If you receive e-mails from companies and bloggers, you’ll have seen that they all use emojis in the subject lines from time to time. It helps them stand out in the sea of e-mails we receive and can be a really effective marketing tool. I wanted to include some in my e-mails, and it was really bugging me that I couldn’t seem to work out the secret – were they all doing it on their phones?! Surely not…
It turns out that no, there’s a free, quick and easy way to do it and I had to do a bit of digging to find out, so I thought I’d share it with you. There’s a site called EmojiCopy that has a list of all the common emojis you want as little images, and they make it so easy, just pick the emoji you want, click on it and it appears in the top bar and you can click copy and boom, it’s on your clipboard ready to paste into your e-mail header, blog, social media, whatever you want. You could also use it to make those Facebook posts where you ask people to like, love, haha or cry posts. Perfect! 🙂🤖🤦🏼♀️💻
If you need any blogging or social media help, let me know and I’ll answer you, either directly or via this blog. You can also come and say hi in my Facebook group Parent Blogs. We have a Pinterest Group board and a Tailwind Tribe too.
If you want to really up your blogging game, how about learning all my secrets? Take the Blogging Secrets course to unlock the secrets of blogging, earn more money and find the shortcuts that work. Find out more and enrol here.
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There’s a new social media on the scene, if you haven’t heard, it’s called Vero. It has seen a huge influx of users signing up, with some bold promises. There are some concerns too, so should we be using it? I’m going to go through how to use Vero and the pros and cons.
It looks very much like Instagram, with images being the thing you share. You can also share links, videos, books, TV/ movies, places, and music. It promises a chronological algorithm and ad free feed. You can add captions to your photos and links, with hashtags too much like on Instagram. You can also set the privacy for each post to close friends, friend, acquaintance or followers at the touch of a button.
Initially they said that the first 1 million users would get free access to Vero for life, then there would be an annual subscription charge equal to ‘a few cups of coffee.’ However, after the recent influx, Vero released this statement:
So in my opinion, now is the time to sign up, reserve your chosen name. When you sign up, it just chooses your actual name, so if you want your business or blog name, just choose that as your name. I changed mine afterwards. After you create your profile, you can add your link in your bio.
It’s quite intuitive and similar to other social media sites we know and love, so you’ll find it pretty easy to navigate. The hard thing I find is finding people to connect with. Even when you’re asking people to follow you, all they can do is search for your name, you can’t give them a link at the moment. So if your name is Sarah Smith, it’s going to be harder to find you.
When you scroll through the main feed, by pressing the Vero logo, you get a + sign, press that to add content. Then you can choose from the following options:
Mostly I’ve just used camera to add pictures and link to add my blog links. You have no restrictions on the timeframe of images used. If you don’t have the exact link you can do a search and then pick the appropriate link which is handy. After you’ve selected the link you can also add a caption and hashtags too which I like, it gives more visibility. Then you choose who can see your post, from close friend to followers, which is the equivalent of public. I forgot to choose this a couple of times and it went to 1 person! Here’s one of my link posts in action. You can see at the top under my username that I’ve selected all the categories of people to see it, as they are highlighted in turquoise. This would be useful if friends and family are on it and you want to just share a snap of something funny your baby did but not the whole world. No-one will know what category you put them in.
This is the search function, it also shows what is popular on Vero, some hashtag suggestions and other bits.
They’re very similar, and all social media where you post images and content have to state that they need control over it so that they can post it for you onto the platform.
Another concern I’ve heard is about the owner himself. His name is Ayman Hariri, a billionaire before he even started the platform. His family own the company Saudi Oger, which has had issues in the past over delays in paying their staff. He claims he stopped working for them in 2013. At the moment I don’t have enough information to say that there is anything wrong with how he is conducting business at present, so that is not reason enough for me to stop using the platform.
As far as the no algorithm and no ads, that’s how Facebook started, and now look at it. The thing is, I believe that you do need some sort of algorithm. Say you’re an individual and you follow 2 bloggers, maybe 5 brands, a couple of local businesses and your friends and family of about 50 people. Your feed is chronological, but you have to scroll through a load of ads and updates of the businesses to get to your Mum’s update. It can get a bit tedious. You might want your friend’s content first, then something funny, then maybe something you might need or be tempted to buy. I don’t know what the answer is – maybe it is this, maybe not. It’s a struggle for any new social media platform now to take off, because for the average person, you have to get all your friends and family to join you on it to get the most out of it. That’s why Facebook is so successful, as we all have our connections sorted on there. I love Instagram, but my friends and family aren’t on it, it’s more of a business thing for me.
What do you think? Will you be using Vero? Are you on it? Let me know in the comments so I can look you up.
Facebook is one of the hardest platforms to gain followers on, and when you do have them, facebook only shows your post to a select few. Hi Mum! So how can we get our posts seen more?
Facebook favours posts that get interaction and engagement, but how do you get that engagement if nobody sees? Asking questions or getting people to discuss a debate is one way. The new algorithm favours not just comments but discussion within the comments, so always reply to any comments you get and encourage discussion and debate. The reason behind this was to stop those ‘Comment yes if you agree!’ and such like.
I’ve come up with a tried and tested bank of questions for parenting pages that get good results each time they’re posted which you can totally steal and use. You can vary them to suit or use them as is.
Have you got any tried and tested questions? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.
