Save Time With Tools and Content Calendars
We talked a little bit about this in terms of batching our content creation, saving time by shooting a lot of photos at once, maybe by changing the angle, changing the format, rotating that camera so it's a little bit more Pinterest friendly. But we really wanna think about planning ahead for the content that we're gonna share on social media all year long. So if we know we're launching a product in April, we wanna be working in March to think about what are the visuals we're gonna wanna share, and how am I gonna make time to create that content so I'm not scrambling to do it on the go. Because that's when we really start to feel that sense of overwhelm is when we're rushing, we're already busy with our day to day parts of our business, and yet oh god I have to carve out time to make one Instagram post. It's a lot easier if you kind of have a little bit of an archive to draw on, and when you're batching your content creation you have a little bit more to draw from on a daily basis, as ...
well as things that you can return to later on for maybe a hashtag throwback Thursday, or something that kind of is digging into some things that you've worked on in the past. What I do is I tend to create content in a really regimented way a couple of times a year. I work with a photographer who will shoot lifestyle content that complements my product offerings and my shop, and at that point I also direct her to be taking photos that will just be used for social media, and that I can pepper kind of throughout my content, giving credit to her of course, but also being able to have this stuff to draw on on a regular basis. And I keep this basically just in a Dropbox folder, this is one of the apps that I suggest people using for having the stuff at your fingertips. It can live on your phone and when you're ready to use it you can go into Dropbox, find it, post it. We also wanna get to the next level of tracking what's working really well for our brands. We've talked a little bit about Google Analytics being a place to show us what is driving traffic and driving sales to our business in terms of our social media posts. I think there's a misconception that you can't really understand the dollar amount that you're making from your social media efforts and that's just not true. I'm not gonna dive in to all of the specific ways that you can track that, but e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics is really gonna show you what platforms are driving sales, and I would definitely encourage you guys to check those resources out. Iconosquare is, it used to be called Statigram I think, it's gone on a couple of different names, but Instagram Analytics essentially are a great way to see what your audience is responding to there, and see what's working well so you can create more content that's in that same vein. We can also look at Pinterest for Business Analytics, which I referenced earlier. These are gonna be things that will show you what posts are working really well within Pinterest so that you can create and share more of that type of content. And so we can talk about my favorite apps. (laughs) And this is gonna be different for everyone depending on what your visual style is, but hopefully some of these will be things that you can tap into and use to create a really professional look to your photos. There's a lot of great editing tools within Instagram already, but if you wanna go a bit beyond, VSCO, VSCO Cam, is a great editor that has a little bit more functionality or a similar functionality to Instagram, but maybe you can go a little bit beyond in terms of the direct editing of the levels and different things like that within your photos. Photoshop has a Photoshop Express app that has some capabilities for blemish removal and things like that that I use to sometimes take out elements of a photo that might be visually distracting, and that's great to have on the go if you're out and you see something beautiful, but oh that little piece of graffiti, I'm just gonna smooth that over 'cause that's not on brand for my business. So things like that that you might wanna edit out, the Photoshop app is really great. Over is this awesome app that you can use to put text over your photos, and this can be really great to promote sales, or to promote things like testimonials that we talked about a little bit earlier. This is a great app to basically just plug in text, and you can choose from a lot of different beautiful typefaces and fonts there, to just kind of have a little bit more opportunity to reach people, especially if it's an important message. I think a sale or a giveaway would be a great time to use text over a photo. Dropbox again is a great place to keep all these photos that you have kind of coming down the pipeline that you've created in your batching, to keep them ready for you to share. I keep a Dropbox folder on my phone at all times, it has at least a couple of dozen images that I haven't shared yet, that I have for those days when I'm so busy I don't have time to pause and take a photo. It's nice to have those things in your back pocket so you're never stressed out about social media, because this shouldn't be something that makes you feel exhausted. You wanna have a fresh sort of approach to it. Having these things in your back pocket is gonna help you feeling excited about being engaged. One other app that I've been really delighted to be playing around with lately is called A Color Story. I think that they're actually doing a really incredible job of creating simple filters that are highlighting bright colors and true whites in photos. I think this is one of the best companies that I've seen that really kind of has a more sophisticated approach to color correction on your phone. They have something kind of similar to Photoshop in terms of adjusting the levels on your phone photography. I would definitely encourage you guys to check this out because I think it's a pretty impressive tool, and it's free.
