Thursday, August 27, 2015

How to Create a Visual Strategy for Instagram

So here goes. Earlier this week I shared a post showing you five easy tips that you can start using now to stand out on Instagram. One of those tips was to create a visual strategy. I've gotten a few questions about where to start and what to do when creating a visual strategy, so I thought it was the perfect time to dive a little more into the topic. By now you know I'm a straight shooter and I like to get to the point. So first I wanted to touch on why you want to have a great visual strategy in place. You'll want to have a visual strategy because it will help your brand stand out, it will keep you consistent, and it will make it easier for you to know what types of photos to share.  If you go to your favorite brand's Instagram account right now you'll notice that all of their photos are succinct. You'll notice that this automatically draws your attention and the reason why is because the look is cohesive. That's exactly what I want to help you with today. Take your first steps to creating a stunning visual strategy with these action packed tips below.

How to Create a Visual Strategy for Instagram

1. Plan ahead

The main component in any strategy is planning. When it comes to a visual strategy, one thing you will want to plan is what types of photos you want to capture. Consider if your photos will capture real life, behind the scenes, styled photos, or a mix. You will also want to plan what colors you plan to implement. This is important because when your photos have similar colors they come together to create a cohesive look. This may also help you decide what types of photos you will want to capture and share. 

2. Create an arsenal 

Once you have brainstormed the type of photos you'll share and the color scheme you want to go with, plan some time to take the photos you've planned so that they will be ready to share. Taking time to plan out your photos and the look of your overall profile will pay off as it will allow you to know what you are posting possibly weeks in advance. This will give you time to play with the placement and captions of photos.

3. Caption visually

When writing a caption remember to make sure your caption relates to your photo and make your words visual.  An easy trick to remember to help you write visually is to be as descriptive as possible and to rely on making your audience feel an emotion. In essence, you're painting a picture with your words.

4. Review

Even with all the planning and prep work you will do to ensure that your Instagram profile is on point it's good practice to implement a regular review of your overall profile. Review it to ensure flow between photos. Check to see if any of the collective photos do not look or feel like they belong.

5. Delete

When your review is done, delete the photos that you feel no longer contribute to the overall look you have decided on. Don't be afraid to go through and delete photos that no longer serve you.

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer and possibly feature as a blog post leave your question below in the comment section. You're also invited to sign up for some new upcoming goodies that you can only get if you're on the list!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Stand Out on Instagram

Are you obsessed with Instagram like I am? By now the usual social media crush has worn off and I've moved on, but there's just something about Instagram. It keeps growing and has become a channel for growth for many businesses and brands, including mine. The thing I love the most about Instagram is that it's such a visual platform that allows for instant interaction. I am very much a visual learner so I can definitely say it's been a very valuable learning tool for me. In fact, Instagram has taught me the most about branding. So much so that I've discovered a few no fail tips to really standing out on Instagram. If you're new to Instagram, want to rebrand, or really just want to have a stand out profile, I've discovered some ways to help you. The main thing to know is that Instagram is all about strategy, systems, and intention. You don't have to spend all day on Instagram to create killer engagement, grow in numbers, or really create a one of a kind experience for your followers. Here are a few painless tips you can start using right now to help your business and brand stand out on Instagram.

How to Stand Out on Instagram

1. Provide Value

How many times have you heard this right? It's true though. When creating your Instagram strategy an instant key to standing out is knowing what value you will provide to others. To take it a step further, really take some time to add a special spin on how you deliver this value. This is the secret to making your value stand out in a sea of information. Take some time to brainstorm how you can helps others. It can be with tips, inspiration, demonstrations, or even directions. Get creative and have fun.

2. Have a Message 

Your message is a way for you to emotionally connect with your audience. It is the underlying reason you provide the value that you share. It will be the reason others connect with you. Connecting with others through our values and beliefs is how we build trust and relationships and that is exactly what you want to do when designing a unique experience for your audience. Make sure that your message is clear through the captions you write and the photos you share and do not stray from it.

