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Snapchat 101 for Mommy Bloggers

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Snapchat is a wildly popular mobile app that came on the scene is 2011.  As a mommy blogger who is trying to make money online, it is your goal to get your message, products and services out to the largest audience possible.  And the way we do that is online via our blog and social media.  Snapchat has over 100 million daily users who are on it for at least 30 minutes each time.  With over 100 million daily users, your customer is definitely on Snapchat.  And if this app is being widely used by your target audience, then you need to learn more about it.  But even if you know absolutely nothing about Snapchat, chances are you have seen a picture or video of someone using the Licking Dog lenses or wearing a Flower Crown.  So let me just give you a quick crash course on all you need to know about Snapchat.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app that can only be used on mobile devices.  It was developed by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy when they were grad students at Stanford.   Snapchat had a bad rap when it first came out.  It was known as the sexting app because you took a picture and then poof it disappeared.

snapchat

But it has come a long way to shed this image and has become one of the top apps in the world.  A few years ago, Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion and they turned it down.  Wow!  Just so you know, I would never turn down $3 billion dollars. Never!

Who Uses Snapchat?

Snapchat is definitely used by younger people more than older people.  Over 60% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25.  However, if you don’t speak to the younger audience, don’t turn away just yet.  More than 25% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 25 and 34.  Rounding out this list, 12% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 35 and 54.  But this is not the end of the story because Snapchat is gaining millions of new users each month with increased usage from people in ALL age groups.  So if you think your audience isn’t on Snapchat, think again.  They are and if they are not on Snapchat now, they will be soon.

I admit, I was a little confused about how to use Snapchat when I first downloaded it to my phone.  I had to enlist the help of my 9 year-old daughter to show me how.  But I love using Snapchat to take pictures using their fun filters.

There’s a lot of information online about how to use Snapchat.  But I will condense it and give you a brief how-to so you can get up and running quickly on Snapchat.  Using this guide, you’ll be taking snaps, and adding fun lenses like the Licking Dog and Flower Crown in no time!

But Don’t Fret

I can hear what you are thinking right now.  You are thinking, “Oh no!  I have to learn how to use and be active on yet another social media platform”.  I get it.  I totally understand how you can become overwhelmed trying to post to and keep up with all the social media platforms that are out there today.  And I’m not telling you that you have to.  I wrote a blog post all about social media overwhelm and how to handle it.  However, if you are interested Snapchat or seem to like it and want to learn more, then read on…

Get a Snapchat account

Snapchat is a mobile app.  This means, it can only be used on mobile devices.  Most people use it on their cellular phones.   So go to the App Store or Google Play to download Snapchat   Once you have downloaded Snapchat, it will walk you through getting your username and setting up your account.  Once that’s all set up, you can start snapping!

The Lingo

Before we really get into how to use snapchat.  Let’s get the lingo down first!

Snap – a photo or video taken using the snapchat app

Snapchatter – A person who uses snapchat.

Lenses –  This is by far the most popular feature of snapchat.  Lenses are real-time filters, special effects and sounds that can be added to your snaps. Lenses use object recognition to map to your face, which is able to ‘see’ your eyes and nose to precisely overlay the filter onto your selfie taken with the in-app camera.  And they also add sounds and interactive motion effects to video selfies – like the Deer.

To use the Snapchat Lenses feature, go to the Camera screen in Snapchat, tap on your face until you see a grid-like network appear briefly over your face.  Then, all the lens options will appear next to the snap button.  Swipe left to select the lens you want to use, then tap the capture button to take a snap.
Snapchat adds new lenses all the time based on upcoming holidays, world events or funny things.  So check in daily to see the new lenses.

Filters – I used to get filters and lenses mixed up but no more.  A filter is an overlay to your snap.  So after you take a snap, swipe right or left on the preview screen to add colored filters, the current time, local weather, speed overlays or geofilters to your snaps.

Story –  A story is a picture or video that you can show or broadcast to your followers.  You can post multiple snaps to create a longer story or narrative that loops. Your story can be viewed an unlimited amount of times in 24 hours.

