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Holiday Prep,Social Media

How To Get Your Social Media On Brand For The Holiday Season

Click to read how to get your boutique or shop's social media on brand for the holiday season.


Do you hear Christmas music playing in your grocery store yet? Maybe. If not, you will be soon! That’s right, it’s that time of the year where you need to be getting ready for the holiday season. Make your Christmas shopping list, pull out those decorations from the attic and get your boutique or shop’s social media accounts on brand for the holiday season too.

Earlier I talked about how often you should be posting on social media and if the holiday season should affect that.

Now, we’re going to cover a little bit of branding for your social media accounts for your boutique or shop. While there isn’t anything wrong with keeping the same old profile picture and header that you have all year round, getting into the festivities during the holiday season can make you more appealing to your customer.

Remember we want to build trust with our customers, both current and potential, and use social media to do that. To continue our trust building, why not add a little holiday cheer to your social media accounts. We’ll talk about the four ways to ger your social media on brand for the holiday season. Watch the video or continue reading to find out more.




1. Update your profile picture

Be honest when was the last time you updated your social media profile pictures anyway? Are you still using your logo?

If you’ve decided to continue using your logo as your profile picture, that’s alright. But your customers on social media really want to know that they are interacting with a human being, not another robot. So start out by updating your profile picture that adds a human element and also showcases off your products.

Take it a step further by introducing holiday elements. If you are a shop that focuses on one specific holiday, then by all means use props that reference that holiday. For example, if your shop is mainly for people who celebrate Christmas, try adding red, green, Christmas trees, ornaments or any other Christmas props you can think of into your new profile picture. If your shop geared towards those who celebrate Hanukkah, then focus on blue, silver, gelt, menorahs or any other Hanukkah props that would be relevant to include in your profile picture.

If your shop doesn’t focus on one particular holiday or you prefer to not focus one specific holiday, then keep it neutral by adding winter elements like pine cones, snowmen and snowflakes for example.

Mix and match holiday or winter related props and include them into your profile picture to make yourself more appealing to your customer base.


2. Update your profile header

Even though your profile header isn’t a feature on all social media platforms, mainly just Facebook and Twitter, it’s still important to have.

If you want to know why you should still have a business Facebook page for your boutique or shop, then read this here.

The header on your social media account is one of the most prominent images, meaning it’s what your customers will see first. So don’t neglect this!

Use this header to your advantage again by using holiday or winter related props to make your shop look relatable and approachable. Also, use this space to advertise special promotions and other social media accounts where you may be more active on.

For your Facebook header, it’s helpful to reference the call to action button in some way, whether that be by actually referencing the button by words or by arranging the subject of the header image directly above the call to action button so the viewer’s eye is naturally drawn in that direction.


3. Update your call to action button

Speaking of that call to action button, is yours working and is it relevant?

The most common problem I see with social media accounts is that their call to action button is either broken or irrelevant. For example, if your header is referencing your huge holiday sale page, but your call to action button directs people to your basic shop page, it will not only confuse the viewer but may also deter them from pursuing your sale any further.

Use any call to action buttons to direct the customer right where you want them to go. Don’t make them have to search around for it.


4. Update your social media bio

Just like our profile pictures, we don’t always update our social media bio as often as we should. But it’s extremely important to keep up to date with any current promotions.

Whether it’s a new arrival or a flash sale, including this in your social media bio is crucial because yes, your audience does look at it! The social media bios people tend to look at the most are Instagram, which is a great visual platform for product-based businesses to be on. If you are going to be updating any call to action buttons, then you should also be updating your social media bio and referencing that button.

If you want to update your social media bio, check out this post where I share the 3 most important tips to keep in mind when updating your bio.


Looking for a little more holiday prep SOS? Join me in my Facebook group for my 7-day Holiday Prep Challenge. The challenge starts November 1st! Join the challenge here.

Social Media

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay (PLUS A Video!)

Seeing all those flatlay images everywhere, but not sure how to go about creating flatlays of your own for your boutique or shop? Click through to read how to create the perfect flatlay image for your Instagram or website. PLUS watch a video on all my special flatlay tips.

