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How to make Instagram Stories longer than 15 seconds

(MARKETING) Instagram Stories are booming and are a powerful marketing tool, but 15 seconds isn’t always enough time to get ‘er done.

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Have you ever been filming something amazing for your Instagram story and been cut off right at the pivotal point? It takes you from your perceived likeness of Martin Scorsese and knocks you down a few pegs.

This is especially annoying when you can’t predict the length of time something will take to transpire when filming in real time. Those 15 seconds go quickly and make you break a sweat.

Bee Design feels your pain, and has come up with a solution for the problem. Storeo for Instagram Stories is an app that describes itself as “super long Instagram stories!”

If that doesn’t sell you, let’s go into how it works. Storeo gives you the space to captivate your audience, gives you unlimited length, it does not allow for cut-off words, it doesn’t have a timer, and you can use the same video for a Facebook Story.

Storeo is currently in version 1.6 and has recently added automatic video stabilization. Other features include the capability to shoot a long video without having to constantly hold down the record button, the ability to convert pre-edited videos into Instagram stories, and you can take a selfie video that is not a mirror image.

instagram stories

In order to upload pre-made videos, you select a video longer than 15 seconds in length, tap export, open Instagram, and upload each slice of your story starting with the left-most video. No tech savviness required.

The app currently has a 4.7 out of 5 rating in the App Store and is free to download, but creating videos without a watermark requires a one-time fee of $9.99 (worth it). It requires iOS 9 or higher and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

We all know the downside of this is app is that your annoying friend will film a whole concert while “wooo!”-ing in the background the entire time. (SKIP!) However, the app would be ideal for those who use social media for branding and marketing, as you have a new way to truly feature your products and/or services – just be cautious not to overdo it, lest you lose your audience.

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Taylor is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and has a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Illinois State University. She is currently pursuing freelance writing and hopes to one day write for film and television.

Real Estate Marketing

Can you really fight back when social media traffic returns are diminishing?

(MARKETING) Missing out on traffic because of antiquated practices isn’t the end of the world; if anything, it should be the beginning of a plethora of new practices for you and your company.

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Social media is a doubled edged sword -while its ubiquitous nature in the realm of marketing makes it impossible to avoid, a variety of caveats ranging from rising fees to government-imposed limitations on content have contributed to more than a few headaches.

The most recent entrant on the migraine list — a diminishing return on social media traffic — is sure to turn heads, but rest assured that you have some options at your disposal.

According to social media expert, Neil Patel, the bulk of social media advertising traffic (paid or otherwise) has seen a slight but consistent decline over the past few years. Chalk it up to whatever you like — consumer awareness, technophobia, a surplus of tinfoil hats — but the fact is that your social media ads are performing worse than they used to, and will continue to do so.

Fortunately, there are a few habits you can break in order to reverse this effect (if only temporarily).

The first thing you should realize is that common advertising trends which started out as successful strategies have become stale with age. These include things like constant video or photo uploads, frequent text posts, and links to your company’s blog; while these pieces of content should still appear on your social media accounts, they are no longer enough to keep your customers engaged.

“Engagement” is the key vocabulary word here. If your customers aren’t interacting with you or a member of your business in some format, they’ll be dissatisfied; even if the manner in which they interact is simply through an Instagram Live video or a Reddit AMA, you’ll notice an increase in traffic right away.

“But Jack, it’s completely asinine to expect a business owner to do a live Q&A session with any kind of frequency” you might say — and you’d be absolutely right.

To that end, using an automated chatbot to keep customers informed without tying up valuable assets in the meantime is probably your best approach. Most major social media platforms either have or support multiple chatbots, and Patel’s site shows a steady increase in the number of businesses using them anyway — don’t get left behind.

Naturally, you’ll need to keep uploading a variety of content, so letting customers see your beautiful face in a live video from time to time is still a good idea.

Other ways to increase customer engagement and conversion range from using SMS notifications to implementing social media platforms you wouldn’t usually consider (WhatsApp, anyone?), but the bottom line will always involve giving your customers a two-way avenue of communication.

Missing out on traffic because of antiquated practices isn’t the end of the world; if anything, it should be the beginning of a plethora of new practices for you and your company.

