The Best Resources For Instagram Props

Must-haves for your instagram prop box - keep small accessories, paper goods + more around to help you in styling your instagram photos and creating a more cohesive brand.

If it isn’t obvious already –

my instagram feed is rarely instant.

I previously shared that I prefer batching tasks, and taking photos for instagram is one of the things that I tend to do in batches to save time. Also, since my “ideal” natural lighting happens mid day, taking a lot of photos at once helps me to get more consistent (and better) lighting. Throughout the week I might share photos of things that are more “in the moment” like when there’s a really pretty sunset or a cute photo of my dog, but most of my photos are taken ahead of time.

For me, instagram is a curated gallery / highlight reel of my life and behind the scenes look at my business, so I’m very intentional about which photos I decide to share. 

Whether your styling your photos for instagram or your website, it’s helpful to have a prop box of items on hand to help you create more interesting photos. To build your own prop box, think about what types of items you already have around your home and gather them together in one place. From there, you can start to purchase additional props within your niche – for example, I work with a natural beauty brand that incorporates a lot of “natural” elements like flowers and greenery to complement their products.

Often I want to take a photo of a particular product like lipstick or jewelry, and having things like trays and coffee table books around helps to make my photos less blah. I try to only buy “props” that are things that I will actually use in real life and that relate to my brand – so you’ll primarily see polished, feminine, and modern accents in black / white / gold / pink  anywhere that’s associated with wonderfelle.

PROPS + BACKGROUNDS

You can find almost anything on Amazon, Target, or Etsy – but one of my favorite resources for stylish Instagram props is Shopbop, specifically for their curated collection of small home accessories + gifts. Shopbop is currently running their seasonal sale event – you can save up to 30% with code MAINEVENT16 (check here for restrictions).

For specific props here are a few ideas that you can use for styling flatlays or behind the scenes shots:

Office supplies (pretty pens + pencils, notebooks, planners, folders, paper clips, scissors, post it notes, notecards, stationery, etc.). Find fun office supplies at:

Small home accessories + kitchenware (candles, trays, coffee table books, picture frames, decorative objects, coasters, plates, glasses, mugs, bar accessories, etc.) A few great places to find home accessories include:

Small personal accessories (jewelry, watches, keychains, scarves, wallets / clutches / pouches, makeup, glasses, headphones, etc.): Find cute options at:

Other: flowers, succulents, food / beverage items, technology (phones / tablets / etc.)

If you’re looking for resources to make the backgrounds of your photos more visually appealing, consider these:

What are your favorite resources for Instagram props?

BONUS: Download the FREE checklist of the 8 things you should be doing every time you post on instagram!

Instagram checklist - free checklist of the 8 things you should be doing for every Instagram post

10 Ways to Use Social Media To Increase Your Blog Traffic

How to use social media to increase your blog traffic - 10 free actionable strategies you can use to drive more traffic to your blog. If you're a blogger who wants to use social media strategically to get more blog readers, click through to read this post!

I spend a lot of time helping my clients grow their social media presence, but to me, what’s really more important is why you want to grow that audience. Hopefully you’re not trying to grow your Instagram following just because you want more followers – you probably want more followers because they want more clients / customers / blog readers / subscribers / etc. If you’re a blogger (or business with a blog), using social media is one of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your website – so in this post, I’m sharing 10 ways to use social media to increase your blog traffic (and they’re all free!)

10 WAYS TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO INCREASE YOUR BLOG TRAFFIC

Approximately 70% of my monthly traffic comes from social media, but just because you’re posting on Instagram or Facebook or wherever you are active – that doesn’t automatically translate into blog traffic. Using social media effectively to drive more people to your blog requires a having a strategy!

Instagram

  • Share your blog posts multiple times – Your followers aren’t going to see every single post so it’s TOTALLY fine to share them multiple times! For example you could share a sneak peek before you publish a new blog post, then share a Instagram post the day your blog post is live, then share a throwback post a few weeks later. If you have image-heavy blog posts, you could even share multiple Instagram posts promoting your new blog post in the same day – just make sure you’re just giving people a “teaser” of your content so they have a reason to click through to see the full blog post!
  • Use specific calls to action – If you want to increase the number of times people click through to your blog from Instagram then you need to regularly tell them to click the link in your profile. Just adding “link in profile” at the end of your captions isn’t enough. People aren’t on Instagram scrolling through and looking for a reason to leave Instagram – so you need to give them a reason to leave if you want them to take action. Tell them WHY they should click on the link in your profile – what’s in it for them – if you really want to entice them to click through.

