in viralocity. As does timing and the tenor of the times.

3. Should I hire a social media manager?

Depends…

You want a social media manager who understands you and your brand and can sift through content quickly and make recommendations for posts, articles, pics and respond to people in your network in your voice. Sometimes this takes a bit of training – once you have the right person in that role.

Most of the time I leave all the social media stuff up to my social media manager Kayli Schattner to help me choose and post things I think you would like and share. That said, I send her things i want her to schedule AND I still want to approve most of the content before it gets posted. My VA Kelly has chastised me about this, saying it’s a waste of my precious time. But I’m super particular about my reputation. So that’s your own personal call.

For example, if someone makes a request that Kayli doesn’t know how to answer or feels uncomfortable answering, she’ll jet me and email so I can write up a response. We’ve created a bank of responses for the most frequently asked questions that she can tailor them to any request. That way I ensure that my followers are being handled in the way that matches my conversational style and integrity. And it saves a ton of time for all of us.

And, you’re in for a treat because…

Kayli has a few openings for a new client.

3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

Social Media Marketing

Kayli is the most positive and optimistic person I know. She is always willing to help—and will tell you honestly when she doesn’t know something —or what doesn’t suit her strengths. I depend on her to handle all my social media and the administration of my blog. She’s a gem. Best to be fast. I scooped her up within an hour of interviewing her as she shined far above all the other candidates.

Here’s what she’s looking for:

Are you a creative entrepreneur or blogger looking to refine your web presence and generate leads through the power of social media? Find yourself craving more time to focus on what makes your soul happy rather than community building and small-talk? Social Media Strategist and Web Presence Consultant, Kayli Schattner, is taking on a couple of extra clients and would love to discuss how she can help you and your business. If you’d like a creative, upbeat and dedicated Social Media Manager for your business, be sure to jet her an email at: hello@thepassionpunch.com to discuss strategy and pricing.

Interested in more tips for social media? Try these: