How to Communicate Your Business on Instagram

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Key Tips and Basics to Sell Products and Services Using Instagram!

If you are like me, every time a new technology platform pops up you think, “oh great, something new to master so my services can compete in this space.” (Insert “heavy-sigh” here).

People ask me about Instagram all the time, what to do, how to grow the account, etc. It’s usually people I know or contacts I have met at events or on various social media platforms. The reason they ask me is because Googling “how to” can be extremely overwhelming and time-consuming to filter through everything. There are many Instagram experts out there today (or so-called experts). I have a handful of favorites and people I have followed over the years. But many of you who know me, probably know which Instagram expert is my favorite: Chalene the creator of the Instagram Impact Academy.

Social media lends itself quite well for sales, but only if you learn the ropes. You cannot go onto a social media platform and start throwing your weight around, it doesn’t work that. Some people make the foolish mistake of signing up and then just throwing out ideas, links, and sales, and they get ignored outright. If you want to avoid getting ignored, you will want to look at some of the tips I have learned from the experts and from my own experience that helped me go from 100 Followers to 5000+ in less than a year without having to post lots of pictures every day and spending too much time.  (Note remember it’s about quality not quantity)

Communicate with and gain target viewers on Instagram with the following tips.

Post with Intention: Pictures Tell the Story

The number one rule of Instagram is simple, post pictures. Pictures are the thing that you need to think about and you need to update on a regular basis. If you do not post pictures, you will not go anywhere. But you don’t want to just post any picture… You want to Post with intention!

Also, you need to ensure that you’re posting high quality photos or content that even perhaps tell a story about your business, products, services, the type of customers, problems and how your business products or services solve those problems. Honestly the list goes on, but unless you are a teenager or a model (perhaps a celebrity) don’t post an account riddled with selfies. Just think, would you follow an account that only featured 100s of snapshots of one person? Not likely. You want to ad value to your viewers. This lends to the impression that your products and services will also add value to customers/viewers lives. Also, it helps you reach a more targeted audience than any type of physical mailer would (for $0 dollars!).   You can use Smartphone Apps to make photos and videos stylized.  One of my favorite things to use is www.canva.com (open in any other platform other than Internet Explorer. Your images need to it has to entice, earn, bring in fans and keep them.

 

Use Hashtags and Use them Correctly

Here’s something that some people forget, and it’s imperative that you don’t, use the hashtags correctly. You want to make sure that you are using the right hashtags to get the right crowd. Do not abuse this system though, it’s simple to do so. Use the right words, and try to engage the users that come to comment on anything you update. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture here, so don’t over think this.

 

Consistency: Keep Posting to Your Account

If someone doesn’t buy your product or service right away, don’t worry. Keep updating the page, and don’t just post your inventor — provide value to viewers. Be friendly, comment, like, and engage the audience that you have and want to build. Remember selling on social media starts with communication and relationship building.

Also, be patient, it takes time to get a following, and it will not happen overnight. Just post, keep your hashtags updated and make sure that you’re commenting, befriend, and sharing images in accordance to the site’s rules of engagement. You will find that over time, things will build in your favor and you’ll gain serious leverage, sales, and even traffic to your website. Just don’t force it, rush it, or overthink this.

There MANY more tips and bits of advice. The ladder barely scratches the surface, but just take your Instragram growth one step at a time and just be persistent. Trust me as times passes you will see the fruits of your social media labor!

Recommended:
Reach More Targeted Audiences! Get Innovative with Instagram! http://www.chalenejohnson.com/guest.html?w=insta&p=eparvin&a=Instagram 
(*This is where I learned how! Chalene Johnson’s Instagram impact academy online)!
This online Instagram academy is what helped me turn the corner. As a graduate of Instagram Impact Acadamy, Smart Success Acamdemy and Markiting Impact Academey, I am an affiliate for Team Johonson and their products/events.

Instagram Accountability Group:

For information on my FREE Instagram Accountability group visit:   => Click here <=

or enter the following link in your we browser:

Tips to Improve Listening Skills

TimeToListen-560x280 As a communication professor, I hear this well-known quote among my colleagues often:

“The biggest problem with communication is that we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply.”

We find this issue prevalent in today’s culture more than ever with the growing use of technology and its many distractions that weaken our ability to connect with others. AWARENESS CHECK: The next time you have a conversation with a group of people, take a step back and see what others do. You’ll will most likely see that people don’t really wait, they jump to answer, they reply fast and with an idea that is not necessarily thought-provoking as it is a matter of conjecture. People don’t truly listen, they are quick to speak and quick to voice opinion rather than truly listening to the entire speaker’s message or story. Listening is a vital part of learning, living, and most importantly relationship building. Here are some tips to help you advance your listening skills. 2

Three Tips to improve your Listening Skills
Don’t Speak First

When in conversation, especially one that goes through a variety of topics, don’t immediately reply. Let the information filter in your mind before you think about what the next response will be. You’ll have to focus on the words that are being stated and contrast that with your own opinion. Highlight fact and opinion separately so that you can get a response that is equally thoughtful. If you take a moment to think about what is stated, you will find that you will have a more fulfilling conversation with someone.

