Part 2: 10 Instagram Essentials from Instagram Expert Chalene Johnson for Growing your Brand with Social Media

This is Part 2 of “10 Instagram Essentials from Instagram Expert Chalene Johnson for Growing Your Brand with Social Media.”

If you missed Part 1, please click here.

#6 – PROVIDE VALUE, MOTIVATION OR ENTERTAINMENT

igi_providevalueTime is money and all of us want more of both. Keeping this principal in mind you’ll create better content for your followers. Imagine that your followers are paying to subscribe to your page. Before you post, ask yourself if your “customers” will find some value in your post. Is it inline with your “theme” as discussed in the first 5 tips? Is this post something that provides a tip, idea, inspiration, motivation, entertainment or value?   If time is money, and you’ve just wasted 15 seconds of my time by posting a sweaty post workout selfie, well… now you’ve forced your followers to evaluate if they should keep their “subscription.”  We ask ourselves, “Is it worth following this person or account when I have so little time, and I have other accounts or posts that give me value?”  The number one reason why people follow you is because they find your account interesting or valuable. Remember, you’re not posting for your Mom or your friends.  You’re posting content that a stranger, a new follower, or a potential customer would find valuable, motivational, entertaining or useful.  Potential new customers can’t afford to continually give you their precious time if you’re not going to give them something of value in return.  Be critical. Ask yourself if it’s truly going to be of value.

 

#7 – QUALITY COUNTS – NO MORE POOR QUALITY PHOTOS or SELF-MADE INFO-GRAPHICS

Instagram was originally developed as a quick filter app for iPhones. Initially all photos were taken from the users iPhone. Some purists, even professional photographers scoff at the idea that people post photos taken from high end cameras. But the truth is, Instagram is a visual platform. The more visually appealing your pictures, the more appeal your content has. Gone are the days of grainy, out of focus, low resolution photos.  Again, approach each post that you make as if your followers are paying for a subscription. Would you keep your subscription to “O” or “Time” magazine if the photos were from someone’s 3s iPhone in poor light and with questionable composition? Take a moment to examine the photos selected to appear on the “Explore” page (commonly referred to as the popular page).  Rarely will you find a photo that doesn’t exemplify exceptional composition, vibrant eye catching color, high resolution and a professional quality. The exception are from accounts of celebrities like Kim K or the Biebs who can post a fuzzy dark photo of a piece of gum on the bottom of their shoe and still hit the popular page with 10 billion views. Unless you’re a Kardashian or the newest member of 1Direction, remember that quality counts and that applies to video, too. Eliminate distracting backgrounds. If people can’t clearly see what they’re going to get from a tiny thumbnail, they tend to ignore the post.

Additionally, as IG has evolved, so too has our expectations. Info graphics (placing big font messages across your photo) are great *if * you are a graphic artist. We’ve all seen info-graphics that look homegrown, with 6 different fonts over a grainy, poorly lit iPhone photo. Not only is it not eye catching, it looks messy, distracting and unprofessional. Two options:  1)  Outsource your info-graphics inexpensively to elance.com or odesk.com or 2) Carefully examine the best, most captivating and eye catching info-graphics. Make note of their layout, font size, color and composition and use the work of an expert as your guide.

 

#8 – HASHTAG BELOW YOUR ORIGINAL POST

This is a simple technique that so few understand. Hashtags allow other people who are searching for a particular hashtag to find your post. Having said that, there are some igi_avoidmistakeshashtags, such as “#love, #selfie, #TBT, #instagood,” etc that are so popular that the moment you use that hashtag so too has 300,000 other users. That means that within about 30 seconds of posting the hashtag, anyone looking at that hashtag will no longer see yours. Popular hashtags, in essence, expire quickly. They also attract such a broad platform that you are unlikely to find “targeted” followers.  In addition, there are hundreds and hundreds of hashtags that you can find which relate to your targeted followers. When you post your hashtags in your original comment, you can only post 30 hashtags and no more. If you wanted to post new hashtags, you would have to delete your originally posted comment which often provides the description for what it is you’ve posted.  Instead do this…

  1. Post your original comment/description with no or very few hashtags.
  2. Below your original comment (a secondary comment) post a group of 20 popular yet targeted hastags which you can create and store in a “note” on your phone. By storing them in a note you can save time by doing a quick “copy and paste” each time your post
  3. After 1 to 2 minutes, delete that comment with all the hashtags and post a new list of 20 to 30 hashtags from your list stored in your notes. You can repeat this process indefinitely. The more popular the hashtag, the shorter it’s lifespan. The last group of hashtags that you leave up should be very specific and less popular. For instance, the hashtag #sunset will only be seen for a few seconds. A hashtag like #stayathomedad is less popular and will still be seen for days or longer.

