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HOW TO BUILD INFLUENCE WHILE SHARING CONTINUING EDUCATION WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Experience is a great teacher but it does mean we tend to do what we have done before. Continuing education opens the door for new possibilities, new knowledge and new skill areas, as well as delivering a deeper understanding of what it means to be a professional in our industry and a great appreciation of the impacts of your work. Additionally, when we invest in continuing education for our employees, we are showing them we see their value which in turn effectively improves employee retention and helps reduce the expenses associated with turnover.
However, one of the biggest mistakes we can make is investing in continuing education and not sharing this with our audience. When we share our continuing education with our audience we increase our value, influence, marketability and earning potential. With the continual advancements of smartphone capabilities and ease of ordering inexpensive equipment and accessories on Amazon, it has never been easier to demonstrate your skills (new & old) with your social media audience.
The most effective way to share what you have learned in advanced training on social media is by demonstration. Time lapse is a great way to share the design technique from start to finish in less than a minute. By using the most recent addition on Instagram of Reels, you can do this and also add music. Behind the scenes (BTS - as it is widely known on social) images are another great way to share what you have learned while you’re in the class. Highlight specific techniques that set you apart from others who lack the same skill set. And finally, share with your audience the technique you have learned while showing them how you have made it your own.
TSFA offers incredible ways to advance your training both virtually and with upcoming events, as well as design classes for certifications offered in-person! Check our website for more details.
HOW TO GET NOTICED ON INSTAGRAM
Whether you are just starting out on Instagram or have reached a plateau in growth and engagement, these four tips will help give your content a boost and your work a refresh!
1. Use Only Your Best Photos - I list this tip first because it is the most important. When people land on your Instagram account, you’ll want them to be blown away by your smartphone photography skills. This will not happen unless you’re only posting your best shots to your profile. This doesn’t mean stop posting all of the great impromptu selfies and less-polished photos. Save those for stories (more on this below) and use your feed as the place to showcase your best work and more beautiful photos.
2. Create Your Own Aesthetic - People follow Instagram accounts because they love the aesthetic and they love the style of the photos being uploaded. You can’t have this appeal if you’re constantly changing filters and continually playing around with different styles. As creatives, we already have an advantage of understanding how to create an aesthetic and doing so on your page will create a mood for your brand and increase the growth of your page.
3. Choose Hashtags Wisely - Using hashtags is one of the most powerful ways to get your work noticed on Instagram. However, it is important to avoid popular hashtags that are broad in scope. Instead, keep your chosen hashtags highly relevant to your interests and industry. Customize them to the subjects of your photos rather than using the same hashtags over and over to reach far more people.
4. Use Instagram Stories - Stories are an ideal way to share more dynamic, un-polished content (both videos and images) that can offer a “behind the scenes” look at your brand and the content in your feed. An additional benefit is that individual stories can contain links to your website. This is something you cannot do on your main Instagram posts and this is one of the only ways to drive your Instagram followers elsewhere.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATING YOUR AUDIENCE...About Your Education
Professional certifications benefit your entire company. Studies show professional certifications lead to greater productivity at work because employees are better prepared to deal with day to day challenges and have a better understanding of the complexities of the business. Certifications also foster greater peace of mind within the organization. Employees learn from their training the importance of adhering to professional standards thus giving you greater confidence that your team can meet industry benchmarks while providing a higher and more consistent quality. Certifications also add prestige, validate your high-level of expertise and set you apart from your competition.
In addition, professional certifications give the consumer greater confidence in your ability. Certifications tell your customers that you and your staff are held to the industry’s highest standards and you will take very good care of them. It adds to the safety and security your customers feel knowing they are in good hands. However, the caveat here is, unless you are educating your consumer about your certifications and what each means, you miss an opportunity to create impact as well as build an additional layer of trust. As an industry, the certifications are known and are important, but what do your consumers understand about certifications? Most likely, not much.
