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How to create free amazing graphics for your blog & business

How to create amazing graphics for your blog and business using Canva

 

We all know that visual communication has become more and more important over the last decade or so.  The growth of Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr is a clear indication of this.  Thus for good graphics become vital to the success of your blog and business.  

A catchy headline and a eye catching graphic is what will draw readers to your blog.  And with Pinterest being a lot of bloggers and small business’s highest referral site we now need to create amazing graphics that will not just get pinned over and over again but will also make people click through to your blog or site.  

Keeping your brand in mind and having big text overlays usually help with this.  

Now I know that many of us want to be able to create those amazing graphics but are not as tech savvy. No worries - that was my fears way back in the day when I started to blog.  

This is where Canva enters!

What is Canva?

 

Canva is an amazing FREE online tool that makes designing your own graphics, pdfs, and documents super easy with simple drag and drop features.  Canva also provides free templates and already designed layouts for you to use and manipulate to make them your own.

 

Why Canva?

 

  • First off it is free
  • It is super easy to use - simple drag, drop, click features
  • It is very intuitive
  • They provide you with already designed layouts - half your work is already done!
  • Easily sharable and editable graphics
  • And more!

 

The key things to keep in mind when creating graphics

 

  • Keep your brand in mind - your colours and fonts are included, also the mood of the graphic (feminine, monochrome, fun and colourful etc.)
  • Try to keep you graphic clean - lots of white space always works!
  • Make sure your text sticks out - make it big and clear to understand, don’t overcrowd
  • Make sure your message comes across clearly
  • Remember to put your website address somewhere on the graphic
  • Just have fun and play around, test various different types of graphics and see which one works!

We have put together a QUICK CANVA TUTORIAL video for you. We also share a step by step below with images and text.  

 

psssttt....guess what? this was just a quick video, a teaser if you will! We actually have a FREE CANVA COURSE for you! Enrol now by clicking the graphic below:

How to Use CANVA:

1.Head over to www.canva.com - if you don’t have an account create one, it’s super easy and     quick to do. If you already have an account sign in!
 

2.You will then appear on the home page, where you can select what type of graphic you      would like to create - Canva has a huge range of types of graphics for you to choose      from -    everything from pinterest graphic, email header, business cards, ebook book    cover, Instagram  post and more!

 

3. Once you select the type of graphic, in the following screen, on the left hand side you will      see various different layouts that are already designed by Canva. Most of them are free to use!

4. Select one by clicking on it and it will load on the page

5. Now you can customize the graphic to make it your own - with different fonts and    colours    that fit your brand and style!

6.To change the colour of the background click on the background and a colour palette    appears on top - click it and more colours appear, it’s easy as clicking another colour  and the colour of the background changes

7.To change the text to type in your own copy, click the text box, highlight the text and start typing your own text


8.To change the font style and size - click the text box and the menu will appear on top. You can easily change the font and fonts style from there.

9.To add a graphic or object to your graphic, click the search tab on the left hand menu (the magnifying glass) and type in what you are searching for e.g. tree, star, balloon etc.

10.To change the colour of the object you just added - click on the object and the colour palette will appear on top from which you can choose a different colour by clicking on the colour boxes

 

11.To change the size of the object - click the object, four dots appear around the object, move your mouse over one of the corner dots, a double headed mouse appears - this is the resize mouse. Click on the dot, keep it clicked down as you drag the object to the size you desire

12.To move objects on your graphic - whether it be a text box or the graphic/object you just added, click on the item (the text box, graphic etc.) hover the mouse over the object and a four sided/cross mouse symbol will appear. You then hold down on the object and drag it to where ever you like!

13. To rename your graphic - click the file name on top and a dialogue box appears.  Here you  can type in your file name and click done! 

 

This was just a quick tutorial on Canva, but guess what? We have created a FREE CANVA course where we give you an Introduction to Canva!

  • This is a 3 part course and it is ALL video based!
  • We go through and give you a walkthrough of all of Canva including all the tabs on the left and the menu items on top.
  • We also Create a social media graphic with you going over each step.  
  • We then Customize the graphic through various manipulations which we walk you through step by step.  
     

CLICK THE ENROL BUTTON BELOW TO ENROL FOR FREE!

How to use Instagram Stories - a step by step tutorial

2016 thus far has definitely been the year of Instagram. First there was the logo change, then there was the new algorithm changes and now we have Instagram Stories.  All this change can be a bit scary at first but in the long run these changes will be great for your brand and business.  

What is Instagram Stories?

