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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 Tips for Social Media Consistency

3 Tips for Social Media Consistency

A couple weeks ago I was having a conversation with a client I had done some product photos for. Within our conversation he asked how my social media posts seem so consistent in its messaging. I introduced him to Cindy, my ideal client avatar. The idea of the avatar is to direct your messaging to this one “person” in order to reach everyone.

 

Picture this.

Have you ever given a speech? Or been to a conference that had speakers on the stage? A common practice for speakers, especially starting out, is to pick someone in the audience to direct their presentation to. Maybe it is the person in the fourth row, centre seat. If the speaker directs their focus to this one person in that one chair, that does not limit the message. Everyone in the room hears it. Everyone in the room benefits. Everyone in the room understands and feels like that message resonates with them. But the speaker focused the message towards a single chair to stay on track and keep focus. That chair is your social media avatar.

 

How else can you build social media consistency?

 

Scheduling:

Create a monthly social media content calendar. Whether you sit down weekly or monthly to preplan, it gives you a structure to know what you are going to share with your audience. Photos, tips, instructions, ideas. Personally, I plan around 3 content pillars. Educate, Endorse, Entertain. That ensures I am not showing up just trying to push my service, but also help my ideal client.

Branding:

There is a time and place for stock photos, but brand photography that represent you and your business is important. Styling your social media with the colours and fonts that represent your business is also an easy way to be consistent, and recognizable. Using a free branding platform such as Canva creates graphics, quotes and photo accents with a branding kit that allows you to save a couple of colours so they are easily accessible. With tons of free fonts, you are likely to find the one that is consistent with your website and docs, and header images (like the one at the top of this post). I like to have a main text font plus a fun accent font! For extended options you can also upgrade to the paid version.

Imaging:

As a photographer my photos tend to be vibrant. Regardless if I am using a filter on my iPhone or editing from my DSLR in Photoshop they all have a consistent look. Discover your preferred style and stick with it. Some prefer a muted look. Some go warmer, others cooler. Especially if you are using a phone filter for your photos, stick with one. For instance, I had a client that used Juno on all the Instagram photos, giving the grid a consistent visual.

Oh, and pro tip, ALWAYS, always straighten your photos before you post them. That is my personal pet peeve!

 

I would love to hear how these tips help you be more consistent on your social media. To post with purpose! Send me a DM on Instagram at @dandeliondigitalhfx. I would love to connect

 

 

 

3 more Photo Tips to Elevate your Social Media

3 more Photo Tips to Elevate your Social Media

 

We all want to curate a perfect Instagram feed. Earlier this spring I started this series on photo tips for social media. We looked at lighting, building a Photo bank, and watching for distractions in your background.

Go back and check it out. This month I want to share

3 more photo tips to help elevate your social media images.

 Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. SELFIES are a solo-preneurs best friend when you want to add a photo and don’t have an entourage around. Set your phone on a window sill, a tripod, or even propped up with books, and use the self timer so you can be hands free.

Selfies are most flattering when you are standing in even light, facing sunlight, with the camera slightly above eye level, leaning towards the camera. Push your butt back, slide your ears forward, and stick your tongue behind your teeth for a NATURAL LOOK. It may not (let’s be honest – will not) feel very natural, but in a 1D image, butt back, eyes forward will be the most flattering. Remember, unless you are a Kardashian, this is your brand, and how you are representing your business.

 How can you add selfies into your content plan?

  • Showcase your community when you are out and about.
  • Shout out to your favourite business when you are in their shop
  • Tag a client during a consultation or meeting
  • Share a personal behind the scenes

Pro Tip: selfies can be both a photo, or a video, which leads to tip number 2.

2. VIDEO. This is about photo tips, so you may say they are not photos, but really, they are moving pictures taken with your camera, so I say, they kinda are. And in the trends of social media, video is becoming more and more analytically important to incorporate in your social media strategy. In a recent study of nearly five and half million post, “Video content receives 49% higher interactions than images” even though the majority of post were photos.

