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5 Social Media Mistakes Your Business Should AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!

5 Social Media Mistakes Your Business Should AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!

Content Marketing

social media mistakes we do not likeWhether social media is the primary lead generator for your business, or just one aspect of your brand communications it’s crucial you approach it with professionalism and with a strategy. In this article I’m going to outline some of the most common social media mistakes that businesses make, and give you some tips and advice on how you can avoid them and put your best social media foot forward.  

So, let’s kick off! 

1. Inconsistent Branding


Akin to all areas of business communication it is vital to maintain a clear and consistent brand identity on social media. This means setting brand rules and sticking to them. Your Instagram profile or ‘collage’ is a really good example of why brand consistency is so important. Customers don’t always see your social media post one at a time. They’ll click through to view your profile as a whole. Your Instagram posts therefore need to work together as part of an overall brand story.   

Make sure your colour scheme reflects your brand and is harmonious across your posts.  For example, a children’s entertainment company can work with vibrant primary colours like red, blue and yellow, whereas a company that manufactures outdoor clothing may want a more natural earthy palette. Imagine if the outdoor clothing company randomly added a bright yellow image to its Instagram or Facebook account. It would stand out like a sore thumb and confuse the brand altogether.

The same goes for typography.  Pick a font family and stick to it, and be consistent with the size of the font you use when adding text to images. Other things to look out for are the placement and size of your logo if/when you add it to an image. Generally, you’ll also have rules about what you say in your social media posts which will relate back to your overall brand vision.  If you’re business is B2B in the legal profession, for instance, you should be posting about news and subjects relevant to your industry. Don’t muddy the water with random off-topic throw-ins.  

Likewise, never mix business and personal. There’s no room for family pics on LinkedIn – save them for your personal Facebook profile. The important thing to remember is that social media provides an outlet for you to build brand awareness. By being consistent with your messaging you’ll develop a pattern which in turn elicits brand recognition and familiarity with your customers. Ultimately you want a customer to see a stand-alone social media post of yours and for them to say- ‘that looks/sounds like it’s from (Your Business)’. 

2. Under or Over-posting

One of the most common social media mistakes is being inconsistent with how much you post. The problem works both ways. Posting too little shows a lack of investment and interest. Posting too much, on the other hand,  can appear spammy and annoying.

Let’s do the Goldielocks test.

Goldielocks social media bowls, too much, too little, just right

 

Too Much
Who annoys you on social media? Chances are it’s not the brand we’ve just discussed that only pops their head up on social sporadically. It’s the person or business who clogs up your feed with lots and lots of content.  And what do we tend to do with it? Skim, skip, dismiss.

My old teacher Mr O’Connor used to warn us chatterboxes that “empty vessels make the most noise”.  While it’s not necessarily true that chronic over-posters produce poor content, this is unfortunately the lasting impression that post saturation gives. Do you need 10 snapshots from your shop a day? 

Too Little
Long gaps between posts will not do you any favours when it comes to the Facebook algorithm. It punishes infrequency, and once you drop the ball on engagement it can be hard to get back.  Aside from the bots you need to think about your customers. Put the shoe on the other foot. If you’re planning on using a business – let’s say a boutique hotel – and you visit their Facebook page to see what’s been happening there recently, only to find nothing has been posted in the last 5 months. What does that say to you? To me it says the hotel isn’t overly bothered about how it appears to its customers, and it would make me think twice about booking.

Just Right
The best thing to do is to look at your engagement levels as a way to gauge your post frequency. If your engagement is consistently high then the demand for your social media content is there – so go for it. If engagement patterns fluctuate significantly then focus on high quality over high quantity at regular, but not rapid, intervals. For some ballpark guidance on posting it’s ok to post 3-5 times per week to Facebook and Instagram, whereas a Tweet a day is OK. In fact, Twitter is set up for more frequent posting, so if you’ve got more than one thing to say in a day feel free to Tweet away! (There’s a poem in there somewhere….).