3. Create a Visual Strategy

Because Instagram is a visual platform it is so important to be intentional about what you post and how you post it. Creating a visual strategy will help you do this. A visual strategy is simply a plan on how you will execute and deliver the visual aspects of your brand. It will take you planning ahead so that you will have a good idea of how your planned execution will look and feel. Start by getting your ideas and the photo details together. Next, take the photos and play around with the placement taking into consideration concept, color, and layout. Do this until you've come up with a cohesive visual strategy that will automatically draw eyes to your profile.

4. Show Love

If you've ever wanted direct contact with your audience, Instagram provides it like never before. I think using this ability to show your audience love is the best way to leverage this ability. Not only can you use tools such as hashtags to find and attract your ideal client/audience, you can also comment directly on their photos. You can like their photos, share their photos with shout outs, and even host special challenges and giveaways. The possible ways to show your audience love is endless. Have fun with it!

5. Post Consistently 

Being consistent is about presence and trust. Consistency allows you to get out in front of others. It also allows others to come to rely on you for a certain value which is what builds trust. When thinking of consistency, don't just think about what time you post and how much you post. Also consider the consistency of the type of photos you post, the type of captions you share, and the consistency of your message and values. If they can trust you, they will support you, and in turn their support will help you to stand out in the crowd.

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer and possibly feature as a blog post leave your question below in the comment section. You're also invited to sign up for some new upcoming goodies that you can only get if you're on the list!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to Improve Your Lifestyle Through Branding

So let me tell you why I'm obsessed with branding...ready?  I love branding because it literally relates to everything. I think we should be taught branding in grade school. Think how much more authentic and purposeful life would be. I think I have a bit of a different perspective on branding and I've decided to share it with you today. When we think of branding it's easy to relate it to entrepreneurs and business. I admit I do too, but I also view branding as a very valuable lifestyle tool. Branding is about creating an authentic experience for your audience, and lifestyle branding is about creating your own authentic experience. Even if you're not looking to become an entrepreneur learning how to brand yourself is an invaluable tool that will help you to not only create the life of your dreams, but also help you land the job, opportunities, and relationship of your dreams as well. By now I'm sure you're wondering, "Well how do I apply branding to my life?" I'll show you my top three lifestyle branding tips to get you started below.

How to Improve Your Lifestyle Through Branding

1. Define Your Life Purpose

The starting point of creating a brand is defining a purpose. Purpose is created from our beliefs, values, views, and goals. Any successful brand has a defined purpose because purpose provides direction. Finding your life purpose may seem overwhelming, and believe me it can be. Just start small. Even if you only know what your purpose is today, go with it! Continue to work at it until your purpose becomes clear to you. Consider your dreams, what you value, and what goals you'd like to help guide you in finding your purpose.

2. Define Your Ideal Life

In branding, it's all about knowing what type of experience you can provide.  In life, it's good to know what type of experiences you'd like to have. Even if you don't know your life purpose I'm sure you've dreamed of an ideal life. Take some time to sit down and write how you imagine your life to be. Brainstorm the type of experiences you want to have. Remember, knowing your purpose before hand will help you with direction, but don't let not yet knowing your purpose stop you from dreaming about your ideal life and making it a reality

3. Explore Your Style

Visual communication is one of the major ways brands communicate. As humans, we tend to be very visual. We are usually attracted to something visually, before we have a chance to partake in the experience of that thing. Exploring your style of fashion, beauty, home decor, and more can help you learn to communicate visually like a pro. Sometimes visual communication is all we have when making a first impression, so take some time to really get to know your style.

Explore these tips and live them! I hope this will help you change your perspective on branding and how helpful branding can be to you even if you don't own your own business. These first three lifestyle branding tips will definitely help you improve your lifestyle.

