Social Media

A Genie’s Take on 3 Instagram Updates

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I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been on board with all of the Instagram updates that have graced our perfectly curated feeds over the past year. I don’t want to harp on Instagram too much because, despite the constant changes, Instagram remains my favorite social network. This post is going to outline the benefits of the three major Instagram updates from a brand’s perspective.

1. The Algorithm

The updated Algorithm is a huge benefit for brands and influencers alike. In case you’re late to the party (no judgment) Instagram’s feed is now sorted by a predetermined algorithm, similar to Facebook’s. It works by utilizing a ranking system which uses three key metrics in establishing when/where your posts will appear. The metrics involved are timing, engagement, and previous engagement. In theory, the Instagram algorithm is going to put your brand’s photos in front of the people who are more likely to engage with your brand’s content. This update is definitely an advantage for any brand playing in the space.

2. Instagram Stories

The next big update on Instagram was the reveal of Instagram Stories. I think we can all admit this was Instagram essentially copying Snapchat’s entire platform. But after using Instagram stories for a few months, I would 100% recommend this function for brands instead of Snapchat for 3 reasons. 1.) Your brand doesn’t have to build an entirely new following. 2.) Your brand will get increased visibility because Instagram stories are displayed at the top of the page and the order refreshes based on whose story has the latest update. 3.) You can tag other accounts in your Instagram story. This feature alone is a major win for identifying and connecting with influencers who already know and love your product.

3. Instagram Albums

A few weeks ago, Instagram launched their latest platform update, Instagram Albums. The new feature allows users to upload 10 photos in one post. Gone are the days of choosing the one perfect image to use for your daily post. The best use of this tool for brands is the ability to give consumers more information about a product. For example, a clothing line can showcase the fit of a shirt from different viewpoints, a CPG brand can feature different flavors, or an influencer can utilize the album feature to highlight different components of one outfit.

Whether you like it or not, Instagram has been a platform of evolution. And I can only assume we will continue to see it grow in capabilities. 

3 Ways To Spot an (Un/)Sucessful Social Media Program

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As a social media professional, it’s no surprise how quickly I can spot a successful social media program. What is more surprising, however, is how much faster I can spot a bad one. In my opinion, a poorly run social media program says as much about the brand as one that’s well run. It can scream, “I don’t have a marketing budget,” or “I don’t understand technology.” Even worse, it can give the appearance that you don’t care about your customers. And with 79% of the US population now on Facebook, there is no justifying putting it on the back burner.

On the flip side, it’s incredibly refreshing when a brand gives their social media presence the attention it deserves or even goes above and beyond. It makes the brand seem more innovative, compelling and even more trustworthy. That’s what we at Gossip Genie strive for: to make brands shine so brightly that you take a screenshot and send it to a friend.

Here are the three most obvious indicators that a brand cares about their social media presence.

1. They regularly add rich content

When a brand posts inconsistently, it’s a telltale sign that they don’t have a social media calendar nor someone who is actively tending to it. Instead, there is likely a marketing or HR professional who has had “social media management,” slapped onto their laundry list of responsibilities– making social media a total afterthought.

Conversely, when I see rich, aesthetically pleasing content added on a regular basis, I immediately know that they understand the value of quality imagery and a good social media program.

2. They engage with their fans

Is there a greater crime on social media than ignoring a customer? When a customer comments, good or bad, they deserve a prompt response. When I see comments left unanswered, I know that there’s something lackluster happening behind the scenes.

On the flip side, I always look to see how a brand responds to customers. I screenshot responses I admire and try to emulate them moving forward.

3. They monitor brand hashtags– and other hashtags customers might use

I have always told potential clients that, regardless of whether you choose to be active on social media, your consumers are on there. Sometimes, they’re even talking about your brand without you knowing it.

While it may be obvious to look up your brand’s most used hashtags, it can be a missed opportunity when you don’t search for other ways people might be talking about your brand. For example, one of our accounts, ProStart, uses the official brand hashtag #MadeInProStart. However, every morning when I monitor, I make sure to look through hashtags like #ProStart, #ProStartProgram and #ProStart students so I can engage with our audience and catch every conversation about our brand.

When I look up brand hashtags and see streams of unanswered user-generated content, I get the sense that this brand doesn’t have time to monitor.

