7 WAYS CANVA TEMPLATES CAN HELP YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS

7 WAYS CANVA TEMPLATES CAN HELP YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS

When you start your own business, you need to learn so many new skills: financial, social, motivational and beyond. Given that you’re the one responsible for making everything happen, it’s easy to think that you need to do it all yourself, but that’s just not true. In fact, experts say you need to build systems for others to follow as soon as you can, so you can stay doing the thing you love and let others do the rest. Doing this prevents frustration and burn-out. One of the easiest systems you can introduce to your business are Canva templates for your social media graphics. Here are seven reasons why you might want to use them to grow your business and stay sane at the same time.

1. SAVE YOUR VALUABLE TIME WITH CANVA TEMPLATES

Time is one of the scarcest resources of a business owner. Do you really want to spend hours creating graphics, when you could take a short-cut with templates, updating with your branded colours, fonts and text in a few minutes? And once you have your favourites updated with your branding, simply duplicate pages in your design and swap out the text and photos. It’s that easy!

Using brand fonts and colours consistently means your followers recognise your posts as soon as they appear in their feed – an easy way to build your brand. And templates make it possible to batch weeks or months of content at a time and schedule out your posts, so you have time and bandwidth to work on other parts of your business, secure in the knowledge that your social media posts are going out when they should. 

Even if you ‘like’ designing social media graphics, is spending hours on them a great use of your time? Is there something else that would be a better use of your time? Hint: it may be something you don’t want to do and designing social media graphics is a displacement activity. If you really need a break from work, you could choose an activity that is completely unconnected. 

Canva business templates - an example of a carousel template for Canva that could save you hours.

2. STAY IN YOUR ZONE OF GENIUS

We often start a business because we want to work in a particular field on our own and we’re passionate about that – or certainly about the freedom that working for yourself can bring. What can remove the shine from that vision are the other tasks that are not part of your chosen profession. For instance, if you’re a yoga teacher who loves helping their clients build stronger and more flexible bodies, it doesn’t automatically follow that you also love running an Instagram account, learning to set up an online shop to sell classes or completing tax returns. You may not be skilled at these either. 

Give yourself the gift of freedom and outsource or minimise those tasks where possible, so that you can spend most of your time connecting with your clients. Canva templates are an easy stepping stone that give professional results for your marketing without needing to learn design principles yourself. Just add in your own fonts, colours and text. 

3. KEEPS YOU IN TOUCH WITH DESIGN TRENDS

It can be easy to be stuck in your own design world – the way it’s always been done. By tapping into Canva business templates, you’re staying current with trends and your business reflects it’s moving with the times.

This can be simple updates such as using a gradient rather than a single colour or using trending elements. And because someone else is doing the designing, you don’t have to stay on top of the latest looks. Win-win!

You can still retain your brand colours and fonts most of the time, with the trending elements or designs swapping in to keep your social media graphics and other marketing visuals fresh. 

4. LEVERAGE YOUR HOURS

In order for your business to earn more, your average hourly rate has to increase. Whether that’s raising what you charge for professional services, or spending your time creating products that can be sold multiple times to leverage your time, your hourly rate matters. 

Given this, you need to ask yourself if it makes any sense to spend hours creating a graphic that someone else – an expert in THEIR field – has already 90% created. This is their leveraged product that is available at a much lower price point than it would cost to have a custom design created. 

Unless your outgoings need to be as close to zero as possible or you’re outsourcing your social media completely, Canva business templates are the efficient middle way to create marketing graphics efficiently. 

5. READY TO PUBLISH IN MINUTES

Yes, we’re talking about your time again and how to make the most of it. Canva templates can help you publish in minutes rather than hours. This can mean you’re able to create and schedule a social post in a small pocket of time between meetings or at the end of the day.

And because you’re not wasting time thinking about text size or balancing elements, you never end up taking five times as long as you planned to work on your socials, abandoning other important tasks in your schedule. Apart from anything else, having your daily plans hijacked by a marketing graphic is discouraging.  

6. TEMPLATES HAVE THE LATEST FEATURES

Many Canva business templates make the most of recently added functionality and new additions to the library. They could feature animations, text variations or simply using the latest elements, which add the ‘ooh’ factor to your social posts. It also means you don’t have to ‘stay up with the latest trends’ – as they’re already baked into the templates. 

7. TEMPLATES ARE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

When starting your business, you want to create systems for efficiency. It also means that when you’re ready to delegate tasks, they’re ready to hand over. In the case of creating weekly Instagram content, for example, this could be tasks that include reviewing the past week, choosing topics (based on your content pillars), writing posts, recording and editing video, creating graphics, scheduling and daily engagement.

You might make these into a checklist, a set of Trello cards or a section in Notion, depending on how you like to run your business. You can link the URL of your Canva templates quickly and easily into any online system – even a PDF checklist.

Once you’ve built your systems, you can see easily which parts – if not all – you can delegate to others.  Systems also keep you on track: it’s easier to work through a checklist than remember what you need to do and in what order every time. Systems also mean knowing how long a set of tasks take, so you can plan enough time in your diary. 

What do you think? Do any of these points resonate with you and your business? Have you tried using Canva templates for your marketing? There are a range of them available in the shop

HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL THAT GIVES YOU BETTER ENGAGEMENT

HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL THAT GIVES YOU BETTER ENGAGEMENT

Creating an Instagram carousel – the grid posts with multiple photos/videos – can be a challenge and yet the upside is so high: greater engagement, content that serves your audience and is perfect for sharing and saving. Here’s what you need to know about creating a carousel for your business that gives you the most saves, likes and shares for your time. There’s even a free PDF checklist at the end of this post you can download.

WHAT IS AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL POST? HERE’S THE DEFINITION.