Today I want to talk to you about how to create the perfect flatlay image. And I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s not the easiest thing to do in the world. It takes some time and practice (lots and lots of practice to get that perfect image), but I’m sharing 5 tips of mine that have helped me create better flatlays.


Make sure to watch the video that goes along with this blog post. I’m really excited to start adding video content into our blog post mix. If you hang around with me in my private Facebook group, The Shop Social, you know I love hopping onto Facebook love. Well, these might not be Facebook Live videos, but they are going to pretty raw.



1. You need your products (the main subject)


Gather your the main products you want to photograph together, so they’re all in one place. But when it comes time to photographing each flatlay, choose one main product to focus on.


2. You need a few other smaller products (supporting subjects)


These products compliment your main product. If you’re hand making your final product, you could include some of the tools or materials that go into creating that product. You could add smaller accessories.


You could also try glassware, magazines, books, notebooks and office supplies. Be creative and don’t feel the need to shell out a lot of money. Check out the Dollar Spot at Target or try your local dollar store. Always keep your eyes peeled for craft store coupons or major sales.


P.S — Sometimes (alot of the time) I like going to Target and capturing it all on my InstaStory.


3. Use backgrounds smartly


Have a mix of solid background and creative backgrounds.


For solid backgrounds, use foam core. Again you can get this even at the dollar store or a craft store. Always have neutrals like white, black, gray, maybe tan or brown on hand, but use your brand colors as well. If they don’t have foam core in your brand colors, try scrapbook paper or painting a piece of foam core.


For your creative backgrounds, think of texture and patterns. Maybe there is a patterned piece of scrapbook that works well. Don’t forget about fabric. My favorite background to use is the white fur fabric that looks like a rug. In fact, I do use it as a rug. You can also try out contact paper and adhere it onto foam core. For creative backgrounds, check out Amazon, your craft stores and dollar store.


Head over to my private Facebook group for boutique and shop owners to watch my exclusive Facebook livestream of all the products (and links) to products I use in my photography.


4. Have good lighting


I use natural light, but you can definitely rearrange lamps to help you create better lighting situations. Of course, there is always the option to buy professional lighting, but try out some DIY lighting situations in the beginning to get a feel of flatlays are really your style.


My best tip is to use the white balance feature on your camera if you are using a DSLR or a more professional camera. It evens out the color in your photo right off the bat.


5. Last but not least — Start taking pictures!


As I mentioned in the beginning, it takes time. When you rearrange your products on your background, you may need to rearrange them if your original layout didn’t work.


Now that you’re ready to snap away, stand over the subject (your flatlay) to get the right angle. Make sure when you’re standing over your flatlay arrangement that you’re not creating any weird shadows.


Also when photographing, don’t use the camera to crop. It’s much easier to create a better looking flatlay if you crop during the editing process. So my original pictures may not look perfect but after I crop the flatlay to get out any unnecessary products or background (or sometimes even my feet).


Now that you’ve read up on my five tips on creating the perfect flatlay, start photographing!


If you’re ready to take your Instagram to the next level, then you’ll want to sign up for my 21-Day Instagram Challenge. Completely self-paced, these video AND text based e-mails are sent directly to you over a 21 day period with mini “take action” steps to hold you accountable. Sign up for the challenge here!

Guest Post,Social Media

4 Steps That Will Improve your Product Photography for Pinterest

Brush up on your product photography for your boutique, shop or product based business and learn how it can transform your Pinterest. Click through to read this guest post by Laura of The Badass BusinessMum.


Guest Post by Laura of The Badass BusinessMum

Taking product photographs for Pinterest is a little bit different from taking photographs for your shop. Your shop photography is all about showing your potential customers the details of your products, showing them all the things they’d be able to touch and smell and hear if they were looking at it in person.

Pinterest Product Photography is about bringing attention to your product in a way that fits with your buyers’ aspirations. Pinterest is used by people to plan things; it’s a visual to-do list and virtual inspiration board all rolled into one.


Make your Product Photographs tell an Enticing Story

Think about the lifestyle your buyers are aspiring to. Imagine these two scenarios for a second…

A jar of handmade bath scrub in a glass jar, beautiful label with a handwritten font, tied on with twine for that hand finished touch of luxury, sat on the side of a white bath. Nice picture hey, nicely shows off the product, it’s in a natural setting, technically everything is right.

