Five Instagram Tips Part 7

Last Sunday I skipped the Instagram tips, been busy with a lot of other cool social media stuff (more on that in the near future), but for today I have another batch of 5 tips for you.



1. Instagram is growing fast, but it’s nowhere near Facebook (or Twitter)
In my eyes Instagram is by far the coolest social media platform to date, but it’s still very small in compare to Facebook and Twitter. Recently Instagram past 25 million users, which is an insane number when you realize it started in October 2010. I’m assuming most of the users are active users, meaning they upload at least one photo every month. Right now Facebook has more than 845 million active users, of which 500 million log in every day. Twitter recently passed the 500 million users, but “only” 100 million are active users. Bottomline, as rad as Instagram is, it’s reach is still limited in compare to Facebook and Twitter. And sure, you can feed all your Instagram posts into Facebook and Twitter, and that will definitely increase it’s reach, but then you aren’t optimizing each platform to it’s full potential. And it looks rather messy and lazy to me.

2. Don’t feed Instagram posts with links into Facebook and Twitter
Numerous times I’ve told you not to feed your Instagram into Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes it works for Twitter, Facebook is pretty much a no go. Maybe once a month you feed it into your Facebook page to show your Facebook fans that you have an Instagram account. A lot of times when you feed Instagram into Twitter you use more than 140 tokens (160 minus 20 for the Instagram link), so you’re already blowing it.
The worst thing to do (at the moment) is put a URL in your Instagram post, and feed that to Twitter. Why? Cause a URL isn’t clickable in Instagram, and therefore it also won’t work in Twitter. All you do is show people a picture of the link (and text). Think people are gonna type in a YouTube URL in their web browser on their phone? Hell no!

3. Don’t like your own photos or ask (beg) for a follow
No need to like your own photos. I’m assuming you uploaded something you like right? Even worse is to leave the same comment on photos posted by others, asking for people to follow you. I will never follow people that want to tell the world how bad they want extra followers. And for what, just for the number? Relax, you will get more followers. Maybe not as many as Andrew Reynolds, and that’s fine. Post some cool photos (max 3 a day), add some text and a couple relevant hashtags and give it some time.

4. Post real photos, taking with your phone
I’m guilty of this a well, but the best photos on Instagram are the ones shot a few moments before it was posted, with you iPhone. Real time! I’m posting flyers and screen shots (of this post for example) too, but Instagram is really about photos that are shot right here right now. It’s cool to show off your huge photo collection you shot with your high tech digital camera last year, but I’m way more impressed if you took a cool iPhone photo. Like this Insta photo shot by Don Brown a little while ago in Laguna Beach, CA. Simply amazing!

5. Plain product is just fucking boring
This last tips is for any social media platform, and it’s by far way underrated by a lot of people and brands. The best thing about social media is that it’s 2-way traffic. So don’t treat it like a website. I strongly believe social media is mostly about interaction, and not so much about what YOU post, especially for brands. If your website (homepage) is filled with strictly product shots that’s one thing, but please be less “business minded” when it comes to social media. It’s all about creating an emotional connection with your fans and consumers.
I get it, you sell online and you want your stuff to sell. But pushing it down people’s throat is not gonna help you out. So stop posting plain product shots! Sneak peak your designers computer screen by giving away a little bit of a future graphic, show a teamrider wearing a new product, or repost a photo from a fan/follower rocking your stuff. The best way to thank someone for buying your shit is to give them a shout out on social media. They will be stoked out of their mind, and probably gain some of your followers. And buy your stuff again, and tag your and so forth.

Sharing is caring right? Humanize your brand before it’s too late!

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 5 from last week.

Five Facebook Tips 8

After Facebook allowed fan pages to switch over to the timeline layout last Wednesday, it’s pretty obvious this week’s Facebook tips is all about the new layout. On Wednesday I did a quick tutorial on some of the basics of switching to the timeline layout, today I’ll go a bit more in depth.

Let me start of by saying the new timeline is really sick, and will be much better. No one likes change, but just adapt to it asap and you’ll be used to it in no time. You don’t really have an option either, as Facebook will force you to switch no later than March 30th 2012.

1. The link button is gone once again
Once again Facebook decided to remove to link button, so most people might not know how to post a URL in a post without showing the URL. It’s pretty simple. Copy the URL of the blog post or video in the status update bar, hit the spacebar once and wait for Facebook to populate a thumbnail. If your blog post has multiple images you can choose which photo (thumbnail) you want to show. Now delete the URL and type your text. Once you’re done hit “post” and you’re all set!
This works the exact same way for your personal profile FYI. Keep it clean!

2. Your about section has a main spot now
Make sure you put in the about section what you want people to know that are new to your brand. In the timeline the about section shows up right under your cover photo, so everyone that comes to your page will see this text. Keep it short and simple, but make sure you say what you want people to remember.

3. Pin a post to the top of the page
In complete Pinterest stylo Facebook now gives you the option to bring any post from the past to the top of your page. Want to highlight that video one more time, that cool photo or the event that is coming up? Pin the post and it will be on the top of the page for a maximum of 7 days.

