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Instagram Stories are a perfect way to tell your customers more

Instagram is currently used by over 200 million people each month, with 60 million photos uploaded every day with 1.6 billion likes. It’s a growing social media platform, which some people love, whilst others “don’t get”.

As a business, it’s an area you should certainly be considering using. Even if it’s just noticing what’s going on and seeing if your ideal customers are using instagram at all. More women are using it, and if you’re target market is women 26 – early 50s, then you should definitely check out instagram, as that’s where your customers are spending some of their time.

You may not even know what instragram stories are?

A new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.

With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.

Introducing Instagram Stories, August 2016

instagram storiesInstagram stories appear at the top of your screen when you’re looking at your instragram feed.

They can be video or a series of still photos or images. They don’t add to your normal instagram feed, and they disappear 24 hours after you’ve posted it.

Viewers can send you direct messages from your story, but there’s no public comments, making engagement directly with you, so you qualify the person’s interest in you by their response to your story.

I had the pleasure of learning more about instagram stories from Claire Jones-Hughes of Clarita Digital in an #inconversationwith interview, which you can view in full here

She explained that instagram stories are like a news feed, and shares current ideas, events and thinking.

 

Tips for using Instagram Stories for your business

  • Less is more – as long as it’s quality. Once a month could be enough
  • Consistency is crucial. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Start with committing to one post a month, then increase from there
  • Ensure your profile is up to date, and branded for your business & the links work
  • Have 9 photos uploaded to complete the grid people see straight away – at least 6 for starters if 9 feels too much
  • Spend time engaging with others on instagram – relevant comments and conversation
  • Create 15 second videos (from instagram app) of your event, your product, customer feedback
  • Use hashtags in your stories to help people find you
  • Don’t share across to facebook that have lots of hashtags (facebook doesn’t like it)
  • Ask your customers what they want to know about you and your business, and use that for your instagram stories

Next steps for using Instagram Stories

instagram stories tips for businessWhat I learnt from Claire, was to give it a go. Try it. Have a play. See what works for you, and what you enjoy.

That’s great for me, and my style, that’s how I learn best.

I know that’s not for everyone. Claire is available to help you and has a free webinar coming up soon.

We’ll be carrying on the instagram story conversation in the Business Cheerleading Club group, to support each other to start, learn, develop and improve. There’s plenty of space for you to join us there too, for all sorts of business support, not just about instagram or social media. Claire has also agreed to do a workshop for club members on instagram in May, (open to guests at a charge of £29).

Let’s connect on instagram – We’re at tracey_jane_hughes – what’s your account?

Have you used instagram stories? What’s your story with them for you and your business?

 

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Are you rushing around getting nothing done?

Life is busy, we all know that. Having a business is often a challenge, particular when we first start. We have lists for this, and that, and we do our best to get it done, but it feels like there’s lots of rushing but nothing gets done.

Feel familiar?

There’s so many different ways you can slow down, but how do you find what’s right for you? That’s right, you try them out and see what works! Yes, that’s simple enough isn’t it? But how do you find the time to try out new things when you’re so busy rushing around getting nothing done?

Let’s work through a few options and see if we can find something that feels right to start with.

Tips for getting things done without rushing around all the time

  1. Stop. Take a break.

    tips for getting things done stop and listen to yourselfYou may think that stopping and taking a break is counter productive when you have so much you want to get done. But trust me. When you stop, and take a break (that’s really important!), your brain and body slow down. They thank you for the time out. By doing something different in your break from rushing around, you’ll find your brain re-works your list and prioritises it, so when you come back to work you’ll be very focused and will just crack on with one thing at a time. Doing one thing at a time, to completion, is much more productive than trying to complete lots of things at the same time.

  2. Plan.

    You’ve probably heard, “Fail to plan = plan to fail”? Well, just spending a bit of time planning is well worth it. Are there things you’re doing that someone else could do? Do you have to do them at all? Prioritising through your planning will be so valuable, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

  3. Meditate.

    OK, so this may seem a bit “woo woo”, but this really does give your brain time to be still. We know of so many people who’ve benefitted from just 10 minutes a day of meditation. I’m sure you can fit 10 minutes of Headspace in each day? Go on, try it and let us know how you feel.

  4. Good food and exercise during the day

    You may have your health and fitness schedule sorted. Fabulous. However, could you do some of your activity during your workday? Could you have walking meetings instead of meeting in a cafe? Are you drinking enough water? (we’re going to be coming back to this soon, but for now, ensure you’re drinking 2 litres of plain water each day). What you eat and drink, and the exercise you do all helps you to stop running around. Your body and brain will function better. Need help with this? Our friends at Stay Fit and Healthy have a free 30 day challenge to help you look at the little things you can do each day to improve this aspect of your life.

  5. Listen to yourself

    You know the answer only too well, but you may not be being honest with yourself. Your rushing around may be hiding the fact that you’ve got a hard decision to make, and you’re putting it off. Stop. Listen. And then take the action which feels right. Tracey-Jane has written about this. Listen and trust yourself, you’re right! It doesn’t matter what your mentor, business adviser or partner is saying, it’s what’s right for you that’s important. Act on that.

One of the most important things we do when we work with clients is encourage them to listen to themselves. Spending time with us gives you time out of your business to stop, think, listen and we help you to plan your next steps. We’re facilitators. We can do things for you with done for you packages. We can teach you how to do things in your business if that’s best for you. But you have to work out what’s best for you in the first place.

Stop rushing around, and spend a bit of time thinking and planning. If you’d like our help to facilitate this, book a session with us, and let’s listen to you whilst you work out how you’re going to stop rushing around in the future 🙂

Any other tips for getting things done you’d add to this list?

Why Manage Those Things?

Well, you know it’s “those things” which get in the way of us moving forward with an idea, or project isn’t it? I know, as I’ve been there, with “those things”, many times.

I’ve learnt many skills over the last 20+ years in my work, personal and volunteering life. From business planning and creating a business from scratch, to using social media as a tool to communicate with customers, I’ve had a long journey. Some of that journey hasn’t been easy, but I’ve always learnt.

I’ve been helping small businesses, charities and friends with “those things”, for many years. Examples of “those things” I’ve done to help others include:

  • Created simple websites, set up and managed social media
  • Trained and supported people to develop and online presence and use social media or blogging to grow their audience
  • Managed a web development project from original outline, to fulfilment and developing new ideas