3. Not Engaging


The whole point of social media is to engage with your target audience. That means being in conversation with them and not just sending messages their way. One way to engage with your social media followers is by responding to comments promptly. Be prepared to respond to messages outside of your traditional business hours. You should be responding to all comments, good or (it happens!) bad.  Don’t miss an opportunity to demonstrate your quality customer service when facing negative comments or complaints. Respond in a timely and appropriate manner. If you manage to placate the situation you just might be on to PR gold. Lemons, lemonade and all that!  

turn social media lemons into lemonade

The other thing to remember is not to neglect good comments! They’re valuable endorsements for your business and you should show appreciation to those who post them. Thanking them and sharing these posts will likely encourage others to share their happy thoughts about your business too.

Another easy way to engage is by promoting user-generated content. But make sure to credit the source! You should also think about ways to engage with other businesses in your local area. This will allow you to garner the attention of their followers. It also allows for cross-promotion and other mutually beneficial opportunities. It’s not called social media networking for nothing.

4. Being Overly Promotional


If your social media plan is to sell, sell, sell, then you’re setting yourself up to fail, fail, fail! 

Time to put yourself in your customer’s shoes again. Do you buy a magazine purely to browse the ads? No! You’re interested in the editorial content – and the same goes for social media. Your brand should therefore position itself as a publisher of content rather than an overt point of sale. It’s about delighting your customers and interacting with them rather than just advertising to them.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t throw a sale in every now and then, plug some products, introduce new services and so on. The idea is to get the balance right. My recommendation is to go with the 80/20 rule. Make 80% of your content valuable to your audience, be it informative or entertaining or useful – whatever works for your brand. You can then keep 20% for more promotional material and Calls To Action. 

For example, if your company is in Fintech, you could share information about financial markets, tips for managing finance, relevant news stories and industry trends. With this balance your customers will appreciate your content and be far more open to your promotions.  

5. Using Poor Visuals

A picture tells a thousand words. This has never been truer than when it comes to social media. In today’s fast paced digital world we’re lucky to have a customer scan our social media posts let alone read them. You have a split second to capture someone’s attention and text alone simply will not cut it.

You ALWAYS need to include a visual element in your social media posts. Furthermore, it needs to be eye-catching and of high-quality. Read more on this here where I discuss 7 DIY tips to enhance your social media images.

Now, we need to talk about video. If a picture tells a thousand words then a video tells a thousand pictures. Motion catches the eye like nothing else. As consumers we are getting more and more used to receiving content this way so your brand needs to keep up. Your videos don’t need to be Hollywood productions. Just make sure they are clear and that they fit with your brand!   

Fail to Prepare – Prepare to Fail


This was another one of Mr. O’Connor’s favourite sayings, and he used it interchangeably with the tongue twister: “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”.

 I want to end this post by talking about planning. I haven’t included Failing to Plan as one of my key points, because it’s implicit in all of the social media mistakes I’ve discussed. There’s plenty of occasion for reactive and spur of the moment social media posting. This is, after all, the original premise of Instagram. However, and this is a big however, approaching social media for business as a purely ad-hoc and sporadic exercise will do you no favours.  

Best practice is to design and plan your social media calendar. This should feed off your businesses wider content strategy and the insights you yield from analysing your social media analytics.

There are tons of dates and events that we can be proactive about scheduling posts for rather than reactive. Take St. Patrick’s Day. If leveraging this event fits with your brand identity then why not plan for it in advance. Thinking ahead about your content will give you time to produce something of really high quality, rather than panicking on the day to put something out.

Setting time aside to strategise and populate your social media calendar will save you heaps of time in the long run and will help your business be more consistent and engaging on social media.  

Let’s get social!

Now you know what to do and more importantly what not to do it’s time for your business to get social 🙂

Feel free to follow me on Twitter or on CONKER’S social media – Twitter, Facebook, Linked in – and let me know who you are so I can share the love back.

Zombie Frappuccinos & Other Tricks: 5 Ways to Make Halloween a Howling Marketing Success for Your Business 

Zombie Frappuccinos & Other Tricks: 5 Ways to Make Halloween a Howling Marketing Success for Your Business 

Branding

Zombie Frappuccino anyone? It’s Halloween after all so why the hell not!

zombie hand holding a frappuccino

If you choose to skip over Halloween in your marketing plan then it’s time to wake up and smell the zombie frappuccino! Full monster-mode is not essential, but a little Halloween never hurt anyone. On the contrary, could help to boost business.

