Social Media

  • 5 Ways to Boost Engagement with Instagram Reels

    5 Ways to Boost Engagement With Instagram Reels

    Time to boost engagement with Instagram Reels.

    Instagram Reels has been around now since August 2020 and true to form Instagram have continued to keep developing it and I for one absolutely love it.

    For those of you who know me you’ll know this is the perfect platform for my ABBA obsession. I get to lip-synch, act, and basically have a lot of fun.

    If I’m really honest it’s been my own private form of entertainment now I’ve run out of things to watch on Netflix.

    I love planning them out and deciding what the theme of each one will be.

    My post lady here in France has got used to seeing me running around the French countryside with my ring light, dancing on random walls and generally doing strange things in the middle of the road outside my house.

    But who cares…I’m having fun and allowing my audience a real glimpse into who the real Kylie Carlson is.

    Since I’ve embraced Reels my engagement on Instagram has gone up. I’ve played around with different formats and ways of producing them too.

    So today I’m sharing 5 ways to boost engagement with Instagram Reels:

    Tip 1 – Find your own Mojo

    Not everyone is comfortable lip-synching, dancing or generally being silly on camera and that’s absolutely fine.

    I’ve found my mojo on the platform and its what people expect of me. I find a song that fits in with a business theme I have and then manipulate the lyrics to make it work. Usually there’s some ABBA involved somewhere and plenty of lip synching.

    However, that’s not for everyone.

    So find what works for you and what works for your audience.

    Instagram want you to entertain, educate or inspire on Reels. What’s it going to be?

    Find your own format.

    Reels is about being you and if for you that’s about telling stories of your brand then do that.

    Maybe you’d prefer to simply showcase your art with behind the scenes of you doing what you do.

    Whatever it is you have to find your own mojo that you’re comfortable with.

    Tip 2 – Create your Reels in the Native App

    Instagram are now actively penalising you for simply downloading your videos from other platforms and uploading them into Reels.

    Don’t do it.

    The native Reels App has been developed substantially since its launch. There’re some great features including the easy to use timer with a countdown of 3 or 10 seconds. This means cutting between different scenes is really simple.

    There is also a FAB align tool that allows you to line up each shot so you can do fun things like changing outfits on the spot.

    You can speed up clips, use filters and touch-up tools as well.

    Instagram has seriously upped its editing and feature game on Reels so use them. You’ll get rewarded for it.

    Bottom line Instagram want you to create your Reels in native app.

    Tip 3 – Use Transitions and Edits

    15 or 30 seconds might not seem very long but you still have to keep people’s attention. Using simple cuts keep the eye focused and your viewer engaged.

    Now a cut can literally be a change of scene. I do this ALL the time because it’s so easy. I often have 2-3 cuts in a 15 second reel.

    Recently I did one about my life in France. I started off sipping coffee in my swing chair in the garden. I then cut to the next shot of me sitting on my vintage blue bike with a baguette in my basket. Finally, I was on my balcony looking over the French countryside sipping a glass of rose.

    All this was shot to La Vie En Rose, Louis Armstrong. I think it took me about 15 minutes to film. I decided the timing for each shot and set the time using the timer feature in the native app. Simple.

    Instagram Reels 101

    Tip 4 – Use Your Time Wisely

    Pull your viewers in from the start. Capture their attention immediately.

    This can be done in so many different ways. It might be your stance, the way you’re stood or sat. It could be you holding your hand up to the camera or some text flying onto screen that shows up straight away.

    The first couple of seconds are a deal breaker. Stop them scrolling and get them to watch your Reel at least once. The beauty of Reels is often we watch them more than once which really pushes up the reach.

    Tip 5 – Storyboard it Out

    I’m a big believer in everything I do telling a story, however simple that story is.

    For every Reel I do I storyboard it out – not literally with drawings but I do treat each clip as part of the story.

    I decide how long each clip will be and the point behind the clip and how it adds to the overall message or story I want to tell.

    Doing this saves time when filming because you know exactly where you’re going to be, what you’re going to be doing and how you’re going to achieve it.