Those that are familiar with snapchat will find Instagram stories to be quite similar to snapchat and thus should be able to ease into it.

Instagram Stories is a new feature which allows you to create a “story” which is a montage of photos and videos that you take and add as you go to what then becomes your story when viewed together.  

Essentially it becomes a sort of slideshow which appears on your account for 24 hours and then disappears.

So let’s get right to it!

We have recorded a full Instagram Stories Tutorial for you, if you are not up for watching the video no worries, we have a step by step tutorial in images and text below!



 

When you are in your HOME SCREEN you will see Instagram Stories. The bar on top is the Instagram Stories bar.

 

To watch the Instagram Stories you need to:

 

  1. Click the HOME button to be at the screen where you can see all the Instagram Stories (or you can watch them on individual accounts when you are on that person’s account, if they have a colourful wheel around their profile photo, that means they have an Instagram Story that you have not watched)
     

2.  Click on the story you want to watch and the story will open and start playing

3.  While in someone’s story, you can TAP the screen to go through the story quickly

4.  To skip the entire story you are watching and to watch the next person’s story you SWIPE LEFT

To Send Message:

  1. While you are watching a story you can send the person a message (a direct message) by clicking the SEND MESSAGE button which is located at the bottom left hand corner

To Exit Instagram Stories:

  1. Press the “X”  in the top right hand corner and you will exit Instagram Stories and find yourself back on your home screen

To Record Your Own Instagram Story:

 

  1. Make sure you are on the HOME screen (if not click the Home button to get there)

  2. Click the plus symbol in the upper left hand corner and you will be taken to the Instagram Stories screen

  3. To record a video, PRESS and HOLD the circle button at the bottom of screen

  4. You will see colourful ring appear around the button - release the button once you feel you are done recording

  5. To take a photo - just click the circle button once

To add to your story:

  1. Once you are done recording or taking a photo press the checkmark to add the recording/photo to your story

You can Also:

  1. Click the cancel button to discard of the video and photo

  2. If you would like to save the photo or video to your camera roll click the download button on the bottom right hand corner

Do More:

  1. To your video or photo you can add text by clicking the ‘Aa’ button on the upper right hand corner, you can also change the colour of the text - the colour palette shows up when you select the ‘Aa’ button.  

  2. You can  draw on your video/photo by clicking the brush button - this will open the drawing tools where you can choose various brush types and colours.

  3. Apply filters to your video/photo by SWIPING LEFT

  4. Upload photos/videos taken in the last 24 hours from your Camera roll to your story by SWIPING DOWN on the Instagram Stories Screen to access your Camera roll

Watch your own Instagram Stories and See Who Else is Watching

 

  1. Click the YOUR STORY button in your home screen or YOUR PROFILE PHOTO in your profile

  2. While watching your story you will see a number appear at the bottom of the screen - that is the number of views that section of your story has got

  3. When you click the number your analytics appears

  4. Here you can see how many people have watched each section of your story and who those people are, download the story to your camera roll, UPLOAD your story to your Instagram feed and delete parts of your story that you don’t want in the story anymore

CONTROL who is watching:

 

  1. In the analytics section click the WHEEL ICON in the upper left hand corner

  2. Block particular accounts/people from seeing your story by selecting the “hide story from” section

  3. You can also customize you can send you direct messages with the “allow replies button” on this screen


As we say in the tutorial video - remember if you are using Instagram Stories for your Brand/Business - remember to stay focused! Keep your brand and target audience in  mind when you are recording Instagram Stories.  

further reading: How to have amazing photos on Instagram

How to use Facebook groups to promote your business

Facebook groups are a great way of increasing your following and engagement, but yes, it’s another social media platform to manage and curate or keep up with. But if done effectively Facebook groups are truly rewarding. There are few ways by which you can use Facebook to promote your brand either through your own Facebook group or through others. It is important to find groups that are in and about your niche or to restrict access to your own group to keep your members as reflective of your target group as possible.

Other Facebook Groups

1. Help whenever you can

If you come across a post which you have covered in a blog post be sure to share your post. Be as helpful as you can as people will begin to recognize you as an authority on the particular topics and this, in turn, will drive people to your website. The more helpful you are, coupled with the good quality information that you have provided, will make people trust you and become a returning follower.

2. Share your link but with this key action

A lot of Facebook groups provide the opportunity for people to share their recent posts in the form of a “daily promotion thread.” Do not just leave your link in the comments. Make sure you entice readers into clicking the link you have provided by telling them a little about your post. This is a great way of increasing traffic to your site but we suggest not posting during high traffic times as your post may get hidden amongst all the other posts.