 

#9 – LIST YOUR WEBSITE IN YOUR BIO

igi_bioThe whole point of using IG is to attract new customers, followers and eventually new business. Once someone has decided they like you, they will want to know more about you to see if they “trust” you and if they want to do business with you. Make it easy for people to find out more about you. If you have a website, send people to your website, not another social media platform. When people click on your bio, it is because they are interested in knowing more about you and perhaps having a conversation. If you do not have a website, you might list your email or suggest people send you an IG direct message.

 

#10 – AVOID “LIFE CASTING”

Life casting is a term I use to describe the accounts of those who post a little taste of what is going on in their life each day, what they’re doing, what they like, who they are with and loads of pointless selfies.  Initially, this worked. When IG first gained it’s popularity, many early settlers just posted tid bits of their life and their accounts grew wildly, not because of their content, but because they were the first there. The days of gaining followers using that technique are long gone.  Now people follow you for a reason and unless your super famous, no one really cares who you’re with. Sorry, not sorry. Even those who are famous for something in particular, like a, stylist, make-up artist, author, comedian, etc. should post 80% that relates to what their fan base finds valuable.  People still are most interested and getting from you what you are famous for. Think about it…if you were to follow Will Ferrell, you would expect funny, follow Rachel Zoe, you expect style and if you follow a business expert, you want business tips.  Listen, a touch of who you are and what you’re doing is great.. but remember the goal is to build your brand and each post that strays from the “reason” why most people started following you may cost you followers and slow the growth potential of your brand.

 

For more in depth advice on growing your business and brand on Instagram, check out my online training academy Instagram Impact!

How to Tell Your Story by Chalene Johnson

2014-03-15 smartsuccess 2315After our Smart Success Seminar in March of 2014, everyone left a-buzz about “their story.”  In fact, there was so much talk about your story and beliefs that I knew we had touched a chord in people.

Considering the profound effect of the messages from Bo Eason and Dr. Mcayla Sarno, I felt it was important to share my observations and help you make sense of what it means to have “a story.”

 

In case you’re short on time… Here’s the cliff notes of How to Tell Your Story:

2014-03-15 smartsuccess 23861. You have more than one story.
2. Your “deepest, darkest moment” story probably has something to do with your purpose or what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.
3. Not every situation calls for you to share the story of your deepest, darkest moment.
4. Most negative beliefs stem from childhood experiences or an unprocessed traumatic event – and that might be one story.
5. Once you conquer those negative beliefs you may very well feel compelled to share that story to help others.
6. Your “story” doesn’t belong in every speech/video/conference call, but stories in general help us to connect!
7. We all connect on a deeper level when we learn to be better storytellers.
8. If you don’t feel like you have a story or any stories… I guarantee it’s there! It might just be too uncomfortable for your brain to go there, but everyone has a story.  Go to a safe place to figure it out… like therapy.

 

EVERYONE has a story, and you have more than one story! Learn to be a better storyteller! In order to do that, you have to do some work connecting with who you are and yes, it may be scary and uncomfortable for some. The good news is this…the more that thought scares you, the more powerful your story!

 

Here’s MY big ah-ha moment after Smart Success…

 

The difference between those people we connect with and those who make us feel a little stiff, on-guard and uncomfortable is that those people who make us feel a little uncomfortable are actually pretty uncomfortable with letting people get to know them. We can feel that. I’m sorry. You’re not hiding it very well.

2014-03-14 smartsuccess 1072The people who are difficult to connect with have a tough time connecting with others— even if they are at the top of their ladder! There’s a reason for it…

These folks haven’t themselves yet connected with who they are and what they’ve overcome. People who are guarded are doing so not because they don’t trust you. People are guarded because they don’t trust themselves. They fear that they will let a detail or a piece slip out that will tip you off that they are not really what they seem.

People who have spent a lifetime trying to run from, escape, avoid and deny their past or a painful experience often have become so good at it, they truly believe it when they say, “I’m over it. It was nothing. It didn’t affect me.”

But then, why can’t you talk about it.

But then… why is your mind so busy making certain none of those pieces slip out?

Why? Because you still haven’t “processed it.” Until we process that childhood event which instilled a negative belief in us, our ability to rationalize it is often at about the maturity level of a child.

My suggestion to you is this… don’t work on telling a story that you haven’t yet uncovered. Don’t spend thousands of dollars and expect that someone is going to give you a shot of confidence that suddenly gives you the power to finally tell your story. You will have to find the courage it takes to connect with yourself.

