Response: 5 Keys to Effective Instagram Marketing

I read an article today published by Social Media Today titled, “5 Keys to Effective Instagram Marketing.”

I chose this article because Instagram is something that I still haven’t discovered how to use effectively.

I can use Facebook like a pro, but when it comes to Instagram there’s just something lacking. Which is unfortunate, because it is the fastest-growing and most popular social media outlet for millennials.

The first tip it gave was to use a professional filter on your photo.

This basically just means don’t edit your photos so they look unnatural — the goal is to bring out the best features of the photo through editing the exposure, contrast, saturation, etc.

Because Instagram is such a visual platform, having photos that look natural but professional is important in catching the eye.

This is an example with the Instagram account for the clothing store, Altar’d State.


Their photos all look very professional but also natural. There’s no crazy editing that has been done to draw negative attention from the viewer.

The second tip is to re-gram your fan content.

This means that when a fan mentions you in their story, re-post it to your account! This keeps your audience engaged — hoping they’ll be featured on your account — and gives proof that customers really do love your product.

A great example of this is an Instagramer named Courtney Collingsworth.


Courtney is known for singing with her family, but has also grown a large following as a beauty and clothing blogger on Instagram. Many fans follow her for fashion advice, and she never disappoints!

Because her following has grown so large, she was given the opportunity to create her own clothing line with a boutique called Lace ‘n Lilac. Courtney has done an amazing job at re-posting photos she is tagged in by her followers who have purchased items from her line. She is so consistent about it which keeps her fans completely engaged.

The third tip was so simple but easily overlooked — place a link in you biography on your profile!

When people click on your profile and want more information, it is SO important to have somewhere for them to go for more.

Forever 21 is an example of a company who does this. Their link takes you directly to a site with photos they’ve either posted or been tagged in on Instagram. When you click on the photo, you have the option to purchase a clothing item from the photo.


The fourth tip is to use your brand influencers.

Younger generations are more likely to take the word of a real-life person who is using your product. They want to see that someone who can more easily relate to them is using your product instead of just an actor.

An example of this is is Flat Tummy Co. They have a paid partnership with Khloe Kardashian, who posts photos using their products on her account.


By having a Kardashian endorsing their product, they gain more customers and a larger audience, while Khloe gets paid. It’s a win-win situation.

The last piece of advice they gave was to post consistently.

You want to make sure you are posting constant on a normal schedule so people can be on the lookout for your posts. You don’t want to have a random post here or a random post there. Instead, you want to have a strategic plan in place with content your audience wants to see.

Interviewing 101

Setting up and carrying out your first interview can be a nerve-wracking thing.

You don’t want to come across too nosy, but you have to get information for your press release or article!

You want to have good and specific questions, but you want the interviewee to be able to expand or give a good answer.

But, before you can even begin actually asking the person questions, you have to do some research!

After you’ve chosen the topic of your press release or article, you have to think of what you want to know about it.

Make a list of questions — literally any question you or your readers would possibly have — and then do research.

Search online, talk to some people around campus or work, read about the people you’ll be interviewing, etc.

Once you’ve answered as many of the questions as you can, narrow them down and combine some of them if needed.

Contacting and conducting your interviewee is the next step.

Typically, I send them an email explaining what I would like to interview them about and give them a list of times within that next week that I am available to see if any of those times match up with free time in their schedule.

In my experience, I usually hear back within one or two days and then the interview takes place a day or two after that.

When I arrive at an interview, I always greet them with a smile and take a few minutes to ask how their day or week is going. This usually loosens them up a little bit and makes them feel more comfortable talking.

Then, I reiterate the topic of what I am interviewing them for and just start a conversation. Telling them why you find this topic so interesting or fun will really help them engage in conversation because chances are that they are passionate about what you’re interviewing them for.

When interviewing, it’s important to keep a professional but friendly conversational tone. It’s okay to personalize the conversation and but you want to make sure not to get off topic too much. Allow room for conversational flow but also make sure you are getting the answers you need.

Conducting an interview over an email seems like the easier thing to do, but honestly it can be more difficult.

You should only email your contact three questions — more than that can be very time-consuming.

Here’s an example of what an email to an interviewee could look like (these questions are from an interview I conducted in-person for a press release):

Good afternoon, (name)!