Carousels are the way you post multiple photos on Instagram on the grid. This grid post can have up to 10 photos, videos or a mix of the two. Viewers swipe through from right to left on the screen to view each slide, one at a time. A series of grey dots under the posts shows how many slides are in the carousel, with a blue dot marking the position of the current slide. 

Carousels are the same as regular posts in other ways including captions, the ability to share, comment, like and save. Instagram introduced them early in 2017 as an ad format, extending that to all users soon afterwards.

WHAT SIZE TO MAKE YOUR CAROUSEL POSTS?

You can make carousel posts any size from square to a 4:5 ratio vertical or portrait image, as long as they have matching dimensions. If you try adding differently sized photos or videos, they will crop to the same shape as your first slide. If you’re choosing a non-square size, you might want to consider what your first photo will look like cropped in your grid. 

In pixels, a 4:5 ratio for Instagram is 1080 pixels wide by 1350 pixels high. This format takes up the most amount of screen space available, so is the best format for impact in the scroll.

You can also use horizontal images or videos up to a 1.91:1 ratio, which is 1080 pixels wide by 566 pixels high. This is not an ideal format, because it takes up so little space in the feed, which means it’s easy to scroll past without noticing it. If you want to keep your images wide and narrow, you could use a photo or graphics editor to add white space above and below your image, helping it stand out in the feed.

Videos can last up to 60 seconds and need to be smaller than 4GB.

Be aware that your carousel will show in your Instagram feed as a square, with the top and bottom of your first slide hidden, so make sure that your design and any text you want seen is in the centre of the carousel’s first slide.

HOW TO CREATE AND POST AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL

How to create a carousel inside the Instagram app

  1. Tap the + sign on the top right, next to the menu.
  2. Tap the post option (with a grid icon).
  3. This will bring up the ‘Recents’ album. Navigate to another album if needed and tap the multiple photo option. 
  4. Tap on the photos or videos you want to include in your carousel, in the order you want them to appear. 
  5. Tap ‘Next’ on the top right of your screen. Select any preferred filter options.
  6. Write a caption, adding tags and other details as you would for a regular grid post.
  7. Tap ‘Share’ on the top right of your screen! 
Scheduling an Instagram Carousel in Facebook - screenshots of how to upload your carousel slides and schedule to publish inside Creator Studio. You can rearrange all the slides or delete and replace slides.

How to create a carousel inside Facebook Creator Studio on desktop

  1. Navigate to Creator Studio inside Facebook (find it in the options down the left of your screen on a desktop). This assumes you have a Facebook page attached to your Instagram account. 
  2. Create a new post and upload your carousel slides. They will automatically display in the order you uploaded them.  You can drag and drop the slides into a different order if needed. 
  3. Add your caption and hashtags to the text area. Add your location, if wanted. 
  4. Schedule or publish your post. There’s also an option to save as a draft. 

Please note: Facebook is replacing Creator Studio with Business Suite, on a gradual worldwide rollout. You can also create and schedule carousels inside third party apps such as Planoly and Later.

WHAT ENGAGEMENT DO CAROUSEL POSTS RECEIVE? 

According to Social Insider, Carousels have an average engagement rate per post of 1.92%, compared to 1.74% for images and 1.45% for videos. The engagement rate hits 2% for posts where all 10 carousel slides are used – a great reason to think about using them all! However, most carousels have between two and four slides. Other studies suggest that carousel post engagement rates are even higher than this. 

WHY DO CAROUSEL POSTS RECEIVE MORE ENGAGEMENT?

There are multiple reasons why carousel posts receive more engagement. One is time spent to see all of the post: looking at multiple photos or videos simply takes longer than looking at one. 

Another reason for increased engagement with carousel posts is that Instagram can show your post multiple times in the feeds of your followers.  If the first slide doesn’t stop the scroll, Instagram may show the second or third slides, to encourage swipe-throughs to the rest of the slides. This increases the chances of followers engaging with your post. 

There’s also the fact that a post with multiple photos or videos is more likely to contain more value than those with a single slide, especially if you know your followers well and cater to their interests. This might be photos of a product and multiple details, a variety of styling for clothing or  inspirational quotes on one theme. 

Regina Anaejionu uses carousels for mini-lessons that lead into her courses for thought leaders. She’s creating huge value for her ideal clients, without even leaving Instagram. If they like what they read, they’re primed to click her bio and check out what else she could offer them. 

INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL IDEAS

Multiple photos or videos can show many aspects of one product or idea or you can tell a story in bite-sized chunks spread across the slides. Curiosity is key here – make sure at least some of the information is shared in later slides, so viewers swipe all the way through your slides. 

  • Carousel posts can act as cornerstone content for your feed, providing valuable information for your ideal audience. This can include:
  • User generated content, possibly with a cover image, so they fit your feed’s aesthetic.
  • An introduction to a product or service
  • A list of tips
  • A range of testimonials
  • Transformations: showcase ‘before’ and ‘after’ your service or product
  • Tutorials
  • Features on others in your niche
  • Your origin story

Want a list of 27 carousel ideas that work for any kind of business? You can download the list by clicking the image below and adding your email address.

Instagram Carousel ideas list in a PDF as an instant download. Written by a social media manager for any niche or any business.

INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL TEMPLATES

Instagram carousel templates help you create a set of cohesive slides which work together, without taking hours or needing a professional designer. This also allows you to concentrate on choosing your words and images or graphics carefully, to tell the story that best works for your business. 

Instagram carousel template example with 10 slides, overlapping elements across the slides, a cover slide that will be seen in the Instagram feed and a call to action at the end. Carousel templates can save you time when creating your Instagram content.

I’ve created multiple carousel templates for free online design tool Canva. You can find the templates here.  Canva templates can be swapped out to your own brand’s colours and fonts in seconds, ready for your own text and photos or video.

Hopefully, you now have all the details you need to create your own engaging carousel on Instagram! 

