Facebook Live Video Tips

Did you know that since it debuted in 2016, Facebook Live has streamed 3.5 billion broadcasts?  

The role of video in social marketing, especially live video, continues to become more and more important. The live video experience is social at its core, and on average, they generate six times more interactions than regular video, and daily average broadcasts from verified publisher Pages have increased 1.5 times over the past year due to Facebook Live use (source).

Marketers, publishers and consumers of media ALL want to break through the clutter, and Facebook Live is a great vehicle to help achieve that: Facebook Live videos continue to show up in the news feed since they encourage engagement.

Have you gone live yet? Below, we share some tips on how to make the most of your Facebook Live broadcasts.

When and why should your brand use Facebook Live?   

  • To connect with your audience in a real, human way.
  • To communicate hot-button issues.
  • To connect communities during a crisis or share urgent information.
  • To provide a behind-the-scenes look.
  • To give viewers a glimpse into your life or company culture.
  • For interviews.
  • To broadcast a regularly scheduled program or event.

Tips before recording:

  • Promote the upcoming Facebook Live event with a post on your page an hour or two in advance to give your organic followers a reminder.
  • Always test your Internet connection and ensure your device is fully charged prior to going live! It’s always a good idea to have a backup device ready as well.
  • To get comfortable and practice, you can restrict privacy settings so that only you can see the live video. (Under Live Video settings window, on the right-hand side, there is a padlock; click on that and choose the “Only Me” option.)
  • Facebook recommends broadcasting for at least ten minutes. Experiment with time of day and see when your engagement and active viewers peak (this information can be found within Facebook’s analytics).
  • Good-quality lighting and audio equipment is worth the investment if you are regularly broadcasting live.
  • Make sure your lighting is appropriate (face the window instead of having your device facing the window), and if you can, remove glasses to eliminate the glare on the screen!
  • If you’re using a phone or tablet, don’t shy away from recording with the device horizontally. It shows more of your surroundings to help viewers place you in context, and the formatting works better in the news feed.
  • Once you’ve connected to wifi, make sure to switch your device to Airplane Mode! In this setting, you won’t get calls or other notifications that could disrupt or be a distraction to your video.
  • Don’t kill time just to fill time. Record with a purpose and have your content ready.

Tips during the broadcast:

  • Acknowledge your audience! Answer questions or thank commentators verbally by name for their input.
  • If you are hosting a broadcast in which you expect a steady volume of questions, have a colleague or friend help field them (some can be answered via text and some verbally).
  • Encourage interaction. Static Facebook posts that encourage likes, shares, comments and other engagement are penalized for seeming spammy. But, encouraging these during a Facebook Live broadcast gives viewers an actionable request and may help make your content or call-to-action more visible the more times it is liked or shared.

Tips for after recording:

  • Once a Live Video is created, it will live on your Facebook page (up to 500 videos can live on your page).
  • Pin the video to the top of your feed to increase video views.
  • Promote the video with a boosted post after the broadcast to target and extend the reach beyond your organic followers.
  • If an influencer creates a Facebook Live video for a brand, the brand can and should boost it on their own page.
  • You can create an edited version of the Facebook Live video to promote with an ad.
  • You can upload a custom thumbnail, with a graphic overlay if you’d like, to convey the topic of the video.
  • Respond in a comment to anyone you may have missed during the chat to increase engagement.
  • Captioning the video is another option post-recording, which is helpful for those viewers who tend to scroll through Facebook on mute!
  • Take a look at your Insights, and if you have a high-performing video, you can make it a more prominent “featured video” on your page.

Do you broadcast live? We’d love to hear your best Facebook Live video tips!

Spotlight Blogger: AnnMarie, AnnMarie John

AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, retired Army veteran, mom of four, and our June Spotlight Blogger! We asked this Colorado blogger about her thoughts on social media, influencer marketing and a couple of personal questions, too. Take a look at our Q&A below and get to know AnnMarie!