3. Find Facebook groups that share your interests

Facebook groups provide the perfect chance to reach a community of people that are already collected together and hold your interests. Now you know exactly where to find “your people” and these Facebook groups can be used to prime and introduce people to your brand and what you want to sell or share. You can also use these Facebook groups to survey information you are interested in having in order to make decisions about your business. For example, it would be a good place to bounce a potential course idea and to see how your idea is received. It is also a great place to meet like-minded individuals who would like to collaborate, cross-promote or become affiliates.
 

Your own Facebook group

1. First, let's clarify, it's not about you

Facebook groups that are created for your business as say private groups associated with courses or with an email list or even open groups in general for your business are made for the people in your niche. It is for them to connect, to ask questions, to learn and to promote. That is what every successful group focuses their attention on, their people. Building a sense of community in your group means taking the spotlight and putting it on the individuals that make your group special.

2. Consistency is key

People love consistency because that is what builds trust. Post regularly and keep the same themes going in your group. That way your group members know what to expect and can even learn to look forward to it. But it is also important to remain consistent in terms of interaction.  Respond comments and posts frequently as it shows that you are also invested in the people that are invested in your group. Having given the whole spiel on consistency, we will mention that it is also good to share other things on interest like articles and opportunities to keep your group interested.

3. Pay attention to the information

Engaging your members to answer questions or surveys or allowing them the openness to be able to freely ask questions actually gives you a lot of key information that you can use to your business’ advantage. You are being given information on your target group’s pain points, gaps, holes, struggles and this information can in turn help you to set yourself as a key authority figure in this niche and offer the solution to their problems as either through your services or courses. So don’t take that information for granted!

Make sure you're in our Facebook group: Buzzing Creatives

Snapchat for business: Why and How to use it

Snapchat isn’t only for teenagers and celebrities, it’s for you too--ya--you! As a creative entrepreneur you can use snapchat for your business.
 

Why snapchat?

Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks in the world and offers exciting features not found elsewhere (until Instagram stories - though instagram stories is missing filters and geotags). You can send personal snapchats or create a snapchat story that is available for 24 hours. What’s even cooler is the fact that you can use filters, emojis, geo-filters and text as well! The creative scope for the use of snapchat for your business is endless!

Without having to do very much, you can use snapchat to take your branding and marketing to the next level entirely. Meaning, you can use snapchat to humanize you and help you connect with your followers/clients like no other platform allows. You can show your creative, quirky, fun, funny, or personal side with snapchat and all of it’s features.What is even more important is the fact that you have full control. You can edit your stories to fit your brand identity.It is also a good way to ease into live broadcasting or vlogging since it familiarizes you to the idea of people watching you.

Well then, how to use snapchat for your business?

Increases engagement 

With snapchat, what you end up doing is inviting people to keep up with you, your work and your life to a point where they feel engaged. You talk to them, you ask them questions which they can reply to through the chat feature and you get people thinking “hey this person is just like me and I’ve seen what they get up to everyday and how they work” creating relatability and approachability. This is even more applicable if you use Snapchat to provide private or exclusive content! For example, you can offer sneak peeks to new products or your creativity process.
 

Promotions, perks and giveaways

Keeping in line with the last thought of private or exclusive content, you can use snapchat to offer exclusive promotional codes or coupons and even discounts. You can employ this in a number of ways, either for your own service or merchandise or as an affiliate for someone else (you see a lot of vloggers, for example, offer their snapchat people with exclusive ubercode discounts). You can let people know at the beginning of your snapchat that there will be a special something for them at the end so that will encourage viewers to watch your full story. Ultimately this sort of snapchat strategy creates brand loyalty.

Behind the scenes

People love to know how others operate, how things are made, ideas are realized and that is why behind the scenes snaps can become the most enticing of all snapchat content ideas. Not only does it go beyond products and services but it also humanizes you and your brand. It also offers a unique angle than otherwise seen on your website, shop, blog, twitter, instagram etc. and a change from regular promotional snapchats.

A few more details

It is important that your snapchat name is similar or the same as all your other social media handles so people can find you easily. Also remember to add your snapcode (little yellow ghost with black dots) to your blog, and to promote your snapcode on your other social media outlets. But mostly, remember to be yourself. People love watching real and interesting people and what they do, so don’t forget snapchat is about you so as long as it is still in the confines of your brand! Share interesting stories and information about yourself, your day and life, it doesn’t always have to be about business.