FACEBOOK HEADER SIZE – THE PERFECT PIXELS FOR DESKTOP AND MOBILE IN 2022

FACEBOOK HEADER SIZE – THE PERFECT PIXELS FOR DESKTOP AND MOBILE IN 2022

If you’ve ever wondered how big to make your Facebook header or found your uploaded photo looking pixelated, here’s the complete guide to the perfect Facebook header size and making sure it works across desktop and mobile in 2022.

FACEBOOK HEADER DIMENSIONS IN 2022

The Facebook header size is 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels high on desktop and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels high for mobile. Given that you can only upload one image to your Facebook page, make it the desktop size and put all essential parts of your image, text or graphics in the centre of your header.

This means that although the far left and far right of your header image will be cut off for mobile viewers, they will still see everything they need to.

Here’s what that looks like:

Facebook header size showing the safe area that is visible on mobile and desktop.

There’s just one trick to keep in mind: because some people will see the page on a high-resolution retina screen, you might like to double these dimensions so that your images remain clear and crisp. For the retina screen option, your Facebook header size is 1640 pixels by 624 pixels.

BEST FORMAT FOR FACEBOOK HEADER

Facebook suggests that the fastest loading header image is a JPG file that is less than 100 kilobytes. For header images with your logo or text, you might get a better result with a PNG file. If getting the exact colours right is important to you, Facebook also suggests using the sRGB colour space.

YOUR PAGE’S PROFILE PHOTO DIMENSIONS

Your page’s profile dimensions appear at 170 pixels by 170pixels on your Facebook page and 128 pixels square on smartphones. This square will become a circle in Facebook ads, so bear that in mind if you’re thinking of paid promotions on the platform.

Like your Facebook header, you may want to double these dimensions to keep the images sharp. Many business owners choose to use a logo in this place rather than their face. Although this may be appropriate for larger businesses, using a friendly, smiling headshot is more welcoming.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR FACEBOOK HEADER

You can simply upload a photo that is the right dimensions and you’re done. You might also choose to add your logo and/or text that explains more about your business or what you currently have on offer.

To create either option in the correct size, you need some kind of photo or graphics editor. My favourite for this is free online graphic design tool Canva. It has built-in Facebook templates and it’s easy to compare layout variations with one-click layout duplication.

KEY FEATURES OF A PERFECT FACEBOOK HEADER

Ideally, you want your Facebook header photo to tell the complete story of your page. If you’re a wedding photographer, you want a photo of you working with a couple on their wedding day, so you’re visible. Simply having a photo of newlyweds says ‘wedding’, but could also be promoting a make-up artist, florist, venue, planner or dress designer.

You want your photo to be super clear because Facebook users are often scrolling quickly on their phones while they’re out and about. You only have a few seconds to make it clear what you offer and most of the time, on a small mobile screen.

The same applies to text or a logo. Use up to five words and be aware that a logo with writing may not be clear, especially if it’s in a script font or contains unfamiliar words that the eye doesn’t recognise in a quick scan.

Use your branding colours and fonts if possible. It helps existing fans of your business recognise you and helps build brand recognition for those who are new.

WHERE TO FIND PHOTOS FOR YOUR HEADER

The best photos for Facebook are authentic ones – some would say ‘messy’ or believable, rather than perfectly taken, photoshopped commercial images. Your clients might share perfect examples of this with you, using your product or sharing how they benefitted from your services. Just get their permission! This is also known as user generated content or UGC.

If you are going to use stock images, try to avoid the very common ones that have been seen multiple times across other businesses, especially those from free stock sites. If that’s not possible, then take a little time to think of less common search terms. For example, look for ‘designer-makers’ rather than ‘creative business owners’. And do spend some time scrolling through the search results rather than picking one from the very top – it makes it less likely that the photo you choose is already familiar to your page visitors and associated with other businesses.

Also, make sure your header fits Facebook’s terms. This means avoiding misleading claims, swearing and being appropriate for all ages as the page is open to everyone on Facebook.

That’s everything you need to create a Facebook header that works flawlessly across desktop and mobile and clearly shows what your business has to offer in a few seconds.

INSTAGRAM STORY VIEWS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW IN 2022

INSTAGRAM STORY VIEWS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW IN 2022

When you understand Instagram Story views on your account, you can use this to improve your content and have it shared more and grow, which is what we all want, right? Let’s go through everything you need to know about Instagram Story views, including what Instagram Story views are, how to see them, why you should be using Instagram Stories in 2022 and how to be seen by others. In other words, understanding Instagram Story views is the first step towards growing your Instagram account with your ideal followers. 

View Instagram Stories in your archive month by month. Click on each image to see the post.

WHAT ARE INSTAGRAM STORY VIEWS?

Instagram Story views are the number and names of accounts that have seen a particular Story.  They’re visible for up to 48 hours, via Instagram’s Archive feature.

HOW TO SEE INSTAGRAM STORY VIEWS

There are two ways to see Instagram Story views. 

  1. The first, is by clicking on your Story while it’s live – in other words, in the first 24 hours of its life either in the Instagram phone app itself or on the desktop. You’ll see the total views and a list of accounts that have seen it. 
  2. You can also click on the Instagram hamburger menu (the set of narrow lines on the top right), choosing Archive /  Stories / Stories Archive from a drop-down menu at the top of the screen. Story views are visible in the archive for 48 hours. 
Find viewers of your Instagram Stories by checking your account archive within 48 hours of your Story going live. Once 48 hours has passed, details of Story viewers disappear.

HOW TO TRACK INSTAGRAM STORY VIEWS

Given that Instagram Story views disappear after 48 hours, you have several options for tracking them. One is to track them manually, adding figures to a spreadsheet or Airtable every 24-48 hours. Another is to use a third-party tool such as Later’s scheduler in the Growth or Advanced plans. Later’s Free and Starter plans exclude this tracking. 