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer and possibly feature as a blog post leave your question below in the comment section. You're also invited to sign up for some new upcoming goodies that you can only get if you're on the list!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Improve Engagement on Instagram

Numbers aren't everything. In fact, focusing on numbers can sometimes be a downfall for a brand. When I started creating my Instagram social media plan for the Kelley With Love brand I was heavily focused on numbers. From what I could see those brands with a huge following seemed to get the most opportunities and as bloggers and entrepreneurs that's what we want right? Well that's what many people want you to think. I'm sure you've seen the courses that promise to help you double and even triple your Instagram numbers. While growing your numbers is definitely helpful, one thing many of these webinars and trainings leave out is the importance of engagement while you build your following.  Engagement is the game changer between those who have numbers and those who have communities. If you hope to one day work with big brands and be offered or pitch yourself for amazing opportunities, you'll want to have both with a major focus on the latter. Engagement leads to influence and you'll want to be an influencer as this will place you in a position of authority. So here are a few things you can work on to build better engagement on Instagram.

How to Improve Engagement on Instagram

1. Instagram Chats

There are tons of amazing influential communities on Instagram. A fun way to increase engagement is to search for what I like to call Instagram chat hashtags. These hashtags are focused on building community. One example is #FridayIntroductions. Take some time to research Instagram communities you'd like to be a part of or that you can provide value to and participate.

2. Consistency

You've heard this time and time again and here's another little reminder. Consistency is key. Consistency allows you to build trust and trust allows you to influence. Get consistent.

3. Provide Value

Consistency and value are two peas in a pod. You truly need both to build a loyal following. Providing value gives others a reason to follow and support you. Make sure you give them a good reason.

4. Reply

Once you start to get engagement on your Instagram posts, try to schedule time to reply or even return some likes. This allows your followers to know that you care. Who doesn't feel cared for when their comment is replied to and appreciated?

5. Personalize

If your engagement happens mostly through comments, take it a step further and personalize your comments. Make sure you reply directly by using the commenter's handle. Replying to the commenter by name is also another way to personalize your engagement with your followers.

Try this fun, but simple tips to improve and increase your Instagram engagement!

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer and possibly feature as a blog post leave your question below in the comment section. You're also invited to sign up for some new upcoming goodies that you can only get if you're on the list!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pretty Planners 2016

When I'm not talking about branding, I'm curating beautiful things! What can I say, pretty things make me happy.  As I continue to grow as a creative and budding entrepreneur I've found that staying on task saved me many headaches and heartaches. This past year I started using a planner to help me stay on task so that I could focus and accomplish my goals. Believe me it's never too early to purchase a planner for next year. In fact, I encourage it because you'll find that sometimes planners run out of stock quickly. You don't want to find yourself scrambling to find the planner you want or stuck waiting for it to come back in stock. I've curated a list of my favorite 2016-2017 planners below.

Pretty Planners 2016

1. Kate Spade

I must confess, I've already gotten this planner for next year. I've been using a Kate Spade planner this past year and I love it. One of my favorite things about the Kate Spade planner is the fun monthly quotes! 


What's not to love about I mean this brand is all about fun, fun, fun! They're like the modern day Lisa Frank for grown ups. My favorite thing about this planner is that it comes with cute little stickers for the kid in you.

So let's talk design and functionality options. The Erin Condren planner has it all. I am loving her new Rose Gold collection. The best part is that you have the option of choosing between a horizontal and vertical planner page. 

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer and possibly feature as a blog post leave your question below in the comment section. You're also invited to sign up for some new upcoming goodies that you can only get if you're on the list!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How You Can Create an Authentic Brand

Action is magic! That's one of my favorite quotes from Marie Forleo, creator of B-School. I took B-School in 2014 and although I started with one business idea I stumbled upon some hidden talents that even I wasn't aware of. One of those hidden talents was an eye for visual branding. I decided to go with it and as I strengthened my skills I've learned about branding as a whole. I'm fascinated with branding and I thought it would be fun and helpful to show you how you can create your own authentic brand. The key to branding is action. When you put in the work you see the results. To get the results you want you have to experiment. So here are some action steps you can use to create your  own authentic brand.

How You Can Create an Authentic Brand

1. Be honest 

Honesty is everything. Think of building your brand as building a relationship. You wouldn't lie to the one you love and you wouldn't put on a show for them. You'd simply be who you are. The same goes with branding. Be the real you. Show the world who you are, what you believe in, and what your brand stands for. There's nothing worse than pretending to be someone you're not when building a brand.