Don't forget to follow us on snapchat: buzzincreatives

Join Other Buzzing Creatives in Our Private Facebook Group

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INSTAGRAM FAQ'S

INSTAGRAM faqs.jpg

If you are a frequent visitor of our blog, social media or our private facebook group then you would know by now that one of our favourite social media platforms is Instagram (if you are not following us on Instagram check us out: @buzzingcreatives and give us a follow!  

We love Instagram so much that we even have a course called Instabuzzing - which is all about understanding your target market, perfecting your bio, growing your instagram, developing a visual strategy and finally utilizing instagram to convert your followers into clients/customers! 

 

After our various interactions and working with clients we have come across some questions that are on a lot of people's mind when it comes to Instagram. So we have compiled a list of some frequently asked questions regarding Instagram that we receive. 

We will also be answering any other questions that we many have not covered here in our private facebook group as a facebook live stream. So click the button below to join so you don't miss out!

 

How many hashtags should I / or could I use on Instagram?

You are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram.  But we highly advise that you use anywhere from 1-3 hashtags in the caption of your post and then up to 30 hashtags in the comment.  You don’t want to clutter your caption with hashtags because it looks too spammy and it has been shown that engagement goes down if there are more than 5 hashtags in the caption of your post.

further reading: how to hashtag on Instagram

How often should I post?

We highly recommend that you post 1-3 times a day. If you can’t post 3 times a day you should try to post at least once a day. This is more important especially when you are trying to build a following on Instagram.  People need to be continually seeing you in their feed, this is especially true with the new Instagram changes that highly reward engagement. The more you post and the more engagement you have and thus you are more likely to show up on people’s feed.  We also recommend that you don’t post too many times a day, posting more than 3 times becomes a bit too spammy. A great way to post up to 3 times a day is scheduling your Instagram posts before hand. This makes the process much more efficient and consistent.  We use Hootsuite to schedule our Instagram posts.

When is the best time to post on Instagram?

Here is the thing, there is no right time to post on Instagram that would apply to everyone (Check out our Periscope on this very topic) But according to a study conducted by Latergramme 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. on average are the most successful times to post on Instagram. And Wednesday is the best day of the week to post. But here is the thing - you need to find out when it is the best time to post on Instagram according to your target market. You need to clearly define your target market and then find out when they are active. In all likelihood everyone’s target markets are active at different times on Instagram - new moms vs teenagers.   A great way to find out when the best time for you to post on Instagram is by studying your analytics.  Instagram has rolled out this feature in some countries with their Instagram for business accounts.  There are also other third party apps such as Iconosquare or Simply measured that you can use to help you figure this out.  

further viewing: Periscope - why there is no right time to post on Instagram

What apps are great for editing photos to post on Instagram?

Establishing your instagram aesthetic is very important. It reflects your brand and leads to your feed to be cohesive (Grab our FREE Instagram style guide).  The filters and editing features that Instagram provides are great in itself. But if you want to do more then there are some great apps out there that are free or have some free features. Check out these 3: a color story, VSCO, and Snapseed 

further reading: 3 useful apps to edit your photos for Instagram

 

What if I’m not that great at taking photos or don’t have time to take photos for Instagram?

All you need to take good photos for instagram is an iphone, good lighting and your subject. If you feel like you are not apt at editing software or additional apps then Instagram filters are sufficient. If you really would like to take it a step further than that due to time or budget, not everyone has the time or money to buy props or learn editing software, then this is what we recommend: You can always hire a photographer or as many bloggers and small business owners are doing now, use stock photos. There are many stock photo membership sites out there that send you monthly stock photos for you to use for your Instagram account, blog, and other social media platforms. Sites like Pixels and Lattes have various different themes and packages for you to choose from.

further reading: How to have amazing photos on Instagram & Why you should use Styled Stock Photos

Why you should use styled stock photos

 

Here is the thing, we all are not amazing photographers or photo editors or photo styling isn’t our thing. But we all know the importance of amazing photos and images when it comes to running successful blogs, businesses and social media accounts online.

Why you should use stock images?

Often times we don’t own the expensive equipment and software required. Or we have an iphone to take amazing photos but don’t have the training for the editing or the props needed.  Don’t be mistaken, I believe everyone can, with some practice take amazing photos with just an iphone. But I do understand that with loads to do for our blogs or businesses we often don’t have the time, money or energy to learn yet another skill.  So how do we go about this? Well guess what? More and more bloggers and small businesses are starting to see success with stock photos!

