The Roaring PJ - A Social Media Blog

7 Tips to Zap Writer’s Block and Create Awesome Content

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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help zap writer's block with these 7 tipsAs writers, we all get writer’s block. Social media managers suffer the same issue. The question is, “how do we get past to find, write and share compelling content?” Our team here at Roaring Pajamas includes social media managers and copywriters, and between the group of us, we write a ton of content each week. And, occasionally we get stuck. Here are our top seven ways to get past writer’s block and create new and engaging content for ourselves and our clients.  

  1. Seek Fresh Eyes: I know, as the person who supports our social media managers, that sometimes it helps when they let me know they’re stuck. I’ll dig in and see what I can find in the way of new content and ideas. Sometimes, a fresh set of eyes on the scene is all it takes to re-inspire a manager who writes and posts regularly.
  2. Check Out EpicBeat: Try a new content tool to reinvigorate the writing mind. We just invested in Epictions EpicBeat, a trending content aggregation tool, and so far it rocks! To use, just plug in your search term—be it a keyword or phrase, an author, a sharer, a publication or a hashtag. Then, filter by date, content type or other options as needed. Next, EpicBeat serves up deep, relevant content and insights to sink your teeth, and blocked brain, into. Searching for content and understanding the trends around that content has never been so easy and so powerful.
  3. Search Your Hootsuite Streams: Our go-to for finding pertinent content for a client (or ourselves) remains searching by hashtag or keyword in Hootsuite streams. Assuming you use Hootsuite, you can easily add search streams to your Hootsuite dashboard to zero-in on key conversations to monitor and engage. Search streams allow you find social activity around keywords, users or locations of your specification.
  4. Talk It Out: Now and then, you just need to pick up the phone and chat with someone for new inspiration. If you are writing for a client, remember that your client lives and breathes their most significant issues on a daily basis, but they don’t always think to tell you about day-to-day dealings. When you reach out and ask for some new insights into what keeps them going in their day, or up at night, or what keeps their clients up at night, you are bound to break your writer’s block and gather plenty of new ideas for compelling content.
  5. Write Without Editing: Worrying too much about editing while you write tends to be the best way to feed writer’s block. Instead, just start writing. Don’t worry about typos, improper grammar or whether or not it makes sense. Get the creative juices flowing, and get the ideas out on paper. Then, once you’ve written a fair amount, go back and edit. We guarantee that just having something written down, even if fraught with errors, will help engage your writing mind.
  6. Experiment a Little: This suggestion walks a fine line because you must always stay on topic and on brand in your writing and social media efforts. However, if you feel like you are in a rut and always writing the same thing or in the same format, consider ways to shake it up without forsaking the necessary voice and style. How about a “behind the scenes” take on a topic? Or, what about an interview with your boss or a coworker? Simply looking at your content from a slightly different vantage point may help break the writer’s block.
  7. Change Your Environment: When all else fails, change your environment to help stimulate your thinking cap. Turn on some music. Sit someplace else. Go to the bathroom. Fill up your water bottle. Try some online retail therapy. Take a walk. Do anything to spark your imagination and writing. Sometimes, you just need a simple break from what became a mind-numbing task to find your inspiration and turn it into a mind-stimulating task.

Do you occasionally suffer from writer’s block, either with your own work or client work? If so, how do you break the block so you can continually find, write and share great content? We can’t wait to find out your tips!

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How Not To Be Annoying on Social Media

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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We all have them, those social media pet peeves that just really irk us. For fun, our team compiled a list of how not to be annoying on social media. With each new addition to the list, we found ourselves nodding our heads in violent agreement and literally LOL’ing our way through the conversation. We thought you’d enjoy our compilation, and hopefully use it as a cautionary tale on how to best represent yourself and your brand on social sites.

