Top Tips for Eye Catching IG Stories

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Craft your narrative.

Instagram called them “Stories” for a reason. You’re crafting a narrative to share with your audience; it doesn’t need to be a novel, but it should be -that’s right- engaging. So take time to consider what story you’re telling. If you need a place to start, try the classic and minimal story structure of beginning, middle, and end.

When planning out your story we also encourage thinking about alternating between different types of media like photos, videos, and boomerangs. This will hold audience attention longer. The Algorithm takes notice when users tap to view the next slide, so incorporating intentional techniques to prevent this is key.

As with every platform, keeping an eye on how your content performs (and then adjusting accordingly) is essential. For example, our Account Coordinator, Caitlin, tries to use more video as she’s noticed that her viewers prefer that content instead of tapping through. Stay in-tune with how your content is performing and take notice (and notes!) as to what happens when you change your technique. Do different kinds of content perform better? Worse? Content strategy is a science. Analyze your data, make a hypothesis, and test it out!

Shoot on your phone.

When creating an Instagram story, you start with your camera. Though images and footage from a DSLR will do the trick, this is an area of content creation where we highly encourage you to shoot using your phone in the upright (or “portrait”) orientation. This footage will be ready-to-share as it already on your phone and in the proper aspect ratio, but more importantly it affects the infamous Algorithm.

After lots of data analysis and research, Something Social has concluded that Instagram must be looking at the metadata of your content when determining relevance and how that Story will be served to other users.

Vocab: Metadata is complex, but it’s basically a digital name tag that explains what a file is so a computer can best interpret it. Metadata includes an abundance of information like date, time, and even the ISO, F-stop, and shutter speed you used to shoot the image.

We believe Instagram must be using your metadata to determine how engaging the Story will be, and that it prefers good-looking footage that has been shot on a phone. When shooting, pay attention to lighting, angles, and shot composition. You can literally get a degree in photography, so there’s endless amounts of info we could give you on creating the best shot, but don’t get overwhelmed. Practicing and experimenting on your own is the best way to start. See what looks good, what you like the best and go from there.

Need extra help? These are some quick and easy photo resources:

Everything You Need to Shoot Good-Looking Video With Your Phone – Lifehacker

How To Take Honest, High-Quality Photos With Your iPhone – Artsy

You can give your content fun effects by shooting through these apps:

VHS Cam – Gives your videos the grainy quality and timestamp of 90’s homevideos

Kirakira – The glitter app that’s takes highlights and turns them into gleaming sparkles.

Lightroom – Use this powerful editing software to use your favorite influencer’s presets.

Once you’ve shot your content, it’s time to get it in shape for Instagram.

 

Edit for Color

After shooting, getting your image properly fine-tuned to your brand’s exact feel is key. Stories content lives in a different space on Instagram, giving you more flexibility with styling, but as you hear us say over and over, consistency is key. Feel free to get experimental when editing your stories content, but try to stay within the narrative or identity of your brand.

For example, if you’re a blogger with a clean, lightly contrasted beachy aesthetic, try editing a nightlife story with the high-contrast, flash photography look to give that content a life of its own. Although the aesthetic deviates from what your brand typically projects, the narrative of a Girls’ Night Out drives the visual variation.

There are an endless number of aesthetics or “themes” to try out while you’re pinning down your brand’s overall look.

Try out some of these formulas from Later to play around:

Minimalist + Modern – VSCO’s A6

Bright + Clean – VSCO’s S2

Moody + Warm – VSCO’s M5

Cool + Bold – VSCO’s HB2

Simple + Elevated – VSCO’s J5

Retro + Filmy – VSCO’s AV8

Quick Tip: Our favorite color editing apps are VSCO and Snapseed.

 

Lay It All Out

Once your images have been tuned to perfection, use a story editor to elevate your story. Our favorite tool right now for subtle frames and bold effects is Unfold. The app is so dimensional and customizable that the possibilities are truly endless. To give you a taste of the app we’re going to walk you through two of our team’s most-used Unfold Effects.

Unfold’s Celluloid Effect

erin-dykstra-unfold-celluloid-film-instagram-story

Erin’s feed- full of rust tones, Huji cam distortions, and desert vibes- is edgy and SoCal cool. She used Unfold’s celluloid frame to capture the carefree moments from her roadtrip to Marfa.

Step 1

To start, make sure you have three (edited!) images and the Unfold app downloaded.

“For this kind of story, I like taking a lot of pictures that are the same but different. You can do this by using burst mode on your phone or just taking it from a few slightly different angles. I had a lot of photos from this set so choosing 3 was easy!

Step 2
Edit to get your vibe right.

“I normally use the Lightroom app and VSCO to edit my photos. I take out blue and purple hues (just personal preference but you can really change the look of a photo by altering hues) and lower highlights and exposure. For stories where I know I’ll be using a film template, I like to add a little bit of grain in VSCO as well. It’s just a vibe.”

Step 3
Use Unfold’s Film Template (FF1)

“You need to purchase the film set separately (99 cents!) and there are a ton of options.  Once you choose which template you like, you can just tap the + and add your edited photos. That’s it! Save, post, and watch those views roll in.”

Paper Tear

something-social-paper-tear-instagram-story something-social-paper-tear-instagram-story something-social-paper-tear-instagram-story

Our client, Facile Skin, held a cocktails and conversation Q+A to promote a brand collaboration with wellness expert Shauna Fauilisi. Our Account Manager, Taylor, used Unfold to create a seamless story to feature sponsors from the event.