We all know how key images are crucial for your brand identity and the success of your brand.  Building a consistent brand is important. But what is even more important is to make sure the images you are utilizing to represent your brand are good quality. These images reflect upon your brand.  So therefore if you write an amazing blog post but your images are poor it will drastically hurt your blog post’s potential.  Visuals are often the make or break.  And since beautifully styled flat lays is all the hype in the Instagram world they can really help with your Instagram game!

What are Stock photos?

Stock photos are photos taken by photographer for commercial use. They are often photos of landmarks, people in all sorts of situations and environments, and everyday objects and places. These are often for purchase and once purchased you can use them and reuse them for commercial purposes.  Many online publications do this.  

How can you use stock photos?

You know those wonderful desktop layouts you see on Instagram? Or the amazing cover photos on facebook business pages? Even those amazing graphics on Pinterest and amazing photos on those amazing blogs? Many of them utilize stock photos.  

Where can you find stock images?

There are many sites out there that have free stock images available. Those are always great place to start.  

There are also great sites that offer membership where for a monthly fee you get sent stock photos for you to use however you want!

Pixels and Lattes is one such site. The great thing about this site is that they have all sorts of themes they cover with their stock images. From feminine desktop flat lays to food/fruit related photos. You should take a look! There is something for almost everyone!

Instead of spending time looking through loads of stock image catalogues and not finding something that is trendy or current or reflects your brand give our friends over at Pixel and Lattes a try!

p.s. if you haven't heard we have an amazing private facebook group full of buzzing creatives! click the button below to join!

How to use Instagram for Etsy shops

So you have set up your Etsy shop, taken your photos, written the descriptions and put up listings.  And then you hear the words “social media” and “marketing.” It can feel like another big mountain to climb. But it doesn’t have to be! Especially with Instagram.

Instagram and Etsy are made for each other.  Instagram is a highly visual platform so what other better way to showcase your products and Etsy shop? And guess what? You are promoting your products and not having to pay for it!

Instagram not only provides you with the opportunity to showcase/sell your products through another platform but it also contributes to you building your brand online which connects you with your audience and potential customers!

Before we share ways to use Instagram for your Etsy shop just remember: Instagram is about consistency and Intent. Therefore, you need to be thinking how is this going to help my brand, before you post any image on Instagram. And is this consistent with all the other images I have posted--in other words, does it fit in my grid in terms of filter, content, theme etc.

We have an entire module dedicated to visual content strategy in our course INSTABUZZING which will help you post with intent on your Instagram account for your Etsy Shop! Click the button below to learn more: 

So here are some tips and ways for you to use Instagram for your Etsy Shop

1. Private to Public

If you are using an Instagram account for your Etsy Shop you need to have your profile set to public.  You should separate your personal account from your business account on Instagram anyways.  This is a key to keeping your account cohesive and consistent.  

It really defeats the purpose if your Instagram account for your Etsy Shop is set to private.  This leads to the potential follower/customer having to go through a whole process with you. They have to send a request to you, then you need to approve their request. And by the time you do all this they can land on another shop’s Instagram page, a shop that sells similar products as yours which has their account set to public, and end up following and buying from them. This is because their products are more accessible since they are visible right off the bat.  You are really hindering the potential impact that Instagram can have on your Etsy shop, by setting your account to private.  

2. Instagram post ideas for Etsy shops

As mentioned before, Instagram, as a platform, is really an opportunity to build your brand and connect with your audience (potential and existing customers).  Therefore, you should really seize this opportunity and use it to showcase your brand.  

Here is the various different ways you can do this:

A. Workspace

Showcase your workspace, provide a little behind the scenes look. This really helps in humanizing your brand and making you more relatable. It’s important to remember that people tend to buy more from people they feel like they can connect with or relate to!

B. Product in process (various stages of production)

C. Finished product

Instagram, being a primarily visual platform, is great for finished product photos! Taking good quality photos of your product and then posting them to Instagram is a perfect way of getting your products out there outside the etsy realm / marketplace. This is great because, guess what? Instagram has a massive global reach! More than 75% of Instagram users are outside of the U.S. and whereas Etsy user’s primary gender is women for Instagram it is split 51% male to 49% female.  Look at all the people you can reach just by being on Instagram!

D. Tools

You can take lots of fun and unique photos of your tools with your supplies
Ie. like flatlays!

E. Your Inspiration

What is the inspiration for your creations? Is it florals or plants? Share that! Is it an excerpt from a novel? Share that!

3. Make sure you have a link to your shop in your bio

Yes I know this seems like it is really obvious, but I have landed on many Instagram accounts for Etsy shops where there is no link! You need a link and you need a Call to Action, that is, tell visitors on your Instagram account to click the link to head over to your shop! In fact, it’s also a very good idea to have a call to action in your captions, meaning, tell your followers to click the link in the bio!