Those are probably the 5 most important terms when talking about Snapchat.  Of course, there is other lingo associated with Snapchat but I wanted to give you the most common ones so you can get up and running on Snapchat today.  And so you can take snaps with lenses with your kids and at least sound like you know what you are talking about!

Get to Snapping!

Okay, now that you know a little bit about Snapchat, get out there and start using it.  The best way to learn Snapchat is to experiment with it and use the different features.  Don’t be afraid to browse the app and take silly snaps.  Just remember, you can always delete a snap if it turns out wrong.   But let me know in the comments if you use Snapchat for your business or not.  I would love to know.

And if you love the snapchat pillow I’m holding in the picture to the right as much as I do, click on the picture to get your own!

Hey, if you are on Snapchat, follow me.  My username is marcella.wilson.  If you follow me, I will follow you back.  It will be fun, I promise!

Cheers!

Dr. Marcella Wilson

P.S.

Snapchat is awesome for business but you gotta have a blog too.  Your blog is your business home.  Because you don’t own or control Snapchat.  Snapchat could disapper tomorrow and you don’t want to base your business solely off your Snapchat or social media following.  Remember what happened to MySpace.  So, if you are in need of a blog, I can help you get set up in 5 minutes.  Check out my blog post where I give step-by-step instructions on how to set up a blog.  It’s called “How to Start a Blog in 5 Minutes: Step by Step Instructions“.

Click HERE to read it.

5 types of Instagram Pics That Get You More Followers

 

Instagram

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Instagram is a great place for female business owners to find customers and grow a huge following.  Whatever type of business you are in or product or service you offer, your customer is on Instagram.  If you are a photographer or model trying to get noticed in the industry, Instagram is a great place to get seen.  If you are a baker, nail artist, stylist, virtual assistant, web designer or hair dresser trying to get more business, your customer is definitely on Instagram.

Download FREE Cheat Sheet of “5 Rookie Mistakes that Business Owners Make on Instagram”

Instagram has approximately 500 million users – yes, that’s half a billion people – and the numbers are increasing daily.  Instagram is the fastest growing social media app on the planet.  It may seem like everyone is already on instagram and there is no room left for you.  But that’s not true.  I believe that instagram will follow in the footsteps of its owner Facebook and grow to over 1 billion users.  Trust me, now is the time to get on Instagram and harness its power.

Start Posting These 5 Types of Instagram Pics

If you are just starting out on instagram or have been around for a while, here are some tips that can help build up your followers.  Below are 5 types of photos every entrepreneur needs in their repertoire.

    1. #OOTD (Outfit of the Day) – This is probably the most popular type of Instagram post (and hashtag!) instaglammers use on the ‘Gram. Showing off your outfit of the day from head to toe is a must.  People who are just starting out on instagram always ask me if I get sent free clothes and do they have to wear expensive, designer clothes to have an Instagram account.  I say just use what’s in your closet.  That’s what I do.  If you are just starting out, no one is going to send you free clothes and I don’t suggest going out and spending lots of money on clothes for your instagram photos.  Look no further than your own closet, pull together a few looks and get to picture snapping.
    2. Focus – No, I am not talking about that Ariana Grande song (which I happen to love). I am talking about having your picture focus on one special thing that you are trying to highlight.  So Maybe you can do a close-up on an intricately hand-beaded sweater, glitzy belt or funky booties.  Whatever you choose, This type of photo is great if you take a photo that is not so great.  Hey we’ve all been there.  As an instaglammer, you take lots of photos for the ‘Gram on a regular basis.  Some photos will turn out not so great.  In cases like this, I try to focus on one thing in the picture that I can edit and focus on.
    3. Collage – A collage is a photo that shows a combination or collection of things.  In the case of an instaglammer, a collage could show an outfit with the matching accessories and makeup.  Or a collage could show different types of rain boots.  Whatever the case, a collage is a great.  If you are the star of your Instagram feed, using a collage instead actually being in every photo is a great way to take a break and switch things up on your feed but still stay on brand.
    4. Themed Photos (A Holiday, Booties Week, etc.) – If a holiday is coming up, celebrate it on Instagram.  Take a picture in a funny turkey hat for Thanksgiving or an ugly Christmas.   In October, every day wear or show something that is pink in honor of breast cancer awareness month.  This is really not hard to do.  If you are struggling to come up with ideas of themes you can use, just look around you or at the calendar.  Is it summer?  Try flip flops to flip over week or bikinis for every body week.  Is it winter?  What about doing a week on cozy coats, booties or how to layer.  Also create your own themes and post pictures for a few days or a week to play up that theme.  And last but definitely not least….
    5. Quotes – Everyone loves a good quote. Did you know that on Facebook and Instagram, quotes get the most likes, comments, shares, tags and reposts more than any other type of photo?  Just think about it.  Quotes can be funny, inspirational, sarcastic or motivational sayings.  A quote can also be something interesting a person of note has said or written.  Try posting a quote photo about once a week and I bet you’ll be surprised at the huge response and interaction you get from it.   A great source of quotes is the internet.  Just google “quotes” and it will return a vast array of websites and actual quotes that you can use.