Step 1
Come closer.

Make sure you have six images and the Unfold app downloaded.

“To keep things interesting I like to switch up my distance from a subject. Close-up images are great for contextual backgrounds, and centering on details, while wider shots help you tell the whole story. I try to have about four or five of each before jumping into story mode. This gives me a lot of versatility while I’m editting.”

Quick Tip: Using VSCO’s skintone slider allows you to decrease an image’s red hues without increasing green or blue levels.

Step 2
Brighten and lighten.

“Unfold’s paper tear effect is absolutely universal, but our skincare client tends to lean towards a lighter, more feminine aesthetic. To get this right, apply Unum’s A6 and then open up VSCO to try boosting exposure, decreasing shadows, increasing highlights, and increasing skintone.”

Step 3
Use Unfold’s Paper Tear Template (RP1)

“You’ll also need to buy Unfold’s RP1 set separately, but we promise you’ll be using it over and over. To emulate our example, you’ll need to pick three separate templates to tell your story. Keep it concise and direct by crafting a beginning, middle, and an end!”

Quick Tip: When stitching media together, play around with adding in video. Be sparingly. Too much movement overwhelms the eye, so if you do decide to incorporate video, stick to just one per slide.

Other editing apps to try out:

Hype Type – Puts the power of graphic design and motion graphics right in the palm of your hand

Inshot – Powerful video editing app that can be used to trim clips, add music, and create GIFs

 

If You’ve Got It, Font It

You shot it, color corrected it, added character and flair to it and now you’re ready to get your story shared, but there’s one last element that we want you to explore and that’s font. More than likely you’re sticking to one font choice and a select few of your favorite colors, but we want to encourage you to break away from that. Why? Engagement and production value, of course!

Mix n Match

Combining typefaces gives the eye more to focus on, encouraging viewers to linger on your posts. Instagram’s famed algorithm takes watch time into consideration, so longer viewing times will mean a larger reach. Calli is the queen of mixing fonts. Her go-to combination includes minimal, quippy copy and a variation of the Typewriter and Strong fonts and a quick and pretty swipe of the highlighter pen.

Her top tips:

-Don’t do too many! Pick 2, 3 max and then alternate between using these.

-You can also alternate between upper and lower case to get the effect of switching up fonts

-Keep fonts in a similar color, creating dimension by using lighter or darker tones.

calli-cholodenko-unfold-instagram-stories

Dynamic Drop Shadow

We get questions all the time asking about which pretty type stickers we use. Our secret? The Strong type used with surgeon-like precision. The example below was made using three layers of the same type duplicated. The key to the ombré/gradient look is to use darker tones on the base layer and get lighter as you go. Be sure to stack your fonts carefully! Take your time and patience with this one.

calli-cholodenko-unfold-instagram-stories

Now all you have left to do is share your story!

Written by our Brand Communications Coordinator, Kaeleigh Morrison.

We wanna see what you made! Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

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How To (Actually) Work From Home

Just scored a job working remotely? Considering fully embracing the freelancer fad? Or is your company rolling-out the occasional work-from-home benefit? Adapting yourself to the work-from-home lifestyle can be tough, but it’s possible. A recent report shows that the work-from-wherever trend has increased by 115 percent worldwide from 2005 to 2015, but there’s an art to the craft of working from your couch.

As social media marketers, our industry is designed for the mobile experience, so our work is easily translatable to the working-from-a-Bali-bungalow life. (We don’t, for the record, live in Bali.) We’re using our expertise to break down the do’s and dont’s of the home office and how to unplug once the work day’s done.

“I prefer to work on my own schedule. Sometimes that means a strict schedule with a to-do list and other times it means laying in bed and working after dinner. I consider it a successful day when I go to sleep knowing that I’ve set myself up for success tomorrow.

I love the inspiration that can come from having my own schedule. Working in a creative role, it’s easy to get bogged down with things that need to be done in the office. When I’m working from home I feel like I have more freedom to go for walks, talk to people, and calm my mind which all help get the creative juices flowing.”

“When working from home, I start my day early and sit on the couch, and usually stay in the same spot most of the day. It’s just nice to have your own space and feel comfortable. It’s usually straight from the bed to the couch. I get into comfy clothes and wash my face so I feel refreshed.

My breaks are usually centered around food, so I’ll either take a break to grab lunch, or go around the corner for a coffee. It’s just 15 minutes to get my body moving and do something that helps me finish the day strong.

Working from home is definitely easier when you work for someone vs when you’re self-employed. When you work for someone you have a concrete set of tasks and deadlines that you have to create for yourself when you run your own business. So there are definitely pros and cons, but it’s an amazing benefit.”

“I love having systems (such as Asana) and figuring out systems for communication, but I also like having the comfort of working in my own home, and not wasting time getting ready or commuting.

Since I don’t have to worry about getting ready and commute time, I like to enjoy a cup of coffee and sometimes read or write before I start my work. When I start feeling cabin-fevery I’ll step outside and I like to walk to get lunch. Try switching it up and working from a cafe if you crave human interaction.

As a graphic designer, sometimes the team has a difficult time expressing what they want visually, so I encourage using a screen sharing software to help with this.”

