Best photography and videography apps of 2018

Best photography and videography apps of 2018

We attended a Business Building Block session with Chris Gillman Gable last week to unlock the power of our smartphones. After the session, SPR’s Carlie was inspired to try them out for herself so here’s a summary of the best photography and videography apps 2018.

Smartphone cameras continue to grow more powerful with each update, with many businesses and photographers starting to use their phone as their primary camera. While the built-in camera is quite effective there are hundreds of third-party apps that can instantly turn your smartphone photography capabilities from zero to hero. (more…)

Social Media Strategy: Six Steps to Success

Social media – it’s all-seeing and all-powerful but can be an almighty waste of time and money if you dive in without a plan.

To reap the rewards of social media you need to build a clear strategy outlining goals, audience, competition and content.

We’ve put together an easy six-step social media strategy to get you on your way:

1. Goals

Make SMART goals.

Like any business plan the first step to creating a social media strategy is to establish goals, giving you the ability to measure your success and return on investment.

Pro Tip: Align your social media goals with your overall business and marketing strategy to show some more ‘old school’ execs the true value of social media.

Each of your goals should be:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time-bound

Example:

Broad business goal: to grow my business.

Social media SMART goal: I will acquire 300 new followers on Instagram within two months by engaging with followers, running a paid Instagram advertising campaign and networking with local businesses. This will enable me to grow my business and increase my revenue.

For your social media strategy start by assessing your business goals and writing a social media SMART goal to align with each one.

2. Who is your audience?

It may seem simple, but do you really know who your audience is and where they’re active online? Is your Facebook audience different to your Instagram audience?

Knowing what your audience wants to see on social media is key to a successful social media strategy. You need to craft content that appeals to your specific audience, so they’ll like, comment on and share your posts.

Most social media platforms offer great (and free – YAY!) analytic tools that show detailed insights about your audience. Familiarise yourself with their age, location and when they’re most active online to create ‘personas’. These personas will help you visualise your audience as real people (rather than numbers) and help you cater to their actual interests, passions and needs.

3. Metrics

It’s time to start gathering data.

Competition

You probably already know who your key competitors are so take the time to assess/stalk (it’s not creepy when it’s for work) their social media channels. Some things to note:

  • What platforms are they using?
  • How often do they post?
  • How are they engaging with their followers?
  • How many followers do they have and how quickly are they growing?
  • What time do they post?

Choose three key competitors and complete a SWOT analysis to help you understand your competitive advantage and how you can ‘outplay’ your competitors online.

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

Pro Tip: use competitors as your inspiration, but don’t copy. Chances are they have you listed as a competitor too, so remember you still need to be unique and authentic with your posts!

Conduct a brief social media audit

Perform a social media audit to review what’s working and what needs improvement on your social media channels.

There’s lots of paid social media tools out there to make auditing a breeze, but here’s the basics that everyone can do (set up a spreadsheet to keep all your data in one place):

  • Note your overall statistics including followers, likes, shares, comments, clicks, video views, reach and mentions
  • Look at your top/bottom posts, how do they compare to each other and why do certain posts get more engagement? Compare timing, hashtags, content, platform etc
  • Input audience metrics including gender, age, location and time they’re active
  • Check for consistency, do all your channels have the same consistent tone and content?
  • Compare to industry best standards or key competitors
  • Re-assess your SMART goals and adjust accordingly (if required)

Social listening

If you’re serious about your social media strategy, investing in social listening software can save you time and money. Platforms such as HootSuite, Sprout Social, Zoho Social, Mention, Meltwater etc make social listening a breeze and can help you track trends, monitor competitors and compile data among many other handy tools. Each platform has pros and cons, so do your research before committing to buy.

4. Mission Statement

Build a mission statement for each of your social media platforms. This enables you to take the data collected above and create a short statement that outlines exactly who we are and what we do.

Follow this format:

[Business name’s] [social media platform] is where [audience] finds [content] to [benefit].

Pro Tip: this should be brief, where we went into detail above about audience and content, here we need to rein it in.

Example:

Building company: Bob Builder’s Facebook page is where local Queenstown homeowners find inspiring images and video content to help plan for their new home.

Cafe: Corner Café’s Instagram is where young New Zealand-based foodies and coffee lovers find fun, creative and colourful images that inspire them to visit and encourage ‘regramming’.

Mum blogger: Diana’s Diary Facebook page is where young mums across the world find helpful tips and funny anecdotes to encourage conversation and engagement with each other.

Bank: Frank’s Financial LinkedIn profile is where entrepreneurs and business owners find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.

5. Content

It’s time to start building your content calendar.

Creating great content is essential but it’s equally important to have a plan in place for when you’ll share content to get the maximum impact. Make a calendar that details:

  • Dates
  • Time you will post
  • Social media channel
  • Content (image, link, video etc)

Make sure your content and calendar reflect the mission statement you’ve assigned to each social profile so that everything you post is working to support your business goals.

Keep your content aligned with your audience, always ask yourself who the content is for, and how they should interact with it.

Pro Tip: As a rule, 80% of your content should be fun, informative or entertaining and only 20% should directly promote your brand.

