Grab your wine stained notepad [or is that just me?] and let’s jog our memories. Did you make your list of campaign ideas from last time? You should have three concepts or campaigns that we are going to use to build your content calendar. One being strictly promotional. Under this campaign you have the upcoming events, sales, specials or products you want to share with your customers via social media. Your other 2 campaigns are ways you plan to reach your audience without selling to them. One way can be through sharing other people’s quality content. This simply means sharing articles and blog posts from industry relevant sources (we will get into this next time when we talk all about Feedly and other great content streaming tools). Another non-promotional campaign could be as simple as creating a weekly quote image to inspire and provoke conversation with your audience. I do this every week in the form of funny modern parenting quotes, social media tip of the week and more.
Whether you’re promoting a sale or inspiring conversation, you know first hand that creating this visual content on the fly is
pain in the ass struggle and leads to chaos. This is where BATCHING comes in. Stop creating inconsistent imagery when you have only two minutes to spare. Those random moments would be much better spent pouring your third cup of coffee or even thinking about something not related to your small business…imagine! Batching allows your imagery to carry a branded message throughout your social media presence, thus becoming much more impactful on your audience.
Whether it’s a Facebook ad for your next sale or an Instgram post with a quote from your favorite comedian (ahem…Amy Poehler), creating your imagery all at once will become life changingly [yes, it’s a word] efficient. This isn’t everyone’s favorite department, but it does happen to be mine. With a background in graphic design and an appreciation for good branding, image batching is my jam [and so is No Diggity by Blackstreet]. If you don’t enjoy designing your brand’s imagery needs, it’s okay! Let that dislike be your motivation to crank it out and get it done…or email me. Take cleaning the bathtub for example. I hate it, I’m assuming you do too. But it must be done. Every two-ish weeks, I pull on my giant purple gloves, roll up my jeans and dive in. I scrub that bad boy likes it’s never been scrubbed before. I mean, I literally felt tennis elbow coming on last time. Anyways, in the end I spend maybe 30 minutes but I gain nearly two weeks of satisfaction that there’s nothing strange growing in the tiled corner. This is what batching your imagery can be for you and your social media presence…a clean bathtub! I’m really good at metaphors.
Let’s get real, right now. Using your notes from last time, choose a campaign that requires a series of quote images. They can be inspirational quotes, questions you’d like to ask your audience, or even tips! We’re going to batch a month worth of these gems for you to eventually plug in to your content calendar and brand your business on social media.
Create a visual content campaign in 5 easy steps
1. Find your preferred software. Canva is such an incredible tool for busy small business owners and it’s FREE. You can read more about that here. If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer and you have some design background, InDesign is probably a good fit for you. You can develop a template and create some truly original images (don’t forget to source only high quality stock imagery if needed). Even if you want to stick with Publisher or PowerPoint, the key is consistency as developed in our next step.
2. Set up your template. For this project, we are going to create a series of images to post on Facebook or Instagram (or both). We will be using an 800px X 800px format. You can read more about image sizing across all social media platforms here. If you’re in Canva, this is simple, just select their Social Media Post template. When using another program, adjust your document or image size appropriately.
3. Pull some quotes. We’re creating a month worth of quote images, so you’ll need 8 quotes (2 quote images per week). I love sharing funny parenting tidbits from my favorite comedians. For a specific client, I like pulling wellness quotes. Let’s choose one theme for your campaign and start there. The theme can be related to your industry or even your personal life. Did you find your 8 yet? Make sure they are all within 1-2 sentences. We want them to be easy to read and appealing to your audience. If they’re too long, they will get overlooked. Be sure to attach the author to each quote. I like throwing mine in text edit to save as I create the images.
4. Design your first version. Start by placing the first quote in your document. Play with fonts. What fonts make the quote most readable? What fonts are most appealing to you? What fonts are already attached to your brand? Try to stick with 2-3 fonts for consistency. You can center the text or, for a more modern approach, try a right justify option. Once you have the text placed the way you like it, attach the author in small text bellow it (or wherever you want it placed, just don’t leave it out). Get creative. Use your brand colors to create emphasis words or elements. Throw in some giant quotations marks for an interesting visual. Find a stock image you love that perhaps even corresponds with the quote and throw it in the background (only high quality, carefully sourced photos please). This first design will be the starting point for the rest. With the other 7, you can switch up an element or two to create visual variety while keeping on theme. Swap the background image, flip the colors, or add/remove elements like frames and symbols. These little changes will take you no time, thus allowing you to create additional imagery in a flash!
A campaign I created for The Social Larsons is based on comedic parenting quotes. Again, I made the first image from scratch and then simply built the additional versions by applying small changes. From a graphic design perspective, are some of these more successful than others? OF COURSE. But here’s the secret to design for social media…CONSISTENCY. The only thing that matters to your business is that your audience recognizes these images as your contribution. Have they heard these quotes before? Sure! But you are converting them into social media share-worthy content…and this brings us to our last and MOST IMPORTANT STEP.
5. Slap your info on the image! Do not put out a single original creation without putting your website on it at the very least. If it’s a promotional image, you will want to attach your logo and business info. If it’s a silly quote or inspirational encouragement, your website or favorite social media handle should do. The end goal of these visual campaigns is to drive traffic back to your website, facebook page, instagram feed or most significantly…through your door and straight to the cash register.
In this example, I used all imagery in grayscale. This instantly creates a great theme for your Instagram feed. If black and white isn’t your thing, try an overlay of one of your brand colors.
Apply this batching technique to your promotional imagery as well. Imagine how simple you could make things for yourself, and more importantly how much you could help your business grow by creating well branded and corresponding imagery. For this series, I switched up the design just a bit as needed, otherwise it is identical. I changed out the background image to correspond to the special being offered. The creation of the original design was the most work, every additional image after that was SIMPLE.
If all else fails or you just want a jump start…give me a shout. I have my own bathtubs to clean, but I’d be happy to help you with your visual content. Do you have a preferred program or strategy when it comes to batching your imagery? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!
Lynsey is 29 going on 22…ahem. When she’s not filtering the ever growing realm of social media for her small business clients and friends, you’ll find her in the yoga studio, cooking with a glass of wine by her side and reading titles from her favorite empowering female idols. The rest of her days are spent jumping over piles of legos, wondering why she hasn’t developed a uniform for her children yet (laundry…pfff) and raising those heathens with her favorite blonde hipster. She’s on a mission to turn every small business owner into their own social media expert with the right tools, project management prowess and efficiency essentials. She’ll help you bust it down and build it back up without breaking the bank. Sorry, she’s not sorry about the alliteration. Want some help with your social media branding? Give her a shout: firstname.lastname@example.org