2. Live the experience

A brand is an experience that you provide for your ideal audience. I find that the more genuine the experience the more relatable the brand. To create a genuine experience for you audience you need to live the experience you are trying to provide.

3. Experiment

Experiment, experiment, experiment! Experimenting will allow you to stay fun, current, and real. Experiment with how you deliver your brand, how you engage with you audience, and how your brand provides value.

4. Engage

A brand without an audience is just an idea. Whenever you get the chance engage with you audience. Engagement is key. Let them know that you understand them, you're they're for them, and that you will always provide them with consistent value.

5. Showcase

Speaking of engagement....what better way to engage with your audience than to show them off? A fun way to engage with your audience is to create special campaigns and hashtags specifically for them. This is an easy and fun way to not only increase engagement, but to thank you audience for their support

What do you think? Think you're ready to create you own authentic brand?

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer and possibly feature as a blog post leave your question below in the comment section. You're also invited to sign up for some new upcoming goodies that you can only get if you're on the list!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The First Year Blog Kit

Life offers us so many experiences that I think it's only right to reflect on and celebrate them. Besides, there's nothing like celebrating the firsts! Whether you're a seasoned business owner, newbie blogger, or both, adding a blog to the mix has it's perks. Blogging can provide engagement with and exposure to your ideal audience and new audiences alike. If you've jumped in and made it through your first year of blogging then congrats! I know that it can be a major task! If not, don't fret, I've got some pointers for you that will not only help you blog better, but have fun while doing it.  I've gathered some fun posts for you that will help you start by learning to design your day. This will help you to find the balance you'll need when starting a blog. No worries, I know how important it is to have a blog that looks good, so check out how to take your blog from simple to stunning. Getting your blog out there can be tough, but I'll show you how to use hashtags on Instagram to gain more exposure. Once you've hit your year mark, you'll want ideas on how to celebrate your blogiversary and of course I've go you covered.  Last but not least, every blog and celebration deserves a photoshoot so I'll be sharing my best tips on how to plan the perfect photoshoot. Enjoy!

The First Year Blog Kit

1. How to Design Your Day
2. How to Take Your Blog From Simple to Stunning
3. How to Use Hashtags
4. How to Celebrate Your Blogiversary
5. How to Plan the Perfect Photoshoot

If you found this post helpful comment below and share with a friend. You're also invited to sign up for some new upcoming goodies that you can only get if you're on the list!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to Design Your Day

The reason many of us long to become entrepreneurs is so that we can have the freedom to design our days. The good news is you don't have to wait to become a full-time entrepreneur to do that. In fact, you can start right now. Learning to design your day now can only help you in the long run. Before you know it you'll feel like a pro at it. Plus I always say it's better to be proactive than reactive, and designing your day will help you do just that. I've been making some changes recently to how I spend my time during the day and the small changes I've made so far have made such a huge difference. I've learned that there are a few key factors to consider when designing your day. Check them out below.

How to Design Your Day

1. Decide Your Direction

When it comes to designing, the artist often has a direction in mind. This direction may be based on a feeling, a trend, or just pure inspiration. When designing your day know what direction you'd like your direction to go in. You can do this by setting goals, making a to-do list, and deciding how you want to feel throughout your day.

2. Know Your Triggers

Designing your day means knowing your triggers. This is all about knowing what will distract you from accomplishing your goals.  Negative thoughts get you down, Facebook a major distraction, Instagram stealing your time? These area all of the things you'll want to be aware of.

3. Create a Plan

Now that you know your desired direction and triggers, you're equipped to design your day. Start by making a plan to complete tasks that you want or need to complete. Next, add important tasks that involve others. Complete your plan by adding in breaks and a few fun activities.

4. Commit to Your Plan

Planning is only the first step to really creating the design for your day. Once you actually schedule your tasks then you're in business. You have now officially designed your day, and creating and sticking to the schedule is how you will hold yourself accountable.

5. Adjust as Neccesary 

Remember to always allow flexibility. The great thing about designing your own day is that when necessary, you can change direction. 

Do you plan to start designing your day instead of just living? 

Remember to sign up for some new upcoming goodies that you can only get if you're on the list!