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR INSTAGRAM STORY VIEW DATA

Continuous monitoring of your Instagram Story views gives you a feedback loop on your most popular content and top Story followers. This helps you see your most successful content and the content that failed, so you can create more successful Stories and fewer failures. It also allows you to test new types of content, happily knowing that it will be clear within 24 hours whether you should continue. 

WHEN TO POST ON INSTAGRAM STORIES FOR THE MOST VIEWS

One of the easiest ways to help increase Story views on your Instagram account is to post when your followers are online. You can find out when this is by checking your analytics. Analytics can be seen via the hamburger menu / Insights / Total followers and scrolling down to ‘Most active times’. Here, you’ll see a graph showing the days and hours when your followers are online the most. 

This gives you a range of best times to post. From these, you can choose when you’re going to post and test what times consistently bring you in the most Story views. 

Find out when your followers are on Instagram by checking Insights in the menu and going to the 'Followers' section. Scroll down to see a graph of when your followers are online for each day of the week.

HOW MANY INSTAGRAM STORIES SHOULD YOU POST A DAY?

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri suggested in mid-2021 that posting two Stories a day is right for growing your account. Other Instagram experts suggest posting regularly throughout the day so that whenever your followers visit Instagram – and usually it’s multiple times a day – there’s a new Story from you for them to see. Ultimately, you need to choose what is right for you, your business and your lifestyle. If you’re unsure, perhaps start with twice a day, at the start and end of business hours and see how that works. 

A good rule of thumb for the maximum number of Stories a day, suggested by Fohr founder James Nord is that if you can’t easily count the number of white lines along the top of an account’s Stories, there are too many. 


WHAT HELPS YOUR INSTAGRAM STORIES RANK HIGHER IN THE ALGORITHM?

There are four factors that go into ranking your Instagram Stories: 

  • Post information eg whether the Story is a video or photo
  • Account information of the poster eg how often you’ve posted recently
  • Viewer information, such as which kinds of posts they interact with most
  • Engagement history between the viewer and your account

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri shared these four factors on his Instagram account in June 2021, explaining how the company tries to find content that best suits viewers. 

WHY YOU SHOULD BE USING INSTAGRAM STORIES IN 2022

Instagram Stories are one of the best ways to build relationships with your followers AND one of the best ways of being shared by other accounts, increasing the number of accounts seeing your content and potentially increasing your followers.

Stories are the ideal ‘snackable’ size of content for viewers with an ever-decreasing attention span. Photos last five seconds in the Stories feed and videos up to 15 seconds, which are perfect for simple ideas and updates. And because they’re so bite-sized, you can share a variety of topics that help viewers get to know you and your business. 

They’re also easy to create when you’re pushed for time. You can go from “Oh, my followers might like this” to sharing it within minutes, unlike a grid post or Reel that do best with a thoughtful caption, carefully chosen hashtags and impactful visuals. They’re an update for your followers in between grid posts. 

Choose whether other accounts can share your Instagram posts via the settings. By default, these are left on so that others can share your content on their Stories.

Also remember that when your Stories appear multiple times a day in someone’s Instagram account, it’s an excellent way for them to get to know, like and trust you, which in turn leads to bookings and sales for your business.

If you’re sceptical about this working, try going onto your Stories every day for a week and watching all of them. Check in with yourself after that week to see how you feel about those accounts, compared to the previous week. (If any accounts are posting an overwhelming number of Stories a day, you can mute them by going to their profile and tapping the ‘Following’ dropdown menu that will allow you to ‘Mute’ or hide their posts and/or Stories). 

Stories are an important part of the Instagram ecosystem, given that everyone uses Instagram differently.  Some people will look mainly at Stories and very little at regular grid posts. Others will go straight to Reels and others again will browse their feed, Stories and the explore page. Using Stories as well as grid posts and Reels increases the touch points of your account with your followers, increasing the chances of you being seen.

FOURTH QUARTER SUCCESS PLAN FOR SERVICE BUSINESSES (UPDATED FOR 2021)

FOURTH QUARTER SUCCESS PLAN FOR SERVICE BUSINESSES (UPDATED FOR 2021)

The fourth quarter of the year is the time when service businesses can hit their yearly goals, even if they’ve not been on target earlier in the year. With Black Friday / Cyber Monday, holiday spending (including Christmas and Hanukkah) and end-of-year budgets all in the mix, the rewards can be great, but you need to be prepared.

To help you make the most of the fourth quarter, here are some steps you can put in place to maximise your sales and avoid overwhelm, so that when the holidays start, you can relax and enjoy a break.

REVIEW EXISTING CLIENTS AND COMMITMENTS

CLIENTS: The first step in getting ready for the fourth quarter is to look at your existing workload and commitments. Check the client work you already have booked in or that is likely to book. Contact potential clients who have said they want work done at some point and let them know this is their window to book in with their deposit before the year ends. Given you are about to launch promotional plans, your availability is likely to become extremely limited and your clients will appreciate giving them a heads-up now so they can plan too. You might even add in an early bird bonus to galvanise them.

CALENDAR: Also look at your calendar for personal commitments. Now would be a good time to check with family and others in your household about their expectations for the fourth quarter, especially plans for late December and into the new year.

PERSONAL: Are there any tasks you need to do – either personal or business – that you want to complete before the fourth quarter to have them out of the way? This could be anything from a dental check-up to bringing your paperwork up to date. Think of it as clearing the runway!

The goal of this is to assess your workload and to proactively manage your clients and maximise your revenue from existing clients.

YOUR CALENDAR AND DEADLINES

Now you’re going to find out where the other ‘edges’ are in your fourth quarter and define some of your own.