If you don’t have time to make your social media presence the best it can be, Gossip Genie is here to help! 


Infographic: Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Strategy

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Living in the 21st century, it’s hard to avoid social media. It’s all around us, but does your business have an effective social media strategy in place? With over 1 billion users just on Facebook alone, the opportunity to advertise and engage with people is endless. Social media is a relationship-building tool, which if used correctly, can build a larger client base for a business. If you want your business to evolve, then embracing social media is a must and should be an integral part of your company’s digital marketing strategy. Here are a few reasons why. 

Social Media Trend: Lettering

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With so much beautiful, downright gorgeous content on Instagram right now, it can be a struggle for businesses to stand out. It’s easy for the photos of even major brands to get lost among all the high-res shots, bold colors, and adorable puppies. One way to get seen, though, is to hop on a trend while it’s hot, even more ideally when it’s just beginning.

Although it’s not the newest trend, more and more brands are engaging their audiences by implementing lettering – creative, eye-catching handwriting or calligraphy – into their channels. I, for one, am a BIG fan of this trend (think: Ross Geller to dinosaurs, cats to Christmas trees, Prez Obama to VP Biden). The time-lapse videos or short GIFs are just so digestible and entertaining that I easily get sucked in every time.

Here’s some ways brands are killing the trend on their channels:

Dunkin’ Donuts

One of the first brands I saw utilizing this trend was Dunkin’ Donuts. They constantly find unique ways to create hype about their events and announce new menu items using lettering.

….aaaaand Starbucks

Starbucks has also been a major proponent for lettering on Instagram. Their page is filled with unique posts that demonstrate the limitless ways to get onboard with this trend.

Wilton Cakes

In a completely out-of-the-box use of the trend, Wilton Cake Decorating took part using food coloring!

Gossip Genie

Fellow Genie and Chicago Blogger, Shannon, used lettering on our GG feed to spice up our Thanksgiving post. Veering from the typical “Happy (insert holiday)!” post is another excellent use of the trend.


4 Reasons You Should Post On Social Every Day

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As a social media manager, I’m on social platforms posting content on behalf of my clients a lot. So by the time I get home I don’t really feel like posting anything on my personal accounts. Sure I will randomly upload a batch of photos to facebook, RT something I see on my Twitter feed, and lazily #latergram one of my wedding photos (how many is too many?!), but I don’t post like I used to. One of my resolutions this year is to post something (read: anything) on one of my personal social channels every day. Whether it’s a quick snap I took of my adorable cat, a witty tweet about my favorite TV show, or a blog post about a DIY project I completed. I want to get back to the root of personal social accounts: fun. While a lot of people, articles, and news stories will tell you to spend less time on social media, I’m here to tell you 4 benefits of posting regularly.

Creative expression

Different social platforms allow you to practice your craft. Enjoy writing? Try twitter. Obsessed with photography and editing? You should be on Instagram. Videographer? Get over to Facebook. Whatever your creative outlet, social media is an awesome tool to show off and hone in on your creative skills.


Does anyone else find themselves looking at their Facebook albums from 3 years ago, or scrolling through their old Instagram posts? Because I do. Regularly. Social media is an amazing way to preserve a moment, big or small. I love being able to easily access a plethora of my memories through a simple wi-fi connection, and I’m sure you would too.


You know how I talked about sharing your creativity through social? Yeah, it turns out a lot of like-minded people can be found on various platforms. Whether you find users similar to you through specific #’s or by reading the comments on other people’s work, social media provides an amazing opportunity to connect with people you would otherwise never meet.


If you get down to the core of social, it’s supposed to be fun! It’s a source of entertainment. Write, photograph, record, create. But, above all, enjoy.


The Genies’ Top Songs of 2016

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As the year comes to a close, Spotify has gifted each of its users yet again with a one-of-a-kind playlist that features their 100 most listened to songs in 2016. From rap to indie to nursery rhymes (Liv Liberman has the best taste in music out of any of us!), the Genies definitely enjoyed a wide range of tunes, including several tracks that can be found on the globe’s top 100.

To help you get through this final homestretch to New Year’s, I’ve shared each of our playlists below to keep you focused, motivated, and dancing!


