3 Simple Steps to getting started on Instagram (and Facebook) Stories


Brands, small businesses and entrepreneurs are scared to get onto the Instagram Stories bandwagon. I am getting the sense it is a combination of self-consciousness and mindset, but as always, the world of online marketing is changing and businesses need to adapt.

Facebook for Business is leaning towards a “Stories World,” with 62% of businesses are using the tool, it’s time to look past what you look and sound like and remember, if you don’t stay on top of marketing trends, your brand and business could be left in the dust. Even though they only last 24 hours, Stories produce a big impact and make you relatable to the customer. (related: check out my Facebook Stories Hack) https://shannonleestrategy.com/readme/2019/3/12/my-trick-for-organic-reach-on-facebook

Luckily for you, adding Instagram (and Facebook) Stories is rather simple to add to your marketing plan and simple to manage.

Here are three easy steps I work on with my coaching students:

✔️ If you don't know where to start, observe. Spend anywhere from 1 day to a week looking at the content being put out by friends, businesses and even competitors.

✔️Then think to yourself, "How can I do this differently or better?" Make a note of what you like (and don't like) and let your personality shine because there is only one you and that is what makes you stand out and unique.

✔️ Block the time and do the work. To start out, block an hour to make a calendar for a month topics and then block five minutes a day to get on Stories itself to talk about your topics. It may not be perfect at first but remember practice and just doing it will make things easy over time.

#SMMW19 Live Tips from Amy Porterfield


#SMMW19 Notes from Amy Porterfield’s Talk about Going Live. Amy Porterfield is the guru when it comes to digital course developed so I really wanted to hear what she had to say about live video.

Amy’s tips for going live on Instagram and Facebook are the following:

  • It’s all about your mindset!

  • Start by starting … you have to consistently show up to get people to show up for you

  • Its more about you in the beginning but don’t worry, if you stay consistent, there will be a shift

  • Be vulnerable and relatable. Don’t make up stuff and be authentic

  • Ease into live video by starting once a week

  • Don’t worry about being polished and let your what you’re talking about shine!

  • Valuable content is key

  • Promote before and ask people to submit questions before hand

  • Scared to get started on live videos? Practice on Instagram Stories

  • Keep the equipment simple

  • Be prepared but don’t script

VIDEO: Email marketing trends you need to jump on RIGHT NOW


On March 13, in a flu haze, my phone was blowing up! No one could get into their Facebook or Instagram accounts. Since I had the flu, I had taken the day off to rest up but I pinged my friend asking for advice as another friend could not get into her Instagram account as she thought Instagram had suspended her account! It turns out, no one could get in and there was a 10 hour outage on both social networks. YIKES! Everyone got a tiny taste of a world without social and it was scary.

What’s even scarier is of my 1300 followers on Instagram, I only probably have 175 on my email list! Email is something you own! Zuckerberg owns Facebook and Instagram, it’s free and well, it could be taken away TOMORROW.

In this video, I talk about Ann Handley’s inspiring talk about how to write emails people will want to read and how I implemented this myself and got responses!

VIDEO: 2019 Social Media Trends from Social Media Marketing World 2019


I’m back from San Diego and Social Media Marketing World with an update on where social media is heading in 2019 (yes, I realize it’s the end of March).

This video was originally from Instagram Live so I swiped it down and put it on my READ ME so you could enjoy it here!

In this video, I’ll talk about where Facebook Marketing is headed, why you need to jump on the live video bandwagon and why you shouldn’t overlook YouTube. These were my takeaways from Social Media Examiners’s President Mike Stelzner’s opening keynote.

My trick for organic reach on Facebook


I hear it all the time, "Shannon, how do I beat the Facebook and Instagram algorithm?

"Beating" the algorithm of those social networks take time, engagement to get the eyeballs on your posts.

When it comes to Facebook, it is "pay to play" and the pay part is at a large discount. For local businesses, you don't have to spend much to get reach and if you have a small budget for advertising, get on it now because it won't always be at the low cost-per-clicks we're seeing right now. Remember how inexpensive Google Adwords used to be? I don't expect those low costs to last.

If you don't really have a budget, there is one trick that is working for myself, my coaching clients and businesses I work with ... Post to Facebook Stories. If you're a regular on Instagram Stories, send over those stories to Facebook too.

Why? As of right now, they are showing in real time and not dictated by our best buddy Mr. Algorithm. But as we all know, that won't last forever.

4 Steps to Growing Instagram followers the right way


Probably the biggest question I'm asked when speaking at an event is “how do I grow my Instagram following?” Many of you want a simple answer like “Can I run a like campaign like Facebook?” or “Can I hire a company to do it for you?”

The answer ... nope, you have to put in the work to get those followers. Sure, that sounds really hard, but I'm going to give you simple ways to help you gain followers naturally without getting in trouble with Instagram.

