Avoid The Spam Folder With These 6 Simple Email Tips

So, you’ve just created the perfect email. You wrote all the write words, created a beautiful design, and crafted an awesome subject line. You’ve even placed an exclusive deal inside of it that only email recipients can take advantage of! What could go wrong?

Well, turns out, a lot of things can go wrong. Your email could still accidentally end up and someone else’s spam folder. And what’s the worst part of all of this? Your emails could be landing in their spam folder every time you send one, with your customers never even noticing you sent them an email.

Nobody wants to see their beautiful email get ignored and trashed. But, you’re in luck. Today, we’ve got a few tips that will help you keep your amazing emails out of the spam folder and into the inbox where they belong.

Don’t Use Exclamations or All-Caps Words in Subject Line

There are a plethora of different factors that cause your emails to land in the spam folder, but one of the most common and easiest to fix is your subject line. This is the first thing customers will see when they receive an email from you, and it’s what pushes them to decide whether to open your email or trash it. One of the biggest red flags in an email is the use of exclamation points and All Caps words in a subject line. Customers will look at these and automatically determine that your email is spam, without even opening it. They might also flag your email address as spam in their email hosting platform, therefore preventing future emails from ever reaching their inbox. Avoid using these types of subject lines in your emails.

Avoid Sales-y Words in Subject Line

Subject lines are super important for making sure you stay out of the spam folder. Not only do you have to make you’re avoiding the use of certain punctuation and capital letters, you also have to avoid language that appears too sales-y to customers.

Examples of this would be saying “FREE” or “GREAT DEAL” in the subject line. That information is fine to include in the body of your email, but including it in the subject line is a big red flag for customers. A lot of email providers will also automatically send these types of emails to the spam folder, so it’s best to avoid using them altogether.

Have a good text/image ratio

Do you have emails with a lot of text and not a lot of images? What about emails with nice images but almost no actual text? This can be a problem for you since many spam filters check for what’s known as a text-to-image ratio.

Most experts agree that a 60/40 (that’s 60% text, 40% graphics) text-to-image ratio is ideal, and will keep you from getting automatically flagged as spam by filters.

Use Spam Checking Software

It’s also a great idea to use spam checking software before you send your email to customers. Constant Contact already has a pretty great spam checker built-in, but for a more detailed idea of whether your email will be flagged as spam, consider using services like SpamAssassin and IsNotSpam.com to check your email or newsletter. Both tools are free software and can be used to give you a clear idea whether your email is spam-like.

Don’t Include Large Attachments

Most of the time, sending attachments in an email, such as .jpg and .pdf files, are okay. But, if you’re sending .exe, .zip, .swf, or anything similar to those, you run the risk of being marked as spam.

In that same vein, avoid sending large attachment files, such as those above 20MB. If you’re using Gmail, it will tell you if your file is too big to send through email, and will prompt you to send it through its file sharing and cloud storage software, Google Drive, instead. You can also use Dropbox to send larger files if you absolutely have to.

Ask Customers To Add You To Their Contact List

Scared that your emails still aren’t reaching your customers? Ask them to add your email address to their email contact list/address book. This is a great way to ensure that they’ll always receive your emails, even if your email doesn’t pass a spam filter’s strict test. You can even say “add us to your contact list!” at the bottom of your emails, to better encourage customers to add you.

The Best Ways To Reduce Your Business Expenses And Save More Money

Running a business is a tough endeavor. Inevitably, you’re going to run into a situation where you have to make a decision regarding expenses. What do you do in these situations? Do you have to make huge cuts in necessary expenses just to save yourself money, or lay off employees to save a little extra cash?

Thankfully, you don’t always have to take the most extreme approach to penny pinching. There are other, more respectable ways to save money, that don’t involve making huge decisions like the examples above.

Saving a few dollars here are there can really add up in the long run. With that in mind, here are some simple ways that you can save money each year, with only minimal changes in what you’re currently doing!