Now, imagine the same jar of Bath scrub sat on the same bath, but this time in the background is a sea of candles, the light is dim, there’s a glass of champagne amongst the candles. The bath scrub is pin sharp, the background blurred enough to not overwhelm, but sharp enough to know what it is.

Which image tells the nicest story? Which one says, “Yes! I want that experience!”?

Use the photographs you take for Pinterest to sell the lifestyle, not the product.

And that’s the point of product photography for Pinterest. You want as many people as possible to re-pin your photographs. And every single time they do, that’s a link back to your shop.

So, I’ve put together a 4-step process to help you tell your Brand story with your product photography.


Step 1 // Get Inspired

If you’re not sure where to start, start on Pinterest! Create yourself a secret board and start collecting images that inspire you. Do a search for the type of products you sell, or start with popular brands in your industry to see what people are pinning.

Take note of what type of backgrounds are popular, common recurring props, textures, themes and styling and think about how you could use some of these elements in your photographs.

Use the words you associate with your brand when searching (eg; vintage, modern, luxury, minimalist etc) to see how other shop owners have chosen to represent their brands when photographing your type of products.

Step 2 // Choose your Props

You might have noticed that popular product photography on Pinterest is more than simply products on a plain white background. Popular pins tell a story; they inspire; they’re pinned because the person that pinned them wants to live in the World that your product is in.

They don’t want to live in a World of plain white backgrounds; they want to live in a World of beautiful Interiors, happy people, food that looks as gorgeous as it tastes, handmade Beauty products in luxurious bathrooms and stationary that’s used by people with flowing handwriting and posh fountain pens!

The moral of the story? Choose your props and backgrounds wisely. Your props and backgrounds need to:


Be on Brand
Choose props that work with your brand.

This includes things like the colours and patterns (or plainness) of your backgrounds, the amount of props you use and the atmosphere you invoke.

As an example, if you sell rustic style handmade wedding invitations, you might choose a faded wood background to photograph your invites on. But if you sell modern, minimalist invites you might choose a polished plain background.


Complement your Product
Your props need to compliment your product, not overwhelm it.

Use your props in the background, to put your products on or up against to display them at their best and to show your products ‘in use’ (eg; include a pen with stationary products, photograph art hanging on a wall, a canvas shopping bag with shopping in it)

Use other products in your range as props to create a cohesive, branded photograph.

If you sell clothing or jewellery, use a model to display it at its’ best. There is nothing that says ‘buy this gorgeous outfit’ like putting it on a gorgeous model whose life is obviously made so much better by her choice of clothing.

Are your products for the luxury or value market? Make sure your props match your product.


Step 3 // Take & Edit your Photographs

This section could be a whole blog post by itself (in fact, it could be a whole blog by itself), so I’m just going to touch on the most important points and if you need to delve deeper into the more technical aspects of photography, I’ve compiled a great Pinterest Board full of tips: Product Photography Tips & Inspiration.


My top tips for taking photographs

  • Pay attention to lighting. Natural light is best, so if you can get next to a lovely, big window, that’s a bonus. If you can’t, use white lights to avoid colour casts and adjust the white balance on your camera to compensate for artificial light.
  • Blurred backgrounds are brilliant for product photographs. To make a blurred background, you need to create a shallow depth of field (so your camera focuses only on a small area and blurs everything else). You need to be able to adjust the aperture on your camera to a low f-number (which is called a wide aperture – yep, confuses me too!) to create this effect.
  • Use a tripod or the timer on your camera to avoid camera shake & make sure your photos are pin-sharp.
  • Take lots of photos! Move your props around, change locations, take photos from different angles, experiment with different lighting. What looks great on your camera might not look so great at full size, and vice versa! So give yourself loads of options.
  • Don’t let a ‘lack of equipment’ stop you! There are tonnes of resources on Pinterest that show you how to create backgrounds, DIY lights reflectors and diffusers, everyday item prop ideas and how to take photographs with your phone. You don’t need a DSLR & thousands of dollars of ‘stuff’ to take brilliant photographs!