DEADLINES

  • Check with your main suppliers, delivery firms or any other businesses you work with on their holiday deadlines. Put them in your calendar.
  • Based on these, set your own client deadlines with time for you to do your work and including a cushion to cover epic courier failures, mistakes and illness. Add these to your calendar.
  • Tell existing clients about your deadlines, preferably everywhere: social media platforms, social media profiles, newsletters or a one-off email to current clients.

BLACK FRIDAY / CYBER MONDAY

Black Friday 2021 is Friday November 26, 2021. Mark this and Cyber Monday on Monday November 29 on your calendar.  Even if you don’t run any Black Friday promotions, this period affects spending patterns, social media ‘noise’ and ad costs, in the 10 days leading up to this promotional long weekend.

PLAN THE FOURTH QUARTER

Now that you know the landscape for the final three months or more of the year, you can plan. Big picture planning for most small service-based businesses is best on a few sheets of paper so you can see how everything fits together. I’ve designed a free printable planner of Q4 for 2021 which you can DOWNLOAD HERE. (No email needed).

Choose the promotions you’re going to run, if any. You may already be close to fully booked (go you!) and your main job here is to manage client expectations. If not, then look at your financial goals and plan one or more promotions that could meet those goals, given your availability.

For instance, if you are a yoga teacher who is going to run a Black Friday offer on yearly online class memberships, you might team up with a local artist to create a limited edition yoga mat: those signing up for the year receive one. To do this, you would need to find an artist, set up the commission and have at least one yoga mat printed so that you can check quality and use it to promote your offer. Then you promote it for a week or two leading up to Black Friday.

There are a HUGE number of advantages to being this organised.  For a start, you’re so much more likely to hit your revenue goals. You’re less likely to be overwhelmed and it means you can take advantage of early bird specials or bulk discounts on printing marketing pieces or telling the local newspaper about your yoga mat commission and arranging a photo shoot of you, the artist and the yoga mat.

SUPPLIES CHECK

What are all the supplies you could need for this quarter? Check printer ink, sticky tape, Sharpies, bubble wrap, brown paper, labels, scissors, batteries. Either check everything now and order or make a note on your calendar when you are going to do this.

If you usually give your suppliers a little extra something at Christmas, now would be a good time to schedule that, perhaps even using Black Friday discounts.

Ditto, if you send holiday or New Year cards, schedule in time for those which could include: planning, shooting, designing, ordering, writing and addressing.

INBOX CLEAR-OUT

An inbox is not a task list. So if you have hundreds or thousands of emails in there that want actioning, move them to a sub-folder so you don’t get drawn in every time you go to your inbox.

Going forward, you’re going to empty your inbox daily Monday to Friday or whatever your business week is. Check your inbox between one and three times a day and close it at other times. This will allow you to concentrate on the big chunks of work you need to get through without email being a distraction.

Answer anything that you can do inside a couple of minutes and for anything that will take longer, turn it into a task. Copy and paste the relevant piece of the email to the task. If you have a system that links emails like LightBlue or Daylite, that’s fabulous.

Once you’ve either replied or turned the email into a task, file the email in a sub-folder. Given that you can search for the email by content or sender, you could just have one sub-folder for ‘dealt with’ emails.

This system of handling email is based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done. It’s a fabulous book for managing your business and life generally – perhaps a holiday read?

You also need to go through your current inbox for the past month or so and triage it: either respond inside a few minutes or turn into a task. You do not want one of these coming back in a few weeks to trip you up when you’re at your busiest. Schedule your triage session in your calendar in the next few days if you can’t do this today.

BEING EFFICIENT

When you’re planning your client projects, it can be useful to keep the notes and thoughts for each project in a separate folder. Breaking down projects helps prevent overwhelm and keeps them on track.

For instance, ‘do album’ may include:
– Request favourites from client / choose favourites
– Import image folder into album design software
– Check size of album + number of pages
– Design album
– Export design as double-page spreads
– Resize spreads and save for web
– Upload to online review software, write intro blurb, publish.
– Email client with link, next steps and album deadlines.

For sets of repeating tasks such as the steps in designing an album, it can be helpful to keep a list of them which you print and tick off. Electronic task managers can have their own versions of this; for instance, Daylite has activity sets.

Although you may know all the steps, remembering them in the right order can take up space in your head that you may want for other things.

GETTING HELP

If it looks as if you have too much on your plate, there are a few things you can do.

One is to truly look at how efficient you are. For instance, designing albums and making album changes all on one day is more efficient than doing an hour a day for the week. This is because when you switch context between different tasks, it takes us time to adjust from one to the next.

This means that a one-minute email in the midst of album design is more like a five to 10-minute email as you lose your train of thought on the album. There is also something intrinsically rewarding with getting something as complex as an album design done in just one or two concentrated sittings without distractions.

If you are being efficient, then what support could you get? Concentrate on removing or reducing tasks that suck your willpower. For one person, this could be using social media hashtags, for another, it could be the thought of what to cook for dinner. Social media management or food boxes with recipes such as Hello Fresh might help.

Also keep in mind services such as Fiverr and Upwork for online business tasks and Helping Hands and local teenagers/parents to deal with physical ones such as packing orders and post office runs. Try to get your support set up before you need it.

Schedule time in your calendar for you too. This includes time off, family/friends time and workouts.  You can download a free printable planner of your 2018 fourth quarter I’ve designed just for you – no email needed HERE

NEXT STEPS

You should now have a calendar with important dates and deadlines and a set of projects, each of which contains tasks. These two pieces can help you stay on top of this quarter like a boss. Check your projects each week – it will probably take you less than 30 minutes – to make sure that everything is progressing as it should be: clients or suppliers have responded to emails and nothing you were meant to do has fallen through the cracks.

We’re all human and things WILL get lost along the way, but the weekly checks will bring you back on course quickly and help you plan your tasks for the week. Don’t forget, you can download a free printable planner of 2021 fourth quarter I’ve designed just for you here. 

