All Posts By

Lizz Caputo

Instagram Accounts We ❤️

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but our GG hearts are still aflutter. You know the drill: with fickle affections, we follow and unfollow many a brand and influencer. Yet, there are always one or two that we will devotedly double-tap ’til they post no-longer. I asked the Gossip Genie team to identify an account they truly ❤, and these were their answers:

Janelle: 

@nois7 — He is a traveling photographer that is always stretching the boundaries with photography and digital editing. The seamless combination of his imagination and technical skills result in high-quality content. You will find yourself staring at his Instagram in awe for ages. #photographygoals

 Anthony:

@food52 – I love to try new recipes in the kitchen, so I’m always scrolling their feed to gather cooking/baking inspo! They’re one of the best accounts to follow if you go crazy for photos of food, and they’re always creating really well-crafted, interesting Instagram stories.

 Keenan:

@natgeotravel is my pick. This is a huge account, obviously, but that’s because they’re one of the best in the game and they’ve definitely earned their following! It’s on my bucket list to have one of my pictures featured on there one day. Wish me luck!

Violet:

My favorite account to follow by far is @TribeHummus. Their content is super funny and they are always posting trendy things relevant to their brand. Whether it’s a trending meme, phrase, etc. They are killing the social media game. I follow them and I’ve never even tried their hummus!

*Pick up megaphone* *Holds it to your ear* WROONNGGGGGGG.

A post shared by Tribe Hummus (@tribehummus) on

Taryn:

The news makes me incredibly sad. Some days on social media, I feel inundated by messages that make me want to curl up into a ball and cry. Instead of completely avoiding the news, I’ve learned to follow more accounts that make me smile and put me in a better mood before putting my phone down. @MommasGoneCity is a blog that I’ve literally followed for several years (back when she had 3 kids, 1 dog and no cats!) but I need that comfort and joy more than ever. Her children (and animals) are so freaking adorable and I love the genuine messages she writes about sending love into this world. I also love that she’s raising an army of little feminists. Her posts never cease to put me in a better mood and I find myself checking her page every single day.

Me (Lizz):

My favorite account is similar to Anthony’s (great minds think alike!) 👉🏽 @jesseszewczyk. He’s the Food Editor at Buzzfeed NYC and I DROOL over his content every single day. Jesse’s not just blessed with amazing photography skills – his Instagram Story game is strong too. The food he makes looks so delicious, it literally brings a tear to my eye. He features recipe ideas to inspire foodie followers, and I use that inspo to help spark my own ideas for the many food-focused clients we run. A word of warning: don’t scroll too long on an empty stomach!


Now that you know our picks, tell us which accounts get your heart pounding! Let us know in the comments below 👇

Tips to Tackle the 2018 Instagram Algorithm

By | Social Media, Uncategorized, Words of Advice | One Comment

If you’re starting to detect Facebook vibes coming from Instagram lately, you’re not the only one. Algorithm changes to both platforms that have taken effect, and have left some users scratching their heads, powerless as engagement and reach decline rapidly. You may be wondering, “can we ever win?!” As frustrating as it seems, there are a few ways to beat these new algorithm changes. The genies are here to show you how.

Engagement – where? 👀

Problem: Like + comment levels are plummeting

Solution:

Did you spend ages crafting your latest post? Caption on point, paired with a perfectly picturesque photo? Great! Unfortunately, Instagram now releases your content to just 10% of your followers to start. If those 10 % double-tap your donut pic to death, then congratulations, the other 90% will magically find your picture in their feed. If engagement is poor from the beginning, chances are it’ll stay that way unless you intervene.

First of all, if you can add a location tag to your photos 📍, do so. This increases the chance that your post will emerge in the explore tab and be pushed to followers outside your current audience. Another tip is to explicitly fish for engagement in your copy. “Double-tap if you think pufferfish are the coolest animal, land or sea” is just one example that popped into my head. Ask your audience to engage, and they often will.

Get Talking 💬

Problem: Emojis and short comments no longer count

Solution:

Gone are the days that users could hack their way to the top using comment pods – groups of followers that leave short comments in bulk like “nice pic” and “cute post” in order to boost reach. Now, Instagram has apparently implemented a strict 4-word comment policy. Simply put, only comments that are longer than 4 words will count as post engagement. While this seems a little unfair (I often leave a 😍 emoji on my friends’ posts to show genuine love), you can get around with some carefully crafted copy. Next post, try this: “In four words or more, tell us why you love ____ below. We can’t wait to read your answers!”

One more tip: try responding to comments within an hour of recieving them. Word on the street says that this is an easy way to generate higher engagment rates, and that Instagram rewards accounts that reply to their fans quickly.