“I prefer a structured work schedule because I think it gives you boundaries. It is very easy to lose work-life balance when you have a looser work schedule. A structured schedule allows me to clearly designate time for myself.

I need to be sitting at a desk or a table with a green tea. I can’t get any work done lying in bed. I’m not very good at curbing distractions, but I know that when I have a project that I am passionate about, I am not easily distracted.”

Some things to consider before you go remote:
  • Do you prefer structure or a looser work schedule?
  • Is your work easily communicable via calls and emails?
  • What does your ideal workspace look like?
  • Are you self-motivated?
  • Do you work better in a communal or solo setting?
  • Do you have access to a workspace that’s free from distractions?
  • How could you benefit from working from home?
Resources for Remote Workers:
  • Asana – Task Organization & Communication App
  • Slack – Communication Tool, Blends with Asana perfectly!
  • Harvest – Time Tracking App, lots of plugins to make tracking seamless!
  • The Muse’s Templates – To move the WFH conversation from the watercooler to your boss’s inbox
  • AngelList – Job board targeted towards startups, great “remote jobs” search feature

Written by our Brand Communications Coordinator, Kaeleigh Morrison.

Recently joined the work-from-home workforce and have some tips to share? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or hit us on the ‘gram – @somethingsocial.

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Meet Kelsey: Assistant to The Founder

How long have you worked at Something Social?

About 4 months now!

Tell us about a day in the life of being an Assistant to Calli.

It’s such a cliché but every day is extremely varied. Sometimes I’m on location at a photoshoot, other times I’m in the office with the rest of the girls working on pulling analytics for clients, creating content calendars, etc.

In your spare time you…

I’m the definition of a homebody, so I’m usually just at home hanging out with my black cat, Skylar. In general though, I love listening to podcasts, catching a movie, going for a long walk, or grabbing drinks with friends.

Something Social is basically a one-stop shop for all content management and creation for clients. How do you manage it all and where do you draw your inspiration from for content?

It’s definitely a task in and of itself to keep track of everything, but somehow it all gets done! Organization is a key factor but communication is also a vital component. If you don’t communicate effectively that’s when things start to fall through the cracks.

What’s your favorite thing about working for Something Social?

My favorite element of SSLA is our clients. They’re all so different and each allows you to be more creative and innovative in your approach. Plus, there’s a client for everyone, whether you’re into skincare, fitness, fashion, food, etc.

What do you love most about working in social media?

It’s an ever-growing and ever-changing industry, which means there’s so much room to play and explore new ideas.

What was your first ever job and what did it teach you?

My first job was at a Sweet Tomatoes Express. It taught me so much about customer service as well as patience and thoroughness. Working with food means there’s little to no room for errors, so every task had to be given 110% effort.

What three characteristics do you think have gotten you where you are today?

Ambition. Determination. Common sense.

What element of digital marketing is the most inspiring to you? Where do you see the most opportunity for growth?

The fact that we can tell stories and convey the tone of a brand through images (primarily) and strong copy is incredible. In terms of growth, I’d say video seems to be the feature that keeps getting better and better.

You’re a huge Marvel, cinema, and literature junkie. What about that world gets you the most excited? If you were a combination of three characters who would you be?

I developed a love of books early on, but I’ve also always enjoyed going to movies. It’s such a communal experience, and good movies have a way of bringing us together. Marvel has done a great job of creating fallible characters we feel invested in, and I think that’s what keeps me coming back time and time again. In terms of which three characters I’d be, I think I’d want Tony Stark’s wit with Black Widow’s costume and Scarlet Witch’s powers.

Your dream job would be (besides working at Something Social of course)…

Criminal Attorney.

What is your idea of the perfect gram?

I love grams that are curated and crisp, but I also think it’s important to have a layer of authenticity intermingled, whether that’s via Stories or in-feed.

Favorite place in LA?

Lou’s French on the Block! Best bakery in town, by far.

Interview by our Brand Communications Coordinator, Kaeleigh Morrison.

Ready to meet the rest of the team? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or follow us on the ‘gram – @somethingsocial.

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6 Creative Social Media Giveaway Ideas To Use Now

The effectiveness of Instagram giveaways are undeniable. Giveaways on Instagram can quickly expand your sphere of influence by encouraging people to share/like your content/follow you for a chance at winning the prize. Leveraging people’s desire to get something for free is one of the most powerful techniques at your disposal. Depending on how enticing the prize is, growth from these giveaways can be marginal or exponential.

Choosing what giveaway idea is best for your brand depends on your business goals and audience demographics. Before doing an Instagram contest, decide on a goal that you want to get out of it. Is it to obtain email addresses for your email list? Grow followers? Expand brand name? Connect with other local businesses? Your goal will guide the contest.

As in all things social strategy, you want to make sure that your giveaway content and prize not only reflects your brand, but is relevant and valuable to your audience.

Partnered Promotion Giveaways

Partnered promotions are amazing. Period. They boost engagement, allow you to split prize costs, and, if run correctly, can result in massive returns for both of the brands involved. Entrants are expected to follow each person within the group in the hopes of winning a grand prize.

The obvious motivation behind running an Instagram collaboration giveaway is simple: to expose your brand to another brands audience & following. Collab giveaways are a group effort, but they have a higher opportunity for ROI due to extended audiences and shared costs.

