Instagram’s Latest Feature – IGTV

IGTV is Instagram’s latest feature, which gives users the option to create hour-long vertical videos (although mine says 15 seconds-15 minutes when I try to upload – strange!). IGTV is accessed through a little TV icon next to the DM icon. Having previously been limited to 15 second videos, this is a huge update which means users can now have 240 times longer to share!

So why are they doing this?

This new feature is going to let anyone be a curator, not just big-name influencers and celebrities. This means anyone can upload hour-long videos immediately. There is currently no ads in IGTV but this does not mean Instagram will not offer a way to monetize this in the future to encourage curators to use it.

Facebook is pushing longer videos so this could be Instagram’s version of this and as we know, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Have they seen the potential and influence in longer videos that they now want to integrate it into Instagram?

Are they trying to take on YouTube?

Instagram has opened up an opportunity to become the TV of mobile. YouTube may always have a bigger amount of content, but if curators and video publishers start to shift over to IGTV, it could be a great way for people to watch videos on a small screen.

Problems with it?

There could be an impact to professionally made videos as they will now need to be portrait. I’m also not sure if I want to watch a longer video in vertically on a small screen. But maybe this is just because I’m not used to it! Also one of the reasons I like Instagram stories is because of the speed and I don’t have to just sit and watch, so I have to ask myself will this feature fit with what users want to use it for?

The Advantages

IGTV doesn’t disappear unlike Instagram Stories (unless you highlight them), so this means you can create more of an identity with it as all your videos will be visible.

I have also noticed they were giving everyone the option to swipe up to an IGTV video, even if they have under 10,000 followers. This means even if the viewer doesn’t have the IGTV app, they can swipe up and watch your video. However, this seems to have disappeared overnight! Maybe this was just a test and this is coming soon? Also does this mean the swipe up feature is going to be coming to everyone?! Fingers crossed, I would love the swipe up feature and it may be a little while before I get 10,000 followers!

What does this mean for your business?

We have already seen big brands such as Gucci, Netflix and Nike using IGTV to create one-off interviews and I found a great case study on DIGIDAY ( which highlights how Chipotle used IGTV to create a longer video which received a really good response.

This is really going back to the idea that video is crucial to businesses and is the perfect partner for social media. It just opens up more opportunity, especially if you haven’t been leveraging YouTube and have been using Instagram to build a following.

It also shows a lot more transparency, as authenticity is becoming a real attraction to consumers. Showing the behind the scenes of your business and telling a story, showcases your business in lots of different ways, in different formats.

What do you think of IGTV? Have you set up your account? How do you think you’re going to use it? DM me on Instagram and let me know

The Fundamentals of Taking Good Photos for Social Media

They say a picture tells a thousand words, but what do your brand’s social media photographs say about you?

In a world where everything needs to be Instagramable and Pinterest-worthy, the pressure to have high quality pictures for social media marketing is increasing day by day, but did you know it doesn’t have to be that difficult?

You don’t need to hire a photographer or even spend loads on fancy equipment in order to get high quality photographs for your social media channels. Instead, with a couple of easy changes, you can take photos easily yourself, no matter what your skill level is.

As I’ve recently started increasing the amount of photographs I use in my social media (especially on my instagram), I thought I’d share some of the tips I have picked up along the way.

So, why do you Need Good Photos?

With the way in which social media has evolved, text based posts perform a lot less than those that have either image or video.

With statistics showing that Tweets with images receive 150% retweets than those without and Instagram – a photo only social platform – is the second most popular social media platform in terms of monthly users, it’s easy to see that photography can be important in all aspects of social.

They increase engagement, show creativity and encourage discussion. What more of a reason do you need?

Camera vs iPhone: Which do you need to Use?

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to improve their photography, is thinking they need to buy expensive camera equipment in order to take high quality photos.

This may be the case when it comes to photographs that will be used in print marketing, or if you are taking something that will be a little bit more editorial, but when it comes to social media – I have found my phone has done more than a good enough job.

Some of the latest phones (particularly Apple and Samsung) have incredible camera on them, meaning if you can get to grips with the best possible way to be using them, you won’t have to fork out for any new equipment to post engaging social media images.

Although It can be as simple as pointing and shooting with your camera phone, there are several small things you can do that will change the way you take photographs forever.

Tips for Taking Photos for Social Media

Try using the rule of thirds – A common photography trick, the rule of thirds is applied by aligning your subject between three lines (vertical and horizontal) and placing it on the top or bottom line. This draws the viewer’s eye directly to the subject, without it being directly in the middle of the photograph.