You will have far greater impact with your story in video or on the stage after you have worked through it yourself. There’s a difference between “telling” someone about what happened to you and sharing the connection of your past. Story telling is powerful only when it teaches us something. If we are just reciting our past and carefully making certain not to show emotion or connect or feel any part of it, then we are not storytellers. That’s a narrator.

To have power, our stories must move people to believe it is possible for them! Our story 2014-03-14 smartsuccess 335should help others understand that they too can overcome.  Everyone has a sad time or a darkest day. Those moments don’t inspire, lift or motivate others unless we can articulate how we were able to over come to be who we are today.  You need to be able to connect the dots yourself first and that often takes some outside help.  Again, the smartest people I know, the best speakers, the most motivational leaders all proudly share that they were intelligent enough to seek out the help of an expert or a therapist.

Sometimes we are so close to our own lives that we just, “don’t see the big deal” or understand how so many things we do today are connected to our past.

Every thing is better with a story! Experts like my friend Bo Eason will help you become a better storyteller. He is not going to uncover your story. He cannot help you process your negative beliefs.  That’s your job.  He will help you become a captivating teacher, a predator, a living breathing re-enactment. He will help you connect with your audience. He will help you tell every story with power.

You have more than one story, but identifying the story that put a fire in your belly is something special.  Understanding your purpose and why you have been called to help others and the reason why you love a certain part of your job…and why you do it differently… that part surely relates to your toughest challenge.

There’s always an opportunity to connect with people through story. Get better at it! To get really good at it you’re going to have to get really good at being the real you. To get really comfortable with the real you, you may need to enlist the help of an expert, a therapist, an EMDR specialist to help you safely work through those negative beliefs that may be holding you back or holding you prisoner.

2014-03-16 smartsuccess 4333Imagine what it would feel like to stand boldly on the stage and tell your story without fear of judgment.  Imagine what it would feel like to connect with strangers and feel 100% confident that they would adore you. It’s possible.

Not every video and over opportunity merits sharing your big life defining story, but understanding yours will help you connect your purpose to your past.

Understanding your past and what it is you’ve been called to do will help you connect the dots! When you connect your dots, people connect to you!

You have more than one story. Don’t forget the story of how you met and remember the story about how you finally decided that you needed to make a change in your life. Take people back to that moment when you almost gave up… and don’t forget to explain what it was like to climb out of debt. These are stories. When you learn to connect them to your beliefs and understand how you were able to do what you did…they become experiences that change people lives. They live them with you. They crawl out of the bunker with you!

People will want to hear the story of how you survived that car crash, having twins, dealing with a mentally disturbed parent, digging yourself out of debt, recovering from alcoholism, surviving the death of a child and so many other things you might just take for granted.

You have more than one story. It wouldn’t make sense for you to always tell the same story.

However, your deepest, darkest, toughest time probably has a lot to do with what fuels 2014-03-14 smartsuccess 1092you, what give you your passion. In other words… the CPA who feels the need to protect their clients may have had an experience in early childhood that made them feel like they needed to shelter people. The trial attorney may now realize they have chosen a profession in which their voice has power; the power to convict, the power to win because as a child they were told their opinion didn’t matter.

So what is it about your past and your experiences that influences the way you live your life and your approach to business and the world.

Your story is what draws people to you before they even know what it is. There’s something about you… When people know your story and how you survived, changed, or took action, they develop a deeper feeling of trust, admiration and appreciation for you. Despite the fact that our “story” sometimes makes us feel shame, embarrassment, pity, fear or judgment, it also allows people to connect to us.

 

Action Steps for How to Tell Your Story

2014-03-16 smartsuccess 5162Step #1: Consider seeing a therapist to help you connect the dots of your past.

Step #2: Learn how your past fuels your fire today.

Step #3: Be proud of that story.

Step #4: Become a better storyteller.

Fitness Friday: Stability Ball 101 with Chalene Johnson

STABILITY BALL 101! This is important info. Please click share!

At the top of the list of home exercise equipment that I recommend is the an exercise ball. Stability balls can be used at the office to improve posture, to make crunches more effective, squats safer, dynamic stretch deeper and so much more. I use mine as a bench for strength training and from time to time I use it to throw at one of my kids… just to remind them who’s boss. I’m often asked what size exercise ball to buy. The answer is really determined by your height. I hope this video helps you to understand how to use the ball to make crunches more effective and how to select the right size based on your height.