Tell us why you blog.
Blogging is something I enjoy doing. As a high-schooler growing up in the English education system, literature was one of my favorite subjects. I would come home and write novels (which have never been published), and would dream about the day when I became a famous author. While I’m far from famous, blogging is my step in that direction, I would say.

What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?
Anything that is done in a lifestyle format, whether it’s for their home or travel. I’ve noticed that readers really connect with posts that speak to them; posts that share real-life stories that they themselves may have gone through.

Where do you see the most engagement with your content?
I actually see more engagement on blog posts than I do on social media content. While you may not see it in the comments, you can see it via the views that each post receives.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by your readers, and what’s your answer?
I get asked all the time, “How do I become a blogger and get free stuff?” My answer is always, “There is no such thing as free stuff.” I personally didn’t become a blogger to get free items, and I would much rather work for cash than “stuff.” Blogging also is a full-time job for me, and it’s a job because I file taxes.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by your brands, and what’s your answer?
Whenever I’m approached by a brand, the first question is usually “What’s your rate, or can you send your rate sheet?” My answer is ALWAYS “I don’t have a rate sheet.” I know some bloggers have one, but it limits what you can earn per campaign. My rates are also based on the company I’m working with, and as I would tell anyone, “You wouldn’t charge Apple or Microsoft or even Google the same you would an Etsy shop owner.”

2018 is the year of:
Being transparent. I want to share a bit more of me.

What are brands doing right when working with bloggers?
Asking for our input and allowing us to speak in our own voice. While they may give guidelines on how they would like their item portrayed, they prefer if we incorporate it into our lives and are honest with our opinions.

Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?
I would have to say 2nd Skull and Nature’s Bounty. 2nd Skull introduced me to a product that parents should invest in for their sports-loving kids in order to help reduce head injuries, while Nature’s Bounty gave me everything that I needed to live a better life in 2018.

Who is your mentor?
I don’t really have a mentor. Instead, I have a few bloggers whose blogs I enjoy reading.

How do you organize your day?
Can I admit that I don’t? I used to, but recently I sat down and had a chat with myself. Life is short, stop organizing and living with schedules, rather, live your best life each day. Buy all the shoes and handbags, take time to smell the roses instead of the coffee and just enjoy life.

More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series
Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.

Take a look at our other featured influencers here, and stop by in July for the next Spotlight Blogger!

How Pet Brands Can Harness the Power of Influencer Marketing

If you’re in the business of helping pets live their happiest lives, you may have considered pet influencer marketing as a strategy for communicating your messages to your target audience. We’ve recently noticed a shift happening in the pet industry and with pet owners, and we believe that now, more than ever, is the perfect time for pet brands to utilize influencer marketing.

Consider these recent trends in the pet industry:

  • 21% of pet food sales has shifted online, with no signs of slowing down.
  • One in four Americans says that they’re more likely to purchase pet food online than in traditional stores (Nielsen).
  • The annual spend on pet food per pet-owning households has increased 36% from 2007 to 2017. Nielsen attributes this increase to the demand for higher-quality, premium food.
  • Nielsen also said, “Sales of products that boast additional health benefits are on the rise — and shoppers are looking past marketing claims to base their purchase on what they see in the ingredient panel.” Pet owners increasingly care more about the ingredients in their pet’s food and are purchasing from brands that share similar values.
  • The American Pet Products Association estimates $73 billion in spending among U.S. pet owners.

Whether dog owners are searching for tips on detangling their pup’s fur, or a cat lover is on a mission to find the healthiest food for her kitten, the internet and social media are go-to sources for finding tried-and-true, pet-related information. The content that bloggers and social media stars produce help with search ranking, too, so by partnering with the right pet influencers, the information brands aim to communicate becomes more readily visible to their audiences.

The Motherhood’s network of top influencers is chock-full of animal lovers and pet owners! We took a survey of them to gain insights on how they celebrate, show off and spoil their favorite creatures.

