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New Goal Setting with Analytics

New Goal Setting with Analytics

As a photographer, I am a visual person. Numbers are my kryptonite. As an entrepreneur I recognize the importance of tracking a few specific metrics, which inevitably mean numbers (god forbid, possibly even a spreadsheet).

Goal setting with analytics for small business owners is an important way to prepare for, and measure growth.

Today is the second last day of the year, so I feel it is a pretty good time to take a look at a few numbers, and get ready to not only review the past year, but prepare for the next year. 

Here are a few thing I did:

Paper & Pen Planner

 

First, I cracked open my brand new Yearly Planner. As much as I love digital, I like a good paper and pen planner. Sometime mid year I even started colour coding my entries. Using my brand colours, orange means a booking is specifically business related, like a discovery or client call. Green means it is revenue generating, like a photoshoot or coaching session. Blue is for networking or personal time. 

Back on track . . . first thing I did was go to the very back of my planner and wrote down a few stats from the end of this year. 

Number of photo shoots. 

Number of coaching clients. 

Number of social media followers. 

Then I wrote down my goals for the new year. By having it at the end of the book, it is a reminder next December to go back and see how I did. 

Second thing I did …. each of the months in my planner has an overview page, so wrote down a few monthly goals. 

 

Social Media Analytics

 

Third, I went into my Facebook Business Suite Insights. On the top right of the desktop screen it defaults the calendar stats to 28 days. I went in and created a custom view for the year. I could immediately see that my Facebook reach was down, but my Instagram reach was up (800.2%!)

Next I went into the Content Report, and selected Likes & Reactions. I was not surprised that neither of my top posts were not business related. 

My top Facebook post was of my husbands recent retirement from the military, from November

My top Instagram was a Reel of my girls building the new pergola on our deck, from July. It is important to remember this was based on Likes & Reactions. At 2,617 views, it ranked my 3rd highest viewed Reel. 

What I also confirmed is that Reels reached a far greater audience than the amount of followers I have, so they will be a big part of my content strategy going forward.  

Next I went into the Audience Report. I was not surprised to learn that my key audience is women 35-55. What I was a little surprised by is that 40% of my Facebook audience is still from Alberta, even though last week was my 3 year anniversary as a Haligonian. 

On the flip side 40% of my Instagram audience is from the Halifax region.

A big contributor to this is likely that the Instagram account was created when I launched Dandelion Digital in 2020, whereas the Facebook account was renamed Dandelion Digital from my previous photography business in Edmonton. 

 

 

Analytics as a Goal Setting Tool

Here is the take-away, and the importance of knowing this information. 

I work with small business owners to post with purpose through photography & social media. What has gotten me through the pandemic was the use of zoom, and social media coaching to other new entrepreneurs. So I now recognized that I will focus on that more heavily on Facebook, where the bulk of my followers are long distance and available virtually. Instagram will not ignore the coaching at all, but it will prioritise my key service of local brand photography with social media strategy. 

So, are you reviewing your past year, to start planning your new year? What insights have you made for your business? 

Vendor Tips for Live Events

Vendor Tips for Live Events

 

Two years ago I was working on a business plan, preparing to launch Dandelion Digital. At the time my business plan played to my strength and experience…photography and social media for live events. While I completely love the switch to brands for small business, it was great to have live events on my calendar again this month!

Marketing Live Events on Social Media

One of these live events was a craft show. I was so pumped to work with the organizers. Back in my employee days I did a lot of work on trade shows, so this was almost nostalgic for me.

This live event was the first big craft sale in nearly 2 years, featuring Atlantic Canada artisans. A few weeks before the event I started a social media campaign to introduce the vendors, and their products. It was very simple, and drove a lot of awareness and engagement.

From that experience I have a couple of tips for vendors as they return to live events.

 

Vendor Bio’s

Are you submitting your bio to be shared in a program or post for the live event? Writing it in third person gives the reader a narrative they can relate to.  Use your name rather than ‘I’. For instance if you read “I am a photographer”, rather than “Allison is a photographer”, which works better from your perspective as the reader?

If you are a show organizer with several different vendors, speakers, or presenters, create a quick questionnaire with leading questions to help them provide information in their bio that would appeal to the ideal customer of your event. That helps them know how to talk about themselves, and gives every bio a consistent, yet unique spin.

 

 

Vendor Photos

A photo may be the first impression of your product. I can showcase the detail of your craftsmanship. If you are posting (or submitting) photos of what you are selling, you want it to grab peoples attention. Keep these photo tips in mind.