Negotiate Lower Prices With Suppliers

Most suppliers are used to people negotiating prices with them. In fact, they’re probably more willing to negotiate a price with you rather than lose you as a paying customer, so you have the upper hand in most negotiations. If you feel like you could be getting cheaper prices from your supplier, let them know. Telling them that you could do business with another supplier could encourage them to match their competitor’s prices, too.


Need to get some work done, but can’t afford to hire more full-time employees to do it? Considering outsourcing some of your work to freelancers. It could be something like web development, or it could be freelance blog writers. Whatever it is, outsourcing your work will shave off a few extra dollars on your budget, plus, you’ll be getting important work done at a quicker pace, therefore reducing your expenses for time-consuming projects.

You can find lots of great freelance work on sites like Freelancer and Upwork.

Reduce Unnecessary Subscriptions

Do you have subscriptions to software, social tools, or ad campaigns that you forgot you were paying for? It’s easy to subscribe to an inexpensive subscriptions service and then completely forget you have it. Sometimes, this happens when you sign up for a free trial of something, and then forget to cancel it before the trial period is over. A few bucks a month for a subscription may not seem like much but could add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in charges, depending on how many you’re subscribed to. Make sure you’re checking all of your expenses, maybe do an internal audit, and eliminate unnecessary subscription services.

Credit Card Rewards and Points

You probably already have a few company credit cards that you use for things like travel expenses for employees, new tech, office supplies, etc. But do you know what your current credit card company offers as far as rewards points for purchases? You could be racking up points that will seriously deduct expenses later on. For example, if you have a credit card that’s just used for travel expenses, and that card earns you a certain amount of points per purchase, you could quickly earn enough points just from using the card to maybe get employees discounts on hotels, plane tickets, dining and more. If you need to do some research on which credit card companies will work for your needs, check out Nerdwallet.

Every dollar counts when you’re trying to save money. Use these tips, and start cutting your expenses today!

Want to get started with an FGmarket listing? Join today!

LinkedIn: A Quick Guide To Using It For Your Business

Are you on LinkedIn? Well, if you’re not, consider this a reason to jump on board right now: LinkedIn boasts a user base of more than 400 million members.

That’s a huge chunk of the social media presence online. By comparison, Facebook, the most popular social media platform, has more than a billion users, and you’d be hard pressed to find a business out there who doesn’t currently have a Facebook Page.

You can think of LinkedIn as the more professionally-minded Facebook. It operates in much the same way as Facebook, with status updates, connections, profile pages, and messaging. But LinkedIn is primarily a recruiting and networking tool. It’s your Swiss army knife for professional networking online.

So, what do you need to do to make the most of your LinkedIn profile? We’re here to help.

Make Connections

LinkedIn is all about making connections, literally and figuratively. You want to make figurative connections with people when you network, of course, but LinkedIn gives you an actual way to do that, too. When you Connect with someone on LinkedIn, you are adding them to your online network. It’s sort of like adding someone as a friend on Facebook. You can see their profile, status updates, job updates and more, and they can also view that info on your profile. Making connections helps you to find people who might be able to assist you in the future. After all, a contact is only a click away on LinkedIn.

Post Updates

Much like other social media platforms, LinkedIn encourages sharing what’s happening in your life with your followers. This can be in the form of status updates, job updates, fun and informative articles, pictures, and more. If you have a company LinkedIn page, you can post updates of the latest news that’s happening within your own company, such as new projects, new employees, and maybe even a cause or event you’re sponsoring. Social media is all about being social, and you can’t be social if you keep everything to yourself.

Inform Followers Of Job Postings

One of the main reasons companies get a LinkedIn page is to supplement their job listings. You can post job listings and applications on LinkedIn, making the hiring search that much easier. You can also message potential candidates for a job directly if you’d like to offer them a job that way. But be sure to always keep your job openings updated so people know when and how to apply for a job!

