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Connect With Your Customers on Social Media

Lesson 8 of 11

Build a Visual Story On Instagram


Connect With Your Customers on Social Media

Lesson 8 of 11

Build a Visual Story On Instagram


Lesson Info

Build a Visual Story On Instagram

Now, we're gonna get back to thinking about building our visual story on Instagram. We're gonna kinda talk a little bit more about tricks for Instagram that are gonna get us more of that engagement. And we talked about the idea of building that visual vocabulary and now we wanna talk about how to put that into practice, to be telling a greater story, to keep people engaged over time on Instagram. You'll recognize this image. We're back to Studio DIY. I love, love, love her bright photos. She has such a signature style and Instagram is a great place for her to highlight this because it's so well suited for this format. You can see in her visual vocabulary, she has these bright colors, these pastel colors. It's very fun and playful. She keeps returning to these simple layouts and she has this sort of playful sweets and treats, and just very party-friendly vibe that she's putting forward, here. And I think that this is a good way to think about how to just get little bite-sized pieces of ...

your personality. Pinterest is where you paint the fuller picture and you kind of get more into, like, really rounding up all of the different lifestyle stuff that's really influential to you and to your customers. Instagram is a way to share that in a smaller way. I mean, sort of leak out little pieces that when they're taken together, this way, they start to make a bigger impact and you can see your stylistic influence. Let's look at another example of what that could look like. This is a ceramic artist who I really love following. Her brand is called The Object Enthusiast and you can see right away that her vibe is really different. She doesn't have the really simple layouts but you can see the consistency in the cool tones of her images. She's putting this very cool, creative vibe across, which I just am so like (sighing), it's amazing, I'm so glad that I get to follow along on her creative journey. You can see that she's sharing a little bit of her creative work. You can see some ceramics in these photos. Little hard at this resolution but hopefully you guys can kinda get a little bit of the sense that she is sharing her work but also some of the lifestyle imagery that sort of influences what she's doing, builds out that brand in a big way. She's also doing something interesting with object groupings, whereas Studio DIY had a lot of negative space and sort of space for her images to breathe, Emily from The Object Enthusiast is really kind of putting in a lot of dense, visual information. Her photos feel very rich for that reason and I think if you want to do that, that's great but think about it as one of your core, stylistic, sort of visual vocabulary elements. Things like a lot of object groupings or really kind of complicated textures, or things that people are gonna have to really sit and think with, that's a kind of tough one to put across on this platform. Emily's an example of someone who's doing it really, really well. Another person to look at for this sort of well-executed visual vocabulary is Individual Medley. They're a beautiful store in Los Angeles that I visit whenever I get a chance because I love, love, love her style. The woman who runs it has this very great California cool that she puts forward on Instagram. You can see that there's a lot of white space. She uses a lot of neutral colors with pops of color. This is just another great example of someone who has this visual vocabulary for her brand down pat and she knows how to share, you know, the different products that she has for sale, she knows exactly how to highlight them to make a cohesive look and make them feel connected. Even though, you know, the difference between the photo on the left, which is a picture of her displays with clothing doesn't necessarily relate to the photo that's right next to it of the beautiful hand creams. You can kind of get a sense that she has this level of taste and that she has a specific aesthetic point of view that she is doing, that she's looking at as she's curating her shop, as she's pulling all of these things together. So, hopefully this kind of outlines the way that, you know, you don't have to do bright colors, you don't have to do a lot of white space. There's so many different ways that you can choose a style for your brand and stick to it but it's in that visual consistency that we start to tell a story over time. We start to connect with our audience and set those expectations for them, so they know what they're gonna see when they tune in. And that also really helps to attract those new followers because the more you can stay consistent on those visual sort of messages and on the themes that you're posting about, the more that people are gonna feel like they are wanting to turn to you when they're thinking about these different topics, so they're thinking about these different needs in their lives. So, as I was saying, Instagram is perfect for bite-sized content in the same way that we really can expand a little bit wider with our visual imagery on Pinterest, we're gonna be able to really like eek in and just look at a tiny, little bit of our lives and share that on a regular basis to build that bigger picture. One of the things that I really, really love doing on Instagram is sharing these videos that are just 15 seconds long because it's not a lot of risk involved in this. We don't have to make a whole movie. We don't have to do much editing. We can just share a tiny peek of something that we're working on or something that's going on around us, and that actually tells a much bigger story than maybe an image or something that we're just sharing a still of. So, I'll show an example of how I'm using video in my brand. This is a really fun one of me creating a pattern that I used in a collection that I just launched with Scout Books last year. And you can see that, like, you're seeing a really sped-up version of something that took me an hour but I'm able to impart that experience of being in my studio with me. I wish we could replay it. Let's replay it. (audience laughing) I don't know if I can, yes I can. I love this because think about how much I'm imparting in 15 seconds. If I showed a still of that before and after, that would tell the same story, but now you feel like you're there with me. You're sitting next to me at my desk and you're watching this come to life in action, in sped-up real time. And I think that this is a great thing to think about. What kind of little bite-sized moments of your day-to-day or of your experience as a creative can you share with people that's really gonna make them feel