Gossip Genie Blog

How To Avoid Getting Your Instagram Account Deactivated

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What Not to Post | No Comments

As an avid user of Instagram and having worked in social media for a couple years now, I have learned valuable tips to prevent your Instagram account from being deactivated:


  1. Do not go on a random following-spree. Most of these accounts will not follow you back, and you can “accidently” follow a lot of creeps. Instagram only allows you to follow a certain number of accounts per hour and could block your use of this feature for up to a week.
  2. Similarly, do not go on a liking-spree. Instagram will block your “liking” feature for any set amount of time, usually an hour, if you’re liking too many posts or liking too quickly.
  3. Post relevant, visually appealing, original content to your account prior to following accounts. Instagram may flag your account as spam if you start following accounts or commenting on content without posting any content to your own account. People will most likely not follow you back if you don’t have any content posted to your account or if it’s obvious that the content is not yours.
  4. Do not post images/videos that aren’t yours and slap your logo on it. If you’re going to use someone else’s content, tag them and give credit.


Sticking to these tips is a great way to avoid getting your account deactivated on Instagram. The process to get it restored is complicated and could take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. Growing followers initially may be frustrating, but I found that staying in line with the brand’s voice and posting similar content works best.

How to Cover a Live Event on Social Media

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Snapchat, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

This past weekend marked the sixth year in a row Gossip Genie has covered the National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) live on social media. This is the third year in a row Elizabeth and I have attended. The Invitational, held in Grapevine, Texas this year, consisted of two days of intense culinary and restaurant management competitions.

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The culinary competition tested the teams’ creative abilities as they prepared a three-course meal in 60 minutes and students competing in the management competition were tasked with developing a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept, which they presented to a panel of industry judges.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 10.32.56 AMIt was all on Gossip Genie to translate the excitement and energy of the 2-day event on social media so that the ProStart audience in attendance, and at home, could follow along with the competition.

Each year Elizabeth and I have covered NPSI, we have adapted our strategy to reflect the latest social media trends and to increase coverage of the event.

Here are a few things we included in our live updates this year:


The primary audience at this event is high-school age students. Since over 60 million of Snapchat’s 100 million daily users are between the ages of 13-24, we knew we had to be on Snapchat to reach this target demographic (Source: Social Media Examiner).

We created a custom filter for the event so that students in attendance could brand their own snaps with the NPSI logo and hashtag.


Take a look at our Snapchat story from Day 1 of the competition:


Facebook Live

In previous years, there was a live stream hosted on ProStart’s website that we directed our audience to so that they could tune into the competition and the awards ceremony if they were not in attendance and wanted to cheer on their teams from home. This year, there was no live stream so we turned to Facebook Live to give our fans access to key events during NPSI, specifically the awards ceremony.

We went live on Facebook during the awards so that our audience could find out the NPSI winners in real time. The live video received over 3,000 views and close to 200 comments throughout the live stream congratulating the winners. It was a great way to engage people who couldn’t be at the event.

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Twitter Updates

Twitter is a great platform to provide instantaneous live updates and we used this network to capture key moments, quotes and images from each team during the competitions and award ceremony. Twitter was also a great place to interact with students, educators, fans, and donors/sponsors of NPSI.


Live Stream Updates

For the second year in a row, we used to broadcast all social media surrounding NPSI. It collects all social media posts using the event hashtag, #NPSI2016, to bring to life the competition with real-time social media interaction on a big screen. We displayed the live feed on large screens right outside of the culinary and management competitions s so that people in attendance could follow along with all of the social media chatter.

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All Eyes On #VisionExpo

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

Last week the Gossip Genie team attended Vision Expo East. We were hired to do the PR and live event coverage for the 3 day event. Vision Expo consists of all things eye related, from the trendiest designer sunglass manufactures, to the most innovative optical technology, to the best cream to diminish under eye circles. If your business is related to eyes, this is the most important event of the year for you. My team was hired with just two weeks to prepare so when we got the gig, we hit the ground running and didn’t stop until we landed back in Chicago on Sunday night. Here are some highlights from the event:

1. The event needed something fun and interactive, that would motivate social sharing. Therefore we enlisted, The Modern Photo Booth to rent a photo booth for the event. Vendors were eager to lend us props to be used for the photos, so attendees had many fun glasses and sunglasses to wear during their photo sessions. Photos were emailed and printed for participants and everyone was encouraged to share them on their social channels. All of the photos were branded with the International Vision Expo Logo and official hashtag. 