4. Offer special discounts

Offer your Instagram followers a special discount code that they can use at your shop! This is exclusive to your Instagram followers! If people feel that by joining your Instagram they will remain up to date on all these exclusive offers and discounts then they’ll want to follow so not to miss them. The more they keep up and see your Instagram posts the more they are likely to buy!
 

5. Get your products featured

There are tons of accounts that feature handmade or Etsy products.  Now this one usually comes with a fee, but it is a great way to get your products and shop promoted! Check out our Instagram account @handmadefindslove where we feature handmade and Etsy shops!

There you have it! Tons of ways for Etsy shops to utilize Instagram to build their brand, connect to their audience and increase sales! But if you still are wanting a more in-depth and step-by-step actionable system to grow your Instagram and make sales then learn about our new course Instabuzzing! Each module is designed to help creative entrepreneurs learn how to use Instagram to grow their business online with a focus on growing their Instagram presence.

Click on the image below to find out more:

How to use Instagram to drive sales without being salesy

Instagram is one of the best social media platforms to build relationships and trust with your audience and this is often one of the first steps of converting your followers into buyers and getting them to click over to your shop/blog/website

Whereas Twitter is great for community and Pinterest is great for driving traffic, Instagram is great for building trust with your audience.

And the best part? Instagram has a global audience, meaning a global reach!

1. It starts with your Bio

 You need to have a good bio which indicates to the audience that you are there to provide them a transformation / solution with something they struggle with. Or you can also use your bio to let people know exactly who you are and what you do. Everything in your bio from your profile picture to your description should be on brand and should appeal to your target audience.

In our course Instabuzzing perfecting your bio is the subject of one whole module. We cover the basics like profile picture, description and keywords. We also share our magic formula which is then used to devise your own perfect bio! The Bio is a key piece in your Instagram growth strategy and that is why it is so important to get it right!

For example, since the bio is the only part of Instagram where you can have a clickable link it is important to utilize this feature in a strategic way.

What do I mean?...

2. You must have...a CTA

Tell your followers to click the link to receive 10% off or click the link to see more colours.  It has been shown that if you TELL people to do something they are more likely to do it. So don’t hesitate and tell them to “grab” this or “click” that! In Instabuzzing we go over CTA exercises that help you come up with a few that work for you!

3. Instagram is direct

You can sell directly to your customers on Instagram since it is such a highly visual platform. Therefore, your potential customers can see your product, so the key is to take good photos of your products! You can take a great product and not take a good image - blurry, too dark, not sharp - and really lower the potential of buyers wanting to buy! In Instabuzzing we dedicate one whole module to Visual Strategy where we cover photography basics and provide other actionable strategies to make your feed cohesive and consistent.

If you are selling a higher price product, it’s always great to utilize Instagram as a step in your selling process. What do I mean by that? Instead of selling directly - provide lots of value along with your Instagram posts and ask them to click the link in your bio to grab a freebie. This way you get them on your mailing list where you can build trust and authority and eventually pitch your higher priced product/service to them!

4. Make your Instagram full of exclusives

Another way to utilize Instagram to drive sales is to offer special sales discounts or coupons to your Instagram followers exclusive to Instagram. If people feel that by joining your Instagram they will remain up to date on all these exclusive offers and discounts then they’ll want to follow so not to miss them. The more they keep up and see your Instagram posts the more they are likely to buy!

5. Make your Instagram public

If people can’t see what your Instagram account is selling, or what your feed looks like right off the bat – then there is no incentive to give you a follow or buy from you. By the time you see their request to follow you and you approve, they can very much land on another profile which is public and has similar content/products/services as yours, therefore, increasing the likelihood they will follow and buy from the other profile than yours!

6. Be consistent

Make sure your business name is in your handle and your handle is the same across all social media platforms including Instagram. Then you need to go engage with your potential clients. You can’t just post and disappear - interact!! With interaction the likelihood of your potential clients following you goes up and so the likelihood of them buying from you goes up. This is the exact chain of events that occurs when you have a cohesive feed with beautiful images!

In our new course Instabuzzing we dedicate a whole module to converting followers into customers and clients. We have a step-by-step action plan that includes exercises in wording the perfect CTA, perfecting your Bio for your target audience with an extensive Bio checklist and key conversion strategies that are tried and tested!

click the link below to learn more about Instabuzzing:

How to have amazing pictures on Instagram!