#HashtagHeadache 🤕

Problem: Hashtags in comments no longer show up in the explore tab

Solution:

Rumor has it, what used to be a hack to keep posts cleaner and the feed shorter for followers now results in low reach and hidden posts. Instead of concealing hashtags in the first comment of your photos, select strong ones that are highly relevant to your brand and the content you are producing. Add them directly to your caption like we’ve done below👇. Switch them up for each post depending on the subject, and never use the fully allotted 30 hashtags. You may get shadowbanned. And now that users can follow hashtags, you’ll get a lot of fresh eyes on your content if you keep them short, sweet, and relevant.

Story Time 📚

Problem: Followers aren’t interacting with me like they used to

Solution:

The new algorithm LOVES stories. Brands that are the most active in this space stay on the top of their follower’s minds (and feed – literally). You might notice as you scroll Instagram, stories pop up every so often between posts, with previews that tempt you to tap tap tap!

If you’re stressed about this increase in work, don’t fret! Think of them as enhancements to your regularly posted content. Take that day’s subject and expand on it in your story. Ask a simple question via poll, add some GIFS (new to Instagram), or host a Live story and give fans a behind-the-scenes look at your products. Stories are just one more level of fan interaction that your brand cannot afford to overlook.

 

Notice Me 🔔

Problem: Followers that WANT to see your updates don’t see them

Solution:

We certainly can’t expect that our followers want to see every single piece of content we post without fail, right? Wrong! Believe it or not, if you understand your audience and produce quality content, many loyal fans will want to see it all. Case and point, I love #foodporn so much, I check @BuzzfeedFood daily just to watch their short clips and imagine I’m eating them.

The simplest way to help these loyalists see your posts is to remind them of post notifications. It’s the option you get when you tap the … in the corner of any Instagram profile. Once those are switched on, that follower will be notified whenever you post! Can you realistically expect 50, 40, 30% of your followers to do this? Heck no. But getting even a handful of fans to select this option can help when you’re experiencing engagement drought. Dedicate one IG Story this week to reminding your followers to turn on post notifications for your account. We dare ya!

 

Did we miss any Instagram algorithm tips, tricks or hacks? Let us know in the comments below!

Must Have Chrome Extensions

8 Coolest Chrome Extensions for Social Media Managers

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media | No Comments

Welcome to the genies’ ode to Chrome extensions. Like napkins when you eat, they’re not technically required, but keep things from getting messy in the long run.

Those in the social media space are no stranger to hectic processes. We download drives full of photos, craft copy for many brands at once, and scour the net for shareable content – all before lunchtime. If your New Year’s resolution is to become more organized, our top 8 favorite Chrome extensions may help you achieve it.
(Click the headers if you’d like to download each of the Chrome extensions below)

 

1. Bitly

The power of this link shortener knows no bounds. That’s why we use Bitly all day, every day (PS, this is #notspons)
Why we ❤️ it: Whether to make long URLs more digestible or to track clicks per link, Bitly does it all quickly and without fuss. Links can even be customized to increase viewer trust and clickthrough rates.
It’s particularly useful when you spend your day searching for photos of pufferfish.

 

2. Downloader for Instagram

When the Dinstagram extension stopped working with Chome, we weren’t sure another would be able to take its place. Luckily, Downloader for Instagram has become a reliable method to save UGC and keep for later use.
Why we ❤️ it: Images are automatically downloaded in high res (no more screenshots), so we’re sure to get the most out of the user content we discover.

 

3. Grammarly

My personal favorite, the Grammarly extension automatically checks for spelling and grammar issues as you type. The genies are pretty dang smart, but we’re not perfect.
Why we ❤️ it: Grammarly acts as a backup in case we misspell something while working on our fifth content calendar for the month. It’s also perfect for spellchecking important emails and other communications.

 

4. Figure it out

Gossip Genie is fortunate enough to have amazing clients not just all over the country, but all over the globe. We love working with our international brands, but scheduling can be daunting when new time zones are taken into consideration.
Why we ❤️ it: Besides sharing a name with one of the greatest 90s shows of all time, FIO allows us to add several different time-zones so we can monitor and make certain that we aren’t publishing our #MondayMorningMood post on a Tuesday afternoon.

 

5. Pinterest Save Button

Making lives easier since 2012. This one might seem obvious, but that’s just because it’s a necessity for those who run brand Pinterest accounts.
Why we ❤️ it: the Pinterest extension makes the pinning process as simple as 1-2-3! For content outside of the network, there is simply no better way to repin content directly onto the platform.