Make sure you partner with a business or individuals whose target markets are similar to your own. This ensures any new followers you gain from the contest are engaged and have the potential to become your customers in the future.

Picking a prize that’s relevant to the audiences of all the collaborators is key. For instance, if the participants were involved in a lot of gaming/tech, they may decide to give away a gaming console while photography junkies might go for a high-quality camera. Users have to go through slightly more effort to follow multiple accounts than they might be used to, so it’s important that the main prize chosen is valuable enough to justify the extra effort.

PROS: Partnering reduces expenses of prize, increases giveaway’s organic reach
CONS: Requiring audience to follow too many accounts to enter can reduce interest in entering
TIPS: Partner with 1-3 other accounts to drive giveaway entries and prizes low in cost

Scheduled Contests

Scheduled giveaways are common for larger Instagrams with an engaged following. These giveaways work by giving away smaller prizes regularly, then showcasing those followers when they win. This is a great way to encourage people to stay loyal to your Instagram page, since every time they see someone win they’ll know there’s a chance, however slim, that the next one could be them.

For businesses that have a loyal customer base, building in a weekly or monthly contest is a great customer retention strategy. The barrier is usually low, asking users to use standard brand hashtags to automatically enter to win. And every week or month, you select a winner for a standard prize. Having a regularly occurring contest makes it easy for you to operate and continually generates new content for you to engage with.

For example, OpenTable hosts a weekly contest where you’re asked to hashtag your photo with #dishpics, tag @OpenTable and geotag the restaurant. The prize is always a $25 gift card. The contest benefits everyone involved: OpenTable is promoted, the restaurants sees photos posted and it’s feedback that the service is working.

APL hosts a weekly contest where you’re asked to hashtag your photo of their shoes with #apl and tag @apl. The prize is a pair of your favorite style sent straight to your door. The contest turns out an amazing amount of UGC for APL, has a HUGE value for APL’s loyal customers, and spreads the word through their audience’s organic reach.

PROS: Creates lots of user generated content, engages existing audiences, encourages followers to spread brand awareness through content-sharing with their audiences
CONS: Requires more time and effort to enter
TIPS: Prize should be slightly more valuable to encourage followers to enter and in some cases advertise your product/business for free to their audiences.

Photo Caption Contest

Caption contests are simple and often humorous, serving as a great way for your followers to interact with you. Running it is also simple- just post a photo, ask your followers to caption it by commenting  in return for a prize, and sit back and watch the flood of responses that come in.

To choose a winner, you could either pick a winner yourself, or ask your followers to like their favorite caption in the comments. While the second option can be a good way to engage your audience, the first option can help prevent people from artificially inflating their likes.

For example, The New Yorker, known for its satirical cartoons, runs a weekly caption contest asking their followers to caption a cartoon. This is a perfect contest for their educated audience focused on humor and current events.

PROS: Easy to run and enter, drives audience engagement
CONS: Without a physical prize, this contest is unlikely to drive following growth
TIPS:  Try running this type of contest to drive existing audience engagement and remind followers to turn on post notifications to increase average reach

User Generated Photo Contest

The UGC photo contest is easy to run with pretty high returns. Unlike the scheduled contest, UGC contests are also great for one-time contests. You ask people to submit photos using a relevant hashtag that you create. This format will be especially easy to pull off while also providing you with an abundance of user-generated content that you can feature on your Instagram account. This contest format is especially useful for a business because it helps show potential customers how a product can be used.

These hashtag-run contests are particularly good for driving brand awareness and creating lots of new user-generated content to use in the future. The reach doesn’t come from you but from your followers’ audiences (their friends and their friends’ friends).

Make sure it’s relevant to your brand. We’re going to repeat this over and over. The whole point of Social Media Marketing is creating a brand story, so if your content isn’t relevant, you might lose or disengage your audience. For your UGC giveaway to be effective, the prize needs to be desirable, since people don’t typically like to advertise for free.

Create a unique hashtag to make it easy for you to find the entries. Make sure to check this hashtag prior to launching the contest to make sure other accounts aren’t already using it! It’s important to make sure beforehand that the hashtag you use does not direct participants to irrelevant or negative content.

You’ll be unable to view the submissions from private accounts unless you’re following them, so make sure to remind followers that their accounts must be public to enter! After the event is over, you should have plenty of contest entries to continue sharing on your page!

PROS: Creates lots of user generated content, engages existing audiences, encourages followers to spread brand awareness through content-sharing with their audiences
CONS: Requires more time and effort to enter.
TIPS: Prize should be slightly more valuable to encourage followers to enter and in some cases advertise your product/business for free to their audiences.

Follow-To-Win Sweepstakes

All you’re doing is asking people to tag a friend in the comments section so that they can enter the contest, as well, and become eligible to win the prize. This contest format does a great job of improving your profile’s organic reach. That’s because once people are tagged by someone, they’ll likely receive a notification. These people will then check out your profile and potentially become a follower. They may also tag others.

This will create a viral feedback loop, bringing more people into the competition. To increase the impact of this feedback loop, you can also ask people to follow your account in addition to tagging someone. If you’re looking to generate a large Instagram following, this type of contest is probably the best way to do it. It spreads the word quick about your brand to a ton of (theoretically) interested people.

PROS: Super easy to enter, drives following growth organically through word-of-mouth
CONS: If popular, entries can be difficult to keep track of
TIPS: Don’t ask your audience to follow too many accounts! Stick to 2-4!

