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

SUMMER WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA: 4 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW!

Have you ever done a social media detox? I am deleting my IG/FB apps from my phone because I need a break.

I am joining my friend and a few others on a Summer Without Social Media starting Monday, June 10-August 1, 2019. I am coming back on the scene a little earlier because my birthday and I have some fabulous things planned. So I will return July 25th.

Enough about me. Going off social media can seem extreme, drastic, and challenging. We are literally addicted to it. The notifications, the likes, comments, etc release dopamine in our systems and gives us a high, it is scientifically proven.

But how many of you know that everything must unplug sometimes to be plugged in again to work optimally? Do you know the same is for you?

Here’s what I know: I need to breathe. I need to be present this summer before I turn over into a new year. I am expecting great things to happen in my new season.

On the real, I know how nervous you can be on going dark, but I assure you it is a chance to recalibrate. Here is some advice and tips on taking the plunge.

>>>>>>>>>>>>

We take better care and protect our phones more than we do ourselves. We make sure the battery never dies, if it does, we quickly recharge it. 

If we only invested this much time in self. 

When is the last time you recharged yourself? Where you truly unplugged from all electronics and social media platforms before plugging back in. There are times we just need to refresh and relax before the recharge. 

There doesn’t need to be a profound reason/epiphany to step away from social media and devices.  If you are just tired of scrolling through your feed looking at the same ol’ same ol’ then maybe it is time.

Many of us fail to realize the occasional  ‘surfin’ is affecting our productivity, If so, it is time for a detox. 

Throw the whole phone away. 

Ok nothing that drastic, maybe not throw…but PUT the phone away. 

Here’s what happens when you unplug from the matrix:

1.) No one notices that you have disappeared. No one cares you are off the grid.

If you don’t think so, deactivate/log off your accounts and tell no one. You will soon join me at the dinner table for a dessert: humble pie. Out of sight, out of mind. No one notices, no one reaches out at all. If they did notice, they didn’t tell me. 

In fact, my first social media detox it took one of my friends at the end of week two of my ghosting to realize I was off the grid. 

“Are you off Instagram and Twitter,” she asked.

“Girl I have been off for almost 3 weeks now,” I revealed.

Eventually more of my friends did notice, but I had been nearly off for six weeks by then. 

Your family, friends, followers, and whomever get caught up in their own life with their problems,  day to day, etc. and aren’t paying it any attention. Neither should you, this is a time for you to be more mindful and present in the moment. Don’t be afraid of FOMO, it will be there once you return.

Sidebar:*** If you are a business account or have a huge following this need not apply. But you should have funnels built out to ensure you continue to bring in revenue.

I hate when people make grandiose announcements that they are taking a much needed break from their social platforms. This is attention seeking to me and unnecessary. 

Just ghost us. Will see you when you return.

2. People will reach out to you more because you are not as accessible. 

How many of us send DMs and also text

our friends at the SAME time? 

How about when it is your birthday and everyone posts to your Facebook wall with all the warm fuzzies? 

But your phone is dry.

Not a call, text, or smoke signal sent. I can admit, I am quick to post a happy birthday message to the ‘book’ and check the box complete. 

But do I follow up with a call or text to my friend’s phone? No. 

Isn’t shouting you out on the ‘gram or Facebook enough? It isn’t. 

I must admit that once I was off my social media, there weren’t many notifications coming through to my phone. 

Once my friends realized I was off the grid, the phone calls and texts were more frequent. When you aren’t as accessible people have the time to miss you in a sense. 

Being off the grid for a moment gave a chance for my friends and family to miss me enough to call and reach out. 

3. More time for Self-Care and Productivity 

My addiction to my phone and social media was out of control. I’m embarrassed to say how much face time I was giving my phone. 

If you are an iPhone user, then you may know a recent update tracks how many times you pick up your phone each day, the average amount you spend on it a week, and even identifies your most frequented apps. 

There is even an option where you can monitor and limit the amount of time you spend on certain apps. I have to give kudos to Apple for bringing some awareness to our daily obsessions. 

I had mentioned to my doctor about my lack of sleep and feeling anxious throughout the day. She asked me how did I start my day and how I ended my day. I ran down my routine.

AM

Wake up.

Check and answer work emails.

Scroll through social media. 

Brush my teeth.

PM

Shower 

Listen to music.

Scroll through social m-

And there it was, the root of my sleepless nights and anxiety throughout the day. My doctor suggested I leave my phone on the other side of the room at night and get an alarm clock. Also, to not check social media first thing and only schedule an amount of time to be on. 

I just decided to go cold turkey altogether and immediately saw a difference with my new routine. I quickly realized how easy it was to relax when I wasn’t glued to my phone. 

I slept better, longer, and deeper. 

I also amped up my self-care routine. 

I started with daily affirmations and my devotionals, those periodic facials became everyday routine. I even had time for bubble baths and to just sit still and pray. 

When you don’t have social media to occupy your time, I guarantee your productivity level will grow exponentially. I am a great starter, but horrible finisher. I would start a project and then get distracted by a few minutes of scrolling that turned into hours on social media. 

During my detox, I was able to optimize my time and my productivity level increased dramatically. 

This also helped with reducing my anxiety because I actually completed tasks in a timely manner. 

I read more of my bible, finished three books, exercised more, and even got in the kitchen…not just to eat, but cook! I started keto and so meal prepping was essential. 

My productivity at work even increased and helped me when I moved into my bigger office. 

When boundaries are set and social media is limited, my anxiety is controlled and I am more productive. 

