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Right now, at this very moment, the world of social media is as busy as its ever been. To no surprise, the increasingly large volume of posts, tweets, pins and stories brings with it a lot of clutter and noise. In an effort to help others find the real value and connect with those creating it, Social Report put together an interview series featuring today's top marketing influencers that are actually making an impact and consistently bringing value to the table.

This week's featured interview is Jenn Herman of Jenn's Trends—an Instagram expert, prolific blogger and someone whose name that seems to keep reappearing on every social media news outlet's list of best digital marketing influencers, year after year. Let's get into it.

Social Report: Hi Jenn! Let's kick this off with an easy one. What exactly do you do for a living and how long have you been working in that space?

Jenn Herman: I do two things. I have a full time job as the Director of Marketing for an aerospace maintenance and training company based in San Diego. I also run Jenn's Trends which is a successful blog and consulting business where I help small business owners and marketers understand social media marketing and better utilize strategy in their marketing efforts.

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SR: And what’s hands-down your favorite thing about your job and the world you work in?

JH: Hands down, my favorite part of what I do is the people. I have met the most amazing people through social media and anywhere I travel in the world I'm certain to find someone to connect with.

SR: Quick memory jog—can you recall the absolute best piece of marketing advice you’ve ever received (and from who)?

JH: The best advice I got was from a variety of sources so I can't give one credit. But essentially it's to put your marketing in the context of your audience. Be where they are, talk to them (not at them), and solve THEIR problem. Not just pushing what you want and what you think they need.

"Learning to ask for when they need something completed by, and even being able to actually say no (while offering an alternative solution) have been some of my biggest lessons to success."

SR: On the flip side, can you remember the biggest lesson you had to learn the hard way early on in your career?

JH: Throughout my career, I've had to learn how to say "no" to people. I'm a people pleaser and often take on more than I can really do. Learning to ask for when they need something completed by, and even being able to actually say no (while offering an alternative solution) have been some of my biggest lessons to success.

SR: It feels like now more than ever, we’re seeing brands coming out of their shells and doing really awesome things across social media. What’s been your favorite brand to follow on social media in 2017?

JH: I'm kind of obsessed with The Love Bomb Co (@thelovebombco on Instagram). Their personality and style comes through in what they do and share. They know exactly who their target audience is and appeal to them with wit and humor.

SR: What about your favorite person or individual to follow?

JH: My favorite person to follow is @sugarandcloth on Instagram. She's a blogger with the best content, ideas, and fun projects. I live vicariously through her because I just don't have the time to do any of that stuff ;)

SR: I know you normally get paid to speak on this next matter, so I hope it’s not too much if I ask for one freebie. What’s one thing that you currently see a lot of brands doing social media every day that you think would be better off left behind or forgotten?

JH: The one thing that most drives me crazy is when brands post without a caption. Whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Pinterest, take the time to write something of value in the post caption! Give people a reason to read or watch. Connect with them as to why this piece of content is valuable.

"There is so much noise and saturation on social media that your content should have a real purpose and add value to your audience."

And the second thing that should stop is posting for the sake of posting. Gone are the days when you can just check the box saying you shared to social media. Instead, every post should in some way serve your strategy. There is so much noise and saturation on social media that your content should have a real purpose and add value to your audience. (I know, that was two things ;) But I didn't think you'd mind!)

SR: Almost forgot to ask this—do you have a podcast your currently listen to and enjoy each week, business-related or not?

JH: I'm honestly so NOT a podcast person. I'm a reader so I'll take a good blog post any day over a podcast. Along those lines, the blog "The Social Media Hat" by Mike Allton is my bible for all things social media.

SR: Alright. We’re closing out 2017 pretty soon here and most brands are planning and strategizing for the year ahead. Which social platform do you personally think businesses will benefit from focusing on the most in 2018?

JH: 2018 will be the year of Instagram. It will surpass 1 billion monthly active users early in the new year and with everything Facebook is investing into Instagram, it is THE place to be.

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SR: We’ve made it to the finish line. Appreciate you taking the time—know you’re busy. Last question: What do you have going on these days? Any big things on the Jenn’s Trends horizon that the people should know about?

JH: Right now, my co-authors and I are in the final stages of writing "Instagram for Business for Dummies" which will hopefully be on bookshelves by the year's end! It's been a labor of love and I can't wait to get this book into the hands of business marketers.

Stay up to date with Jenn via her awesome blog, Jenn's Trends, as well as on her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Thank you, Jenn!