How to Grow Your Instagram & Build Your Brand
Everyone knows that Instagram is a huge platform that has grown well beyond a simple social media platform for interacting with friends. Like Facebook (which acquired the platform in 2012) it has become a global marketing giant for both celebrities, small businesses, and large corporations. Facebook took the initiative and helped grow Instagram into 77.6 million active users and allowing cross-posting with its own 1.74 billion users, thus tripling Instagram’s reach. The platform is now a necessity for growing a brand and has even created its own set of celebrities that promote both their own- and third-party products.
Bearing all that in mind, one must jump on the platform to tap into a huge market and slew of potential customers, but how does one grow the following you need to sell your product or service?
Find a Niche
A niche is important to any Instagram Influencer. You want to be known for something, is it fitness/nutrition, entrepreneurship, small business, brand building, or even drama? All these categories are wide and diverse, but certainly not the end all. You must decide whether is a product, service, or even just yourself you are promoting. Once that decision is made, choose your category or niches and concentrate on it.
Follow Accounts Within Your Niche
This allows users to follow back and start seeing your content. This is the easiest way to get people to start following you, so follow more accounts! You can find people in your niche by searching related hashtags or just for the same type of or similar product or service that you offer or ones that promote the same ideas. For example, an aspiring drama comedian might follow Tania Mongeau, a motivational speaker might follow Tony Robbins, and an aspiring entrepreneur might follow Gary Vaynerchuk, Alex Beckman, Roberto Blake, or Barbara Corchran.
Unfollow any accounts that are inactive. Do not follow back profiles who do not follow back or are not actively posting or commenting on others. Dead accounts or those who do not replicate your support do not deserve your time or attention, so use an app like Cleaner to unfollow these people.
Post on a Consistent Schedule
At least once a week. Posting once a week will allow you to have consistency on your profile which is great for getting discovered and will help move you up on the complicated algorithm that all social media platforms use. Staying consistent, current, and relevant is key on all social media. In a recent study, it was found that the algorithm on YouTube (and probably all social media) favored accounts that post daily or several times a week, it is not recommended that you “spam” your followers but staying in their eye with quality content is important.
Post Quality Content
Quality content allows users to engage with more of your posts. Posting high-quality images will help your Instagram grow organically through more likes and follows. Do not post things like screenshots or random photos from your camera roll, but instead take relevant and pleasing photos that relate to your message or product. Think of Instagram as your “coffee table book”, where the pictures tell your story.
Engage with People
When people follow you, DM them and thank them! This shows you care and are willing to put the time in to thank them for something so simple. Comment and like people’s posts in your niche and watch your follower count skyrocket. Remember when we said unfollow dead accounts that do not replicate your efforts, DON’T BE ONE OF THESE DEAD ACCOUNTS toward others. This is true not just on Instagram, but on all social media platforms. Get on Facebook, Twitter, Quora, YouTube, and Reddit, find those related to your message and get active on their pages. Respond, make videos, answer questions (Quora) and all the while mentioning where they can find you. A disclaimer here, make sure your responses to other influencers are helpful and professional, showing respect to the other influencer, never hateful or aggressive.
Post More Stories
Become the product that people want and show people what you’re doing in your life. Make Instagram your personal story time and use it to show how you progress over time in making yourself and your business better. Also, stay real in that you not only talk about success but your failures, as well. This makes you relatable to others and by showing how you fixed the issues validates you as an expert in your niche.
Meet People and Share Your Instagram
Talking to people in real life is one of the best ways to meet new people and get new followers. Always have a “conversational pitch” ready and talk about your product, brand, or service in every interaction possible. Whether you are in an elevator, in line for coffee, or playing sports be ready to share your message. In addition, take the time to visit your local area and get involved! Go to local trade shows, Chamber of Commerce Mixers, and even city and student council meetings, where you can meet the local movers and shakers that can help get the word out on and may even have a need for what you are promoting. Another great method is to offer to speak at some of these events, even if you are not a great public speaker you can put together a few minutes on your niche. The key is to give accurate information that will be useful to those listening and you instantly become a sought-after expert in that area.