Team GG Shot




This initiative was a huge success with over 1,200 photos taken. It was a great platform for spreading the official hashtag and driving engagement during the show. The videos and photos from the photo booth provided great marketing material during and after the show.

2. We really wanted to focus on compelling imagery and visuals from the trade show floor. Being such a visual network, Instagram was an important component of our overall social campaign to showcase this. As a result of our high-quality professional photograph, we generated nearly 8,000 likes on the 40 pictures we posted.  Here are a few of our favorite photos that we took and posted.

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3. Our posting frequency was on point. We didn’t want to over post or under post, we researched our audience thoroughly before attending and figured out a posting schedule that was perfect. As a result, Twitter impressions increased by 22% from the previous year and Facebook reach increased by 332% from the previous year. The official Facebook page also gained 341 organic likes over the three day expo period. If you know Facebook, you know this is nearly impossible to do without an ad budget.

4. A major goal of this year’s show was to target consumer press. We wrote and distributed a preview press release about Vision Expo East, highlighting the eyewear collections to be launched at the Expo. This was distributed to local and national lifestyle and fashion media outlets. Forty-three consumer press/influential bloggers attended the Expo. This included traditional media outlets such as People Magazine (circulation: 3.4 million), New York Resident (circulation: 50,000),and Elite Magazine (30,000 circulation; 39,046 Facebook likes) and online magazines such as: Examiner (12 million monthly unique users) Inside Hook (12.1K Instagram followers) and Fashion Maniac (monthly unique visitors: 27,536); and social media influencers such as Ever So Popular (13.8K Instagram followers), Terry McFly (23.9K Twitter followers), and Today’s New (33.1K Twitter followers). Our live social media updates helped to support and enhance the PR coverage coming out of the event.
Here’s an example of a consumer press piece from Fashion 360 Magazine:
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Books & Facebook

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

Think back to the early days of the internet, I’m talking pre-MySpace, when chain emails filled up 75% of our AOL inboxes. Heavy with capital letters, multi-colored font and riddled with typos, chain emails had us either catching our breath or rolling our eyes. Would we be murdered by a soul-sucking ghost if we hit “delete”? Would our crushes finally ask us out if we forwarded to ten people? Did we miss our chance to claim part of Bill Gates’ millions? Don’t deny it, 9 times out of 10 you probably forwarded the message too.

Now that chain emails are part of the distant past (except among my Dad’s friend group, it seems), we’ve moved on to bigger and better things. You know what I’m talking about. Yes, Facebook chain statuses. “Come on ladies, the Challenge is ON! If you have a man in your life who helps bring balance to your world, who isn’t perfect but is perfect for you…” – or – “Share if your daughter is beautiful and smart!” (Thanks mom ;))

Normally I scroll past these types of statuses faster than I can blink, but a few weeks ago one of them caught my eye. The “chain status” was posted by my friend Lindy and contained the phrase, “IF YOU LOVE TO READ!” If you know me, you know that there’s nothing I love more than getting lost in a good book. The gist of the status was this – I would buy one book to send to someone and in return, I could potentially receive up to 36 books. 36 books for the price of one?! Uhm, sold! All I had to do was ‘like’ the status and Lindy would send me more details. I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the catch?” I know, it crossed my mind too but I decided to like the status anyway and find out if it was worth re-posting.

Book Status

(My version of the post that got my attention)

Shortly after liking my friend’s post, I got a message from her that gave me all the details for moving forward with the process and no, I’m not revealing the instructions – you’ll have to friend me and like my status if you want in. 😉 To my surprise, there was no catch. Well, unless any of your friends are associated with murderers and give them your address but I mean what are the chances, right? Anyways, thanks to Amazon Prime I was able to send off my favorite book to a stranger within minutes, then I posted my status and waited for the likes to start rolling in.

After sending 40 odd messages to the friends who liked my status, my work was done. I was anxious to see if I’d receive anything, I would’ve been happy getting just one book back. Over the next two weeks, books started arriving on my doorstep. If you love reading as much as I do, you’ll understand the feeling I got – it’s seriously better than Christmas morning. In the first few days, 3 books showed up. I left for vacation shortly after and when I got back, another 5 books were waiting for me. Just a few days ago, my 9th book arrived. Hello – does it get any better than this? I spent roughly $12 on a book and got back my money’s worth and then some.


