One change to your instagram strategy you need to make now

The One Change You Must Make To Improve Your Instagram Strategy Now

Let’s start off with some impressive Instagram stats you’d probably love to know:

  • Over 1 Billion users visit Instagram each month
  • More than 500 million of these users are active each day
  • 31% of Instagram users have an income over $75k per year
  • Brands see engagement rates 10x higher than on their Facebook Pages
  • Posts containing video receive 38% more engagement than their image counterparts
  • It can take up to 19 hours for a post to receive 50% of it's engagement
  • 70% of users look up a brand in the search bar of Instagram
  • More than 200 million users visit a Business profile at least once a day

What can we do with all this potential traffic?

With Instagram seeing these kinds of active visitors each and every day, having just a single link to drive traffic to your website from Instagram organically can be not only challenging but pretty frustrating too.  Unless, of course, you have over 10,000 followers and then you can drive traffic from your Stories, but having that many followers is not the case for most.

Businesses, small and large, have dabbled in ways to help ease this frustration with some success, but some are doing so without knowing that the traffic they are generating from Instagram is not being captured by their website, but by another. and are two examples of where this is taking place.  Every click that is generated from these links in an Instagram profile bio is generating website traffic numbers for them and not you.  

But there’s good news!  There’s a very simple way to accomplish what services like and tap-bio offers.  

Instagram Profile Bio Links

By creating your own landing page on your own website, you can then include all the links you want on your page, versus that owned by these other services, and keep that traffic to yourself!

Instagram Link Landing Page Example
Click Image to View Live

Your landing page should include links that are evergreen so that you do not have to constantly worry about changing them.  These calls to action can include:

  • View ________ here
  • Watch this video about ________ 
  • Additional Social Profile links
  • Contact Opportunities

Since it is also your own website, you can include items such as social buttons, links to your blog, and any specials you want to highlight.

Once you have completed your landing page, simply add the url of the page to your bio on your Instagram profile.  Ensure that your saved url is short and concise in what people are clicking away to so as to maximize your clicks.  You can also use services like or to customize your url for additional analytics.

Need help setting your landing page up?  Let us know through the chat link to the bottom right of the screen.

How To Grow Your Instagram Followers Fast

How to Grow your Instagram Followers Fast!

Here’s The Secret

Having a large follower count is something we all strive to possess –  it’s a status, a statement of how likable you are… a popularity contest.  It’s like high school; the more friends you have the better you are.

Right?  WRONG!

Getting followers on Instagram is not a sprint.  It’s a marathon of tactics and strategies that must be consistent.  And when I say consistent, I mean consistent for a long time.  So, if you’re looking for a fast, easy way to build your followers on Instagram, it’s simply not going to happen.  No matter what that supposed ‘Social Media Guru’ tells you! 

"I want to buy some followers."

Currently, we get asked to help companies build their Instagram followers more than anything else.  If we hear someone request that they want us to buy them some followers, we will emphatically say, “NO!!  Absolutely not!!”

And here’s why.  There is no such thing as buying REAL followers.  That would be like buying real friends!  It doesn’t happen.  When you purchase followers, you are purchasing BOTs, fake followers, or followers that will have zero interest in what you have to offer in your Instagram posts.  

Fake Followers on Instagram

Of those that have zero interest, they will unfollow you, and of the others, they will make your follower count look better on the outside, but the engagement on your posts (likes and comments) will not increase and let’s hope no one clicks on your followers to see who’s following you…

How Do You Rank?

Curious to know how many of your own Instagram followers are real vs fake?  Enter your Instagram handle here and you'll find out in about 30 seconds.  You can do this for your competitors Instagram account too. This tool also allows you to see how engaging your content is too.


So what can you do to grow your Instagram follower count?  