This is a non-exhaustive list of ways to grow your Instagram following and your brand in general. In the end, it takes consistency, time, and daily activity to stay in the public view and to catch the fickle eye of the public. Perception does equal reality in today’s social media world, so make sure your Instagram and your life as appealing as possible. For a video breakdown of these points visit my YouTube channel here!
Quora: How to Use Quora to Build a Brand in 2019 (Guide)
Quora is a cool place where someone can ask just about anything, and if you do it right, you can set yourself up as an expert in many areas. It is the “Wikipedia” of social media, and the key is to use targeted words to not only highlighted your page on Quora but also find questions you can answer.
The site is a continually growing user-generated collection of questions and answers. All the questions and answers are created, edited, and organized by the people who use them. While many people use Quora as a resource for research, information, and general interest, some use Quora to add to and build their social network.
There are many well-established questions and answer sites, but Quora differs from its predecessors in three main ways:
- Quora puts a heavy emphasis on the quality of issues.
- It allows users to vote on answers and encourages accountability amongst users.
- Quora allows users to follow topics that interest them.
Like Reddit, Quora has an “upvote” “downvote” feature. This feature is an essential part of Quora’s operating system. By voting an answer as good – an upvote – or poor – a downvote – it lets users filter answers, allowing the most useful answers to be ranked at the top. This also helps to determine thought leaders and set the pace for the most listened to experts on the platform.
- You can set up on Quora, just like LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
- You can search for specific questions or topics related to your business and follow these to receive notifications of new questions.
Recent estimates show that nearly 775,000 people access Quora each month in North America alone, which is a significant audience of curious knowledge-seekers. In addition Marketing on Quora can gain you:
- Exposure to Quora’s 700,000+ monthly visitors.
- Build expertise and authority on your chosen topic.
- Learn from others—users, customers, industry experts.
- Answer questions about and suggest your product to askers.
- Find out the questions people are asking about your product, niche or industry.
If you’re representing your company, or, maybe, you’re an expert on a subject and industry, but either way, you’d like to establish yourself as a thought leader on Quora. While answers are usually upvoted and downvoted democratically, once you’re beyond the initial phase, there are some steps you can take to improve the quality of your answers and optimize upvotes.
While quantity isn’t quality, of course, the longer responses more engaged answers tend to fare better on Quora because they provide a more thorough answer to a question. This doesn’t mean you should pad your answer, but taking the time to really engage with a subject will likely benefit you. A second great way to improve the quality of your answers on Quora is through sourcing.
Sources add credibility to your answers. Remember, some of the people posting answers are top tier professionals; to compete with their responses, it’s important to be as thorough as possible. Providing links to external sources will strengthen answers significantly.
How to Create the Optimal Quora Profile
Remember that every time you leave an answer, a bit of your bio is viewable right at the top, which is a great opportunity to extend a little branding and marketing.
Quora shows the first 50 characters of your profile (your name and bio) as a tagline above your answer. Remember to mention your brand name as close to the beginning as you can and make the most of the allowed 50 characters. In addition, you can mention your social media expertise when answering social media questions and your engineering expertise when answering questions about development or engineering, for example.
To set up an optimal bio:
- Click on your profile page. In the right column, you’ll see a list of “Knows About” topics. Next to each topic is a link to “Describe your experience.” Clicking here will let you set the topic-specific bio.
Now go ahead and complete your Quora profile using as many sections as you can.
- A detailed About Me section.
- Add areas of expertise.
- Include interests.
- Your cities.
- Schools & colleges you’ve attended.
- Previous companies.
- Connect your other social media accounts.
Find the Best Questions to Answer
Here is a strategic way to answer questions:
- Search for your chosen topic. This will narrow down the questions significantly.
