HOW TO MASTER INSTAGRAM POLLS

This past fall Instagram came out with a cool new feature to add to your Instagram Story. Along with the many fun stickers you can place on a picture or video, Instagram also lets you have the option to add a poll sticker. I’ve mostly seen this sticker used on personal profiles to ask followers “which ice cream flavor should I get”, but businesses can also take advantage of the poll feature to help gage a better read on the audience they are reaching.

What is the hype over Instagram Polls?

Instagram polls are strictly available on the Instagram app when you make an Instagram story. They encourage followers to be more interactive and can provide important feedback no matter what the question is. This direct feedback can help you learn specific things about your audience and can even assist in making future decisions.

How does it work?

Setting up a poll on Instagram is extremely easy and quick.

  1. First, you take a video or picture of something you would like to put onto your story.
  2. Once you are happy with your photo or video footage, you can tap the sticker button on the top of the screen (Photo 1, Above) and add any text, drawings or stickers, including the “Poll” sticker. (Photo 2, Above)
  3. Now you can type any question you’d like and edit the two different choices to vote on. You are unfortunately limited to only two choices but you have up to 26 characters per choice box to craft some witty answers. (Photo 3, Above)
  4. Once you have finished writing your question and answers you can drag the poll anywhere on the picture and resize it however you’d like, just like any other sticker.
  5. Then all you have to do is post it and wait for the results!

To look at your results simply tap the viewers listed at the bottom of the story and then swipe up to see the post analytics. The poll will be available for 24 hours along with your story so make sure you set a timer right before it expires so you can see all of the responses.

How can businesses take advantage of Instagram Polls?

Gain audience insight and feedback

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Although these polls do not provide the most in depth consumer analytics, they definitely can shed some light on important topics that you want to get a general consensus on. You also get the answers quickly (within 24 hours). About to i ntroduce a new product? Ask your followers which color they would prefer, or ask which feature from an old product they would change. You won’t know unless you ask!

Ask the right kinds of questions

To gain the best results, make sure your questions on the poll are clear and not biased towards one answer. The best kinds of questions to ask are “yes or no” questions, and “this or that” questions.

Check out how engaged your followers are

This feature is also a great way to see how engaged your followers actually are on social media. If you have 300 followers, but only 100 of them are watching your story and voting, then maybe you need to switch up your content or find a way to appeal to the other followers who might not be as engaged.

Youth culture. Four young people sitting close to each other and looking at their gadgets

Grow your mailing list

Another way to utilize this sticker is by adding people to your mailing list and seeing how many people are interested in learning more about your company. Try positing a Yes or No poll asking “Would you like to receive emails to learn more about our business?” For the people who vote yes, you can then direct message them on Instagram asking for their email.

Polls can help plan events

Polls work great for any event that you may be having including a major sale or an opening party for a new store location. Add some hype to the upcoming event by asking if people will attend or not. Clicking “yes” might give them a sense of accomplishment and clicking “no” might make them feel like they are missing an awesome event. Let your followers help plan your event by asking simple choices like color theme or what flavor cake to have at the event. When the event is over you can post a poll that gages feedback to make the next one even better.

Make it fun and personal

Your polls do not always have to be strictly business related. Adding polls every now and then that show a more personal and fun side of your business can make your audience feel like they have a sneak peek behind the scenes, which can strengthen your relationship. Ask them “Who in the office wore it better” or “Which team in the super bowl are you routing for”.

It is important to make sure your customers feel like they have a voice that gets heard. These Instagram polls are the perfect way to get to know your consumers and help improve future choices by incorporating their feedback.

If you feel like Instagram might be beyond your skill set, we’re here to help you! Contact us at www.maxexposuresocialmedia.com or email us at support@maxexpoemail.com 

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The Camera has to Eat First!

Food3Out of all the things I take pictures of, food photos definitely take the cake. When it comes to social media, I am not a huge selfie girl, but one thing I do snap all the time is pictures of doughnuts, aćai bowls, and pizza. Whether I bake homemade cookies or go out to a restaurant, you can bet my phone camera will be eating first.