I hope this helps you plan your fourth quarter success, staying sane and delivering a great service to your clients.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BOARD NAMES ON PINTEREST IN 2022

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BOARD NAMES ON PINTEREST IN 2022

Knowing how to choose the best board names on Pinterest in 2022 is an essential part of being found on the SEO-based platform, alongside creating the best pins and best strategies. In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about naming Pinterest boards so you get more re-pins and traffic.

HOW DO I START A BOARD ON PINTEREST?

You start or create a board on Pinterest in three easy steps. These are:

1. Making sure you’re logged into Pinterest, click on your profile photo on the top right-hand side. This will display your boards.
2. Click the + button on the right-hand side and select ‘create board’ from the dropdown menu.
3. Name the board, choose if you want to make it secret and press the red ‘create’ button. You’re done!

How do I start a board on Pinterest screenshot from Pinterest showing how to press the + button and create a new board for your account.

WHAT SHOULD I NAME MY PINTEREST BOARDS IN 2022?

Your board names on Pinterest should use  words that people are already searching for inside the app, so that your board has the best chance of being found. You can find out the best terms – often called keywords – by searching yourself and seeing what Pinterest suggests for you.

As an example, if I put ‘yoga tips’ into Pinterest, there are suggested terms just below including ‘for beginners’, ‘for beginners 30 day’ and ‘for beginners flexibility’. I can also see a range of pins below these suggestions. In the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the search bar, you can also set it to ‘boards’ and see what boards are called ‘Yoga tips’. There are a LOT of results!

So while you CAN name your board ‘Yoga tips’, it’s going to be difficult to set it apart from all the other boards with the same name. If you niche down more in the name, perhaps with ‘Yoga tips for beginners’ as Pinterest suggested, that would help beginners find your board.

To target more advanced yogis, you might type ‘Advanced yoga’ into the search bar, which will suggest terms like ‘advanced yoga flow’ or ‘advanced yoga poses names’. If your board names on Pinterest are these more niche terms, they’re more likely to be found and your pins are more likely to be re-pinned and clicked on.

HOW LONG TO MAKE A PINTEREST BOARD NAME

A Pinterest board name can be up to 50 characters long. You want the most important words at the front, because those are the ones that will show on your profile or in a search for boards.

Here’s what that looks like:

HOW MANY PINTEREST BOARDS CAN YOU HAVE?

You can have up to 500 Pinterest boards including secret boards and group boards you didn’t create. Secret boards are those that only you and other Pinterest users you invite can see (Pinterest calls these other people ‘collaborators’). Group boards are public boards that have more than one person able to add pins.

HOW TO WRITE GREAT PINTEREST BOARD DESCRIPTIONS

You have 500 characters for your Pinterest board descriptions. That gives you room to describe clearly what your board is about, using keywords near the beginning of the description. These can be a mix of popular, broad keywords and long-tail phrases. Long-tail phrases often start with ‘how to …’ or ‘how can I …’.

Mention if the board serves a particular niche, such as Etsy sellers or what transformation they can expect eg ‘learn how to take your own product photos’. Use keywords you found when searching Pinterest for your board names. Although writing a board name in capitals can make it appear bolder, it’s also more difficult to read, so using upper and lower case text is best. 

HOW TO EDIT A PINTEREST BOARD

Edit a Pinterest board by:
1. Clicking on your board to open it and selecting the three dots for board options. It will show you an option to ‘Edit board’.
2. Here, you can change the board name, board cover, description, collaborators, make it secret, show pins inspired by the board in your home feed or delete the board.
3. Click the red ‘Done’ button to save your changes.

HOW TO CREATE PINTEREST BOARD COVERS

You can manually assign one of your pins as the board cover or Pinterest will choose a pin itself. This means you can make a board cover graphic and pin it to the board. Give it the board URL as its link.

Once you’ve saved the pin to your board, edit the board and choose ‘CHANGE COVER’. Choose the pin you have just saved as the cover. The pin you have chosen as a cover will usually appear as a square

The jury’s out as to whether this has an impact on gaining followers or repins, but speaking for myself, if someone has gone to the trouble of creating board covers, I’m more likely to think they’ve curated pins with some extra thought as well and am more likely to look at their content and follow them.

HOW TO ORGANISE PINTEREST BOARDS

Arrange your boards on your profile in a way that works for you. Pinterest offers automatic arrangements based on the alphabet or showing boards in order of boards where you saved your last pins. A third way is manual – you drag and drop your boards in exactly the order you prefer.

You can set which of the three options you want by looking at your boards and finding the ‘settings’ icon with two circles on two lines. Click on this to select your option.

I recommend you choose the drag and drop option, putting the most important boards for your ideal clients first. Click on a board and drag it to a white space between other boards. The first board will automatically contain all your pins or all saved products. You cannot move this board.

How to rearrange Pinterest boards with drag and drop.

HOW MANY SECTIONS CAN A PINTEREST BOARD HAVE?

Pinterest boards appear to have unlimited sections. You can have at least 20 sections in a Pinterest board, which should be more than enough for one board.

HOW TO DELETE A PINTEREST BOARD

You can delete a Pinterest board in three easy steps. These are

1. Making sure you’re logged into Pinterest, click on your profile photo on the top right-hand side. This will display your boards.
2. Move your cursor over the board you want to delete. An option to edit with a pencil icon will appear.
3. Scroll down the board editing options and click on ‘Delete board’. Click the red ‘Delete forever’ pop-up button that appears.

WANT TO UPGRADE YOUR PINTEREST ACCOUNT?

To upgrade your Pinterest account easily and quickly, I’ve created this set of Pinterest pin templates you can download and be using in minutes inside online design tool Canva. The set of 31 minimal pin designs opens in one click inside your Canva account. All the fonts and design elements contained in the pin templates are free, so you don’t need the pro version. Just add your brand colours, drop in your own photos and swap the fonts/text and you’re done!

