Live Encore: Time-Saving Social Media Tips for Creatives | Sonja Rasula | Skillshare

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Live Encore: Time-Saving Social Media Tips for Creatives

teacher avatar Sonja Rasula, Entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:57
    • 2. Why Plan for Social Media

      5:55
    • 3. Using a Brand Bible

      3:05
    • 4. Creating Original Content

      6:20
    • 5. Using Other Content

      8:35
    • 6. Planning Your Content Calendar

      17:38
    • 7. Q&A

      14:51
    • 8. Final Thoughts

      3:44
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About This Class

Learn how to create a successful social media presence in way less time—and walk away with your plan for the next year!

As a serial entrepreneur, Sonja Rasula knows how powerful Instagram can be for growing your creative business. But she also knows it can be a huge time suck for the busy business owner. In this hour-long class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—Sonja shares her best social media tips and tricks that will help you succeed without feeling so stressed about it.

To start, you’ll get a hefty dose of ideas for creating more content that aligns with your brand, in less time. Then, you’ll walk through an activity to plan out your social media calendar for the next year (and learn why that’s such a valuable thing to do). Along the way, students who participated in the live session were able to ask questions, giving you even more useful insights for creating a stand-out social media presence.

Whether you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur looking to grow your business, a creative hoping to get your work out there more, or anywhere in between, Sonja’s advice is sure to help you step up your social media game (without spending all your precious time on it). 

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While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sonja Rasula

Entrepreneur

Teacher

In 2008 Sonja Rasula self-funded her first business, Unique Markets, by risking her entire 401k retirement savings. Since then her innovative, modern pop-up marketplaces have taken place around the country and have featured over 12,000 small businesses and emerging brands! Her candid and energetic storytelling have made her a sought-after, main-stage speaker at conferences such as SXSW, Quickbooks Connect, Create & Cultivate and HOW Design Live. And Nike, Airbnb, Madewell, Redbull and Adobe are some of the many brands to tap into her entrepreneurial mindset and creative consulting. 