Here are three ways to educate them using social media:
1. Create posts directed toward the importance of continuing education. Why is it important? Why is it important to your customer?
2. Share with your audience how your professional certifications have directly impacted your skill level. How does the specific certification set you apart?
3. Build connection by talking about the importance of investing in continuing education both for yourself and your employees. A business who cares to invest in their employees is a business who cares about people, quality of work and being the best they can be.
Without teaching your audience, your consumer will not understand your professional certifications. This is a huge opportunity to set yourself apart by not only continuing your education but by educating your audience as well.
Tis the Season of Holidays and Covid
With the holidays looking different this year, there is an argument to be made that we need holiday cheer and traditions more than ever! The messaging we create to sell products during this holiday season should continually convey the need for cherished moments and showing gratitude and how flowers are the perfect way to express these emotions. Here are a few ways to put your most festive foot forward during this uniquely 2020 holiday season.
Educate your customers on the importance of shopping local and point out why shopping local during COVID is more important than ever. Do this continually throughout the holiday season using different creative posts.
FLOWERS BRING COMFORT
Flowers bring comfort in a time when people need comfort more than ever. Focus content on the unique way flowers can bring comfort and provide a sense of normalcy around traditions in a time when we are craving normalcy.
This is a year when people will be skipping crowded malls to shop online. Remind your customers of the ease in which they can do their holiday shopping with you while being mindful and safe during the pandemic.
FLOWERS PROVIDE A WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE SEASON
Share with your audience all of the unique ways they can use the power of flowers to experience the joy and warmth of the holiday season within their own homes. All of these suggestions are messages we would typically create around flowers, but presenting them in context of the pandemic makes them even more powerful. Use these ideas to tell a story and connect with your audience. This is one time where we certainly can all relate to the feelings of others. Creating a marketing message that is relatable should be easy!
How To Use Instagram's New Reels For Business
Reels could be considered a direct response to the growing popularity of TikTok - which has surged significantly over the last 12 months. TikTok generated “the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in Q1 2020, according to Adweek. TikTok’s core demographic is rapidly changing. While once dominated by Gen-Z users, Millennials now make up a greater share of TikTok’s user base - making the platform a more attractive proposition for advertisers. Reels' positioning on the already popular Instagram app means it is primed for huge success. You can find it by opening Instagram stories camera and choosing the reels icon, from there you can choose the size and speed of your video as well as music.
Reels provides a new way to build your community and grow your reach on Instagram. It’s a fun and engaging way to share viral and creative content with your audience. In its early stages, Reels is already proving to be a space where businesses can make waves and increase engagement. Reels are designed to be fast and fun, packed full of special effects that make creating captivating content easy. This offers a great opportunity for businesses to show a more human side which can be great for building meaningful relationships within your community. It is important to use hashtags the same way you are accustomed to doing on Instagram so you can be found on the Reels explore page by other users. The explore page is also a great place for you to find Reels inspiration for your own content. Give Reels a try and tag us @txflorist to share how you are using Reels for your business!
How To Give Your Instagram Stories A Boost
Instagram Stories have more than half a billion users watching them everyday. Half. A. Billion. If you’re a small business owner, these are compelling numbers. Instagram Stories are a golden opportunity to reach your audience and a great way to engage your consumers in a fun and light way. If you’re new to Instagram Stories or are just struggling to get your stories to convert, read on for ways to use IG Stories plus a few favorite tools to create unique, eye-catching content.
one are the days of boring customer questionnaires, get your answers with just a tap! Using polls in your IG Stories is a great way to drive interaction with your followers. You can further market research, gain customer feedback or get to know your audience and have a little fun. The possibilities with polls are endless, and it’s possible to think of highly relevant creative campaigns specific to your business or targeted demographic!
he questions sticker makes it possible for businesses to invite their audience to ask any questions, as well as ask their audience questions themselves. This is a great feature for building community and encouraging customer interaction and building loyalty!
