Freelance Austin’s June 10th meeting featuring Andrea Michnik (andreagenevieve.com, ) at Tech Ranch was an informative and interactive exploration into the ever-changing world of social media via her helpful “Savvy Social Media Guide.” Specifically, she covered how best to snap, shoot, crop, edit and post professional-looking photos, video and content on the web to enhance both SEO and engagement on every channel.
Andrea is a digital media specialist who works with education, nonprofits, small biz and corporate clients, but also a mom-of-two and owner, founder and seamstress for her children’s clothing line, Hello Sunday. Her entrepreneur-mom-on-the-go schedule requires simple apps, tricks and solutions that make social media easy and fun, but never time-consuming or stressful.
Andrea began her informative and interactive presentation with a long list of apps and tools she uses and loves and encouraged the audience to chime in with any questions or tips. In addition to being both a social media and digital tech nerd, Andrea is heavily ensconced in the Etsy craft world and a huge Instagram fan. She shared her “Savvy Social Media Guide” with us, which is packed full of tips and tricks for better photos and social media engagement.
Photos do 4X better on Instagram than they do on Facebook, so she encouraged us all to post images via Instagram and Twitter whenever we can. Photos and visuals resonate and show behind-the-scenes, day-in-the-life moments and you can find ways to get creative with your images. She also shared a very cool and helpful graphic of all the photo dimensions required for each social channel.
Hashtags like #MotivationalMonday, #TBT, #FollowFriday and #WIDN are all excellent ways to use daily themes and campaigns that already exist. But you can also find corporate or branding hashtags that have been created for companies like LuluLemon (#TheSweatLife), so you can always create and brand your own for clients and yourselves. She recommended Tagboard as a very helpful service where you can type in a hashtag and see all instances where the hashtag exists and on what channel.
The trending topics most prevalent on different days-of-the-week follow here, but always read the latest social media updates, articles and studies to find out the latest:
Wednesday: Inspirational Quotes
Sunday: Food + Craft
Andrea shared photo grid tips to help us compose better photos, encouraged the use of natural (vs. overhead/fluorescent light) and taught us the rule-of-thirds. Get close to your subjects, crop your photos and worry about dimensions later, as great, high-resolution photos are possible on most mobile phones. Focus on one subject or thing that the eye is drawn to and don’t try to cram too much into one photo. Keep in mind that white space is incredibly powerful, as are clean, bright, strong, beautiful, in-focus photos. White and lighter backgrounds always outperform dark backgrounds.
She recommended purchasing a light reflector or just using a large piece of white cardboard or poster board to bounce natural light back onto your subject. Also buying an inexpensive tripod will help you set up shots and stabilize any out-of-focus shakes or blurs. You can create inexpensive and mobile textured backdrops by using walls, doors, fabric, wrapping papers and more. Remember, you will post-edit and enhance your photos in iPhoto, Instagram and more of your fave apps, so worry about tweaking and editing later. Photo stylists now make thousands of dollars posting professional photos on social media – truly a dream job that further enhances the value of posting and styling the best possible photos for both companies, brands and services.
Here are some of Andrea’s favorite photo tools gathered from her followers on both Twitter and Facebook:
- A Beautiful Mess
- Afterlight (her top go-to for $2.99 is much speedier for focus, light and editing)
Remember there are many add-on’s that might cost extra, but the basic apps are usually quite affordable, even free.
Don’t forget to credit and tag photos appropriately and get permission from the subjects ahead of time (especially for children from their parents). Andrea encourages using up-to-10 hashtags for every photo to increase engagement and reposting. Posting one-to-two photos a day is ideal – one-a-week is simply not enough for either B-to-B or B-to-C if you want to tell a brand story. Also remember, people and objects do much better than graphics. For example, on National Donut Day, show photos of people eating and enjoying donuts vs just photos of donuts.
Adding hashtags to your photos expands them to the whole Instagram and Facebook world. For hashtag research, she recommends Tagify and for analytics, Iconosquare. The sky-is-the-limit for contests on Instagram, so she highly recommends that as a method for new followers. (Facebook has yet to put any limits on this channel, which they own.) Remember, Instagram’s audience is 18-35 primarily, and though Pinterest is hugely popular for bloggers, she recommends Instagram for retail and commerce. B-to-B is better served with Instagram, B-to-C might be with Pinterest.
The current rankings for popularity with the 18-35 age group are:
- Snapchat (#1)
- Instagram (#2)
- Facebook (#3)
- Twitter (#4)
Remember, Instagram is great for process and behind-the-scenes stories about how things are made – especially making once-boring process stories exciting and personal.
She touched on “loop giveaways” and the continued power of engagement, which led to the group selfie we took below, which she used as an example of how to tag and share with all your followers. You can research calendars of all sorts of fun days/holidays like “National Siblings Day” or “National Wear White Day” for more ideas. You can find resources with more tips at websites like the iPhone Photography School and well as via the Social Media Examiner as well.
Our thanks to Andrea Michnik who shared so many social media ideas and apps that our heads were spinning off by the end of it all, but we all came away with a wealth of tools, tips and tricks.
Mary Anne is outgoing PR/Marketing Chair for Freelance Austin and a former journalist (writer/editor/producer) who now helps clients via content creation, social media, PR and overall strategy. More info at https://about.me/maryanneconnolly or @MaryAnneComm or @MACMediATX.