What to Do Next…

Of course this is just a starting point for you.  There are so many other types of fun and interesting posts you can use on Instagram.  The key is to continue posting on a regular basis.  And if you want to learn some important things you don’t want to do on Instagram, click on the button below to learn the 5 Rookie Mistakes I made that you don’t want to make.  Now get out there and be amazing!

Download FREE Cheat Sheet of “5 Rookie Mistakes that Instaglammers Make”

But before you go, let me ask you something, have you used all 5 of these types of photos on your Instagram account?  Was there one type of photo that you have not tried but want to use?  What is your Instagram handle?  Let me know in the comments and I will follow you.  And if you haven’t already, please follow me on Instagram.  Have a great day!

The Best Social Media Platform to Build Your Business is…

Best social media platform to use

If you read my blog post last week, I discussed why social media is important to anyone who has a business or is trying to build a brand.  So check that out if you haven’t had a chance to do that.  I promised I would talk about the best social media platform to use, because I get asked that question all of the time, too.  If you are ready for the answer, keep reading…

So, the answer to that question is really easy.  Actually, I’ve got two answers to this question.  Focus on the social media platform you like best and focus on all of them.  Huh?  I know that’s what you are thinking right now.  My answers may seem like they contradict each other but they really don’t.  They go hand in hand.  Now, please don’t leave my site, just give me a minute and let me explain….

Focus on the Social Media Platform You like Best

There are so many social media platforms out there – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Periscope, Blab, Google+, Pinterest….  The list goes on and on.  Social media overwhelm is a real thing and you don’t want to spend all of your time posting on all these different social media accounts because it’s the popular thing to do.  I always say that people in business or trying to brand themselves should use the “Fab Four” – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  But it can get tedious and mind-numbing trying to keep up and current on social media.  So, since posting on the regular can become a grind, I say work with the platform you love.  Life is too short, right?  If you love it, it won’t seem so much like work.  So, don’t spend hours on Snapchat just because everyone else is doing it.  Go with what you know and love.

Focus on ALL of the Social Media Platforms

I highly recommend using a social media management tool to broadcast your posts across all your social media accounts.  Are you confused right now or wondering what I am talking about?  Hootsuite and SocialOomph are just a few examples of social media management tools that help manage all your social media content.  There are many great reasons to use a social media management tool like Hootsuite.

  • For starters, you can schedule all your content in advance so you don’t have to be bothered daily about posting on social media.
  • Secondly, you can create drafts of future posts and work collaboratively with other people on your team without posting them.  I am famous for doing this.
  • But the most amazing thing a tool like SocialOomph can do is post to all your social media accounts at once with just the click of the send button.

That’s right!  Say for example you create a post for Instagram that includes a picture and a post.  Using Hootsuite (or whatever social media management tool you choose), you can send that same post to all of your social media accounts.

