Meet the Media Monday: Molly Grantham

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Our Meet the Media Monday series continues this week! The series features a brief Q&A with leading Charlotte media as we get to know the faces behind the stories that matter most in the Queen City. This week, meet Molly Grantham of WBTV.

Molly is one of Charlotte’s leading journalists. You may recognize her from her lead anchor spot on WBTV’s news at 5:30 and 11 p.m. Aside from her role on WBTV, she’s an author, has covered investigative reporting, emcees many events and has even won an Emmy (no big deal). Learn more about Molly below!

If you could anchor for any show what would it be?

MG: “60 Minutes. A reporter on the show.”

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?

MG: “I don’t cook. Is that surprising?”

If you weren’t a journalist/anchor what would you be?

MG: “An executive director for a non-profit. Or, a writer.”

What are the challenges you face being a journalist/anchor in 2019?

MG: “Misconceptions about the industry and the word ‘fake.’”

What’s your favorite social media platform? (both professionally and personally) 

MG: “All my personal are my professional. It all blurs together so why keep separate? I suppose either Facebook or Instagram. Twitter is good for fast news updates, but not life stuff.”

What’s one thing you wish you could change about Charlotte?

MG: “Not sure it’s a ‘change,’ but I’d love to help brand Charlotte with better names. ‘Queen City’ feels tired. ‘Charlotte’s got a lot’ doesn’t really say much. We don’t seem to have a real identity except that when people arrive, they love us. It’s more than ‘Bank Town’ or ‘NASCAR’ but a name that feels right would be fun to tout.”

What has surprised you the most (good or bad) about Charlotte? 

MG: “Nothing, really. Overall, I think it’s an easy city to love and delivers what you end up hearing about it elsewhere. It’s a big, small town… And I think we do that well.”

What’s your favorite season in Charlotte and why? 

MG: “Summer. The beach is just over three hours away.”

Want to learn more about WBTV? Head to their website or follow along on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for the latest.

A Beginner’s Guide to TikTok

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You may have heard of TikTok, but do you understand how the social media platform operates? Chances are if you’re anything but Generation Z, the app presumably isn’t one of your most frequently visited platforms. According to Global Web Index, 41% of TikTok users fall between the ages of 16 to 24 years old.

On the app, users can post short 15-second clips of themselves lip-syncing to popular songs or quoting lines from their favorite movie scenes. The quick-fix entertainment app is user-friendly and somewhat addictive, similarly to the now-defunct six-second social media platform, Vine. Today, the app has evolved from clips of dancing teens to include clever comedy skits, viral challenges and pranks. Like many other social media platforms, users can like and comment on posts and follow other accounts. In addition to these traditional features, users can also insert tracks from a giant library of music or audio from previous TikToks. From there, filters, special effects and texts can be applied.

The first page a user sees after creating an account is the “For You” page. Here, the app compiles an endless list of videos that it thinks you’ll enjoy after taking note of your watch and like history. As a creator, being featured on the “For You” page could result in much higher reach, which allows for more likes and followers to interact with your content. Many TikTokers use hashtags such as #ForYou or hashtags with challenge names to increase the post’s visibility.

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According to Oberlo, TikTok was the number one downloaded app in the App Store as of Q1 2019 with 33 million downloads and has 500 million active worldwide users. With those numbers, it’s easy to see why businesses are interested in creating their own TikTok account.

TikTok explains its mission, “TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.”

Is TikTok for your business? The most followed TikTok user is 17-year-old Loren Gray with 34.5 million followers. This means if you’re looking to market your brand to a younger audience, using TikTok as a tool may be worth considering.

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Many businesses are taking advantage of inspiring creativity by creating their own challenges. For example, the fashion brand Guess partnered with TikTok to create a viral campaign using the hashtag #InMyDenim. After entering the app, every user was directed to the #InMyDenim page where they could view the latest videos. The challenge encouraged users to post their #OOTD (outfit of the day) wearing their Guess denim. This was TikTok’s first paid partnership with a U.S. brand which drove videos using the hashtag to over 38 million total views.

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Keep an eye on TikTok as the platform grows. As you learn more about it, start to consider if the platform is right for yourself personally or your business.

Meet the Media Monday: Michele Huggins

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It’s time for another Meet the Media Monday! The series features a brief Q&A with leading Charlotte media members as we get to know the faces behind the stories that matter most in the Queen City. This week, meet Michele Huggins of Charlotte Parent.

Michele is one of Charlotte’s leading parenting and events journalists - having spent 10 years at Charlotte Parent and five as Editor. Currently, Michele’s role as Editor of Charlotte Parent has led her to write about all things children and parents in the Queen City, from weekend activities to health. We caught up with Michele over coffee to discuss yoga, hidden gems *cough* Belmont *cough* and everything in between.