USE THE ARCHIVE INSTAGRAM POST FEATURE TO CURATE YOUR FEED

USE THE ARCHIVE INSTAGRAM POST FEATURE TO CURATE YOUR FEED

You always want your Instagram feed to show clearly what you or your business is about. One of the best ways you can do that is by regularly curating your feed using the archive Instagram post feature: here’s a step-by-step guide to archiving posts.

HOW TO ARCHIVE INSTAGRAM POSTS

The first step is to learn how to archive Instagram posts. To archive a post, click the three dots on the top right of the post and click the second option – to archive. Your post will disappear from your Instagram grid but the post and its insights are kept in the archive, where only you can see them.

How to archive Instagram posts in 2020 - a step by step guide. HOW TO FIND ARCHIVED INSTAGRAM POSTS

You can find archived Instagram posts by going to your Instagram profile and clicking on the three lines at the top right of your account and clicking on Archive. It has a drop-down menu for you to access either posts or Stories. Click on the post option to see all your archived posts.

To move an archived post back to your grid, select the relevant archived post and select the option to ‘Show on profile’. It will automatically move back to your grid, showing in date order and containing all of its likes and comments.

INSTAGRAM ARCHIVE FEATURE INTRODUCTION

Instagram introduced its archive feature in mid-2017 after testing it several months earlier. At the time, many Instagrammers were removing posts that didn’t get the number of comments or likes they wanted, sometimes leading to moments of regret

Posts that are archived are only able to be seen by the account owner. They’re especially useful when you want to create Story highlights on a particular theme – just go into your Story archive and add the relevant Stories which expire after 24 hours.

HOW TO CURATE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED

Now that you know how to move Instagram posts into the archive and back again, have a good look at your grid. What does it say about you or your business? If someone glanced at the photos without reading the captions, would that give a clear picture of what you have to offer and your style – especially for creative businesses?

Try removing any posts that detract from the main message or style of your grid to leave behind a well curated feed that tells visitors in a few seconds what’s on offer. If your feed has a pattern, it may take a couple of rounds of changes to curate your feed so that it maintains an aesthetic look while showing only the very best of your work. This can work especially well if you’ve updated your brand or feed colours and want to phase in the new palette.

You could even try archiving some of the colours or content in your grid to test the look.  If you don’t like it, just un-archive the posts  In fact, any time you want to curate or freshen your Instagram feed, you can use the archiving feature, knowing you can always return a post if you change your mind.

WHAT DOES TBT MEAN AND HOW TO USE ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

WHAT DOES TBT MEAN AND HOW TO USE ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Ever seen #TBT on a social media post and wondered what it meant? Here’s a quick explanation of what TBT means and how to use it on your own social media platforms.

WHAT DOES TBT MEAN?

TBT stands for throwback Thursday. It’s used when we want to share old photos or videos of ourselves and sometimes our businesses, to show what we were like many years ago. It’s a fun way for our followers to learn more about us and can apply to almost anything that has happened in the past.

WHICH PLATFORMS IS TBT USED ON?

TBT is most commonly used on Instagram and Twitter. As of June 2020, there are more than 500,000 photos with this hashtag on Instagram. If you’re looking for hashtag alternatives to TBT, # throwbackthursday has more than 50 million photos on Instagram and # throwbackthursdays is heading for more than 1.6 million. You could even use simply #throwback which has more than 110 million photos on Instagram.

HOW TO USE TBT ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Firstly, use the TBT tag on a Thursday. Although if you get your days muddled and still want to use your post, you could go with #flashbackfriday Use it as a signpost to your followers that you’re sharing nostalgic content.

One of the most useful ways of using TBT is for storytelling. People connect with and remember stories, and given that you have new people finding out about your business all the time, it can be useful to share the origin story of your business or services regularly.

Typically, you would share a photo or video, alongside a commentary explaining what’s going on in the photo and how different things are today. Music from YouTube or Spotify are other great links to share. You can share how far you or your business have come, comparing old branding such as logos or colours, premises or products with what’s on offer today and perhaps even pivotal moments along the way. TBT posts are often comedic or have a humorous slant, with vintage hairstyles or clothing that reflects an era such as big ’80s hair or ’70s flares. Nostalgia can trigger strong emotional responses too, making it especially memorable and shareable. Using this hashtag is similar to Facebook’s ‘Memories’ that appear on the anniversaries of their posting.

 

 

Instagram hashtag ebook Hashtag Hotshot - to help you find the best hashtags for getting more reach on Instagram.

HOW TO MAKE A WHITE BACKGROUND FOR INSTAGRAM (UPDATED FOR 2022)

HOW TO MAKE A WHITE BACKGROUND FOR INSTAGRAM (UPDATED FOR 2022)

You can make a white background for Instagram in your flatlays and overhead photos in a few simple steps using just your phone camera and free apps available on iPhone and android. Scroll down for instructions and the best free apps to use in 2022.

YOUR PHONE

To make a background white for Instagram, the most important thing to know that your phone camera has automatic settings for exposure. It chooses how light or dark to make your photo. This works well most of the time, but when your photo has a large light or white area, it will try to make it darker i.e. grey (if you want to know why, this article explains it well). So you can blame science for your grey photos – it’s not your fault.

The good news is you can override your phone camera’s auto settings. You do this by touching the screen while taking your photo. A yellow box with a sun on the side should appear. Simply slide your finger along the sun side of the square to increase light in your photo – and no more grey!

Use your phone camera's own tools to brighten your Instagram photo white background.