Fill Out Your Profile Completely

The profile page was created to be filled out completely. Not some of the way, and not half of the way, but 100 percent. Not only is filling out your profile the best way to give visitors to your page all the info they need to know about you, it’s also important in getting your page found. When you fill out your profile with info such as your website URL, company bio, skills, interests, and more, you’re helping your pages SEO (or search engine optimization). I filled out profile is more likely to rank your page higher in search engine results, leading to more people finding out about your company.

Gather Endorsements

This is more for a personal profile rather than a company LinkedIn profile, but endorsements are another great way to utilized your account. You can be endorsed by your followers for an enormous variety of skills, such as customer service, professionalism, social media, writing, accounting, etc. Basically, any skill that you believe you have, you can have your friends, coworkers, and colleagues endorse you for it. These endorsements show visitors to your profile what you excel at doing, and how professional you are, which could lead to even more business opportunities.

Cross Promote Your Other Accounts

Social media thrives off of cross promotion, or sharing content from one social media account on another one. A good example of this is whenever you have an event that’s coming up. Instead of just promoting the event on Facebook and hoping that people see it, you can also post the details of the event on a LinkedIn status update. This will reach more people than just posting on one website alone, and will also reach a different kind of crowd. Be sure to let your followers know about all of your social media accounts, and encourage them to follow you on everything you have.

This post originally appeared on www.atwillmedia.com. Need a new website? Check out Atwill Media!

Celebrate Fair Trade Month With FGmarket!

Fair Trade Month is here! October is all about fair trade business practices and products, and at FGmarket, we’re excited to celebrate all of our wonderful fair trade certified vendors!

What is fair trade? Well, fair trade is a way of doing business that ensures workers in developing countries are being treated fairly for their hard work. Fair trade business practices make sure workers earn fair wages, work in safe working conditions, and for reasonable hours. If a business bears the Fair Trade badge, then you know they treat their laborers with respect and fairness.

FGmarket has thousands of vendors, and many of them are proudly fair trade certified. Whether it’s jewelry, toys, personal care products, packaging & gift wrap, etc. you can be sure that the fair trade products sold by our wholesale vendors are top notch!

Want some more info about fair trade around the world? Check out these statistics from the Fair Trade Foundation.

  • There are more than 1.65 million farmers and workers in Fairtrade certified producer organizations.
  • 1,226 fair trade certified producer organizations exist in 74 countries.
  • 26% of all farmers and workers in fair trade are women.
  • 106.2 million euros, which is about 119 million U.S. dollars, was paid as premium to producers through fair trade deals.

Fair trade not only supports hardworking farmers and artisan crafters, it also helps to combat poverty in many parts of the world. This only works though if you and your customers actually buy fair trade products.

If you’d like to browse our Fair Trade section, click here and check out all of our fantastic fair trade certified vendors.

If you’d like to know how you can support fair trade business practices, and what you can do to make the fair trade movement more apparent in our world, check out some of these tips from Fair Trade USA.

Celebrate Fair Trade Month throughout October, and support hardworking farmers and workers around the world!

How To Take Advantage Of Pinterest For Business

Pinterest isn’t just for making wedding planning boards, french bulldog pics, and too-good-to-be-true cooking recipes. Pinterest can be a fantastic marketing and promotional tool if you know how to use it correctly.

In the early days, yes, Pinterest was mainly used as a visual note-taking and reminder app, where you could save cool things for later viewing. But, over time, Pinterest has morphed into an entirely new beast, one that’s even better suited to promoting your business and e-commerce than you might think.

If you need some help figuring out how to utilize all the neat features available on Pinterest, we’ve got some tips to help you out.

Fill Out Your Info

In recent years, Pinterest has introduced a Pinterest for Business account option. The business account differs than the regular account in a number of ways, most notably it includes the addition of an analytics function, which we’ll talk more about later.

