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Lessons From Instagram Top Posts

There are a few lessons we can all learn from these posts with massive engagement, whether you’re a big business or just starting out.
Share your big moments. Several of the top posts of all time are people sharing big moments from their real lives. Big moments like weddings, babies, or engagements are proven to be popular posts, and this will likely prove true on your account as well.
Share your exciting moments. Moments of personal victory or change may seem too personal to share – after all, will your audience be as excited as you about things that don’t affect them? If the top posts are any indication, they will love seeing these posts.
Share your happy moments. There’s a fine line between bragging posts and sharing authentically happy moments. Happiness is contagious, and your posts that take a moment to celebrate both mundane and exceptional happiness can catch fire on your followers’ feeds.
Share your sad moments. Several of the top posts have to do with deaths that impacted a lot of people. It can seem like the difficult moments of our lives are better kept tucked away, but the reality is, most people can relate to these almost more than happy posts. When you share difficult news with your audience including the loss of a loved one, a lost job, the diagnosis of an illness, or personal difficulty, your audience engages with the reality of your life. It’s important to always keep a boundary between things you share and things you want to keep private, and it can be damaging to expose personal information for the sake of audience engagement. But when you find it useful to share difficult news with your audience, the outcome could be that they feel even closer to you.
Which one are you going to try to share more of?

Why You Need an Instagram Audit

Tips for Instagram Audit
An audit of your IG account can help you assess whether your account is meeting the goals you have for it, who your followers are, and whether your content is the quality it should be.
Running an audit of your account may seem daunting, but here are a couple of simple steps to make it quick and painless:
Take a Fresh Look at Your Content. Take a comprehensive look at how your posts are doing and who is engaging. You can also create a quick checklist for each post, and read through your captions. Does each post have a call to action? Are your hashtags relevant and engaging without trying too hard? Are your captions engaging and interesting?
Go Back to the Basics. You might take a fresh look and ask yourself if your profile picture is still fresh and relevant. If your branding has changed, or if your look has changed, it might be time to freshen that up. Check and make sure your bio is still accurate and reflects the branding on your account, and of course make sure the website linked is not out of date.
Running an audit on your account may seem like a daunting task but these simple actions can keep your account fresh and relevant, and can assure that you’re gaining new followers for a long time to come!
This is something I recommend doing at least once a year–so why not start the year with this on your calendar!?!

New Instagram Story Sticker


The way it works is by creating a thread of Instagram Stories, starting with the new sticker being added to a Story alongside a text input field. Underneath this, the sticker prompts viewers of the stories to respond back with their own Instagram Story, which is then automatically added to your Story, and every Story account that participates in the thread!
It’s an exciting way to collect user-generated content, create challenges, drive a ton of engagement to your Instagram account, and get discovered by new accounts!


  1. To get started, log into Instagram on your phone app.
  2. Create an Instagram Story using either images or video content.
  3. Open the Sticker Tray, and tap on the ‘ADD YOURS’ sticker to add to your media.
  4. Type in a Prompt – either by manually typing in, or click on the dice icon underneath to shuffle through random topics that might inspire you!
  5. Click ‘Done’ to add to your story, and reposition on your story by dragging and/or pinching the sticker into place.
  6. Add any other stickers and design elements to your Instagram Story, and then post!
When your Stories viewers click on the sticker, they’re prompted to create their own Instagram story, which includes your original prompt, posted to their audience. Any replies added from each audience add to the thread of stories, and rapidly extend the possibility of new account discovery and engagement.
It’s important to note that at this stage, there is no way to remove a response story link, so you can’t control what type of content is shown in your replies.

What do you think??? Are you going to give it a try?