  • Nearly all respondents (92%) who have pets said that they include their pets in their social media and blog content.
  • 14% said they have a dedicated section of their blog that focuses on their pet(s).
  • About half (43%) of those who said they post pictures of their pets on Instagram reported higher-than-average engagement on those animal-centric photos.
  • From our survey, it is clear that pets are true members of the family: 76% said they buy gifts for their pets for the holidays, and 64% have a special birthday celebration for them. We love that!

And perhaps the biggest takeaway from our survey, 85% of influencers said they want to work with a pet brand in an official capacity. The opportunity is there, and we can help you create a custom, authentic campaign to get your brand in front of pet influencers and their readers/followers who share your love of our four-legged friends.

Pinterest Best Practices from the #Mom2Summit

Pinterest Best Practices

Did you know that Pinterest pins are 100x more spreadable than a tweet, and the half-life of a pin is 16,000 times longer than a Facebook post?

After learning that moms make up 70% of Pinterest’s 200 million monthly users, we were especially excited to sit in on an insightful session during the #Mom2Summit given by Tiffany Black from Pinterest. She offered a number of tips and tricks straight from Pinterest, and they were so helpful that we had to share our notes with you around Pinterest’s best practices for influencers.

Pinterest Best Practices

Photo from Mom 2.0 Summit 2018

First, here are some of the best ways to discover — and to get discovered — on Pinterest:

  1. Home Feed: These are recommendations that Pinterest curates for users based on what they search for and their interactions (likes, saves, etc.).
  2. Search Function: Pinterest recently upgraded their search results to make sure they’re including results from pins, boards and users.
  3. Following Tab: You can follow users and specific boards.

Pinterest receives 2 billion search queries each month! Because so many people discover content through search, Pinterest recognized that the follower number on an influencer’s profile wasn’t an accurate reflection of their reach. That’s why they introduced the monthly visitors number! This number shows how many people saw a user’s pins in the last 30 days. It’s common to see that this number is much higher than your follower number!

If you are an influencer, here are other tips on how to maximize Pinterest for your business:

  1. Get a business account. If you haven’t already, make sure to unlock the Pinterest analytics and more that are available to business accounts. You can tell when a user has converted to a business account, because the header will showcase diagonal photos (see below). Admins can customize the header of photos to feature a specific board or their latest pins; simply click on the pencil on the righthand corner of your profile.

    Photo from Pinterest

  2. Claim your website! Details on how to do that here.
  3. Publish at least weekly, although daily is preferable.

Some other interesting takeaways include:

  • 80% of pinners are on mobile; so use the vertical aspect ratio 2:3 for your pins. For example, 600px wide x 900px high. Square images will also work well when they are a minimum of 600px wide x 600px high.
  • While there is no optimal number of hashtags for Pinterest, the pros recommend that users limit themselves to no more than 20 hashtags.
  • Post multiple pins that all link to the same destination; this could improve your SEO. (Many Pinterest users in the room said “amen” to that one.) Pinterest also suggests that this could work well because different types of pins will appeal to different users.
  • Customize your boards:
    • Be specific with their names, as this will help them show up in searches.
    • Always choose a category.
    • Don’t try to “be cute” and U S E  S P A C E S in between letters. This actually will work against you, and your boards will not show up in search results.
    • Don’t forget, you can archive boards.
  • Add the Save button to your website; this button will increase your saves by 5X.
  • Although text overlay might hurt your engagement on other sites, it performs very well on Pinterest.
  • Make your content actionable! Ensure that your website is always linked properly in your pin.

What are some of your favorite Pinterest tips and hacks you would share with your fellow influencers?

How Influencers Can Negotiate | Tips from Mom 2.0 Summit

Influencers Can Negotiate

As an influencer network that has been in the business of providing meaningful work and value to both influencers and brands for more than a decade, we know firsthand how much the topic of compensating influencers properly has changed over the past decade (and, surprisingly, we still see brands that are hesitant to compensate influencers for their work!).