  • Attract Your Audience:  Consistently provide content that you believe attracts your target audience(s).  And you don’t have to just believe it, you can look at your analytics and see first-hand which posts you have published have performed the best and, more importantly, which haven’t.  This way there’s no guess work, it’s all right there in the data Instagram provides.   
  • Encourage Engagement:  If you want people to feel connected to you, you need to connect with them.  Asking simple questions is one of the best ways to do this.  An example of this would be, if you’re a restaurant owner, for example, asking which topping do you like on your pizza, with a picture of a delicious looking pizza slice.  People also remember a company longer when they interact with them.  
  • Interact With Others:  It’s equally important to go outside your social profile and comment on others’ posts – especially those that you feel would benefit from seeing your Instagram content.  By interacting with your potential customers or clients, your Instagram account name will pop up in their notifications and they may be curious to see who you are – which is all the more reason to ensure that you are creating consistent content that resonates with them.
  • Hashtags:  Probably not something you haven’t heard before, but it’s not just about using hashtags.  It’s about using the right hashtags.  There’s a strategy around pulling the best hashtags based on the number of your followers.   Here’s how it works: Let’s say you have less than 1,000 followers.  Then you should be focusing at least half of your hashtags that have less than 1,000 posts.  Great, so how do you find this out?  Pull up your Instagram account and go to the search function and start typing in the word that you believe you want to use as one of your hashtags.  I’m using “vacationrentals” for this example.  
Hashtag search results

There's no such thing as buying REAL followers on social media. That would be like buying real friends. #InstagramTips #SocialMediaTips #FollowerGrowth

A list of suggested hashtags will appear with a number and the word posts next to it.  You’ll want to look for those that have either 500+ or 1000+ posts, as shown above.  These are the ones that you should absolutely use.  Why?  Because, while #vacationrentals is very popular, if you use it as one of your hashtags and you only have about 1,000 followers, your post will show for probably about 3 seconds.  Whereas, if you use #vacationrentalsbyowners, your post should stay near the top of the hashtag search result images for weeks (or even months, depending on how viral that hashtag becomes).  

Now don’t get us wrong, we definitely recommend using more popular hashtags, but make sure that you mix up those that are popular and those that are not so popular in each of your posts.  

Interested in learning more about how to grow your (healthy and real) follower count?  Click the icon in the bottom right of the screen to connect with us now.

What Does Facebook Engagement Look Like?

In January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the algorithm of Facebook posts were going to be prioritized through the focus on more “meaningful social interactions.”  In a nutshell this meant that Facebook were going to reduce the amount of posts that were shown that were more click away from Facebook-focused and more on users sharing posts geared toward discussions and engagement.

Six months before Zuckerberg made this announcement, I had already made the decision to pivot the way my team at would create their social content, from driving traffic to driving engagement.  At the time, July 2017, the average Facebook Page was seeing approximately 2% engagement rates on their posts – a percentage that had been dropping for years and was continuing to drop for those who chose to continue with traffic-focused content. 

By the time the January 2018 announcement was made, my team’s conversation-driven content had already increased our engagement by 50%, and we continued to increase it to over 100%, because we focused on what Facebook was focused on

What Exactly Is A Meaningful Interaction?

Facebook considers meaningful interactions to include:

  • A person commenting or liking another person’s photo or status update (note: per Facebook, simply liking something is the least meaningful of all interactions)
  • A person reacting to a post from a brand that a Facebook friend has shared
  • Multiple people replying to each other’s comments on a video they watched or an article they read in the news feed
  • Someone leaving a comment on your post.
  • A person sharing a link with a group of Facebook friends over Messenger to start a conversation
Various Content types with Engagement Rates

One thing that is common amongst these interactions is commenting.  Whether it’s through typing a response to a friend’s post, conversing with one another on a post or chatting through Messenger, it’s the effort taken to interact is what makes it meaningful in the eye of the algorithms.

One Word: Engagement

To me, meaningful social interactions can be broken down into one word: engagement. It’s no longer acceptable (or profitable) to simply post non-paid content with the purpose of driving traffic to your website.  That will not encourage engagement – because whether you accept it or not, a click is not considered true engagement.  To pull people away and out of Facebook, is (literally) going to cost you money.  Period.  So if allocating budget to drive traffic to your website is not an option, then creating content that will meet the Facebook algorithm requirements mentioned above is a must.

And, honestly, I’m completely ok with that.  For most businesses, getting traffic to your site is one thing, but keeping them there to explore, gain value and bring you revenue is what your ultimate goal truly is.  So if you consider how it would be if once your potential customers landed on your website they are only pulled away to another site with zero money generated for you, you probably wouldn’t be ok with it either.

How To Add Engagement

To me, meaningful social interactions can be broken down into one word: engagement. It’s no longer acceptable (or profitable) to simply post non-paid content with the purpose of driving traffic to your website.  That will not encourage engagement – because whether you accept it or not, a click is not considered engagement.  To pull people away and out of Facebook, is going to cost you money.  Period.  So if allocating budget to drive traffic to your website is not an option, then creating content that will meet the Facebook algorithm requirements mentioned above is a must.

