The biggest benefits of using social media for your small business


A recent report from social media management platform Hootsuite found that there are now more than 3 billion people using social networks across the internet. And according to Hootsuite, more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities. On Instagram alone 80 percent of people follow at least one business.

But for some reason, when small business owners think about managing social media accounts for their business, they cringe, they make excuses for why they can’t and sometimes they just don’t do it at all. Social media marketing for your business isn’t scary at all. And, it’s really important for your business.

Here are some of the biggest benefits of using social media for your small business:

It’s an easy way to put your brand in front of the world

We live in a world where people want to know what they’re getting into before they ever step foot in a business. By having updated social media accounts, these people will understand your business and this aids their ability to determine if it’s a place they want to work with.

It’s inexpensive

Marketing costs money in almost all forms. But, social media marketing can cost little to nothing, and still make a huge impact for your business. By having a plan, using relevant hashtags and more — you can use social media to reach new potential customers every single day.

It keeps your business top-of-mind

How many times have you seen a social media post and then later purchased a product or visited a store as a result of it? Probably more times than you realize.

For example, we have certain local restaurants and bars that we like to frequent, and when they post a special or a limited-time offer, chances are that will trigger an outing of the studio crew to take advantage of the offer.

When you are posting regularly on social media, you’re creating this top-of-mind awareness for your brand.

It can help you generate leads

Service-based businesses: this one is for you. Right now, Instagram and Linkedin are the two networks that service-based businesses generate the most new leads on. If you’re sharing your brand and expertise in a way that makes people think “I could totally use this service,” then you’ll find that social media does half of the work for you.

It can help you generate more web traffic

In the case of many small businesses, traffic to your website is a necessity — especially if you’re selling your products or services from your website. If that’s the case for your business, make sure that your social media doesn’t replace your website, but supplements it. Create offers and other content that lives on your website, then use your social media networks to promote that content and drive interaction. Make sure your social media posts drive the users that read them back to your website so they have the opportunity to learn more about you and your business.

It’s a way to find new content

We hear it from our clients all the time: It’s hard to come up with enough content to post on social media every day. But the great thing about social media is that your customers can create content for you.

Put signs around your business letting people know that you want to see their photos that they take during their experience. Ask them to use a particular hashtag or tag your business in the photos. Then, you can reuse the content that you didn’t need to take the time to produce.

You can communicate quickly

Things come up… stuff happens. And in those instances, social media is an excellent way to quickly and efficiently communicate a message to your audience about what’s going on. Say a major storm came through and you lost power to your restaurant; social media gives you the instant forum to communicate that to your loyal customer base.

You can keep an eye on the competition

Knowing what your competitors are up to is just a part of running a business. Use social media to know what other businesses in your area or industry are up to so that if necessary, you can react and potentially combat the competition with an offer or special of your own.

In conclusion

Even though our team has spent decades in the photography business, we’ve also made a concerted effort in the last 5 years to build a social media presence for our studio and our creative consulting business, and it’s given us an entirely new channel from which to market our services and also to promote our clients. If you’re unsure how to get started, our strategic marketing team can help… contact us today for a free evaluation of your company’s current social media situation.

Why You Need to be Using Motion Graphics in Your Marketing Campaigns

Why You Need to be Using Motion Graphics in Your Marketing Campaigns

Every year there’s a new trend that industry insiders declare as the future of marketing. Motion Graphics was championed in 2014, but unlike most fleeting trends, motion graphics are still very much in vogue.

Primarily because motion graphics are the video marketing era’s answer to the infographic. An accessible and entertaining way to disseminate complex information, infographics allowed you to capture consumer information in a way that a wall of text could not.

Now, in an era where Video has dethroned Content for the crown, motion graphics do the same.

So, what are motion graphics? Essentially, motion graphics are just graphic design in movement. The practice of taking a still, flat design and adding dimension to it using the laws of time and space.

But even if that description doesn’t ring any bells, you would have definitely seen them. Across TV, film, apps, advertising and virtually any medium that requires some sort of kinesis, motion graphics are ubiquitous.

The Rise of Video Marketing

By 2020, Cisco predicts that 80% of all internet traffic will be video – so the potential market for your video content is huge.

Especially when considering the influential reach the medium has. Web users spend an average of 19 hours a month watching videos, with 60% of shoppers watching product videos while making decisions to buy, with 74% of shoppers actually making a purchase after watching a video.

With video galvanizing the content marketing industry over the last three years, you would have thought that every business would be populating their websites and social media with “moving pictures”.