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Instagram isn’t as easy to grow as it once was. With the new algorithm making it harder for your Instagram posts to get seen, people are finding that their engagement is dropping off and they are losing rather than gaining followers. So what can we do to grow our Instagram accounts? Well there are still ways, I’m still managing to grow mine and my client’s Instagram accounts, without doing follow/unfollow, paying for bots or followers. It takes a bit of work, but it’s definitely doable. I gain about 450 followers per week, more if I put more work into it. My parenting account is currently at 7.7k and growing, and the engagement is there. I’m aiming for the holy grail of over 10k. Here are the strategies I use that work for me and they are adaptable for any niche.
If you haven’t already, make your account public and switch to a business account. There’s been talk about possible benefits and drawbacks of both personal and business accounts but really, if you’re running a business or a blog as a business, you need a business account. It’s free, you get analytics with it, and you’ll have the opportunity to promote posts if you want to. Use the analytics to get your best times to post, experiment with times and find when your audience is most engaged. Once you get to 10000 followers, you’ll then be able to add links to your Insta stories which is worth a lot as you can add affiliate links to them. For more tips on Instagram stories, click here.
Of course your content has to be good. That goes without saying, but what is great content? Well, for this you need to dig down into who your ideal reader/ customer/ client is. Be really specific. Gender, age, location, likes, dislikes, needs, wants. What is it that you answer? Generally speaking, here’s your checklist:
There’s a great free app called Preview, which allows you to add images in grid form to your current IG content, so you can plan out content. You can’t schedule directly to Instagram, but you can use Instagram itself. Add a photo, edit it, caption it and then use the back button until it says Save Draft? Say yes, then it’s there ready for when you want to post. Set a reminder alarm on your phone and when it pings, it’s all there ready. Tailwind has a scheduler that works with an app alarm and it has a hashtag finder for you that finds relevant and trending hashtags for you which is really useful.
Start them! Keep at it and do at least one a day if you can. If you’re not sure what to do, check out my Insta story hacks. Why do them? They keep your profile up at the top in those red circles, so even if people don’t watch them, they might check your profile out. Once you get to 10k, you can use the swipe up feature to direct people to whatever page you like! I get more views on my stories than I do on my pictures most of the time.
You only have 150 characters in your Instagram bio, so use it well. Work out whether you want to be quirky, factual, funny, relatable, informative or a mix. Add emojis for pops of colour and to break up text. Add your email and/or phone number so people can get in touch. Your link, most importantly, get it to work harder – use linktr.ee, a free service which enables you to have more than one link. When people click on your link they get transferred to your profile with buttons that link to whatever you like!
Use. All. 30. Every. Time.
Hashtags do work, but if you use the same ones over and over mindlessly, and don’t engage, they don’t. You have to make sure they work for you. I’m always on the lookout for new ones I haven’t tried or seen. Put them in the caption or first comment, it doesn’t make any difference currently, but watch this space as there are always rumours Instagram is going to stop hashtags in comments from counting. If you go back and add hashtags to old pictures, it doesn’t work. If you don’t like them directly after the caption, use full stops (periods) and the enter button and you’ll get a space. When you’re looking for hashtags, start with your niche, so if you’re a Vegan Mum, search #veganmum or #veganfamily #veganrecipes for example. When you’re looking at those hashtags, Instagram will give you related hashtags, like #veganumums, #veganmummy #veganmumtobe with how many public posts have used that hashtag. Use a mixture of big numbers and small (under 10k). The larger hashtags will give you more exposure but are faster moving, the smaller ones are often more engaging and you’re more likely to rank higher. Once you have some related hashtags, click on them to find more related hashtags and to niche down further. It can be a real Instagram rabbit hole and you can get a long list very quickly. Look at your competitors who are doing well, what hashtags are they using? Consider starting your own hashtag – whilst nobody technically ‘owns’ a hashtag, if you make one up and no one has used it, it’s OK to claim it as your own. Invite people to follow you and use the tag, and every week or two feature some pictures (with the account’s consent).
Make sure there is a descriptive element to the image, Instagram’s algorithm likes to relate words to pictures, so without being too obvious, talk about what’s in the picture and it will rank higher. Thoughtful, inspiring captions work well, often including a quote or a story related to the picture. Some of the best IG accounts I follow, their pictures and narrative have a natural, relatable or inspiring flow, and I feel like I know them just through their Instagram. The pictures don’t have to be flawless or feature a perfect life and house, just be you. Emojis can add interest, use the return key to add breaks.
Once you’ve got your quality content out there, at least 12 posts following all the suggestions above, you will naturally gain followers, but due to the fickle nature of a lot of business and marketing Instagrammers, you will also lose followers. It’s a bit like taking 4 steps forward and 3 steps backwards and can be annoying. To grow followers you have to be proactive and spend time on the platform. It’s a social network, so you have to be social.
Please note these points are not using follow/unfollow, it keeps your mutual followers, and you can star accounts that you are a fan of and want to stay following, even if they don’t follow you. You can do as much or as little of these tasks as you like alongside regular (daily at least, but no more than 4 times a day) quality posts, and you’ll soon see your numbers rise. It can be disheartening if you notice people unfollowing you, but they’re usually businesses and brands that are unfollowing you, as you haven’t followed back, or they’re not your fans or your ideal reader/client, so don’t take it personally. We’re all in it together!
If you’d like some help growing your Instagram, I offer competitive packages to grow your Instagram, plus you get a personalised plan with hashtags and an Instagram audit. Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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