 

Sizing

These are basic guidelines – but the true test is the “seated test.” So while this is a good starting point, how much your ball is inflated or deflated will affect its effectiveness:

  • 4’11″ to 5’4″ height: 55 cm ball
  • 5’4″ to 5’11″ height: 65 cm ball
  • 5’11″ to 6′ 7″ height: 75 cm ball

When seated, your knees should be at approximately 90 degrees and your hips should be parallel to the knees and not drop below or sit above your knees.

Crunches on the ball become more difficult the higher you sit up on the ball. As you allow your hips to sink toward the floor, the crunch is easier. The higher your hips sit on the ball, the more challenging each crunch becomes.

Year after year, study after study, new gadget after new gadget, time after time, the research indicates that the stability ball is one of the most effective ways to stimulate muscle engagement and provide an extremely proficient way to train the core in fewer reps than it takes to do the same thing by just doing crunches on the floor.

I’m adding more videos to my YouTube channel to help educate, entertain and motivate you! Please stop by and subscribe to my channel….. It’s www.youtube.com/chalenejohnson.

Please do me a favor and share this post to your page! Also, I’d love to know what videos/ information you’d like to see next!

10 Instagram Essentials from Instagram Expert Chalene Johnson for Growing your Brand with Social Media

Are you using Instagram for your business? If so, I applaud you! And if not…what are you waiting for?! You must jump on this platform yesterday!! I’ve done a lot of research on using Instagram to grow your business.  I’ve seen a lot of people doing it right and growing not only a huge following but a huge customer base, too. I’ve also seen a lot of people driving potential followers and customers away. The opportunity to grow your business on Instagram is incredible! So today, I want to share with you what I’ve learned and give you my 10 Instagram Essentials for growing your brand. (This is a two-part article. Stay tuned for tips 6-10!)

 

10 Instagram Essentials for Growing Your Brand

instagram training#1 – GO PUBLIC

You account must be public. Period. Setting your account to private is like opening up a business in a secret location and placing a CLOSED sign out front in the event people do actually find you. If you have things on your page that you don’t want “creepers” to see then don’t post it. If you’re posting personal matters on your IG, then it’s time to clean house (or clean up your page) and remember that your best use of social media is to grow your business, not to update your cousins. I certainly don’t want to sound bossy… but here goes…  The only people who have an excuse for using social media to “be social” are teenagers and those who truly have zero interest in ever starting, or growing their own business, blog, book, services or plan B.  Go public.

 

#2 – KNOW YOUR OBJECTIVE – CONNECT WITH STRANGERS

If you have a business, brand or a desire to spread your passion then your objective with all social media is first and foremost to connect with strangers, i.e. future customers. If you’re posting what you’ve had for dinner, a picture of your adorable cat or the sunset, you’re using Instagram to update your already existing friends, family and fans who know who you are, where you live and what your cat looks like. You’re wasting time. A stranger, i.e. future customer does not care (yet) what your cat looks like. Provide value to attract your future customer and then rather than spending all your time interacting and catching up with those who you already know, start communicating on a regular basis with your new followers and fans.

 

#3 – INTERACT AND COMMENT OUTSIDE YOUR OWN PAGE

The single most effective way to gain real and target followers is by commenting and interacting with those who “fit the bill.” While this can be time consuming, it can also be igi_hashtagseasily outsourced. Apply the 5/3/1 method. With this technique you  select a hashtag that your target audience is using, “like” their last 5 posts, leave a brief comment under three of their posts and what will result is one new follower!

 

#4 – SEARCH FOR YOUR TARGET MARKET VIA HASHTAGS

Let’s say you operate a nail salon. Your target market isn’t just women interested in nails, or nail art. Specifically you need women who live within a 10 mile radius of your salon. How do you find them? Hashtags! Search hashtags for local establishments, boutiques, city, high school and local college names. If your ideal customer can be served on line, find the hashtags that he/or she is using but work to find very specific hashtags. In other words, if you offer a diet plan, to search  “#fitness”, “#weightloss”, “#getfit” will yield a very broad return. Rather, search a hashtag that has a more specific demographic , such as “#newbaby”, “#babyweight” or “#newmom.”

 

#5 – CREATE AND HONOR A THEME

Ok… allow me a moment to vent. It drives me batty that so many “social media experts” have suggested to IG users to post a variety of photos. “Show your customers who you are, what happens behind the scenes, what your interested in.” NO!!!!! Bad advice. Why? The painful truth is no one cares. Well, your Mom and your friends care, but a new customer or follower who you are trying to attract, well, they DON’T CARE. They  want value. They don’t know you yet, so they could care less what your dog looks like or what the sunset in your neck of woods looked like last night. If they’re employing these techniques, I promise your account will grow at a snails pace. IG is different. It’s similar to Pinterest or magazine. We follow accounts now not because it looks like they have an interesting life, but because their account provides us a theme,  a specific topic or subject matter of which we are interested in getting great ideas or value.  Stick to 2 or 3 related topics.