I usually will post the picture on my Snapchat story or on my Visco account, but most of the time I just save the photo for myself. Taking pictures of food for me is a way to remember a fun night out with my friends or a delicious homemade meal that my mom cooked for the family.

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My food photo addiction started when I studied abroad in Europe for a semester. Everywhere I went I indulged in amazing food and I would have been crazy not to take a picture to remember it. I’m talking about cheese fondue in Switzerland that had your mouth watering, heart shaped pizzas in Italy that made you fall in love, and hot chocolate in London that brought tears to your eyes.

Some people are against this trend in social media and think it takes away from living in the moment. They also think people will only buy or order a certain food just for the picture. I however think that there are many more positives to this movement than negatives. Taking pictures of your food encourages people to live a little more outside of their comfort zone. For me personally it has inspired me to try different restaurants I have never been to, or order something that might seem a little crazy. It also has allowed me to show off my cooking skills, get a little artsy and creative, and really express how much of a foodie I am.

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Since I am a trained professional (or so I’d like to think) at taking pictures of my food, here the top 5 tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

Find the perfect lighting

Natural lighting is usually the best way to go. Using the flash sometimes shows strange shadows and can make your meal look slightly less appetizing.

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Play with your food

I know this goes against everything your mother taught you, but sometimes the bun will fall off your burger or a French fry will be astray. Before you get the best picture possible move around a few things to makes sure your plate is at perfection.

Get creative with angles

Just like us, food has their good side too. Depending on how you hold your camera can really impact your picture. My go-to trick is getting the camera eye level with your plate and tilting it slightly downwards so everyone can get a better look at all of the delicious ingredients.

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Work with the background

Whether you’re sitting at a cool wooden table or you’re outside at a barbecue, the background adds to the personality of the picture. Get your friend cheesing in the background or show off the freshly squeezed orange juice behind your omelet at brunch.

Tag the location

This is super important so you can remember where you enjoyed that delicious and picture worthy meal, and so your friends and followers can check it out too. If you’re posting on Instagram, tag the restaurant’s name so other followers can click it and see other people’s delicious meals they’ve tagged as well. On Snapchat swipe left until you get the geo filter that shows your location. Your followers will thank you later.

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If you really get the hang of it and don’t want to clutter your Instagram feed with only food pictures you can make your own food account. These accounts are an awesome way to check out cool places to try, and you can brag to your followers when you discovered the most beautiful piece of pizza in all of Boston.

One of my friends started her own food account that is strictly gluten free foods (@gffoodie_boston). She extremely allergic to gluten and wanted to provide a way for other GF foodies to find great places to eat without sacrificing taste. Her account has over one thousand followers and she even gets cool promotions and deals from restaurants to check out their menu and post about it.

Snapping a pic of your perfect Panini is always a good idea, but it is also important to put your phone down after the photo and actually enjoy the food and the conversation.

Whenever my friends and I go out to eat, we have a rule that we all stack our phones in a pile faced down in the middle of the table. If someone reaches for their phone out of habit, they are stuck with the bill at the end- unless of course it’s to take a quick picture.

It sounds a little silly but there is always a time a place for your phone, but checking twitter while you bite into a juicy burger definitely isn’t it.

Happy snapping!

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How Pets Play a Role in Social Media

 

From dressing pets in cozy sweaters, to letting them sit shotgun with you while you run errands and even featuring them in your Christmas card, people today see their pets as legitimate members of their family more than ever before. One way to show off these family members is by plastering their cuteness all over social media.

The Craze Behind Pet Pages

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Looking through my Instagram page, I can tell right off that bat I follow at least 15 animal or pet accounts. I personally enjoy following these accounts because they provide a refreshing change to the countless selfies and meme posts I see all of the time. Once I scroll to a video of a French bulldog puppy wearing onesie pajamas I immediately like the video and watch it at least six times. My mood is instantly boosted and I tag all of my friends in the post to make sure they can witness the cuteness too.