Engage & Add Value

Engage Do not hire a loop, pod or service to gain followers. It's the quickest way to get banned on Instagram and lose your business account. Often when I'm meeting with small businesses they will comment after looking at my Instagram profile “you don't have a ton of Instagram followers why should I hire you?”

For me, I'm good with the number of followers I have because my followers are my ideal client. It should never be about how many followers you have -- it should always be about having the right followers. To grab those followers, I engage in hashtags where my ideal client is hanging out hang along with developing content that adds value! That is one of the keys to getting followers on Instagram.

Consider an Instagram Stories Takeover

Have you considered an Instagram Stories Takeover to gain rapid visibility? I talked to my business coach Sue B. Zimmerman in this Instagram Live I did recently. Head over and watch here as she goes over steps on making it successful and a win-win for the person whose account you're taking over.

Giveaway a product or service

Do a giveaway! Make sure the giveaway is one that reaches to your ideal client. Also, make the giveaway simple to enter. If you make it too difficult for people, they won't take part. After giveaway introduces yourself to all your new followers. Lastly, make sure you know the rules of doing giveaways on social media. They change all the time so research quarterly to make sure you're doing executing it correctly.


Networking is another way to grow your Instagram following. Networking online in Facebook groups is a great way to get the word out about what you do and where to follow you! There’s also the good old fashion way of going to events or speaking at events. Make sure you have your elevator pitch down, so people know what you do, what problem you solve and where to find you so they can follow you as well.

If you’re still stuck, let’s talk! Book 15 minutes with me and let’s see how I can help!

What it's like to be part of my coaching program


I started a coaching program in 2018 by accident. When I was unemployed, my friend Eileen told me I should become one of those “people who teaches people how to do things online.” I laughed because at the time my confidence was so low, I thought she was going a little nuts.

Fast forward to January 2018 when I was a little more confident in myself, I told Michelle with the Suitcase Studio that I was thinking about starting a coaching program (which she thought was awesome) and the next day, someone contacted me for coaching. See, the spirits, Universe, GOD does listen. 💫

Over the next week, several others contacted me. This was my testing ground and beta group. 10 people went through the 1:1 program that I refined down to 26 units at the Sue B School Retreat in Boston in June and gave it a name "Simplify your online strategy in under 10 hours a month."


What it’s like to work with me

1) You'll fill out an intake form so I get to know you

2) We'll meet for 30 mins on Zoom or in-person (if you're local) to get to know each other and go over goals

3) Our meetings take place WEEKLY on Zoom via the computer

4) 1:1 clients get a more personalized coaching plan while the group follows a set plan

5) Students received homework each week to work on to level-up your online presence.

6) I'll be launching a Facebook Group for both the 1:1 & Group to help each other and bounce ideas

7) All coaching students have access to me during my office hours if they get stuck

8) We cover all aspects of online marketing NOT just social media. That means you'll learn about email marketing, SEO, web best practices, paid advertising and more.

9) After the program is over, we'll meet when you'd like up to 4 times at no extra charge

If this is something you’re interested in, 1:1 coaching is always ongoing BUT in March, group coaching launches for 6 months! If you’re interest or have any questions, feel free to join the waitlist! I’ll be launching a webinar next month that goes over how to get planning in 2019!

Is Facebook Going Away?


Oh Facebook, you're making me facepalm! Recently in the news, Facebook disclosed more privacy breaches, so I'm here to walk you through ways to protect your data and information along with some marketing tips.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room .. should you ditch Facebook personally and as a business?

People ask me all the time, "Is Facebook going away?" Not at all. A recent report stated that users were very active in groups, their timeline and user growth is being seen with Facebook Stories (the equivalent of Instagram Stories). Social media is BARELY a teenager, and you want to bet radio, print, and TV experienced growing pains and roadblocks.

As a business, here are some things to think about when using Facebook for your Business and marketing in general:

1) Advertise on Facebook ... it's inexpensive, but I've seen prices creeping up over the past year. This all reminded me of 2001 when Google Ads were dirt cheap, and no one was taking advantage of it. Organic reach on business accounts is down. If you want to be seen and heard, amplify it.

2) Send posts to Facebook Stories (even if it's from Instagram Stories). See the above regarding growth in FB Stories.

3) Interact and become an authority in Facebook groups.

4) Evaluate where your customer is spending their time and shift if you need to.

5) Don't forget about traditional marketing tactics like direct mail or getting away from the computer and networking with real people. The internet should not replace good old fashion handshakes and business card exchanges.

6) Your website is your most important marketing tool. Spend a little more time adding valuable content there.

7) Email marketing is still useful. List build. Send out regular emails with the valuable content from your website.