My top tips for editing photographs

  • Make your Pinterest images vertical, the recommended size is a ratio of between 1:3.5 – 2:3, with a lot of people saying the ‘best’ size is 736px x 1102px.
  • Learn how to make simple edits such as removing colour casts and changing the brightness and contrast. Super simple changes can make a big difference to your final photographs.
  • You don’t need to know how to use Photoshop to edit your photographs. There are several highly rated free options such as Pixlr and Pic Monkey.
  • Create collages. Collages are a brilliant way of creating vertical pins from horizontal photographs, showing different angles of your product and showing some of the processes that went into creating it.


Step 4 // Create your Pins

The final step is to create your pins. You can create pins in two ways:

  1. By pinning direct from a site
  2. By uploading an image to Pinterest and adding the link manually

As I said, the aim with Pinterest is to get the maximum number of re-pins you can and to do that I’d recommend creating a selection of different pins for each product you want to promote. Select between 3-5 different photographs that highlight the different benefits of your product and might appeal to different buyers. As a starting point consider a selection of the following:

  • A collage that shows the design / manufacturing procedure (especially if your products are handmade or individually designed)
  • A styled flat lay
  • Your product being used
  • Your product in situ / on display
  • A collage showing different views / different parts
  • Seasonal variations


Include the different variations on your shop site or just use them on Pinterest, whichever best suits your site design.

The title and description on your pin are important for getting buyers to click, not just re-pin or like it. Use your keywords in both the title and description to greatly increase the chance of your pin being shown in a pinners’ Smart Feed and in Pinterest Search.

Use your description to continue to sell the lifestyle, or solution to a problem that your product provides. Mention your Ideal Customer, so they know you made this product just for them. And lastly add a call to action, show your customers know what you want them to do. (eg; Visit our shop to find out more about….)

Make getting Product Rich Pins part of your Pinterest marketing strategy too. Rich Pins are special types of pins that display more information, take up more space and are therefore more pinnable thnon-Richich Pins. A big benefit of Product Rich Pins is the inclusion of real time pricing and stock availability.

I really hope this post has given you some actionable ideas of how to tell your story with your product photographs. The best advice I can give you is to experiment and have fun. And use product photography as a great excuse to buy gorgeous props!



my-profile-picABOUT THE AUTHOR
is Head Twin Wrangler & Business Owner at The Badass BusinessMum, where she helps new Bloggers & Business Owners develop their Brands, master Pinterest, get organised & create compelling Content. Before she started The Badass BusinessMum, she ran an Etsy shop selling her Hand Drawn Prints & Cards, which helped develop her love of Product Photography.

Keep up with Laura! Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram

Blog + Business Tips,Goals and Intentions,Social Media

Join my 21-day Insta-credible Instagram Challenge

Stop getting frustrated with losing Instagram followers and not getting any engagement on your account! Sign up for my FREE Instagram challenge for boutiques, shops and product sellers, 21-Day Insta-Credible Instagram Challenge. Click through to sign up for the challenge today.

Does this sound like you and your boutique or shop’s Instagram account?

You’re losing followers faster than gaining them
OR you’re getting the silent treatment in your comments
OR you’re receiving less and less likes each time you post

What if it’s all 3?!


That’s ok because I’ve got you covered with my 21-day Insta-credible Instagram Challenge.



Over the next 21 days, you’ll receive lessons in text and video form straight to your e-mail FOR FREE!
We’ll start with the basics: your profile picture and Instagram bio.
And cover how to take better pictures for Instagram and how to write better captions too!
When we’ve got the basics down pat, we’ll get into planning out your Instagram content and sharing it.


Social Media

3 Instagram Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Are you making these Instagram mistakes with your boutique or shop? Stop and read these three major Instagram mistakes and how you can fix them. Click through to enroll in my three day e-mail course and learn how to become an Instagram pro.


Still struggling with your Instagram account? Losing followers as fast as you’re gaining them? Posting and hearing crickets?


These are common struggles I hear from Instagrammers. They’re not sure what the problem is with their account. What’s making people unfollow them? Why don’t they receive any comments? If you’re not sure what the problem is, then how can you go about fixing it.


I’m sharing the three most common mistakes I see boutique and shop owners make on their Instagram AND I’m telling you how to fix those mistakes too.