If you had the pleasure of attending Mom 2.0 Summit recently, you may have had the chance to hear from Janssen of Everyday Reading share how influencers can negotiate their rates when it comes to working with brands and agencies. As an influencer who now owns and operates two personal brands, Janssen has had a lot of experience with negotiation over the years. She acknowledged her original mindset was to establish high rates, suggesting at the 2017 summit that influencers should charge more. However, she reinforced this year the importance of creating a win-win for both parties instead. Read more for some takeaways from her talk on how influencers can negotiate (and should!) for their work.

“Brands aren’t there to help your dreams come true!”

Janssen made this point to underscore that if your following and influence simply don’t exist, “you can’t expect a brand to pay you to gain influence.” As you are starting up, it may be worth your while to work for free. By doing that, you’re proving to a brand that you will work hard and that you have a genuine affinity for their product or service. In fact, that’s how Janssen was able to get her foot in the door with Stitch Fix!

She also pointed out that sometimes agencies have a bigger budget and can be flexible, but other times, they simply don’t.

When negotiating, Janssen suggested asking yourself: “What areas am I influential in?” and using those as proof points for your negotiation. It’s important to note that sheer numbers and traffic do not guarantee higher rates; some brands consider that to be the ultimate marker of success, but others place higher importance on imagery or engagement, for instance.

Photo from Mom 2 Summit 2018

Tips for Negotiating

Janssen suggested asking about the rate off the bat; you don’t want to wait until you’re halfway into a campaign before agreeing to compensation and the terms!

As you’re in those discussions, be upfront about your standard pricing (media kits that include case studies and proof of your performance for brands can be helpful for making your case). And, remind the brand or agency contact of past successes. After all, if you are going to charge more, you’ll need to tell them why you’re worth that price.

If budget is too restrictive, you can get creative, too: influencers can negotiate other work, like photography, more or fewer social posts, coupons, products or other discounts that are beneficial for both you and the brand.

Making it a Win-Win

To make it a win-win for both parties involved, you’ll need to understand how you can help achieve the brand’s goals. The best way of doing this? Ask about their goals and what a “win” would look like for the brand at the onset of a campaign. Understand how the brand is measuring success and develop your content accordingly.

Another great way to be memorable and hopefully secure repeat business is to over-deliver on your original asks, and efficiently (think over a 1- to 2-day period) give your readers/followers multiple touch points and exposure to the brand.

Finally, merchandising your success is key! Report back with insights, screenshots of great engagement, comments or other interesting takeaways from your work.

We’d love to hear your best negotiation tips! Share with us in the comments.

Top Five Takeaways from Mom 2.0 Summit

mom 2.0

The Mom 2.0 Summit, the first conference of its kind dedicated to mom influencers and marketers, celebrated its 10th anniversary this month, and the milestone event provided an ideal opportunity to reflect on where influencer marketing has been and where it’s going. The Motherhood team was excited to be there, and now to share some key takeaways coming out of this year’s Summit.

Loud and clear from speakers, attendees and sponsors was the universal agreement that influencer-brand partnerships have everlasting strength; the opinions and stories of real people in their real lives continues to be one of the most powerful forms of messaging and marketing. Ten years in, the conference is bigger than ever, with huge stars, global sponsors, dozens of amazing speakers, and the world’s most impactful and talented influencers, but the fundamentals of what has always been important in the influencer and brand connection — community, authenticity, quality — was elevated more this year than ever before.

Here are the top trends we tracked at the conference:

1. For the most successful brand and influencer partnerships – it’s about creating family.

When influencers work with brands, a relationship is born. When that relationship grows, it’s nurtured and built over time, and the rewards for all involved are multiplied. In the case of Kia Family, that success is even more pronounced because of the team/family approach Kia takes in building their influencer team together. This idea was abundantly clear in the panel discussion led by Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All, Shelley from A Magical Mess and Summer from Dirty Floor Diaries. The room was filled to capacity with motivated influencers who reinforced the value of bigger, collective efforts that tell a fuller story.
Mom 2.0

Time after time with bloggers, we hear that they are seeking long-term relationships with brands, and we see great success when we help build and sustain long-term influencer ambassador campaigns with our clients. Not only does this help improve their SEO and overall performance of posts, but it helps improve trust and credibility among their readers when they use and give updates on the same brands over time. It’s important to realize influencers have relationships with their readers, also, who are drawn to storytelling over time, and a narrative that builds.

