Why Your Small Business Should Participate in an Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

Instagram is hands-down, the hottest social media site of the moment with 100 million unique visitors each month. If you are not aware of what Instagram is, it is a free app that lets you take a photo or video, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post it to your Instagram profile. The key to getting noticed on Instagram is the use of #hashtags. 

Now, unlike other social media sites, Instagram does something pretty cool. They actively promote their users, for free. One way they do so is with their Weekend Hashtag Project.

What is the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project?

Every Friday, Instagram announces their Weekend Hashtag Project (if you have downloaded my Monthly Marketing Calendars, you will know this is one of the tasks I recommend), where they ask users to submit photos based on a designated theme with a designated hashtag so they can find your photos.

Instagram Marketing Tips

Why This Is a Good Opportunity for Your Small Business

Instagram chooses their favorite photos from the competition and every Monday features them on their blog, meaning big exposure for those chosen. How so? In addition to being featured on their blog:

  • They also share the Instagram names of their top choices on their Instagram profile, to their 47.3 million followers
  • They tweet out their favorite entries, to their 37 million followers
  • They post their favorite entries on their Facebook page, to their 26 million fans

This is a lot of free exposure. But stick to the theme if you are going to participate; don’t use your photo to blatantly promote your business or you will unlikely be selected.

I kept tabs on a photographer’s Instagram profile that was recently featured on their blog and social media sites and he gained over 3,000 followers in just two hours. And that is just followers, who knows how much traffic it drove to his profile.

Some of Instagram’s Recent Weekend Hashtags Projects

  • #WHPresolutions2015, which asked participants to take creative photos and videos that symbolize their resolutions for the year ahead
  • #WHPfeelslikehome, which asked participants to take creative photos and videos that capture the feeling of being at home
  •  #WHPfairytale, which asked participants to capture creative photos that feel like scenes from a fairytale

If you are interested in participating in Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Projects, simply follow @instagram on Twitter and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

Until next time … Gail 

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Marketing Calendar for 2015

Don’t miss out on great tips like the one above! Packed with creative daily ideas that will keep your small business visible and easily attract more customers, my January 2015 calendar is now available with versions for Online Stores, Retail Stores, Restaurants, Realtors and Photographers. Download here. 






Maximize Your Social Media Strategy by Updating Your Graphics for Fall Events

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Have you updated your social media banners (and online store banners) to reflect the current fall season? It can be a valuable sales tool for your small business.

Your cover images/banners are like ads for you. You can use them to announce a seasonal sale, a new fall offering, as well as to make your shop look current and still active, particularly to first time visitors.

If you sell clothing for example, do you want customers to come to your Facebook page and see that your cover image is still showing your summer fashion offerings? It might make them think you are no longer in business, or only specialize in summer clothing.

See how these top brands below have maximized their social media cover images for fall.

Update Your Social Media Banner Images for Fall

I like how Banana Republic has used their Facebook cover image to show various clothing pieces from their new fall collection.

Updating your social media for fall


Update Your Social Media Banner Images for a Seasonal Event

September is big for back to school, and for some stores, that is a top selling time. Below, The Children’s Place, used their Facebook cover image to promote buying back to school clothes to their followers.

Update your social media for back to school


Update Your Social Media Banner Images to Announce a Fall Sale

Crate and Barrel only holds their upholstery sale once a year in the fall, so they use their Facebook cover image to promote it.

Update your social media for a sale


Update Your Social Media Banner Images to Show New Fall Offerings

I love how the nail polish company Zoya, used their Facebook image to show their autumn inspired line of polishes.

Update your social media for new products


Update Your Social Media Profile Descriptions

Don’t ignore your social media profile descriptions either. A lot of companies will update their Twitter and Instagram profiles, for example, to include #hash tags of seasonal trending terms, such as #NYFW2014 (New York Fashion Week), #NFL or #Halloween. Again, you can also use your profile descriptions to announce a fall sale i.e. Fall #Sale On Until 9/31/14 or fall event, i.e. See Our New Fall Look Book. 

It is so important that your business always looks current on social media. It can be easy to neglect, but since more and more sales are being driven through social media, it is a mistake to not update it for every season.

Want a Free Evaluation of Your E-commerce Shop? It is for an upcoming blog post. Just email me at attentiongetting@gmail.com

Insider Report CoverIt’s Here!

My September Marketing Insider Report is out now! If you want to sell more online  this month, get my very best tactics and exclusive selling opportunities (such as the social media tip I gave above), in this month’s report! I also include feedback from my retail contacts on the current hot sellers and what customers are asking for this time of year. Download Now! 20-page PDF. Read a FREE excerpt here.

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.

My Killer Twitter Tip for Finding New Customers for Your Business

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

People are very descriptive with their Twitter profiles. Do you ever read them? Here are some examples (I have removed the Twitter names):

YouTuber | Journalist | Workaholic | Documentary Filmmaker

Small Town Gal – Sports Enthusiast – Foodie – Wannabe Fashionista

Proud Bostonian | Former NYer | Cookbook Author | Future Chef 

See where I am going here? You can find potential customers on Twitter by searching their profiles for the words that describe your target customer.