Protecting your data on Facebook:

1) Remove applications installed on Facebook. This is where the data breaches are happening. Review and deactivate by going under your settings. On a desktop this is Settings >> "Apps and Websites." On mobile, hit the three lines (often called hamburger dropdowns) lower-right corner of the screen. Scroll down, tap Settings >> Account Settings >> Apps. You can disable all third-party apps with one click.

2) Review your privacy settings periodically. Under Settings, click Privacy Shortcuts and look through them to see if they are where you’d like them to be.

3) Consider setting up two-factor identification and login alerts. You do this by going to Settings >> Account Settings >> Security and Login >> then scroll down to Use Two-Factor Authentication. Click Edit >> choose the method you want to use. You can either chose "Text Message" or "Authentication App." I also suggest doing this on Instagram as well.

If you have any questions or concerns, please comment below, and I'll see how I can help.

Discovering your Ideal Client


When I first started out as an online marketing consultant in Bend, Oregon, I was "taking all the clients." My marketing friends will know exactly what I'm talking about here.

To set the scene, I was let go from my dream job and I was feeling maybe I was not good at marketing. My confidence was super low and I spent a good week thinking maybe being a barista at Starbucks was the best option for me (nothing wrong with this, btw, when I retire, I think this is what I'd like to do with my time). When I expressed this to friends and colleagues they called me on this craziness and several gave me work, leads, confidence and encouragement to look past this and start digital marketing consulting. So, I started taking "all the work." And then a few months later, I came to the realization this may have been a big mistake.

When I share this story with my fellow marketing peeps, it seems this is how most of us start out. We take everyone and soon discover our personalities isn't suited for everyone. It's similar to dating ... you find out what you don't like about your significant other and over time, you meet the perfect guy/gal and you get married.

Enter Marie Forleo and B School. B School was a tipping point for me. Having had some success with an Amazon course I'd taken the previous year, B School seemed like the professional development course I needed to set me up for business success and right on the path to success. And it did lead to awesome things like hiring Sue B. Zimmerman as my business coach and meeting other online marketing strategists and entrepreneurs across the country.

One of the first things Marie teaches is the process of figuring who you should be working with using a series of questions. You'll answer these questions yourself and then you'll have those who you feel are your ideal client answer them via a survey or face-to-face.

The series of questions also determine pain points which help with messaging to those folks and often times where you'll spend your time marketing to customers.

In my coaching sessions, this is often where we start. You won't have this nailed down in a month. The process took me three months and guess what, I ended up redoing the process about 9 months later.

What do you need to do? You will need to answer a series of questions AND then have those feel who are your idea clients answer those questions.

This process involves giving your ideal customer a name too. Here are some sample questions:



Marital Status/children (include Names):

Where they live:

Annual Income:

Values & Beliefs:


Favorite Books, Music, Tv Shows, Blog or Podcasts:

Favorite Authors, Speakers, Teachers, Experts

What conferences or events do they go to?:

Free time activities or hobbies:

Guilty Pleasures?

Heros or Idols?

Favorite brands?

Answer these as if you were your ideal client:

What keeps you up at night when it comes to [insert the service you offer]?

What are your stressors?

If money were no object, [insert the service you offer] would you buy to solve this what 's keeping you up at night?

What do you want [Your Company Name] to understand understood about you?

Dream product/service you’re about to buy OR in your life in general (that relates to to the service you offer)?

Other questions to add:

Specifics about your product or service such as pricing, timing or operation questions.

Have they used [insert the service you offer] before and what was their experience?

I found out through surveying whom I thought was my ideal client that many had been burned from other social media strategists and their hesitations into contracting someone to help.

Where do I gather information?

Once your questions are ready, you have a couple of options for “mining the data.”

Option 1: Call up five people you’d think are your client, ask them for coffee and talk through the questions.

Option 2: Develop a survey and send to your ideal clients. You can drop this into Facebook Groups, email to associations where your typical customer hangs out or email ideal customers individually.

Option 3: This idea came from an Amy Porterfield podcast, and it’s brilliant … go to your competitor’s blogs and read the comments.

Option 4: ALL OF THE ABOVE or a combination. I usually stick to doing a combination of option 1 & 2. I’m currently working on my Ideal Customer for my group coaching program, and I added in option 3 to the mix.

Information is gathered … not what?

You’ve spent time getting to know who you think is your ideal client. Take the answers and form a story you'll reference when working on messaging, paid advertising, etc. Give the client a real name and life ... yes, this is one of those visualization exercises. You’ll be surprised how often you look at this.

Next up, extract what is keeping your customer's up at night and turn that into messaging you'll use throughout advertising campaigns, copywriting, titles of presentations. Why hit the pain points? You've discovered what your customer's roadblocks are and now you're going to solve them in your messaging. Brilliant, right?

This process is one that take some time. It actually took me about 2 months to finish up this process. Don’t let that stop you as this work is important.

Hopefully, this exercise has been helpful and if you have any questions, please contact me and I’ll be happy to walk you through it.