5 Obstacles I’ve Overcome in the 5 Years I’ve been in Business

Cindy Rowe Marketing Celebrates 5 Years
Hey. I’m back.
Thought I would continue my sharing this week with 5 obstacles I’ve overcome in the 5 years since launching my business.
This post is vulnerable and personal–so please be kind when reading, commenting or reacting.
1. Shortly after starting my business, my marriage ended. Divorce sucks. But it’s scary to consider living alone on a small income of a newly started consulting business. It was a humbling experience. I secretly got a part-time job so I could firmly grasp my new reality and figure shit out. I had that job for a year when I decided it was time to fly. Once I left, my business blossomed. It was incredible.
2. I had a client drop me. It was early on in my business and I took it incredibly personal. I thought we were on target to meeting (even exceeding) their goals, but they thought otherwise. I felt like everyone knew I just got fired from a client. I felt like I had to justify everything. I almost considered refunding them the money they paid me. I needed this experience to grow from. Clear expectations from both parties is crucial. And I realized that sometimes, people don’t mesh–and that’s okay.
3. At the end of 2018, I was in a terrible car accident. After weeks of going undiagnosed, I learned that I suffered a brain injury. This was a critical time in my business cycle where I typically secure clients for the upcoming year and I couldn’t even function. I was alone. I was scared. I was honest with my clients and told them I would do my best, but understood if they needed to move on. I wasn’t sure when I would be back to “normal”. Not one of my current clients dropped me. That’s when I realized that I built my company with integrity. My clients wanted ME to get better. I was so grateful for their understanding.
4. COVID happened. I know we all have felt the pains of this pandemic that never seems to end. But I had to pivot (like everyone else) and I had to reassure my clients that they still needed me and their marketing efforts. It was a busy time. It was stressful. But, my business made it through successfully.
5. FINALLY–Not thinking I’m good enough–I still battle with this. There are 20-somethings out there that OWN it better than I ever will and I have 20+ years of experience under my belt. Even after all of that, I still occasionally doubt my abilities. Not something I am proud to admit, but it’s the reality I face. I continue my education, read blogs, attend conferences, etc…all of these allow me to stay on top of trends and keep things fresh but man, those feelings still creep up from time to time.
Wow–that was more difficult that I thought it was going to be. Hopefully you can relate on some level. Thanks for reading and supporting me! Cheers!

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Free Monthly Social Media Plan outline

5 Things I’ve Learned in Business Over the Past 5 Years

Cindy Rowe celebrates 5 years in business

Sharing a little bit more about me and my business today…here are 5 things I’ve learned over the past 5 years running a business.
1. It takes Time–yikes…it takes time to build a business from scratch. I knew this, but damn, it can really take a really long time! I didn’t think I would have instant success, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. It also took me a few years to figure out work/life balance. Thank God I did–my life feels more complete since I’ve tackled that demon of owning a small business.
2. Not everyone wants you to succeed--it’s true. And that painful truth hurts, especially when they are close to you. But it’s usually a sign of weakness from them, not from you. The best advice I can give, is succeed anyway.
3. There’s enough business for everyone–I feel this in my soul. I know that I am not a good fit for everyone. I know that there are other talented consultants out there. And I am 100% OK with that reality. I stay in my own lane and focus on providing to my clients and it serves me well. I cheer on others, I encourage others and I’ve recommended others. There’s enough for everyone–it’s time we all got along!!
4. I hate accounting. I said what I said. I’m not good at it. I despise it. I know it’s important but I’d rather not deal with it.
5. The rewards are plentiful! Man, working for myself has amazing rewards, but the best one by far is seeing a client succeed. I love knowing that I can make a small impact on their business when I work with them. Endless smiles…
Thanks for catching up with me this week! I have more planned for next week–see you then!

