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Friday, October 30, 2015

The #1 Reason Why Visual Social Platforms Aren't Working for Your Service-Based Biz



Tomorrow's Halloween and I'm sure you're taking family photos in your costumes, eating obscene amounts of peanut butter cups and not thinking at all about your online business. (Or you're like me and hustlin' at a coffee shop before going out.)

Either way, hi. This is your Business Conscience calling. And I am here to tell you that YOU CAN'T FLOOD YOUR FEEDS WITH HALLOWEEN PIX.

That statement may make you hate me, which is fine. I'm not here to be nice (anymore). I don't do that ish. I've learned that being nice gets me and my readers/clients/friends nowhere. Being kind yet direct and truthful is good.

Here's the thing: If you have an online business, you need to make your social media accounts about your business. Even (and especially) Pinterest and Instagram. This is an epiphany that I didn't have until quite recently, when I looked at my grid and was like, no one will know what I do online by seeing this.

Pinterest and Instagram are marketing tools for your business, just like Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, newsletters, and your blog. So, why are you not treating them like parts of your business?

Sure, it's fun to pin cute outfits, delicious-looking desserts, fitness tips, and babies, but do any of these things have to do with your business? Are you a fashion model, a personal chef, a health coach, or a mommy blogger? If not, keep those other things on secret boards and focus on what makes sense for your business.

You need to be pinning and 'gramming photos that your potential clients and readers will be interested in. Otherwise, they will get to your blog/website and be confused as hell. Plus, if you're a social media strategist and your social networks don't make sense, how can anyone trust you to strategize their own channels?

Totally not trying to be a Scrooge here (or Dracula, if that's more appropriate for the time of year) but I agree with Caitlin Bacher when she said 'your customers care about your business story, not your personal story' and Melissa Camilleri when she wrote 'if you're not making money on Instagram, you're doing it wrong'.

And, yeah, I did have Pinterest and Instagram at the bottom of my favorite networks a couple months ago, but things change and people change and this is the season of CHANGE! So embrace it!

What I'm trying to say is, you need to be branding social media like your blog. If your blog's Pinterest and Instagram accounts are not in alignment with your business goals, then that's the #1 reason why they're not working for you. These tools should be attracting clients.

Today, I'm going to explain 5 ways to do that on IG (with pretty examples, duh).




1. SHOW WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS

I love, love LOVE seeing where other people work. I don't know why. I guess I'm just nosy. But my favorite feeds are full of desks and office spaces. Lauren Hooker of Elle and Company is a total pro at this. Her whole grid is pretty much filled with photos that are taken in the same room, but each one is different. I don't know how she does it, but I love that her blog and Instagram are so aesthetically pleasing and airy. Her images are so clean and simple, they make me want to reorganize my drawers.



2. OFFER EXTRA TIPS

Truth be told, I used to be really weird about keeping all of my content on my blog. Like, I used social media as a fun place to connect with my audience but that's IT. I didn't want to offer any advice or tips anywhere else but my blog. I guess I was worried that no one would ever come over if I gave away anything elsewhere. But no one's gonna visit your house if they don't know how much you have to offer, you know? Melyssa of The Nectar Collective is always giving away value on her Instagram feed and it only makes her readers want to visit MORE. Get over yourself and just do it.



3. KEEP THE THEME GOING

Again, think about what your blog is about, and then show those things on Instagram. Justina Blakeney's blog, The Jungalow, is all about jungle-y home decor. I've never used 'jungle-y' in a sentence before, but it makes sense here. If you visit her blog, you'll understand what I mean. And her Instagram reflects that same stuff she offers at her site: fancy rugs, pretty plants, colorful table settings. Her adorable daughter Ida makes regular appearances, but her feed isn't just about her family. She's figured out how to portray a healthy mix of business and personal, so it's no wonder she boasts over 140k followers. (I've also had the pleasure of meeting her in person -- we both live in the LA area -- and she's just as genuine as you'd think.)



4. USE THE SAME FILTER

Pick a filter you love and stick with it. I've gone through phases, but right now I like Mellow by VSCO and I use it on every photo. Ashlee Gadd is the best at keeping her photos looking similar, yet different. I'm not sure which filter she uses, but it's always easy to tell which photos are hers when scrolling through. The secret to standing out is making sure that you are consistent, but not boring. Ashlee is the founder of a collaborative blog for moms, and she's a family photographer -- so it makes sense that her photos are so personal. (PS: Keeping your feed in line with your business doesn't mean pretending to be someone you're not; it simply means that you're not featuring the parts of you that your clients wouldn't benefit from.)



5. REVEAL BEHIND-THE-SCENES PEEKS

Mattie James is my favorite fashion blogger to follow because she doesn't just show what's on her blog; she also shares outtakes from photoshoots, projects she's planning, and business trip happenings. Even though your 'grams should be in alignment with your business, you can't just show the same photos that your blog features (otherwise, there's no point in having both!).





By the way, if you weren't at our bimonthly #liveloudly chat on Wednesday, this is what you missed. Be sure to get on the VIP list to be notified of the next one! We always learn a ton and meet new people (two super important things in biz). Sign up here.
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