Getting a ton of books was great but I really think the best part about this whole chain status experiment was being able to share my love of reading with other people. Even if I wouldn’t have gotten anything back, it was cool to be able to send my favorite book to someone else who enjoys reading as much as I do. If you’ve seen this status on your newsfeed but were unsure about it, or if you get the chance to do something similar, I would highly recommend it! If you want more details, feel free to email me at

Catfished by a Bookkeeper

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media Spotlight | 2 Comments

This would be the most boring episode of Catfish but here is my story:

Last night was one of those nights where I lost track of time catching up on work. There was a Teen Mom marathon on in the background while I organized recent transactions in Quickbooks. When you start a company, you have to figure out a way to be proficient in all aspects. I’ve never been keen on accounting but I’ve been able to teach myself the basics.

I’ve always had a bookkeeper to assist in the organization of my books and I have worked with quite a few different companies and freelance individuals over the past 6 years. I still do the majority of the work myself from invoicing to payroll and beyond. Recently, I decided to terminate my contract with my current bookkeeping firm because I was paying too much for the services being provided. I embarked on the search for a new bookkeeper and turned to social media to find that person. The search was easier than I had anticipated. One of my LinkedIn connections, David Wander, was the owner of a bookkeeping firm, Eastgate Bookkeeping, that specializes in helping small businesses. I sent him a message and he replied immediately and we scheduled a call for that afternoon. I checked out his website, read all of the testimonials and did my prerequisite basic analysis of all social channels for this individual and his business.


Source: Twitter

I mean he even looked like the type of guy you want working on your books. He seemed legitimate and after our call, I signed an agreement with him on March 1st. I provided him with modified ‘read only’ access to my bank accounts and quickbooks and sent him probably two dozen emails over the month with requests and general information. I didn’t think too much about not getting a response because most of the emails did not elicit one. On March 31st, I noticed my books were cluttered with outstanding tasks from the past 30 days. I gave my new bookkeeper the benefit of the doubt and figured maybe he’s the type to do it all in one sitting. I sent him an email with an end of the month checklist of to dos and it bounced back. Something wasn’t right, I emailed again, carefully checking the address and another bounce. I logged on to LinkedIn and his profile and his previous messages had disappeared, his profile was nowhere to be found.

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I decided to pay a visit to his website which no longer existed. I called his number and you guessed it, it was disconnected. The only digital footprint left is an automated Twitter account.

As a business owner, the thought of deserting clients horrifies me. Luckily I had not paid him anything yet but the whole situation is very troublesome.  I wonder now if behind that profile picture there isn’t some gorgeous young girl scamming business owners like myself into thinking they have found the perfect bookkeeper. I need Nev Schulman to intervene.

Social Media Tricks You Should Be Using

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


Social Media Tricks (2)

In the world of social media, features come and go as often as middle school relationships. This quick turnover of features, propelled by a corporate desire to find the next big thing first, makes it difficult to stay on top of what’s available at any given moment. So, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite (lesser known) features on each platform so you can start using them as well.

Facebook: Save Button

Awhile back, Facebook incorporated a save button on their site. This button easily enables users to hold onto any links, videos or photos that they’d like to look at later. By having them all in one place, you save the time and energy it would take to dig them up again.

Using this feature is extremely simple. The next time you come across content you’d like to save, click the light gray arrow in the top right corner of the post. Then, select the ‘Save post’ button, and Facebook will keep it bookmarked for you. To access it again, simply navigate to your ‘Saved’ folder, which is available in the left-hand toolbar on desktop and in the dropdown menu in the app.


This feature is an excellent one to teach your grandparents, parents and other non-tech savvy relatives. You’ll definitely stop hearing “Hold on! Where is that video I wanted to show you again?” as often.

Instagram: Post Notifications

With Instagram’s chronological order, posts by close friends easily get lost in the abyss of models eating granola on beaches, bloggers living more exciting lives than you and humor accounts referring to everything as ‘savage’ or ‘bae.’ However, a lot of users don’t realize that you can actually set-up notifications for when your favorite accounts post a new photo. This way, seeing the content you care about is simpler than ever.

To set-up post notifications, navigate to the particular account you care about, press the three dots in the top right corner and then select ‘Turn on Post Notifications.’ Now, you don’t have to manually search for your friends’ accounts if you’re interested in seeing their latest posts.


Stalking your crush just got taken to a new level.

LinkedIn: View Recent Activity

I hate LinkedIn – this is no secret. One of my biggest complaints about the platform was that finding content created by my connections felt nearly impossible. Unless I happened to be online when a post was published, I was completely out of luck. I recently discovered, though, that there is a way to view this content directly from a connection’s account.

