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Magazines Canada x Ruby Social Co.: Up your social (media) game
ruby social co - instagram tips

Five tips for maximizing your Instagram strategy

Our friends over at Magazines Canada asked our founder Ashley Cassidy Seale to reveal some of her best advice when it comes to creating a social strategy and growing a community – from building your presence on Instagram and tips for Instagram Stories to how to improve your Twitter game in 2018. And while the advice is geared towards publishers and media outlets, we're confident these insights translate across most industries. 

We'll be rolling out the three part series here. First up: five tips for maximizing your Instagram strategy . . .


Counting more than 500 million active users, Instagram remains the fastest growing social media platform today. With over 40 billion photos posted to date and an average of 95 million photos and videos being shared per day, the conversation has quickly moved from “should we be on Instagram?” to “how can we maximize our presence?”

Many companies tend to think of their Instagram page as a place to editorialize and humanize their brand, so as a publisher you naturally have a leg up on the fine art of storytelling. As Instagram is a visual platform first, it’s important to draw people in with both beautiful and engaging content. Balancing quality content with a well-thought-out strategic plan is the way to see growth and success. Here are five tips to help you and your team maximize your efforts:

1. Get to know your audience

Of course, what works will differ vastly from publisher to publisher so it’s important to first consider your audience. This is a word that you should never forget when you talk about your social media marketing strategy—community. In fact, it would be helpful eliminate the word “followers” or “following” entirely from your vocabulary. Sound harsh? With far too many individuals and brands being too focused on growing their following rather than building a community, users are becoming increasingly savvy and skeptical of “hidden agendas” or the feeling of being sold to.

The best place to start is to take some time to look at who is following you already. This is a very simple and often overlooked practice, but there is much insight to be gained. Take note of the following (either through stats or through actually combing through your feed): where does my community live, how old are they, what type of content do they post, how often, who are they following, what type of posts do they engage with? People share much of their lives on social media now, so we have even more information to analyze to better understand them and anticipate what will best resonate.

Next, audit your own existing content. Using Instagram for Business’ stats tool it’s easy to analyze which posts are performing well, which are creating conversation, and which are falling flat. Don’t be afraid to be critical of past content in order to improve moving forward.

2. Have a purpose

While we can all agree it’s crucial to have a presence on Instagram, it’s paramount to understand and be diligent about your “why.” Competition is healthy for business but falling into a comparison trap with your fellow publishers can be paralyzing at times. It may be tempting to feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, but you know your audience best.

The best place to start is to outline your goals. While the most obvious thing may be to grow the number of followers you have (and growth should always be part of the mix), you’ll likely want to set your sights on other metrics including: driving traffic to your hero platform, increasing engagement and driving conversation about your content, testing new content, etc. Consult with your team to establish clear benchmarks and multiple checkpoints throughout the year (quarterly is a good rule of thumb); however, it’s important to remember that Instagram is also an excellent brand-building tool and that sometimes this kind of growth is less tangible.

What content pillars does your publication focus on? Consider these and then think about which would work best on Instagram. It’s recommended that you choose three to five pillars and stick to them to as to not be too generalized.

Consider your value propositionーwhat are you offering? As with your regular content, there should always be a takeaway for the reader. Think of your content as less of a teaser to your website and more of a sidebar. What can you offer on your Instagram feed that users can’t find anywhere else? The more value you deliver, the more engaged and trusting your community will become.

3. Create a cohesive aesthetic

Unlike Twitter or Facebook, Instagram relies heavily on visuals. While storytelling is important (we’ll address this in the next step), the thing that will get you noticed faster than anything is beautiful imagery.

The best profiles on Instagram have a signature look and feel. Think about your brand positioning and what this looks like on other platforms and how this can translate to Instagram.

Consider colour palette, brand aesthetic and audience. Do this by focusing on your top nine photos at any given time, so as to not appear overtly formulaic. Explore options with colour tone (warm or cool), white space, props and backdrops, and commit to a look.

4. Leverage the caption

A good photo is great, but the magic happens when that million dollar shot is paired with a thoughtful story or insight. See the caption as an opportunity to tell a story and inspire conversation. Embrace the micro-blogging format (who says you have to stop at 140 characters? Not Instagram), but balance this by knowing when to keep it short and sweet.

Keep storytelling at the core. Do this by mixing it up: share a story, evoke emotion, aim to inspire, shed some light and lend your expertise. Of course, all content should reflect editorial values, maintain integrity and stay true to the voice of your publication.

5. Embrace the content calendar

Create a content calendar for Instagram by leveraging the editorial calendar for your hero content. Think about ways to expand on this content and add a new twist for Instagram. Planning ahead at least two to three weeks is ideal; however, leave room to be nimble and flexible to respond or address world events, pop culture stories and viral trends that fit within the context of your brand.

Stick to a posting schedule. Consistency is key with the new algorithm, so posting at a similar time at least four to five times per week will help ensure your content is being seen. Don’t be afraid to experiment with posting times to see what captures the attention of your audience best.

Yours truly,
Ashley Cassidy Seale
Founder & Creative Director

Ashley's gift guide for The Kit
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The most wonderful time of the year is finally here.