How can you incorporate video into your social media calendar? Pre-recorded video spliced into Instagram Reel of 15, 30 or 60 second intervals. 

IGTV is Instagrams longer format stand alone channel that allows for 60 second to 60 minute prerecorded videos. 

Lives are now available on several platforms, giving the opportunity for demos, tutorials, and community conversations. 

If you have not started to work with video yet, I found Reels are a great place to start. They can be creatively edited, and take away the fear of going live. My first reel has 88 views. I posted this reel today (note: you can download reels to your camera roll to repurpose like I have done here, but it is without sound and with a watermark), that in just a couple hours has over 2400 views, 37 likes and 5 comments. Here’s the thing. It had absolutely nothing to do with my business. It was about building engagement. Letting my followers get a look behind the curtain of my life. Building the know-like-trust factor.

3. My final photo tip is … EDIT your photos for extra impact, but don’t overdo it! For me the first thing I look at in editing a photo is to make sure it is straight. From there I want to be sure my contrast, colour and exposure pop.  

Free apps like Adobe Photoshop Express or Snapseed and even your in-phone editor are great tools. There are so many to choose from for impact, creativity and even crazy effects.

So, in all that is 6 Photo Tips for your social media. Let’s recap.

  1. Lighting
  2. Background Distractions
  3. Photo Bank
  4. Selfies
  5. Video
  6. Editing

Maybe in the fall I will share 3 more. What are you looking for, how can I help? Drop me a DM on 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.

Is Your Customer Avatar Best Representing Your Business?

Is Your Customer Avatar Best Representing Your Business?

“In marketing, an avatar is a little fiction that helps us understand who our ideal customers are so can more easily find them”. DeVries, H. Forbes, Sept, 2019

Have you identified your Ideal Customer Avatar?

Over the course of world events that hit us in 2020, there has been a shift in this avatar. Previously we spent a lot of time and energy trying to define that one person we want to speak to. Our voice addressed the 1 ideal customer (IC) that would resonate with all others that filled our niche. Our I.C. should recognize themselves or their pain points in our messaging.

For instance, my ideal client was Cindy. She has a little bit of gypsy in her, travelling whenever she can. A GenX small business owner with teenagers just entering college, but she is not quite an empty nester. She understands the importance of a social media presence for her business, and fresh photos to continually support it, but does not want to deal with it herself. She would much rather spend her weekends kayaking or going to a music festival then planning a content calendar. 

I had never given Cindy any specific appearance. She was neither a red head nor a brunette. She was neither black nor white. She was just Cindy. 

Then social injustice finally had a voice in America that screamed from the roof tops and took over the streets. This shift has affected attitudes and outlooks even here, north of the border. 

So I ask you this one question about your marketing avatar.

What is your I.C?

  • Ideal Customer
  • Ideal Client
  • Ideal Community

There is no right or wrong, but have you recently stopped to considered which is best for you? An ideal customer (product based) or client (service based) is an individual focus. You create a persona of traits, habits, maybe even geography to target. The voice and images you use on your social media and website speak directly to a singular identity.

An ideal community is more diverse. More inclusive. When building my Ideal Community I thought of sitting at a networking lunch. I make the presumption that since we are all at such an event together, these are people with a common goal. If I narrow down this entire room to just the 5 other people at my table, what do I see?

Make this an exercise for yourself. Next time you are on a group zoom call, really pay attention to the community you are in. What are the difference you can visibly see?

  • Race
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Mobility

What are some differences you can’t always see? 

  • Marital Status
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity

While these are not typically topics we need to bring directly into the conversation (unless they fit our business plan), they are absolutely areas of consideration in the voice we use.

I won’t tell you how, I will just ask you to be considerate of it. To find diversity and inclusion as part of your message. If you struggle with this, let me know, I am sure I can refer you to someone with the experience and expertise beyond myself.