3 Steps to Higher Instagram Profits and Engagement

 

Here are 3 steps to put you on the path to profitability:

Step #1 – Serve before you sell: Want people to invest their time and money in your products and services? Share VALUABLE tips, strategies, techniques and methods they can use to transform their lives and businesses. Remember it is about serving them, not selling to them.

Step #2 – Show up and be consistent on Instagram: Just like you have to show up to the gym and be consistent with your workout and eating habits to see significant change, is the same for your Instagram presence. You will never build influence or an engaged and dedicated audience by inconsistency. Nobody will know what you do and what to buy if you don’t tell them. Posting selfies, a highly curated photo, meme and motivational quote is NOT enough. If you want people to invest in your business, you must make sure they know the benefits of doing so. Showing up and consistently providing valuable content + consistency = boosted credibility and ultimately sales.

Step #3 – Engage with your current and potential audience: Imagine Instagram is a cocktail party and you arrive in the room and people are complimenting your outfit, but you don’t acknowledge them at all. Wouldn’t it be considered rude, offensive, and unpleasant? After a while, people will stop complimenting. It is the same thing with social media, I see it all the time…people post all day long without getting a single comment or double tap. What are they doing wrong? They’re spending countless hours posting and no time socializing. You see, social media is NOT just about sharing content, it’s about conversing with your audience – asking questions, commenting on THEIR posts and showing up as the solution they’ve been craving.

And there you have it – 3 steps that’ll get you headed in the right direction.

 

Cancuna Matata: No Worries Given

 

The best travel advice I ever got was to “stop waiting on friends or that bae and go solo…” 

And so I did and will continue to do so. 

I only hope you start to experience the greatness of solo travel. 

My latest solocation: Cancun, Mexico. 

Though I traveled by myself it wasn’t long before I was surrounded by a tribe of powerful, passionate black and brown women at the annual Baddies and Bosses Take (Cancun)  retreat. 

This retreat is where women from all over the country link up and put collaboration over competition.  A time to celebrate, slay, socialize, and uplift one another. It is the ultimate weekend getaway for a woman about her business.

Here are a few highlights: 

1. SOLOcation

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Cancun is known for its party scene and turn up vibes. But it is a great spot for unwinding, exploring, and eating the best Mexican cuisine. After a 20 minute ride from the Cancun airport, I settled into my home for the next three days. Now Jade Riveria is a 4-star all inclusive resort that sits right off the beach. All ladies on the retreat stayed in the preferred suite with a beach view, a private balcony with a jacuzzi, and access to the adult only pool.

2.  The Mix(HER) +Din(HER)

After my roomie and I settled in our room, we ventured down to the resort’s The Mix Bar to meet the other ladies! Ahhhhhh….as you can tell this is very Instagram worthy… This beach view bar is everything a blogger/influencer can dream. Instead of the bar being accented by usual bar stools, it has fun swings around it. We socialized, ordered drinks, and watched the sunset over  the ocean. Dinner soon followed at a very swanky restaurant. I didn’t get great pictures due to low lighting, but BEAUTIFUL!

3. Down to Earth 

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Have you ever done yoga on the beach? Well it is hard AF! But yet so peaceful as we inhaled the ocean air, and exhaled the toxicity. Sent from Devyn led this power yoga session and it truly was Devyn Sent! In a wellness space that is predominantly white, it is refreshing to see women of color, especially black women, breaking barriers and making it more inclusive. I have a special place in my heart for Devyn as we are from the same hometown, Texarkana…Texas side of course. Her older sister and I were high school classmates. I am proud of what she has accomplished and what she will continue to do in the wellness space.

4. Let Me Drive the Boat Party (Somebody Sons not pictured)

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It has been declared a Hot Girl Summer thanks to Meg Thee Stallion’s epic flows and her signature Houston flair over hard hitting beats. Her mixtapes were the soundtrack to our party as we took to the blue and green Mexican waters in our private boat! Many thanks to Corinna AKA Glamurosa and her lifestyle brand for the Fineapple visor swag!

5. Poolside Vibes

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How can you not sit by or in the pool to cool off from the Caribbean sun? Do I need to explain more…?

6. Farewell Dinner

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It is always hard to say goodbye, but this was such a beautiful send off. We were asked to wear nude or white to symbolize a new beginning and clean slate. In the middle of our farewell dinner, founders Sade and Sydney surprised me with a birthday cake and the Stevie Wonder version of the Happy Birthday song. Thug tears! We ended the night back at The Mix Bar to set our intentions for the remainder of the year and encourage each other on our journeys ahead.