Sonja's podcast, SOS with Sonja Rasula, is the go-to for small business owners looking for advice and practical tools to help them succeed. Sonja was named '1 o... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: As both a creative and an entrepreneur, I personally really love Instagram because it allows me to speak to anyone anywhere around the world. It really allows me to connect with an audience and engage with my community. Hi everyone. My name is Sonja Rasula. I am a serial entrepreneur and I am here to help you with making sure that your Instagram is awesome. I am best known for being the founder of Unique Markets, which is one of the country's largest pop-ups. I also just launched a new business called Care Package, which features small businesses curated into gift boxes. Today, I'm going to be giving you my best time-saving tricks for Instagram. I want you to learn how to get more followers, create content, and not be so stressed and anxious about it. We're going to create a content calendar for you to plan your entire year, which will help save time and really give you a greater picture of what you want to do with your Instagram account and your community. Whether you are a business owner, or an artist, or a mom, you probably have an Instagram account, and if you do, you should watch this class because it will help you create great content, learn how to create content faster and smarter, and learn how to engage with your community. All you need to follow along is a pen and paper if you are old school like me, or you can take notes on your computer. I have created a fantastic content calendar that is in the class resources down below. Just so you know, this class was recorded live earlier. I was able to answer questions from the audience then. Thanks so much for joining me. Let's get started. 2. Why Plan for Social Media: Hi. My name's Katie. I'm a producer with SkillShare and I'll be hosting today's live session with Sonja Rasula. Sonja, thank you so much for joining us today. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what do you do? I am based in Los Angeles and I own multiple businesses. I've been an entrepreneur for about 13 years. I should switch that to actually, I've been a successful entrepreneur for 13 years. I tried many businesses before. I am most known for my work in helping other small businesses with a company called Unique Markets and I've transitioned that many different ways. But one of the things I'm really passionate about is education and helping fellow entrepreneurs like myself, many who do not have VC funding or a degree in business. I really love spreading the knowledge and helping everyone out there. Today we're going to be talking about Instagram, very specifically, some of my top time-saving tips and then I'm going to take you through the creation of a content calendar, which will really help you take the time to figure out what you want to do over the year, set goals, and then also how you can create content, whether it's month by month, week by week, or daily to really help grow your social media and get the results that you're looking for. Why is social media so important? We use it every day but from an entrepreneurial standpoint, why is it so important and who should be using it? I think that anyone who has a business, a service, anyone who has one of those two things should be using social media, not on a personal level but for their professional career, especially now, this year we have all discovered that it is the age of digital. Really for so many small business owners like myself, digital is really the only way to keep in touch with customers and to sell right now. It's even more important and I think it'll be really crucial for everyone in 2021 and 2022, to be perfectly honest, to really capitalize on online social media followings and grow their communities that way. You mentioned we're going to be working on a plan for the entire year. Yeah. Is that typical to plan so far in advance? It seems like a lot of planning. It is. I'm someone who is not type A. For all of my type A sisters and brothers out there, they probably are used to planning to a level of this. But I worked in tech and online and social media before I became an entrepreneur and professional social media managers are absolutely planning a year in advance. It's very similar to a magazine editor who creates an editorial calendar and that's the inspiration for the content calendar that I will be showing everyone. What can students expect to come out with this class? Yeah, so you're going to learn time-saving tips. How can we not have Instagram rule our lives? How can we not be glued to our phones? How can we not have the panic attacks that any creative entrepreneur small business owner has? They're like, "Oh, shoot, I feel like I should post" and there's this anxiety that comes with that. This is going to help save time and also help alleviate all of that stress. Then really it's going to be about content planning. It's not so minute where we're going to be planning all the posts for the whole year. But you can't get from point A to point B if you don't know what point B is, you haven't given yourself those goals, and you haven't plotted how you're going to get there. This is really about planning to get to a goal. Right away, let's get started. There's a couple of things I just want to get out right off the bat. Your time as a creative, I'm a creative, I did not go to business school, your time is the most valuable commodity you have. Most creatives tend to forget and tend to pay themselves for what they are worth. Part of why this class is so important and why you need to be efficient with your Instagram and social media posting is that it allows you more time to actually create, which is the most important thing. You need to learn how to get really good, fast, and efficient with Instagram posting as opposed to letting it rule your life. Keep in mind, everything takes work. You may follow people on social media where their lives look amazing, they have 100,000 followers or a million followers, just know that it took them time, and a lot of those original people who have lots of followings started right when Instagram started. Then the last thing to know is that as you grow your Instagram following and community and engagement within that community, you are absolutely going to see results. Whether you sell items, whether you have a clientele, whether you do contract or freelance work, you are going to see financial results through social media and Instagram and so that's another reason why it's so important to really, truly understand it and perfect how you're going to use it. 3. Using a Brand Bible: To get started, I want to explain what a Brand Bible is and why your business needs one. Many of you who are watching right now may have already taken my Skillshare class, which very much focuses on creating a Brand Bible. It's so important for so many reasons. One of them again, is saving time. I have an example here. This is just to show you. It is so easy to look at this screen and understand the differences between let say, these two brands, if they were brands. One is much more elegant and refined and the colors and the moods that come across are very nature-based