Casually adding “link in profile” at the end of your captions isn’t enough to increase click throughs…

CLICK TO TWEET

Twitter

  • Post often and at optimal times – This could be said for Pinterest as well, but it’s especially true for a high-volume, low-converting platform like Twitter. Because the average “lifespan” of a tweet is less than half an hour, if you’re only tweeting a couple times a day, only a small percentage of your followers are actually seeing your posts. This is a great post explaining in more detail why people aren’t seeing your tweets, but the keys to seeing any real traffic from twitter are posting multiple times a day, every day, and tweeting during the periods when your audience is most likely to actually see those tweets. Using a social media scheduler like Buffer (what I used to use) or Edgar (what I currently use) can ensure that you’re tweeting at optimal times even when you can’t actually be “active” on Twitter.
  • Use click to tweets in your blog posts – Getting other people to share your blog posts on Twitter can bring more traffic to your site than you sharing your own posts on Twitter, so you want to make it easy for people to share! Using social sharing plugins like SumoMe (what I use for the pink social sharing buttons on my blog) or Social Warfare can increase your social shares, but adding in easy click to tweet quotes within your blog post is another great way to increase Twitter shares in particular.

Facebook

    • Take advantage of Facebook groups – Facebook is honestly not one of my favorite social media platforms – especially when it comes to using Facebook pages – but utilizing Facebook groups has made a significant difference in driving traffic to my blog. There are lots of different types of Facebook groups no matter what your niche is – and many of them allow for promotion of your blog posts. There are some groups created specifically for helping bloggers promote their posts (share for share type groups) and others where promos are only allowed on certain days or in certain threads. Make sure you pay attention to group rules before you start promoting your blog posts! The easiest way to find relevant groups to join is to search for keywords on Facebook – so for example, you could search “beauty blogger” if you’re a beauty blogger or “entrepreneur” if you’re looking for groups with other entrepreneurs. (PS: You can join my Facebook group RIGHT HERE!)
    • Post limited text with an eye-catching graphic – Regardless of whether you share sharing your blog posts on your Facebook page or in relevant Facebook groups, you can tease you blog post content with a short intro but also include a graphic to catch your audience’s attention. If you have images in your blog post, Facebook will automatically include one of the images when you share your link unless you click the option to display images, but if you want to share a different image, you can upload another photo/video instead! Text-only posts on Facebook are easy to scroll past, but adding a graphic helps you post to stand out in your audience’s feed.

Pinterest

  • Treat it like a search engine – Pinterest is my favorite social media platform for driving traffic to my blog (in fact it accounts for almost 90% of my social media referrals) – but in reality, it’s much more of a search engine than it is a social network. Using keywords in your Pinterest bio, your board descriptions, and your individual pin descriptions helps other people find your content when they are searching for particular topics on Pinterest.
  • Join group boards – Joining group boards on Pinterest can exponentially increase you reach on Pinterest because your pins are seen not just by your followers but by the group boards’ followers as well! I currently have 7,000+ Pinterest followers, but one of the group boards I belong to has 70,000+ followers which has a huge impact on the number of people my posts can reach on Pinterest. You can use sites like PinGroupie to find relevant group boards or “stalk” a few popular Pinterest users in your niche and see which group boards they belong to. Most group boards will have instructions in the board description on how you can join if they are open to new contributors. When you join group boards, make sure you’re paying attention to the quality of the pins being shared on the board as well as the repin rates – if the quality/engagement is low then it’s probably not worth joining the group board even if you get access to more followers.