How to pin?
Go to the right upper corner of your post and click on the pencil. In the drop down menu click on “pin to top” and you’re done. Now the post will show up on the top of your page, with an orange icon on the upper right.
FYI: You can only pin one post at a time. Once you pin a new post the older pinned post will move back into the timeline.

4. Star a post
Similar to pinning a post, you can now also “star” a post. This blows up the photo or video to the full size of the Facebook page. The size is 735px for a starred post, so make
sure that if you star a photo that it’s of decent size/resolution, so it doesn’t get all blurry. See here an example of a Theeve trucks post on Garrett Hill’s Facebook page.

To star a post go to the upper right corner of your post and click on the star icon. You can star multiple posts, but don’t overdo it. You want to draw attention to a few key posts, not all your stuff.

5. Choose your tabs/apps wisely

With the new timeline everyone will see your cover photo first. You can’t have people that aren’t a fan (of your page) yet land on a different (welcome) page. Underneath the cover photo, on the right side, there is room for 4 tabs. The first one in the row, on the left, is always the “photo” tab. The other 3 tabs can be whatever you want. You can decide which other tabs you want to show there, and in which order. Technically you can have up to 12 tabs, but you have to click on the arrow next to far right tab to see the other 8 tabs.


Example: The Skatepark of Tampa Facebook page

FYI; I just checked out 30 different skateboard brands and barely anyone had changed their page to the timelime yet. Pretty shocking! Props to SPoT for adapting so quick!

You can also decide to put one of your custom tabs in the main row. In the example above you see “photos”, “likes”, “what’s up @ SPoT” and “events”. Again, the “photos” tab will always be in the position where you see it now. The “like” tab is not really needed since you already see the number of total likes (fans) next to the profile picture. I strongly suggest adding the YouTube tab there (which you can install really easy) and then go with 2 other tabs that showcase your brand, organization, or shop.
You can also add custom tabs to the top 4. You can even upload your own thumbnail so you can get an image in their that will attract the attention of your fans. (Specs: 111px by 74px)
I recently built 2 custom tabs for Garrett Hill and David Gonzalez that showcase their sponsors. Below is part of the Garrett Hill one. Go to the actual tab to see it in full. Also check out the sponsor tab I did for David Gonzalez.
Each sponsor logo links to the Facebook page of that brand, so in this case the rider is helping the brand gain more (legit) fans.

Please note that these tabs where designed for the old specs of the Facebook page (516px wide). With the timeline the tabs can be up to 810px wide, so expect an update of both tabs very soon.

If you are interested in building custom tabs for your Facebook page and you don’t know how or don’t have the time for it feel free to hit me up. I can built and host multiple Facebook tabs for you. Just email me at fred@fredvanschie.com and I’ll let you know how it would work.

Don’t forget to check out the Facebook post from last Wednesday with a step-by-step tutorial on how to switch over the the timeline, including all the specs for the cover photo and the profile image.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #7” from last week.

Five Facebook Tips 5

Thank god it’s Friday right? Here are 5 more free tips and tricks to maximize your Facebook presence. Hope they help you!

1. The link tab is back (for fan pages)
Just like any website, you want to tuck away the URLs of your links. Make it look nice and clean. With the return of the link tab it’s super easy (again).
Above the status box, the link button is in between the photo and the video button. Click on the link button, paste your link into the box that appears, and hit attach. Now Facebook gives you the option to choose one of the photos that are in your blog post. If you only have one photo, then that’s the photo that will show up with your update. Another good reason to add at least one photo in your blog post!

2. Do you know your audience?
You know who you want to have as your customer, but thanks to Facebook Insights you can get some detailed information on your fans, who are most likely some of your consumers. On the left, below the profile picture, and below the Wall and Info tab, click on Insights and find out all about your fans. Where they are from, what language they speak, male or female, age and lots more. You can also see which posts got the most interaction.
Always good to know who you are talking to and what posts work with them.

3. Don’t link to another site that links to another site
Want to keep the attention of your audience? Then try to post whatever you want them to see on Facebook, if possible. If you can’t do that then link them to the place where you want them to go.
Don’t send them to your blog, and then have them click on something else, etc. Keep it simple. People don’t link to be re-directed (less is more). Adjust to that.

4. No personal profile for your business
Whether you’re a brand, a skateshop or a professional skateboarder, you want to have a fan page. Besides that it’s one of the rules of Facebook (they can kick you off at anytime), a friends profile can only have 5,000 friends. A fan page can have unlimited “likes” (fans). Besides that a fan page doesn’t have to approve any friends. People just find you and like your page. And a fan page does not have a chat option. Want to try and chat with 5,000 friends?
And if you feel your page isn’t growing, then I’m curious to see what you are doing to promote your Facebook (or any social media) URLs.
Add it he URL to all your advertising, your videos, etc. For a shop I highly recommend having a sign with the URL by the register. And maybe a “bonus” when people check in (when they buy something)? 10% discount and all you have to do is check in on Facebook? I’m down for that! Plus all the friends of the people that are checking in get to see you on Facebook too!