1. Not making the most of your Instagram bio

Here’s what I see in a lot of Instagram bios: that you own a business, have a few different hobbies and anyone who stumbles upon your Instagram profile should shop from you now. That’s wrong for a few reasons.


For one (and this is going to be pretty blunt), but your Instagram followers and potential customers are not really interested in your hobbies. They’re interested in spending their money and you want them to spend it on your shop. If you start talking about your hobbies, they’ll take their money somewhere else.


Another thing to consider is whether or not you should be including your religion or bible verses in your Instagram bio. If your shop is religion based, it makes sense to include something about religion. However, if it’s not, I highly suggest keeping your religion out of your Instagram bio. Others may not agree with your stance on religion or what you practice and you don’t want that to be a reason for not gaining followers or making sales.


And yes, you should definitely be telling people to click that link in your bio, but tell them a little bit more than just “shop now.”


Here’s how to fix your Instagram bio:

I talked about the importance of your social media bio in this post, but right now, we’re just going to talk about Instagram. Your Instagram bio is the first thing people see when they check out your account. You need to make the most of it.


Your Instagram bio is not all about you! It should really be more about the kind of customer you are serving. How can you be of service to them? What makes you stand out from the crowd and what about your products is going to change their lives? These sound like extreme questions, but they’ll help to write that awesome bio.


In your Instagram profile, you only get one clickable link. Including why your Instagram audience should click that is super important. People may not click that link otherwise and you would lose out on e-mail sign ups or sales and nobody wants that.



2. Using the wrong hashtags

This is a big one for me. Here’s the thing. Google has SEO, right? Well, Instagram has hashtags.


When you want your website or products to be found on Google, you use keywords that your ideal customer would search in Google. It’s the same thing with hashtags.


Instead of using the right hashtags that their audience would use, I see many Instagrammers use hashtags that the same kind of business owners would use or hashtags that describe what’s going on in photos. You want to stay away from those hashtags!


A common hashtag for boutique owners is #boutiquefashion, but that isn’t the hashtag you should be using. Why? Because you are only going to attract more boutique owners and my guess is that is NOT your ideal customer.


How to fix your hashtag problem:

Market research. Get to know your ideal customer — it’s more than just a gender and age. Once you get to know your ideal customer, you’ll be able to figure out what hashtags attract those customers. Use those hashtags! And just because you found a few hashtags that work doesn’t mean your work stops there. You should always be looking into new hashtags and experimenting with different ones.


3. Not engaging with your audience

Not getting any comments or getting those robot comments is pretty frustrating. You could delete those robot comments or report the spammer, but what do you do if you’re not getting any real engagement?


Well, first go back and take a look at those hashtags again. Are those really the best hashtags you could be using to attract your ideal customers? If not, go back to the drawing board. There’s no one size fits all for hashtags.


Second, how are you engaging on other accounts? Are you just leaving comments like “love that” or “beautiful”? That’s not engagement either, my friend. If you’re commenting on other accounts, you need to posting engaging comments (and liking the photo too, of course).

When people do leave comments on your Instagram account, are you responding back? And I don’t just mean saying thank you when someone leaves a compliment. Are your responding with an engaging comment?


Really look at your account and see if you are.


How to fix your engagement:

Let’s talk about leaving engaging comments on other accounts first. Stop wasting your time and their time leaving comments like “love it.” Tell them why you love it. Did someone post a picture at a special occasion wearing one of your products? Ask them how the event went.


Next up, your account. If someone says “love it” to you, all hope isn’t lost. Respond with a thank you and ask them where they would wear that outfit you just shared. Or what accessories they would pair with that new shirt.


Go take a look at your Instagram account. Are you making these mistakes and are you going to take the steps to fix them? What are you struggling with on your Instagram account?


Want more Instagram SOS? Sign up for my FREE 3-day e-mail course all about becoming an Instagram pro.



Social Media

3 Collaborations You Need To Be Doing Instead Of Loop Giveaways

Getting nowhere with loop giveaways on your boutique or shop's Instagram? Stop them all together and try these three collaborations out instead. Click through to read and to enroll in my FREE e-mail course all about Instagram to help you boost your engagement.