Like-To-Win Sweepstakes

With this Instagram contest, you can ask people to like your content if they want to enter the contest and have a chance of winning. Engaging with a specific post, however, is unlikely to achieve any business goals you have set out. Sure, you might see a spike in engagement for this post specifically, but it’s unlikely to carry-over long term.

Try utilizing this type of giveaway to draw attention to other digital streams by making entrants like your company page on Facebook, submit their email to your mailing list, or engage with you on another digital platform that you are looking to grow.

PROS: Great for cross-platform promotions
CONS: Unlikely to grow following, having audience leave social platform comes with risk of disengagement before entry
TIPS: Utilize to grow email subscribers or  following on other platform

The possibilities for the type of contest you might run are truly endless, so we know that the customization and creation process can be difficult. Should you need any advice on how to integrate these contests into your content calendar, reach out to us.

Written by our Brand Communications Coordinator, Kaeleigh Morrison.

We want to know about your next giveaway! Tweet us  @somethingsocial or follow us on the ‘gram – @somethingsocial.

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International Women’s Day 2018

March, a month of many things – the first day of Spring, Daylight Savings (we appreciate the extra hours of sunshine), March Madness and two of our favorites – Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. In the true spirit of a social media agency (Have you seen our Instagram? It’s what we do.), we wanted to share our favorite women online (and offline) with you!

Calli Cholodenko, Founder, @calli

@nikkilee901 and @riawna: They are my forever inspirations. I always check in on how I feel after spending time with someone, and after even a few moments with these two I feel joyful, empowered, strong, energetic and so much love. As businesswoman, they are passionate, driven and powerful. As co-founders, they are supportive, collaborative and humble. As friends, they are kind, caring and loving. As humans, they are thoughtful, generous and SO MUCH FUN.

Erin Dykstra, Account Director, @eedykstra

@veritewoman: Not only is the imagery breathtaking and inspiring, they live their words when it comes to supporting women. It’s my favorite digital space to find whatever I’m needing whether it’s a little inspiration, some words of wisdom, or my new favorite product.

Marissa Stahl, VP of Operations, @marissacstahl

@camilletrust: Camille Trust is an amazingly unbelievable singer based in NY. Having gone to high school together, I can truly say that she has always been crazy talented. I love following her account to see how much she has grown as an artist and keep up with all of the performances she does in NYC (she’s a regular at @sofarnyc so try to catch one of her shows.) PSA: her new single drops Friday; don’t miss it.

Taylor Walsh, Account Coordinator, @tayywalshh

@minimaliving: Her name is Kasia Bedzinska and she is a Polish blogger. Her account is just so lovely and clean. She only posts very simple things from her life, such as her breakfast or morning coffee in bed. The account just makes me feel so comforted and at peace!

Caitlin Taylor, Account Coordinator, @caitlinmiyako

@sarahs_day: Sarah is a fitness YouTuber I discovered a couple months ago and she is one of my favorite people on social media because she is SO uplifting and body positive. Her videos and content are always energetic and full of happiness, and I love the real spin she puts on fitness and holistic wellness.

@punodostres: This badass woman is beautiful, outspoken, and SO creative. She is the founder of @ilovecreatives and @peoplemap.co and always creates content that is simultaneously hilarious and inspiring. Puno is a reminder of what it means to be unapologetically authentic.

Nora Henick, Digital Specialist, @norahenick

@girlsatlibrary: I love reading, so combine book recommendations with reading about different women’s backgrounds and I’m sold. Girls at Library interviews women to learn about where they got their love of words from and why. I could read through the site all day.

Allison Gehrke, Art Director, @imalicegray

@s.ilver: I picked Lauren Tepfer because she first caught my eye with nostalgic colors and dreamscapes, but I stayed a loyal fan girl when I looked closer and found that she displays real rawness, documenting personal moments of strength and weakness. You can see the love she has for her city and friends through her photography.

Phoebe Schramm, Account Director, @phoebenicolee

@turboschramm: Raised by the smartest, most hardworking and loving woman I know. I hope to be half the woman she is Proud of my mama today and EVERY day!

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Have a #girlcrush you wanna highlight? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

Why You Should Be Tracking Your Social Stats

Social platforms as marketing tools are the new normal in the advertising and digital marketing world. Instead of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook (and so on), being a suggestion for brands and businesses, it has become the standard. So if social is the new standard, we have to make sure we understand how they’re being used in order to use them right.

The best way to understand how your social platforms are working, and if they’re even working at all, is to look at the information you can extract from them. We’ve discussed what stats you should be looking at from an overview, and now we want to dig deeper and explain why these stats (as well as some others) matter.

The overarching theme for why you should be tracking your stats can be broken down into three key points: tracking your progress, gauging what works, and driving efficiency.

Measuring Growth

Demonstrating your growth across social platforms is as easy as tracking a handful of specific numbers and is extremely important when exploring and explaining your online footprint.

Two big metrics businesses and brands use to track growth are follower count and engagement/engagement rates. When you track these numbers, you are able to see not only how your audience is growing in size, but also if your content is resonating with your current and new audience. In an article published by Adweek, CEO of Socialbakers Robert Lang declared that “user attention is the new currency of success.” Follower growth, engagement, and engagement rates* are benchmark numbers that demonstrate how well your content is being consumed across platforms.

