Why Bloggers Need To Grow Their Instagram Accounts

 

So much emphasis is put on our stats and while they are important every PR person and company is looking for something different. It’s important that we as bloggers grow all of our social media and not put all of eggs in one basket, as they say.

We have all hit somewhat of a stand still with the stopping of like on Facebook. Never EVER have you been able to request a like on G+ and doing so will get your account penalized and/or removed. I see people do it all the time and when you’re a small blog quite frankly you have nothing to lose.

While this is an Instagram type of post I want to point out a few things about Facebook. One if you are a larger blog and you are requesting a visit I’ve heard tell that many sweepers are “unliking” the blogs. You’re leading them there and since it’s not required they can do it quite easily. Two Facebook OWNS Instagram, so it only seem plausable that what the rule is for Facebook will soon be for Instagram and now is the time to grow your Instagram account.

Instagram is tricky and it took me a while to figure it out. I’m still not a huge fan but I can give you a few pointers.

1. Take random photos and use a couple of hashtags but don’t go hashtag crazy. Quite simply people are turned off by too many.
2. Don’t forget to us #ad or #spon in your sponsored posts (Don’t blame me, blame the FTC!)
3. If you’re not a texter like me and you see all these great long posts on Instagram and think DAMN how did they do that…… Write your post, make a nice photo (use PicMonkey) and email it to yourself. Then copy and paste it. Yep, it’s cheating, but oh so much easier.
4. I’m not a photographer, in fact I don’t take good photos at all but take random photos when you’re out and about.
5. When I’m out and waiting in the car for the kids or hubby I go to instagram on my phone and do followbacks, likes and comments.

It’s hard for us as bloggers to grow our social media and to pick what social media we even want to be a part of but my something my grandmother used to tell me all the time was a bit of everything was good, but excessive anything wasn’t. So a little break from other media and growing where you’re short might be good.

There is no sarcasm font

Hurt can cause irreparable effects that reverb. A ripple effect of sorts the way the betrayers can cover an enormous amount of ground, burden our hearts and steal our trust. One thing I have experienced professionally and by working online as a blogger and in social media is the power of hurt, betrayal. Our world has expanded across the globe yet shrunk since we all converse and collaborate online. However with working online and through electronic forms of communication we lose what is most important in our connection, the humanity. Unfortunately in email, posts, instant messages there is no tone, or sarcasm font.

We type out our emails, posts, messages and we can hear our own voices in our head, we can hear the tone. Somehow the tone is not transferred, or sometimes the tone is transferred improperly, in these transmissions. Sadly at the same time we then hit send to our recipient thinking nothing of the sorts.

Online transgressions are not limited to only our electronic correspondence. We have much of our business online as well. As bloggers we deal with people all the time. We put a great amount of faith and trust in people and never think twice about hurt or betrayal. How do we overcome? How do we learn to trust again?

I know my personal dealings ended painfully. Working hard to build a beautiful blog with a devout following for the messages I had to share, heart felt, raw, and real. When I opened myself to making “friends” online I was met with my past slapping me in the face as a way for those to seek revenge, to hurt me for their personal gain. My “friend” burned my contacts with falsities, attempted to burn my income, all in the name of pettiness. An act of high school retaliation because someone got her skirt in a ruffle. The part I played was that I would not play into girlish antics. I backed out tastefully, respectfully, calling the cards indicating my distaste and dissatisfaction for the events, the disrespect and that our relationship was truly not genuine or of a friendship.

This past year an online friend rekindled my trust and faith for the online world. My faith was even more broken as I was “voted off the island,” as my husband refers to my termination from corporate America. Shifting in moments of self pity, self deprecation, anger, rage, hurt. My friend pulled me back to show me a renewed faith and helped me rekindle my love for people once more. She encouraged me to seek my reinvention. Life was bigger than me, my Faith was telling me to believe. Believe that everyone deserved a second chance, delivering forgiveness, redeeming people as a whole instead of condemning them for a single bad egg of the bunch.

My friend showed me that not all two people are the same. Working online could be fulfilling again. I could write to my hearts content. I found my voice. I found my love which was once lost. I found I could continue to love people, empower them as I once did, share in their triumphs and trials, put feelings into words.