and calm. The colors and the fonts that are chosen for the image on the bottom of the screen are colorful and poppy. Instantly, hopefully everyone watching right now can understand why it's so important for you to create your style guide and your Brand Bible. Not just well, this translate to your website, your business, such as business cards, but it will also translate to your Instagram feed. This is really, really important because human beings like consistency. If you can figure out, for instance, the fonts that you use, if you can figure out the primary colors that will be seen in most of the photos, and then your secondary colors, if you can figure out the tone of the brand and its personality, and you can figure out how you're going to be using graphic treatments or icons. If you create all of that in a Brand Bible, then it's very easy to translate it to your Instagram feed. When trying to figure out a photo or something to post, it's very easy for you to ask yourself, does this match my brand? Does it represent me who I am and my brand? If the answer is no, because you've created this Brand Bible, then you should not post it. This is part of why having a brand bible is almost the first step. I'm assuming most of you currently watching this already have Instagram accounts for your businesses. If you don't, perfect, you're starting off by coming and getting educated for those who already have business accounts, if you have not created a Brand Bible yet, take the time to do this. Again, like I said, it will help when you are stressed out and you're trying to post and it's the holidays and your kids are screaming at you. It's going to be so much quicker to understand, should I post this, should I not when you have that Bible in place. It's going to save you time. Also, if you have people who work for you or if you are considering hiring a part-time social media manager or a freelancer, having this Brand Bible is crucial for Instagram because they won't have to ask you questions. They already know exactly what fonts to use, what colors should be in the photos, and the tone and the brand to convey information to your audience. 4. Creating Original Content: Now, let's get into how to create original content without using a lot of your time. My second tip is, when you are creating original content, you need to think about diversity and quantity. Here's what I mean by that. This is the number one mistake that all the small businesses that I work with make. More is more. I like to say more is more. It's funny whenever I'm working with photographers or I'm taking pictures myself on my iPhone, if you ever have that question in your head like, "I wonder if I got it" or like, "I hope I got it." No, you didn't. That's the answer. The thing to keep in mind with Instagram is it's daily. People who are very good and grow their followings need to post at least once a day, if not twice a day. That sounds intimidating, but we're going to get to how to actually do that. You need a lot of content. Content creation is something that we can all do ourselves. We don't necessarily have to hire videographers and professional photographers. But here's what you need to keep in mind every time you are shooting content. You need to shoot both horizontal and vertical. You need both of those types of photos, and here's why. If you have a website, most likely your website is side-to-side. It's horizontal. When you're on Instagram, everything is potentially square. When you're using Instagram stories, everything is vertical. You have to keep in mind that if you are taking a photo of this can of soda, let's just say, you want to make sure to get photographs that are vertical, horizontal, and have lots of room. I call this white space, the space around the object, to play and to edit and crop because you may take an amazing photo, and then once you try to translate that to your website or for product pages or Instagram, you realize that photo doesn't work. So you want different planes, you also want different angles and different depths. Again, the reason why I mention this is because not only do you want content and photography for your website, but you want it for social and you don't have to post a photo just once and then be done with it. If there are some big Instagram accounts that you follow, maybe retailers or brands that you like or artists, if you scroll, you'll notice something which is that you may see, let's say a series of portraits, and you'll see someone posts that photo and then three or four weeks earlier, another photo from that exact photo shoot, but a different photo. Then maybe two weeks before that, another photo. They're capitalizing on this idea of trying to get as many photos as possible with one photo shoot. I always say try to get 25 photos of the exact same thing. If any of you out there who are watching right now are product designers, let's say you are a ceramicist or you are an illustrator and you put your illustrations in frames and sell them online. Instead of just taking one photo of that piece of artwork, like I said, you want to try to push yourself and take 25 different photos of that same framed artwork. So you are literally doing this and you're taking it from as many different angles, top-down, which is like this, front-facing, maybe display it on a wall, display it on a shelf, display it as many different ways as you can think of because you want 25 different photos of that one object, and then that gives you choice. A year later, you can post about that same object or product and you've already got photos of it. More is absolutely more. This is just a funny little behind the scenes, me sharing embarrassing photos that were taken of me for my podcast. Over and over again, it's the same photo of me with a phone, but there it is, horizontal and then we got different shots vertical, and there are hundreds more like this. I would say probably 50 are usable of the hundreds. But I'm going to be able to use this content over and over and over again. Also, what I put on the screen is all the different sizes that Instagram and Facebook support currently. If you're using a real camera, you need to shoot horizontally and vertically to be able to get all of these. But I do see this question of like, I find it takes a really long time to create pretty graphics and all of this stuff. Totally agree for people who are not Photoshop and Illustrator wizzes out there. I don't know if I provided the link or not, but there's a company called Canva, and it has saved my life this year. Again, all of my younger generation employees were using Canva all the time and I was like, "Whatever, I'm just going to kill myself in Illustrator over here for a day trying to create a graphic." Then I understood why Canva is so great. Canva has templates already, but also everything is saved there. If you create a great looking graphic that has a quote, for instance, like an inspirational quote, you can just duplicate that like 30 times and then type in 29 other quotes, and suddenly you have 30 Instagram posts ready to go, so simple, so easy. I would say, find resources like apps or websites like Canva to help you knock out content. 