    This doesn’t need to be long and drawn out. Mine take no more than 15 minutes to storyboard out, often less. But it does make filming them so much quicker.

    So those are the biggest tips I have to help you boost engagement with your Reels.

    Afterall, nobody wants to spend time doing something that isn’t helping them to move their business forward.

    If you haven’t done so yet then make sure you listen to Podcast Episode 28 – The 101 of Instagram Reels for Wedding Pros I did with Lauren of Bluebird Creative.

    Lauren has some great ideas on content for Reels and you absolutely MUST check out the Reels she produces.

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  • Clubhouse for Wedding Pros – is it worth it?

    Clubhouse for Wedding Pros – to play or not to play?

    So you’d have to have been living under a rock to not have heard of the latest social media platform, Clubhouse.

    Everyone seems to be talking about it right now. They’re asking how they can get an invite and of course asking the big question of is it really worth it?

    At the end of the day none of us want to add yet another social media platform to our ever-growing list. Our time is precious and anything we do needs to contribute to generating income and bringing us a ROI of our time and effort.

    Remember time is money and it’s so easy to get sucked into things that don’t bring any value to your business.

    What is Clubhouse?

    Quite simply Clubhouse is a voice audio only platform. Unlike other platforms there’s no images, other than your profile image, no messaging, walls, posts, comments or recordings. It’s like podcasting in real time where people can join you from all around the world. It’s completely live and can’t be recorded as that’s against App’s policies.

    What makes Clubhouse different?

    Easy, it’s voice only. No expensive equipment required. No hair and make-up to be done. And you have the choice to be active or passive.

    Quite simply you can broadcast in your PJs. Or listen in from the snuggliness of your bed. You can put your hand up to join the virtual stage from the garden drinking a coffee, or whatever your place of choice is.

    But for me one of the biggest differences is the networking capabilities.

    Imagine being able to talk live to one of your favourite wedding pros, influencers or educators.

    It’s not unheard of for some of the world’s biggest marketers and business gurus to pop into a room and give advice to someone just starting out in their business. Where else would you be able to do this without paying thousands for the experience?

    How do you join?

    Well right now, as of writing this post, the App is in Beta mode and is only available for those with an iPhone. Currently it isn’t available on Android.

    You also need to receive an invite from someone who is in the contacts in your phone with a number saved with the country code.

    Don’t panic if you don’t know anyone with spare invites the App will be going public very soon. They aren’t intending for it to be exclusive this is simply the testing phase. In the meantime reserve your username and get on the Waitlist ASAP. https://www.joinclubhouse.com/

    Once you’ve reserved your name any of your friends already using Clubhouse may get notified that you’re now on the waitlist. This sometimes gives them the opportunity to wave you through even if they don’t have any spare invites.

    After I joined I got given four invites almost straight away and then another 7.

    BTW you can follow me @weddingceo

    Getting Set Up on Clubhouse

    OK so once you’re in it’s time to get yourself set up so you can start to join in the conversations.

    • Your Profile Pic – as always you want to be consistent with the picture you choose so it’s easily recognisable for people who might be searching for you. If you have a profile pic you use on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn then use the same one on Clubhouse.
    • Your Bio – the first three lines on your Clubhouse bio are the most important so make them count. This is the bit that shows as a preview when you’re in a room. There are no clickable links in bios but they are searchable. This being the case make sure you add relevant keywords such as London Wedding Planner. You never know how many newly engaged couples might be on Clubhouse and searching.
    • Other Accounts – you can’t DM on Clubhouse but you can connect your Instagram and Twitter, currently the only two available.  Once people connect with you on this platform they’ll soon connect on other platforms too.