 

6. Evernote

Some brands produce all their own content. Others, like our educational technology client, find success in sharing industry-relevant news and articles. For these posts, Evernote Web Clipper is a vital extension.
Why we ❤️ it: Much more efficient than opening twenty tabs and better organized than bookmarking. It allows us to save, mark up, and sort articles for future use.

 

7. Loom

While the genies are lucky enough to work out of one central office, the Loom Chrome extension is a fantastic extension if your team is geographically diverse. It’s the next best thing to in-person communication.
Why we ❤️ it: Loom allows users to record or share their screen with anyone using only a generated link. From there, you can either type annotations and notes, or simply speak into the microphone. This is useful for client demonstrations that can’t be done via phone.

 

8. Chrome IG Story

There’s no stopping Instagram Stories in 2018, with more users and brands beginning to tackle the feature every day. Chrome IG Story allows users to download stories from Instagram (albeit without sound for now), for sharing or later use.
Why we ❤️ it: We often create IG stories for brands that would like to review them after the story has expired. With this extension, we can download the ones we’ve created, and attach them to client emails or save them to our desktop for review.

 

Are there any must-have extensions that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Four Instagram Carousel Tips for Killer Engagement

By | Helpful Information | No Comments

If swiping across your phone screen was a full-body workout, I’d have the ultimate beach bod.

2017 was full of Instagram updates that have launched the platform to the top of my list of favorite networks. One swipe left/right to see more feature, Instagram Carousel, was unveiled in February of this year. The cure for all those friends who like to quadruple post and show off twenty photos from a single night? Thank heavens. The feature has also allowed brands to boost engagement and show off content in a fresh way. Here are four carousel tips from the Genies to amplify your feed.

1. Let video shine

Video is devouring all other forms of media in its path with unbelievable engagement numbers. Likewise, the carousel feature’s unique ability to incorporate video will be of particular value in 2018. Previously, brands could only post video clips in one-minute increments. If customers wanted to view a longer video, they would be directed to Youtube instead. Now, videos can be easily divided into 60-second increments and uploaded side-by-side in carousel form. Or they can be mixed in with photo to provide a more interactive look at new products or services. Here’s a delicious example of how Buzzfeed Tasty utilizes multiple videos in a single post:

2. Tell a story

Picture this: it’s nearly Christmas Eve and you’re having family over for the holidays. You’re frantically scrolling through Instagram (Mom will NOT eat the pizza bagels you planned to serve) looking for inspo. You come across TESCO Food’s tasty Christmas sides carousel. With a flick of the wrist, you have several mouthwatering options at your disposal. If a video simply won’t do, these photo stories perfectly weave together a narrative and create value for your followers. Just take a look at this series I mentioned above:

3. Show it ALL off

Sometimes more work pays off. Tease your followers with an incomplete image, and we promise they won’t be able to help but swipe to see more. By tempting your audience to interact with your photo, you are increasing the amount of time they focus on your brand. Rather than simply double-tap and continue down their feed, they must stop, look, stay and swipe. We recently utilized this feature for our client International Vision Expo. Take a peek:

“Style is a reflection of your attitude and personality.” #FrameFriday

A post shared by Vision Expo (@intlvisionexpo) on

4. Not your Grandma’s catalog

Remember the days when Granny would give you a paper catalog and tell you to circle what you wanted for your birthday? Carousel is like that, only digital and more eco-friendly. Apparel brands can shine by dropping new collections and showcasing them with a single post. RAD does a great job of this below:

How has Instagram’s carousel feature helped your brand shine? Let us know in the comments below.

#Mood: Why Mood Boards are a Must Have for your Brand

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information | One Comment

Branding is all about consistency, consistency, consistency. Especially with the new year at our heels (which, can I just say, OMG what??), there’s no better time to think about refreshing your brand with a new focus and perspective. At Gossip Genie, we shine by helping businesses curate their vision. One way we do this for our clients is to create a mood board to capture the overall scope of each brand we manage. It’s unimaginably valuable to have someone constantly keeping an eye on your company’s public-facing image.

If you’re from outside the design space, a mood board can potentially be seen as unneccessary, and even a bit daunting. A good thing to keep in mind is that a mood board is essentially just visual brainstorming. There’s no better way to bring a team’s visions and ideas to life than to add imagery to them.

Here are a few things the genies keep in mind when creating a brand vision:

1. Word association

A good exercise to begin with is to jot down a list of words you hope consumers will associate with your brand. These are the thoughts and emotions that should spring to mind when followers view your content. If it’s an outdoor-themed business, you may generate words like “adventure, freedom, earthy, textured”. If it’s a food product, maybe “mouthwatering, decadent, creamy, aromatic”.