We live in an increasingly visual world. Everything from Facebook to Twitter to online newspapers have started orienting their information delivery towards image or video based mediums. And that is why apps such as Instagram are so successful and, therefore, vital to you, your business or blog.

Instagram is visual content at its core. But when an app is so image oriented and has over 70 million users, you need to find a way to have your Instagram feed and content really stick out, especially if it is an account for your blog, shop or service. The big question mark for Instagram always remains: how do I get more followers? More likes? More sales?

One way in which to increase your followers is through quality images, because I mean you’re more likely to follow an Instagram account with beautiful images? Right?

For example just under the hashtag of #jewelry there are 24,408,476 posts or under the hashtag of #ootd (outfit of the day) there are 83,076,195 posts--and these are the number of posts at the moment I searched for them.

As a creative entrepreneur visual strategy is a key part of your business strategy and brand identity because it’s the best way to attract people to your account and drive them to your website or shop. But it’s having your images and account stick out amongst the rest that is often the difficult part. Instagram can be frustrating in that way. You may have amazing products or insanely well-put-together outfits but if you don’t have a visual strategy in place for your Instagram then people simply will not pay attention.

Fortunately, there are very simple and easy things that you can do to improve your visual content and get the recognition you deserve.

Here are some things to think about:

1. Post Good Quality Images

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many times we have come across amazing products or outfits that were captured in bad quality images through our Instagram audits.

Some examples of what we mean by bad quality:
Dimly lit
Pixelated
Blurry
Cluttered
Shadows
Overly exposed/bright
Selfies
Small file size
Grainy

These are all easily fixable mistakes. Make sure your product is the focus of your image or that your background for your outfit pictures is clean and simple with you outfit being the focus. Use a good camera and tripod. For outfits shoot in continuous mode and for products shoot from above.

We also mean quality in the another sense. Make sure whatever you post, you post with intent. Meaning, make sure there is a reason for why you post what you post and that is catered towards a specific niche or Target Audience.

Not sure about your Target Audience and how to define one?
In our course Instabuzzing we go through a step-by-step process in our workbook and module to help you define your target audience through a series of questions and exercises.

2. Please Edit Your Pictures!

Editing your pictures is just the lift that your image will need to take it from good to great. It helps to make pictures clear, clean, crisp and put-together. Once you have a picture edited to your ideal you have a reference point for the rest of your images. This makes editing all future images much easier and quicker, as you should be applying the same editing tools to all your instagram pictures to maintain continuity. Editing can be done on iphoto on Mac, in VSCO, in your photo editor on your phone or even with the photo editing tools provided by Instagram.

Think about things like:

-Upping the brightness a little. Images that are lighter and brighter have 24% more likes than dark images.
-Playing with the contrast to make the colours come alive a little more.
-If your pictures are too yellow, fix that using the “warmth” or “cast” options. It has been shown that pictures with blue being a central colour or overtone have 24% more likes.
-Shadows/highlight tool that helps to bring back some of the details you may lose when you increase your brightness

In Instabuzzing, we will be sharing more picture taking and photography techniques that you can learn step-by-step in order to improve your images right away! This course dedicates a full module on visual content strategy and helps you to define your visual brand identity through lessons, actionable tips and workbook materials.
 

3. Don't go Overboard with Filters

Instagram is great in that it allows you to choose a filter for your image as you upload it onto Instagram. While this is genius for aesthetic continuity and to make an average photo look great, you need to always hold yourself back from getting filter-happy. More often than not, posters end up using inconsistent filters (“lark” on one and “inkwell” on another). This disrupts the cohesion of your overall visual stream, leaving your feed all over the place and visually inconsistent.

The important thing here to remember is: PICK ONE filter. That one filter is the only filter you should be using on all your images. This filter should fit your brand identity and work to create aesthetic cohesion of your visual content on Instagram.

This leads us to...
 

4. Don't Forget About Your FEED


Meaning, think about how your grid comes together. So it’s always good to step away from the image you are posting and look at the bigger picture, which is your grid. Think about how your image will fit into the grid you have currently. More so, think about the picture next to it and the picture below it, since it is between those two images that your new picture will appear. This will also help in keeping your aesthetic consistent.

5. Have a Theme or a Style

It is important to remember that everything from your image to your grid should be a part of your larger brand identity. Enforcing a theme or style on your instagram feed helps to uphold your brand identity and cohesion. Everything from your visual content, to your filter, to your bio should work together to promote your brand whether you are a shop, artist, or blogger and your branding should be focused in drawing in your Target Audience. Meaning, your grid, your images, your style and theme should all work together to draw in a specific ideal person in mind to you or your business/blog.