Halloween is basically a free pass for businesses of all shapes and sizes to get creative and have some freaky fun. It’s the perfect opportunity to engage with your customers and show them the personality behind your brand.

And there’s pretty much nothing to be frightened of! In fact, the only thing you should be scared of is missing the opportunity Halloween presents for marketing your business.

Starbucks certainly aren’t missing a trick (or treat) by launching their zombie frappuccino this Halloween season. Twitter has been buzzing with news of the green and pink drink reportedly going on sale from Oct 26-31. If the anticipation alone is anything to go by the macabre coffee is a bonafide hit before a single drop of brain juice has been poured.

So how can we emulate the zombie frappuccino factor in our own businesses?  In this article I’m going to look at 5 ways we can leverage Halloween in our marketing and communications efforts.

1. Seasonality

Cadbury’s know exactly what they’re doing by re-releasing the Cream Egg each year in the lead up to Easter and limiting supply to certain months. If you’re a fan like me then you’ll understand the flurry of excitement I get when I see the Cream Egg basket reinstated in my local shop once more. And you’ll probably also understand why I might take a snap and send it to my partner in Cream Egg crime.

The Shamrock Shake is another excellent example of the lure of limited supply; Making sure I drop in to McDonald’s to get one has become a mandatory part of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for me, and judging by the queues – many others.

I’m in little doubt that the Zombie Frappuccino can achieve similar cult status.

Seasonal items are by their nature limited. That means we have to have them now or miss our chance, hence why I never walk past a Cream Egg basket without picking one up; and hence why I ordered a pumpkin late this morning instead of an Americano. Never under estimate the curiosity factor – the urge we feel to ‘try’ something!

Can you introduce a seasonal offering to your customers around the Halloween period? It needs to be a product, service or event you only offer around Halloween. The more you get in the spirit of things the more appealing it will be.

Some examples? If you are a beauty parlour you could offer a pumpkin facial or, better still, sell a secret witches potion. A restaurant could put blue ‘monster mash’ on the menu – sounds gross but every kid I know would order it. Or maybe run an annual monster munch lunch,  A gym could run a Zombie apocalypse assault course event.

All you need to create a seasonal offering is a bit of  imagination.

 

2. Halloween Promotion

Not all businesses can do a seasonal Halloween offer. However, you can still leverage Halloween as a promotional opportunity.

The promotion itself may have nothing whatsoever to do with Halloween bar the words used. It nevertheless shows that you are up for a bit of Halloween fun and are embracing the holiday. For copywriters like me Halloween promotions offer lots of scope for word play and a good old Halloween pun, or punkin whahaha!

  • Prices so low they’re scary
  • Spooktacular Sale
  • Eat, Drink and be Scary!
  • Dare to…
  • Unearth Big Halloween Savings
  • Wonderfully Wicked
  • Halloween Offers to Fright and Delight
  • Wickedly delicious
  • Goulish goodies
  • Beware of these bewitching X
  • No tricks, just treats

3.  Get Spooky on Social media

Halloween is all about letting your hair down – or putting your wig on even. It’s a great chance to show your customers a bit of personality and to let them know that your business is run by real humans, even if they have to dress like monsters to prove it!

  • Document what’s happening in your business on social by sharing photos of your decorated premises or office.
  • Share photos or videos of your staff in fancy dress.
  • Wish your customers a Happy Halloween using  a fun video or graphic.
  • Spook up your profile picture for the day

 

4. User-generated content on social media

Social media is of course a two-way flow of communication.  Rather than just showing your customers what your business is up to for Halloween you can let them be part of it!  Halloween is the perfect opportunity for user-generated content which has the absolute highest levels of engagement,

Why not host a competition for the best fancy dress, best pumpkin carving, Halloween recipes or just about anything you can conjure up in your cauldron!  Put up a nice prize and you are guaranteed entries. Make the competition a public vote and you’ll be as happy as a trick or treater with a full bag of new fans!

5. Halloween-themed Content Marketing

If publishing content online is part of your digital marketing strategy then consider using Halloween as a content hook. I guarantee this can work for all business types.

You can simply use the language of Halloween to frame your content or you can delve into spooky themes more directly. Either way you’ll be able to create eye-grabbing titles and editorial structures to capture the attention of your audience.