5. Using Other Content: Next, let's talk about using other resources for photography to lighten your load. Tip number 3, use content from other sources. This is a huge, huge advantage, especially for those of us who are one-woman, one-man shows. If you are doing everything yourself, it is not possible for you to shoot original content all the time. It's just not going to be possible. Here is what you can do. There are some websites that are what I rely on. One of them is Pexels, the other one is Unsplash, and the other one is TONL. These are three of my favorite royalty-free photography and video websites. They have royalty-free photography that you can use, and by the way, this is all by professional photographers, which is amazing. They also have videos. If you wanted to have video footage that could convey a mood or you wanted to cut something together, they have free video footage, which is amazing. TONL is not a free photo website. Pexels and Unsplash are both free. All the photography that you find on those websites are free, which means you can use them in a variety of different means. TONL, however, I know the founders, and they're so amazing. TONL exists to provide culturally diverse photography, which is a big difference for decades and decades. All the photography was very similar, and there weren't different ethnicities represented. It was so hard to find someone on the computer who was black. It was so hard to find someone who is Asian as a fashion designer. TONL exists to bring those culturally diverse stock photography photos into the world. I love them. But just so everyone knows, that one isn't free, but you can pay per image, which is still great, and it's still very affordable. How can this apply to you in your business and what you do? Here's how it can apply. Let's say you're an artist and you have your Instagram feed. Well, there's only so many photos of your art that you can post without feeling like you're constantly selling. But also you just don't have that much photography. How can you space out your feed? You can use royalty-free photos. This is an example I searched on Unsplash. This is a screen grab. I searched coffee in bed because for me often, when I'm doing the unique markets feed, I'm on the weekend thinking I need to post something. I don't know what to post. But coffee in bed does sound very good. It's inspirational, and it's something that everyone can relate to. Here you go, coffee in bed. If you scroll this, you would literally see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of great images taken by a professional photographers that you can use for free on Unsplash until you find one that matches the tone and the mood of your Instagram feed, and you post that. The thing to remember is that with this company, because this is all royalty free, you don't have to credit the photographer. If you're taking someone's photo that you've seen directly on Instagram, you absolutely need to credit the account or the photographer that you are taking that image from. That's some inspiration from Unsplash. Then I did one more slide just to really nail home this point, which is again, look at all these great photos. Again, depending on your feed, you could have a very colorful feed, you could have a very moody feed, who knows? But I typed in rainy day and got so many amazing photos, but I really love this one. It feels like Portland or Seattle. Then I thought, oh, let's look at painting. I typed in painting, and I love this photo in the middle here. It can be used for anything. But you can say, I'm starting a new project or I'm going to give myself a day of painting, and there you go. Who doesn't? Honestly, this one puppy photo really got me. The way that I personally would use it would be on a Monday when you just don't want to be at work. I would probably, yes, use like hashtag same. This poor little guy yawning, I feel that. I mean using very amazing resources, so that's fantastic for sharing with us. If some people have some hesitation about using them, feeling like they should be sharing just their own work, what can you sort of say to social media is a little better? Yeah. I mean, when social media first came out, and I have a journalism degree, I am a journalist, so I feel like most journalists were pretty hardcore against all these influencers who were taking photos and sharing them. When Pinterest came out, I remember it was such a big deal because everyone was like, wait a minute, all my photos now are on this thing called Pinterest. Like what's happening?" It's 2020 now, so much has changed. Again, I think you have to be really respectful. If it is a photographer, and you are taking their photo from Instagram, from someone that you look up to and follow, you absolutely have to credit them. But there is nothing wrong in sharing, reposting content from other people. That is what this new generation has pushed onto all of us, and there's nothing more. It's a huge compliment. If you're taking it from someone, makes sure to credit them. If you're using a service that has royalty-free photography, this is why they've created this. They do absolutely list, both Unsplash and Pexels list, who the photographers are, and so you can credit them if you want in your posts. I believe that they also have a way for you to give them a few dollars. You can absolutely do that. But the idea of sharing other people's content, I think everyone needs to let go of that. You are not stealing anyone's content by any means. You are not taking it and repurposing it. I should probably mention you should never edit someone else's photo. You shouldn't take this puppy photo and then change the contrast or the lighting on it. Post the photo as is. But also, if you're taking a photo from someone else on Instagram and tagging them, I do want to mention that this is a very specific strategy for building community. Once you tag them, they now know about you, and they may not have ever have heard about you because there's billions of us in the world. If you, for instance, want to post another artist who does the exact type of work as you, let's say you're both ceramicist, and you post a photo of theirs, what you really want to do is talk about them, like this is another ceramicist that I love, I follow, she is great in this medium, and you tag them and talk about them. That's a way for that person to now know about you, which is a very strategic way to build followers. Potentially because of stories, people may restory your post and then all of their followers now know about you as well. Again, Instagram was created for community building and community. So all of these, these ways to share and talk back and forth to one another exist because of that. 6. Planning Your Content Calendar: Now, let's dive into content creation and using an editorial calendar to help you plan for the year. I've created a template for you and it's down below in the class resources. This is how we are going to make creating content less stressful, because it is absolutely stressful. Let's not lie. This content template that I've created for you guys has a few tabs at the bottom. It's got an annual overview. It has an example month, January. But when you download this or make a copy of it, you're going to create all 12 months. So you're going to have an annual overview, you're going to have a tab for