Maintain Eye Contact and Focus

The hardest thing to do for some is maintain eye contact. You have to make sure that you’re able to maintain your composure, look into their eyes (or at their nose – staring into their eyes too long is just scary) and just focus on the conversation. When you look away or you are focusing on other things, you will start to wander off in your mind. However, if you maintain eye contact and listen to the words spoken, you will see an improvement in your retention, memory and concentration. Even if you’re shy or introverted, this will help you gain composure and confidence over time. Practice in the mirror if you have to, it will pay off.

Never Interrupt

Even if the person that you’re speaking to is completely off base, wrong or you don’t feel that they are making sense, let them finish. This may be tough, it may even pull at your nerves, but you have to let them finish. When you allow someone to get a full thought out then you can systematically respond appropriately. Don’t interrupt, don’t push your way into the conversation, let it flow naturally.

Remember, if you are thinking about how to respond to what the other person is saying, then you are not listening. You don’t have to respond instantly. Acknowledge the speaker with an appropriate nonverbal confirmation response (For example, a nod of the head or a hand on the shoulder). Then if you would like to respond, let the person know your thoughts or feedback. Honing our listening skills and practicing is really what it takes to improve our listening habits. Trust me, this is something I have been working on myself. What are your Listening habits like? I’d love to know so share below!


 Education & Resources

Try this Great Exercise from Dianne Schilling:

For a Week: 

At the end of every conversation in which information is exchanged, conclude with a summary statement.

In conversations that result in agreements about future obligations or activities, summarizing will not only ensure accurate follow-through, it will feel perfectly natural.

In conversations that do not include agreements, if summarizing feels awkward just explain you are doing it as an exercise!

Dianne Schilling is a writer, editor, graphic artist and instructional designer who specializes in the development of educational materials  READ MORE From Dianne: http://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2012/11/09/10-steps-to-effective-listening/

 Visit:  http://www.listeningimpact.com/

Test Your Listening Knowledge

Listening is far more complex than most of us realize. Hearing is the first step, and almost the same for all of us; but interpreting and making meaning of what is being said, truly listening, is different for each of us. To test your assumptions about listening, take their quiz.

Key Phrases that Resolve Workplace Conflict

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Choose your words carefully, as the choices you make have the power to ignite an inferno or damper a flame.

Employee #1 “YOU WERE SUPPOSE TO DO [insert task here]!” “I SENT YOU AN EMAIL TO DO IT. DIDN’T YOU READ MY EMAIL?”

Employee #2. “I DON’T HAVE TO DO WHAT YOU SAY; YOU ARE NOT MY MANGER AND I DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER TO YOU!”

The two employees’ argument echoed through the building. Employee #2 stormed outside to collect her thoughts, get some fresh air and calm down. Later she came back inside and apologized for raising her voice and the comments she made and why. In turn, the Employee #1 did the same and thus the issue was resolved and today I can honestly say, Employee #2 still adores and respects Employee #1 and still feels terrible for losing her cool and yelling back. She even wishes she could go back and have a redo on that conversation (But, we all makes mistakes, the key is to learn, apologize, move on and avoid making the same error).

I am happy to say that this is the only incident of its kind to date. How do I know? Because Employee #2 is me.

Unfortunately, this escalated argument arose due to prior, as well as, immediate miscommunication and poor word choice.

In fact, some simple tweaks in verbiage and communication could have prevented this row altogether.

Have ever seen one of your co-workers get into a heated argument with their boss or another co-worker? It cannot only disrupt the workplace, but it can also negatively impact the function of a group or organization in the long run, effecting employee moral as well as a company’s bottom-line.

Trust me, you don’t want to get into a fiery argument at work. Especially, if you are working against deadlines in a high pressure work environment. The slightest bit of miscommunication can cause things to spin out of your control – and hurt your reputation or chances at moving-up into a management or leadership role.

Sure, if someone decides to express their anger, blame you for something, point their finger and yell in our face it’s easy to fight back – fight-or-flight is our natural defense mechanism. Just don’t do it!

During these times I am reminded of what Plato said that is a great reminder, “There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

Therefore, it is more beneficial to you in the long run to circumvent any potential conflicts.

Successful communicators practice rising above anger’s natural impulses.

They work to help others dissolve conflict and anger even if it is directed at them. The following are some phrases to start practicing to help you resolve anger and conflict at work

Phrases that De-escalate Workplace Conflict
Please, tell me more.

This phrase can avoid many petty or small misunderstandings. Rather than hearing just the surface of what someone’s issue or complaint is, hearing a little more than they usually expect can gain you some respect and empower the other person that initially had a problem/problem with you.

I understand what you’re saying.