So Erin, I'm gonna jump back in with a couple more tag board questions.
Yes, let's go for it.
Thank you again for those of you at home that are continuing to post these. Anja says "I fear my visuals are a bit boring, my feed is relatively new."
Okay, cool. I like your name, Cat and Raven. So I can see that you're sharing a lot of these white background photos, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with sharing these very straight-on product photos in our feed, but I would encourage you to start to reach out and take a little bit more lifestyle content. So show how someone might use your products, show how people might integrate this into their daily lives, maybe put a beautiful coffee or tea inside the mug, show how people might actually use it and help to paint that picture of what it's gonna be like for your customers when they have this product in their homes. Because it's unlikely that someone's gonna keep their mug perfectly positioned in front of the beautiful white background, it's gonna be next to a newspaper that they're reading, it's gonna be, you know the tea bag will be hanging out of the edge, it's gonna be in their kitchen with all of their other favorite mugs. So kind of paint that picture of what that's gonna look like and I think that you'll feel like it's a little bit more dynamic.
Great, thank you.
Yeah, those look like fun, I love that.
And then one more from Lori Edwards, she says "Not sure I have consistent visual vocabulary, should I delete the ones that are a little more glaring?"
A little more glaring, well nothing is jumping out at me that I would click delete right away. I think it's clear that you're an artist, that you're someone who's actively working on creative projects, and I think that this is totally okay to have a little bit of the behind the scenes peppered in with maybe some works in progress. I think if you're worried about not having a really consistent visual vocabulary, think about the photos in this stream that you do feel good about. Think about what makes you feel positive about them, and then try to create work in the future that's gonna fit within those themes, fit within those elements of your visual vocabulary. So if you're really liking, you know, maybe the landscape photography or sharing the world around you, go more in that direction for future posts. Or if you really like this sort of sketchbook view, do a series on that so that you have that stuff peppered in your feed throughout your feed here.
Great, thank you.
Are there any others, are we?
I think we're good to go, yeah.
Okay, so we're just gonna sum up you guys, because we've covered a lot of territory. In this class we've really talked about some big conceptual ideas, and you guys I think are gonna have a really great time figuring out exactly what this means for your brands, because it's gonna be a little different for each of us. We've talked about this idea of Visual Vocabulary, finding your signature style, all of those specific attributes that are gonna help make that signature style recognizable to our fans, so that they're gonna know what to expect from us, and build that trust through sharing our authentic selves. We've talked about how to do content creation around behind the scenes photos, as well as lifestyle content that complements our product offerings. We've talked about strategies to help engage our audience and have that open dialogue, asking them questions, getting them to comment and tell us what they need and what they're thinking about. And we've kind of touched on some of these tools and apps that are gonna hopefully make things a little bit easier. Photo processing, scheduling, streamlining that sort of plan to share on a regular basis, and that's gonna help you maximize your impact, and really give you the tools to audit. What is working in my business, what is getting engagement, how can I do more of that? So what's next? We're gonna customize this for your businesses. We're gonna think about what are the unique things that I wanna share, that I wanna get across, and how am I gonna be able to do that in service of my fans, and really get them excited about what I'm doing. What are the next steps that you guys are really excited to take in your business? Does anyone have a post that they're like "when I get home, I'm gonna share this." Are you guys already, you're already on Instagram, so tell me what you're gonna share next.
I am so amazed with the Pinterest vertical shots, because I do a lot of long hanging necklaces, and they just, I feel like I'm in this place where I'm struggling on Instagram trying to position them correctly to get a true sense of their style. So I'm like oh my gosh, Pinterest, I found it. I'm so excited.