6. Engage, measure and compare

Hurrah! You have a stellar social media calendar, followers have quadrupled, videos have gone viral and your boss gives you a high five every morning!

This hasn’t happened for you yet? Don’t worry, you probably won’t get your social media strategy 100% right on the first try (this happens with all business plans), simply monitor what works and adjust your strategy accordingly. Continue with your social media auditing, schedule in weekly, monthly or quarterly as desired and re-evaluate your SMART goals.

Sounds like a lot of work? The truth is, building a successful social strategy isn’t a five-minute job, and in today’s online world it’s one of the most effective marketing tools around. Need a hand? Get in touch to find out how we can help create a tailored social media strategy for your business!

 

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How to make Instagram Stories work for your business

Let’s talk Instagram Stories. Most of us watch them, but do you use them for your business?

With over one billion monthly active users*, Instagram’s popularity and growth continues to skyrocket. As savvy business owners, we need to stay ahead of trends and learn to communicate with our audience on their level.

One of Instagram’s most popular tools, their ‘Stories’ feature has over 300 million active users and is basically a free marketing tool. When used correctly, Instagram Stories can be more advantageous than traditional advertising, so here’s how to make them ‘work’ for you.

Instagram Stories vs Instagram Feed

It’s important to acknowledge that your audience wants to see two very different things from your Instagram. Firstly, they want to see an ‘on-brand’, gorgeous, well-thought-out feed.

Secondly, they want to see an ‘insider’s perspective’, something the average person won’t see. Because Instagram Stories only last for 24 hours, businesses can present an unembellished, real-life look at what goes on behind the scenes.

Instagram’s algorithm

Since Instagram updated their algorithm in late 2017, it’s much harder for your brand to be found if you only post to your feed. Stories on the other hand always appear at the top of a follower’s feed and helps your brand remain visible. Popular Stories also appear at the top of the Explore page, and if you’ve tagged a location it appears in location-based Stories automatically compiled by Instagram, helping your profile gain an even wider reach.

What should I put in my Stories?

They’re called Instagram Stories for a reason. If you’re boring, people won’t come back to your feed for more.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Behind the scenes – Show your business has real people with personalities. Give your audience an insider view into your brand, who are you and what you represent.

Use stories to get real-time feedback – Question your followers about a new product or idea using Instagram’s poll feature. This provides you with live feedback and makes your audience feel valued.

Collaborate with other brands – Find likeminded brands and work together on a project, event or giveaway.

Create live tutorials – Use your Stories to give advice, make ‘how-to’ slideshows or answer FAQ’s.

Try an Instagram takeover – Hand over your Instagram account to someone else for a day or two. This could be your CEO or a special guest (think influencers, local photographers etc). This gives a different voice to your account and shows a new and exciting perspective.

Take your e-commerce to the next level – Bring your ‘shop-able’ looks to life using your Stories. With Instagram’s rollout of new Shopping Tags, which enable businesses to link to their website using price and description tags, you should be looking at how to best optimise your e-commerce capabilities.

Story Highlights

Back in December 2017, Instagram released a new ‘Highlights’ feature that has changed the way people interact with the platform. It enables you to select a series of Stories and feature them below the bio section of your profile.

NOTE: THIS IS SIGNIFICANT FOR BUSINESSES!

Instagram Stories Highlights gives you the ability to have unlimited links for an unlimited time in your bio (a clear departure from the 24-hour Stories format we have previously seen). This means you can now direct your followers to any number of external pages like your website, an event, other channels etc, through a simple tap.

The placement of Story Highlights allows you to go beyond the 150 of character limit of your bio to show people what your account is all about and why it’s worth a ‘follow’.

Here’s some ideas on how to use Highlights:

  • Colour coordinate or create branded Highlight cover images – enabling you to stylize your page even further
  • Announce new products or services and keep followers updated with ‘what’s new’
  • Highlight your ‘best of…’ moments
  • Complement your other channels by linking your Highlights to external blogs, website etc
  • Showcase giveaways and collaborations rather than flooding your feed with promotional posts
  • Display recent events, meetings or special occasions
  • Promote user-generated content and encourage your audience to tag and hashtag your brand to be featured
Brands leading the way:

Airbnb’s Interactive Quizzes

Airbnb’s Travel Tuesday series showcases user-generated content from Instagram to provide its followers with inspirational travel ideas. Rather than just posting the pictures, Airbnb transforms each photograph into an interactive quiz. By incorporating user-generated images and polls into their stories, Airbnb increases engagement and creates ways to measure their followers’ interests at the same time.

instagram-stories-airbnb

E! News’ Snappy Stories

E! News keep their followers updated on the latest celebrity drama by sharing news stories directly on Instagram Stories. These ‘short but sweet’ news blasts meet the needs of their target audience, who may not want to read a full article, but always want to be on top of the latest celebrity news.

instagram-stories-enews

NASA’s Behind the Scenes Pass

NASA uses their Instagram Stories to share ‘behind the scenes’ news and information. They provide background stories, additional information, research and visuals that complement their regular Instagram posts, giving their followers a ‘backstage pass’ to the inner workings of NASA.

instagram-stories-nasa

Instagram is constantly evolving and keeping your pulse on new trends and tools is vital to creating a successful social media strategy.