For many people, their Instagram accounts are very structured, and platforms like Instagram provide a way to market their own personal brand identity. Some people love to share their perfect pooches on their personal account, but some feel it would be better to have an account separate from their own.

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This is why making an account for your dog or cat is so appealing. The purpose of these pet accounts is to be fun, light hearted, and adorable. It lets pet owners utilize social media in a comfortable way that shows off their fun side, and allows them to brag about how wonderful their pet is. Studies show that about 65% of people who own pets post about them on different social media platforms at least twice per week, and one in six of these pet owners have actually created a social media page specifically for their pet. The craziest thing is that some of these pet accounts receive more attention and gain more followers than their personal accounts.*

Why Make a Page for Your Pet?

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To get more insight I went to my friend who created an account for her three-legged rescue golden retriever, Koda (@kodathe_golden) a few years ago. Her account has over 1000 followers and features pictures and videos of Koda running around in the backyard, playing in the snow, and taking baths. The captions for her account are written from Koda’s perspective, which makes each post even more fun and personal. When I asked my friend why she created this account, she explained “I had a million pictures of Koda on my phone and I wanted to share them with my friends and family on Instagram so they could see exactly why I was so obsessed with her. Koda’s Instagram account also provide a way for me to promote adopting animals, especially ones that might need a little extra love.”

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Our Director of Client Services, here at MaxExposure, Aly, also has a instagram for her cats @the_siberian_squad, where she features their antics, captions from their perspective and the sibling rivalry between the brother & sister duo! When I asked her why she did it, she explained that her friends and family, mainly her own sisters, were getting annoyed ONLY seeing cat pics on her personal instagram, so she created another one just for them. She also mentioned that, “It allowed me to join a community, the cat community, on instagram which is full of fluffy fur-babies and helpful advice from their moms (& dads). I found the network particularly helpful when we got our second cat, and I needed advice on how to integrate them!” Her incredibly cute duo, Piper & Dash, have about 2500 followers and counting!

How it Helps Animal Shelters

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Social media has also played a huge role helping animals in shelters find their forever homes. Animal shelters and fosters all across the world are using social media pages to post pictures of their adoptable animals in hopes of finding these furry friends a family. By posting a cute picture of a dog on an animal shelter’s Instagram account it helps spread the word and increases the chance of adoption. Someone might see the post, tag their friends, and then encourage them to adopt. Social media is also extremely valuable to these shelters because it is a completely free method of advertising. Most animal shelters & fosters run on donations and volunteer work and advertising usually does not make the budget. By getting these pictures and stories of the animals out on different platforms, animals have a much higher chance of going home with a family.

How to Get Your Pet to be a Social Media Star:

If you want to jump on the social media pet account bandwagon, there are a few things you should know before you make your fur babies account.

  1. Make the account handle something unique and something that reflects your pet. You don’t want to get lost among all of the other generic pet accounts, so make sure your username is fun and stands out.
  2. Find your pet’s voice. The best accounts are the ones where you feel like the animals themselves picked up the phone with their own paws and made the post. Sharing their lives through their own perspectives will be sure to gain you more followers
  1. Post consistently. You want to be just as loyal to your followers as your dog is to you. Post a few times per week to keep your followers engaged, and make sure to switch up the content to keep the account interesting.
  2. Hashtags will help. Boost your following and get noticed by using fun and popular hashtags like #TongueOutTuesday or #WhiskerWednesday. These hashtags will help other pet loving accounts find you and make sure to follow them back! Also having a set group of hashtags that you use on each post will help for search-ability, but be sure to change them up every few months to continue to grow the page!

Very few things in the world make me happier than opening up Instagram or Facebook and seeing an abundance of adorable pet pictures and videos. Pet owners today are more obsessed than ever before with their furry friends, and what better way to show the love for them than through social media?