Grab this freebie:
Free Monthly Social Media Plan outline

My 5 BIG WINS in 5 Years of Business

Cindy Rowe Marketing Celebrates 5 Big WinsHi. It’s me, Cindy.
During this celebratory month, I thought it would be fun to reflect back over the past 5 years and share a few things about me and my business. This week–I will start by sharing my 5 biggest WINS! (these aren’t in any special order–just shooting from the hip!)
1. Starting! Yep–If I didn’t start, I wouldn’t be here 5 years later. It’s crazy, but it true. Starting is the biggest step. Belief that I could run a business and make it successful–I didn’t cave into FEAR!
2. Networking! I remember meeting John Broda at a Networking event. He introduced me to others and a great business friendship formed. I always saw John as a connector–he is good at getting the right people in front of each other. John was also my first non-friend client–he took a leap and trusted me! I will never forget that.
3. Office Space! Moving out of the house and coffee shops into my own space was so liberating! My dreams/vision for my business was never to have an agency or large office–but a quiet place to work and be organized–I WANTED THAT!!! I love having a place to go, surrounded by other entrepreneurs and business people, Irontek is the perfect place for me!
4. Referrals! Yes–the heartbeat of my business! When I have people recommend me to their friends, it is truly the greatest compliment. It also raises the bar for me–I don’t want to let the client down or the friend that referred me. These recommendations are such a blessing and I never take them for granted.
5. Conferences! I set a goal in 2019 to host educational events. That goal was met and then some! I hosted my own Social Media Conference with a goal of 20-30 people–I blew it out of the park with over 50 in attendance. After that conference, I went on and hosted 4 more! This was a pivotal experience for my business. I loved every second of it. Look for more educational opportunities coming soon!
Looking back over the past 5 years is fun! Stay tuned for more!!

Hooray for 5 Years!!

celebrating 5 years in businessTODAY IS A MAJOR MILESTONE FOR ME!!!
Today I celebrate 5 years in business!

Has it been easy? HELL NO.
Has it been worth it? HELL YES!

I wasn’t ready to start when I did–but I took the leap anyways. I wasn’t sure where I’d end up or how long I’d succeed, but I knew it was worth trying. I wasn’t aware of the hurdles I’d have to jump and situations I’d endure, but I started anyways.

I had many people not believe in my dreams or my vision, yet I kept moving forward. I had people tell me where they thought my business should go, but that was their vision, not mine. I had people laugh at me and couldn’t believe I walked away from an almost 6-figure career for this. I had people whisper behind my back and tell untrue stories about my experience or my abilities. I had people cheer me on and encourage me. I had referrals from people that only knew of me through social media. I had repeat business. I had many mistakes and failures. And I have had lots of successes and wins.
I’ve been nervous about where my next client is coming from and wondering how I can manage all of my workload.

I’ve met amazing business owners. I’ve had incredible clients. I’ve built great business friendships.
My passion has been helping others. In the corporate world, I felt like that part of my life was missing. So when I built my company, my number one focus was going to be helping small businesses. I built my business with honesty and integrity. And holy shit–I made it to the 5 year mark!

Thank you for your love and support over the past 5 years–I look forward to the exciting future ahead!!
All month long I will be celebrating–so grab your glass and join me!!

Social Media Content Ideas for July

july social media ideas

Where does the time go? We are sitting at the beginning of yet another month. It’s been such a quick summer already. Here’s a quick guide to get you thinking about social media post ideas for the month! No excuses–I’ve made it super easy for you!

July 1 – Create a FLASH Sale…make this a hot offer, limited time only

July 2 – Feel Good Friday – share a picture of something that makes you happy and ask your audience to share what makes them happy

July 3 – Small Business Shoutout – share (tag) a favorite local small business you want your fans to know about

July 4 – 4th of July – share a pic of a local flag display and comment what freedom means to you

July 5 – It’s National Work-aholic Day – encourage everyone to create balance in their life.

July 6 – Tuesday Tip – provide a valuable tip that your audience can use right away.

July 7 –  Wednesday Wisdom- share a meaningful quote or thought

July 8 – Share a blog post from an industry leader

July 9 – Friday Introductions – give a few things about yourself and ask your fans to share something about themselves

July 10 – What’s your current VIBE? Share a favorite song

July 11 – Sunday Funday – share a selfie of something fun you did or are doing over the weekend

July 12 – Customer Review – share and tag (with permission)

July 13 – Share a stat about your industry

July 14 – Work it Wednesday – show your work desk, share behind the scenes or give a hint on your current projects

July 15 – Get to Know Your Customer Day – ask them what their favorite item of yours is

July 16 – Ask for advice on what to cook for dinner–share your favorite grilling recipe

July 17 – World Emoji Day – ask fans to share their most used emoji with you in the comments

July 18 – Video–share a quick 3 min or less video on why you are in business

July 19 – Promote a product or service

July 20 – Ask for advice or a referral (could be anything!)