Without further ado, our list of how to not be annoying on social media:

Proofread and edit for grammar and punctuation: Nothing says unprofessional like poorly written social media posts or ones fraught with typos. If you are promoting your business on social media, make sure to put your best foot forward and always dot your I’s and cross your T’s! A few members of our team use Grammarly to help catch grammar issues and typos. We also typically ask for a proofreader or editor for longer posts and blog articles.

Respond and engage: And, what about when you ask a question of a business on a social platform or website, and no one acknowledges it? This ranks as a customer service fail. You want engagement? Engage! Always respond to comments and questions promptly.

Give credit when using others’ images: We dedicated a blog post to this topic, the etiquette of photo credits, so you know this one really gets us going. And, we find it even more maddening when someone uses an image without giving credit and then crops out a brand’s watermark! Just be cool, not annoying, and give credit where credit is due.

Highlight in-stock products: Ever find yourself scrolling through your social media feed and see a product that you can’t live without? Then, have you found yourself trying to buy said product only to find out it’s out of stock? Highlighting sold out or out-of-stock products, especially without offering any alternatives, is a sure-fire way to annoy the bejeezus out of your followers. And, you run the risk of eroding loyalty when your followers take their business elsewhere in search of a great product your marketed but couldn’t fulfill.

Don’t use auto comments on Facebook or Instagram: You know those crazy, random, nonsensical comments that you find either on your posts or another feed? Most are from auto comments—automatic comments that come from a machine, not a human—and they rank high on the annoying scale! If you want to comment on other feeds, have a human comment with real words, real thoughts and real sentiment.

Remember to update your “link in bio” on Instagram: No doubt you’ve experienced this: an Instagram post captures your attention with an awesome photo, an engaging blurb and the promise of more juicy details through a link placed in the bio. You scroll to the top of the post only to find that either there is no link in the bio, or the link doesn’t apply to the most current post in the feed… the one you really want to read more about. Ack! Add “update link in bio” to part of your process when posting new content to always update those pesky links and ensure you do not annoy your followers in this way!

Please stop asking me if I want more Instagram followers: How many comments do you receive in a day asking if you want more followers? Plenty, right? And, how bugged are you with each of those comments? Please, please don’t be a company that asks for more followers. And, please don’t engage with those types of companies, either. Attract followers the right way, by engaging with your audience and creating compelling content.

What about you? What gets under your skin on social media? What’s your advice to someone who wants to know how not to be annoying on social media? Do tell! We can’t wait to hear.

 

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10 Tips to Increase Instagram Engagement

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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With 300 million daily users, 95 million photos uploaded a day and 4.2 billion likes a day, there’s ample opportunity for Instagram engagement. These statistics com10 Tips to Increase Instagram Engagemente from Social Media Today and clearly demonstrate the tremendous reach and usage of Instagram. But, how do you cut through the noise of those 95 million daily uploads and bubble to the top of the feed for your most valuable followers and potential customers and clients? How do you gain a loyal and engaged following to help grow your brand and your business? These questions are increasingly more important since Instagram changed its algorithm last year and reordered posts in feeds from chronologically based to popularity based. We have written about Instagram for business in the past, and we encourage you to start there if you haven’t already. Once established on the social network, consider these ten tips to show up and increase engagement on Instagram.

Discover Instagram Pods

Instagram pods, networking groups created and managed through direct messages (DM) on Instagram, gather like-minded Instagrammers who follow one another, like and comment on posts. Pods came about specifically to combat Instagram’s algorithm update and enhance the popularity of posts. While each pod has its own specific set of rules, all include about 15 Instagrammers (the number corresponds to the maximum number of people on a DM) with the expectation that all members will engage with each other to boost the popularity of posts. When a pod member uploads a new post, he or she shares the post in the pod so the liking and commenting may commence. The savviest of podsters belong to more than one Instagram pod to maximize engagement.

As you can imagine, keeping up with just one pod—especially if pod member post multiple times a day—can be exhausting. But, if your business depends, or wants to depend, on Instagram for business, it may be worth a try!