Here are some examples from a variety of industry:

  • For an accountancy firm: What’s scarier than Dracula and Frankenstein put together? Not paying your taxes!
  • For An Estate Agent: Beware of moving next door to the Adam’s Family: 10 ways to suss out if you’ve got good neighbours!
  • For a bookshop: Putting the Boo in Book: The 5 Most Terrifying Horrors of all time.

Happy Halloween

Now that the pumpkin seed of Halloween has been planted in your marketing strategy it’s time to get creative! The tips in this article will help you zone in on what exactly you will focus on this Halloween and hopefully give you a few ideas to play with.

As you can tell from reading this article I’m an absolute blood sucker for Halloween. I’d love to hear what you do, or plan to do in your business around Halloween and see any photos or videos you’d like to share! You can haunt my blog by sharing your spooktacular stories in the comment box below.

Happy Halloween!

Sinead Gillett

Creative Director

What’s the Buzz with Inbound Marketing?  The 5 Big Differences Between Traditional and Inbound Marketing Models

What’s the Buzz with Inbound Marketing? The 5 Big Differences Between Traditional and Inbound Marketing Models

Content Marketing

Inbound marketing is one of the biggest buzzwords in the marketing world at present. But just because we’ve heard the term before doesn’t mean we’ve taken it on board and know how to apply it to our businesses!  Sometimes the more noise there is the less we hear.

bees buzzing

From speaking with my clients I think the term Inbound Marketing is still drawing blanks for some business owners. In fact you could say their definition of Inbound marketing is more fuzzy than buzzy!  There’s a general understanding that ‘Inbound’ offers an alternative to traditional ‘Outbound’ marketing strategies and a vague sense that it’s something to do with the internet. But for many people that’s as far as it goes.

If this sounds like you then you’ve come to the right (non judgemental) place!  In this article I’m going back to basics to explain exactly what the difference is between Inbound Marketing and the Traditional ‘Outbound’ Marketing methodology.

Take a few minutes to read this article and you’ll be able to break through the fuzz and join in the buzz!

What is Traditional ‘Outbound’ Marketing?

Traditional outbound marketing is rooted in the sales advertising model. It’s all about sending messages to your customers by putting your brand right in front of them.

Think of the countless TV or magazine ads that promote an aspirational lifestyle by association with their product or service. Think about the old school sales pitch of a used car salesman on a radio ad. Think about the leaflet for your local Chinese take-away waiting for you on your doormat when you arrive home hungry and tired from work!

In 2017 we’re being bombarded with an average of 2,000 outbound sales messages per day!  From a business perspective this makes it harder and harder to compete. The sheer volume of communications out there means that people are less susceptible to advertising. They are even taking practical measures to block them from their path. For example, ‘No Junk Mail’ signs,  spam filters, Caller ID, Ad Blockers, Netflix to watch movies and shows uninterrupted by advertising.

Of course this doesn’t mean that people have stopped shopping and making brand affiliations!  There’s just a new trend in consumer patterns which harnesses the internet to shift the buyer journey into an inbound marketing model.

What is Inbound Marketing? 

The internet has created a search culture. Where previously we waited for goods and services to find us, we now take an active role in finding them.  We have specific questions we want answered and are willing to trawl through heaps of information before we make a buying decision.

Many businesses have come to recognise this trend and are optimising their online presence to attract rather than pursue customers.

Inbound marketing is the strategy of getting your business found.  It’s about attracting users to your website by providing relevant content that they find valuable and then converting them into leads and ultimately into customers.

‘Content marketing’ which is a buzzword in itself is a subcategory of Inbound marketing.  It teaches and helps customers to solve problems as a means of building a trustworthy brand reputation and prestige.  You will all be familiar with ‘How to…’ articles or ‘the Top 5…’ etc..  You might be thinking this very article fits the category of content marketing, and indeed you would be right.

Let’s look at some of the key differences between Inbound marketing and traditional marketing. Oh fancy that – there are 5!

The 5 Big Differences Between Traditional and Inbound Marketing
#1: If Outbound is Push, Inbound is Pull

Traditional marketing in the form of advertising is directly promotional. It’s telling customers why to buy your product or service.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, takes a softer approach. It’s about ‘selling less’. The idea is to build a reputation as a trustworthy brand in order to persuade customers to choose your product or service.