To view recent activity by a connection or prospective connection, you must first navigate to their page. Then, click the down arrow next to the ‘Send a message’ button, and select ‘View recent activity.’


It’s about time, LinkedIn. About time.

Snapchat: QR Codes

I just discovered this trick last week although (apparently) most people already know about Snapchat’s QR code function. For those of you like me, however, you should know that you can now add friends on Snapchat without needing their username or phone number.

Instead, you pull up your unique Snapchat code (which can be found by clicking the tiny yellow ghost on the camera screen) and holding a friend’s phone over it, with the app camera open. Your friend’s phone will then read the code and automatically add you.


Tell everyone you know about this feature! Tell your friend who works in social media because they might not even know that this is a thing (oh wait, that’s just me?)!

Twitter: Gif Keyboard

After witnessing the overwhelmingly positive response Facebook received from making GIFs more accessible on its platform, Twitter decided to follow suit last month. Now, users have virtually thousands of GIFs at their disposal, directly on the site or in the app. I discovered that expressing yourself in 140 characters or less is a lot easier when you have Andy Dwyer reaction GIFs always at your fingertips.

To add a GIF to a tweet, simply select the tiny ‘GIF’ button – located between the location and poll buttons – to scour hundreds of options. Find the one that speaks your mind, and click to add it.

Now, I can conveniently let my audience know my mood when:

My post goes viral.

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Gossip Genie buys Glazed and Infused Doughnuts… again.


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I’m in traffic for the 6th time this week.

nothing matters

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All of the stair steppers at the gym are being used.

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Tumblr: I’m The Paris of People

A friend invites me out for margaritas.

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Tumblr: Does It Look Like I’m Wearing a Party Hat?

Facebook Live: Why Live Video Matters for Your Business

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

With more and more ways to stream live video popping up, Facebook is getting into the action. I’ve talked a few times here about the emergence and popularity of video content for social media, specifically Facebook. Recently, Facebook has unveiled Facebook Live video, a streaming video service, similar to Meerkat and Periscope, where viewers are able to tune in to a live video stream from a business or personal page.

Live video has been a point of focus for Facebook in recent months, as it looks to broaden its News Feed to include more real-time content.

According to Facebook, people spend three times longer watching videos when they’re live compared to videos that are not live. To account for this, Facebook is altering its News Feed algorithm to make sure live videos appear higher in the stream.

In their latest blog post, they said:

“Now that more and more people are watching Live videos, we are considering Live Videos as a new content type – different from normal videos – and learning how to rank them for people in News Feed. As a first step, we are making a small update to News Feed so that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live.”

I’m excited to explore Facebook Live video further for my clients. It is great for marketers because it gives the ability to create an intimate, authentic connection with your audience while humanizing and personalizing your brand through behind-the-scenes video, coverage of live events, Q & A’s and more. Facebook Live also allows your audience to subscribe to your stream so that any time you are broadcasting, your audience gets a notification that you are live. I will keep you updated on my experience with Facebook Live!

Happy International Women’s Day

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

It’s International Women’s Day and what a wonderful day to celebrate. In college I double majored in Communications and Women’s Studies. The confidence behind starting my own company was in part due to the courses I took in college that profiled determined, strong and successful women. It’s such a pleasure getting to work with so many women on a daily basis, coworkers and clients, that have the same qualities of the women my college courses profiled. Throughout my 6 years at Gossip Genie, I have worked with many different female owned businesses and it’s so rewarding to watch their businesses flourish. Here are 3 Gossip Genie clients that are female rockstars:LyndsayPS021-477x1024

Lyndsay Markley – The Law Office of Lyndsay Markley

Chicago-based attorney, Lyndsay Markley has dedicated her legal practice to fighting on behalf of persons who suffered injuries or death as the result of the wrongful or careless conduct of others. Her 2015 accolades include 10 Best Under 40 status from the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, Premier 100 Trial Attorney status from the American Academy of Trial Attorneys and Illinois’ Rising Star status from Super Lawyers

Coco Meers – PrettyQuick
View More: Meers was a top marketer for L’Oreal working out of New York and Paris. As such, she spent a lot of time in airports. During a flight delay on a work trip, Coco was frustrated when she couldn’t use her downtime for an eyebrow wax. This sparked the idea for PrettyQuick, a beauty concierge app that makes finding and booking beauty appointments easy for women on-the-go. Since 2012, the Chicago-based service has expanded to five more cities and this year, was acquired by Groupon.