My Killer Twitter Tip

What words would describe your target customer? Write out a list of one or two-word phrases of how you think that your customer would describe themselves.

Then go to the Twitter search box and type in the words and scroll down to the bottom of the search box where it says “Search all people for”….

Twitter Tips

Now, when the list of people whose profile descriptions have these words in them appears, you may not see potential customers near the top as these tend to be Twitter user names that include these words. You need to scroll down the list to read the profile descriptions to really identify who could be a potential customer for you.

You then want to follow them on Twitter.  They get a notification that you are following them, which may peak their interest to check out your profile and see what you do.

Examples of Twitter People Search Words

  • If you sell wedding products, you want to search for profiles that contain phrases such as “getting married” or “engaged”.
  • If you sell jewelry, try searching for people whose profiles say “jewelry lover” or “jewelry junkie”.
  • If you sell clothing, search on “fashionista”
  • If you sell kids or baby products, try searching “new mom” or “mom to”
  • If you sell pet products, try “dog owner” or more specifically “pug lover”
  • If you are targeting someone who holds a specific job, enter that phrase such as “IT specialist”, “fashion blogger”, “interior designer”, “web developer”

Popular Descriptives in People’s Twitter Profiles

  • Vegetarian
  • Athlete
  • Fitness freak
  • Wine drinker
  • Geek
  • College student
  • Sports fanatic
  • Avid reader
  • Traveler

This is an effective technique if you follow Twitter profiles that are still active. The popular e-commerce clothing shop, Nasty Gal, began their huge success simply by following the MySpace pages of their target customer.

Don’t miss out on more exclusive marketing tips. Be sure to follow my blog to get new posts by email (just see the right column of my blog for “Follow” button).

GB OliverWant social media ideas exclusively for your small business? I offer a Social Media Marketing Plan for just $99 US, customized specifically for you. Contact me to discuss at attentiongetting@gmail.com or order here

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.


3 Reasons Why Pinterest is an Amazing Marketing Tool and My Exclusive Pinterest Tip

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

If you are not using Pinterest for marketing your small business, what are you waiting for? I get more traffic from Pinterest than any other social media site, and my type of business is not one you would think would be Pinterest-friendly.

I am going to give you three reasons why Pinterest excels as a social media platform for business.

Screen shot 2014-06-18 at 9.07.05 AM

Pinterest Will Expose You to People BEYOND Your Followers 

Pinterest has public category boards, such as the Travel one above, which means that on occasion your pin may go to one of these public boards and expose you to new people other than your followers and your followers’ followers.

Pinterest Can Bring You Residual Traffic for Months on End

One popular pin can bring your site endless traffic for months, even years. For another business I have, I had the good fortune of one of my pins making a public category board.  In the 15 months since that pin first appeared (and has been repinned hundreds of times) it has brought me, to-date, 137,000 visitors and continues to still be my highest traffic source. Now, I am not saying that all of this traffic is potential customers, but I’ll take it.

Pinterest Boards Get Picked Up By Google Search

Having a hard time getting on the first page of Google? Try naming a Pinterest board with a popular Google search phrase and you may have more luck. I typed in “Cute Summer Outfits” and the first three searches that came up were Pinterest boards, ranking higher than some popular mainstream magazines and retail stores.

Pinterest marketing tips business

My Pinterest Tip!

The best time to pin is when the majority of your followers are active on Pinterest, so they have a better chance of seeing your pins so they will repin (in other words, your pins aren’t buried down lower under more recent pins from other people they follow).

Want to know when that is? Go to the far upper right hand corner of the Pinterest screen where it shows your name. Then simply click on the Notifications icon (which is the red, double pin icon) and you will see the activity of your followers regarding your boards. If your notifications indicates that the majority of your followers were active 12 hours ago, then that is when you should be pinning.

pinterest marketing tip

Need a Social Media Plan?600BlogSocialMediaPlan

I can create a detailed social media action plan that is right for your small business, and it is super affordable at $99 US.  I will detail exactly which social media sites I think your business needs to be on and give you specific content suggestions and detailed tactics to maximize your exposure on each. You can order on my  Marketing Services page.



The Real Way to Get People to Follow Your Small Business on Social Media

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Every time I visit any type of website, I often see the typical call to action, “Follow Us on Social Media“, but I often wonder, why would I?

It is not enough to ask people to follow you on social media, you have to give them an incentive to do so.

How to get people to follow your company on social media

Discount for the Initial Follow

For example, a lot of companies will offer a special discount for “liking” their page on Facebook.

“Like us on Facebook and get 10% off your first order”. 

Consider broadening this and say, “Like us on all of our social media and get 40% off your first order!”.

Tell Them What They Can Expect

Besides offers, how about giving visitors insight into the type of content you will be posting on social media to peak their interest. So, if you are a realtor, maybe you want to say:

“Follow us on social media to get new listings as soon as they are available as well as hear about unique investment property opportunities.”