An effective Inbound Marketing technique would therefore be to provide content that helps consumers make the right purchasing decision for them without overtly promoting your own offering. Giving away useful and objective insights about your industry draws customers to your website and gains you a reputation as a credible brand and thought leader.

In this way it is useful to think of Inbound Marketing as a magnetic force and Outbound Marketing as a spray.

#2 :  Traditional Marketing is Brand-Focused, Inbound Marketing is Customer-Focused

In traditional marketing, advertising companies attempt to grab some mind space and sell regardless of whether the customer is ready to buy or not. The more often a brand is put in front of audiences the better. But just because we want a certain product doesn’t necessarily mean we can have it. We’ve all known that disappointment!

The point here is that even if n ad appeals to audiences they may not buy the product for the simple fact that they can’t afford it or just don’t need it. For example, If you’ve recently bought a fridge then you don’t need another and so on…

 

Wouldn’t it be better to focus on people who are actively seeking the products and services that you sell? In other words, connecting  with someone when they’re looking for a fridge rather than after they’ve bought one?

Inbound marketing is set up to cater for the buyer’s journey and is focused on the customer’s needs. The potential buyer only comes looking for information when they are ready to begin thinking about a purchase. Inbound marketeers can be clever about the content they supply by making sure to answer questions that cater to the various different stages a buyer will go through from initial product awareness to decision making.

Hubspot, who are largely responsible for coining the term “Inbound Marketing” and popularising the Inbound methodology distinguish 3 key stages of the buyer’s journey:

1. Awareness Stage: The buyer realises they have a problem.

2. Consideration Stage: The buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it.

3. Decision Stage: The buyer chooses a solution.

#3:. Traditional Marketing is Interruptive, Inbound Marketing is Supportive 

After a long day working in the office a young professional kicks back in her Dublin City Centre apartment to watch her favourite TV show.  Let’s say it’s House of Cards and OK let’s say it’s me! 🙂 The ad break interrupts her viewing with an ad promoting a new lawnmower that cuts mowing time in half. What’s wrong with this?

Well, firstly, it’s interruptive and catching me at a time when I’m not set up to make an active buying decision. Secondly, and most importantly, I have zero interest in lawnmowers because I don’t have a garden!

‘Spray & Pray’ advertising techniques need a lot of investment in order to reach enough potential customers. Granted, media purchasing can be targeted to certain audiences. Nevertheless you’ll still hit on a whole lot of people who simply don’t want or even need your product.

The Inbound marketing alternative here would be for the lawnmower company to host an online blog with helpful information about all things lawn mowing.  This will attract targeted customers with this specific interest and those searching to resolve lawn mowing problems.

Ta Da!  The target customer buzzes into the sales funnel all on their own accord. The lawnmower brand rather than pestering their customers with sales messages can shift its position to helping and educating their customers.

#4: Traditional Marketing has a One-way Flow of Communication, Inbound Marketing is a Conversation 

One of the most important aspects of the online marketing channel is the opportunity it provides to interact with potential customers. Crucially, rather than sending out a sales message and hoping it went down well, Online marketing allows businesses to open a conversation with their customers.  This serves both parties better.  Businesses can learn more about what their customers want. Conversely, customers have their say and therefore feel empowered.

A recent Forbes survey reports that 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks they’re more likely to become a loyal customer. Of the same group of people, only 1% said they would trust what a brand tells them in a commercial advertisement alone. Clearly people want to interact with a company and not just be sold a product or service.

#:. Quick Wins Versus Long-term Strategy

Traditional marketing tends to be campaign based and there is no denying the fact the results will be quicker. Inbound marketing is a long-term process that will take time to build momentum.  If you’re going to focus on giving customers valuable information through content marketing strategies then you need to think along the lines of slow and steady wins the race!

I like to think of it like the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  You can read more about this concept in my article”why Content Marketing is a Tortoise in Disguise”.

Content Marketing Tprtpose versus the Pay Per Click Advertising Hare

Is Traditional Marketing over?