It was no surprise to us that Kia tweets (including #KiaMom, #KiaFamily and #KiaPartner) were among the top tweeted hashtags for the Mom 2.0 conference! Of all of the sponsored hashtags, #KiaFamily rose to the top, and made up roughly 20% of the conference’s #Mom2Summit Twitter impressions. This is just a micro window into how their approach with influencers is successful and pays off in big ways.

2. Communication in partnerships is a two-way street.

Janssen from Everyday Reading shared a valuable lesson on negotiation (check back for a separate blog post on that soon!). She challenged audience members to report back to their brand contacts with campaign results, in order to maintain the line of communication. We heard a similar tip from Shannon Thorndyke during her session on dark social. Both speakers encouraged influencers to take screenshots of comments to send back to the brand. And, if you’re on the brand or agency side, it’s important to realize that you have a part to play, too. Be upfront and clear in your expectations when communicating with influencer partners. Something we commonly hear during conferences is how brands are not following up with influencers to let them know the results of the program. Don’t leave your influencer relationships hanging, and influencers, be prepared to hear and receive that feedback – and act on it!

Mom 2.0

3. Influencer marketing is human-centered marketing.

We like the way relationships were touched on during Thursday’s session titled PR Hot Seat: Ask Them Anything with Erin Ziering and Veena Crownholm:

Mom 2.0

Even with all of the changes and updates to marketing tools, platforms and services, it’s important to remember that we are still people, and at the end of the day, and it’s about the relationships you build with one another.

Best Buy nailed the human element in their booth, where conference participants had multiple opportunities to engage and share their experiences easily online. Their sponsored hashtag #BestMoms was the second most popular conference hashtag over the week. The Twitter stream was full of fun GIFs of beautiful LG refrigerators, winning electronic prizes and gift cards, and sharing creative and professional-looking photos on high quality cameras.

We also need to mention Dove here, as their suite offered a complete hair salon for influencers to experience. Their sponsored keynote with Debbie Allen featured the #HourwithHer project, which encourages women to spend an hour instilling self confidence in young girls.

4. As with all things in life, hard work (and failure) is the key to success.

The Mom 2.0 keynote speakers, Debbie Allen and Brene Brown, shared their journeys to success, both acknowledging the hard work — and oftentimes failure — that it took to get there. As Brene Brown so perfectly put it, “I’ve never known a person who chose to dare greatly to not know failure, heartbreak or loss. Every day you have to choose comfort or courage.”

Multiple times throughout breakout sessions, we heard speakers encourage influencers to write about brands that they really love for free, organically, as that proves to brands that they are a good fit and will work hard for campaigns later on when the brand is ready to do influencer campaigns.

Shannon Thorndyke reminded her audience in a breakout session of the ways to stand out to a brand. While it requires a little more time to analyze your audience insights and engagements, it could be of great value to the brand! Janssen from Everyday Reading said as a rule of thumb to “over-deliver over the course of a few days!”

5. It’s not just technology that is getting savvy — readers and brands are, too.

Breakout sessions revealed that there are tracking tools that now help brands identify use of bots and fake followers. As technology is getting smarter, so are consumers and brands. They are watching what influencers do and can tell when sponsored content is forced into their feed and doesn’t naturally fit with their lives. And beyond that, brands are realizing that it’s not just about numbers: Authentic stories and real human connection will always take top billing.

Congratulations Mom 2.0 Summit, and founders Laura Mayes and Carrie Pacini on 10 amazing years, and here’s to many, many more productive and insightful summits to come!