Ah, the infamous loop giveaways. I hear so many things about them: how good they are, how bad they are, they’re too long, too confusing, too hard to put together. Everybody has their own opinion of them. Want my advice? Stop doing loop giveaways altogether.


I see loop giveaways for MacBooks, home decor and coffee mugs all of which sometimes have nothing to do with the boutiques and shops hosting the Instagram loop giveaway. That makes no sense to me! Don’t you want your audience to have your products?


I also see loop giveaways that are just too long. To be honest, any more than five boutiques or shops and many people lose interest, forget where they started and just give up. That defeats the purpose of your loop giveaway, doesn’t it?


I know you want to grow your Instagram account. You want more followers and more engagement. It makes your shop look good. But if you are just gaining irrelevant followers because you joined in on a large and random loop giveaway, then it really doesn’t do you any justice in the end.


Loop giveaways are a type of collaboration, but they are not so the most successful kind of collaborations. While collaborations should be included in your Instagram strategy, there are many other types you can host besides loop giveaways. Collaborations are not only important to grow your number of Instagram followers and boost your engagement, but collaborating with others encourages a professional relationship — someone, whether another business owner or a customer, who can refer you to others.


If you continuously only participate in one kind of collaboration, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Step away from the loop giveaways and out of your comfort zone. Try these three collaboration ideas instead.




1. Joint giveaways that do NOT involve loops

Earlier, I mentioned that I see loop giveaways giving away MacBooks and items that have no relevance to the boutiques and shops hosting the giveaway. Here’s an idea instead: come together with a few other shops that have a similar ideal customer as you. Let’s take new mothers, for instance. If a few shops all sell products for new mothers, they can each include a product from their shop to be part of the prize.


Instead of hosting a loop giveaway to gain followers (which may end up unfollowing you after the contest ends), host the giveaway on a program that allows e-mail captures such as Gleam or KingSumo. Then, use Instagram to promote the giveaway. Your Instagram posts should appeal to the audience who would want to win your giveaway and would benefit from winning it.


I talked about this in my private Facebook group for boutiques, shop and product sellers. (P.S. — You can join the group here to watch the replay of #TheInstaShopSeries.) You should be using Instagram to grow your e-mail list! What better way to do that than to give away some awesome products by capturing e-mails and talking about the giveaway like crazy on Instagram. Grow your followers, grow your list and get some more sales down the line!


2. Blogger or brand influencer collaboration

These are my favorite collaborations to have! I’ve collaborated with several bloggers as well as business owners in my niche. For product based business, it’s great to collaborate with a blogger or brand influencer who can provide lifestyle images and post about your boutique and shop and products on their Instagram account (and any other relevant social media accounts or their blog).


Overall, it’s important to collaborate with the right kind of blogger. Meaning if you are a boho-chic boutique, then a city-style blogger may not be the right fit for you. While yes, you want these bloggers to post about your products to gain more followers of your own as well as sales, it’s also important to develop a solid relationship with them.


There are countless ways to collaborate with a blogger or brand influencer. It’s a matter of working with the right one, professionally and personally.


3. Instagram photo contest for a giveaway

Instagram photo contests are so much fun and a great way to get your audience involved and interacting with your business (bonus points to help boost your account’s engagement). What you should do first is decide if you want your audience to share a particular picture of your own or if you want your audience to snap their own pictures of your products and use your brand’s hashtag. (Hint: Make a disclaimer on your website that you have permission to repost images posted with your brand’s hashtag.)


Then, post about the contest and share the rules — how will the winner be decided, how long will the photo contest will run, when will the winner be chosen and what will they win? Make sure the prize is a good one!


Continuously post on Instagram during the duration of the contest to encourage people to keep sharing posts of your products. If your photo contest includes your customers sharing their own pictures using your brand’s hashtags, start sharing those pictures. Your customers will be so excited that you featured their picture on your boutique or shop’s account.


The next time you’re thinking about participating in a loop giveaway, try out one of these collaborations instead. Want to learn how else you can level up your Instagram? Sign up for my free e-mail course, Become An Insta-Pro in 3 Days. In just three short days, we’ll go over techniques that have helped me double my Instagram engagement and now I’m sharing them with you!