every single month. Then you're going to have your content library and your goal setting. I'm going to start with goal setting here because this is something that not enough people do and then they wonder like, well, why am I not selling enough? I think I have more followers. It seems like I'm getting some, but I'm not really quite sure. If you are not tracking anything, you really aren't sure. This is a great way to, and it's almost January, so I feel like this is the perfect moment, right now, to do this. What you're going to do is you're going to sit down and you're going to look at next year and you're just going to say like, how can I get 100 followers a month? Can I get 25 new followers every single week? Or whatever the number is that you want to use as your goal, and you're going to actually put them in. You're going to fill this goal chart out so you have goals to at least hold yourself accountable to, which is really important. Some of you may use YouTube, so in that case, you've got subscribers. That's why there are the different categories here. But by all means, this is just a template you can edit. You can add columns, you can delete columns, make it personalized and detailed for you. So after you figure out your goals setting, here's the big one, annual overview. Again, I was a journalist for many years and I was an editor at a magazine. All magazines have something which is exactly like this and it's called an editorial calendar. What they do is they sit down and they think about an entire year and they come up with themes and things that they absolutely have to work to and work on. Then they go granular. What you're going to do maybe after this workshop or in December, you are going to sit down and you're going to fill out this calendar, and this is what you're looking to do. This is big picture. The annual overview is not micro, it's macro. In January, everyone talks about resolutions, ideas, and intention. So I put that as one of the things here. There's Martin Luther King Junior Day here in America. Depending on what you do and what your audience is, you can talk about healthy recipes. Probably what most people talk about is fitness, not me. That's why it's not here. Then potentially, you can talk about, because it's January, it's winter and a lot of places in the world will still be on lock down or still be recommending that you stay at home. So I thought I love this idea of creating craft projects and DIY crafts to share with people in the month of January as well. What you're going to do is focus on what is the right type of content for your audience and for what you do. In February, around the world, the big thing, obviously, in February, is Valentine's Day or just the idea of love. I'm typing that in because that's something that's easy for everyone to attach to. What you're going to do is you're going to go through month by month and just at a macro level, think about the holidays. Valentine's Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc, in December, depending on where you are. If you're in England, actually, I think there's Boxing Day in Canada and England. I believe there's Boxing Day. Boxing Day is a big shopping holiday. Is it? Right. Is that in January? [inaudible] Black Friday. We've taken on a lot of the American Black Friday holidays. That sort of thing. Boxing Day, so yeah, the 26th of December. It's in December. Okay. So it's not in January, but right. You come up with like, what are the national holidays? Then also think about what are the, I don't want to say holidays, but what are the big shopping events? Because again, if you're someone who has an online store, sells products, you're also thinking about the Boxing Days, and the Black Fridays, and things of that nature. This is the overview where you are going to put month by month, the general themes of things that you should remember to post about and that you should create content around. That will help you. The way most editors work is that they'll do season by season. They'll take the first few months, the first three or four months, and go heavy on those, and then concentrate on the next season. But they will absolutely have this entire chart filled out before the end of the previous year. Again, this is perfect timing. Use December, take two hours of your time at some point in December and sit down and fill out this overview. It'll help you so much when it's suddenly April and you've been busy, life happened. Suddenly, you can refer back to the start and be like, "Right. okay, I can do this, this, this, and this." That's on a macro level. Sorry, go ahead. No worries. Would you recommend doing one of these per business, I suppose, or can a macro stay across all businesses because they're quite generic? Yeah. This macro level absolutely can be across all businesses. But then we're about to get more detailed here in the monthly calendars and that's when you're going to need to change it up because these are very specific. As you can see, we've gone from the annual overview, which is going to just help you come up with ideas and also, if you do hire people to help you create content, you're able to give them that direction as well. Then we go into a monthly calendar. Here's January. The big thing is New Year's Day, obviously, is the 1st. I also looked at my calendar and it is National Polka Dot Day in America on the 22nd. Such a random thing. But it was in my calendar, which means I must have done content around it last year. The first thing to do with every month is to put in, again, the national holidays. You'll see Martin Luther King Junior Day here for the states, New Year's Day everywhere and then random weird national holidays and you can Google national holidays or national official days and your mind will be blown at what has actually been created for national days. On Instagram, it's fun to reference those and use those. This is what you're going to use for your actual content posting. There are a lot of services that are paid services where you can aggregate all of this content directly into an online portal and then directly like upload these posts per day right onto Instagram. But a lot of people don't want to pay that money. Small businesses are small and so if you don't want to spend that money, then this is the best way to do it and before any of those things existed, this is how magazine editors, this is how social media managers often work. This is what you're going to do here. You're actually going to write the copy. You're actually going to write the posts. I just quickly wrote a random one here on Friday for the first day of the year and again, I've put in for you, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube. Many of you may not have any of those and just be focused on Instagram, which is fine. Just delete all those other lines. But the goal here with this chart is to really think about and write and document your posts ahead of time. If it's intimidating to do the whole month at once, totally get it. Also, none of us here are social media managers, we are business owners, and creatives, and artists, and we happen to be a social media manager for ourselves. A lot of people will take this week by week. They'll sit down on Monday and they'll dedicate an hour or