How To Make Your Feed Clean AF

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Do you ever post photos like the one above in your feed? If not, you should be.

Why the hell would I suggest this?

Because it’s a filler photo that creates necessary negative space in your grid. Why is negative space important? Take a good look at the businesses and accounts who are killing the IG game.

They’re curated AF. An easy way to start making your feed have that same clean, branded aesthetic is by finding “filler photos” and occasionally using them to create negative space. Wondering where you’ll find these gems to clean up your feed? Pinterest and IG are my go-to’s for finding inspiration, but there are a ton of other stock photo websites like Unsplash to check out as well. Just make sure when you’re posting these bad boys that you’re giving proper attribution where necessary.

Adding these elements to your feed gives new people (aka, potential clients) who find you, a clean grid to view. If you don’t have this necessary “white” space, it’s easy to find yourself with a muddled, busy feed that users get lost on. Have any good places you use to find filler photos? Let me know in the comments!

Are You Creating Instagrammable Moments?

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Social media is the best free marketing there is, and the fastest way to get in front of your target market. One of the best ways to create opportunity for your brand? Setting yourself up for what I like to call Instagrammable moments.

Here are several ways to make sure you are maximizing on stylish, branded (and again, free) exposure with Instagrammable moments:

  • Create (or find) a space where you love working. Not only does this benefit your vibe and workflow daily, but it also makes it easy to snap a branded photo when the moment strikes you. For example, our team absolutely loves working at The Annex. It’s a beautiful, well lit creative workspace with modern decor and a beautiful moss wall - all totally Instagrammable.

  • Take pictures of yourself or your team working. Behind the scenes photos can be completely Instagrammable, and tend to perform very well (people love to see what you’re up to). Snag a picture when your team is coordinating or looking especially branded - for Elixir, that’s when we’re all dressed in black, looking like a fierce coven 🖤

  • Send a potential or current client something for free that’s funny or attention grabbing! Make sure it’s branded and has your logo so when they post, your name is front and center. Even if you don’t sell a physical product, you can accomplish this by sending an on-brand note or small gift.

  • Is your desk looking great? Take a quick flatlay! Grab something with your logo (like a business card), add it into the mix, and snap away. Don’t have something with your logo on hand? Use that flatlay like a graphic - leave white space and add your logo in later!

    Tell me in the comments a way you’ve created an Instagrammable moment for your business! 👌🏼

Does Your Caption Follow This ONE Rule?

Focus Goal

When you’re composing a post, there are so many things to consider. Choosing the right image (a behind the scenes photo, a current project, or even a quote), curating the perfect group of hashtags (#socialmediatips), and remembering to geotag (ALWAYS) can seem kind of overwhelming.

But after all that work, are you forgetting the most important part of your post?

When you create your post, the FIRST thing you should be thinking of is its purpose. Even if you’ve put all that work into making your post look perfect and getting your hashtags just right, it won’t matter without a clear purpose. What’s the end goal you’re trying to achieve by sharing this on your page? Are you:

  • trying to drive clients to your website or blog?

  • introducing a new project, product, or service?

  • promoting an upcoming event or class you’re hosting?

No matter what you choose (and there are way more than what I’ve listed above), you need to know exactly what your aim is before you hit post.

Every single post you create should have a purpose that ties in to your 6 month goal marketing plan (yes... even the weird cat meme you shared because it made you snort whiskey out of your nose). If you’re taking the time to get all the “technical”parts of posting correct without focusing on your end game, your social media won’t really be working for you.

Plan Your Own Marketing Photoshoot

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Photo by Stellar Exposures

  1. Find a photographer who FITS YOUR BRAND

Not all photographers are created equal. Just because someone is an amazing wedding photographer, doesn’t mean they’re going to be just as amazing at a marketing shoot for content. After all, you wouldn’t assume a baker is a great bbq pit master right?

How do you know if they are a good fit? Editing style. If your brand is light and airy, take a look at their portfolio (or Instagram profile) and see how they edit. If you see a lot of darker, moodier photos- probably not for you.

Look at their detail shots. What are those? Images of literal details of objects like a close up of hands working on a laptop, flatlays of “tools” you use everyday, maybe it’s a mug full of coffee. Why is this important? Because shooting people and shooting objects are two different ball games that takes practice and you want someone who can do BOTH.

Social Media Expert Manager Elixir Media Co.

2. Create a Mood Board

Chances are, you’ve already made one before and didn’t even know it! Throw your hands up if Pinterest is YOUR JAM. A mood board is simply an inspiration board for your photoshoot. Finding images and putting them together in one place, helps bridge the gap of what you have in mind versus what you’re photographer THINKS you have in mind.