Were you at Mom 2.0 Summit? What were your takeaways?

Spotlight Blogger: Amber, Mommy Gone Healthy

Mommy Gone Healthy

Amber of Mommy Gone Healthy balances two little ones on the daily, so this top lifestyle blogger relies on yoga to keep her sane, and coffee to fuel her mornings! Whether it’s recipes, wellness tips, parenting advice or beauty hacks, Amber has a natural knack for sharing useful, practical information. That’s why we hand-picked her to be our Spotlight Blogger this May! Read our Q&A with her and learn more about Mommy Gone Healthy, Amber’s thoughts on the influencer marketing industry, her favorite personal achievement and much more.

What do you feel is the #1 trend in influencer marketing in 2018?
Influencer marketing is becoming more popular, and brands are really beginning to fully see the impact that influencer marketing can have, and I think it will continue to grow and become more mainstream. As influencers, we’re the gatekeepers to brands’ targeted audiences and our voices are powerful. Videos are going to continue to rise, too!

What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?
Some of my most popular posts on Mommy Gone Healthy are tutorials or recipes posts. When creating content, I always try to keep in mind that readers are looking for content that they can use and apply to their everyday lives. Content is queen, and one of the keys to a successful post is providing something of value to readers that can solve a problem or simplify their lives.

How has Mommy Gone Healthy changed since you first got started?
Oh goodness, so much has changed! When I began, I focused on a lot of reviews, but found it wasn’t really working for my readers. The last few years, I’ve worked toward helping my readers balance motherhood and everyday life while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Photography has been a huge hurdle for me, and honing that skill has been so valuable.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a blog?
Write about something you’re passionate about and remember that it takes time to grow an audience. I’ve had many ask about blogging and then get discouraged a month in because they aren’t landing paid gigs. Work on creating a portfolio and connecting with your readers first!

What trend or platform is on its way out?
While I love Twitter, I think that it’s slowly being phased out. It’s become more of a news source than social network.

What’s your greatest challenge when working with brands?
It can be a challenge with some brands when they have a long list of requirements and don’t allow influencers to use their judgment on what content will work best with their audience. Readers don’t want to feel that they are being sold or reading a commercial and some brands are very stuck on posts being a certain way.

What’s your best blogging tip?
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. I see many influencers get so caught up on one social media channel and the “numbers game” (number of followers, higher engagement, etc.). Social media will continue to change and so much of it is outside of your control. Your blog is the one thing you have complete control over and own, so remember to nurture it (and grow your email list).

Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?
I had so much fun with the JOHNSON’S baby beauty hacks campaign and Farmers to Families! Both allowed me to get creative with recipe development, which I love!

What is your proudest achievement?
It’s been such a fun and proud journey to see how far my blog has come. I started this blog while raising a newborn and two-year-old as a means to keep in touch with family and friends, and as an outlet during that tough time. I can’t believe I didn’t quit at that time because life was busy, crazy and so sleep-deprived! I never imagined having my own business and am so grateful for the freedom blogging has provided for our family.

What are your three most-used emojis?

More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series
Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.

Take a look at our other featured influencers here, and stop by in June for the next Spotlight Blogger!

Attention Chicagoans: See Lyric Opera’s Jesus Christ Superstar + Ticket Discount Code

Declan Bennett as Jesus with the Apostles during a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Photo by Johan Persson.

Interested in seeing Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera of Chicago? The Motherhood’s Erin Olson recommends it — check out her review below. Click here for a calendar of performances, and keep reading to learn about a discount code you can use for 20% off the cost of tickets.

There is nothing quite like the experience of sitting in an ornate, historic theater as the lights go down and a live orchestra tunes up to signal the start of a performance. No matter how many times I see a show, that cacophony of sound in a darkening room always creates an indescribable sense of thrill and anticipation.