When you sign up for a business account, you need to make sure all of the relevant information is filled out on your profile page. Pinterest will ask you for certain information, such as your Business Type, Location, Website URL, Business Name, an About You section and more that will help Pinners find your profile more easily.

Pin Relevant Content

No one likes to see content that doesn’t interest them when they’re scrolling through their home feed. It’s annoying, especially since more and more people these days require businesses to cater to their needs, rather than stretching a wide net and seeing what gets caught in it.

You need to know your audience and know what they want to see on Pinterest. Most of the time, that means creating Pins with appealing visuals and good info. If you’re a restaurant, Pin photos of your dishes, or maybe a fun recipe for people to try at home. You never know what’s going to prompt people to look into your business and become a paying customer.

Make It Look Good

Pinterest is mainly used by people on the app version rather than the desktop version. That means most people will only see a few Pins on their phone screen at a time, which makes vertical Pins the best ones to use. Make your pictures long, vertical pictures so the customer has to stay on the Pin longer when they’re scrolling through. This makes it more likely that they’ll pay attention to what you’re Pinning. Just be sure to keep your Pins within Pinterest’s guidelines, an aspect ration of 2:3 to 1:2.8 and width of at least 600px.

Create Specific Boards

When Pinning on Pinterest, you don’t just Pin your items to one board, right? You have a variety of boards that are focused on specific interests. It makes organizing your pins so much easier, and you can find the things you need much faster!

Similarly, your customers want to be able to find your products organized into specific boards. It helps them to sift through your Pins at a quicker rate, and will give them the peace of mind they need to make a purchasing decision.

Measure Analytics

Now, to the data. Pinterest has now made access to your account’s analytics easier than ever. That means you can now see how many people your Pins are reaching, your average daily Pinterest profile impressions, which Pins are performing the best, how many people clicked your Pins, and so much more!

This data is highly important for measuring whether your Pinterest account is working, or failing to grab peoples’ attentions. It’s always easier to see what you’re doing right and wrong once you have the data in front of you.

You Can Sell On Pinterest

Pinterest recently released another new feature called Buyable Pins. These are Pins that you set up which allows Pinners to buy your products directly from Pinterest.

Pinners will see a “Buy It” button on a Buyable Pin. When they click this button, order details and payment info are sent to the merchant for processing, and the buyer is able to buy their favorite products directly on Pinterest!

Right now, only a select few Pinterest Business accounts have the ability to sell products through Buyable Pins, but if you’d like more info on how to get this setup, visit Pinterest’s FAQ page on Selling on Pinterest. 

Don’t underestimate Pinterest; it’s a powerful social media tool that can lead to more views on your website, more customers, and more sales!

How To Brainstorm Like A Pro

Brainstorming can seem like a scary thing to do for most employees. It forces them to gather in a room with their colleagues and throw out ideas that may or may not be helpful. It’s intimidating, it’s scary, and it can sometimes result in nothing getting accomplished.

However, brainstorming is one of the most beneficial things you can do with your team. It cultivates good discussions and brings in ideas that you probably wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

If you’re wondering how you can start brainstorming like a professional, we’ve got some helpful tips for you.

Keep People From Becoming “Yes” Men and Women

Inevitably, there’s going to be a few people in your office who are going to agree with every single thing the person in charge says. These people are oftentimes called “Yes” Men and Women. They agree with the boss and lack any type of disagreement abilities which are necessary for any positive brainstorming session. Make sure you challenge those people who are prone to agree with the boss all the time, and try to encourage them to come up with their own original ideas.

There Are No “Bad” Ideas

You’ve heard the phrase “there are no bad ideas” before, right? Well, technically there are bad ideas. Really bad ideas that could cause a lot of pain and distress for your company. But those are usually things like “abandon social media” or “scam all our customers into giving us all their money for a terrible product.” However, when you’re brainstorming, you should never be afraid to throw out an idea that pops into your brain. Even if the idea isn’t the best idea, others can play off of your bad idea and turn it into a good idea instead.