FG

How to Style Photos for Social Media

 

Let’s be real…if you are wanting to monetize your social media and/or take your business to the next level, you are going to have to know some elements of styling–especially with photos. It is important to make sure you curate a visually appealing feed, especially on a platform like Instagram.

I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t plan on becoming one, but I am fortunate to have an eye. Because of this I have some tips on styling photos that I am excited to share with you today.

Before we get started a couple of disclaimers.

Disclaimer 1: I highly encourage that you invest in a professional photographer eventually. It truly elevates your brand/business and separates you instantly in an overly saturated market. Most photographers are aware of social media photography and how to give you the look and feel you want. It helps with your trust factor and consistency which equals coins!

 

Disclaimer 2: Highly stylized photos doesn’t mean direct sales. It doesn’t work like that, but it does build content for your social media channels and acts as fillers for the high value content you are creating. More than likely, you will not get a ton of likes or engagement as you think, but it is a great way to give yourself a break. Remember this isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. We are in it for the long game.

 

Tip #1: Choose Your Hero in the Photo

Have a main subject around which you can create a theme or mood. Instead of having several things just thrown together, be strategic with your space. Find one main subject, your hero, and have the secondary subjects surrounding it. I like to call it your hero’s supporting cast. The subjects should be distributed in a way that compliments your hero subject not compete for space or attention. The subjects are only there to insinuate the main piece of the photo. My main piece: planner. The notepad, pen, paper clips, and butterfly clips are the supporting cast.

 

Tip #2 Choose Your Color Palette

Remember theme and mood are what we are creating when we style our photos. Colors are a great way to create a theme and communicate with your audience about your brand. It just helps make it more cohesive. Only choose 1 to 2 colors and that they complement each other. Too many colors can be distracting and start to compete with one another. Remember as in the first tip, you want to complement not compete. Pick a main color and you can’t go wrong. A single focused color helps to convey the point you are making more clearly.

Tip #3 Tell the Complete Story

When selecting your props for a photo, make sure they tell a story that is finished. It can be tempting to try to incorporate props that have similar colors, but may not complete your story.  Ensure it drives home your story where it makes sense. Do not be afraid to use the tools you may use to make your product(s) as props.  For example, maybe you are a travel blogger and are heading to one of your fabulous adventures. Think about the tools you use and how you can visually tell the story: a map, passport, sunglasses, your favorite hat, and a travel favorite pouch. In my photo, I am telling a complete story with props on planning, goals, organization, etc.

Tip #4 Crop it Likes its Hot

This is the rule to live by! If you don’t get anything, CROP…CROP…and Crop! Many of us struggle with cropping because we like to show it ALL, but our eye is so smart that it only needs a reference of part of the item to get the full picture…pun intended. When you reference the objects exist, your audience eye will do the rest. A way to crop successfully is style your photo in a circle. The outer props are the ones you can position to crop and still tell a complete story.

 

Tip #5 Gotta Hit Those Angles

You know I had to reference a Drake lyric somewhere. When you have styled the photo the way you want, now you can focus on how to capture it through your camera lens. Try different angles, you want to draw your audience in to your main subject. Where is your subject in the frame? So maybe you angle it off center or direct overview (as my picture is), maybe directly at eye level. This is where the fun continues! Start shooting at different angles and figure what photo you like the best. Always shoot at three different angles to give yourself variety.

BONUS: Now it is time for you to practice. Remember just start doing it! The first few times you will suck at it, let’s just be transparent! BUT! The more you do it, the better you and the photos will get.

 

FG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Apps To Uplevel Your Social Media Game in 2019 (So Your Followers ‘DONUT’ Scroll/Tap Pass) 

I love donuts. 

And I love word play so don’t mind me on my playground. 

I am asked on the regular about social media and how I grow my engagement and following organically. The most common question I get is what apps I am using. 

In this list, I have broken down my fave apps. Most are FREE 99! Others require a low cost or subscription. 

Get ready to delete some apps, photos, and messages to give you storage room to save these apps!

Content Creation

Regrammer-allows you to save and repost content you see on Instagram without the pesky watermark. 

Tip: Once you copy and paste the link, click the ‘repost’ button select ‘more’ and it will prompt you to save to your phone. This allows you to repost to IG without the watermark. 

Quik-allows you to create videos with your fave photos and videos and works magic! There’s a reason it has 5 stars in the app store with close to a million reviews!

Over-specifically designed for Instagram Stories and a way to use a combo of graphics, fonts, and filters to engage your audience. 

Unfold-I heard about this app on the radio, Kidd Kraddick Morning Show’s Jenna Owens had Unfold featured on her faves segment. MY FAVORITE OUT RIGHT NOW! This is an app big time social media influencers don’t want you to know about because its a jewel and it’s FREE! You can upgrade for additional cost. If you like the clean, polished look for your stories…download it! 