The latest performance to bring me to the edge of my seat was just a few days ago, when I had the chance to attend the dress rehearsal for Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera of Chicago (which hired us for a local influencer campaign), along with local blogger superstars Lisa of My Thoughts, Ideas and Ramblings, Michelle of Honest & Truly, and Teresa of Tiaras & Tantrums.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Erin (The Motherhood), Teresa (Tiaras & Tantrums) and Lisa (My Thoughts, Ideas and Ramblings) at the dress rehearsal for Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera.

Jesus Christ Superstar shares the story of the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, as seen from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, who famously betrays him. I knew only the basics going into the performance, and not being particularly well-versed in Bible teachings, I wasn’t sure what to expect. If you feel the same, not to worry! The show focuses on high-energy dance sequences and powerful music (written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice).

I’m not new to live theater in Chicago — I’ve been to plenty of big Broadway musicals here in the city (think Hamilton, Wicked, Jersey Boys), and this was like nothing I’ve ever seen; it was more like a rock concert than an opera or musical. With 80 artists on stage throughout the production, the cast is huge and diverse, and the production values are out of this world. To paint a quick picture by numbers: The orchestra includes 37 members, there are 101 lights illuminating the 37-foot cross, the cast cycles through more than 150 costumes during the two-hour production — including King Herod’s cape, which is 25 feet long — and 90 pounds of gold confetti are released at every show.

No corners are cut here. It is truly an impressive performance, and one that should not be missed.

The show is currently running through May 20, and there will be 25 total performances, one almost every day, so there’s an option for any schedule. I highly recommend taking a look at the calendar here. Tickets start at just $29, and Lisa, Michelle and Teresa are sharing special promo codes for 20% off ticket prices, so click through to their blogs (hyperlinked above) to get a great deal on an amazing, must-see experience.

What You Need to Know About Banned Hashtags on Instagram

Between recent privacy concerns and updates to the Instagram algorithm and feed, the platform is going through some big changes that affect both marketers and users. At The Motherhood, we always have our ear to the ground to track the impact of these changes on influencer campaigns, and we will provide insights in subsequent blog posts as the dust begins to settle. Today, we plan to focus on Instagram’s banned hashtags.
If you manage social media profiles for your brand or blog, then you are probably familiar with how hashtags can help increase your reach and engagement, particularly on Instagram. But what you might not know is that more than 114,000 hashtags have been banned on Instagram, and using a banned hashtag can cause your content, or even your account, to be blocked.
Are you unknowingly using these banned hashtags? How do you implement a smart and Instagram-approved hashtag strategy? Read on for The Motherhood’s tips on how to effectively use hashtags on Instagram.

WHy is instagram banning hashtags?

When Instagram detects that a hashtag is being used broadly with content that violates their Community Guidelines, the platform will ban the hashtag, and it can be either temporarily or permanently blocked. These guidelines encourage users to “foster meaningful and genuine interactions,” stating:

“Help us stay spam-free by not artificially collecting likes, followers, or shares, posting repetitive comments or content, or repeatedly contacting people for commercial purposes without their consent.”

While inauthentically gaining engagement is a common reason for banning a hashtag, other violations of community guidelines include posting unoriginal photos, copyrighted photos, graphic images, hate speech, or threats and discrimination against other Instagram members.

What happens when I use banned hashtagS?

Using banned Instagram hashtags can shadowban, or in serious cases, block your account from the Instagram Community. Banned hashtag use could also render your other hashtags useless (meaning your post also won’t show up in their respective hashtag feeds).

To see if your post has been shadowbanned, you can click on any hashtag in your post (if you used more than one) and check if your image appears in that hashtag’s feed. If it does not, there is a chance that your post was shadowbanned.

whICH hashtags are banned?

The list has included common hashtags like #adultlife, #beautyblogger and #instamood. It also includes some you probably wouldn’t suspect, but have been used in spam-like posts often, like #kansas.

Check out this list from Social Insider, but keep in mind that it does not include all of the 114,000 hashtags that are or have been blocked. As with anything on social media, this list is ever-evolving, so hashtags that appear on this list may no longer be banned by the time you are thinking about using them.

