The VPM Blog

Melissa Cook

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The Unwritten Rules of Instagram

Posted by Melissa Cook on Jul 24, 2019 9:09:00 AM

You may have found your way to this blog post because you think I'm about to spill some top-secret information about how you can triple your Instagram followers overnight or make your engagement rate so solid, the world and other brands have to pay attention.

Unfortunately, that's not how this works. Social media isn't a game you can win with tricks, (unless you're a believer in using bots- which we don't recommend & discuss below) but it is a game you can win with strategy. Our best tips? Follow trusted analysts, keep up with algorithm changes, and most importantly, check your own unique analytics, know what the numbers mean, and adjust accordingly. Need some more specific tips? Check out the video below:


Instagram growth and improvement can be hard, and it is work, but it is worth the sweat.

Before you go, there is one thing I do want to quickly cover- bots. Recently, I had to go through an account where a follow-for-follow bot was activated. It was a MESS. Sure, the follower number spiked, but at what cost? Suddenly the timeline was filled with questionable accounts and content, engagement rates plummeted (because spoiler alert- many of those accounts are bots or don't want to engage with you), and anyone who checked to see who we were following was not impressed by the caliber of the accounts. So, the question I have for you to think about the next time you consider using a bot is: What's more important to you? The follower number? Or your engagement rates and the public's perspective of you? Choose wisely.

Have a question about how you can use social media for your business? Click the button below to learn about how social media is not only good for business, but great for sales lead generation:

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Topics: Instagram, social media analytics, social media growth

Facebook Analytics: |VIDEO|

Posted by Melissa Cook on May 29, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Producing and promoting great content is one thing, but being able to point to the numbers and the analytics to prove the ROI of this content creation is something else entirely. In our last video in this series, we broke down the various Twitter analytics you should pay attention to, and in part 3 of this series, we tackle Facebook.

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Topics: Facebook, social media analytics

LinkedIn Analytics: |VIDEO|

Posted by Melissa Cook on May 22, 2019 9:30:00 AM

LinkedIn isn't just for recent graduates searching for jobs, it's a place for businesses and individuals to share ideas, concepts, and build brand recognition and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry. With a platform made to grow businesses and network, how you connect and how far your reach is, matters, which means analytics matter. (Though, spoiler alert: analytics always matter.)

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Topics: social media analytics

Instagram Analytics: |VIDEO|

Posted by Melissa Cook on May 15, 2019 10:04:00 AM

Instagram is known as the king of aesthetic, but behind the filters, hashtags, and witty captions, lies the most important part of the platform: the data. Where is it and what does it all represent? Check out the video below:

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Topics: Instagram, social media analytics

How to Create Eye-Catching Newsletters |VIDEO|

Posted by Melissa Cook on Apr 3, 2019 12:50:00 PM

Did you know that the average worker in the US receives 121 emails a day. Not a week, a day. I can also almost guarantee that everyone else thinks that their emails and newsletters are just as important as yours. So, how do you make your newsletter stand out in the crowd? With deleting emails as easy as a quick swipe in a mobile app, you have to work a little harder than you used to have to, just to make sure your email even gets opened. 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, newsletter

How to Create an Effective Instagram Ad: VIDEO

Posted by Melissa Cook on Feb 6, 2019 12:30:37 PM

With 80% of Instagram users claiming to follow a business or brand account, why wouldn't you want to leverage that to increase your follower count, sell an item, or offer a discount? Of course you would want to!

How? Instagram Ads. They have the look and feel of a post, with the added benefit of linking to a website or product you want to promote. Check out the video below for instructions on how to get started.

Instagram ad vlog (re-edit)
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Topics: social media marketing

Are Hashtags Still #Relevant?

Posted by Melissa Cook on Dec 4, 2018 3:39:51 PM

Eleven years ago, the very first hashtag was typed and put into the world. In the early days of Twitter, content was a bit of a free-for-all, and users wanted a way to find content relevant to them, so the hashtag was born! Twitter launched them in 2007, Instagram in 2010, and Facebook in 2013, allowing users to better find content they wanted to see and less of what they didn't (#inbound...). Fast forward to 2018 and hashtags have taken over some platforms, faded on others, and remained stagnant in others. Are they still relevant and useful? Or are they seen as being a fad? Let's dive in.

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Topics: social media analytics, Social Media Platforms

Pay to Play: Social Media Edition

Posted by Melissa Cook on Oct 30, 2018 11:30:00 AM


So, you just created the best piece of content ever seen on the internet, but it isn’t getting the engagement or reaching the audience you want. What do you do? In the world of social media, there are 3 ways you can pay to play (or “promote” as they call it) on Facebook, and subsequently, Instagram. What are they? You can 1) boost a post, 2) pay to promote a post, and 3) set up an ad campaign.
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Topics: Social Media, Instagram Ads, facebook ads

Op Ed: Universities Should Be Transparent About Student Debt

Posted by Melissa Cook on Oct 2, 2018 11:30:00 AM

If you’re a recent university graduate like myself, you hear the words “student loans” and feel your blood pressure rise. Or, maybe you’ve been out of school for over a decade and look at your student loans as just another monthly payment like a mortgage, wondering to yourself if the debt will ever go away. We all have it and we all have more of it. Statistics show that the average graduate owed $39,400 in 2017, a 6% rise from 2016. But why? That’s another topic altogether. Today, I want to focus on the university side of this debt crisis, what they are doing, what they can do better, and why it matters. Let’s dive in. 

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Topics: higher ed

The Only Instagram Takeover Guide You'll Ever Need

Posted by Melissa Cook on Sep 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

We all know the struggle of keeping up with the demand for fresh content, especially in the higher education space. Before you panic and put together another “5 Study Tips” guide or graphic, consider incorporating students. Think about it. Your students are a living, breathing, walking, and social media posting ad for how great your university is. Use them. How? Schedule an Instagram Takeover.

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Topics: higher education, higher ed social media

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