Encourage A Lot Of Ideas

Don’t limit the number of ideas that should be thrown out there during your brainstorming meeting. The more ideas the better! You never know which little nugget of a thought can turn into something grand for your business, so don’t be afraid to rapid fire your ideas to everyone else.

Ban Electronics Temporarily

There’s nothing worse than having a meeting where everyone is distracted by their smartphones, laptops, and tablets instead of brainstorming with the group. Make sure you let everyone know that electronic devices, unless completely necessary, will not be allowed during the brainstorming session.

Don’t Make Them Too Long

Keep brainstorming meetings short and sweet. Whether they admit it or not, people do not like meetings, let alone long meetings that prevent them from getting their other tasks done. Keep your brainstorming sessions short, between 15 to 30 minutes.

If All Else Fails, CAFFEINE

Caffeine rules. A good cup of coffee, or an energy drink, can give you that burst of high energy you need for a brainstorming session. It’s really hard to fire off ideas when you’re running on 5 hours of sleep, and your brain hasn’t quite turned on yet. If you really want to encourage people to participate in your meeting, stop by your local cafe and buy coffee for everyone!

Brainstorming sessions are great tools that can bring in new ideas for your business. Don’t be afraid of brainstorming meetings, and be sure to have them often!

How To Get Your Facebook Page Verified In A Few Simple Steps

We’ve talked about getting your Twitter page verified in a previous blog post, and how this simple blue check mark can help your business in a number of positive ways. But did you know that you can also get your Facebook business page verified? Here’s something even better: it’s much easier and faster to accomplish than getting a Twitter account verified.

Getting your Facebook page verified shows your customers that you’re the real deal legitimate business they’re looking for, and helps you to get found more easily in Facebook’s search function.

Here are a few simple steps to get your page verified.

Facebook Business Page

The first thing you need to do is to log in to your Facebook account and go to your business’s Facebook Page. If you don’t currently have a page setup for your business, go ahead and do so now. If you’re setting your page up for the first time, be sure to mark it as a Local Businesses or Companies & Organizations in the category section. This is the best categorization for your Facebook Page as a business owner, and Facebook will only let you verify your page if you are labeled under one of these two categories.

Go To Settings

Next, you’ll need to go to your Facebook Page’s settings, located at the top of your page on the right-hand side. Your settings should open up in the General section, but if it doesn’t, click on General in the options in the left side column.

Page Verification

You should see an option for Page Verification, the third option in the list of General settings. If you don’t see this option, make sure your Page is categorized under Local Businesses or Companies & Organizations. You can always change your category by going to the About section of your Page, and clicking on Edit Page Info. You can select your Category in the third option in Edit Page Info.

Click on Edit next to Page Verification, and then click on Verify this Page. A new box will open up that will allow you to verify your page in one of two ways.

Get Your Check Mark

There are two ways you can verify your page. The first way is to have Facebook call you and give you a verification code. In order to use this way you have to make sure you are a business that has a local phone listing, and you have somebody who can immediately answer the call because Facebook’s automated phone service will call you right away. When they call, an automated voice will repeat a 4-digit code to you. Enter the code, and if Facebook recognizes you as a business, they will verify your page.

The second way requires you to upload a picture of an official document for your business. It has to be one that how’s your business or organization’s name and address. Facebook lists a few different documents you can upload:

  • Business utility or phone bill
  • Business license
  • Business tax file
  • Certificate of formation
  • Articles of incorporation

Facebook assures you that they will only use the documents to verify your business and won’t share or post it publicly. Once the document is uploaded, you’ll have to wait on Facebook to get back to you and verify that your business is real. Note that the document you upload must be one of these file types:

  • .doc
  • .docx
  • .pdf
  • .jpg
  • .jpeg
  • .png

That’s it! Pretty simple, right? Take the necessary steps to get your Facebook page verified today, and starting reaping the benefits!