    Clubhouse Profile

    Understand the Clubhouse Lingo

    As with all new platforms there is new lingo to learn but luckily for us it isn’t complicated and is easy to follow:

    • Hallway – this is the first thing you see when you open the App. It will show you all the current rooms you might be interested in which have been curated for you based on your contacts and interests you picked. You’ll also see the menu across the top and a button to start your own room.
    • Explore – the place to discover people outside of your contacts and Clubs.
    • Rooms – this is the heart of the App and where all the fabulous conversations take place. Rooms can be scheduled ahead of time, done completely on the fly or set as a recurring event. The topic for each room is set by the Moderator of the room.
    • Moderator – this is the person who starts the room. Essentially they’re the ones in charge of the room and will guide the conversation. The have the ability to bring speakers to the stage as well as the power to mute and remove.
    • Stage – this is the top half of the room with a line that separates the speakers from the rest of the room, the listeners or audience. It’s the Clubhouse virtual stage.
    • Speaker – as you’d imagine these are the people with the ability to talk. By default the moderator can speak with everyone else joining as listeners until permission is given for a speaker to join the stage.
    • Listeners – as you would imagine this is the audience, the people listening along. By default when you enter a room you’re a listener and on mute until you’re brought to the stage by the Moderator.
    • Room Options – there are a few things you can do once you’re in a room and the first is that you can leave. And the best bit is that you can leave quietly. There’s no big song and dance and you don’t have to ask permission to leave or tell people you’re leaving. You can also use the + button to ping one of your followers into the room. And of course, you can raise your hand ???? to let the Moderator know you’d like to come up onto the virtual stage and speak.
    • Room Privacy Options – when you create a room you can make it Open so anyone in Clubhouse can find it and join, which is good if you’re looking to build a network. But you can also set it to Social where only the people you follow can join. Alternatively you can make it completely Private where only people you hand pick can join.

    How can Clubhouse help me book more weddings?

    Quite simply it can position you as the solution, the go to expert and the person giving value for couples.

    So how might that look. Well, if I was a wedding planner, for example, I’d look at creating a room with some of my vendor team. I might start with a photographer, floral designer and a caterer and host a recurring room on answering your wedding planning questions.

    Alternatively, you might host a room on your own on a specific topic. As a wedding planner I might start a room on creating a wedding budget or putting together a timeline. As a stylist perhaps you could talk about choosing a colour palette or pulling together the aesthetics.

    If you’re a venue owner you might host a room about what to look for when choosing a wedding venue, things to remember to ask before booking etc.

    As a photographer you could talk them throught the importance of lighting, must have shots, how to relax and look more natural on camera.

    I’d invite all my booked couples and open it up to perspective couples as well and talk about what I know best – weddings.

    This is all about giving value and building authority, just like with any other social media platform.

    Really the ideas are endless, but this is a great opportunity to get in front of new people you’d never find normally.

    What do I love about Clubhouse?

    I think for me it’s about the ability to network and learn. The value that’s being given in some of these rooms is huge. Now obviously, the fact you can’t record and that rooms disappear once they’re done means you’ll need to take notes. But I’ve listened in on some amazing topics and already learnt so much just by doing this.

    I also love the fact I don’t have to put hours into preparing content, scheduling, thinking about hashtags and posting all the time. It’s refreshing to be away from all that and be much more on the fly.

    You can simply pop into a room and sit there quietly and listen or put you hand up to by brought onto the virtual stage to speak. It’s entirely up to you how active or passive you want to be.

    How easy is it to get started?

    Ultimately though I love the fact I don’t have to show my face. The entry barrier for Clubhouse is low which makes it easier. You can dip in and out at will. Although I would say be careful because it can very quickly suck up your time and before you know it 2 hours have disappeared.

    I also love the low sell vibe on the platform. Unlike in Facebook Groups where you have to work hard to keep people engaged Clubhouse is the opposite. You can literally start a room and people will join.

    Now whether it will stay like that or not once it opens up and comes out of beta who knows. But right now I love how little work has to go into this for big rewards.

    Below are some helpful links I discovered when I was first getting started on Clubhouse:

    Remember to promote

    Just like you would with anything else you do in your business you need to remember to promote. Let people know you’re on Clubhouse, when you’ll be hosting a room and what the topic is.

    In my first Clubhouse experience as a  co-host I was invited by my industry friend and colleague, Bernadette of the UKAWP, and our topic was about not discounting your services. Bernadette did a great job of promoting it both before and after the event.