But the content doesn’t always have to relate back to what you sell. A lot of businesses have had success posting a photo of the sunrise of the day, or inspirational quote of the day or cute dog pix of the day – content that tends to appeal to everyone that never gets old.

You can also post practical content that the busy person would find useful, such as What to Make for Dinner Tonight or Online Sales to Shop This Weekend or Our Home Renovation Tip of the Day – generalized, helpful, time-saving information that people become reliant upon.

Post Different Content on Different Social Media Sites

If you are posting the same content on all of your social media, people may not want to follow you on each. But if you only offer certain content on certain sites, that helps to get people to follow you everywhere. Maybe contests are only available to your Instagram followers or you only announce exclusive one-day sales or flash sales on Twitter.

So re-look at your social media call to action. Would you follow you?

By the way, be sure to follow me on Pinterest where I pin Products I Love, Product Photography I Love, Home Office IdeasInteresting Infographics and much more.

Need a Social Media Plan?600BlogSocialMediaPlan

I can do that for your business, and it is super affordable at $99 US.  I will detail exactly which social media sites I think your business needs to be on and give you specific content suggestions and detailed tactics to maximize your exposure on each. You can order on my  Marketing Services page.


Case Study: My Instagram Contest Idea for MintBridal.com

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

MintBridal.com is an online wedding dress boutique. They wanted to get more traffic to their shop, so I came up with a creative way to use Instagram to help them get seen by their target market.

instagram contest

Instagram is an incredibly popular photo phone app/social networking site, and #selfies (photos you take of yourself) are all over the news, including a song on the radio. So I came up with an idea for MintBridal.com to run a contest for new brides to submit a selfie that captures the excitement of their engagement.

The key is that entrants have to tag the selfie with the very creative hash tag, #JustGotEngagedSelfie (creating your own inventive hash tag is important to get seen on Instagram) as well as with the hash tag #mintbridal. Entrants must also follow MintBridal.com on Instagram. The bride whose photo has the most likes by May 31, 2014 wins a wedding dress of her choice from MintBridal.

Why This Instagram Contest Makes Sense

  • The first thing the majority of brides do once they get engaged is buy the dress, so it is critical for MintBridal.com to get to brides that are newly engaged. This contest will do that.
  • MintBridal.com’s target market is predominantly women in their 20s, a demographic that dominates Instagram.
  • The bride’s photo with the most “likes” wins, so in order to do that, she has to share this selfie with all of her Instagram followers to get votes. This means the #mintbridal hash tag gets seen by more people and hopefully brings new traffic and visitors to their Instagram page and online shop.

How to Promote the Contest

  • To get the word out about the contest, I sent a press release to a variety of media contacts, including newspapers, wedding media and women’s lifestyle media.
  • Instagram also has an email address where you can tell them about the contest and they may promote it as well.
  • We submitted the contest to various online media that will mention contests and sweepstakes for free.
  • We also mentioned the contest on social media such as Twitter and Google+ and created a special graphic for Pinterest, seen above, using hash tags such as #contest #win #Instagram.
  • MintBridal also ran a Facebook newsfeed ad targeting newly engaged brides in the US and Canada.

I will let you know the success of the contest in the coming months. If you think an Instagram contest might be right for your business, just make sure to check out Instagram’s rules on their website first.

Get My Quick Consult for Your Small Business!

If your small business is not getting sales, my Quick Consult ($30) will give you several quick changes that will instantly make a big impact for little money. Check it out on my menu of marketing services. And don’t forget my ebooks are packed with my advice & ideas, download at my Selz ebook shop. Regards, Gail.



How to Get Your Business Noticed on Pinterest Using Long Pins

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I’m sure you have read many times, that some of the most repinned pins on Pinterest (say that three times) are long pins. Because Pinterest has a vertical display, long pins that take up several rows tend to get noticed more, and the more noticed, the more repinned.

Create Long Pins That are Timely & Informative

long pins on pinterest examples

Timely or informative content always does well on social media. The last pin here is actually one I did for Burnett’s Boards two years ago when the whole “which Disney princess are you?” was trending high on social media. It is so long I can’t show it all here (just click on the graphic to go to my Pinterest board), but in two years Burnett’s Boards has seen her Pinterest followers increase from 500 to over 135,000, and her blog is now one of the top 50 wedding blogs. This pin definitely helped get the ball rolling.

Create Long Pins That Are Collections, Tutorials & Guides

pinterest long pins marketing tips

Pins that act as a reference, guide or tutorial with always get “liked” and “repinned” because it is information people want to hold onto. It is also a good way to establish your business as an expert in its field.

Create Long Pins To Show Many of Your Products at Once

pinterest marketing tips small business

Try and think of creative ways to show as many of your products as possible in one pin, like the companies above. Again, whether you are offering advice or just an interesting photographic representation, these pins can have a long life on social media.

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