 

In my next post I will give you 5 additional tips to grow your business using Instagram. And for more in-depth training, check out my Instagram Impact program by clicking here.

 

5 Tips to Make 2014 Your Best Year Ever!

2014bestyearever_chalenejohnson2014 should be your best year ever! Most people set goals in the New Year that only pertain to their health and fitness. These are great goals to set, but you deserve the best! You deserve peace. You deserve to be happy, healthy, organized, fulfilled and more! If you want all of the above and you truly want to have your best year ever it’s going to take more than just working on your fitness. It takes a special person to work on themselves. This kind of person is in the top 3% of successful people. This kind of person is no different from anyone else except for the fact that they are determined to make a difference. It’s not easy, but it is simple! Let me share with you my top 5 tips to make 2014 your best year ever!

My Top 5 Tips to Make 2014 Your Best Year Ever!

#1 – Honor Your Priorities
30dc_igbnnr_prioritiesLet’s face it…No matter how perfect everything else in your life is going, if your relationships are a mess, nothing feels quite right. I place tremendous value on prioritizing my family, which means that I work harder on my marriage than I do on my business, my fitness, my finances, or anything else for that matter. It’s not something I simply “hope for,” rather it’s something I plan and strategize to improve. Create a plan to prioritize your relationships and watch so many other areas fall into harmony! While everyone’s priorities in life are different, and yours may be different from mine, I do want to encourage you to identify your priorities and set goals that fall in line with them. I also want to encourage you to spend some time on your relationships this year because celebrating your successes is so much sweeter when you can do it with people you care about! This is when achieving those New Years goals feels the most satisfying!

#2 – Set Crazy Cool Goals that Create Balance
Set goals that take you outside your comfort zone! Don’t set goals that you will probably accomplish…think BIG! Finish this statement: “It would be CRAZY COOL if…” Then, write down 10 goals for the year that cover different areas of your life. Think about your environment, your job, your finances, your relationships, your hobbies and leisure. What are some crazy cool things that if accomplished would make for a crazy cool year and a crazy cool life?

#3 – Focus on Your PUSH Goal
Most people don’t know this, but there’s a secret to having an awesome year and knocking every one of your goals off your list. There’s one goal on your list of 10 that is incredibly powerful, and it’s where you need to put all of your focus! One of your goals is what’s called a “PUSH Goal,” and it’s a goal that if achieved will make most of your other goals possible. While your top priority and most important goal may not be related to your 2014 best year ever chalene johnsonfinances, I will give you a little hint and tell you that your PUSH Goal probably does. I’m not saying that money should be your most important goal, but your goal related to this is the one that can probably make the others possible…like taking a family vacation, going on a date night once a week with your partner, being able to work less hours to spend more time with your family, etc. Your PUSH Goal is the key to accomplishing big things this year, and there’s so much more I want to share about it. Keep reading to find out how to learn more on this.

#4 – Make an Important Person Promise
Oftentimes, we make goals and we keep them to ourselves, working towards them quietly. But when something comes up, when a compromise needs to be made, since so many of us put ourselves last, we are tempted to compromise our goals! The way to avoid this is by making an important person promise. We don’t want to disappoint the people we care about. When you make a promise to someone else that you will achieve your goal, you are much less likely to compromise and give up on it. So share your biggest goal with someone who will hold you to it that you wouldn’t dare disappoint!

#5 – Master the Habit of Making a Daily CCDM To-Do List
Making a daily to-do list is the key to staying on track to reaching your goals. You have so much going on. It’s hard to remember where you parked and your own kids’ names let alone your daily tasks to accomplish your goals this year. So making a daily to-do list is a MUST! But we’re not talking about just any old to-do list. This is a CCDM to-do list: a Carefully Crafted, Diligently Maintained to-do list. It must be made at the same time and in the same place each day to help you maximize focus and make it a habit. More on how to master this special type of list below…

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These things alone can change the course of your year! And this is just the beginning! There’s so much more I want to share with you on each of these and many other habits you can create that will make 2014 your best year ever! You deserve it! I break it all down in just 5 minutes a day in my free 30 Day Challenge. Decide to be the 3% that works on themselves this year! Sign up and get started today!