I found that I could trust again and work online with strangers, even if I did use some sarcasm font as a defense mechanism. When I came back to work with Joie, she encouraged me to become vulnerable again and lead the charge with other vulnerable bloggers who were just like me. Have you been scorned by people online? People in your “community?” Are you afraid of history repeating itself? Well know you are in good company as we are all in the midst of a great leap of faith to create something wonderful, powerful, moving. If we happen to trust again, give something bigger of ourselves and maybe forge friendships of the same caliber, success monetarily and professionally would just happen to be an afterthought with all we will gain on a personal level.

How Not to Run A Giveaway

Kristin Lesney-Ruiz giveaway cheater

Blogging is easy. Running a blog as a business is not. You see blogs are as diverse as people in the world with our various creeds, cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, colors, you name it a blog exists for or about the topic. More so is the rising cut throat popularity and business of giveaway blogs. Some years ago I wrote about the “not so” up and up practices of a giveaway blog; bloggers sweeping for traffic and never living up to providing a fruitful giveaway. Seems more are capitalizing in this fashion but with the added factor of collusion plus a ponzi scheme. Worth repeating I might share how NOT to run a giveaway.

Nowadays big brother is involved on a deeper level than the role Linda Lovelace ever played in American pornography. Every post has a disclaimer, every page has a disclaimer, every product, link, back link; a perpetual circle jerk of monkey’s appeasing an ever tiresome topic driven by fear. However, the fear should be real in the event one individual decided to pony up with legal representation and assert action. Maybe we should go over the basics, I might save you a trip to the Library of Congress to seek out the information I have so readily at hand.

1. Your Giveaway is technically a “Contest”

The true definition of a “giveaway” is if you just enter and by some asinine, random luck the blog owner picks you. Congratulations. Contests on the other hand require some panache, finesse, albeit skill to enter. Post a comment, follow me on Twitter, sit and spin. You know the drill. Even though the jargon is used interchangeably, if someone would like to get specific (especially when the law is concerned) you might want to understand the differences. If you were truly running a “giveaway” you need to provide an alternative form of entry such as “provide a self addressed stamped envelope to 123 Mickey Mouse Lane, Bagdad, AZ 85009” of which you now have your entrant with their information so you may contact them if they are chosen as well. This get’s sticky, can you feel it?

2. Make sure your contest is visible to all parties

The beauty of the age of information, technology and having a husband who is an IT (Information technology) guru, you cannot hide from anything in this world. Everything is on the web and everything has a history. Google me for instance. You can find my name, address, phone number, travel ten pages deep before you hit the obscurity of darkness that drowns out the name Karie Herring. Terrifying actually. I digress. Anyhow, when running a contest, you need to ensure that if you are the host and you will be pimping out the link like a whore (yes because you are receiving payment from others who are assisting in the promotion), the least you could do is:

  • A) Ensure a permalink on your blog for said giveaway. This is most excellent for SEO if you give a damn.
  • B) Ensure you post for original content to be indexed by Google and other robots and search engines. You want to be recognized as legit….get your content out there, even if you are prostituting services.

sham TRUS giveawayTake this photo for example. The blog labeled Blog A is the blog that posted the HTML as part of a legitimate service to share the contest at large. The blog labeled Blog F for “failure,” “fluff,” “flob,” I think you get the picture. This bollix of a blogger failed to even post this giveaway. Anywhere on her blog.They are HOSTING  the giveaway as indicated in Blog A’s screen shot. Wouldn’t one think that they would have a permalink post for this giveaway they are hosting? Or the other hosts for that matter….where are their posts? I stalked the post of the host in question. Her blog. Google cache. Nothing. Nada. No where in the nether webs was this posted. But she’s hosting? How do you indicate an official capacity without having official capacity…I’m confused. Maybe someone can clear that up.

Let’s move on shall we.

3. Pull a Winner. A legitimate winner

The beauty of a contest is that the winner is based on luck of the draw, pun intended. No mathematical equations, statistics, algorithms or minutiae of the sorts is involved. Just plain old lady luck. With that being said, however, some fail to realize that everyone has to have an opportunity to enter and they have to have the same chance to win. In the event that a winner is already predetermined by the blog owner this is in direct violation of the 1995 Crime Bill passed by President Clinton and subject to sanctions of two years in a Federal prison plus any hefty fines as deemed fit by a court of your peers. If you suspect someone of this fraudulent activity, reach out to the FTC to file a complaint.