    We’re now looking at being regular co-hosts together with our own club. We might be competitors but together we’re stronger and can leverage off each other’s audience.

    Promote Clubhouse for Wedding Pros

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  • Using Instagram Insights for your Wedding Business

    Instagram insights are the key to your success on Instagram. You’ll have heard me say this many times before but if you don’t measure you can’t improve.

    Data is king and helps you to understand what your audience do, how they respond to things you say, who they are and what’s resonating with them.

    Why would you want to leave your Instagram marketing to chance?

    Analytics and insights help you to measure your impact. They tell you if you need to tweak or do things a little differently.

    If you’ve ever asked yourself about whether you should be posting at a certain time of day then your analytics will give you the answer.

    First things first, you need to have a business account in order to use Instagram Insights. Then it’s time to click on the hamburger menu in the top right-hand corner and click on Insights.

    Instagram Insights for your Wedding Business

    What you’ll see now is the Recent Highlights area which gives you some basic information about accounts following and interacting with your profile.

    Your Instagram Insights

    Recent Highlights

    So let’s take these one at a time. First up is your reach. If you click on this, you’ll see exactly how many accounts you’ve reached during a given period of either 7 or 30 days. You can choose which you want to measure from the dropdown in the top left-hand corner. What I’m interested in here is the amount of website taps I’ve generated. Remember, I’m always telling you, get people off Instagram and onto your email list. You own your email list you don’t own Instagram.

    Then we want to look at your top performing posts, Stories and IGTV if you have any. This is very telling and you should absolutely be studying these. You want to be doing more of what works and less of what isn’t. Think about how long you spend creating posts, Stories and videos. You want them to work for you. But you don’t know if they work unless you read the analytics and find out.

    Content Interactions

    Now I want you to go back to your Recent Highlights and then click on Content Interactions and choose 30 days. Below you’ll see our interactions and it makes for an interesting read.

    Instagram Insights for Wedding pros

    Both our Post and Story interactions are down substantially in November compared to October.

    Why?

    I know why. It’s because Instagram started rolling out there new Guides feature in November. And true to form, whenever they roll out a new feature it affects all the normal places where we do well. I’ve seen out Story engagement drop right off and the analytics are telling me it’s directly related to Guides being released.

    Follower Breakdown

    Ok so back to your Recent Highlights and let’s check out your followers. This one tells a good story too.

    Click on Follower Breakdown and the first thing you’ll see is your Growth. You might be surprised by the number of Unfollows you get in a given period. For example, as you can see below in the last 30 days I had 325 new Followers but I also got 262 Unfollows. This is quite normal but it’s something to be aware of.

    And remember, the more you engage on other people’s profiles the most they’re likely to engage back and continue to follower you.

    Instagram Follower Growth

    As you move down you’ll see your top locations broken down by City and Country.

    Also, the age range of your follows, their gender and their most active times on the platform. All this information is so helpful because it allows you to be more strategic when posting. You can make informed decisions rather than just guessing.

    For example, I know some of my best times to post are over the weekend because that’s when my followers are more engaged with what I’m posting, especially my Stories.

    Individual Posts

    To see how an individual post is performing all you need to do is go to the post itself and you’ll see the text View Insights just under the image on the left-hand side. Again this is so useful for understanding the posts that are really resonating with your audience.

    You’ll also see how many accounts were reached via the hashtags you used. Unfortunately, Instagram don’t provide any further hashtag analytics and you really need to be using a scheduling tool such as Tailwind to get in-depth insights into which hashtags are performing.

    There really is no excuse for not looking at your insights. This is something that can really help you to post relevant and timely content that gets your audience engaging with you.

    Put all that hard work to good use and make your posts work hard for you.

     

     

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  • Instagram Guides and Keywords for Wedding Pros

    Instagram Guides and Keywords for Wedding Pros

    Instagram Guides are the new Instagram IT Girl.

    Social media platforms are constantly updating and Instagram is no different. It feels as though no sooner have you mastered one thing than a new comes along.