2. Visualize the vibe

Once you have your keywords narrowed down, begin collecting visuals from other brands that have the aesthetic you hope to achieve. There’s no shame in recognizing that there is a lot of inspo out there that can direct your own vision. Expand this by finding other images that add to the desired vibe of your brand. Collect them in one place. You should be able to pick up on an overarching visual theme, whether it be a focused color pallet, or a particular subject matter.

3. Get a second (and third) opinion

Once you’ve created your mood board, take it to a few fresh sets of eyes to get their perspective. Have them view the images without your list of keywords. Ask them to reveal the words and emotions that they feel when viewing your board. Do they match your vision? If so, success!

To close, feast your eyes on a few examples of how the Genies curate our client’s overall look to create a united, consistent, visually appealing social presence:

Vienna Beef Mood BoardInternational Vision Expo Mood Board

Naot Footwear Mood Board

Wigwam Socks Mood Board

4 Tips to Create Stellar Content for a “Dry Brand”

By | Helpful Information, Social Media, Words of Advice | No Comments

Great content succeeds because it resonates with an audience. It really is as simple as that. Still, many social media professionals are no stranger to the conundrum of representing “dry brands”. Maybe this is a company so niche it struggles to grow in the digital space. Maybe it’s a business within an industry that just doesn’t naturally lend itself to a bountiful harvest of creative ideas. If that’s your experience, we feel the pain.

Here are our tips to make a dry brand shine on social media:

1. Know your Audience

Even the most creative content will fall flat if you don’t take the time to research your audience. Get in the habit of listening to the followers who interact with the particular industry you’re representing. If you’re not already familiar, take the time to Google specific terms your fans are using and figure out in what context they are most relevant. Followers can sniff out imposters easily, so this is of utmost importance for a good social presence.

 

2. Harness Pre-Existing Trends

How-tos and life hacks are examples of content that performs well on every social space imaginable. Luckily, these can be tailored to fit nearly any industry. Whether it’s car care tips like the one below that we produced for a client or crafting hacks for a glue company, your job will become immensely easier if you can jump on ideas that are trending and make them relevant to your audience. Hacks and how-tos also increase brand credibility; educate your audience with helpful tips and you will earn their trust and loyalty.

 

3. Find Commonality

Though it may seem doubtful in today’s climate, some things in life ARE widely agreed upon. Sunshine makes us happy. Sleep is enjoyable. Pizza is life. Use these commonalities to widen your appeal and depart from the esoteric content that may typically perform well for a dry brand. If you can infuse a bit of humor and get your audience laughing, even better! The post below is a great example of how commonalities and humor can work for your brand.

 

Arby’s is a great example of a brand that absolutely kills it with this concept. While they certainly can’t be considered a dry brand, the formula they use for engagement can be replicated. They widen their audience by appealing to many niches, yet keep the content relevant to their brand. Seriously, I’ve never eaten at an Arby’s in my life, and yet I follow them just to see what clever posts they’ll produce next.

 

4. High-Quality Photography

Like our first tip, even the best copy can be derailed by a sloppy image. Make sure your photos are as compelling as the words you write, so followers aren’t distracted by careless branding. An eye-catching photo can make a dry brand more interesting and is key to building a strong presence no matter the industry.

 

Sometimes the best content comes from the dryest brands: use your creativity and make some magic!

13 Last-Minute Costume Ideas to Inspire You this Halloween

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Uncategorized | No Comments

“I will never be bored as long as there’s Halloween”
– Shoshanna, Girls

The witching hour is almost upon us! Besides being my personal favorite holiday, Halloween is prime-time grind-time for anyone in the social media space. This month, creepy costumes, spoopy memes, and chilling recipes have been overflowing from every corner of the internet. Creativity is at its peak during October, and we can’t help but get a little excited.

Because the genies are still panicking over what we’ll rock on the trick-or-treat block this year, here’s a look at some of the costumes that made us stop scrolling and take a second look.

1. Pennywise

Prepare yourself: every man, woman, and child will be dressed as Pennywise from IT. That shouldn’t bother you too much – unless you have coulrophobia. Get the look here.

2. Coraline

Easy to recreate, but creepy nonetheless. Steal her s̶o̶u̶l̶ look here

3. Anyone from Stranger Things

Just in time for season 2 and perfect for a group costume. Just stay out of the upside-down!

4. Alice and the Mad Hatter

This is the coolest couple (or BFF) costume, and fairly easy to pull off with clothes you already own. Just add a stuffed bunny and a tea-cup, and it’s down the rabbit hole you go!