3. Have a Shot List

Make a list of images you HAVE TO HAVE. You can write this out or you can find images as well.

Why is this so important? Too many times I’ve seen people walk away from photoshoots feeling like they didn’t get everything they wanted. They had an idea in mind for their website landing page, head shot, or even product to be featured, that they didn’t get. A shot list keeps you on track to make sure that doesn’t happen to you!

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Photo by Stellar Exposures

4. Bring Props… because what else are you going to do with your hands?

If you’ve ever had a photoshoot before, you know what I mean. Otherwise you’re probably thinking… what do my hands have to do with anything?

Truth is, when standing in front of a camera all by your lonesome, suddenly you find yourself feeling really subconscious about your go-to hands on the hip pose. My suggestion? Bring (or go out and buy) a few branded products to hold, so you don’t feel as awkward. The added bonus is now you’ve subtly tied in your branding as well!

5. Wear a basic top with multiple layers

Don’t bring just one sweater, jacket, blazer… bring at least three! This way, it’ll look like you’ve taken photos over a period of time, not like you’re using the same images from the same shoot six months ago.

5 Facebook Live Mistakes to AVOID Looking Like a NEWB

Photo via thedrum.com

Photo via thedrum.com

  1. Turn your camera horizontal.

  2. DO NOT physically turn your phone once the Live has started. Everyone will be craning their neck to try and watch your video, then give up. While YOUR screen looks normal to you, it’s not showing the right side up on Facebook.

  3. Give a call to action- tell people to come out, to visit your website, to comment below. If you want people to do something, you have to tell them to!

  4. Introduction- make sure you state the purpose of the video and what you will be covering or doing.

  5. Use a mic- don’t have one? Make sure the camera is always pointed in your direction to pick up the best sound!! Also, they’re less expensive than you might think. Here’s the link to mic I use for Facebook Lives:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZYN1H9P/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Geotag All Day Err Day!

Instagram Strategy for Social Media Marketing

Geotagging will help your business appear in the search feed when a person looks for a location.

HOW TO APPLY: If you’re a wedding photographer, geotag wedding venues. If you’re a realtor, geotag popular neighborhoods where you want to close on houses. Start by thinking of the places your ideal client hangs out- not in real life AND on the internet- and start there!

By using geolocation EVERY single time, you’ll increase your overall brand reach and show up on customers’ feeds you weren’t able to reach before.

I know what you’re wondering… can I use a geolocation for somewhere I am not physically at? The answer is yes AND no.

DON’T post a picture of yourself, your cup of coffee, your laptop and say you are in a different cafe, city, or state.

DO take advantage of posting graphics like quotes using target locations even if you’re not currently there!

5 Tips for Better Phone Photos

1. Don’t underestimate the power of windows.

Use natural light whenever possible. If your inside, open up those blinds baby! Shooting outside? Use the sun to your advantage by planning to shoot during the Blue Hour- dawn or dusk, when the light rays are completely indirect.

How to take better phone photos

2. Create dimension.

Ever wonder why people looooove portrait mode so much? It’s because it creates dimension in images and gives your eye something to focus on! The great news is you can create this without portrait mode by placing items or people at different lengths away from your camera.

If you have multiple items, try pulling your main focus item forward and pushing the rest back to create a background effect.

3. Frame your photo.

Look at your screen and use objects (trees, buildings, shelves) to create a frame around the subject whether it’s a mug or a person.

How to take better phone photos

4. Rule of thirds.

Raise your hand if you put people right smack in the middle of your photo. OK… now slowly put your hand down and don’t ever raise it again. haha I KID! There’s always exceptions to rules, but since we’re all beginners with iphone-ography, we want to UP our game.

Imagine drawing lines vertically and horizontally to create a grid on your screen that breaks down your image into thirds. You can create a more interesting photo by placing your subject on one of the intersecting lines.

How to take better phone photos

I know what you’re thinking… What the hell, Kristina. These tips are supposed to be easy to follow- AND THEY ARE. Your phone already has these grids, just go to settings > camera > grid and switch the button to on! TA DA!!

5. Edit yo shit.

Because nobody’s born perfect, we have to edit ourselves to make us into the best person possible! #youarenotbeyonce Download Adobe Lightroom CC app… like right now. It’s a free app that can take your photos to “I can’t believe that’s just a phone photo”!

5 Reasons You're Missing Out BIG TIME if You're Not Consistent on IG Stories!

Image via Crowdfireapp

Image via Crowdfireapp

So you might of heard… using IG Stories makes your followers feel like they’re getting a real sense of who you are, promotes exclusivity, and adds a personalized touch to getting more engagement. All of which strengthens your “relationship” and therefore makes them more invested in your brand aka ready to hit that BUY NOW button!