*Engagement rate is expected to either stay steady or see only slight increases because of how it is calculated. As your follower count increases, your engagement should increase. Since follower count and engagement are the numbers used to calculate engagement rate, change of engagement rate shouldn’t be expected.

Analyzing your Audience

Using your social media analytics to analyze your audience can only work to your advantage. Each platform has native insights that provide you a closer look at who your audience is – showing gender, age, location, and more (depending on the platform). Set a determined time, whether it is weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly, to actually look at WHO your content is reaching and how your audience shifts & adjusts as you grow.

By looking at, tracking, and analyzing this information, you can make more informed decisions on what type of content you should be creating and posting. This will help you save time and money in the long run, which is always a smart business move!

Comparing Content Across Platforms

Not all platforms are created equally, and the same goes for content. It’s really crucial to see what content performs well on what platforms. A post that succeeds on Instagram, might not excel on Twitter and vice versa. Look at the content you are sharing on each of your platforms and analyze which types of content perform the best. Use that information to strategize and brainstorm new ways you can incorporate that type of post into your overall content strategy.

Reach and Results of Posts

With social media, it’s much easier and cheaper to test new types of content or experiment with content that you believe your audience will be drawn to. Because each individual post has it’s own reach & stats, you can easily track the success of a new venture or new content type. For example, if you want to add in a quote template to your content strategy, you would post one or two over a period of 1-2 weeks and track how your audience responds. If they are successful, then you know to continue including them going forward.

An important thing to keep in mind: if you drastically shift the types of content that you are pushing out, your audience may not respond positively in the initial phase. This is because they’re used to the types of content that you used to produce. We recommend keeping with your new strategy and vision, bear with the bad stats for a short period of time and attract the new audience that you are trying to attract. Hang in there! Sometimes a new strategy takes a little while to catch on.

Tracking social stats is something we recommend for all brands and businesses, no matter what size. Even if it’s just a document or spreadsheet that notes a few stats each week, tracking these numbers will give you invaluable insight into your digital marketing initiatives.

Written by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Have some of your own suggestions for tracking stats? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

Meet Nora: Digital Specialist

How long have you worked at Something Social?

I’ve officially been at Something Social for one year as of the other month! Hitting my first milestone here.

Tell us about a day in the life of a digital specialist.

One of the best parts about working with a smaller team is that no matter what role you’re in, you get to be hands on with a lot of different projects. So, on a day to day basis I manage our data analytics and work with Marissa to handle inbound marketing initiatives. However, being at Something Social has also allowed me to improve my Photoshop and Illustrator skills, become a (very basic) photographer, and learn about account management.

In your spare time you…

Box and cook, which for the most part, are two relatively new hobbies for me. They help me challenge different parts of my brain – a more creative side and a more controlled side.

Something Social is basically a one-stop shop for all content management and creation for clients. How do you manage it all and where do you draw your inspiration from for content?

Pinterest!! Still learning all the intricacies of it but I love it. I feel like I’m flipping through a magazine, but that magazine is a compilation of all of the thoughts in my head.  

What’s your favorite thing about working for Something Social?

My coworkers. I moved across the country a year ago when I started at Something Social, so there were a lot of moments where I could have felt a little lost and alone. They never even gave me a chance to feel like that – they’ve become like family to me within my time at Something Social. And in turn, that’s made me a more productive worker.

Your dream job would be (besides a Digital Specialist at Something Social of course)…

Working at a dog shelter or being a spy. Both seem like dream worlds. Maybe more-so the spy one, though.

What is your idea of the perfect gram?

I can honestly say I am pretty bad with keeping any sort of consistency or theme on my Instagram. The one thing I do love the look of is flash photography. So maybe a puppy who has his or her eyes closed so they don’t get hurt by the flash – that sounds like the perfect photo.

Favorite place in LA?

Fitbox Studio. This is where I go for said boxing mentioned above. The studio is family-owned and operated so it feels like you’re working out with people who are always looking out for you. They’ve helped me through some transitional periods in my life, so I’m really thankful I found them. I try and work out there at least three times a week, so there’s a good chance if you ask me where I am, the answer will be Fitbox.

Follow Nora on  INSTAGRAM.

Ready to meet the rest of the team? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

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Someone Social: Kristina Wilde

Introduce yourself to us by telling us what your first Instagram post was!

It’s actually quite funny – I don’t think any of us actually anticipated that Instagram would become the platform it is today, myself included. I’ve been using Instagram for so many years; but when I downloaded it I honestly just thought it was going to be my new Tumblr. I was joking around with my friend so my first post is actually a gumball machine with a filter on it. It got around 200 likes – at the time I had no way to gage if that was a lot or not.

How has social media helped you develop your business and your brand?

Honestly, when I had started using social media, I didn’t understand what a brand was. I was just a girl who loved documenting her life. I started my blog in an era of bloggers who had actual blog names. I knew I wanted to be in fashion so I wanted people to remember my name, and not my blog name. I started back in 2013 with my blog and I self-titled it and reverse-tracked building a brand. I started my blog without realizing that I was my brand. It’s changed over the years and recently I re-launched my blog and changed the direction. Because I’ve been able to grow and expand, it’s helped me understand the difference between a brand and a business. A lot of Instagrammers – they are their brand and it is their business.

You’re a blogger, photographer, and YouTuber – what is your favorite way to interact with your audience online and your best secret for maintaining strong engagement?