For the rap fans out there:


For those looking for something new (and amazing – trust me):


For a little bit of everything:


Self-proclaimed by Keenan as for those with ‘music ADHD’:


For those whose taste in music also evolved in 2016 (and for those who still love the Grease soundtrack…):


For those needing an upbeat pick-me-up:


Indie meets folk meets alt (5/5 stars – would recommend!):

Looking for yours? You can find it by going to Browse → 2016 Wrapped → Your Top Tracks of 2016. From there, be sure to share your playlist with your friends on social media!

Best Gifts for the Social Media Junkie in Your Life

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At Gossip Genie, we love a social media-themed gift! If someone in your life is obsessed with all things social media, check out our handy gift guide for the holidays

LuMee Cell Phone Case


Do you know someone who’s always in search of the perfect selfie? This phone case lights up your face with the simple push of a button. When the case is put in action, the light fills in the shadows, enhancing the photo and making the subject bright, beautiful and ‘picture perfect’ for a Snapchat or Instagram selfie!

Snapchat Spectales

526142-snapchat-spectaclesIf you’re lucky enough to snag a pair of Snapchat’s latest offering, a pair of “sunglasses that snap,” you’ll be the MVP of the holiday season! Sold exclusively through roaming vending machines called Snapbots in different cities around the country that each sport a limited number of the $130 Spectacles, the sough-after glasses are definitely hard to find but they’re one of the most buzzed about wearable devices in the social media realm. They were even recently used by a surgeon in the first ever live stream of a surgery!

Mophie Powerstationmophie-juice-pack-powerstation-1-2

I can’t live without my Mophie powerstation to extend the battery life on my phone. Having social media apps open take up a lot of battery life and the Mophie powerstation is slim and compact enough to carry around with you for when you need an extra charge. It’s come in handy multiple times when live covering an event for a client!



Need a fun stocking stuffer for the social media-obsessed? These TwitterTats are a unique way to display your favorite tweets, like the latest Kanye West Twitter rant.

Instagram Magnets

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-10-39-38-amBring your favorite Instagram moments to life with Sticky9’s Instagram magnets!

What I’m Reading: #SMWChicago’s Twitter Feed

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Happy Social Media Week, Chicago!

For those who may have missed the memo, industry leaders are meeting right in our own backyard this week to discuss, explore, analyze, and dissect the current social media environment. Influencers and speakers from top brands like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and yes, Gossip Genie (!!!) will all be sharing their knowledge with those eager to listen and learn. Overall, this event provides us – particularly social media nerds like myself – with an endless well of thought-provoking conversation about how to improve our content in the now as well as the opportunity to collectively ponder where social media is heading in the future.

Our very own Genie, Taryn, will be taking on #SMWChicago tomorrow to discuss best practices when it comes to photos and videos on social (everyone’s favorite!). If you’d like to check out her session, there’s still time to snag a ticket here.

So far, I have been keeping up with the event by closely monitoring its hashtag, #SMWChicago. This feed is the best place to receive panel highlights, insightful quotes, and photos from the event. While reading through the tweets, I found a few that stood out to me among the rest.


Main Takeaway: your customers are looking at your pages so make it count!

So many brands view social as an item to check off their to-do list when in reality, it requires a deep understanding of what works and what doesn’t to be effective. This understanding could be the deciding factor in whether you close the deal or not.


Main Takeaway: all of your social media content should work toward accomplishing the same goal – sharing what honestly sets your brand apart from the rest.

When competition in a market is fierce, you need to provide customers with a valid reason to choose your company over the other guys. Social media is a great way to communicate this message to your target audience and get clients through the door (or for our online business friends, through the checkout page!).



Main Takeaway: make your product or service a must-have, not a want.

When your business provides something amazing, the recommendations and chatter come naturally. People love talking about the products they’re digging with their family and friends so they can experience its benefits as well.

For more updates on this event, feel free to follow me on Twitter: @KristinaKnap! I’ll be retweeting the best content coming out of the panels and discussions as well as adding my own two sense.

How to make a splash at your tradeshow on social media

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Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the International Vision Expo in Las Vegas and live covering the event on social media. The International Vision Expo is a conference and expo for the eyecare and eyewear industries, displaying the latest in fashion, technology, and education. Gossip Genie previously attended Vision Expo East in New York but we had bigger role at Vision Expo West and incorporated a wealth of new campaigns to drive engagement and increase reach at the show.