If you pull a winner, do not post right away. Not everyone responds within the time frame which, in turn, defaults to choosing another winner. Be honest and solid on your times. If you pull a winner at 11pm, and they are provided 48 hours, give them the 48 hours and a few minutes. Tweet it out there, email to them, Facebook, make this notice public, not just on the widget yet because the widget would indicate finality. Think of the post on the widget and your blog as you have notified family members of a death before releasing to the media. Make sense? Once you have made contact then make it final on the widget. Done.

Finally, stick by your word. Your word is your bond. If you claim to be a professional act like one or subject yourself to a lashing greater than any troll or sweeper. Federal sanctions, state sanctions, imprisonment, fines, oh my. Playing with the big leagues can bring big league regulations. When in doubt, PUNT, tell the truth. Contestants, bloggers, brands and people alike will respect you if you have a legitimate giveaway and provide legitimate winners. How you run your giveaway is a clear indication of how you run your business. How not to run a giveaway, well that is a clear indication that you are a fraud and acting in a manner to deceive others, so ladies, enjoy your bedfellows of Bernie Madoff, Lou Perlman and the like.

 

The above was written by Karie, but I want to add (Joie) that when a sweeper or someone questions me about the validity of an entry or giveaway winner I take it seriously.  I was asked by a sweeper about this giveaway here that was hosted by Deb Picard at All About Parents because when googled NOTHING comes up with this name and spelled this way.  In our day and age this doesn’t happen.  What also brought attention to this is that it states that this giveaway winner was personally selected on the Giveaway Tools Widget.

 

Screen Shot of Giveaway Tools Hosted By All About Parents Note the widgets states a number of these winners were personally selected.
Screen Shot of Giveaway Tools Hosted By All About Parents Note the widgets states a number of these winners were personally selected.

I wanted to give this blogger the benefit of the doubt and here are the emails I exchanged with her.

 

On 1/24/2015 6:27 PM, All About Parents wrote:

Wow… I just noticed this. I ALWAYS have the tool draw randomly for me. This is odd and I am going to email giveaway tools myself about this. I will keep you updated on what I find out. I have never selected the winners myself. I am wondering what this about myself now.

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On Jan 24, 2015 6:29 PM, “Winter Witch” <winterwitch@networkingwitches.com> wrote:

Hi Deb,

Thanks so much for checking on this some of the sweepers are mad and I can understand that because bloggers have been accused of cheating in the past.  I am in NO WAY saying you’re cheating, but I wanted to check because this is one of the giveaways they’re squawking about and I want to give them an answer.

Thank you again,
Joie

Below is Deb’s Answer to me:

Well, thats bull. I have never once chosen my own winner. It really upsets me that people are “squaking” about my giveaway and haven’t one come to me about it. I have been sponsoring my own giveaways for the last few months and I was already thinking about not doing it any more after the current giveaway that is running. Its a shame that others have to point the finger. I just got done emailing giveaway tools. But for sure now I’m not sponsoring any more giveaways and I’m just gonna stay to myself just as I have always done with out any problems. Thank you for coming to me with this. I will keep you posted on what happens when they email me back.

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I emailed Deb from All About Parents again on 1/26/15 to follow up on this and she hasn’t replied:

Hi Deb,

I’m following up to see if you found out anything on this.  The winner is now not on the widget and I want to get back with the sweepers.  There are other giveaways too that have the same problem that I worked on with you.

Here are 3 giveaways I worked on with you and none of the winners are posted.  Unfortunately the FTC states that we as bloggers must post the winners publicly.  I usually post winners on my site of all giveaways including group giveaways.  I go back and check the widgets and many times I email when there is no winner posted.

If I could get the winners and the source of how they won I would appreciate it so I can share the information with my readers.

http://networkingwitches.com/2014/10/110614-bobee-whale-wall-decal-giveaway/
http://networkingwitches.com/2014/09/100814-all-about-parents-bday-extravaganza-toys-r-us-140-gc-sweepstakes/
http://networkingwitches.com/2014/11/121414-all-about-parents-giveaway/

All the best,
Joie

When I wrote the above not there were NO winners on the widgets and now the original widget in questions reads like this:

allaboutparents12815

There are so many good and honest bloggers out there and it only takes one to give us all a bad name.  There are rules and laws to protect us all and something isn’t just isn’t right.