  • Start taking pictures during your process for a behind the scenes look
  • Try for a close up that emphasizes detail – try different angels
  • Keep your picture as uncluttered as you can so your product really stands out.
  • Back away and show your full display or booth – watch for distracting items like garbage, coffee cups, extension cords
  • While you are at it, shoot a quick video spanning across your entire display
  • Shoot vertically and horizontally to fit different formats
  • Be sure of your focus
  • Straighten your photo
  • Colour correct your photo – be sure your whites are white
  • Keep your photos in a “photo bank” to repurpose for social media posts and other vendor shows.

 

For more details on some of these tips, refer to these 3 Photo Tips to Get Started on Social Media.

If you are not sure of how some of these tips are put into practice, consider getting in touch. You can also DM through Facebook or Instagram at @dandeliondigitalhfx.

3 Photo Tips to Get Started on Social Media

3 Photo Tips to Get Started on Social Media

Everyone is looking for photo tips for social media. We all want to look great on Instagram. Filters and apps create pictures easier than ever before, but it is kind of like microwaving a pre-made dinner. The end results may be there but the craftsmanship is missing. 

The last few years we have been striving for the perfect Instagram grid. Beautiful, bright, airy images. But if you start with a photo that is flat, dark and dingy, you shouldn’t be asking how a filter can fix it, you should be asking, how can I make it better from the start. 

I want to share with you a few of my priority tips to help you post with purpose through photography & social media. 

Photo Tips to get Started on Social Media:

LIGHTING is KEY:

Photography translates as painting with light. We want to look for even, natural light. 

Outside, clouds are a photographers best friend. They act as a diffuser, a soft box. Bright sunshine creates hard shadow lines, glare, and squinting. If clouds are not in the forecast look for shade. Go around the corner and shoot behind a building. Find a tree to go under, or a tree line to put between you and the sun. 

ProTip: if shooting in “tree shade” watch the ground for patches and try to be sure your subject is in an even shade patch. This helps avoid the patch work of lines on faces and objects.

If shooting inside, window light is brilliant, and free! The trick is to use a window (or door) away from the sun. Soft, natural indirect light again avoids harsh shadows and highlights. If you can add in a few reflective pieces such as simple white poster board, that not only increases your light value, but reduces the shadows. 

Flat lay photos can showcase your products and creations, and can be used to highlight your services.

Watch for BACKGROUND DISTRACTIONS:

If you are wanting a lifestyle social media presence to showcase you are your products, you want a natural, distraction free background in your photos. 

What is distraction free? Take a test shot. What is the first thing that jumps out at you? Is it your subject or is it:

  • a water bottle in the foreground – remove it 
  • a coffee cup in the background – remove it
  • a dark shadow – block that light or move your subject
  • a hair out place – fix it
  • a necklace or tie that hangs uneven – adjust it
  • a tree branch coming out of a person’s head – change your angle
  • extra people walking behind – wait for them to go

By taking the extra few minutes to take a test photo, and scan the space you are photographing, you can avoid unwanted distractions in your image.

Build a PHOTO BANK

Picture this. A baker makes a beautiful cake, with the best decorating she has ever done. Over the next several months she fills her social media with posts on all the celebrations her cake would be perfect for. Each post has a beautiful story that suggests a different event. 

  • A birthday 
  • An engagement 
  • An anniversary
  • A baby shower
  • Mother’s Day
  • A retirement

Sadly no one reads the beautiful stories because when people reach her feed they see the same photo used over and over again. They don’t bother to click the Read More of the caption. They never get to her story, her deal, her call to action. 

Had she taken multiple photos, at different angles, of her perfectly decorated cake, she could have showcased them on her grid, or homepage in multiple ways.

ProTip: Shoot video as well to create Reels and Stories.

A little pre-planning of how the photos could be used creates an opportunity to bring in props to shoot with the cake, and create a photo bank to use later.

Dandelion Digital brand photography for Temi Bakes Pre-planning the photos not only makes the photo shoot go smoothly, but it helps you pre-plan your content. How-to posts to Educate. Behind-the-scenes to Entertain. Showcase posts to Endorse your CTA. Need more information on this, ask about our brand photography for social media

A photo bank is essentially a safe place to deposit your pictures. An external hard drive or cloud where you can create folders for easy access. Folders can be by date, project, location. Whatever works for you. 

Cloud drives are especially important if you are part of a team, or you outsource any aspect of your business to a VA or social media manager. Google Drive, Dropbox, Prime for example, allow for multiple access points and sharing. Just be sure you have them set with secure passwords and authorizations. 

I hope these photo tips come in handy as you get started, or look to take your social media to the next level.

Looking to upscale your photography with a branding photo shoot to really showcase you and your business. I would love to chat.

A Photographer’s Iceberg

A Photographer’s Iceberg

As a brand photographer I create images to help you post with purpose. Images that showcase you and what you offer, to help reach your ideal client, customer or community.