As a result, interaction with the show via social media reached record levels at Vision Expo West 2016, with a 700 percent increase in Facebook engagement over 2015 and more than 30 percent increase in Twitter impressions. The official show hashtag, #VisionExpo, was used more than 4,500 times during the show, and more than 20k people viewed the official Vision Expo Snapchat filter.
Here are a few tips to increase social media engagement at your next tradeshow or event:

1. Highlight exhibitors in unique ways
Vision Expo West offered 180,000 square feet of exhibit space with more than 100 new fashion brands debuting fall lines so there was a lot of ground to cover! It’s important to feature the many different brands present but with so many exhibitors, it can be hard to think of new and unique ways of highlighting them. Getting face time with the owners and designers behind the eyewear at Vision Expo was helpful to gather interesting information and tidbits to tweet out and use for content.img_7354

2. Use video to engage people who can’t be there

A major component of our social media strategy at Vision Expo West was to increase the use of video at the show. Prior to the show, we teased the event through video clips from past Vision Expo attendees and exhibitors to drive registrations for Vision Expo West 2016. We also launched a Snapchat account for the show where we used video to document key events at Vision Expo West, including a party at Tao Nightclub. Our Snapchat stories were viewed over 20,000 times. During the show, we used Facebook Live to broadcast the Vision Expo Pop-Up Talk series, the most popular of which featured a model showing off the latest fall eyewear trends. This allowed the audience at home to get insight into the interesting things and educational courses happening at the show.

I also had the chance to film ’90s singer Lisa Loeb, who was debuting her eyewear line at the show, on Facebook Live and interview her about her frames.

Video content really gives your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the event.

3. Connect with local bloggers to attend the event 

A great way to increase the reach and engagement on social media for your show or event is to have influential bloggers attend. We incentivized bloggers to attend with a free pair of designer eyewear. We also had the bloggers host a giveaway on their blogs with the eyewear to help increase our engagement with the #VisionEpxo hashtag and expand our follower base. This was a win-win for the blogger and the exhibitor, Marchon Eyewear.


4. Promote the hashtag and always use engaging, high quality photos

It goes without saying, but captivating images always resonate better. We were lucky to have some amazing frames and displays to photograph and share on social media!



Following the 2016 Presidential Debates on Social Media

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The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was definitely one for the books. Not only was it the most watched in the history of US presidential debates (well over 80 million tuned in), it was also the most entertaining. It was hard not to notice your social media streams filling up with posts, feedback and comments from celebrities, the media and many of your friends and family regarding the 90-minute session. Because of this information overload, it was hard not be to be swayed in one way or the other.

Here are some pointers for watching the next presidential debate on October 9th at 9 p.m. ET.

  1. Follow the action on Twitter. To-date, live tweeting is one of the best social media resources we have to connect a community participating or watching something simultaneously and it was definitely used to it’s full potential during the tense debate on Monday. The trending hashtag #debatenight popped up more than 5.7 million times in 24 hours (via CNN) with memes, GIFS and quick wit from celebrities and brands jumping in on the fun. Merriam-Webster found a way to get involved by reporting what words were trending in their search bar. Screen Shot 2016-09-29 at 12.48.58 PMBoth Hillary and Donald’s communication teams were live tweeting throughout the entire night and with everyone involved, it became one giant Twitter party.Trump TweetHillary Clinton Tweet
  2. Follow along with NPR’s Fact Checker.“NPR’s politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate.” (via NPR) I discovered this existed on Twitter and found it to be a great resource to stay informed on the facts while the two candidates went head to head. NPR Fact Check
  3. Avoid participating on politically skewed Facebook posts, it’s better to sit back and observe. You can get yourself into a deep, dark hole if you start reading and commenting with people, not to mention have hundreds of Facebook notifications pop up as a result of your engagement.
  4. Take advantage of Snapchat’s filters and use them on the candidates. This one is just for fun, but very entertaining. CBS reports one viewer tweeting: “If you didn’t watch the debate and put a Snapchat filter on either of the candidates, are you even an American?” Me: agreed 😉 Snapchat filter