This changes because applications are always releasing new ways to engage with your audiences. I love trying out all of the new features. Before, I would have to say I absolutely love interacting with my audience via Snapchat. But now that Instagram Stories has taken over, it’s also another way I really love interacting with my audience. In terms of the tool I love the most right now, it’s definitely going live.

I’ve been going live both on my YouTube channel and my Instagram Stories. Sometimes I create mini themes, like showing my audience items on my Instagram. A couple of weeks ago, I walked my audience through why certain items are my favorite fall items. I just thought it was so fun to be able to interact with my audience in real time. On YouTube recently, for Vlogmas, I’ve been going live pretty much every day. It’s pretty much just to sit down and talk about our days. I don’t publish it so it doesn’t stay on the feeds, but I think it’s important just to check in with your audience all the time and let them know that you appreciate them.

I think another tip would be always stay genuine. Always interact with your audience. I’m always replying to DMs. I always respond to comments. I also sometimes go show some love on their page. I know how hard it can be, so I like to show my support with my audience wherever I can at all times.

You’ve also launched an online platform called Women Run This – why do you believe this is an important platform to have, especially in the digital age?

The best way I can describe it is how I did on my website! So who, better yet, what is the Women Run This network? Think of it as a place where all babes alike go to support one another. You wouldn’t want to see your bestie fail, would you? Here inside the Women Run This network, we want you to feel more confident with our tools, freebies and not to mention, a community full of other female entrepreneurs to connect with. We want to see you succeed, just like your best friend.

My mantra behind this is, “Behind every successful woman, there is her best friend telling her she can.” Women Run This is that best friend. I truly believe that moving from Los Angeles to Paris really flipped my world upside down – I thought I had everything figured out. I thought it would be an easy transition but it wasn’t. I realized there was a need for women supporting women all over the world. So I wanted to create a platform where women could come together all over the world and support each other.

Our network ranges from bloggers, entrepreneurs, and female creatives coming together to learn, inspire, and motivation each other in the Women Run This community. If women support women, we can seriously take over the world. I am so passionate about helping other bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs in this space. I’m not positioning myself as an expert, I’m positioning myself as a best friend. It’s my passion project, my little baby, and I’m really excited to see where it leads to.

Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts, photos, and videos?

Honestly, I get writers block too where I don’t know what to publish. So I try and sit down and listen to what my audience has been asking for and put it in a way that fits my brand but also in a way that gives back to my community. Because I have so many different social medias, from YouTube, to my blog, to my Instagram, though they all crossover, they all have their own audiences.

When I first started, I thought they would all have the same audience demographic across all of them, but I learned that I didn’t. I think it’s important to listen to your audience. But in terms of inspiration – I like to keep a database/harddrive where if someone has asked me for a dedicated video or question, or I see a certain question appearing constantly through YouTube, I will write that down. As well as for blog posts and photos.

I also love the feature on Instagram where you can create different collections. I always try and categorize that for inspiration for photos. I think also staying active on all social platforms helps – I could be watching a video and hear the intro song and that can inspire me. Recently, I’ve been really into Podcasts. Even though there’s no visuals, I get to listen. That’s been one of the best ways for me to get inspiration right now. There’s so many useful and inspiring interviewers that I listen to. I really do get my inspiration everywhere. It’s just a matter of how I organize it and put it out there on all of my platforms.

What’s your favorite social platform and why?

Oh my god this is so hard to choose. This is so impossible. I feel like each platform has my heart for a different reason. I love YouTube because I feel like I’m actually talking to my audience, I feel like we have a real relationship on there. We’ve gone through similar things, we share stories on there; it just feels like a more vulnerable platform in general.

I’ve also really been loving Instagram Stories and doing mini tutorials in there just because people really want the content right then and there.

Also, I love blog posts because I’m able to really go in depth. I’ve also been doing audibles so people can listen to the blog posts on the go, because I know time is money and I find myself listening to podcasts more as well.

If I had to choose just one I would have to say one hundred percent it’s YouTube. The YouTube community is like no other.

Where do you see the future of social media headed?

If I had to generalize it across all different demographics, it would have to be a more authentic relationship (especially in terms of Instagram). It used to be all the feed. Now, even though people still want to see pretty pictures, there needs to be some meaning behind it and a story.

People are going to have to get better at sharing their personal lives; they’re going to have to be storytellers. I also see video playing a huge part into that, now that live is something that Instagram has rolled out. YouTube has had it. People are just going to be wanting more real-time interaction. Which might be hard for people who rely heavily on Photoshop. It will be really interesting to see how people will play the part of storytellers through video. I’m actually really excited for it because I love sharing my bad jokes with the world.

If you could Instagram anything from anywhere in the world, what would it be?

A place I’m dying to visit? Honestly, every day since moving to Paris, I look out my window or go for a walk outside and I’m in such awe. I’m trying to capture more of that through my Instagram.

Follow along with Kristina Wilde on her WEBSITE,  INSTAGRAMPINTEREST, and YOUTUBE.

Interview by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.

Who do you nominate as our next #SomeoneSocial? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

 

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Mindfulness at Work

When we think of mindfulness, we’re quick to avoid equating it with our offices. We’re a generation that is built on and thrives off technological advances and social media interaction. We’re constantly looking for new ways to make ourselves more efficient, and in the past we’ve placed that responsibility on technological developments. If our inbox is cluttered, we download an extension to sort through and prioritize our emails. If our calendar is so booked that finding open time slots is a hassle, we send people a link to look through our calendar and book themselves a time that we have open.