two to just coming up with the different, okay, this week, I need to come up with seven posts. Here is copy for those seven posts, and then I'm going to find seven photos to match. If you do it that way, if you're blocking your time, then it's totally reasonable to do it week by week. But if you are someone who's a little bit more hardcore and potentially crazy, and very efficient, you could potentially block out one day a month and spend that entire day like, this is my day for social media, I'm going to concentrate on Instagram and I'm going to get everything out there so I don't have to worry at all. It's done and now I can concentrate on making, creating product, shipping, sending newsletters, all of the other good stuff. So this is what you want to do. You want to be very specific and write out your content. The other part of it is this, which is if you have a post on January 1st, let's say for Instagram talking about making it to the new year as the example is that I put there. What photo was going to go along with that? You don't want to be searching through your phone for the photo. Again, this is the best way to do this. You can have a folder on your phone, you can have a folder on your computer that you aggregate all of the photos to use. Potentially, you know the exact name of that image. For instance, if this was the post for January 1st, I would put that there, I would actually write out the image. Let's just say, NYphoto-1 is for some reason what that JPEG is called. I'm going to list that out here. Again, when I am actually posting, I'm not worrying about now I have to find a photo that matches, I'm not sure if I know what to do. All the images are already ready enlisted, and all I have to do is copy and paste it into Instagram, grab that photo post it, and I'm done. If you're very efficient, what you could do is set drafts, which is what I do. I don't do it all the time, but when I have time, like I said earlier, you can do weekly or monthly, I will take a week's worth of content, and I will actually draft those posts in Instagram so then all I have to do is on Tuesday at noon I just have to post it. Very, very easy if you're doing it that way. The reason why there are these other categories on this chart like URL, any notes, any action items, is because if you are starting to sell items and that's what you're using Instagram for, or if you're working with partners or advertisers, you may be required to mention URL. You may be required to post on a very specific day in which case, for me, the action items, that's the column I use, I'll say must post on January 5th. That's where you can put all of that information. Some of these types of content here are just here to also help provide some ideas for everyone out there. Obviously, you want to talk about yourself. This is the whole thing with Instagram and having an account for your business. You want to be talking about yourself, the products that you sell or the services that you provide. Always remember to be posting about that. People don't like talking about themselves, but you need to. If you want to do contests or you want to partner with other people in your community and have a free offer, that's an idea for content for Instagram. Everyone likes motivational posts, everyone loves quotes. This is tried and true. This is what Pinterest did to the world, and it's quite honestly very fast, easy content to create, because you don't necessarily need a photo, you can quickly create graphics, take 20 of your favorite quotes, put them onto graphics that match your tone and your brand in your font, and you've got a bunch of motivational posts instantly. Events, partnerships, and then self-promotion. What I mean by self-promotion, because products and services are the things that you sell, and the things that you want people to buy or hire you for. Self-promotion is more the idea if you have a Facebook page or group, if you have an email newsletter, if you do have a YouTube channel, these are things that your Instagram followers might not know about. You always have to remember to promote your other social media channels. That's what that one is there for. So that maybe once a month you tell people, do you follow me on Facebook? On Facebook, I provide behind-the-scene videos. That's a reason why to follow me. Or do you get my email newsletter where I provide discounts and deals? That's self-promotion, and you want to remember to do those posts because not enough people on Instagram do that. They post, post, post, post, post, and always forget to promote their email newsletter or promote the fact that they have a Pinterest board filled with inspiration for their followers to follow. That's an important one right there. Great. How does this work with ad-hoc posting? Maybe more related to stories. I guess if you're a designer or you're working on a project, you want to do a behind the scenes, a little video wherever, or it's the idea that you have everything planned out ahead of time? Yeah. For the purposes of this editorial calendar, I really focus on hard posts, not so much stories. However, when I do focus on pre-planning stories or IGTV videos, or reels, it's because that I've usually been hired to do so or I'm accountable to someone else other than myself. That is when I will plan stories ahead of time. I will design them, I will have them all ready to go. But usually, stories are more spur of the moment, and they don't have to be beautiful. There is a trend and there are definitely professional organizations that have beautiful stories and everything looks great in a specific way all the time. The whole thing with stories that I love is that it's very dirty and messy and behind the scenes and of the moment, and I think it gives people a view into your real life. Because Instagram posts have gotten away from real life per se. Just to give everyone the overview, is this template is available for you. A lot of you I can see are on it now. Save a copy and manipulate it to however you think will be most efficient for you. If you have this chart and all these different tabs but never use it, it's pointless. I want you to manipulate this to exactly how you think you will do best, and then take it from there. For some of you, you may not even need some of these extra tabs. The most important thing is the overview and the monthly tabs, so that you're really getting your content out there. If your monthly tab, by the way, just because I don't want anyone to start to panic and be like, "Oh my God, I don't know if I can do every single day." That's totally fine. A lot of people don't. I don't post every day. Whatever is good for you, if it's three days a week, that's what it's going to be. Figure it out, get it ready, and then you're off to the races, because you've thought about it ahead of time as opposed to being panicked and trying to produce something at the last minute. 7. Q&A: Now, we're going to open up to questions from the students in the audience. If you have multiple businesses, should you have multiple brand bibles and a separate Instagram accounts? What's your recommendation on that? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, because every business is going to have its own look and feel, and every business is going to have a target audience. You may have, like my businesses, they all speak to the same target audience. So all of my brands will have similar tone and personality, but they have their own logos, they have their own fonts, and they have their own colors and looks, because that's how you differentiate a brand and a business, and that's how you stand out. You absolutely need your own account for every single business. I should throw this out there now, you should have your own personal account. Your business account is not your personal account. No one wants to see you on vacation on a business account because it'll just annoy them. Your kids are beautiful, your babies are beautiful, your puppies are beautiful, again, no one probably wants to see those things on a business account per se. If you obviously got your account, you've already started posting imagery, but you haven't done that brand bible, and you feel like you don't have a cohesive brand, should you erase everything and start again? That is a great question. It depends. Normally, I would say, yes, and the reason being is this; Instagram is a visual medium. Instagram was also created in a very specific way that feels a lot like high school. When you check out someone's Instagram account, there's a photo, so you're already judging them visually, and they show you how many followers you have, and how many people you follow. This is interesting, because strategically, it really is like the cool club. You want to have a lot of followers, otherwise, you feel insecure that people might judge you. People don't really care about that stuff at the top, what they're going to do, is they will scroll and they will judge you, because it's a visual medium, and so you do need to think about presenting yourself in a way that is very beautiful, that matches who you are and the tone, and the personality, and the work that you do, and that looks that people can instantly attach themselves to. They want scroll your feed and be like, "Oh, this is a person that I'm really interested in, and I'm going to follow." If you have old photos on there, I help clients, and there are people who had Instagram accounts way back in the day, when they were actually using their iPad to take photos, because they didn't have an iPhone yet. Those photos are so pixelated and old. You should get rid of anything that looks pixelated, and really, the idea of starting over, some people have a hard time with change and letting go. So the idea of like, all this time and energy that I've put into this feed is just going to disappear. So if you really, really hang so tightly onto the old stuff, then my best suggestion is, go through, judge yourself, go through and delete photos that you think don't need to be there. If a stranger from around the world was coming to your feed and they're scrolling, you want it to look as good as possible. Be your own judge, delete stuff that doesn't need to be there, and then really just start fresh with the new look and visual medium. I've got a couple of people who are joining us today, asking about posting in multiple languages. Do you have a recommendation? Should they do two separate posts? Should they put both languages in the comment section? Obviously that becomes quite a long wordy post. Yes. We would love some direction around that. Yeah. It's interesting, because you have a core group of audience, and you can find that on analytics, like where are the people who are following you? If you're posting in two different languages, I like to have it both in the post. If you're posting in Spanish and English, I think that it should just be one right after another in the same post, if that's possible. Another creative way to do this is to not actually use the comment section, but to actually create a post where people scroll through, and that's different languages. I mean, then you could do up to nine or 10 different languages, if you really wanted to. I think you can be creative and do it visually, or you can do it in just the original post, but not separate. I feel like separate just gets to be a lot. If you're newish to Instagram, can you tell us the difference between, obviously, stories had been around for awhile, Reels are relatively new, what's the point of difference between those two things? Stories are 24 hours, that's it. They disappear. IGTV and Reels are within your profile, so people can always see your Reels, they can always see your posts, they can always see your IGTVs, they cannot see your stories. IGTV came about as a way to have longer format video and it's still that. You can upload an IGTV file, I believe, it can be up to an hour. So this is like long form content, and it's great. Reels is obviously their competitive version of TikTok. What's great about Reels is that it's very quick and fun. It's 15 seconds or 30 seconds, but the idea is that it's fast, quick, people like watching these fun, quick videos. If you were an artist, it could be really cool to have a time-lapse video of you creating a piece of art and put that into a 15-second Reel with a fun caption at the very beginning. There are ways to use what Instagram has created for you and your business. You just have to figure out how to translate what you do to the different version. I will say this, Instagram's pumping a ton of money into Reels right now, obviously. If you are on your Discovery page, on your phone, you're not just seeing posts anymore, you're seeing a lot of videos and Reels, which means if you capitalize on that right now in the next six weeks or so and start to film Reels and post them, the likelihood that they will get shown to more of your followers is going to be much greater. It's actually very, very smart for everyone out there to experiment with Reels and start pushing Reels out there. Just because the algorithm is, Instagram's going to be alerted that you have a Reel as opposed to a hard post, and they're going to put more attention into that and show it to more of your followers. People that are looking for a bit of help either creating images or maybe with their actual writing side of things, what are good resources for them to check out either to find someone to do it for them or to learn more about how to do the practical side of these things? There are a lot of great YouTube videos, this is so weird because I have really young people who work for me and they use YouTube in such a different way than me. They are on YouTube all the time and it just doesn't occur to me ever to use YouTube. They're always like, "Just YouTube it," it seems obvious I guess. First things first, I will go to YouTube because there are so many fantastic videos out there that can help you see how content creators, because if people are on YouTube they're creating content, this is their world. Watch videos that appeal to you and see if you can get anything from them. There are great resources, there is a company called Hello Alice, they're based in New York, and they have a lot of great resources. I speak a lot with a conference called Create & Cultivate, they are based here in Los Angeles. They have put a lot of their content on IGTV, long form but they also have a blog, on their website they have a lot of these great articles about social media. I would say go to