- Choose a topic that fits your business
- Find threads with lots of upvotes.
- Find new questions.
Answer a Question With Authority
The best Quora answers are those that provide statistics, sources, and references and are passionate about the topic. Once you’ve written “good and short” answers, you can add a link to what you’ve referenced, which is particularly great if the info is available in long-form on your blog or website.
Re-Answer Questions You Answered On Your Blog
This is called repurposing content and help make your blog posts and articles provide value long after they’ve published. Search your blog posts, reference them to Quora questions, dig out the questions that you’ve answered, and go find these questions on Quora. Then simply share your answers to the Quora questions, linking back to the blog post for complete details.
Build a Quora Page for Your Business
You can create a page on Quora about anything and this makes for a great chance to build a company page for your business.
Start by searching for your business’s name in Quora, click the “Add Question” box and click “Create Topic. “Once your topic is live, you can request for the Quora community to review the topic. This is particularly helpful for people wondering if they should invest in a subscription to a service or otherwise get involved with a company. For you, it’s a great way to add a bit of social proof and testimonials to your brand’s presence on Quora.
Get Quick & Easy Crowdsourced Content
The idea of crowdsourced content follows the idea of how to ask people their opinion on a topic and collect all their answers into an article. You can ask for stories or experiences that people have had
Great examples of questions like these include:
- What is a good social media marketing plan?
- How do I get more subscribers?
- What is the best email marketing blog?
Make sure your question is unique and categorized correctly. This will help the right people find it and then invite certain Quora users to answer the question. You’ll see this option after you’ve posted your question to Quora. Finally, do headline research by typing your keywords into a Google or Bing and reference the autocomplete functions. This is a great way to learn how people ask things and word yours the same with Quora.
Find High Volume Topics That Don’t Have a Single “Big” Keyword
The best SEOs know that the volume for any single keyword is only a fraction of the total volume for a keyword theme. Generally, traditional keyword research looks for the big, high traffic keyword and uses that to explore the rest of the topic. This approach assumes that searchers generally all search in the same way. The thing is searchers use all sorts of queries to describe a complicated topic, so that topic may have a super-high search volume but will remain hidden. Quora can help you find these popular topics to use on or off the platform.
Steps to find Popular topics on Quora:
- start with the Most Viewed Writers Page
- look at the Top 5 questions in that Topic
- Look the most trafficked questions of the top writers.
- Gear your answers to these findings
Explore Top Pages in Links, Shares & Growth
Quora not only has a lot of user-generated content, but it also allows its content to be indexed by Google. And so Quora itself generates a ton of organic traffic. In fact, many of its pages rank for some of the most competitive terms on the internet.
Use Quora in General to Find High Relevance / Volume Terms
You can also use Quora to reverse-engineer extremely high traffic keywords. So instead of looking for relevant keywords for your website, you can use Quora to find what keywords represent an opportunity to target and use those in your site or blog.
Doing these small things can help you use this growing platform for building your brand and reaching some people, not on Twitter or Instagram.
When it comes to new ways to make money online, a lot of people do not know about the possibility of selling stock photos. Stock photos are photos that are available to download either for free or by purchasing them online. This allows creators to use your photo for things like their business, social media, website, and much more.
Photographers and freelancers can make a killing by selling their stock photos online. At first, you may struggle to get people to download your photos, but as you improve you can see your revenue skyrocket.
How Do I Sell Stock Photos?
If you would like to sell stock photos, you will first need to either take photos or use photos you already have. Make sure that this is your content and that you have permission to sell this photo, or you can face legal trouble.
Create a Plan to Sell Stock Photos
If you do not have any photos yet, it is a good idea to figure out a plan for yourself. What type of stock photos do you want to sell? Nature, landscape, business, black and white, the possibilities are unlimited!
Take Some Stock Photos
After you have an idea of what you would like to sell, you need to go out and take high-quality, professional photos that are worthy of being sold. The higher the quality of your images, the more likely that they will generate you revenue.