Just acknowledging someone’s viewpoint is good for de-escalating a potential conflict or argument. This is key to a healthy debate and being able to hash things out with your fellow employee or boss. People who make an effort to listen to opposing views are seen as much more successful than those who are stubborn and try to do everything their way.

Tell me if this sounds reasonable.

When you open your opinions up for critique, rather than simply preaching what you have to say in a back and forth war of words, it makes it much easier to come to an agreement. Diplomacy is important in the workplace.

Let’s start at the beginning.

This is key for fanning any flames that may already have broken out before you’ve had the chance to even get a handle on what the conflict is all about. Many arguments over team projects or work duties are based on misunderstandings or assumptions. If you force the offended party to explain everything in detail, then you can avoid arguing over character judgments, allegations, and other things that lead to more conflicts down the road.

How do we ensure that this doesn’t happen again?

Wrapping up your conversations with a resolution is just as important as de-escalating the conflict itself. Otherwise, you’ll just end-up butting heads again. Use this opportunity to make peace and come to an understanding. Be the bigger person and offer a handshake or hug, even if you still secretly despise them. Don’t make your workplace a battleground.

Please help me understand.

When you are unable to say “I understand”, because you genuinely do not, kindly request the person to clarify their position. Remember to be humble, speak in a relaxed tone and try not to patronize the other person. Otherwise they won’t believe that you are trying to resolve the issue and are just trying to convince them why they’re wrong.

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Printout, write down and practice these helpful phrase and you’ll find they will come more naturally to you when you are in the line of fire or helping to put one out!

It’s more empowering to defuse a fight than win one!

Help Me:

I am currently researching workplace communication and I love to get feedback from “real” down in the trenches, people who may have faced this type or a similar situation. Please share any experience you have had in heated debate with a colleague and how you resolved the issue.

Post in the comments below or send me a private email: ellieparvin1@gmail.com

Thank you!

Learn How to FOCUS

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Learn How to Focus

Many people are discovering the increasing demands of their time is affecting the quality of their work. With the 24/7 reach of technology, increasing responsibilities and distractions we face as we grow older, it can become increasingly more changeling to focus.

If your focus is sharp, you will be too! – Ellie Parvin

No matter how old you are, no matter what you attempt in life, you will find that it’s essential to evaluate and sharpen a skill that will bring a lifetime of success: The ability to FOCUS.

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The following are some things that you can do to exercise your mind, hone your concentration, and improve focus to help you gain leverage for key tasks. 

Step back and clear your mind

The first thing that you need to do is step back. Do not rush to do anything, try to clear your mind first.

Even the simplest of tasks needs your undivided attention. If you approach things in a rushed manner or you have too much going on in your head you will end up making a mistake. Take a moment to clear your mind and concentrate on what you have to do.

Write it down: Taking information out of your head is a great way to literally clear your mind. If this is too painstaking, then make sure that you take some time to rest or schedule breaks when doing intensive work.

You may want to consider creating a “to do list” for important/big tasks. This type of step-by-step organization helps promote focus by compartmentalizing each task required to accomplish big objectives.

Work your brain (play games)

Playing memory games, role-playing games or even number puzzles can help. Trying to figure out logic puzzles, word searches, and even Sudoku can help sharpen your mind and give you a semblance of cognitive function moving forward.

The goal here is to make sure that you work on getting your mind set on a variety of different thoughts, patterns and relationships. Often times as adults, many people lose sight of working on puzzles and dealing with though intensive processes. If you try these games and force yourself to work through them, even if they seem frustrating, you will have a stronger mental capacity and focus will become easier for you going forward.

Learn something new

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Education doesn’t stop after high school or college graduation. It’s easy to get comfortable and coast along the status quo. Sometimes success is a matter of learning new things. Whether you’re learning a new technique for work or you look at studying a new language for a trip across the world, learning can help you focus over time.

The key to cerebral growth is to challenge and repeat. – Ellie Parvin

Repetition and constant attempts to practice the “new thing” that you’re learning makes a huge impact on the mind’s process for learning and focusing. Once you’ve mastered one thing, move on to something else and keep moving forward. The more you focus on this the higher you will climb in your life.

You will find that if you can work building your ability on focus, and exercise your mind muscle, you will be sharper in all things that you do, and set yourself up for a lifetime of success.


Ellie Recommends:

Sign-up and listen to The Chalene Show Podcast. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/chalene-show-motivation-leadership/id911042029?mt=2

If you want to check it out before you sign up, here is a great podcast to listen to with a ton of helpful links and action items to help you work on that focus:

3 Life Changing Habits: 3 Simple Daily Habits to Improve Every Area of Your Life http://www.chalenejohnson.com/podcasts/3-life-changing-habits-3-simple-daily-habits-to-improve-every-area-of-your-life/

Also check out sites like Lumosity: (there is a charge – I am not affiliated with this business) http://www.lumosity.com/landing_pages/763?gclid=CLyg0_DJpsMCFQoFaQodT3sASw