One way to tell if a hashtag is still banned is to go to Instagram’s app and search for a hashtag under the “Tag” section. If it doesn’t appear in the list, it’s banned. If it does appear, you’ll want to click on it and make sure that it isn’t partially banned. Here’s an example of that:

Image from Rebelle Nutrition


should I even use hashtags?

Don’t say no to hashtags altogether! Research has shown that using even one hashtag in a post can increase engagement by 12.6 percent.

While Instagram’s limit is up to 30 hashtags, we advise you not to use 30 hashtags in one post. According to research by TrackMaven (via Revive), performance peaks when you use around 10 hashtags per Instagram post. More than that can look spammy — both to your followers and to Instagram’s algorithm!

Instagram encourages its community not to solely rely on hashtags for growth, but instead on creative and organic content. So while hashtags can certainly be implemented in your content to increase exposure, make sure you aren’t relying too heavily on them.

Important tip: Do not use Instagram bots to increase engagement! They can potentially hurt your account, as Instagram has recently been cracking down on bots and making updates to the algorithm that will penalize or shadowban your posts.

Which banned hashtag surprised you? Share it in the comments!

2018 Blogger Conferences and Industry Events: Are You Attending?

Industry conferences are one of the best avenues for professional development for influencers. Attending conferences offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a specific topic, meet and hear from leaders in a variety of industries, build your brand (corporate or personal) and network with other like-minded individuals. And when it comes to blogger conferences and social media events specifically, we’re seeing more and more crop up every year. As pioneers in the industry, we couldn’t be more excited about that because it validates just how powerful this movement, our voices and these technologies are!

While conferences offer a valuable experience, it’s usually a significant investment to attend — both financially and time-wise. We surveyed our network of amazing influencers and asked if they were making such investments to attend any conferences this year, and their thoughts on these events. Take a look at what they have to say here!

Benefits of Attending blogger Conferences

According to our survey, the top benefit of attending blogger-specific conferences is networking with brands and agencies! The feeling is mutual: from an agency perspective, we absolutely love the opportunity to meet influencers face-to-face, especially since so much of our work is done online.

Other top reasons for influencers to attend include networking with other bloggers, attending workshops to learn about new trends and techniques, and hearing a keynote speaker.

popular influencer marketing + social media conferences

Many of the influencers we surveyed will be attending Mom 2.0 May 2-4 (for their 10-year anniversary!). BlogHer, Type-AWomen in Travel Summit, and SNAP! Conference, of which we were a proud sponsor last year, were among other popular events that respondents are planning to attend.

Another common theme? Attending niche conferences — whether it’s a soap-making conference like Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild’s, or a pet-focused one like BlogPaws.


Many of the bloggers we surveyed are conference veterans, and only plan on attending if their attendance is sponsored by a brand. Sponsoring bloggers to attend events is a great way for both brands and bloggers to have a presence at conferences. For the brand, it guarantees exposure of their message. For bloggers, it helps offset the expense of the trip and allows them to build a stronger partnership with the brand. A handful of the bloggers we heard from have confirmed on-site ambassadorships at conferences this year, where they will be extensions of the brand team at the event.

Others we heard from have brand partnerships that will result in post-conference coverage, demonstrating just a few of the multiple ways brands and bloggers can work together during these events!

Influencers attending blogger conferences

Trina from The Mommyhood Life visited the StarKist booth at BlogHer 2017 as part of a partnership with the brand and The Motherhood.


Some of the hurdles that preclude bloggers from attending events include proximity and timing. Others, as individuals who have attended dozens of conferences in their careers, mentioned they don’t see a huge return on their investment since the events aren’t always geared toward what they’re looking to learn.

While continued online education opportunities are certainly not lacking — with webinars, digital downloads and more — it’s always refreshing to have these opportunities to connect in person.

If you didn’t have a chance to take our survey, tell us in the comments if you plan on attending any blogger conferences this year!

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