In Instabuzzing we have a whole module dedicated to defining your Target Audience and brand in order to attract the right people to become your followers on Instagram. It has been shown over and over again that successful Instagrammers have a clearly defined brand identity and Target Audience that informs their feed and images. Without such clarity there is inconsistency in visual content, in filters, in theme and style and this leads to a confusing Instagram experience of your feed which in turn deters people from hitting that follow button.

Themes can range from minimalist to monochrome to bright pops of colours. Having a theme informs the type of pictures you are taking, the filters used on the images and your grid, but again, the theme you choose should fit in with your brand. For example, if you sell natural and organic face product you might opt for a lighter, brighter theme with pops of green and brown as opposed to a theme with blacks and rustic-based images.

If you’re ready to take your Instagram visual strategy to the next level, then checkout our course Instabuzzing, where we dedicate one whole module to it!  This course will provide actionable tips and tricks to up your images and feed on Instagram with lessons and workbook material with step-by-step direction.

How to Hashtag on Instagram

Hashtags are key in Instagramming. You can’t just post images without hashtags and expect to draw attention in the sense of gaining likes and followers.

HASHTAGS EXPLAINED

But what exactly are hashtags?

A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social media, which make it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. It is normally a word or a phrase preceded by “#” symbol.
 

What do hashtags even do?
 

So as you can see, hashtags, by definition, are key in making your Instagram feed discoverable. They also keep your images alive since otherwise your images have a short shelf life, keeping them alive means they will forever be discoverable under the hashtag it is linked to. The problem is that most people on Instagram don’t use hashtags in the most effective way. Essentially, you have this missed opportunity to increase your engagement and see real growth on your Instagram.
 

 

HERE IS HOW YOU HASHTAG EFFECTIVELY

So, here are some things to think about if you want to hashtag in an effective manner:

  1. Don’t use hashtags in your captions


    Okay, you can use a few hashtags in your caption, however, it makes your caption look too cluttered, spammy and salesy. You want an amazing caption to go with your amazing picture, so why clutter it up with # after #? The caption should clearly and coherently relate what your image is about as it should function supplementarily. In this regard, the caption becomes really important in making a sale, elaborating about a service or describing an outfit. This is why having hashtags in your caption makes it distracting for the reader. It has also been shown that engagement goes down when you have more than five hashtags in your caption. So, if you are going to use hashtags in your caption it’s best to include only 1-3.

    Where you should be placing your hashtags, instead, are in the comments section where you can post up to 30 hashtags. Definitely use up the 30! This way your hashtags are hidden but yet still functioning!

     

  2. Use the RIGHT hashtags

    Really think about the hashtags that you are forever linking with your image and in effect with your Instagram account and even more so, with your brand. Using the right hashtags with see your account grow faster with real organic followers because you are providing them something of their interest. So how do you figure out which hashtags are the right hashtags for you and your image?

     

  3. Would your Target Audience search that?

    By hashtagging with your Target Audience in mind. When you have a specific and ideal person in mind, whom you would like to double tap on your picture and then follow you, it becomes easier to fill in the hashtags.
    This is because you should think to yourself, if I were the Target Audience what would I put in the search bar?

    For example, if you are selling handmade toys from your etsy shop, hashtagging #etsyshop will draw your peers to your site and not your ideal target customers. In order to attract them you have to think outside yourself and instead think like your ideal target customer. Instead this prompts hashtags like #mommyblogger or #newmom or #newdad.

psssstt....we have entire lesson w/ videos & workbook on how to hashtag on Instagram in our course: INSTABUZZING

Hashtags are not about you...wait what?


In our Instabuzzing course we help you define your target audience and show you how defining your target audience informs all other aspects of your Instagram leading to increased followers, sales and likes. We also provide a hashtag guide where we teach how to hashtag right step-by-step and even provide industry specific lists of hashtags that we have compiled! Hash tagging is integral to growing your Instagram and that is why we dedicate a whole lesson to it in Instabuzzing, because want to share with you how to do it right and really benefit from something so simple and effective that most people get wrong!

Remember, at the end of the day pairing amazing visuals with the right hashtags is the ultimate Instagram success package--you simply cannot go wrong.

This is why we have a whole module dedicated to visual strategy in Instabuzzing and an entire lesson dedicated to hashtags.
 

If you are serious about improving your images and hashtag game to increase your followers, sales and traffic, then Instabuzzing is for you!

Click the Button Below to ENROL:



 

Happy Hashtagging ##