For more info on Facebook’s verification process, check out their official Help Center.

Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing: What’s The Difference?

You’ve probably heard the terms inbound and outbound marketing plenty of times during your career. Most of the time, these are terms that marketing and PR people like to throw around just to impress anyone that’s hearing (at least, that’s how I look at it).

Have you ever stopped to consider what these terms mean though, and what the difference is between the two? What about the effect it can have on your business?

Well, good news! I’m here to help dissect these words, and hopefully teach you the difference between the two, so you can decide which one works best for you and your business!

Outbound Marketing

First, let’s start with what’s consider the older form of marketing, outbound marketing.

Outbound marketing is defined as “any marketing that pushes products or services on customers.” This includes older forms of marketing, such as trade shows, seminars, email blasts, cold calling, telemarketing, and advertising. It’s marketing that eagerly pursues customers, and puts the marketing directly in their faces.

This type of marketing works for many businesses these days, but it’s certainly becoming more and more outdated feeling in the age of content marketing. That’s not to say that outbound marketing is the wrong way to market your business. Different strokes work for different folks, as the old saying goes, and you have to think about your audience when deciding whether to do outbound or inbound marketing.

Despite it’s outdated model, outbound marketing works well in areas where you are trying to market to older demographics, who might be less concerned with new technology and new ways of being sold to. A large majority of the world still prefers to hear ads on the radio, or watch commercials in-between their favorite shows.

Inbound Marketing

If you want to transform your marketing strategy into what we’ll call the “hip and cool” way to market to people, then you’re going to want to learn how to start doing inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is what’s called “new marketing.” It is a marketing tactic that relies on earning people’s interest, rather than trying to push it on them through traditional forms of advertising.

Examples of inbound marketing include blog posts, search engines, social media, etc. It’s marketing to people by giving them useful info through mediums that they already use every day.

It’s a form of marketing that presents itself in a more down-to-earth, relatable way. It says to your customers, “we’re a business and we’re trying to earn a living, but we’re also concerned about your needs and want to provide you with the best info we can give you.”

Inbound marketing is more geared toward millennial customers, and those who are more familiar with the internet, technology, and are concerned with community building.

Inbound and outbound marketing both have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to you to decide which one works with your customers and your business model.

Marketing To Millennials, According To A Millennial

Millennials are known to be one of the most difficult groups to market to these days. Not because they’re uninterested in what businesses have to offer, they’re just picky about where they choose to spend their money. Which is a good thing, because it means they can be more invested and loyal to a particular company if you can attract them.

Depending on who you ask, the definition of a millennial varies, but they are generally categorized as those born between 1985 – 2000. Unlike previous generations, they grew up right in the middle of the tech and internet boom, where the world was becoming more connected than ever before in human history.

That reliance on connectivity is a key factor when considering how to market to millennials. They live in a connected world, and so it makes sense that they would look for businesses that cater to this desire. If you’re struggling with how to market to this generation of consumers, check out a few tips, written by a millennial.

Be Authentic

Millennials look for businesses that exude authenticity. They don’t want to feel like they’re giving their hard earned money to someone who doesn’t actually care about anything besides making a profit. That’s why you always have to be aware of the way you’re presenting yourself to your customers. Authenticity can come across in a number of ways, such as reassuring customers you care about them, aren’t trying to pull the wool over their eyes, or giving them lots of opportunities to communicate with you. Trust me, millennials have a keen eye for spotting businesses that aren’t trustworthy. We’ll find you.

Conquer Mobile

Most millennials aren’t looking at your website on a desktop or laptop computer; they’re looking at it on their phones. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing and isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to lose a lot of business. Particularly, millennial business. You’ve got to make sure your website looks good on every device, including tablets and smartphones. If you aren’t sure if your website passes the mobile-friendly test, you can check it here.