Use natural light where possible – If you can’t use professional lighting, it’s best to avoid the orangey hues of standard lighting, and use natural light instead. Take photos in a well-lit room, near a window or outside to get the best possible light. Bonus tip – if you are taking a selfie indoors, always do it standing in front of a window.

Make sure the image is high quality and not blurred – A high quality image does much better on social media than a blurry image with no focus. This is easy to do on a mobile phone by tapping the screen where you want to focus.

Experiment with different angles – There are so many different angles in which you can take one photograph, so have a play around as to which one is best. Whether it’s a strategically planned flatlay or close up of a product, experimenting with what works best will give you a variety of different shots for social media.

Use props in your photos – This is more common for flat lay photographs, however using props in your photographs can give them that little bit more depth. Whether it be notebooks, pens or a cup of coffee, try adding it into to your photograph set up to see what happens.

Try using different backgrounds – Gone are the days of shooting on a plain white background! (unless like me that’s your thing) Social media is becoming much more creative, so why not do the same with your photographs? Try taking photographs on coloured or textured backgrounds, of course keeping in line with your brand guidelines.

Keep a consistent theme – Although it may be tempting to post every single good photograph you take, sticking to your branding guidelines and overall brand feel shows consistency. Rather than seeing this as a limitation, why not take it as a challenge to find things that are ‘on brand’ in your day to day life?

Edit using mobile apps – It’s amazing what you can do to a photograph with a little bit of editing. There are lots of different mobile apps available for you to download that mean you don’t have to fork out on editing software and training, instead you can edit photos in an instant. My two favourites are A Color Story and Snapseed. If all else fails, you can edit most photos on the individual social media apps now.

What changes can you make to the way you take photographs?  Used some of my tips, why not tag me in a photo so I can see!

Just How to Use Social Media Influences to Sell Your Brand

Don’t know what a social media influencer is or how you would use it in your business – no problem, this is the perfect post for you!

Have you ever seen someone you follow on social media talking about a specific product. Then immediately head to their website to buy one for yourself?

If you’re anything like me then you will do this ALL the time, but why?

Well, marketing has changed a lot over the last few years. And if there is one buzzword that is being thrown around more often than not, it’s influencer marketing.

Whether or not you’ve heard of influencer marketing before, or you’re a complete novice. I want to help you understand more and then develop your own influencer strategy for your business.

So, what is Influencer Marketing?

With recent research carried out by Twitter showing that 49 percent of people seek purchase guidance from social media. It’s no wonder everyone wants to know what this can mean for their business and how they can maximize on it.

As an extension of word of mouth marketing, influencer marketing simply places its main focus within influential people on social media. Either paying them a fee or offering them free products in return for a feature on their social channels. Which then could result in more buzz around your business.

…and how Does it Work?

By working with influencers that people know and trust, people are likely to make purchasing decisions based on the products they’re sharing. The strategy is particularly beneficial to businesses whose audience are extremely active on social media. Arguably it can create more of a meaningful connection with them than traditional advertising does.

WIth big-time influencers such as Zoella and micro influencers like Hannah Gale regularly selling out clothes from ASOS, Primark and H&M. It’s easy to see that influencer marketing does work.

So, how do you get a slice of the action? Here’s my six steps to influencer marketing.

The Six Steps to Influencer Marketing

Although it may seem like it is a long, difficult and expensive process, (it is rumored that Zoella can earn up to £120k per Instagram snap!). However, as long as you are not looking for Zoella to feature your product or service, the steps to influencer marketing are easier than you think. Once you know what you’re looking for.

Define your goals

The first step when it comes to working with influencers is to define what you want your end goals to be. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Encourage sales? Increase your followers? Knowing this from the get go will make the whole process a lot easier, especially when it comes to finding the right influencer for you.

Decide on the message you want your influencers to convey and what hashtags you want them to use, the begin your search…

Finding the Right Influencers for You

When you’re looking for influencers to work with, the best place to start is by considering who your target audience are. If their followers fit the profile of your perfect customer then you’re probably onto a winner.

But how do you find this person to begin with?

Well, there are a number of different places you can search for influencers, but here are a few of my favourites:

Use influencer talent management companies – If you’re looking to work with the likes of Zoella and her partner Alfie, you will have to go through their management companies (and have a massive budget!). These are usually talent management agencies, however their representatives should be easy to get a hold of. It’s important to bear in mind that if you’re looking to work with a high ticket influencer, depending on the budget you have available, you may not be able to guarantee you’d be featured on their platforms.