You may be familiar with VSCO if you have a teenage daughter, but it’s an amazing app for IG Stories too! This is the gold standard for photo editing with professional looking editing presets and highly detailed tools for adjusting color, texture, light and perspective. High definition RAW photos from your professional camera can be easily imported and tweaked on the go, so your images can look good even if your "phone-tography" skills aren’t perfect.
ifelapse is an app where you can create attention grabbing stop motion videos. The in-app academy walks you through best practices and techniques for a perfectly polished final product. This app can be great for capturing your design process to share with your audience in Instagram Stories. These are fun, easy ways to give your content a creative boost and grab the attention of the half a billion users who watch IG Stories each day!
Social Media Makeover: Summer Edition
Consistent social media monitoring, auditing and makeovers are essential to protect your personal brand and/or business brand. This month, we will focus on six social media makeover tips to ensure your streams are not only relevant but are also helping to build and not distract from your brand.
#1 Ensure Consistency Across All Platforms:
Do all of your social media platforms convey the same message about who you are, what you do and what you offer?
#2 Update Your Look:
Change your Facebook cover photo to match the season.
#3 Update Contact Info:
Check to make sure that your email address, telephone numbers and URLs are all up to date and that if someone clicks, they get to the right place.
#4 Revise The Call To Action:
This can include anything from inviting people to connect with you, reminding them what your mission is or helping them understand why you’re worth knowing.
#5 Audit For Any Comments Or Inquiries You May Have Missed:
If you see that you or your brand is the subject of unwanted chatter online, find a way to polish yourself and your product. Ignoring any negative comment or issue doesn’t make it disappear.
#6 Review Top Posts:
Look at your highest performing posts and find a way to recreate similar posts for your content calendar.
5 Things To Do To Move Business Forward During COVID-19
Press Pause On Scheduled Posts. The conversation at large is changing rapidly and your messaging should share the same tone. Your previously determined scheduled posts could easily fall at the wrong time causing you to appear tone deaf to your audience. Removing scheduling will allow you to remain sensitive as you listen to the at large conversation.
Post In Real Time. Pausing scheduling doesn’t mean throwing out previously planned posts. Post in real time and play around with the times you are sharing content. Many are still working from home and caring for family members while working which means the times they are on social media may have shifted. Testing posts at different times will allow you to see when your audience is most active and most receptive to your messaging.
Prioritize Conversation Over Clicks. To remain connected to your audience in uncertain times and to move business forward during slower months, it is important to shift our expectations and how social media outcomes are valued by moving away from click driven results and focus on conversation. Engage in every single comment made on your posts, asking questions when possible to show interest and value to your audience. Businesses are slowing and budgets are tightening. Social media will give you an active marketing channel, but now more than ever, it is important to focus on conversations, building community, sharing support and storytelling.
Focus On The Consumer. As business slows, creating content focused on current business is important. Highlight customers sending flowers and capture the “why” of their stories and share them with your customers. There is no better way to get your audience thinking about the power of flowers than by sharing stories of the people who are buying right now. Create meaningful stories around this as a way to build connection with your community.
Create Appointment Viewing Content. As business slows, people are open to watching more content online that is meaningful, informative and spurs creativity. Give your audience an alternative to Netflix binges and use IGTV or Facebook Live to create video content that is valuable to your consumer. This content should look different than the behind the scenes content you would share in IG Stories. This content should be longer and should be valuable to your audience, such as: ways to style specific flowers in your home, or how to brighten your at-home workspace.
Creating compelling content shouldn’t slow because business does. It is finding ways to adapt and fine-tune that will move business forward to the other side.
Be The Helper
If you have been spending more time online during quarantine, you may have noticed an increase in negativity and fear. During these uncertain times, fear and negativity can become fueled by more of the same. However, right now more than ever, there is the opportunity to make an impact using your social media content. There is an opportunity to be the light in the dark spaces and share hope in the face of negativity.