 

*https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-survey-shows-pets-are-social-medias-top-dogs-and-cats-300256791.html

5 of the Biggest Trends of 2017 in Social Media

Social media trends are constantly changing and can come and go in a blink of an eye. As 2017 comes to a close, it is important to look back and see which ones dominated, and which ones fell behind. Below are some of the biggest trends that rocked the social media world in the past year.

Snap Map

This past June, Snapchat released a new feature that took stalking to a whole new level, Snap Map. This feature allows users to see their friends’ exact location whenever they open their app. The purpose of is to make it easier than ever before to connect and meet up with your friends. For those who may find this feature a little intrusive on their privacy, they can chose to go on “ghost mode” which hides your location indefinitely 

until switched back on.

Snap Chat Map

One of my favorite parts of this trend is how Snapchat can guess your actions based on your location using your Bitmoji, a personalized avatar. At the mall? Your Bitmoji is hauling several bags over her shoulder. Waiting to catch a flight at the airport? Your Bitmoji is sitting leaned up against a suitcase. At a beach? Your Bitmoji is building a sandcastle.

This feature is a great way to brag to your friends when you are on a cool vacation across the world, but it can be not so great when you tell your friends you’re already on your way to meet them for lunch and still haven’t left the house.

Facebook Live

Although Facebook Live was introduced to Facebook in 2016, this trend really took off in the past 12 months. This new feature on Facebook allows any user to live stream video footage to all of their followers and friends. The live stream can last for up to 30 minutes, and stays on the users timeline after the stream has ended. The feature allows the user to see all of the viewers who are currently watching, and there is even a live comment function as well. Facebook Live also alerts all of your followers that you are live streaming.

Facebook & Instagram Stories

This is a major advantage because it significantly increases user engagement and can benefit people who might live stream daily, or someone who has an announcement to make. I am the kind of person on social media who will re-read a post 35 times, or stare at a picture for 15 minutes before I click the “post” button. When I first heard about this feature, I thought it was somewhat strange and convinced myself I would never take part in it.

 

Sharing something on social media that could not be reviewed or edited did not appeal to me until I started seeing my friends streaming and I realized it was actually a really different and fun way to interact. This feature helps us all “live in the present” and we all could use a little more of that.

360 Photos

Another tech savvy trend that will get your head spinning, literally, is Facebook 360. This tool allows users to look at a picture from all different views. By simply moving your phone around you can view the photo as if you were there looking around yourself. To make your own 360 photo, you can either use the 360-camera feature on the Facebook app, or you can upload a photo that you have taken on your phone using the panorama camera. These photos are sure to leave you reminiscing on that beautiful beach vacation you took last month.

Facebook and Instagram Stories

Both Instagram and Facebook took a tip from Snapchat and introduced their own version of stories. These user-generated stories appear for 24 hours and are meant to encourage users to post more often. Although the concept is the same, the content people post to each platform is generally different. My friends use Snapchat Stories to post their constant activities throughout the day. Instagram and Facebook Stories are generally posted much less and are more artsy and formal. The two platforms, Facebook and Instagram (both being owned by Facebook) have since joined together on this trend. Now when users create a story on Instagram they can automatically post the same one to Facebook.

Millennials Aren’t the Only Ones Obsessing Over Social Media

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When thinking of social media we often times solely associate it with the millennial generation who is quite literally glued to their phones. However, in the past year social media has seen a major increase in the amount of people from older generations taking advantage of social networks. In the past 10 years there has been a 32% increase in adults over the age of 65 using social media*, and more than 56% of adults who are online u

se more than one social media platform.** Considering my mom and I currently have a 79 day Snapchat streak, and she texts me whenever she posts on Instagram to “like” her picture, I can definitely agree with these statistics. With the older generations starting to hop on the social media train, it opens up many different opportunities for businesses to market their products towards them. 

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Looking back on 2017, social media platforms have introduced some exciting and fun features that have successfully engaged all kinds of users in all different age groups. From helping to cure loneliness by constantly seeing what your friends are up to, to bringing your photos to life through the 360 Facebook feature, it looks like 2018 has a lot to live up to.

* https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics

** https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/01/05/social-media-marketing-statistics