5. A Unicorn Frappe

One of the biggest food trends this year has become a costume, and we shouldn’t be surprised. Get the look here.

6. Milk and Cookies

We go together like milk + cookies! The milk mustache is a perfect touch for this cute DIY.

7. The Brawny Man

Probably one of the easier costumes to recreate, Brawny Man calls for your comfiest flannel and some paper towel. Get the look here.

8. Wednesday Addams

If you’re just not feeling bright colors, this one is simple to pull off but VERY recognizable.

9. Arthur

It’s a wonderful kinda day when you can pull off a nostalgic Arthur costume with little more than a yellow sweater and glasses. Get the look here.

10. A Banksy Painting

If you own black clothes and don’t mind getting a little messy, this costume might be the one for you.

11. Ice-Cream Face

Gives a whole new meaning to brain-freeze.

12. Bandits

Steal hearts and minds at this year’s costume contest. Get the look here.

13. Stylish Skeleton

Some face paint and a black-on-black outfit is all you need for this minimalist costume.

So what do you think – which costume should the genies attempt? Let us know below!

Five Reasons Why I Love Instagram Stories (And You Should Too)

By | Helpful Information, Social Media | No Comments
In the crazy world of social media, one thing is guaranteed: platforms will continue to evolve. Back in August 2016, Instagram announced “Stories”, a feature that many considered to be simply a replica of Snapchat. When I first began toying around with Stories, I was skeptical of how successful it would become. How could a direct rip-off of one of the most widely used social networks possibly survive? However, Instagram Stories have quickly become one of my favorite facets of the social space. Here’s why:

 

1. Longevity

Good news IG fans: as of April 2017, Instagram hit 200 million users – surpassing Snapchat, which until then had been considered the radical heavy-hitter of the social world. With so many active users, you’d think that all brands would be claiming the Story space already. Sadly, this seems to not be the case, and many remain either skeptical of the feature or unsure of how to proceed. Well, I’m here to argue that Instagram Stories are here for the long-haul.  Unlike Snapchat, Stories are targeted toward a pre-existing, active audience on a platform where they’re already engaging. Whether your brand has 12 or 120k followers, there’s no need to push them over to a separate channel to interact with you. This alone is a huge perk.

 

2. Unique Features

Instagram has done a fantastic job improving some of the groundbreaking features that Snapchat originally conceived. One such feature that was previously only available to Snapchat’s paid advertisers, “swipe up to learn more”, can now be accessed by many more users on Instagram (all brands with 10k+ followers). With this feature, viewers can swipe up on stories and be taken to a product page or URL of choice, allowing them to immediately purchase, interact with or sign up for whatever it is that a brand is showcasing. This is especially useful for e-commerce businesses that want to highlight their products in detail in a Story and include an easy call-to-action along with it.

I’m also obsessed with the “moving text” feature. Simply hold your finger down on text and you can pin it to a portion of your story so the words move dynamically with your video. The result? A cool, interactive vibe. Try it next time you create a Story – I guarantee it’ll change the feel of your clips.

 

3. Live Stories

Due to the Facebook/Instagram buyout, it makes sense that Instagram would incorporate a Facebook-specific, social game-changer to the Story world. With Instagram Live Stories, brands can stream within the app just as they would with Facebook Live. Users receive a push notification when a brand they follow goes live, which is fantastic for engagement rates, and a viewer-accessible comment bar allows fans to interact with your stream. These are a blast to create and when done correctly, can highlight a brand’s authenticity and strengthen the connection between a company and their followers.

 

4. Brand Storytelling

One of the best aspects of Instagram Stories for business is that it encourages brands to curate a narrative that resonates with their audience. Regular posts are obviously vital to keeping a brand alive on the platform, but Instagram Stories can take a single post and expand on the subject almost infinitely. If you’ve posted about a new apparel collection, for example, your Story can demonstrate in detail the quality of the design and the feel of the fabric between your hands. It can feature a short interview with the designer along with some lifestyle shots of the collection. When paired together, your brand has a full product story neatly tied with a bow, making it simple to market items various ways to reach a wider audience.

5. Influencer Takeovers

The Instagram Story platform is practically begging for influencer crossovers and collabs. Takeovers combine the authenticity of Stories with the star power of social celebs that make followers take notice. Instagram takeovers were previously executed in post format, which had the potential to burn out followers if post frequency was too high. With Instagram Stories, takeovers have a designated space. The format is spontaneous, and clips disappear after 24 hours, so posts won’t disrupt the aesthetic flow of the overall brand page.

 

Give Instagram Stories a try and see if they engage well with your followers. Above all, just remember to have fun with them!