But let’s get back to answering the original question.  Yes, you can focus on the one social media platform you love the best.  But use a social media management tool to disperse that content out to all of your social media accounts.  So you see, I was not contradicting myself when I said to only use one social media account and then use them all.  By using a social media management tool, you can have the best of both worlds by focusing on what you love and leaving the rest to the tools.

Personally, right now, I am all over Instagram.  I just love Instagram and I post to it daily.  However, I make sure to use a social media management tool to post that same content on my Facebook, Twitter and other various social media accounts.

So, let me ask you this.  What social media platform do you LOVE?  Do you use a social media management tool?  Why or why not?

ISIS: The Terrorist is Only a Tweet Away

ISIS: The Terrorist is only a tweet away

ISIS is a terrorist group that is dominating the news right now.   America has faced other terror organizations in the past. But why does ISIS seem so terrifying? So close? Because they are only a tweet away, right in the palm of your hand where you hold your smartphone.  Terror organizations have used the internet in the past to further their cause.  But no other organization has used social media so masterfully like ISIS as means to capture the world’s attention. Why is ISIS’s use of social media so powerful? Because anyone in the world can access it at any time, they have a clear picture of who their target audience is and they are employing a successful social media strategy to grow their influence worldwide.

THE PASTUnfortunately, terrorist organizations using the Internet to recruit fighters and spread their message are nothing new.

Previously, we saw videos of al-Qaeda doing military drills in the desert or them taunting America in a foreign language. They seemed so distant and removed from our reality. Why? Because only if we tuned on the news that day would we see these videos and they had no real bearing on our lives. They were speaking in a language we did not understand, they dressed differently and were in a place none of us would probably ever visit. Yes, a war on terror was being fought, but very far away from our reality.

Al-Qaeda used the Internet to recruit young, single men with little to no education or military experience as fighters. They used pop culture themes to seduce new recruits through Jihad-inspired video games and rap music videos with lyrics sympathetic to their cause. But you had to find these sites and propaganda online. They were not mainstream. Once an interested recruit found this al-Qaeda propaganda and expressed interest, they were then guided to chat rooms and social media where they could interact and be radicalized with other like-minded individuals. From the chat rooms and social media, these recruits were urged to travel to Iraq to train with al-Qaeda. The ultimate goal being for them to take action to prove their new belief.

THE PRESENT – ISIS has flipped the script

ISIS specifically uses social media to imply that they are like us and here with us.  They tweet like we do. They speak in English like we do. They play Call of Duty like we do. They even posted a picture of the ISIS flag in front of the White House. Showing us that they are not across the world fighting in a desert. They walk among us. ISIS uses social media to bring terror directly into our homes.

But that has all changed now.  They are not only recruiting young men but they are also luring young women into the fold to have babies and grow the Islamic state. We know thousands of men and women from the United States, Britain and Australia who have “disappeared” and joined ISIS. But ISIS is letting its recruits know that they can still show their duty without getting on a plane or leaving their country. There are reports of ISIS terror cells outside of El Paso, TX.  Also, ISIS is calling for followers to carry out lone attacks on popular tourist spots in the US such as Times Square in New York City.

Through social media, ISIS has taken out that “middle man” or the underground aspect of it so to speak and can access anyone directly. Or anyone can access them right from their smart phone or tablet device that they’re holding in their hand. Anyone can look, troll and watch in horror or amazement at the videos and messages they send out to the world daily. You just get the feeling that this information is all too easy for a troubled person to access and carry out another Sandy Hook school shooting or Boston marathon bombing in the name of ISIS.

THERE ARE 3 STEPS TO USING TWITTER TO BUILD YOUR BRAND –  ALL OF WHICH ISIS IS DOING EXPERTLY

First, know your audience. Understand who you are talking to, how they communicate and mirror that in your language to them. ISIS is undeniably trying to scare, intimidate and recruit westerners. We know that because they now create splashy, propaganda videos in English showing them passing out candy and going through military exercises. All of their videos showing beheadings and taunting America are in English. There is no doubt that they are taking to us. More specifically, ISIS is talking to you.