And, honestly, I’m completely ok with that.  For most businesses, getting traffic to your site is one thing, but keeping them there to explore, gain value and bring you revenue is what your ultimate goal truly is.  So if you consider how it would be if once your potential customers landed on your website they are only pulled away to another site with zero money generated for you, you probably wouldn’t be ok with it either.

Making your Facebook posts show up more often and to more people is key to your social effort success.  Here’s some simple ways to help make this happen:

  • Be Choosy - not everything you do or think belongs on Facebook, especially not on a Facebook Business Page.  If it doesn’t generate some type of meaningful engagement, your credibility, in the eyes of Facebook, will decrease. Think about the audience(s) you are ultimately trying to reach and post for them, every time.
  • Write Authentically - clickbait has been a big no-no in the eyes of Facebook for many years now, but engagement bait is also frowned upon - things like “comment below”, or “like this” in your post content will be marked as not being meaningful and therefore your post, and future posts, will not be shown to as many people.
  • Vary Your Types of Content - make sure you include posts with images, without images, with videos and without videos.  Videos in particular will be given priority over other types of content on Facebook and so should definitely be a part of your overall content strategy.  This can be proven  with video generating six times more engagement than any other types of content.
  • Native vs Owned Content - Facebook doesn’t want you to drive their traffic off of their site (see above), so keep a 80/20 rule in place with 80% being native content (posts with no links to your website) and 20% owned content (posts with links to your or other websites).  
  • Post with (Engagement) Purpose - consider the way you write your content and how you can make it conversational but not engagement baiting.  Asking questions is always a great way to do this, and keeping your questions as simple as possible makes your followers more likely to respond.  Comments are much more desirable as they are seen by Facebook as a meaningful engagement versus just liking something which is much easier to do (with a single click).  Sharing is also seen as a more meaningful type of engagement seen from your followers, as they are showing vested interest in your content.

Like to know more about how to write content to meet the needs of both Facebook and your audience?  Let me know in the comment section below or click the yellow icon in the bottom right corner to start chatting with me now.

Messenger vs Social Media for Business

Email Marketing vs Messenger Marketing

Remember that sound back in the 90’s (?!) when you got an email?  “DING!  You’ve got mail!”  How exciting was that?!  Wow.., those were the days…

Today, I bet if I had a million people in a room, not a single one would be jumping up and down at that sound or the notifications of getting another email.  Not one!  In fact, I’d be willing to be that they would shudder.

This isn’t great for businesses who rely on mostly free methods of communication, such as eMail.  But, things change and so we must adapt and change too.

Enter: Messenger Marketing

Messenger marketing is the newest and most exciting form of communication that has hit the internet in years.  Messenger, which is the texting platform you use to privately chat with your friends (and possibly potential customers on your Facebook Page) was launched a whopping 8 years ago (August 9th, 2011, to be exact) but has only just begun to pick up attention with businesses across the world.

Messenger allows you to share text-based messages, images, video and much more.  Setting appointments, scheduling, making phone calls, making payments… it’s truly a beast of a machine.   But when it comes to email marketing vs messenger marketing, there’s one aspect that truly stands out above all else.

Engagement is King

The engagement produced from Messenger marketing is 5-10x that of eMail marketing – with eMail seeing open rates between 5-10% while Messenger is at 95-99%, and click-through rates of eMail are seen at a dismal 2-5%, while Messenger is at award-winning rates of between 55-75%!  


5-10% Open Rate
2-5% Click-through Rate


95-99% Open Rate
55-75% Click-through Rate

While this is all really great news, we must be very aware of how fragile these rates with Messenger are.  Any sniff of it being used as a spamming platform and Facebook will undoubtedly make some massive changes to how businesses can use it…

In fact, it’s already started to happen.  Facebook is rolling out some significant changes in January 2020 which will affect the way in which messages can be sent via Messenger without prior subscription approval – which I am 100% behind.

What we don’t want to do is jeopardize yet another communication outlet and make it useless for future use.

Let's Play Nice

Maybe I’m naive, but my hope is that businesses will not abuse this outlet of reaching people but play nice inside these new four walls and engage with people the way they would like.  With valuable, purpose-driven, relevant messages.  