I apologize we were not able to schedule a meeting time this week which is convenient for both of us. As promised, here are three questions for you to respond to. I recognize you have a very busy schedule, so thank you for taking the time to answer these. I look forward to hearing your feedback!

1. This is only your second year as the director of Proclamation Gospel Choir. How do you feel about all of the attention the choir has started receiving since the video went viral?

2. The vast majority of comments have been extremely positive, with many people talking about the hope and inspiration PGC has given them. Why do you think this video and this song and our choir is sparking those feelings in people across the country?

3. What are some goals you’d like to see this choir accomplish or work towards?

iPhone what?

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but at the end of last week Apple released commercials and graphics for their latest version of the iPhone.

By now, it’s probably hard to keep track of how many iPhones there are and what their names are. Most recently, they have released three new phones — the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR.

As usual, all three phones boast new technologies, better cameras, and an increasing presence in your everyday life. There’s one big difference though.

The starting price for these three phones is $750, an increase in $50 from the iPhone 8 which was the “cheaper” version of the iPhone X which ran at $1,000. The pricing for the iPhone XS is $1,000, while the iPhone XS Max costs $1,100.

These pricing increases don’t seem too significant considering Apple has steadily increased their prices on their phones, but when you take into consideration they have discontinued their cheapest phone, the iPhone SE ($350), you can see the drastic difference.

The problem with this, as Business Insider pointed out, is that Apple is now becoming a luxury brand. This makes it more difficult for the average person to purchase their products. In the short term, they will be making a lot of money. But will it pay off in the long run if their customer base decreases?

From a public relations standpoint, I don’t believe this is the smartest move for Apple. Sure, they believe their customers will stay loyal no matter the price increase. But, how long will that last when there are equally as good options at much lower prices?

At some point, the money will speak and people who want iPhones will not be able to purchase them simply because their finances won’t allow it. This is something that Apple needs to take into much consideration because as a potential Apple customer, their prices are what puts me to an automatic halt.

Just Skimm it

One of the most popular and important tools any PR professional can utilize in their everyday life is theSkimm.

According to their website, theSkimm is a membership company who makes it easier to live a smarter life by integrating in the routines of their target audience — female millennials.

They write about everything from tax policies to how to fold fitted sheets.

The biggest part of being a public relations professional is being informed. It’s hard to find credible sources to bring you news every morning, but theSkimm is an exception.

They give you everything you need to know without fluffing — they are straight to the point. This is so nice to have because when you are in our profession because life is fast-paced and you don’t necessarily have the time it takes to read lengthy articles.

One thing I love about theSkimm is that they write their news stories as if they were a friend giving you the information. It’s a very conversational and comfortable tone, which makes receiving the information easier.

The second thing I love about theSkimm is that they have an app you can download to your phone or tablet. This makes staying informed even easier because you get a notification every morning reminding you to check theSkimm, which gives little to no excuse for not being informed.

Staying informed the the number one thing we have to do in our public relations profession because we have to know what is going on in the world and in different industries in our country. theSkimm helps with all of these areas and that’s why this is such a helpful tool to have.

AP Style in GIFs

Don’t get me wrong, I love my major (public relations).

public relations

I love the department I’m in (communications).


And I love the people I’m surrounded by each day (fellow extroverts).


But one thing that has been tricky for me since I began my communications courses is the oh-so-wonderful AP Style. (This is what it makes me do sometimes).

AP Style

So, in the hopes that I am helping some of you who might also have to work with AP Style, here’s some GIFs to help you get through these tricky rules.

  1. Don’t disrespect the name (aka — Academic degrees)

When you’re talking about a degree someone is in school for (such as bachelor’s, master’s etc.) spell out the name of the degree and use an apostrophe.

  • Example: She has a bachelor’s degree.

The only time you should ever use the abbreviation for a degree is when you are including a list of credentials after someone’s name. In addition, when writing the credentials out, set them off with a comma.

  • Example: Haley Miller, LL.D., Ph.D., was the keynote speaker.

Just remember, people worked hard for those letters after their name so don’t get it wrong.

you fancy

2. Don’t stalk (aka — you’ll know people’s address…don’t abuse the power)

When you’re writing includes the name of a street, spell out all the parts when there’s no specific address given (no numbers; no exact location).