Edit Your Stock Photos
You can even edit your photos using your smartphone by finding an application on the App Store. This is not a bad way to go if you do not want to pay for editing software.
Create an Account With Shutterstock
Shutterstock is a service that allows people to buy and sell stock photos on the internet. You will be able to sign up for a contributor account and begin selling your photos immediately. Provide your name, address, email, and select a payout method and get started!
Upload Your Stock Photos
Once you have some photos you would like to upload, proceed to upload them. Shutterstock will take a few days to review your photos, but once they are online, you will be able to generate revenue from them.
Promote Your Portfolio
A good thing to do once your photos are live is to begin promoting your portfolio. Your portfolio is the center of all your images and will be used to display all the images you upload. It is a good idea to try to drive as much traffic as possible to your portfolio to drive more sales.
A few ways to do drive more traffic to your portfolio are the following:
If you do not have social media already, it is a good idea to get on now. You will want to begin creating free and original content in order to generate a following. Once you have a following, promote your Shutterstock portfolio.
You can do this by uploading snippets of your stock photos with a watermark to prevent people from stealing it. Once you have the image displayed, link the Shutterstock link to drive traffic.
If you have a website, it is a good idea to use this as a platform to promote your Shutterstock portfolio. Add a link to your portfolio, and let your traffic hopefully convert into downloads.
You may even want to add a separate portfolio page on your website that displays each image you have available on Shutterstock. Making it as convenient as possible for people to see your images is the key.
Since you are in the business of selling stock photos, why not put a link to your portfolio on your business cards? It is a great way to start getting people to view your images and possibly download them.
A lot of people nowadays have an email list, so use this to drive traffic to your portfolio. Email marketing is an effective way to convert impressions, so why not? Maybe create a weekly email showcasing all your new photos.
If you have a passion for photography, why not sell stock photos? It is a great way to use your passion to earn extra income in 2019.
The important thing is to be consistent about it. Try to have a consistent stream of new high-quality images being uploaded on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. If you can get 50-100 new photos uploaded a month, you shouldn’t have an issue turning this into a side-hustle.
Twitter Optimization: How to Improve Your Twitter in 24 Hours (Or Less)
How Do I Improve My Twitter Account in 24 Hours?
Twitter is a social network that in the first quarter of 2019 reported having 68 million monthly active Twitter users. Having this many monthly active users is massive. If you are interested in personal branding or growing your business, Twitter cannot be ignored.
We now know that Twitter is not a social platform that can be taken lightly. You might ask, where should I start? The first thing I recommend is that if you do not have a personal Twitter account or one for your business, sign up right away. It is important to utilize this platform for consistent growth.
For this reason, I decided to create this article that will give you tips on how to improve your Twitter account in less than 24 hours.
Step 1. Optimize Your Twitter Handle
Your Twitter handle is the first place you should look if you are trying to improve your Twitter account. Your handle is the wording after the @ symbol on someone’s bio. It is how your account is identified on Twitter.
I recommend for both a personal and business Twitter account trying to get your exact name as your handle. My handle is @JohnTocci which identifies my first and last name on my handle. If your first and last name is taken, try adding your middle initial, or using some other variation.
For a business, try to get your exact name also. If it is taken, maybe adding something like “LLC” or “corp” after your name will not be taken.
Step 2. Optimize Your Twitter Profile Photo
If you do not already have a profile photo for your account, you should invest in taking a professional high-quality photo. Tons of local photographers would be willing to do this for you, and it will add a lot of value to your profile.
Having a profile photo is extremely important in building a personal relationship with your target audience. Taking a clean, professional photo will make you stand out. My current profile photo on my personal Twitter is shown below. You can see that it is colorful, professional, and also shows what I look like.
All of this allows me to build a stronger connection with the people I am trying to get to follow me.