like they're connected to you? That they're there in your studio, that they're there with you taking part in these creative acts because we have to remember, not everyone that follows you is gonna be creative and this might feel so amazing to be a little part of your life in that way. Because that was sped-up, you were able to see more in that little segment of time. Is that something that you're able to do in Instagram, to speed up your footage. I don't think that Instagram has that capability. I used a particular app called Lumify. This is something that I have listed in the bonus material of the apps, and tips and tricks that I use to create this really specialized content that performs really well for me on Instagram. I think this video got something like a thousand likes on it, which is actually above average for me, even with my considerable following. This got a lot of engagement because I think I made a point to jam in that visual information and really make it an experience for people. Using an app like Lumify, there's a lot of different visual editing tools that are available as apps but Lumify is one that I like to use for these sort of sped-up process photos, so. And that's listed in the bonus material. And I actually wanted to jump back. We've got a couple more questions that sort of relate on tag-board. One of them is from Lanycpd. Rethinking my flow and brand presentation, as well. Visual vocabulary, create to make. Digging Erin Dollar's Creative Live broadcast. Gah, not sure I have consistency in my feed. What do you all think? Oh my gosh, yes you do. These are beautiful. I love how moody these photographs are. Even this one, which looks visually brighter. It actually has a stormy day. We're seeing really great sort of moody imagery throughout and maybe they haven't actively decided, all my brand colors are dark and I wanna be really moody but this is clearly coming through, to me at least, as I'm perceiving the last six photos in their feed. I think this is beautiful and it's amazing too because we're seeing a really wide diversity of theme or type of content, here. We're seeing portrait, we're seeing some landscapes, and we're seeing a behind-the-scenes shot, here, but they're really capturing my attention through that consistency. I think you're doing great. And then, one more from Debby Sladek. She says, embarking on a new adventure as a professional photographer and creating a consistent visual vocabulary. Nice, yeah. I recognize, this is Seattle, yes? I think so. Wow, that's really great and we're seeing consistency here in another way that we haven't really touched on, yet. This is a little technical but her use of depth-of-field in this sort of imagery that's really crisp up front and then sort of fades in the back to a little bit more blurry. There are things like this that you can think about in terms of technical skills as photographers that you can get into that can help define that visual vocabulary a step beyond. We've talked a little bit about the basics. About tone, texture, color, pattern, using the sort of spacing and the layout but there is so much more that we can think about in terms of the true technical ability that we all have as photographers to even go beyond that in terms of what that visual vocabulary means. And Debby was the one who had submitted earlier, the photograph of the tulips. Yes, I recognize the tulips. So it gives us a little bit more of a broad picture of her feed. So gorgeous, so gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing that. Wow, okay, so let's go ahead and move forward. You've seen my pattern. Pattern-drawing. I love it. Alright, so don't worry about feeling repetitive. I think that you guys should understand by now that we know that our followers are not necessarily tuned into our feeds 24/ and really just, I've already seen her talk about this. You can think of ways to engage on the same kind of visual topic in new ways. Some of that might be changing your captions, changing the context that you're talking about it. You may even share the exact same photo multiple times. I wouldn't probably do it one day and then the very next day but I could share an image from maybe my fall collection today and say, wow I'm developing this for later this year, what do you guys think? And then share that exact same image in a month, as I'm getting closer to putting things into production. Say, this is starting to become a reality, I'm so excited. Just three weeks ago I was designing these patterns and now these are about to become products. And I don't think that feels repetitive to people because they understand that you're not always gonna have a brand new photo for them or something that's completely fresh but you wanna keep that conversation going, so maybe don't share the same photo five times in a row with the exact same caption, but you don't have to worry about feeling repetitive because people are gonna be tuning into you at different times. They may have missed a post. They may not know exactly where you're at in your process and they'll be excited for any visual content that you wanna offer them. The other thing that I found really interesting this week. I think people are nervous about it but Instagram is getting ready to switch to a non-chronological feed, which I think is disappointing for some of us who really like that it's a little bit more pure in terms of social media and they haven't really messed with the format as much up until now. But one of the things that I found really interesting about this development is the reason that they're switching this to a non-chronological feed is that Instagram sees that we're missing about 70% of the posts that are in our feed. So, we're missing 70% of the posts from all of the folks that we're following. We're not seeing that content and so you have to assume that that's true for your followers, as well. But even if they're your most devout, most passionate followers, they're missing some of your posts and so it's okay, especially when it comes to things that are really important, like a product launch, like something big that you're developing or a project that's really meaningful to you, to circle back, talk about it again, talk about it in a new way, take the photo from a little bit of a different angle and show them a different perspective but repetition is not a problem. In fact, it's really an asset because it reminds people what we're up to. There's a lot of clutter in our feeds, right now. Even if you're just following a handful of people. It can be hard to keep up. We're all busy. We don't have time to be plugged into social media all day, scrolling through, making sure that we know what all of the brands that we care about are up to. And so you have to imagine that sometimes people are gonna go past your post and miss it. You wanna give them more opportunities to engage.