Use Analytics

A slew of Instagram analytics tools exists to tell users the best days and times to post based on follower engagement and activity. Some tools prove easier to use than others, and each provides different views and details. Consider testing a couple of analytics apps for yourself. Use the application’s recommendations for a given period of time and then assess if the insights yield useful direction for upping your Instagram engagement. We think you will find analytics useful.

Here are a few tools we like:

  • Instagram Business Tools: This tool is only available to business accounts. For more information, read our post where we explored how best to use Instagram for your business.
  • When to Post: This phone application looks at when your Instagram followers are most engaged and indicates the three best times to post each day. While the basic service is free, users may pay additional fees to add additional services and insights, such as the best days of the week to post, dynamic graphs, multiple accounts and more.
  • Iconosquare: A step up in price, Iconosquare delivers deep analytics on your account including details on content, followers, best days and times to post, scheduling and multiple-account management.

Add a Question or Call to Action

Adding a question or a call to action (CTA) in each post also serves as a great tactic to increase Instagram engagement. Rather than simply liking a post, a follower seems more likely to comment when they can easily think of something to say…  like answering a quick or entertaining question. What do you think of that tip?

Comment or Like a New Follower

When you notice you have a new follower, do your research. Do you like the posts? Is this a person or business you want to know better? Might this person or business be a potential customer or client? If so, follow them back and even comment on a few posts. Acknowledging a follower in such a way garners additional interest and increased loyalty; engage with those who engage with you on Instagram to bump up activity and interactions.

Respond to Comments

Nobody wants their comments ignored, either in real life or on Instagram. Take the time to recognize legitimate follower comments and always respond promptly. Granted, the more followers and commenters, the harder to keep up with this practice. However, ensure you reciprocate engagement on Instagram as much as possible; keep up your end of the conversation, so they will keep commenting!

Add Location

Interestingly, posts that include location tags see 79% more engagement on Instagram. Adding locations in our posts and client posts has brought more engagement to our accounts. And, we find this especially true for locally-based businesses. A pretty easy tip to tackle, right? Start adding location ASAP!

Experiment with Contests

Contests and giveaways serve as fantastic tactics to generate buzz and boost engagement on Instagram. No doubt you’ve seen a few in your social media journey, and you’ve probably even entered a couple, right?. Experiment with different types of contests or giveaways to get your followers talking and to attract new followers. Wondering where to start? We like HubSpot’s 10-step guide to help you get going.

Insert Link in Bio

Often, posts on Instagram point to stories on a blog or other media. Try adding a link to that longer content source in your bio, and indicating in your post “see link in bio.” The more you share with your followers, either directly on Instagram or through linked assets with a deeper dive on the content, the more willing they will be to trust you and engage with you. However, do remember to change the link to each new post!

Try Instagram Stories

Have you taken Instagram Stories for a spin yet? Stories allow you another way to reach your followers and encourage engagement on Instagram. We have also found that sometimes a post won’t show up in the regular feed, but a story shows up in the story feed. So, adding stories along with your regular posts increases the opportunity to show up and, subsequently, increase follower engagement.

Consider an Auto Like Bot

To quickly ramp up the number of followers and, hopefully, subsequent engagement based on our other tips, consider an auto like bot. While different services target different items, you set your auto like strategy based on the types of followers you wish to attract: by location or by hashtag. Note that your hashtag strategy needs to be carefully considered and refined regularly; you want hashtags where your potential customers and clients hang out, but those hashtags might not be the ones in their own posts. It’s tricky! Once your strategy is set, the bot then goes to work and likes accounts for you. The more you like and follow other accounts, the more they will like and follow you.

Take a look at RoboLike, an easy-to-use auto bot for both Instagram and Twitter engagement. Keep in mind; we don’t recommend using bots that automatically comment; they often leave awkward comments on posts.

Do you use any of these tactics, or others, to increase your Instagram engagement? What are your best practices to get your followers commenting and interacting with you? We’d love to hear!

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