Use an Influencer agency – On a much smaller scale, you can find an array of influencer agencies that work with micro influencers – who have a smaller following but a more direct connection to their followers. They will charge a fee, but will be able to put you in contact with the right people to fit your brief.

Search Instagram hashtags – If you want to go it alone and find your own influencers, one of the best places to start is Instagram. Using relevant and popular hashtags you can find the people that are most influential in this area, as well as seeing examples of their work upfront. You can then reach out to them directly through Instagram or using the contact detail on their profile.

Put a shoutout on Twitter – Influencers and bloggers use Twitter regularly, so this is a great place to put a shout out to say you’re looking to collaborate with people. Invite them to get in touch with you for more details and hopefully you’ll end up with a list of people that are already interested in working with your brand. Use popular hashtags like #prrequest, #bloggerswanted and #influencers to reach them directly.

Post in Facebook groups – There are lots of different Facebook groups for both bloggers and influencers. So if you’re looking to reach a large portion of them in one go you could try posting a call out for influencers in one of these. Popular ones include Official UK Bloggers and UK Blogging Opportunities.

Which is more Important, Engagement vs Followers?

When it comes to choosing the influencers, people often believe that the more followers someone has, the more influential they are.

Well, this isn’t always the case.

The people you should be looking for are people with high engagement in relation to followers. This is easy to tell just by looking at their social media accounts, such as Instagram, for example. If their following is in the hundred thousands but their content is only receiving a couple of hundred likes, it could be possible their audience is not fully invested in their content, or that they have bought fake followers.

In a world where influencer marketing is as popular as it is, it has meant there are lots of ways around building a following coming to light. One of the most common ways is buying a following. For as little as £5, influencers can buy thousands of followers to help them appear more influential.

It’s not always easy to tell but doing some research into engagement before you collaborate is highly recommended. If you want to work with someone with an audience that trusts them and makes purchases based on their recommendations.

How to Approach an Influencer with a Collaboration Idea

Once you have decided who you want to approach, the next step is to get in touch with them to find out if they are interested in a collaboration. The best way to do this is by email.

There are a couple of things to bear in mind when approaching an influencer, including:

  • Make sure you make the email personal, rather than a bulk send to several influencers
  • Address them by their name at the start of the email.
  • Show you have done your research. What is a particular post of theirs that you have loved?
  • Introduce yourself and why you’re getting in touch straight away – don’t beat around the bush.
  • Make it clear what you are offering them in the initial email.
  • Let them know what you want in return and how much creative freedom they have.
  • Detail and guidelines or deadlines for the campaign early on.

To help, I have put together an example email you could send.

Hello Holly,

I hope I have caught you at a good time, how are you?

My name is Sophie Jones from Sophie’s Flowers, a weekly flower delivery service that has just launched in North London.

I noticed you had done some work with both Bloom & Wild and Freddies Flowers, so I was wondering if you would be open to collaborating with us on our launch. We’d be looking for 2 Instagram posts in your usual style during our launch week (24th April – 1st May) in return for a months free subscription – that’s four tailored bouquets of flowers in one month!

If this sounds like something you would be interested in please let me know before the 1st April.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,



Compensating Influencers and Bloggers: What is Their Worth?

Influencers could be Instagramers, celebrities, bloggers and other people who have managed to build a good following on social media. Working with each of these can be incredibly different in terms of costs  to your business. So it’s important to know the ROI each of them can offer when you approach them.

Some influencers will ask for a fee as well as the free product, however this will depend on the amount of followers they have. The general rule of thumb is if their followers are nearing double figures, a payment may also be required. This tends to start of small (£50) and leads all the way up to the thousands for high profile influencers.

This is obviously down to your personal discretion and the ROI they can deliver. But in most cases it is worth paying the fees as influencers pay much more care and attention to campaigns that are paid.

Proven Influencer Marketing Strategies you can Implement Today

Now that you have found your perfect influencers and they’ve agreed to work with you, it’s time to carry out your campaign!

There are lots of different things you can do when working with influencers, so I thought I’d share some of the most common with you.

You could host a competition on their social media.
Have them review your products.
Get them to feature you on their Instagram or Instagram Stories.
Get them to join your affiliate scheme.
Have them takeover your social media accounts or get them to share exclusive offers and discounts for your products.

These are all commonly used within the influencer marketing industry, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box too.

Now that you have an idea of a campaign and who you might reach out to, what’s stopping you from starting your influencer strategy today?

How to make the most of your Instastories

Instastories were introduced to Instagram back in August 2016, and it seems that every few weeks, new additions to the functionality are released.  However, some of these new tricks and tools aren’t widely publicised, so I’ve pulled together a few ‘tips and tricks’ today to help make your Instastories even better in 2018.