4. No Longer Keeping Up with the Joneses

Social media is powerful in a positive and negative way. Have you ever logged on and immediately your energy shifted from what you saw on your feed or timeline?

One post, like, comment, or share can affect your mind, body, and spirit. And before we know it, we are playing the comparison game. 

You can’t compare your real life to someone else’s controlled online content. We easily forget and compare our behind the scenes to the the highlight reels shown on social media. 

We must be careful on the content we feed our souls. The content we engage or consume can positively shape or negatively impact. 

There is a constant comparison of relationship goals, accomplishments, careers, etc. that if not checked can become very toxic.

When I was off social media I focused only on me. This detox helped me to become more centered and only focus on my goals and path. 

Social media can be a distraction and slow down your progress if allowed.  So it is important to set periodic breaks to refocus on just you and not compare it to anyone else’s.

-FG

Do you feel like you cannot live without social media? 

Have you overcome it and found a balance? 

If so, what are some tips that you can share about how to unplug from technology and social media?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What You Need To Do To START Your Business in 2019 (Video)

 

What do you need to do to start your online presence for your brand and/or business? Sometimes it’s closer than you think.  You just need to figure out how exactly to do it. Watch this short video on my thoughts and a couple of suggestions on how to make it happen and what you need to START! 

 

 

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

5 Rihanna ‘Songs’ That Perfectly Explain Balancing Your 9 to 5|Side Hustle

I like to think that us side hustlers are flirting with the idea of having our own.

 

Testing the waters.

 

Wondering if we should stick to the 9 to 5 rivers that we’re used to.

 

Having a side hustle is rewarding, but complicated and many don’t explore it because of the fear of being overwhelmed.

 

Balance.

 

It’s key to not only survive, but thrive.

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Rihanna is the Queen of Side Hustle(s). As much as people are in her comment section about releasing new music and dragging her for being the “Avon lady,” she is goals on how to hustle…and do it correctly.

 

Sis is Jill of All Trades, and Master of ALL OF THEM! Though she has remained faithful and loyal in her marriage to music, her side pieces….ahem…businesses still get her undivided attention. She not only rules the charts, but the fashion and beauty industries.  Thanks to the phenomenal success of her FENTY Beauty line and Puma collaboration.

 

Rihanna’s hustle energy is what we should all channel into our daily lives when we venture into the side biz world.

 

Here are 5 Rihanna song titles that explain the balancing act of your 9 to 5ish and side hustle:

 

  1. FourFiveSeconds

 

Time.

 

It’s the one thing we can never get enough and balancing a 9 to 5 and side hustle often feels daunting. If you are struggling to keep up and feel overwhelmed, then you might want to take an audit of your daily life. I challenge you to jot down for a full week how you are spending your time. Even when you go the bathroom…yes it gets that real. What I have found with the many coaches and mentors of my life is they account for every hour, minute, and second on the clock. This is how they are successful and so productive.

 

Once you have finished your audit, you now need to look for the gaps you have in your schedule and this is how you can build in more time for your side biz. It is important to start time blocking your life and intentionally filling your day to day with activities that are productive. This is how you can equally flourish in your career as well as biz.

 

  1. Take Care

 

The old adage is true…

 

If you fail to plan, then plan to fail…

 

If you implement a plan in advance it will take care of you. As much as I would like to admit I have a full on plan for my content strategy on my blog or social media pages, I don’t. But I do plan my writing sessions, photo sessions, or meetings with clients when I can. You need to build in your plan what you need to accomplish. Whether it is writing, scheduling meetings, following up with leads, or content creation it is important to take care of the Big Three first. This simply is to tackle the biggest three tasks on your list first. They are usually the most difficult and bring the biggest headache. But once accomplished, it really does change the trajectory of your productivity for the better.

 

  1. Work

You know this song title had to make it in the lineup.

 

It is very important you utilize the free time you do have. So unfortunately, NO DAYS OFF! Use your time off the 9 to 5 for time on for the side hustle. If you were lucky, you got a long three-day weekend with President’s Day. Though I was off from my 9 to 5ish, I invested the time into build my brand. So take advantage of holidays, early releases, and lunch breaks, it truly makes the difference.

 

  1. Question Existing

 

You may not be familiar with this song choice since it wasn’t released as a single, but it’s a bop.

 

When you are a business leader, owner, and decision maker you will have to ask and answer the hard questions. You will have hard, uncomfortable conversations about the quality of work, your rates, your mess ups…yes you will mess up if you haven’t already.  Side hustles are meant to bring another stream of income and opportunity to grow. If it is doing more harm than good in your life, you might want to ask the questions Rihanna did to herself in this song:

 

Who am I living for?

 

Is this my limit?

 

Can I endure some more?

 

  1. BBHMM

Oh the anthem of all Bosses! Instead of B***h, let’s replace with Biz Better Have My $ for educational purposes. Raise your hand if you would be rich for every “can I pick your brain?” inquiry. I promise to write a post on how annoying AF this is. Stay tuned. For now, you are worth it! When it comes to balance, many times our 9 to 5ish funds our side hustle until it turns a profit. As admiral as it is to take on work for free 99, you need to get paid!  When you first start out, you will more than likely do pro bono work to bring awareness. But you did not invest time, energy, coins, and paper that folds to not get the check! Don’t be afraid to state your price and not compromise. You are not an imposter. You are the truth! You are everything they want and if it is the right fit they will hire you or buy your products/services.

Know Your Worth.

Then Add Tax.

FG