Definitely not!  Inbound marketing is a whole new way of doing business that works really well for certain businesses.  Traditional marketing still has a massive impact for others. However, what’s important is to know which model works best for your business or how to combine aspects of each model together to best effect.

Some products and services are all about impulsive consumer behaviours or self-imposed rule-breaking.  I’ll give you a personal example. I would probably never try and solve the problem of identifying the most sugar-packed double iced lemon curd donut in Dublin. On the contrary, I’d be more likely to search for something like ‘ways to beat sugar cravings’. Yet I might still fall prey to a poster in a donut shop window as I idle pass and decide to throw all caution to the sugar storm wind and buy/scoff a donut.

Equally, there are many brands whereby brand awareness and association are part of the sell. These brands need plenty of touchstones to stay top of the mind and so will combine traditional campaign style marketing with other digital strategies.

My advice for business owners then is to know your audience and what they want and need. Inbound marketing is the right fit for lots of businesses and it can make a major impact if done correctly.

I hope you’ve found this article useful and are coming out of it a lot less fuzzy about Inbound marketing than when you came in. If you have any questions or comments on this or related topics please feel free to leave a reply below.

Don’t forget to sign up to our Newsletter before you buzz off!

Sinead Gillett

Creative Director @ CONKER

5 Quick Tips – Improve Your Google Adwords Results

5 Quick Tips – Improve Your Google Adwords Results

Adwords

Google Adwords can be a great asset in growing your business and results can be achieved in the shorter term.

If a person is searching Google, they have taken action to search for something specific which means your ad is being delivered to an interested audience.   Another key benefit of Adwords is that you only pay when someone clicks (Pay-per-click – PPC) on your ad so you are paying for tangible results.

Check out some Quick Tips that will help you make the best use of your Adwords budget.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://conkerireland.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/5-Quick-Tips-Improve-Google-Adwords-Results.pdf”]

7 DIY Tips to Enhance Your Social Media Images For Business

7 DIY Tips to Enhance Your Social Media Images For Business

Social Media

Social media images are not easy to get right. But that’s not an excuse for poor visuals!  If building a customer base by way of social media marketing is part of your business strategy then you absolutely must master the art of engaging the eye online.

A picture tells a thousand words. This has never been truer than when it comes to social media.  In today’s fast paced digital world we’re lucky to have a customer scan our social media posts let alone read them. You have a split second to capture someone’s attention so your image needs to be good. And I mean really good!

There are 3 key ways to get good social media images: Professional photography, stock images and DIY. There are pros and cons to each, but for many business owners it simply comes down to cost. DIY is often the only realistic long-term option available to us. So we need to figure out how to crack the art of eye-catching social posts.

If you haven’t got ‘the eye’ get ‘the head !  

If you’re like me then you’re nowhere close to being a talented photographer or graphic designer. In Ireland we talk about people who ‘have an eye for it’ – I’m not one of them! However I do believe that you can develop a bit of a ‘head for it’ if you simply learn a few social media tricks that can enhance your images.

With that in mind I’m going to share some basic social media image tips and advice with you. Not all of these will be directly relevant to your product or service industry, but guaranteed you’ll find some actionable take-aways.

So let’s get started

 

1. Always accompany a social media post with an image (even on Twitter)

This is a bit of a precursor to the rest of my tips which are about enhancing social media images. However, I just want to stress the point from the outset that using visuals on social media is ESSENTIAL.

Don’t bother with text-only posts -they’ve been shown to get far less engagement. And if you’re not attaching an image make sure you are attaching something else visual like videos, infographics, memes or boomerang videos

 

2. Quality Control

Only use high quality, high resolution images.  Pixilated or blurry photographs are a No-No.

Irregardless of your other brand personality traits, all businesses need to appear professional. Low quality images do not send that message. So be hard on yourself when it comes to selecting images for your business social media posts.

The ‘try the other shoe social media approach’ can help. It’s easy. Take off your business owner or manager hat and examine your photograph or image as if you’re just a regular Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or Twitter (or other) user.  Would you be hitting the like button or wrinkling your nose and moving swiftly along. 

 

3. Find the light!

When taking photographs on your mobile – or, even better, with an SLR digital camera – you need to think about your light. Granted, this is easier said than done when it comes to capturing in the moment situations. However, staged images such as those of people, premises or products can be planned.  