Step two is to stay on brand, meaning know your mission and only tweet about those things. ISIS is brilliant in that respect as they only tweet about 4 distinct things to spread their message. ISIS tweets propaganda in order to recruit fighters and asks their followers to support them financially. ISIS also threaten and intimidate their enemies by posting horrific images and videos of beheadings, crucifixions and other violence.

The last step is to tweet or post consistently because you cannot build a following if you do not consistently put your message out there. ISIS tweets and posts regularly, plus show their mastery of Twitter by using hashtags. ISIS sends out tweets using popular hashtags like #WorldCup2014 so their tweets can be viewed by a world audience. Also, ISIS has its activists tweet out thousands of tweets using a specific hashtag on certain days at certain times so that the hashtag – and subsequently ISIS – can trend on Twitter and become a top trending Twitter topic for that day.  Thus, gaining even more attention. ISIS has a clear social media plan and it’s working.

In the wake of the spread of ISIS, America has conducted air strikes and is seeking help from other nations to join the fight against this evil. Twitter has also deleted some  accounts of suspected terrorists.  But ISIS is still tweeting, posting and spreading hate every day with 140 characters or less.

My question to you is, the Internet is a free place.  Do you feel that is right that ISIS is able to freely use Twitter and Facebook to spread their message and recruit?  Leave your reply in the comment section below.

How My Dad Got 10,000 Twitter Followers

 

Dr. Marcella Wilson

Me and my Dad!

I am so proud of my Dad because he is 72 and has over 10,000 followers.  I helped my dad come up with a strategy to build a huge following on Twitter.  My dad is Charles Hopkins and he only tweets out Bible verses.  Here is how he does it…

When did you start your Twitter account?

Two years ago.

Why did you start a Twitter account?

I was a minister.  For me, I couldn’t do that actively anymore.  So, I wanted to do a ministry on the computer.

How often do you tweet?

I work on it two times a day daily.  In the morning, I used to thank the people who have retweeted me.  But now, I just thank the people who have followed me because I have so many followers.  In the evening, I schedule my tweets for the next 24 hour period using SocialOOmph.

At what point did you see it going beyond your expectations?

When I reached 1,000 – 2,000 followers.   I never thought it would even get there.  And then it just kept going.  When I got 5,000 followers, I started to created goals to get the next 1,000 followers.  I try to get 1,000 followers a month.  I try to see what I am doing that brings in the most people.  I can see that by the retweets and the people that follow me.

That’s interesting because studies have shown that once you get 1,000 fans on Facebook or 1,000 followers on Twitter, your following will start to organically grow by itself.  What are your most popular tweets?

I tweet Bible verses and I try to see by the feedback what type of verses are most meaningful to people.  But people are different.  Some like the verses about encouragement.  Others like verses about God’s rule.  But I pick verses that I feel people should hear.  But the verses have to fit the 140 characters that Twitter allows.

What else are you working on?

I am trying to have more interaction with my followers.  So I am working on a forum or blog to post Christian news stories.  So, I will post links to the stories on my Twitter account and people can go to my blog and post comments.

Do you make money from your Twitter account?

Not at this point.  But I hope I can work that into my forum or blog and monetize it to earn some type of income.

What advice would you give someone trying to get more Twitter followers?

Consistency and pay attention to feedback.  I do it because I like it and it makes me feel good.  I just really enjoy it.  And the subject is enjoyable and important to me, so it doesn’t seem like work.  The Internet and tweeting is good for people who are handicapped or are less mobile.  My energy level is not what it used to be but I can do this right from my couch.

To read my Dad’s tweets or follow him, visit him on Twitter.  His Twitter handle is @capt496.

So what can you learn from my Dad?

1. Be consistent.   Over time, it pays off in a big way.

2. Stay on brand.  My dad only tweets one thing – bible verses.  So I suggest having a personal and business Twitter accounts.  Only use your business Twitter account to talk about your brand.

3. Set goals.  Have a time frame and a tangible number goal that you want to reach.

What are some of your tips for getting more Twitter followers?  I’d love to hear what works for you.

If you haven’t already done so, please follow me on Twitter.  My Twitter handle is @marcellawilson.

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