USING LIGHT FOR BETTER WHITE BACKGROUNDS

Your light source is important in getting clean white backgrounds. Where possible, use natural, indirect light from a window or glass door.  This may mean timing your photos for when the sun is out and taking over a piece of floor or kitchen table in a good location. If there is too much light or it is too direct, sheer curtains can work wonders to diffuse and lessen the light. To remove shadows, you can reflect light into the shadows using white cardboard, aluminium foil from the kitchen or a shop-bought reflector. Just move the board or reflector around so that it bounces light from the window into the shadow. This usually means putting the reflector opposite the window or door letting in light and tipping it down slightly. Just try moving your reflector or board around while you watch the shadows to see when it’s working.

BALANCING LIGHT TEMPERATURE FOR A BRIGHT BACKGROUND

Light will look different colours in our photos depending on its temperature. Photos taken by candlelight for instance, will look yellower than ones taken with a flash. It’s one of the main reasons why you might want to take your photos during the day with natural light from a window or a door – your photos will have ‘white’ whites.

But if you haven’t been able to take your photos in those perfect conditions – and all of us have been there – some apps will help you correct that.  Snapseed (free for iPhone and android) is my favourite app to do this in its tune image/warmth adjustments.

How to change your white when it looks orange or blue using only an Instagram app.

RETOUCHING YOUR WHITE BACKGROUND

The final step in how to make a background white is retouching and sharpening. The Retouch app (TouchRetouch – free for iPhone and android)  is perfect to remove any dirt or smudges from your background. The app is called TouchRetouch in the app stores and has a green swirly logo on a black background. It removes smudges or dirty marks on your background in an instant.

You can whiten your background more using Snapseed in a couple of ways. The first is to go to Tools and Tune image (top left). Swipe your finger up the screen and a menu will appear: choose highlights.  This is going to edit the brightest part of your photo, which is likely to be your white background. Slide your finger to the right to lighten.

The second way you can lighten your background is also in Snapseed. Go to tools and click on the Selective tool, which looks like a circle with a dot in the centre. This makes adjustments in a selected area for brightness, contrast, saturation and structure. It defaults to brightness, so use the slider at the top of your screen to slide further to the right to brighten your photo.

Once you have one area as white as you want, you can create another area to adjust by clicking on the plus sign at the bottom of the screen or tapping your finger on the original dot (which is probably showing up as a B after your brightness adjustments). A pop-up menu will allow you to copy this adjustment and paste in another area of the screen. Continue adding adjustment areas until your background is just the way you want and click on the tick on the bottom right.

When you’ve finished your adjustments, the last touch is to add a small amount of sharpening in Snapseed. In Tools, select the Details tool, which has a triangle icon. Slide your finger up the screen to see the menu and choose Sharpening. Slide your finger across the screen to the right to sharpen a little.  This will give your photo an extra ‘pop’.

So there you have it – how to make a background white for Instagram using only your phone. I hope this makes your Instagram photos easier for you.

Learn how to master flat lays with this ebook that takes you step by step through setting up a great flat lay using timeless design principles.

How to put an Instagram post on your Story: a simple and quick guide

How to put an Instagram post on your Story: a simple and quick guide

Knowing how to put an Instagram post on your Story is one of the ways of getting more visibility – either on your own posts or connecting with other accounts – so it’s an essential skill for any Instagram business account owner.

Sharing an Instagram post on Stories is a super simple three-step process – but did you know that you can add all kinds of design features to your Story so that you’re on brand and attract more attention in the Stories feed? Let’s start with the process and then you can learn the extra design hacks to up-level your Stories in a few clicks.

ADD AN INSTAGRAM POST TO YOUR STORY IN THREE EASY STEPS

1. Find the post you want to share. Click the airplane icon just below the post on the left, next to the comment and like buttons.
2. Select the ‘Add post to your story’ option which will appear.
3. Hit ‘Your stories’ button on the bottom left of the screen. You’re done!

How to put an Instagram post on your Story in three quick and easy steps.

FIVE WAYS TO ADD DESIGN TO YOUR STORY INSIDE INSTAGRAM

1.Change the colour of the background.

To do this, tap on the ‘scribble’ icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen next to the text icon. This will bring up a row of colours across the bottom of the screen (swipe left for two more rows of colour including black, white and greys). Select a colour and hold your finger on a black piece of background for three seconds to make it change colour.

If you want a background colour that is not one of those in the row, place your finger on the colour palette and hold, to have a rainbow palette pop up. Choose an appropriate colour and your text will change.

2. Add text to your Instagram story.

Use the text tool on the top right of the screen and type your text, choosing the colour from the palette just like you did for the background. There are five different fonts and you can resize using the slider on the left hand side or pinch the text in or out with two fingers when you’re finished.

3. Hide hashtags in Instagram Stories

Create your hashtags with the text tool and match the colour to a sample of the background. Boom – they fade into the background! Don’t forget, you can turn them sideways and make them smaller to fit your layout.

4. Adding stickers to Instagram Stories

You can add stickers from Instagram’s own library via the sticker tool on the top right next to the pen tool. You can add stickers for the location, mention an account, a hashtag or a gif.

Gifs can transform your Stories. Just click on the GIF option to see trending gifs or use the search bar to find appropriate stickers. You can resize by using two fingers to pinch in or out and put behind or in front of the story you are sharing. The one you touch last will be on top.

You can add gifs that are purely decorative, such as stars, hearts or rainbows or those that direct the viewer to take action: arrows, ‘tap here’ or ‘sound on’.

How to add a photo to Instagram Stories as a sticker in two easy steps.

5. Add your own photos or graphics

You can do this by going to your camera roll, choosing a photo and hitting copy. Return to Instagram and that photo will pop up on the bottom left hand side with an option to ‘Add sticker’. Click on that to add to your Story.

In this example, I added a single rectangle of colour and put it behind the text and post, to help both stand out.

That’s your simple and quick guide showing how to put an Instagram post on your Story, along with some design hacks that all can be done inside Instagram itself, without any apps.

If you want to up-level your Stories even further, you might want to visit the social media template section of the Living Abstracts shop.

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