Natural light is 100% always your best option. Take your products outdoors to shoot them if you can. If it is a building or fixed structure you are photographing think about the time of day, or take photos at different times of the day to see when the light is best.

If you are taking a photograph indoors try and position it to receive natural light. If this is not possible then under a good source of artificial light. It can also help to shine a light from the side to backlight or give extra illumination.

Don’t mix natural and artificial light.  This is probably the most basic tip you will get, but also the most important. Once you’ve seen the light you’ll never go back!  

 

4. Gain some photo editing skills

Don’t flinch! Photo editing is not just for professionals or techies. Learning some basic editing skills such as cropping, colour enhancing and filters can improve your images no end.  

Your desktop computer will have some kind of inbuilt software that will help you with things like resizing, cropping, adding text and so on. There are also premium products like Photoshop which everyone has heard of and is industry standard for professionals. For something between these two levels I am personally a fan of Pixlr.  It’s a free online app that offers a fairly sophisticated editing suite.  Getting to grips with it can be a little frustrating to start with. Like everything in life, however, the more you do of it the easier it gets. So stick with it and when you hit a block go straight to YouTube!  

 

5. It’s not all about photos.  

Graphic images also work well on social media. Twitter cards and infographics are great for sharing knowledge in a visually appealing way. Indeed, graphics can be used to jazz up text-based information on Facebook for example sharing a quote or seasonal message.

You can also pair graphics with photos to great effect.

This may sound complicated to you, but there are fantastic applications out there that are specially designed to help people create shareable social media images. My favourite is the freemium site Canva.  It’s foolproof and dare I say it, a lot of fun!  

6. Be consistent

Akin to all areas of business communication it is vital to maintain a clear and consistent brand identity on social media. This means setting brand rules and sticking to them.

Your Instagram profile or ‘collage’ is a really good example of why brand consistency is so important. Customers do not always see your social media post one at a time. They will click through to view your profile as a whole. Your Instagram posts therefore need to work together as part of an overall brand story.  

Make sure your colour scheme reflects your brand and is harmonious across your posts.  For example, a children’s entertainment company can work with vibrant primary colours like red, blue and yellow whereas a company that manufactures outdoor clothing may want a more natural earthy palette. Imagine if the outdoor clothing company randomly added a bright yellow image to its Instagram or Facebook account. It would stand out like a sore thumb and confuse the brand altogether.

The same goes for typography.  Pick a font family and stick to it, and be consistent with the size of the font you use when adding text to images.  

Other things to look out for are the placement and size of your logo if/when you add it to an image. Generally, you will also have rules about what you depict in your social media posts which will relate back to your overall brand vision.  

The important thing to remember is that social media provides an outlet for you to build brand awareness. By being consistent with your visuals you’ll develop a pattern which in turn elicits brand recognition and familiarity with your customers. Ultimately you want a customer to see a stand alone social media image of yours and for them to say ‘that looks like it’s from …(Your Business)’.

7.Learn about  Design Elements

If you’re committed to improving your social media images with tips 1 through 6 then you’re well on the way to eye-catching social media success. In fact, I would go as far as saying you’ve graduated and can officially call yourself a jack of the trade!  

If you want to raise it up a notch to Master level the next step is to take on board a little education about design elements. I’m not telling you to go off and do a graphic design degree or even a course – what business owner has the time for that!  But it’s worthwhile doing some tip of the iceberg reading on design to learn about the various elements within an image you should consider – things like colour, contrast, weight, shapes, lines, pattern, negative space and so on.  Honestly, this is one of those times when you really can put theory into practice!  

If you read nothing else then this design tips article from Buffer Social will  give you a quick lesson.  

 

Time to get cracking!

Enough of these words! Let’s see some images! Now that you’ve got a few DIY tips for your tool belt you it’s time to get cracking on making visible improvements to your social media. I’d love to see how you get on so feel free to connect with my social media channels and I’ll be sure to swing by yours to take a look.

In the meantime if you have any specific questions relating to social media, content or digital marketing then please leave a comment or drop me a mail. I’m always happy to hear from readers and find out what you want to know so I an address it here on the blog.

 

Sinead Gillett

Creative Director