However, despite 72% of content marketers saying that creating video content is their number one priority – they are struggling to make content that is original, compelling and effective. That’s because creating solid video content is difficult. Unless you have the budget to invest in great equipment, or better yet, a team or outside partner specialized in scripting, designing, editing and creating video content, it’s going to come across more Blair Witch than Coca Cola.

Good video content should do 5 things

  1. It should guide your leads all the way through the buyer journey.

  2. It should understand what your audience wants, and it should give it to them in the most consumable way possible. Video is so shareable because it is inherently passive for the viewer, serve them what they want on a platter and cut it up into bite-size chunks.

  3. It should be worth the watch. Whether that’s because your video is funny, engaging, useful or inspirational, your video needs to provide value.

  4. It needs to be able to be distributed easily and effectively. Your video should be able to reach your audience where they spend the majority of their time and engage them there.

  5. It creates a consistent brand identity. Every bit of your marketing should make up a cohesive narrative that tells the audience exactly who you are and what you stand for.

One of the most important things your content has to offer is value. It needs to be both informative and entertaining. In the current media landscape, people want facts more than conjecture, data over opinion. If you can provide this effectively and consistently in your content, they will trust you more and want to build a relationship with you.

Motion graphics enable you to distill down complex data into bigger-picture stories and insights that people can understand and apply to their own lives. After all, you may be saying in the text that sales tripled, but actually seeing the chart grow makes a stronger and more memorable impact.

Best of all, viewers love motion graphics because watching video is an inherently passive experience that requires little investment on their part. Rather than actively sifting through a 1,500-word article, viewers can sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Motion graphics content isn’t just a brand building exercise, because it has been proven time and time again to successfully drive conversions. Whether it’s in the form of an explainer video, a social video or even a presentation, embedding motion graphics content onto your website has been proven to increase the chance of a above the fold” Google search result by 53 times, and shown to double click-through rates when utilized in email campaigns.

But the number one reason for using video in your content marketing plan? Motion graphics and video convert more customers, with recent research showing that 71% of marketers say video conversion rates outperform other marketing content. That in and of itself should be reason enough fr you to invest the time and budget to developing a strong “motion content” plan. Not sure where to start? Contact us for a free consultation and evaluation of your company’s situation.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Food Photography for Social Media

The Do’s and Don’ts of Food Photography for Social Media

Food photography is more than just pointing a camera at your meal and snapping away. With a New Year at hand, there’s no better time to learn how to take your food photography for social media up a notch. Here’s what you should do and what to avoid to fill your Instagram feed with drool-worthy food photos.

Do choose the best angles for your dish.


Ensure your food photos stand out from all the others on Instagram by shooting your dish from different angles. When thinking about the angle to shoot from, take a cue from how the dish is plated. If the dish is built vertically, shoot it straight on to achieve depth in your photo. In this example, the love letters are stacked to give height to the dish. If the dish is built flat, shooting from above might be a better option to show off the dish.

Don’t shoot from common angles only.


Just because the overhead shot is popular doesn’t mean it works for all dishes. Even the typical 45-degree angle might not capture your dish in the best way. Go right down to the level of the dish and shoot from there, or try capturing a close-up. Experiment and don’t be afraid to move, even if it means standing on a chair to achieve the best angle for your dish.

Do look for natural daylight.


Always shoot in natural daylight for mouthwatering food images. If you’re at home, set up your shot just outside where the light spills in. If you’re going to a restaurant, reserve or find a seat next to a big, bright window. Light your food from one side or slightly from the back to show texture and contrast of the food. In this example, using a plain white plate also helps the colorful ingredients to stand out.

Don’t use flash or artificial light incorrectly.


Using flash properly can prevent your food photos from appearing flat and unappetizing, or worse, overexposed. If you’re tucked away in the corner of a restaurant, point your portable flash at an angle so the light bounces off a wall for a backlit effect. Shooting food at night is not a problem when you use flash correctly. Position your portable flash outside a window and point it towards the room. As the flash is a small light source which can be harsh, use a flash diffuser to scatter the light to produce a soft and natural daylight effect.

Do pick the best focal point.


When it comes to choosing focal point in your food photography, you want to highlight the most delicious area of the dish.

Using Facebook to Market Your Business in 2019

Using Facebook to Market Your Business in 2019

Facebook marketing in 2019 isn’t dead. On the contrary, it’s far from it.

Now removed from the dim outlook that businesses faced at the beginning of 2018, Facebook has and will remain an essential tool for brands’ marketing strategies moving forward.