Planoly-if you want to create an aesthetically pleasing Instagram grid like your fave influencer, this app is for you. The free edition let’s you upload your pictures as a preview so you can see how it would look on your actual ‘gram. 

Editing and Filters

VSCO-intuitive and easy to use, a supply of stunning filters and style options is the reason it is one of the most beloved apps.

ColorStory-once you open and use this, you’ll never go back to another app to edit pics. This app is especially good for food, interior and home decor, and scenery images. 

Inshot-has powerful production features that you would think only can be done on a desktop. It takes images or videos and sizes them to your stories via mobile.

Lightroom-even Adobe is in on the mobile editing game. This is especially made for Instagram and the person who wants to take their feed to the next level.

Perfect365-there’s a reason even celebrities such as J.Lo and Kim Kardashian are avid users! A make-up try on app that creates a full makeover at no cost!

Did I miss any? What are some of your fave apps? 

FG

Hair Isn’t the Only Dead Ends that Need to Be Cut in 2018

“New Year, New Me” is slowly escaping the lips of many as we head out of 2018. Memes will soon follow and fill our feeds and explorer pages. 2019 is lacing up the kicks and waiting by the sideline as 2018 takes its last free throw and taps out. So what is next for you?

GROWTH!

You don’t have to wait until 2019 either to start. Just like you wouldn’t water dead plants, don’t hydrate dead, fake friendships, relationships, or ‘situation’ships. Even if the external is beautiful or Jean Claude Van Damme fine, YOU DESERVE BETTER! Cut it off, let it go…it’s a guarantee when you cut off the dead ends, exponential growth soon follows.

I still remember the time shortly after I moved to San Antonio, I needed to get my hair done, but had no money. I decided to go the cheap route and go to a local beauty school. I had a white girl put a relaxer on my head and apply it like it was color. This is a no-no. Let me edua-ma-cate. When hair has been processed already by a relaxer, you only need to touch up the roots. You only apply the relaxer to the roots and ends when it is virgin hair. My hair hadn’t been virgin since I was six! She also didn’t base my scalp with any grease or protectant so my head had Satan dancing on top. I tried my best to stay calm, but I could clearly see the white girl was in as much distress as me. Black folks’ hair can be intimidating to many people. I eventually asked her to please get an instructor because she had not applied it correctly and Satan wasn’t letting up on the Milly Rock.

The instructor stared in horror and we immediately headed to the shampoo bowl. This basically was the start of a traumatic experience. In just a few days my hair began to come out in clumps and I eventually went back to repair the damage. The next student was on the verge of graduation and was very different. She was confident and black! But she couldn’t salvage my hair and I had to cut it all off! I was mortified and absolutely devastated. I got a big head, I can’t rock a baldie like Lupita…IT AIN’T HAPPENING. But she let me know that the only way my hair could grow, we had to cut the dead off. She reassured me my hair would start to grow and quickly. And correct she was! But it was a process.

The dead hair I was hanging on to for comfort, is so many of us with dead end relationships, jobs, attitudes, beliefs…the list goes on. So let’s get in a warm-up and start now with cutting __________ (you fill in the blank) off and letting _____________ go.  And watch the GROWTH!

-FG

When Life Gives Us Mountains…

“He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.” {-Psalms 95:4}

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A couple weeks after my 32nd birthday I sat numb in my doctor’s office. Her lips moved slowly and precisely, but I didn’t hear a word…just the typing of the transcriber in the room.

The next couple of hours were a blur. I just remember I called my Mom 21 times. She didn’t answer. I refused to do anything else until I heard my Mom’s voice.

So I sat in my car and waited….and waited…my phone buzzed. Work email. And waited. Eventually my Mom called. She had been out grocery shopping and left her phone at the house.

I couldn’t even get it out…I just blubbered like a baby. If there is one thing about Virginia Faye Baker Green…she’s a prayer warrior!

-“Who is bigger Faith? This mountain or God?,” she asked. “Huh?,” I replied. -“You heard me. Who’s bigger? That’s what you ask every time you feel fear, despair, or even this health scare. You already know.” I could feel her smile through the phone.

Fast forward⏭

After many tests, scans, and results, I have experienced a range of emotions, highs and lows, the mountains and valleys. And I know you are experiencing it too and if you aren’t, someone close to you is.

There is a mountain ahead and it’s scary, intimidating, above our scope of understanding and the uncertainty on the other side of it. But guess who’s bigger? I think you know the answer. ✨