Don’t Pander

We don’t like politicians to pander to us, so we definitely aren’t going to want a business to pander. What I mean by this is trying too hard to appeal to what millennials are into right now, and coming off as inauthentic. This goes back to the authenticity section, but it takes it a step further. Don’t overuse slang or trends in your marketing material. A “clutch” or “dope” every now and then is perfectly fine, just do your research on terms first before you include them in your content marketing. Whatever you do, just don’t make the same mistake as Microsoft.

Try Inbound Marketing

Is outbound marketing failing to appeal to the millennial crowd? There’s a reason for that; we’re not interested in traditional marketing. Outbound marketing includes things like billboard, magazine, and newspaper ads, and they don’t work on us. Neither do other traditional forms of selling, like commercials. We’re tired of seeing them, and mostly just ignore them. On the other hand, inbound marketing works astonishingly well. Examples of inbound marketing would be things like blogging, social media, search engine optimization, and other forms of content marketing. Why do these work? Because they aren’t pushing products into our faces and saying “Buy buy buy!!!” Inbound marketing focuses on bringing people to your product or service by giving people something attractive and engaging.

Make It Fun

Last, but definitely not least, make your marketing strategy fun! Millennials like to have a good time, and they expect their favorite businesses to give off that same fun and easy-going vibe. That doesn’t mean you need to take your business less seriously, of course. It just means to remember to not be so uptight and business-like all the time. For most millennials, they want to know that your business has a good sense of humor, and aren’t trying to shove products down their throats all the time. Try to show off your fun-loving side on places like social media and through your emails. These are the perfect outlets for creativity and fun.

Millennials shouldn’t be ignored in your marketing strategy. Embrace what they love, and learn to attract more millennial customers than ever before!

Don’t Like Snapchat? Try Instagram!

Are you one of the many people who hasn’t jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon, and doesn’t really want to bother learning a brand new form of social media? Are you content with just using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your daily updates for your business?

You’re in luck! Instagram wants to make your job easier, with its new Snapchat-like feature, called Instagram Stories.

If you’re new to the 24-hour picture messaging craze started by Snapchat, then this new feature will be completely new to you. But if you’re familiar with how Snapchat works, you’ll notice that Instagram Stories looks very similar to Snapchat Stories (heck, even the name is the same!)

Instagram explains it like this:

With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.

So, instead of posting pictures that stay attached to your profile for as long as you keep them posted, Instagram Stories allows you to post quick photos or videos that are attached to your profile and disappear after a 24 hour period.

You might be asking, “what’s the advantage of that?” Well, it’s the same advantage that businesses who have been using Snapchat have been enjoying for some time. It allows you to interact with your customers more intimately, by providing them with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, discounts and deals, and maybe a simple message that you’d rather share for only a specific amount of time!

To use the new Instagram Stories feature, you only need to take a few extra steps in your normal posting routine. To post a photo to Instagram Stories, simply click the Plus sign icon near the top left part of your social feed. You can snap your pic by pressing the white circle at the bottom, or hold it to shoot a short video clip.

Once you’ve taken your picture or video, you can draw on it or add text on top of it (sorry, no fun filters just yet!) Press the white checkmark and your pic or video will be added to your story! Stories from people you follow will appear at the top of your feed, and your own story will show up on your profile page. If there’s a colored circle surrounding someone’s profile picture, you know they have a story to share!

When looking through someone else’s Story, you can click on the screen to move through their story, or swipe left to go on to the next account’s Story. Want to view a picture for longer? Hold your finger down on the screen and you can view the pic for as long as you need. You can also comment on someone’s Story by tapping the Direct Message button and sending them a private message. Public likes and comments aren’t available on Stories, unlike regular posts, but you can see how many people have viewed your Story so you know that it’s working!

The possibilities for using Instagram Stories for your business are boundless! For more info, check out Instagram’s official blog post!