Mary Swabb – Eurostyle+ 

THURSDAY_NIGHT_68_7272deb3-43aa-426a-b727-cf0692bae22e_largeEurostyle Plus was founded by worldly traveler Mary Swaab, who also happens to be a born fashionista. Before bringing Eurostyle Plus to life, Mary often found herself frustrated with the lack of stylish plus-size clothing. During her travels, Mary discovered that Europe seemed to have more fashionable clothing than the U.S., so she made it her mission to bring it back to the States. It’s her personal belief that everyone should look fabulous no matter what size they are!

I Tried Snapchat’s New On-Demand Geofilters – Here’s What Happened

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Snapchat, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What's Trending | One Comment

Youtube: Snapchat

A few weeks ago, a close friend invited me to his birthday party, which happened to fall on a date I had prior plans. Even though I couldn’t make the event, I wanted to do something special as a ‘I wish I could make it, and I’m thinking of you!’ gift. I didn’t want to get the usual six-pack of beer or bake a basic funfetti cake so I tried to think outside of the box. That’s when I remembered that Snapchat rolled out a new feature a few weeks ago that lets its users create custom geofilters for weddings, bachelorette parties, family reunions – you name it. For a few dollars, users can now make their filter available for anywhere from an hour to a month. As a Social Media Coordinator, this party felt like a great opportunity to test out this new feature and give me some experience working with it.

So, here’s how my quest to give the most creative absentee birthday gift ever went.

Creating one was surprisingly easy

For some reason, I really expected to run into a great deal of trouble when creating this filter. I thought there would be all sorts of requirements or restrictions, but it was actually a really straightforward process.

Step 1: Create your filter. Overall, the limitations on what you could do were very minimal – no brand logos, no photographs of people, nothing drug-related, don’t cover up too much of the screen, obvious things of that nature. The only hiccup I ran into was sizing. Snapchat strictly requires that all filter submissions be 1080px wide by 1920px high. When I made my design transparent, the dimensions must have gotten thrown off because my first upload was rejected. A couple of minor tweaks later, and my filter was good to go.

My friend turned 23 so yes, this filter is a reference to both Michael Jordan and Blink 182.

Step 2: Choose your date and time. For this event, I just wanted the design to be available for my friends to snap a few photos before they headed out for the night. So, I ran my filter for only an hour on the night of the party. This time slot gave guests enough time to take some pictures and slide the ‘Nobody likes Kibs when he’s 23’ filter over their images before it went away.

Step 3: Choose a location. Since I wasn’t actually going to the event, I had no control over where my friends would be during my selected time period. So, I chose a location that included both an apartment and a bar I knew they were going to early on in the night, just to ensure that they wouldn’t miss it.

To pick the range, users draw a fence around the area they would like their filter to be available – it was a super easy tool to work with.

Step 4: Checkout! The first time I went to checkout, I had selected an area that would have cost me $40 (HAH!). So after reconfiguring my fence, I was able to drive the cost down to about $10. It takes a little bit of tinkering to find a time, location and price that meet your needs, but eventually I was able to find the perfect combination.

After I submitted my design, it took about 4 hours to get approval. Then, it was ready to go!

It worked – sort of

My design was approved, my card was charged, 10pm was almost here! I could not wait to see the snaps start rolling in, buuuuuuuut that’s not what happened. My partner in crime for this project (shoutout to Gina) texted me at 10:02 telling me it wasn’t working for anybody. It was so disappointing to hear. I had to email Snapchat support, not even sure if I would get a response. To my surprise, a customer service rep, Alex, replied almost instantly, understanding my frustration and ready to help. Even with his help, though, time kept passing without any luck. 10:10, 10:17, 10:32 – still nothing. It took awhile (almost my entire hour), but we were able to get it up and running (with a whole extra hour added to make up for lost time).

Personalized filter + alcohol = happy friends!

After all of that, I finally was getting the adorable snaps I wanted – friends smiling and dancing and posing, all with the filter on! FINALLY!

Looking back, I wish I used white text instead of black so it stood out better. You live and learn, I guess!

My takeaways

Snapchat definitely still has some glitches to fix on this feature. They blamed shaky GPS readings and my awkwardly shaped fence (I had to get both the apartment and the bar in, okay??) for the delay. However, if they intend to charge for this feature, there should not be such major difficulties to get it working.

However, with a few tweaks, these new filters can really change the way users and businesses interact with the app. From a business standpoint, this could become an effective way to raise brand awareness and increase audience engagement, particularly for companies looking to target younger demographics.

I am excited to try this feature again in a few weeks to see if its process has improved or remained the same. Until then, stay tuned!