If the account you are trying to market is a business, use your company’s logo. It is important for building your brand and getting people to associate your logo with your company.
Without a profile photo, your business will struggle to get growth on social media. It is crucial to get a profile photo ASAP.
Step 3. Optimize Your Twitter Banner
Your Twitter banner is a 1500x500px image that can be used for a variety of purposes. The important part of your banner is to also link to your other social media to cross-post your content.
I recommend doing the following based on the type of account:
If it is a personal account, I recommend using a few different types of banners depending on your strategy.
If you are a photographer, I would suggest using either a picture of you holding a camera photoshopped into one of your photos.
Businessman and finance professionals can use a wide-angle photo of them sitting in a desk with a client, or something else. If they specialize in the stock market, they might want to create something that includes stock symbols.
Showing a professional photo of you with your name photoshopped onto the banner would be an excellent strategy for celebrities. Also, a colored background with your name on it works just fine also.
A picture of you playing an instrument, in the studio, or performing will work great for your cover photo. It shows you at the moment and provides people with a personal reason to follow you.
Since you are a comedian, try to have a funny photo as your banner. It adds value to your followers and gives them a reason to follow you.
Since you are an artist, this is a great way for you to show your skills. Whatever you can create that is appealing and think would look good for your Twitter banner will work.
If the banner is for your business, a simple colored background with your logo and business name will do the trick. You may also use your banner as a way to showcase your products and a coupon code to provide more value to your account.
Make sure to link to your other social media networks to also add more value to your account.
Step 4. Optimize Your Twitter Bio
Your Twitter bio is 160 characters long and gives you the opportunity to tell your audience who you are and what you’re about. You should focus on optimizing your twitter bio to show up in the Twitter search to get more followers.
With your personal account, you will want to optimize your bio depending on what you do. If you are a writer for BuzzFeed for example, you might want to do something along these lines.
If you are a blogger, owner of a business, or anything else, you may want to do something like this. (This is my bio for my Twitter account.)
The bio in this example shows that I am a blogger, I own Zizzlo LLC, and that I am a student at Temple University. This gives my followers short information about who I am, and it builds a personal relationship with them.
With a business account, it is important to give your followers a reason to follow you. Putting a coupon code, a catchy phrase, or using branded hashtags is a great way to use the 160 character bio.
@CocaCola, for example, uses this as their bio.
Spreading optimism, one bottle at a time, or maybe two bottles to share.
This is simple, catchy, and gives users a reason to follow them. Be creative with it.
Step 5. Delete All Controversial and Unnecessary Tweets
Using Twitter search, search your account and key phrases that you have used that may not be professional on your account. If in the future, someone decides to look up bad things you have said, they will be doing this also.
Get one step ahead of them and delete anything that can cause you to have a publicity issue in the future.
Also, anything that does not provide value to your followers should be deleted. You can use programs to delete your tweets in bulk. It may be worth it to delete all your tweets.
Step 6. Schedule 7 Days Worth of Tweets With Buffer
Once a week, I like to use the app Buffer to begin scheduling tweets. It is an efficient way to keep my timeline active with relevant content throughout the week.
The type of content you decide to post is completely up to you, but it should be relevant to your niche. Think to yourself, what would my followers like for me to tweet?
Step 7. Look at Your Twitter Analytics
Go to your Twitter analytics to view what type of things your followers are interested in. Here, you will also find information about your account that can be useful to help grow.
Use this information to create a strategy to grow your Twitter account.
Step 8. Try to Get Verified on Twitter
The verified badge is the blue checkmark that appears next to a user’s Twitter handle. Getting verified on Twitter is not easy, but if you know the right people you can be verified.
Optimizing your Twitter account does not need to be a lengthy process. If you follow these steps, you can really have a better looking Twitter account in less than 12 hours. It is all about how you use the time, and what you do to create a more appealing account for followers.
Try to look at what your competitors are doing to attract followers. By doing this, you will get an idea of what you should be doing to stand out.