Depending on the city and county laws in your area and how they have impacted your business, you may have pressed pause on your social media content if you have had to press pause on your business. Don’t. Your social media content is the one valuable way you have to stay in front of your audience even if your business is not currently operating. Now is a time to stand out with positive messaging and encouragement.
One of the ways to do this is sharing stories about how flowers are making the difference in the lives of others. Even if it is in another city or state, this content is great to share because it reinforces what we already know - flowers bring joy and flowers spread hope! You can also share throwbacks of past work of past designs and frame the verbiage to be a “day brightener”, or talk about what in that particular design lifts your spirits in that moment. Share images of past brides or fun moments and talk about the bride or the moment in a meaningful and fun way. In a way that encourages your audience to find joy in moments we have now. Share stories of the helpers - nursing and healthcare workers making a difference, or other people making a difference in the community.
All of these examples are great ways to share light in dark times. Social media can be a powerful tool to divert feelings of distress toward hope. There has never been a greater opportunity to stand out with messages of hope. I love this quote by Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping’.” This quote, of course, applies to children but I like to think the takeaway message for adults is “look for ways to BE the helper”. The floral industry and also your social media platforms provide the opportunity to BE the helper during this time.
5 Simple Steps to Spring Clean Your Social Media
Our digital houses can get just as cluttered as our actual houses, making spring a great time to clear our junk and cobwebs. Use these actionable steps to create a space free of clutter and primed for spring growth and expansion.
1. Audit Your Spaces - An audit of your platforms is a great way to take stock of what is working in your strategy and what needs to go. When performing an audit, check your images on each platform. Does your FB cover photo need an update? Now is the time to make everything look as fresh as spring! Also, you want to look and be sure there is consistency across all platforms with color and branding. Dig into your demographic data to help you improve ads and targeting. Evaluate your posting activity and engagement rates. Do you see places for improvement?
2. Check Out Your Competition - What type of content are they sharing and how often are they sharing it? Which content receives the most engagement? How are they using videos across platforms?
3. Review Your Social Media Platforms - Each platform is different and requires a different approach, yielding different results. Are you using the right platforms to target your audience? Are you spending most of your time focused in the one area that will generate the most results for your effort? There is no need to spread yourself too thin or try to do a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Maximize your efforts by focusing your time effectively.
4. Create A Content Calendar - Content calendars help you plan content on a weekly/monthly basis. It helps you deliver a more balanced mix of content. Set aside one day each month to look ahead to events, seasonal trends, etc. and develop your content around them.
5. Move Forward With A Fresh Strategy - Social media is more than setting up accounts and posting. Consider the “why” of what you’re doing and what inspires you and bring this forth in your marketing. Your audience will thank you.
Why use Facebook Advertising
With nearly 1.6 billion people using Facebook each day, the platform offers a unique opportunity for marketers to enhance their organic efforts. And with 22 billion ad clicks per year, it’s safe to say your specific audience is on Facebook and they are clicking on ads. You could utilize this same advertising power to reach your target audience through ads, too! Facebook ads are also inexpensive and cost a fraction of what marketing on other online channels cost. If you go into Facebook advertising with a clear focus and follow a simple strategy, the cost efficiency of the platform will surprise you. The more effective you become with zeroing in on your target audience, the more effective and inexpensive your Facebook ads will become. How do you find your target audience? The targeting capabilities of Facebook advertising are exceptional and the level of detail you can get is astounding. You can target by behaviors, interests, demographics, connections, age ranges, languages and locations. You can dig-deep, layering these targets upon each other to ensure you exclude any questionable, out-of-market clickers. Finally, once you have an audience that is targeted and turning into customers, Facebook allows you to clone that audience through a feature called “lookalike audiences”. Facebook will then reach new audiences who are more likely to also be interested in your business - taking the guesswork completely out of your targeting. If you’re ready to dive into this powerful tool, go to “Ads Manager” in Facebook and begin to play around. You can create basic ads through an easy guided step-by-step process and begin to explore how they work. As you learn, you will gain more information about ads and also your audience.