conferences, and even like South by Southwest for instance. Look at conferences and see what they actually offer on their websites because probably a lot of that content is online. The other thing I would say is, basically follow or imitate or be inspired by brands and people that you like. As a journalist, we're taught to research, research, research. The best thing for you to do would be to educate yourself by literally stalking great people on Instagram. If there is a clothing brand that you like, if there is another artist that you like who has a lot of followers and just seems to be doing very well on Instagram, I would strategically look at what they're doing and follow them. Look at how they're using IGTV. Do they do stories everyday or not? What type of stories do they do? There's a photographer in Los Angeles that I follow, and he really helped open my mind to the idea of stories because you're basically talking to the camera. It's very DIY, it's very selfie mode, you're literally doing this and talking to the camera, and I felt really insecure about it at the beginning. I need to have make-up on, what's the surrounding that's behind me? He was just so funny and real, it made me understand that this whole generation is now just not caring about having perfect magazine cover like appearance. They're just being themselves and it's really just about being yourself. I would say follow people and brands and watch how they use Instagram, and you will learn so much from that. How often do they post? What do they post? Are they linking their products in their posts or not? Are they using video to talk about products? You really need to stalk them essentially. What's your best advice for growing followers? Here's a secret about the algorithm that a lot of people talk about, it's so simple, it's engagement. For those of you who don't know the difference between engagement and likes and reach, so you can post a photo on Instagram and you can get a 100 likes but if not one person comments on that photo, there has been zero engagement. What Instagram is really about is community, at the end of the day it was built to create community. Community doesn't talk to someone, community talks with each other, and so engagement is the most important thing. When thinking about growing your number of followers and growing your audience, you need to engage with them well. There are some very simple tips. Number one, if someone comments on a photo or replies to a story, answer it. Even if it's just the heart, even if it's just an emoji, you need to be engaging and having a conversation with your community, not just speaking to them. That's a huge differentiator between people who are really good at using Instagram, and people who are not. Always be open and ready to engage with them and have a conversation with them. The other thing I mentioned, before when I was talking about re-posting other people's photos, again community is everything. If you can get more people to know about you by posting photography of theirs or by reaching out to your specific community and saying, "Hey, let's utilize each others followers to grow." I'm going to reach out to four other amazing people who I either respect or they are working in the same field as me. The five of us are going to do a contest where we're each going to give something, and we're each going to post on the exact same day about this contest. The whole thing is that you now have four other accounts talking about you and getting their followers to follow you, so it's cyclical, all of you are going to gain followers that way. There are ways to grow your followers strategically like that, and then there are ways that are pretty simple. On your website, in your e-mail newsletter, if you sell products, when someone gets a receipt for purchasing online from you, are you mentioning your Instagram? Are you pushing your Instagram channel? There's just all of these different ways that you can drive traffic and drive people to your Instagram account. 8. Final Thoughts: Those were my top tricks for Instagram. I hope you learned a lot and I'm super excited for it to help you take your Instagram feed to the next level. Again, Instagram is an interesting beast because they are changing constantly. Just when you think that you have it down, they introduce another thing and another thing, and sometimes it gets to be very intimidating and feel like a lot. I would say, concentrate on what you are good at. If you are really good at posting and being able to post photos, fantastic. If you can push yourself and learn how to utilize reals or filming videos and posting them as IGTVs, great. But your community probably already knows you for what you do, so I would say concentrate on the things that you are good at. You don't have to do everything that is available on Instagram, it's impossible. It's impossible. I would say the time receiving tips that I went over are so important. You can absolutely use other people's photography to also just create a visual feed. It's a visual feed that people scroll, they don't just look at the one post. It's a really great way to create some visual interests in different things, and not just be posting your work over and over and over again, or just photos of yourself over and over and over again. Because again, that's not visually interesting at the end of the day. Then I would say utilize Skillshare. They've got so many different classes on different things that get very specific, so there's a lot of questions here about copy or content writing. I agree, a lot of people have problems with writing. Some of you are great with the photography, great with the graphic design and illustration, but it's like, oh my God, what do I write? I would say look at the different Skillshare classes on creative writing and writing. You have to put some time and energy into this because it's for your business. I think so few people at the end of the day think about that. They're like I know I need to be on Instagram, I know I need to be doing it better, but I don't want to spend any time learning how to do it or educating myself. But the fact that you're here today taking this class is a great step. I would say keep educating yourself and finding Skillshare classes, YouTube videos. I have a channel on YouTube, it's just /Sonja Rasula. I post videos there too. But the idea is to just continually educate yourself so that you are putting the best stuff out there. I would love to see what you're working on in all of your great Instagram feeds, so please share a snapshot of your Instagram feed below, and that way we can all support one another and follow one another. I would really love to hear any great content ideas that you're excited about. One of the things I loved in the discussion was all of the international ideas. We all have different holidays and different things going on in each country, so it would be really cool for me to hear some of the things that you are thinking about on a annual, yearly basis, and that might give inspiration and ideas to everyone else. Share any of those ideas and your screengrabs in the project gallery below. Thank you so much for tuning in. Make sure to check out my Skillshare profile for my other classes and anything else about me.