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Real Estate Marketing

What’s TikTok, why’s it so huge, and why is Facebook scared of it?

(TECH) TikTok has taken the internet by storm – you’ve probably seen the videos floating around, so here’s the context your business needs to know.

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Jimmy Fallon challenged his viewers to his version of a #sharpiechallenge. That’s where you toss a sharpie into the air, catch it, take the cap off and draw a mustache on yourself with it. He requested that viewers use TikTok to record it and upload it.

As of this writing, the hashtag boasts 8.2 million views in TikTok alone – if it wasn’t big before it gained Fallon as a fan, it is now.

What Is TikTok?

The TikTok app is the brainchild of Bytedance, a Chinese company that once owned Muscal.ly, and it launched in September 2016 as Douyin (it’s Chinese moniker). When it launched internationally, a year later, they branded the social media app TikTok. When Musical.ly shut down, users had to switch.

The app lets users view, create and share 15-second videos (kind of like Vine, RIP). It’s estimated that there are over 500 million users worldwide. The app has been highly ranked in the charts for number of downloads over the past few months, with a spike when Fallon had his first challenge, #tumbleweedchallenge. (For the record, Fallon and The Tonight Show do not have a business relationship with Bytedance.)

Users can lip-sync, do duets, record a reactions video and has some excellent tech in the app for video editing. Users can comment on videos and create video memes. It’s pretty fascinating. And wildly appealing to the masses.

One of the best things about TikTok is that the app doesn’t have advertising or monetization capabilities, even though it has a broad audience. With an estimated 500 million users, it’s just a matter of time.

Facebook launches a TikTok-clone.

Facebook doesn’t want to be late to the game. In classic follower fashion, they have launched their own short-video app, Lasso.

I played with both apps, and Lasso just doesn’t have comparable content.

What Facebook does have is its user base. By integrating with Facebook itself, Lasso may outdo TikTok eventually, but it will need to increase its capabilities.

Why should your business take notice?

You should be aware of these apps. Online videos are driving social media engagement. Content is king, and you’ve been reading here for years that video is a powerful component of any social media strategy.

TikTok and Lasso give you video-making and video-sharing tools that could increase your online presence.

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Real Estate Marketing

Polymail gives your emails superhuman sales powers (and is gorgeous)

(MARKETING) Polymail might be the most visually stunning productivity tool you’ll ever implement (plus it’s one hell of a sales tool, too)!

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With Polymail, email is so much more than mail, and with their last update, it’s so much more than so much more than mail: it’s a clever, intuitive sales enablement tool that will jumpstart productivity for your entire team.

It’s safe to say email has never been so elegant.

Polymail, “the modern email client, redesigned,” continues to redesign its capabilities. The email platform’s latest update added some pretty sweet features to its already impressive suite of tools.

You could already track the performance of your emails with detailed insights into open and reply rates, but now you can send personalized emails to multiple prospects at the same time and access real-time statistics for each custom message.

Not only does this save you loads of time, it also helps you optimize each campaign on the fly by benchmarking performance of each email.

It’d be a shame to let all of these personalization efforts go to waste by losing track of who you’re talking to. That’s why Polymail lets you build thorough contact profiles for every prospect you talk to. These profiles include social links, job descriptions, and a complete history of all your past interactions so you can stay up to speed with every potential customer, every second.

To be sure you don’t miss a crucial moment, Polymail sends you instant alerts whenever your messages are opened, clicked or downloaded.

For a holistic view of all your campaigns, you can easily monitor all email activity in a live feed, too.

You can get accelerate your whole sales team with Polymail for Teams: send and track campaigns as a team, save shared message templates for anyone on your team to edit and use, and find your top performers using Team Analytics.

Why settle for boring email when you can have outreach, collaboration, and analytics in one place?

You literally have no excuse: Polymail is available for desktop, mobile and tablet so whatever device you’re using you can keep up with your messages, tracking notifications, prospects and customers. “I don’t want to pay, what if it’s crap?” Also an invalid argument. There’s a free 14-day trial if you want to check it out, and a free 21-day trial for the Teams edition.

What are you waiting for? Go make your email e-marvelous.

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