Reaching Prospective Brides on Social Media
Coming up with new ideas to keep your social media wedding content fresh can be challenging. Besides sharing current projects, what else can you post to attract brides? This month, we will explore options to help keep your social media fresh and attractive to your bridal market.
1. While quotes can sometimes be overused, love or marriage quotes paired with beautiful wedding photography can provide inspiration for brides and grooms.
2. Providing resource lists of amazing wedding songs, favorite wedding books, colors, etc. is a great way to provide value to brides and can lead to more shares of your post.
3. Take advantage of trending hashtag days on Instagram (like #weddingwednesday and #tbt for throwback Thursday) by participating each week. You #weddingwednesday could be a helpful tip, inspirational wedding photo, while #tbt could be a photo of a past event (don’t forget to tag the bride as well).
4. Treat your Instagram page as art, carefully curating content, keeping in mind texture and color to give your page an overall feel or theme.
5. Create an Instagram promotion or giveaway where the rules require brides to like the post and tag two friends. According to data from Tailwind, 91% of Instagram posts with more than 1000 likes are related to a contest. Meanwhile, accounts that run contests regularly grow 70% faster than those who don’t. Contests are a great way to increase visibility of your profile and spread the word among brides.
6. Host an AMA (ask me anything) on your Instagram stories. This is a great way to educate and increase engagement with your audience and to answer questions from brides.
7. Use the power of video! Video gets exponentially more shares and likes than pictures. Sharing video content of brides with their bouquets from the wedding day can be inspiring and attractive for other brides. Coming up with new ideas is often the hardest part of social media campaigns and having multiple ideas for fresh content in your back pocket will hopefully help you stay fresh and attract new business in 2020.
Happy New Year
Valentine’s Day prep is upon us and your social media marketing plan should absolutely be part of your prep. As we begin the new year and prepare for the upcoming season and before you map out what your social media content will look like, it’s an opportune time to look at data from last year. A plan for the new year should always begin with a look at what worked and what did not work the previous year in order to make necessary improvements. One of the best aspects of social media, is the data allows you to hear direct feedback from your audience. You can find data on Facebook in the “insights” section on your business page. This can be found at the top of your page under the “more” tab next to the “notifications” tab. Here you will be able to find data by month and by specific posts. On Instagram, you can look at posts individually and click on “view insights”. Look back to January and February and see what your most popular posts were - the posts that received the most engagement. When looking at your most popular posts, think about what made each successful. They were obviously more engaging but ask the question, “why?” This will lead to ideas for new posts during the Valentine season. Then, take a look at the time of all of your posts to see if there was a specific time of day that posts received the most engagement and were seen by more of your audience. By looking at these details, you can see the posts that did not do well and think about ways to improve upon them and you can also give some thought to what is the optimum time of day to post to get the most views from your audience. Once you have your content outlined, evaluate if anything can be scheduled in advance. Facebook allows you to schedule posts both in Instagram and Facebook. Take a few minutes each week to schedule any posts for the week which will free up more time to focus on your busiest time of year. However, do not forget to go back and engage with your audience. Engagement is a two-way street and only works if you are there to communicate with your audience. When your audience receives a response, they are more likely to engage in future posts. Keep it light, keep it fun and keep it inspirational! Enjoy the season and Happy New Year!
Social Media Success in 2019
The success of our Social Media with emphasis on Facebook and Instagram led to increased awareness of TSFA and consumer opportunities for Texas Floral Professionals as we all work together to sell more flowers. Our total fans on Facebook to date is 3,128 with an engagement of 17,300. With an organic reach of 55,826 and paid reach of 46,770 we are spreading the flower message! We increased our presence with a new level of focus on Instagram with 1,419 followers and a total reach of 7,400. We may just be getting started on this platform but we look to the future with great anticipation. Pinterest activity continues with 3,400 average monthly views.