    Earlier this year we had Instagram Reels which has certainly felt very much like TikTok and now we have two more new functions to wrap our heads around.

    First up is keywords and I have to say I like it. In a nutshell keywords allow you to use Instagram more like a search engine. This definitely feels like a move towards being a little more like Pinterest, which we all know is a visual search engine.

    One thing to note is that this rollout of keywords works very well with Instagram’s new Guides feature released in November. We’ll go into more detail on that in a minute.

    Benefits of Keywords

    The biggest benefit of this whole thing is that you’re no longer reliant purely on the algorithm and what Instagram decides to show your audience.

    Now users can use Instagram with intent. Meaning it becomes more like a search engine.

    The question is will Instagram now become a Google replacement?

    According to Instagram, keyword searches will be “limited to general interest topics and search terms that are within Instagram’s community guidelines”. So niching right down in the way you might do in your normal SEO strategy probably won’t work.

    How do Keywords work?

    It’s still not completely clear how keywords will work. If they act as a search engine then it will be on relevancy and quality of content, as well as location. However, there does seem to be some AI (artificial intelligence) involved as content is shown to users based on their past history and things they’ve viewed on the platform. This is how the explore function works.

    I’ll keep you posted as I find out more on this one.

    Previously, hashtags have been the dominant feature in the algorithm so it will be interesting to see what happens with them moving forward.

    Currently this new update is only available in six English speaking countries, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, US, Ireland, and Canada.

    It’s also limited only to grid searching and isn’t available for Stories yet but this could be updated in the future.

    And what about Guides?

    Well this new feature was originally rolled out earlier in the year but only to health and well-being brands. Now it’s available to everyone.

    But what’s the big deal? Instagram Guides are a way to share long-form content on the platform. Think of them like micro-blogs.

    Instagram describes guides as “a way to more easily discover recommendations, tips and other content from your favourite creators, public figures, organisations and publishers on Instagram.”

    In other words, Guides are individual pieces of related content pulled together in one resource. It’s another way of pulling your content into categories that make sense to your audience.

    But it doesn’t stop there. As well as being able to group your own content together you can also do it with other people’s content. This could be huge, especially for the wedding industry. I’ll explain more in a minute.

    How do you create an Instagram Guide?

    From your Instagram profile, tap on the + icon in the top right corner and select Guide from the menu, it looks like a little newspaper icon.

    How to Create an Instagram Guide

    There are three different types of Guides you can create:

    • Places
    • Products
    • Posts

    Place Guide

    This is more relevant to those with a physical location. So for example, a Bridal Salon in Colchester in Essex might use this option to show User Generated Content (USG) from users in that location to highlight your area or who have tagged themselves at your shop or outlet.

    Remember though when you use this option it’s going to pull up ALL content tagged with that location and not just your content.

    Products Guide

    This is perfect for anyone using Instagram Shops because that is what this Guide is all about. Once you’ve chosen this option you’ll need to select an Instagram Shop, your own if you have one. Accounts you follow with shops will come up first but you can also scroll through to find one you want to feature.

    Remember though you can only feature one product in each Guide so you’ll need to find posts related to that one product.

    If you have products you sell like favours, stationery accessories, décor items or even cakes then now is the time to create an Instagram Shop.

    Not only can you create Guides promoting your own shop items but other people can share your Guides too. This is a very powerful marketing tool.

    One thing to remember though is that you can’t put digital items into an Instagram Shop – I know because I naturally looked that up straight away.

    Posts Guide

    This is probably the most relevant for wedding pros. This pretty much does what it says on the tin. You can create up to 30 of your own posts or other people’s posts and put them into one Guide.

    If you’re sharing other people’s, they will need to be in your saved posts first in order for you to add them to your Guide. Use the bookmark icon.

    How do Guides benefit my wedding business?

    So now you know what Guides are and the three different types available but how do they benefit you?

    For me there are two major benefits. Once you’ve created your first Guide it will show up on your profile with the little newspaper icon next to the IGTV icon.

    How to Find Guides

    AND THEN IT IS SHAREABLE.