I don’t just take pictures.

A few years ago I heard a story that stuck. Let me paraphrase

A couple had a dinner party, serving a gourmet meal. They spent all day creating the feast for their friends. One of their guests was a photographer and the host commented, “your photos are beautiful, you must have a very good camera”. The photographer replied by saying, “thank you for the wonderful meal, you must have a very good oven”

 

We have likely all seen the iceberg infographics that shows what the consumer, or client sees a business do above the water, versus the actual involvement under water. The many tasks and expenses that are behind the scenes. 

Every industry has such an iceberg. Some more obvious than others. 

Recently I was on a networking call with creators. A lady showed us a stained glass tea light holder she had designed and made in her art studio. It was $30! I remember silently scoffing and thinking, no-way. Then she explained her process. The detail of her design. The expense of the glass. The precision of her cuts and sauters, and the time involved. Really at $30 she gains to make very little profit. 

I did not understand her iceberg.

A photographer also has an iceberg. As does a social media manager, graphic designer, an event planner, and a chef. Pick an industry and consider their iceberg.

Now I have been a photographer my whole life. My first big girl full time job as a photographer was at 20, and 30 years later (ignore the math), as an entrepreneur my iceberg is real.

Typically what a client realizes involves them is the discovery call, the proposal, the shoot and the actual photos. Everything else is under, or within the iceberg. 

 

Under the iceberg are all the things we do as a business, for the business. The things within the iceberg are for the benefit of the client, but behind the scenes.

The base of my photographer’s iceberg includes years of training and experience. It includes my equipment (not shown) and all the parts of creating a business. All this before I even get to talk to a potential client. 

As a service provider, when deciding on fees it is not just the one-on-one time spent with a client that goes into the pricing. We don’t always understand this in others, and vice versa.

I really appreciated this when I meet my daughter for lunch after a mini session. She asked what I charged, and I told her. She was shocked that a 30 minute shoot is $225.

 

What she didn’t realize is that 30 minute shoot likely had a couple hours invested before I even packed all my equipment in the back of my car. Then after the shoot another few hours in post production. Selecting the final images. Enhancing them in photoshop, sizing and saving them for their required use. Uploading them in a gallery, then more emails for delivery and invoicing. So the 30 minute proverbial iceberg was closer to 5 hours of work. 

 

I recently hired a service provider to create a program for me because I have neither the time, nor the skill set to do it myself. When she gave me her quote I nearly choked, so I had her explain to me the steps she does. I realized the time involved. The learning curve she is releasing me from, and results I will get for my money. Once I understood all that, I did not hesitate in booking her. I understood her iceberg.

 

What is your iceberg? How surprised do you think others would be at what is below the water line?

 

 

How Brand Photography Can Elevate Your Small Business

How Brand Photography Can Elevate Your Small Business

If you have an online presence, no matter if you’re a life coach, a dog trainer, a yoga instructor, or maybe you teach online-marketing strategies like I do, having professional, branded, and lifestyle photos can massively up-level your business, especially when you know when and where to use them.

Amy Porterfield

Podcast 281

Are you a life coach or a yoga instructor?

Maybe you’re an artist, a coffee shop owner or a craft beer brewer.  

Perhaps you are a chiropractor or a real estate agent. 

Do you know what all of them, and all of us have in common? We are all entrepreneurs. We are all small business owners, and we are all trying to reach our ideal clients. 

So how do we do that? We show up. We show up on-line and we stop the scroll to grab their attention. We build a know-like-trust factor, so one day they will transition from follower to customer. 

Brand photography is an investment in our business.

It gets us away from stock photos so we are showcasing our products or services.

A lifestyle brand photography session gives you creative images in your environment. That may be the neighbourhood coffee shop where you write your blog. Your home office or clinic. Your kitchen or . . .   

 

Where can you use brand photography images?

Anywhere your business could use an updated look and a little (of may be lot) of personalization? How about:

  • your social media profile pictures
  • your social media posts
  • your custom graphics
  • your website home page
  • your website About page
  • your e-commerce site
  • your business card
  • your freebie offer
  • your newsletter
  • your thank you page
  • your blog
  • LinkedIn articles
  • your podcast graphic
  • your workshop presentations
  • the Facebook ads for your workshop
  • the headshot you submit as a guest on someone else’s blog, workshop or podcast

 

How do you know if you should update your brand photography?

Is your current headshot as a beach blond or a flaming red head but you let your natural hair colour grow out over Covid19?

Is your headshot cropped out of a group picture with phantom shoulders alongside?

Were the staff photos on your website taken under office fluorescent lights and have a colourcast?

Has your office changed from downtown to down the hall with a change in workspace?