  • Example: Our main campus is on University Avenue.

But, when a number is included in the address, you have to abbreviate avenue (Ave.), boulevard (Blvd.), and street (St.) in addition to directional parts (north, south, east, west).

  • Example: I saw him standing outside his house at 4609 N. Mill St.

Just remember, when you see or hear the word “road,” do not abbreviate it!


3. Be respectful when referencing a person (aka — names)

When you write a name in an article, press release, etc., you should use their first and last name during your first reference to them. After the first reference, use only their last name (but don’t include their title).

Speaking of titles…don’t use their title unless it’s in a direct quote or you have to differentiate between two people with the same last name.

  • Example: Liberty HealthShare CEO Larry Foster led the meeting. Foster said the education of health care sharing is very important.

But, sometimes I think it would just be easier if we didn’t have names so we wouldn’t have to worry about all of this.


4. There’s a difference between you’re and your (aka — apostrophes)

There are a few rules to remember when using apostrophes:

  1. For plural nouns ending in s and singular proper names ending in s, add only an apostrophe (the students’ tests; the Marrs’).
  2. For singular common nouns ending in s and plurals of a single letter, add ‘s (hostess’s; she had two B’s and an A).
  3. Don’t use ‘s for plurals of numbers or multiple letter combinations (1850s).

It may sound confusing, but it will come naturally after a few tries.


5. Don’t forget to break up your lists (with commas)

Don’t use a comma before a conjunction within a simple series.

  • Example: the three-year project called for rebuilding of a specific area during a two-year window.

Use a comma in a series that uses and or or.

  • Example: roses, tulips and sunflowers


6. What’s the difference? (semicolon vs. comma)

Use a semicolon to clarify a series that includes multiple commas. A semicolon should come before the conjunction.

  • Example: I have a big test tomorrow; I can’t go out tonight.


Instagram vs. Facebook

For reference — Instagram following/followers: 769/740, Facebook friends: 1,020

There is so much strategy that goes into social media whether it’s for your own personal brand or an organization.

It’s not only the easiest way for people to access information about you, but it is typically the best way for you to showcase what you want others to know about your personal or professional life.

Though they are both social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook can be and are used in different ways by many people.

For now, I will give you some insight into how my use of the two mediums differ as well as strategies you can keep in mind when building your platforms.

Amount of posts per day

What I do – Instagram: I utilize their “stories” feature way more than I post on my actual feed. I will post photos, songs, quotes, videos, etc. on my Instagram story pretty much whenever I feel like it. My feed is reserved for photos I *think* are artsy or mark a special occasion such as a close friend’s birthday or an event. I only post, at most, once per week unless there’s more than one special occasion occurring.

Developing a Strategy – Instagram: The most important thing is to decide what type of photos you want to post on your feed. For me personally, I am going to try to post photos with the same color schemes or aesthetic, so that when people visit my profile they can physically see a theme in my posts. I will stick to posting photos I *think* are artsy, as well as special occasions.

What I do – Facebook: As recently as last school year, I was mainly sharing articles or videos I had seen on this platform. As time has gone on, I have steered away from that because I realized I was posting SO much content, even though it wasn’t my organic content. Now, I typically only post photos from the school year so my family knows what I am up to. When I do share posts, it is usually from my church, the choir I am in at school, or an article I’ve read that I feel is extremely important or insightful. I steer clear of posting super controversial topics or political posts.

Developing a strategy – Facebook: For the most part, I’ve already implemented my strategy to my Facebook. I believe the goal is to not overwhelm your friends with posts like your grandma (or mom, in my case!) would. To avoid this, I will spend more time sharing things that I am passionate about such as things going on at my church, posts from my school, and articles that are really thought-provoking (in addition to photos from school to keep my family updated). The key is to be selective when sharing posts to your feed.

Interaction with your followers

What I do – Instagram & Facebook: Because interaction on both platforms is fairly similar, I’ve grouped them together for this section. Interaction is also extremely important if you want to keep your followers engaged in what you post (Instagram) and in maintaining relationships with your friends (Facebook). For the most part, my friends and followers are not people I see very often, so interacting with them helps with that.