    Yes, you heard me, shareable. Other people can share your Guide and so can you. You can share it on Stories and on DMs.

    This means it makes a great marketing tool.

    Secondly, it lends itself perfectly to collaboration. In the wedding industry we all work together as part of a team. Guides allow you to share the love with that team.

    The Guides you create can absolutely be collaborative.

    What about a Guide on planning a wedding with your recommended dream team?

    Could you pull together shared images from a styled shoot you’ve been part of taking a different image from the Instagram account of each vendor?

    The ideas endless really.

    Guide ideas for Wedding Pros

    1. Create a User Guide: As a Wedding Stylist you could put together user guide for a particular look or theme using your favourite suppliers. As a floral designer could you do the same sort of thing for a centrepiece showcasing each individual flower used?
    2. Top Tips Guide: Using your own posts try creating a top tips guide on what to look for in your wedding venue, how to choose your wedding cake, the top ten shots to have on your shot list etc.
    3. Testimonials Guide: If you’re not putting testimonials as posts on your Instagram Feed you should be. And this is another great reason as to why. Create a Guide that collates all your testimonial posts so your potential clients can see from others just how wonderful you really are.
    4. Resources Guide: Collate a Guide that features all your favourite resources for planning the perfect wedding. Or perhaps a list of stress busters to help keep sane during the planning process or a productivity Guide for the organised bride – again you’re only limited here by your imagination.
    5. Inspiration or Vision Board Guide: There’s a reason Pinterest is so popular for anyone planning a wedding. Because we all love a good vision board. Try creating a vision board for your followers based on a colour, theme, style or venue.

    Creating Your First Instagram Guide

    Like anything the best way to learn how to use it is to give it a go yourself. However, here’s a few little pointers when it comes to creating your first Guide.

    Once you’ve chosen your Guide type and selected the posts you want to feature, you’ll be taken to the Format Page.

    Instagram Guide Title

    Without giving your Guide a title you can’t publish it. I recommend choosing something simple that says exactly what your guide is all about. Remember, Instagram uses relevancy, so your title needs to be relevant to the content within it.

    The Cover Image

    You can change the cover image for your Guide, and I suggest you do, but it isn’t easy. You have to choose from either your posts, saved images or the Guide posts. It won’t let you upload a specific image. This is frustrating because the size is different from the usual 1:1 ratio. You need a 3:4 ratio which means it is 3 units wide by 4 units high. The way around this currently is to create a post to promote your Guide that you publish to your feed. That will allow you to then choose it as your cover image.

    Post Titles & Descriptions

    You also need to give each individual post in your Guide a title. I’m afraid Instagram haven’t seen fit to pull in any information, so this does make it a bit of a task.

    However, I suggest once you’ve chosen your posts you type the title and description for each post on a laptop or computer to make it easier and save it on Notes or Evernote so you can simply copy and paste as Guides have to be created on your phone.

    Editing your Instagram Guide

    It’s very easy to add or remove posts for your Guide. To add more posts just tap on the Add Posts at the bottom of the formatting page. To delete or reorder posts you do this at the individual posts level. Just use the three dot icon next to each post and make your choice.

    Publishing your Instagram Guide

    Just like Reels you can publish to drafts and come back to it later. You can also preview to make sure you’re happy and when you are simply hit share. And that’s it. Once it’s published, and if it’s your first one, you’ll now see the Guides icon on your feed.

    Sharing your Guide

    As I mentioned earlier you can absolutely share your guide and so can other people. All you need to do is click on the Guide you want to share and then use the paper aeroplane icon in the right-hand corner and choose how you’d like to share, Stories or DM. Remember, if this is a collaborative Guide then don’t forget to tag those involved when you share to your Stories. You can also copy the link by hitting the three dots and choosing that option.

    So there you have it. Instagram’s latest features, keywords and Guides. Personally, I think Guides is the best new feature they’ve introduced in a while as it really allows us to start using Instagram to build more awareness and to hopefully monetise our efforts.

    Check out my first Guide which is a collation of some of my Podcasts >>>

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