July 21 – #wcw, share a woman that inspires you

July 22 – Invite fans to join your email/newsletter

July 23 – Answer a FAQ

July 24 – Share a weekend gif and ask fans to share their plans for the weekend with a gif

July 25 – Gratitude post – share something you are grateful for in your business

July 26 – Monday Motivation – share a motivational quote

July 27 – Highlight a local vendor

July 28 – Share the story behind your name/logo

July 29 – #tbt Throwback Thursday – dig into your archives and find an old post or something from when you just started

July 30 – International Day of Friendship – highlight a friendship you’ve created by owning your business

July 31 – Month end wrap-up – share a story of a success from the month

Marketing After Covid-19

Business as usual has changed and will keep changing. The way your business responds will determine if you’ll move forward or get stuck. The way a business utilizes its marketing will be a tell tale sign on how they will recover or keep up after Covid-19.

This is the time to get strategic and leverage your business and resources to nurture leads and increase revenue. The marketing that emerges after Covid-19 will be a product of shifts in the industry as well as a changed consumer. It needs to be more personal and more digital—filling every screen/device of your life.

Here are some of the strategies your small business should consider:

  1. ENGAGE – Focus on boosting lifetime value and the customer experience as well as delivering a purpose driven and meaningful brand. People buy from people—people want to be engaged, not sold to.
  2. EMPATHY – Show genuine empathy, promote engagement that will unravel the shifting attitudes and consumer behaviors. Understand your customers changing needs. Don’t think like a business owner or marketer, think like the customer.
  3. BE AUTHENTIC – Give back—provide as much value to customer and communities—this will help drive a long term customer loyalty. Bring back the human touch even though we are in the digital age. Make everything about people. Consumers want to know where their money is going and that those companies are doing the right thing.
  4. RETHINK – Covid-19 will leave lasting changes to the consumer landscape. Businesses can’t pick up where they left off—everything is still evolving. Businesses need to monitor their communication and messaging. Businesses need to be agile enough to pivot quickly. Product offerings need to be relevant. Find technologies that can help save money, reassess the ones you actually need and which ones can help transform your business.
  5. COMMUNITY – Community is king. Engage with your audience that already exists. Spend more time having conversations that posting content by participating in your community.

Considering the strategies listed above, here is a roadmap to put them into place in your business to help catapult your success.

  1. INBOUND MARKETING – This task is more important than ever. It helps businesses to build relationships online and is simply the best way to convert leads into loyal customers. With lead nurturing through inbound marketing you need to listen to the needs of your audience and provide information that helps solve their problems. Examples: Blogs, social media posts, ebooks, videos, webinars.
  2. LEAD GENERATION – Priorities of consumers have shifted and your marketing strategies should reflect that. Using quality content to create powerful online connections is key—humanizing your brand and speaking to customers concerns will nurture an ongoing conversation. Quarantine has taught us that online conversations can be just as meaningful as face-to-face. Brands have a wealth of resources and opportunities to connect with their communities. Online consumption is at an all-time high and its not likely to change. Businesses need to double down on engagement efforts and revisit your approach to organic traffic. The easiest/fastest way to boost organic traffic is to provide relevant content. Trying to sell your old offerings to the customers you had is a recipe for disaster. Instead create/deliver/communicate new offerings—starting with the consumers needs/hopes and desires.
  3. RUN A SWOTStrengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats – take a hard look at internal strengths and weaknesses while you scan the new world for opportunities and threats. Crossing your internal strengths and external opportunities could produce key leverage points. Crossing internal weaknesses with external threats could highlight business issues. Start by understanding the changes in the world and then figure out how you can best adapt. What trends are you seeing that can help transform your business?

At the end of the day, when things return to “normal”, the big key for businesses is to have a start-up mindset. Be quick to change. And if we learned anything from this Covid-19 crisis, it’s to make everything about the people. When you put people first and focus on the community you have already created, you will see things turn around.