Want to learn more about the power of Messenger Marketing?  Click on the  icon in the bottom right of the screen and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Photo by Tuur Tisseghem

What If Instagram Shut Down Tomorrow

I was watching Gary Vaynerchuk doing one of his first live videos on LinkedIN yesterday afternoon where  he was giving us a firsthand look at how he and his team come up with their content.  

This live content brainstorm was surrounding the “what if [fill in the blank] social platform disappeared tomorrow.”  Pretty legitimate question if you ask me – being in the social media marketing agency world, that is. 

So What?

Well, here’s my response:  “So what?” 

Isn’t it like everything – here today, gone tomorrow?  Nothing is forever, not even, in the case of this blog post, Instagram.  What the important thing is, is that we use it while it is here to the very best of our ability – with a goal, a purpose, consistency, and genuinely bringing value to the end user.  

If your clients/customers are there, so should you – no matter how long the fad lasts.  Being where people naturally go is key to online success.  

Whether it’s the currently booming Tik Tok, or the defunct under Vine, Myspace or Meerkat platforms, if/when they shut down, we’ll survive – you’ll survive. What we gain from each of the social platforms is so much more important.  We learn from each of them, no matter how long they stick around on our mobile phones.  And what we learn, allows us to improve in other areas.  

There is no time wasted when we learn and grow in knowledge.  

Agree?  Disagree?  We always love to hear from you – leave us a comment below!


Grab Your Sneakers

We're Moving Fast!

We are excited to announce that today we officially launch our agency, UpRight Avenue, LLC!

However, we’re certainly not new to this exciting life we call entrepreneurship.

In 2002 we first started, utterly serendipitously, our very first agency, VAWork LLC, in Sarasota, FL, where over the course of more than 11 years we grew to a mighty team of ten content creators and marketers, and were one of the very first virtual assistant agencies in the U.S.

During these 11 years, social media became a new platform for us to experiment and offer as a new marketing outlet for our customers. In 2008, we joined forces with a scrappy, but soon to be mighty company called TechSavvyAgent. Chris Smith (now with Curaytor) and Steve Pacinelli (now with BombBomb) led the inaugural coaching-based company which focused solely on providing techniques and strategies to real estate brokers and agents. Our CEO, Suzanne Hawken, joined them to provide social media expertise and was the woman behind a large (and successful) part of their content created year after year.

Suzanne began to speak at events, teaching social media marketing how-tos and best practices and eventually went on to be hired as the Social Media Manager of Within 6 months, she was promoted to Director of Social Media Marketing and, from a team of one, built her team up to a mighty team of ten!

After another promotion to Senior Director, Suzanne finally made the decision to move on from there and go back to what she was most passionate about – owning her own business and sharing her marketing knowledge with as many people as she can.

UpRight Avenue was created to meet the engagement-focused social media needs of small to medium sized women- (and other minority-) led businesses across North America. We’re excited to take you on this journey with us and see where social media, the world of AI, chatbots and more will lead us in reaching our audiences online.

So grab your sneakers and get ready to go, ’cause we’re moving fast!

Why messenger marketing

Why Messenger Marketing?

  • Why messenger marketing

If you are within pretty much any generation, you can probably count the number of times you have spoken with a business on the phone versus communicating with them via a messaging platform. Not only do you no longer prefer conversing via phone, but you probably can’t stand reading emails either.

You’re not alone!

This is how much of Gen Y, Gen X and now Gen Z feel and so it’s imperative that businesses and their marketers need to switch how they interact with their potential clients.

10 reasons why you should be using Messenger Marketing

  • An average open rate on Messenger using Upright Avenue is 97%!
  • An average click through rate (to your website) is 65% (email is usually less than 6%)!
  • Email has been overcrowded (and overwhelming) for years
  • Open rates on emails (or even opting in for an email subscription) has been decreasing year after year too.
  • Opting into a Messenger app is much easier than email ever was or will be
  • There is no friction in becoming a subscriber for the end user – and therefore, very simple to be added to your database of potential clients
  • Facebook ads that drive to Messenger are up to 4x cheaper than ads that drive outside of the Facebook platform, because Facebook wants you to stay within their platform.
  • Messenger is 100% mobile friendly.
  • Communication on a Messenger app is effective, reliable and instantaneous.
  • BOTs can be customized to limitless audiences – high end buyers, low end buyers, first time buyers, vacation home buyers, international buyers… you name it, you can create it.

We are excited to help bring Messenger Marketing to life for you and your business. Click on the chat box below to get started now.