But recently we’ve seen a new wave of mindfulness in the workplace, and it’s a type of mindfulness we fully support at Something Social. Instead of finding new ways to enhance your experience online, we do our best to unplug and appreciate the productivity that comes from being offline. Between all the different ways to stay connected, it’s so easy to lose sight of focus, goals, and productivity.

However, we also know it’s easier said than done. Since we know how taking a step back from being online helps us as a team, we want to share our tips with you.

Weekly Team Meetings

These are the foundation of our core values at Something Social. We meet weekly to discuss major team goals, updates on clients, new initiatives, and more. While it may seem really easy to do all of this while also being on your laptop and phone, we make sure we don’t waste this time by fully focusing on the conversation. We leave our laptops and phones at our desks. Oftentimes, we’ll also take a few moments to discuss personal goals as well as professional, which helps us tie our work to our personal growth.

Ironically, one of the things that most helps us stay mindful is a piece of technology – the Bamboo Folio. The Folio lets us write meeting notes and ideas with a pen on any paper and then save the work as a digital file with the touch of a button. Once it’s digitized, you can access the notes from anywhere, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting your favorite notebook at home! You can also convert your handwritten notes to text from your phone with the Inkspace app (no retyping needed!) and of course, you can update your saved notes at any time.

Goal Development

As mentioned above, we like to take time to discuss our goals as a team. We’re big believers in supporting personal development, because we know that employees are not just robots programmed to churn out work. We’re the best versions of ourselves when we’re supported by our surroundings.

Team Outings

While it’s great to unplug during meetings and team discussions in the office, we also place a high value on team bonding activities outside of the office. When you know you can rely on your team outside of the office, it’s easier to know you can rely on them inside of the office as well. It’s also a great chance for you to put the phones away and learn about different ways to connect without a screen involved. You’ll be triggering a new side of creativity your brain may have turned off in front of the computer.

For more information on Mindful Meetings and how to have them, visit Bamboo’s website. You can also learn more about the Bamboo Folio here.

Written by our Founder + Creative Director, Calli Cholodenko.

We want to hear about how you get mindful in and out of the office. Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial and use #MindfulMeetings.

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Meet Marissa: VP of Operations

How long have you worked at Something Social?

I have worked at SS since January of 2014, so I’m coming up on my 3rd year. It has been such an interesting journey full of turns and a lot of growth, both personally and professionally. When I started, we had a really small team and were working with only a handful of clients. To see the growth that we have gone through as a team and as a company in these past few years has really been extraordinary. Calli and I always talk about how even a year ago we couldn’t have imagined where we are today. Life moves very fast in the digital space, and I feel extremely grateful to be at a place that is flexible to moving with the times.

Tell us about a day in the life of the VP of Operations.

Honestly, every day is very different. Some days I’ll be in the office all day answering emails and planning photo shoots or content schedules for our various clients, others I’ll be doing one on one consulting sessions for our strategy clients, conducting interviews for our intern program, executing live social at one of the many events or performances that our clients are involved in or working on business development for Something Social itself. I kind of have my hand in a lot of different buckets at SS but that’s the way I like it; it’s always changing and keeping me on my toes.

In your spare time you…

In my spare time, I’m either outside or with friends. Relationships are really important to me and I try to spend time with the people in my life as often as possible.  I also love all things outdoors, from the beach to hiking in the mountains, I’m happiest when I’m in nature.

You’re basically a one-stop shop for all content management and creation for your clients. How do you manage it all and where do you draw your inspiration from for content?

Lots of organization & lists. I’m not naturally the most organized person, so I have to set up systems for myself to keep everything in line. Having a deadline is key & also a teammate to help out. Calli and I tag team a lot of clients and I definitely rely on her to keep me focused. In terms of inspiration, for me, it comes from so many things. Whether it be a great movie or song or seeing a really interesting shadow on the ground. I’m a pretty observant person so I’m always taking in my surroundings and finding inspiration wherever I go.

What’s your favorite thing about working for Something Social?

Hands down, it’s our extremely collaborative working environment. But in addition to that, I love that we work with clients over a broad range of industries, from fashion and beauty to nightlife, hospitality and pretty much everything in between. I love learning about the intricacies of all of these different spaces and what is most important to each brand and client. The similarities and differences between the ways all of these businesses operate is really interesting to me.

Your dream job would be (besides VP of Operations at Something Social of course)…

A travel writer / photographer. I love exploring new places & visiting cities that I’ve never been to before. If I could spend the rest of my life traveling and photographing moments that I think are interesting, of course for the gram, but also, just for my own personal collections, I would die happy.

What is your idea of the perfect gram?

I’m drawn to color, specifically colors that occur in nature. So a killer sunset or a gorgeous mountain view with a wide range of natural colors is my idea of perfection.

Favorite place in LA?

I’ve found that this has changed over the years. It used to be the shops and restaurants on Larchmont but right now, it’s the bike path in Santa Monica / Venice. I love doing long walks or bike rides on Sundays to catch the sunset or just to be outside.

Follow Marissa on Instagram.

Ready to meet the rest of the team? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.

 

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