On Instagram, I try to respond to everyone who comments on my posts or responds to my stories, as well as liking their photos they post on their feed. On Facebook, I react to their status usually with a “like,” “love,” or “laugh.” I comment on a lot of posts as well if I find them interesting, super funny, or am giving well-wishes to someone.

Developing a Strategy – Instagram & Facebook: In the future, my goal is to continue interacting with my followers but even more. There are times I don’t interact or I comment what I’m thinking, but this is something that I and others could do when on our social media. The biggest goal with this is to just keep communication open between me and my followers, allowing for a more personalized approach.

The amount of posts you put on your social media and interaction with your followers and friends are two of the most critical areas to be aware of. Knowing how to best manage these two aspects will help you be successful with your platforms in the long run. There are still things need to work on to better my platforms, but I hope these two insights helped you!


Until next time,


Where past meets present

This blog post is in response to a post I saw on Facebook titled, “Know Where You Stand.” The post can be found at the following link:


As I was scrolling through Facebook this past week, I saw a post that caught my attention immediately.

Black and white, historical-looking photos always seem to do that to me.

Ever since I was a kid, history has been my favorite subject. It has always been something I actually enjoy learning about — the learning doesn’t feel forced.

What caught my attention about this post in particular is that Adolf Hitler was standing in it.

Immediately, I knew it had to do World War II, or at least war, which is my favorite part of history to learn about.

As I examined the image more closely, I noticed something strange — it was a photo of Adolf Hitler standing in front of the Eiffel Tower…right next to a couple on a date.

I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a real photo, so I clicked the “more info” part of the post and began reading. It read:

“Seth Taras, a self-taught American artist, was hired by The History Channel for the campaign, “Know Where You Stand.” His pictures show modern scenes spliced with historical photographs! Taras traveled around the world shooting the pictures from the exact spot and angle the original was shot, and then used photo editing software to blend them together.
Let’s not forget our #History.”

I began scrolling through the rest of the photos and saw a man talking on his cell phone in front of the Berlin Wall, soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy as tourists look for crabs, and a modern day Auschwitz with Nazis standing in front of it.

Every photo I looked at gave me chills as I thought about what message the photographer may have been trying to convey.

Certainly, he was trying to give his audience a modern day view of the locations these famous photos were taken in.

But more than that, I believe he was trying to remind us to never forget our history.

It’s so easy to walk through life and not think about what’s happened in our country and world to get us to where we are today.

I believe these photos represent that there is a piece of history in every step we take.

Even though it may not be nationally recognized or widely known history, there is an event or words that were said or some type of memory that people associate with the places you go.

This is something that is easy to forget, but in the field of public relations and specifically in social media, we can make it part of our job to help people remember the history of whatever specific path we take.

Whether it’s in sports, healthcare, ministry, business, or any other type of field, we can make it our goal to never let future generations forget about what’s happened and come before them.

Here’s to you, Summer 2018

Dear Summer 2018,

Thank you for everything you did for me.

Thank you for everything you gave me and brought into my life.

Thank you for giving me a breath of fresh air and a sense of hope.

Dear Summer 2018,

I welcomed you with fear and uncertainty, but you quickly helped me realize you were a safe place.

Heading into a summer of unknowns made me nervous, as I am someone who wants to plan everything.

But, you taught me it is okay to be spontaneous — to embrace the unknown.

Dear Summer 2018,

Thank you for pushing me to my limits.

You took me on a 36 hour motor home trip to a different country.

You had me fly in a four person airplane and sit in a tall tree stand to hunt for my very first time.

You allowed me to visit California for the very first time, and swim in the warm Florida ocean.

You brought the most wonderful people into my life and pushed me to form bonds that will not be broken, as well as strengthen already existing ones.

Dear Summer 2018,

Thank you for pushing my to my limits — not only in my personal life but in my professional life.

You helped confirm the thought that Public Relations is the calling that’s been placed on my life.

You taught me how to explore, research, create, and work in a team.

You showed me I have a deep passion for showcasing the best of a company through the lens of social media.

You gave me tasks I realized don’t spark my interest, even though they fall within the realm of Public Relations.

Most importantly, you showed me it’s okay to grow.

It’s okay to move on and to embrace a new life you never pictured for yourself.

It’s important to know how to communicate and work with others who are different from you.

And it’s important to “never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.” (A Cinderella Story).


Until next time,


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