Some of us know these to be absolute facts and dive right in saying, “Now show me the way, so I can start implementing them consistently with strategy!”

Others might need some cold hard facts before committing to an entirely new item on their weekly to-do list. So here’s 5 really big numbers that’ll bring all of our non-believers aboard the Instagram Story train :)

#1 It is the fastest growing platform in social media.

Knowing that Instagram Stories gets more hits than Twitter and Pinterest isn’t that impressive. But what if I told you it gets almost as many hits as Facebook?

Facebook hits an average of 1.4 billion people a month and as of June 2018, Instagram hit nearly 1 BILLION as well! IG Stories comes in right behind with an impressive 500 million.

Check out the graph to see how Instagram has been growing by the millions in recent years.

Stats via statista.com

Stats via statista.com

#2 60% of users discover new products on Instagram and over 200 million visit at least one business profile per day. 

If you need solid proof that your profile can convert followers into direct sales, HERE IT IS.

#3 One in five organic stories from businesses gets a direct message.

Compare that to your normal posts! Are they getting that same level of engagement?

#4 33% of the most popular Instagram Stories are published by BUSINESSES.

Family and friends usually take the cake over businesses every single time when it comes to popularity and visibility of content on social media, but IG Stories is the way around that!

#5 50% of businesses on Instagram produced an Instagram Story within the last month.

That means if you haven’t implemented IG Stories into your weekly marketing strategy, you’re already behind.

Image via captiv8.io

Image via captiv8.io


So go on, do it now! Grab your phone and start having fun on IG Story. Is the strategy different than normal IG posts? Absolutely! But before we make it efficient, let’s make it routine. Play around with the features and show your followers what’s going on behind the scenes. The best part? It all deletes in 24 hours so no need to make it perfecto!!

(Sources: Falcon.io, 99firms.com, statista.com)


Different Business. Different Day. Different Uniform?

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Working with so many different types of companies makes walking in for a work day like walking into Alice’s wonderland. You open a door and you never know what's going to jump out at you! 

Is it a piece of corn that finally gets so hot from the open fire, it leaves the cob and burns the hell out of your arm?

Is it a bug hiding by the windshield while you hit the road with a photographer to adventure on a shoot?

Is it a splash of yeast being poured out of a tank of freshly brewed beer?

Working with companies that are so unique means everything changes day to day, especially our "uniforms"! Here's a little sample of the day-in-the-life of a social media manager for Elixir Media Co.

Travel Network: Comfy Professional. (You never know where you'll end up for a Facebook Live! A local restaurant? An art museum? Maybe a festival on cobblestone streets?)

Brewery: Shoes that can get wet. (from the brew tanks being emptied)

BBQ Food Truck: Clothes that breathe. (with the smoker + ovens in full force, those food trucks get pretty steamy)

Men's Formal Wear: Heels. Blazers. (you never know when a customer is going to walk through the store doors. If they're spending thousands of dollars on suits- we need to look the part too)

Luxury Boudoir Studio: Black on Black on Black.

Custom Wedding Bakery: Anything you don't mind being covered in flour and sugar!

 

Moral of the story? Practicality is everything… and always keep a pair of black boots, heels, and flats in the car ;)

The Biggest Mistake People Make on Social Media

Social Media Manager/ Elixir Media Co.

When I opened up the "question" feature on Instagram Stories and invited hundreds of people to ask away, I didn't expect this specific question to make in: 

"What are most people getting wrong when it comes to social media?" -Leah, owner and badass business genius behind BlushTones.

The answer is actually quite simple: They aren't getting to the real story. They aren't telling it. They aren't taking photos of it. They definitely aren't capturing it on video.

Most people are too busy making sure they get the perfect photo of a centerpiece- and don't get me wrong, these photos are AMAZING. Magazine worthy even! BUT they aren't meant for a magazine... they are meant for social media. And social media (despite what you may have been led to believe) is not all about a pretty picture.

While they were too busy setting up the perfect lighting and angle of this centerpiece, they missed old friends coming together and sharing beers and hugs. They missed dogs bouncing off the walls from the energy on the patio. They missed the look on people's faces as they tried the food and eagerly asked who catered this event.

They missed what was REALLY happening. What people REALLY want to see. The moments people REALLY want to be a part of.

Now don't get things twisted- you need the clean, sharp, professional looking photos. But those are only going to get you so far! You need to capture the true story to pair along with it. 

The lesson here is to dig deep and stop posting the same damn content of your pretty finished product. Tell a story that people will be intrigued by and want to follow along with. Show the WHY behind your business. Give people a reason to become INVESTED in what you do.