5. Respond to every comment, photo, video that people post
I keep repeating myself, but responding back to every single person that leaves something on your wall is a must. It’s customer service in 2012, and if you don’t you show the rest of the world you don’t care about your consumer.
See the blog post that I did yesterday for some examples. I can talk about it for days but the examples will speak for themselves.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #4” from last week.

Five Instagram Tips Part 3

In the last week some people mentioned some issues they had with the first Instagram tips post I did. In one of the 5 tips I mentioned some people that “clog the feed”, purely as an example. The social media nerd in me looks at some things a little more in depth as others, and all I wanted to do is share that with all of you so you can learn something from it.

I have a lot of respect for everyone in skateboarding that is working their ass off and trying to contribute in a positive way to this industry, and most of these people have inspired me for more that a decade. Besides that I want to be a part of this industry (I might be already) and contribute something positive that inspires others, so why would I try to burn my bridges?

In the last few days I’ve spoken with all 3 parties “involved”, and things weren’t half as bad as I thought (for a bit), but if I offended you or anyone of your close friends, I apologize for that. I had no intention to do that in any way. If you know me well enough I hope you can vouch for me on this. Overall I think I’m a pretty positive person, who is down to help out others at any time.

I did delete the people involved from the post but I still don’t regret writing it, since I wasn’t trying to make people look bad. My straight forward Dutch-ness, mixed with a lot of Henry Rollins spoken word and a ton of Gary Vaynerchuk social media videos might have triggered me a little bit more, but all of the words were my own.

In the future I might either use myself as an example more often, or try to mention some cases “in general”, to avoid further drama. After all, I’m only here to help you….

OK, back to business. Here are 5 more instagram tips to help your personal and business account on the Insta.


1. No need to tag someone when you leave a comment on their photo

If you leave a comment on an Instagram photo, there is no need to tag the person (or brand) that posted that photo. For instance, if you leave a comment on one of my instagram photos, you don’t have to write “@fredvanschie” in your comment. If you want to mention me just write Fred in the comment. Don’t double up!

2. Write sentences with usernames and hashtags
Use the usernames and hashtags within the sentence you write. Let’s say you post a photo of me doing a trick (!) in a skatepark, I suggest writing something like “this is @fredvanschie sucking at #skateboarding”.
Don’t write “Fred grinding his life away @fredvanschie #skateboarding”. Again, this is pretty much a double too, and it makes it harder to read. People are smarter than you think.

3. Stop asking to get followed
Any big name skateboarder (or anyone with a lot of followers) that I follow, will get a lot of comments and likes on any photo they post. And of course it would be so rad if they would start following me and start leaving comments or likes on my photos. But the worst thing you can do is to write a comment on every photo that person post, asking him to follow you. Want to look desperate? You really think begging for a follow is making you look serious?
Good content will get you somewhere, so post cool photos, write something rad/funny/honest about it and maybe add a hashtag or 2 that makes sense, and you’ll get somewhere. And don’t forget to think long term. It’s hard work and things won’t come overnight.

4. Don’t post the whole URL
As of right now, you can’t click on a URL you post on Instagram, so try and keep it as simple as you can. When I post a link to this blog post on my instagram, I just tell people to go to “fredvanschie.com”. Doesn’t make sense to post “http://fredvanschie.com/2012/02/05/five-instagram-tips-part-3”. A waste of space and it makes it harder for people to type it in.
Really hope Instagram will add this feature sometime soon, as it will help a lot!

5. Tag someone in a photo if you want them to see it
This one has to be explained with an example. Let’s say one of you friends bought a pair of shoes from brand X. After a few days the shoes start to fall apart and he posts a photo of it. He is obviously disappointed in the quality of the shoes. He doesn’t tag the brand in the post, nor is he following the brand. (The brand didn’t promote they had an Instagram, so how should he know?).
You are following brand X on Instagram, and one of your friends works there too. You can go to the photo that your friend posted of the shoes that are falling apart and tag the brand and your friend in the photo. Now both the brand and your friend get a message that they were tagged in the photo. They read that the shoes fell apart and are probably gonna reach out to your friend.
If they are smart they”ll be sending your friend a brand new pair of shoes, and include a t-shirt, some stickers and a note (with a mention of the instagram of the brand) for his inconvenience. Once your friend receives the shoes, plus the extra’s, he is probably gonna post a photo of the box with all the goodies in it. And he will tag your brand and say thank you.

Now not only did brand X take care of bad branding (with great costumer service), you also made the consumer,  and all of his friends, aware that you care about him/them. If you didn’t know about this, the person who bought the shoes in the first place would probably never buy your shoes again. And the same goes for his followers. People listen to the advice of their close friends, that’s a fact.
So you can thank the person who tagged your brand in the first place, since stuff like this will save, and grow, your business!

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 2 from last week.