Pinterest is gonna be great for you, and Instagram as well, I think they have that ability to share those taller photos, and those can get increased engagement too, because again they're taking up more space in the feed, and so yeah, this is gonna be a great tool for you to make sure you're getting those photos that are showing exactly the proportions, being able to connect with your customers in that way. I'm so excited that all of you have these tools in your bucket now, and you can kind of figure out how it's gonna work best for you. Did you wanna share what you're gonna share next?
Yes, I was excited about sharing videos. My work is really detailed and it's always difficult for me to kind of show that to people, because some people aren't as detailed as me, so I'm excited about showing that.
Yeah and sometimes that detail can get lost in the wider shots when you're trying to show the finished product or kind of the product on a model, you kind of lose some of those details that are a marker of your quality and the love that you're putting into your work. So I'm excited to see that, that's awesome.
And Erin, we're jumping around a little bit, but I do have a couple more questions that I wanted to give to you from some of our online viewers.
This is the time.
Alright, so one is from SRoss1983, he says "I'm a photographer and I've been creating digital wall art in Photoshop for my photographs, how could I best share my process on Instagram and what else could I post other than the final pieces?" And I think he's asking as someone who's doing a lot of work on screen, how do you make that exciting?
Right, this is a unique challenge, this is a really unique challenge, especially digital artists, graphic designers, folks that are working more in the digital space, it can be hard to figure out how to share those in-progress shots. If you keep a sketchbook I'd absolutely suggest that. If you're gathering inspiration, maybe from museums or a place that you're visiting, to kind of help to fill your inspirational needs as an artist, as a creative person, share those experiences, share the things that are influencing your work. If you do prototypes, that can be a great thing, even if it's a little bit messy, that's totally okay. You don't only need to show the finished pieces that are really polished, you can share some of the steps to get there. And this might be a good space to look into how you might be able to share video, because I know that for graphic designers you're still doing some of the same creative work that someone who's drawing on paper would be doing, and there be ways to do a screen capture or sort of an in-progress look at how that's coming together, speed it up so you can see some of the transition from the beginning to the end of the process. So hope that that gets you started.
Right, and another similar question with another student I think that is also struggling with some inspiration for creating interesting imagery. "Do you have any tips for an Instagram account that focuses more on selling tickets? Sometimes it gets a little static for me." They say they constantly post posters and ads for the tickets to the same event.
Interesting, okay. Well in the past I've done marketing and social media marketing for Renegade Craft Fair. They are an event based business and they host events all throughout the world. One of the things that they do really regularly is highlight the artists that take part in their events. So if there is a way for you to detail the people who are participating in your events, the folks that you're gonna be featuring on stage, get a little bit more into the details of those events, as well as sharing the details about when it's taking place, where it's taking place, the community that you're centered in. There's a lot of different aspects that go into event planning, or staging an event, besides just selling the tickets. So go a little bit beyond and share what it's gonna be like to be there in person and help to sell it in that way.
Excellent, thank you. Do we have any other questions from our in-studio, Genevieve?
Do you have any events or promos that you like to do to engage and gain followers? Like for example I do the Instagram art sales, which I found to be really successful. So are there any contests or giveaways that you like to do?
Giveaways are more something that I've tried myself. I've never tried selling directly on Instagram, because I find that generally I wanna direct people into my web shop, because that's where I'm hoping to get them when they're ready to make a purchase. I think selling on Instagram can be great for one-offs especially, and I know that's some of what you do, so I'm super intrigued by that process. I think there's definitely ways to streamline it and make it a little bit easier on you, because it does take a little bit more effort to make sure that you're following up with them and emailing them. Giveaways, for me, have been a great way to bolster that number of followers. And you can kind of collaborate with other brands too. A popular thing to do is to team up with another maker, or somebody who's in your industry who's providing either a similar product or service that kind of complements what you do, and to team up to do a giveaway. So they share the giveaway with their audience, you share with yours, you require people to follow both accounts to be entered, and then you both get the increased boost in numbers. So maybe teaming up with a group of people or another platform where you can kind of help to promote that, that can be a good way to bring new people in, yeah.
Fantastic. Thanks you guys. (audience clapping)
Erin, this has been so informative, thank you so much.
I'm excited to see what you do with the info.