Pay attention to your analytics and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

CLICK TO TWEET

Any social media

  • Create a schedule – For any social media marketing (or really, any marketing in general), having a schedule can help ensure that you are consistently using each platform. Since I schedule most of my social media posts in advance, I’m able to stick to a regular schedule and always post my best content at the best times for my audience.
  • Pay attention to analytics – In order to know the “best” when / where/ what of posting on social media for your audience, you need to pay attention to analytics. Not just what google tells you is the “best time to post” – the best time to post for YOU is when YOUR audience is active. “Popular” posts are only relevant if they are popular among your audience – so pay attention to your analytics and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

You might also like: Scheduling Social Media – What to Share and When to Share It

So these are 10 actionable ways to use social media to increase your blog traffic – and they’re all totally free! Keeping up with social media can be a lot of work, but here are 5 ways to save time on social media to help you out!

What other some ways are you using social media to drive traffic to your blog?

5 Easy Tricks For Branding Your Social Media Images Like A Pro

Expert tips on branding your social media images like a pro from Kathie of Bluchic - click through to learn how to create cohesive social media graphics to build your brand.

Images are becoming an ever important part of a marketing strategy but developing a strong image for your brand on social media can be a challenge. With your website, you design a page and that’s it until you make a change.  With social media, you constantly post new material every day.  So how do you do that and make sure your channels stay consistent with your branding?

It’s something I’ve thought a lot about at Bluchic. Our Feminine WordPress Themes are some of the best in the industry and we pride ourselves on high design, consistency and attention to detail.

So today I want to share with you:

5 EASY TRICKS FOR BRANDING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES LIKE A PRO

Apply Balance To Your Images

Why is balance one of the key principles of design? It’s how we as humans are wired to perceive things.  When something we view matches up nice and neatly with how we expect it to be, it invokes a good feeling.  And that’s what you want your audience to feel when they see your social media feed.

There are 4 different types of Balance to think about when setting up and editing your images.

1) Symmetrical Balance

This is the type you are likely to be most familiar with.  If you draw a line down the centre or across the centre the other side is perfectly reflected.  This creates a very calm and centered feeling for the viewer.

2) Asymmetrical Balance

This is abstract balance.  There is no symmetry but instead the elements are arranged in such a way that they balance each other out.

3) Radial Balance

This is all about the spiral or circular movement of the image.  The image radiates out from a central point providing a perfect balance but also movement and interest.

4) Crystallographic Balance

This is about repetition.  Repeating patterns which become one giant image and act as one.

Use The Same Logo / Avatar

Make sure you have consistency across all of your social media banners.  You can use a design service like Canva to keep everything together.

Or, sign up & receive a free social media template courtesy of us.

Make sure that if you want to change the banner on one channel, you don’t just do it on a whim.  But you make sure you adapt each channel at the same time.  It might sound like a drag but it is super important!

Limit Your Typefaces

You should only work with 3 typefaces and they should be consistent with your website if possible. Users are going to click from your social media channels onto your website and they expect a consistent and fluid journey.  

High bounce rates usually happen when this journey is interrupted and the user arrives on a page they weren’t expecting. So just take a moment now and scroll your feeds. Are your typefaces consistent? Is this an area you can start improving straight away?

What to look out for: fonts, sizing, italics / bold / underlining – make sure these are consistent!

Important Elements = Biggest Fonts

What is the goal of your image? What information do you want to get across, and what action do you want the viewer to take.  Make sure your most important elements are in the biggest fonts.

It’s easy to get swept away in content creation mania.  But, take just 30 seconds of time on each image and ask yourself – what I am trying to achieve here?  You’ll be surprised how quickly your click through and engagement will improve by applying this one simple tactic.

When In Doubt, Simplify

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci.

It is much better to have an image with just a few words and space around it, than a paragraph of information. If you’re familiar with Leonardo’s The Vitruvian Man you’ll understand the true depth of this statement. The Vitruvian Man is an extremely complicated concept and political statement portrayed in a simple symmetrical design which has stood the test of time.

Simplicity is memorable. Simplicity works.

Guest post by Kathie of Bluchic: Kathie designs beautifully crafted Feminine WordPress Themes for creative entrepreneurs and business women.  For more information about branding and how to launch a website see Bluchic’s in depth guide. Follow on Twitter l Instagram l Facebook l Pinterest

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