Our social media marketing partner, Buffer, recently released their State of Social Media 2019 Report and found that 93.7 percent of businesses use and are currently active on Facebook — the most among any other social media network.

And although they continue to see a dramatic rise in the usage and effectiveness of Stories content, traditional posts in the Facebook News Feed offer a powerful outlet for brands looking to generate engagement and traffic. In total, they dwindled down more than 777 million posts to 500 of the most popular, according to total engagements. The top 500 Facebook posts represent more than one billion engagements across Facebook.



BuzzSumo has access to some of the world’s most robust Facebook data, which powers lots of incredible research studies like this one where they analyzed content from 20,000 influential Facebook Business Pages.

They’re also the company behind one of my personal favorites, The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement, an annual report that analyzes everything you need to know about the tactical side of Facebook marketing. Needless to say, their product offers some eye-opening insights into the world of Facebook marketing.


When it comes to taking your Facebook strategy to the next level, there is no better way to do so than through the use of video content. On average, video posts on Facebook get at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types. In fact, when looking at what types of content made up the top 500 Facebook posts of 2018, more than 81 percent were videos! Images only accounted for 18 percent of the top posts, while Links made up a mere 0.2 percent.



In order to hone in on the exact types of content brands and marketers should be creating more of in 2019, we attempted to categorize the types of content from the data set. In conjunction with the most common reactions on Facebook and a subjective analysis of the top 500 Facebook posts, three common themes started to emerge. The most successful content could be categorized as inspirational, funny, or practical.



Did you know that 84 percent of marketers believe that building trust will be the primary focus for their marketing efforts in the future? That’s because consumers are looking for brands with a purpose – brands that are mission-driven and stand for something important.

Shallow marketing campaigns aren’t going to cut it in 2019. What will cut it are authentic, human-forward stories that allow your brand to connect with customers on a personal level. Smaller brands, in particular, have an opportunity to double or even triple engagement with this personal approach.

Think About How You Travel - Past Tips from Anthony Bourdain

Think About How You Travel - Past Tips from Anthony Bourdain

As many of us prepare for our winter getaways and search for a respite from the cold, we thought we’d share some amazing content that we found from Anthony Bourdain.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to say Anthony Bourdain was one of the most interesting characters of our time. He effortlessly taught a generation of otherwise wet-behind-the-eared youths how to sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. He taught us how to bridge the gaps between the culinary extravagance of things like Russian caviar and French oysters, and a pastrami sandwich on rye at Pastrami Queen. And because of that, he taught us that we—all 7 billion of us—ain’t that different.

Luckily for us starry-eyed wanderers and mileage-counting journeyers, he also imparted timeless wisdom about what—and what not—to do while on life’s lonesome highways. Here are our 10 favorite travel tips from the man, the myth, and the legend himself, the late Anthony Bourdain:


In an interview Bourdain did with Bon Appétit, he said that he never eats on the plane to anywhere. His first point, which is obvious and to which we can personally attest, was that no one ever really feels good after eating plane food. It’s plane food. But his second point was that he’s a food guy, and since going to interesting culinary destinations was his job, he always liked to arrive somewhere hungry.


Are you headed to Paris? Do everything but stand atop the Eiffel Tower, because according to Bourdain, it’s lethal to your soul. Drawing yourself up an action-packed itinerary? Don’t. It’ll ruin your trip, and everything else you thought you were looking for when you decided to leave home. Stay off TripAdvisor and Yelp, and just go do it. Be the Parts Unknown you want to see in the world.


When you sit back and ask yourself why you want to travel, there are generally two types of people: Those who want to be somewhere; somewhere they’ve seen in a movie, or on some reputed travel website, or while scrolling through the #EarthPorn Instagram hashtag. And those who want to adventure somewhere; those who want to get out into the world and be astounded by just how significant it all is. Bourdain was an adventurer, and in that same Time interview, he notes that people are over concerned about things like safety and cleanliness in ways that often inhibit their ability to experience new things. Adventuring, by design, is sometimes dangerous and often dirty. But that’s kind of the point. Do it for the thrill of it all.


Many avid travelers and foodies—Bourdain included—often condemn food review websites or travel websites, but by his own words, Bourdain told Shermans Travel that with a little tact and cunning, they can be used for good. His advice was, “Say you’re going to a new place; go online and find any old reference on Google for a good restaurant. Before you go, post about that restaurant on a local food forum and say that you had the best [region/country’s specialty] there. Inevitably, it will spark rage in the locals and they’ll tell you where their favorite spot is and how it’s so much better.” Was this guy a genius, or what? We bet Reddit works well.