Make your text stand out – the ‘add text’ feature on Instastories is well known, but did you know that you can change the colour without having to scroll through the huge list of potential colour ‘circles’ that appear above your keyboard?  If you click on the little ‘dropper’ to the left hand side of the colour options, an arrow will be dropped in the centre of your screen; drag this arrow over the exact colour in your photo that you want to recreate in text (note – this will only work if this colour already features in your photo) and the colour will be recreated.  This is a great way of incorporating specific brand colours quickly and easily into your Instastories graphics, as long as you have something ‘on brand’ that features in the image!

You can make your text stand out even more by incorporating different fonts into your images and videos.  There is now a range of fonts available however if you want more then then there is a slightly more time consuming ‘hack’ and involves you opening an external website like or using the browser on your phone, and then typing your chosen text into the tool; both websites mentioned above can change your text into a variety of eye-catching fonts which you then copy from the external site and paste into the ‘add text’ feature within Instastories.

Make your images ‘pop’ with colour! Did you know that you can create an Instastories image on a block-colour background? Choose an image (any image!) and select the paintbrush icon in the top right hand corner of the screen.  Select the pen icon, then the colour you want the background to be, and then just press and hold the screen to make the entire image one single colour.  You can use this technique to hide certain aspects of your pictures too – simply select the image you want to reveal a portion of, tap the pen icon, then the colour, and press and hold the page to cover the image entirely with the colour of your choice, then select the pencil eraser icon in order to reveal the chosen part of your image.

With both the text and the block colouring, you can easily change the size of the pen, eraser, dots etc. that you are using to make them finer/heavier, depending on your requirements.  To do this, click on the small icon that appears to the left of the colour choices (the one with three different size dots in it), and then move the slide that appears ‘up’ for a thicker pen/eraser/etc., and ‘down’ for a finer pen/eraser/etc.

Bring your image to life with a sticker that moves as you do! If your Instastories post involves a video, why not try ‘pinning’ a sticker to it so that it moves as you do? You can easily attach a sticker to your hand or head, etc. simply by selecting the sticker you want to attach to the image, pressing and holding the sticker when it appears on your photo and selecting where and when you want to attach the image; A ‘timeline’ bar will appear at the bottom of your screen, simply drag the timeline scroll to the exact moment you’d like the sticker to appear, and then drag the sticker into the starting position that you’d like on screen – it’s a great way to add a simple animation feature to your Instastories post!  And don’t forget, lots of the stickers that you see on Instagram have an alternative version that might be better for your Instastories post than the original! Just lightly tap a sticker when it is on your photo/video to see other versions of the image that might be preferable for use.

Make sure you’re making the most of the Hashtag sticker! If you’ve carefully chosen hashtags for your Instagram posts based on your unique products and services, why not use that research to reach out to a broader number of people via Instastories too? Instagram will select an Instastories post as the ‘featured post’ for a specific hashtag, so why not try incorporating a relevant hashtag into your Instastories post to see if you’re chosen? It could mean opening up your brand to a wider number of potential followers quickly and simply.

If you use Instastories to give your customers and followers a greater insight into your business and the products and services you offer, the simple ‘hacks’ above could help you make videos and images that are both more visually appealing and ‘fit in’ more effectively with your visual brand identity.  Let us know if they have helped! We’d love to hear how you have used Instastories in your own business marketing.

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The Latest From Instagram

Instagram – love it or loathe it, it’s the place to be, with 800 Million Active Users[1], and 60% of online adults aged between 18 and 29 using the platform[2] every month.  Like many other Social Media platforms, Instagram is constantly changing and updating, and has recently launched some new features that could be extremely useful to the one million plus business advertisers using the platform[3].

So what is this new functionality? Here’s a quick run down of five useful new Instagram features:Read More

Why And How To Schedule Using ContentCal

Are you in charge of posting to Social Media for your business?

Unless your job description requires you to be on Social Media platforms all day, every day, you’ll know how simple it is to log-on to Facebook to post to your Business Page and log off an hour later, with very little to show from those 60 minutes of ‘social media activity’[1].  It’s even worse if you have to post to multiple accounts, as aside from the password related nightmares that are likely to plague you, it is more than likely that the process of sourcing or creating content, and then posting it manually to every Social Media platform that your business has a presence on, is a full time job in itself! So how can you use your time more effectively and work more efficiently to carry out this task – often perceived as a necessity for many businesses, both large and small?  The answer is a tried and tested, and trusted, social media scheduling tool.Read More


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