Understand the importance but don’t know where to start? We’ve added an Instagram Stories Workshop to our portfolio, so if you think your business would benefit upskilling in Stories then get in touch today.

 

*Statistic from Social Media Today

 

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Influencer Engagement: Your Beginners Guide

Influencers… We’ve all heard the term and most likely have some understanding of who or what they are. Perhaps we even hoped (or prayed) they would be a short-lived fad? But it’s time to accept they’re here to stay.

YouTubers, ‘Insta-famous’ celebs, Twitterati and bloggers have muscled their way into the PR and marketing world and it’s time to buckle up and jump on the bandwagon.

Haven’t thought about an influencer strategy yet? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! We understand that not everyone has the expertise and confidence to reach out to influencers, which is why we’ve made life easy with our ‘Step by Step Beginners Guide to Online Influencers’.

Do I Really Need Influencers?

In short, yes!

With trust levels in traditional advertising at an all-time low, communications professionals are looking to build new ties with their audiences through influencer engagement.

According to a recent study by the renowned Pew Research Center in the US, 75% of communications managers allocated money to influencer strategy in 2017, with most allocating $25K – $50K.

And with good reason. In 2017, influencer content delivered 11x higher return on investment than traditional forms of digital marketing. This meant that companies on average made $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer engagement.

STEP 1 – Planning Your Strategy

Like any business decision, plan it first.  Make sure to include the following in your plan of attack:

Budget – It’s surprising how many companies don’t realise you have to pay influencers for their time. Trust us, good influencers are making the big bucks today and no, gifting isn’t always enough. What’s your budget? Be sure to include costs for sending products, travel, appearances, events, gifting etc.

Demographic – Who do you want to target and where are they active online? You must have a sound understanding of your target market, so you can create a campaign tailored specifically to your audience. You need to go to them rather than expecting them to come to you.

Platform – It’s incredibly important to choose the right platform to target for your industry. Each social media platform has different specialities and audiences so make sure you’re engaging influencers who are popular on your most engaged platform. Hint: it’s not always Facebook!

Timeframe – Do you have a deadline or event you want to include for your strategy? Some of the best campaigns are often timed with holidays or special events.  Build a timeline so you (and your influencers) know exactly what’s expected and when.

Crisis Plan – Conduct a crisis analysis and look for any areas of your campaign that could lead to negative feedback or conflict. Identify them and work on a crisis strategy to effectively manage these situations. This can be anything from negative social media comments, meme’s or influencer image damage (think of Logan Paul – ex YouTube sensation).

Goals and Measuring Success – What are your key objectives and what results do you want the influencer campaign to achieve? Goals can be anything from monetary values, exposure, sales, online engagement etc.

 

STEP 2 – Research, Research, Research

Yes, it can be tedious, but finding your influencer superstars takes time and patience. Remember not all influencers are worth your time or money so be sure to check out their rates and engagement levels before adding them to your shortlist.

Start by searching popular hashtags on your chosen social media platforms. You can also research your industry competitors or use search engines, articles and blogs. If you’re struggling, get in touch with us and we’ll help you with the rest!

 

STEP 3 – Make Contact

Once you’ve finalised a list of target influencers it’s time to start the conversation. Influencers may have contact details on their social media accounts, or you may have to go through an agent (yes influencers now have talent agents).

Email is a casual but polite introduction of yourself and your business. Tell them why you think they will be a great fit for your brand and give them some general ideas of how you’d like to collaborate.

Keep it short and simple, more details can be communicated later if they’re interested.

 

STEP 4 – Collaboration Time

Well done! The hardest part is over. Now it’s time to sit back and watch the responses and offers roll in.

Start a dialogue with your influencers. Outline what’s expected of both parties including fees, timelines, gifting, exposure, engagement etc. Aim to come to an understanding about how working together will mutually benefit everyone involved.

While a written contract isn’t always necessary, it is always a good idea to have something in writing that states each party’s responsibilities and expectations.

Remember, like any business deal it’s vital to establish a strong working relationship. Always be polite and professional, so hopefully you can work together again in the future.

 

STEP 5 – Execution and Monitoring

Once your campaign goes live it’s important to monitor its success.

At this point you can introduce some sponsored (paid) content to help boost the post’s reach and drive organic traffic to your pages or website.

Always monitor the posts for any negative comments or feedback and use your crisis plan to respond or react accordingly.

 

STEP 6 – Finishing it Up!

Well done, hopefully your campaign was a raging success.

Now it’s time to generate some data and measure your return on investment. You’ll need to measure your engagement, reach, Google Analytics, website traffic, social media growth, unique new users etc.

Finally, get in touch with your influencers to say thank you and let them know how the campaign went. If you were happy with your collaboration, be sure to let them know and express your desire to work together again in the future.

 

Meaningful relationships, relevant influencers and targeted campaigns are crucial to any influencer strategy. Know the importance, but don’t know where to start? Let us help.

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