Is anyone else absolutely mad for the holiday season? It should then come as no surprise to know I was tickled pink when The Kit asked me to share my fave picks as part of their annual gift guide. Inside: fail proof presents from hygge staples to statement earrings.

So let's do this, shall we? 


GRENVILLE SOCIETY - Pineapple Corkscrew - $71 - via Black Rooster

A fanciful addition to any home bar. Did you know the pineapple is widely recognized as a symbol of hospitality? Make this your go-to hostess gift in a pinch.

INTELLIGENT CHANGE - Five Minute Journal - $29 - via Amazon

They say the way you you start your morning sets the tone for the day ahead. I purchased this gratitude journal at the beginning of last year and have worked it into my routine. It really does only take five minutes, but I find the practice to be super helpful for my peace of mind.

TATA HARPER - Resurfacing Mask - $77 - via Health Hut

We all need to take more time for self-care, don’t you think? As far as I’m concerned, anything Tata Harper puts out is gold in my books and this exfoliating mask is no exception. It’s completely natural, smells lovely, and really does work hard to buff the skin.

GOOP Fragrance - Scented Candle in ‘Edition 01 – Winter’ - $72

Gifting a luxe candle is a bit of a no brainer, but I prefer to go the non-toxic route with fragrance. This one, by GOOP, describes itself as having a scent of ‘cypress smoke, snow, sensual quiet’ means it will definitely help us all hygge status this winter.  

IDLEWILD CO. - ‘Press for Champagne’ Charmed Key Chain - $16 - via Anthropologie

Inspired by the London restaurant, Bob Bob Ricard’s “Press For Champagne” buttons at each table (which summons Champagne-weilding servers,), this is ideal little gift for the bubbly lover on your list. Sorry, Champagne unfortunately not guaranteed.

PEPPER B. - Happy Tassel Pillow - $112

Giving gifts for the home can be tricky, but I truly don’t believe you can wrong with this navy blue velvet and tassel number. It’s made by hand in Canada, too.

FREE PEOPLE - Meaningful Studs in a Bottle - $26

These sweet and simple shimmering stone studs presented in a glass bottle. Each set features a colour that represents a meaningful sentiment. A thoughtful gift to inspire a loved one (or maybe yourself).

BASTIDE - Hand Cream in ‘Figue d’Ete - $16 - via Nordstrom

I’m certain every lady on your list would appreciate this lovely fig fragranced hand cream by Bastide, the 25-year-old Aix-en-Provence brand recently acquired and reimagined by hair guru Frédéric Fekkai and his wife Shirin von Wulffen.

J.CREW - Colourful Hoop Earrings in ‘Coral’ - $85

J.Crew consistently does a fantastic job with its costume jewelry. I love a statement earring to bring any look up a notch—this floral stone pair would make a great gift.

PIXIE MOOD - Analise Tote in ‘Mauve’ - $87 - via Indigo

Behold, the perfect city tote! I have one myself and both my girlfriends and perfect strangers ask me where I found it, so I will be gifting it this holiday. The pinked edges make it special, and it’s vegan leather so everyone wins.

View the full story on TheKit.ca. Happy holiday-ing!

Yours truly,
Ashley Cassidy Seale
Founder & Creative Director

 

ALWAYS x ALWAYS earns a 2017 SELF Magazine Healthy Living Award
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BIG, BIG news!

We have some major news: our client ALWAYS x ALWAYS has not only captured the attention of SELF Magazine, but also earned a coveted spot on their 2017 Healthy Living Awards list with their much loved palm leaf yoga mat

Whoa. 

Considering it was only five months ago we launched this beautiful brand into the world, this feels like a major moment. The yoga mat has been covered by many of our favourite top tier publications (locally, across Canada as well as throughout the U.S.), but to be chosen and tested and compared against literally hundreds of other products is its own kind of nod.

The judging process

At SELF, we believe that the gear and apparel we choose to sweat it out in should work as hard as we do. But with so many choices out there, we know it can be tough to figure out which products are actually worth the money (not to mention cute enough to have all your friends asking where you got them).
That’s why, for this year’s Healthy Living Awards, SELF editors tested over 450 products to bring you the top 100 items that will help you stay healthy and active every day. To nail down our criteria, we consulted 22 athletes, trainers, and gear pros across a variety of disciplines to find out what they look for in fitness gear (think quality, durability, comfort, and style). Once we knew what criteria the pros rely on, we tested every single product to bring you the best.
The awards are divided into 17 categories, and we’ve included everything you need to be your healthiest, fittest self, whether you’re looking for a sports bra that keeps everything in place, leggings that pass the “squat test” (meaning they don’t become see-through), or headphones that won’t fall out when you run.
And because healthy living requires much more than great gear, we’ve also included awards for the best trainers, classes, and organizations that we feel are doing an amazing job at keeping people inspired to live their best lives. 
 

The advisory panel

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“I leave it out in my living area as a decorative piece, which is a nice reminder to get me on the mat,” one tester said. The microfiber top helps with grip and absorbs sweat, so you won’t slide out of your poses. Another selling point?

The handy strap is clutch.”

SELF Magazine

Click here to read more about ALWAYS x ALWAYS and this year's winners. Congratulations, team! We are so proud to work with you.

Yours truly,
Ashley Cassidy Seale
Founder & Creative Director