Joie

Women in the Business of Blogging

Women in business make me giggle quietly to myself. Cackle actually. They are like a super power of vaginal geniuses converging together in a coup to overthrow the world of men. Not really, but in the corporate world this is how women band collectively. Women have a respect for each other that they will not undercut the other in an effort to get ahead, rather they recognize their areas of opportunity and surround themselves with powerhouses that help make up for the shortcomings. A marriage of harmony, using each others strengths, instead of exploiting their weaknesses,for the same end goal.

My mind is boggled how in the online world, social media, blogging, women can act like the ants of the world, assholes. Attempting to dominate one another, tearing one another down behind the others back, all in an effort to climb the imaginary ladder of success. What is the need? Why do women lash out to one another in such a vindictive way?

I see these actions as putting feminism back by years. More so it puts blogging as a business back years.

Day after day I see women preaching how their blog is their profession but they do not treat what they do as their line of work. An entitlement of sorts to receive payment for the work they put into their blog, but they make no effort to put work into relationships that further business. You see business was not built just on the product alone, business was and is built on relationships. Relationships like everything else require the same passion we put into our work, no matter how awful the task.

Eating crow, massaging and stroking where needed, is just how to be successful.Back stabbing, whining, complaining, and creating a path of destruction in the wake is not a way to be successful.

Bloggers have a tendency to react the opposite due to the 24hour news cycle with information constantly flowing on and through the internet. Getting their panties in a bind they immediately turn to their social networks and bashing ensues. Suddenly these women and bloggers forget that the other person is just that, a person, completely human and subject to error. Granted, some women do not have the emotional maturity to keep their inner bitch at bay, but even pretending goes a long way to keeping the peace, furthering your career.

I found in the corporate arena that no matter what position or title you hold there is a certain level of expectation for how you act, react, behave and your tone. Sometimes that requires playing nice when you don’t want to and or sucking up to a situation that is just foul. My most successful mentors knew how to play this game well and had a tremendous amount of influence. They were successful because they never had anything bad to say about anyone (even though they would want to throat punch some of these people). These ladies surrounded themselves with people (men and women alike) who had strengths that offset their weaknesses and they communicated patiently and calmly. Rather than flying off the handle at the impossible, they would ponder the information and review all the various sides in order to understand the situation.

Conflict is going to happen. Conflict is evident. How we deal with that conflict says more about our character and professionalism than page views, page rank or Alexa data. Women do not have to be best friends, but they must have a certain level of respect and professional candor to be taken seriously. Consider how asinine men would look if they acted as foul and obnoxious as women do to each other; they have a conflict, speak their peace, tell the other party to piss off and the next day it’s as if the event never took place. End of story.

One of the toughest pieces of advice I can ever share is to swallow your envy, jealousy and pride. Stop trying to be like the other person. Stop vying for what they have and go after it yourself, but do it with honesty, integrity and class. Stop being so proud that you cannot ask or share help. A favorite comment made to me as a 19 year old girl in management was this, “I want you to have my job, take my job. I want to teach you everything I know and then some. Your success means my success.” My boss told me that two decades ago and it stuck with me. I busted my ass, made friendships, acquaintances, and networked before social media. I learned to work with people in difficult situations. I learned to accept that everyone is not like me and I am not like them. Each of my experiences taught me how to be better, I took a nugget away if the relationship was irreparable and recognized any immaturity on behalf of either party. That is emotional maturity and professionalism to admit and accept fault, especially when working with women.

Even though you continue to get business this may not mean that you are seen as a pro, as in professional, but more of pro as in prostitute. Your services are being acquired and paid for, but no one really wants to admit they work with you, just that you are a means to an end. The single most valuable piece of advice of being a woman in business is to always be humble. Always. Humility is the key to success. Just when you think you are too big, you probably are and soon you will be reminded how big your ego is and how little humility you have left. Your lack of humility could also lead to a lack of a paycheck and lack of professional respect by your peers. So consider your comment next time on Facebook, email, a blog that anytime you bash a peer (especially a woman), you bash the entire community and end up isolating yourself. Food for thought.