Have you recently transitioned from a corporate day job to an at home entrepreneur with a change in life-style?

You need a change!

What are you waiting for?

I waited years for my first photo shoot. I like to be behind the camera, not in front of it. But I’ll be real, I am glad I did it. I didn’t wait to lose 10 pounds; or pretend I’d one day look 5 years younger! I got a gallery of maybe 2 dozen photos, 3 or 4 of them I use on a regular basis.

So are ready for yours?

I have 3 packages from a mini refresh, to the seasonal retainer, and that one  in the middle that could be just right! I talked more in depth about them in “How Brand Photography Can Boost Your Small Business Online.”

When you’re ready, Let’s chat! Book a free consultation.

A special shout out to my featured clients, Nicole Osmond & Kathy Colaiacovo

Thank you, Allison, for the amazing experience I had doing my first ever professional photoshoot. It has been one of the best investments I have made into my business, and my personal brand. As a self employed professional I needed current and authentic images that captured the real me. Thanks to your guidance and skill, I now have a collection of images I use for a variety of purposes for my business. And I no longer cringe when I have to share a head shot because I have current images that I’m proud of. Hooray!!! Thank you!

Nicole Osmond

Customer Success Coach, Nicole Osmond Consulting

Allison did a brand photography shoot for me and my business and OMG! It was the best! I now have a slew of photos I can use on my website, in social media, even ads for my business. I will be rebooking for a spring shoot too in order to get more pics to use – especially in the social media arena. The images I post on Instagram always get more reach, reaction and traction than my standard memes and pics. She made the shoot so easy and was able to accomadate some of my thoughts and ideas to give me a portfolio of images that really reflect me and my brand.

Kathy Colaiacovo

Online Marketing Strategist, PepperIt Marketing

5 Quick & Easy Website Updates for the New Year

5 Quick & Easy Website Updates for the New Year

For many of us the first week of a new year is like a clean slate. We set new goals with renewed energy. But there is also an advantage to taking a step back and looking at the old. 

For me personally, I did a quick update on my website! It isn’t old, being a new business it too is new, but by giving it a personal audit of how it is (or maybe isn’t) working for me is a great new years habit to have. 

I am by no means a web master (I can recommend a guy though!). If I compare it to driving, I can get behind the wheel and take several routes to get from point A to point B, but I call on the experts to look under the hood (I can recommend another for that too!).

 

So here is what I did do, and recommend for you too:

 

 

👩‍💻 Update the site ©️ footer to the new year

Having a current date to your website lets people know your information, services or products are up to date. 

Ever find a website that has a date that is still listed as a few years old? It not only makes you wonder if they are still open, or if the information is still reliable. Consider some of your own assumptions and apply it to your site audit.

 

 

📸 Update PHOTOS to reflect Personal Brand

This is huge! If you are offering a new product or service, that should be reflected in your photos. If you are the face of your business, that should be reflected in your photos. Having images that are true to your business, and ideally of your business gives your audience a more authentic understanding of what you offer. 

Need a hand with this… I offer Brand Photography sessions in Halifax, NS! 

 

Bonus Tip: if available, set the “Feature Photo” that will be displayed when your webpage or blog is shared.

 

 

👩‍💻 Re-read pages and make sure they still speak to your ideal audience

Over the course of a year we may adjust our offers. We find new keywords. Our ideal customer changes. The language we use may need to be more specific. More diverse! Would it be appropriate to add a diversity and inclusion statement?

 

🖱 Make sure all links go where they are supposed to

A dead link is like bad breath. It stinks, but it can be easily remedied.  Google loves internal links that keep your viewer going down the rabbit hole of your website. If you changed a page slug that effects your url, and the web address linked on any website becomes dead. Get mouse happy and check and fix all the internal, and external links on your pages.

 

 

📱 Make sure pages look awesome for all devices

As you make any changes to your webpage(s), be sure to preview each page for both desktop and mobile. Sometimes what looks great on a 21″ horizontal screen is cut off on a 6″ vertical phone.  I always check my photos and headings to be sure they can be viewed as intended.

If your website is not mobile friendly (remember, I have a guy I can recommend!) you may lose traffic from mobile user. It is very frustrating to have to expand and scroll around a page on the phone.

These few tweaks can make a huge difference. Any that I missed? Please leave me a comment and I’ll get right on it.

As I said at the beginning, a regular audit to be sure your website is functioning the way you want your audience to see and use it is a great way to start the year. Ask your BFF or partner to take a look with fresh eyes. They may see something you missed, or never thought of.  

 

 

Bonus Tip:  Apply a similar habit to reviewing your social media platforms. Need a hand? I can also help with an Optimization Audit. Let’s Chat.