Class Description

The prospect of having to find time to maintain your social media accounts and continuously create content can be overwhelming for some creative entrepreneurs. Deciding what to post and how to engage your audience can paralyze you before you even begin. Connecting with Your Customers on Social Media with Erin Dollar will give you all the tools needed to create an authentic social media presence so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to open your business to a new base of customers.

Incorporating social media into your business doesn’t have to be an all-consuming experience. Join Erin Dollar for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to create a visual story on Instagram and Pinterest
  • Content creation strategies that use your design process
  • Ideas for memorable promotional posts that build your brand online
  • Proven techniques for enhancing your Pinterest boards and Instagram posts

Follow Erin behind the scenes of her own business Cotton and Flax, where you’ll learn actionable tips and tricks that allow you to stay engaged on multiple social channels, without losing time to run the rest of your business. Take it from her: learning to use social media in an engaging and effective way is a must-have skill for any budding entrepreneur - and it can actually be fun!

Take the first step in gaining long-time and repeat customers and catapult your business with to the next level with stand-out social media.  



I really enjoyed Erin class. I'm pretty new to social media so it was a little hard to keep up with all her great ideas. Don't get me wrong I don't think she moved too fast it's just my brain works a little slower. I took lots of notes and can't wait to implement them in my business. This is only the second time I've watched Creative Live . The first one was close to my heart and I loved it loved that one also. Thank you for offering free courses, it's a great way to get us interested in the other ones. I look forward to watching again. Thanks, Candace Romano

Anna Campolo

Great class, Eric was super clear and helpful..and so inspiring! Thank you Erin and thank you Creativelive! A pleasure to follow you!

a Creativelive Student

This course was great! I am so excited to try some of the tricks Erin suggested. Erin was super helpful and encouraging to her students. Thanks for letting me be part of the audience!