What's the craziest story you've ever covered?

MH: “Definitely ‘What’s The Craziest Thing Your Child Has Put In Their Ear Or Nose.’ It was a sponsored post and contest.”

If you could write for any publication what would it be?

MH: “National Geographic. I love to travel. I love really interesting stories about people outside of the mainstream.”

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?

MH: “I traveled to and lived for a little bit in Central America. I’ve traveled in Southeast Asia and Europe. These were pre-kids and pre-Charlotte Parent days.”

If you weren’t an editor what would you be?

MH: “A naturopathic doctor or a nutritionist. I'm very interested in how you can eat for your health, as well as preventive and holistic healthcare.

What attracted you to journalism? 

MH: “Storytelling and how visuals work with words. I was drawn to magazines and the way you put the pictures and design with your words to tell the whole story. I like to hear stories and I like to tell stories. With Charlotte Parent, I never had the intention of going into hard news, and I like to create content that connects and can help people. I hope Charlotte Parent does that.”

What are the challenges you face being a journalist or editor in 2019?

MH: “Resources. Technology makes it doable but I’m the only in-house editor. I have a good, small team of freelancers that I work with. I would like to have a team of editors in house and brainstorm more and do more.”

What’s your favorite social media platform? (both professionally and personally) 

MH: “Personally, I am drawn to Instagram. I like less of the chatter and more visuals. Professionally, I enjoy Facebook because I can look at some of the mom groups and see what’s on moms’ minds.”

How long have you lived in Charlotte? What brought you here? 

MH: “I was born here and lived here until I went to college. I went to UNC, and stayed in Chapel Hill for a couple of years after college. I came back to Charlotte in my late 20s.” Yes, Michele is a “unicorn.”

What's your favorite activity in Charlotte?

MH: “My husband and I love to go out and eat good food. We aren’t ‘foodies’ but we enjoy good restaurants and trying new things. We love Good Food on Montford. I love going to hear live music and being outdoors.”

Favorite restaurant for kids?

MH: “Going with our neighborhood go-to: Eddie’s Place. They have a little bit of everything, it’s family-friendly and quick. Also Pizza Peel and Pure Pizza, and my son and I love Sushi Guru.”

What’s one thing you wish you could change about Charlotte?

MH: “Traffic! It’s maddening. I hope they get the Lynx and trains going in more directions.”

What has surprised you the most (good or bad) about Charlotte? 

MH: “I am amazed at the amount of the apartments being built and that there are people to fill them.”

What’s your favorite season in Charlotte and why? 

MH: “It used to be summer but now that it’s 1,000 degrees so now it’s fall!”

Want to learn more about Charlotte Parent? Head to their website or follow along on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for the latest.


How to Measure the Success of Your Next PR Campaign

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A public relations campaign is a series of strategic events or activities planned to achieve a certain goal within a company or brand. When a company executes a PR campaign, their team invests time, money and effort in hopes of improving its image or increasing awareness of the brand. So what’s the next step once you’ve created and implemented a PR campaign for your business? Don’t fall into the trap of moving onto the next project before you have time to measure and analyze results.

Here’s how to make the most out of your efforts each and every time:

Define Success

You won’t be able to calculate the impact of your campaign if you can’t pinpoint the ultimate goal behind it. Start by asking yourself the following question: What is the purpose of your campaign?

Is it to increase sales? Increase foot traffic? Increase general awareness of your brand? Or is the purpose to secure media coverage?

Once you have a better understanding of your goal, you’ll better be able to define what success looks like for your PR campaign.

Monitor the Right KPIs

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that indicates how effectively a company is accomplishing key market objectives. There are endless KPIs to consider when measuring the success of a public relations campaign but below are a few that you may want to measure.

Increase Foot Traffic to your Store

Many companies strive to increase foot traffic after implementing a PR campaign, in an attempt to boost overall sales and revenue. A few KPIs to track in this instance would be:

  • Daily Sales

  • Total Store Visits

  • New Customer Store Visits

Secure Media Coverage

Pitching the media can be a great way to increase brand awareness of your business in your community or to your target audience. Once you’ve secured media coverage, it’s important to track your results in order to gain an understanding of what has worked and how to improve in areas that didn’t. A few KPI examples of securing media coverage are below.

  • Number of articles featuring your business

  • Views of each article featuring your business

  • Average views of TV Segments

  • Guest Interviews (Radio, Podcast, etc.)

Host an Influencer Event

With the increasing popularity of social media influencers, consumers often look to their favorite bloggers or influencers for purchasing advice. Utilizing influencer marketing can be a great addition to your marketing strategy if your brand wants to improve social reach in an authentic way. Hosting an influencer event can be a great way to increase awareness of your business or brand in your community.

To measure the success of an influencer event, consider the following metrics:

  • Number of event attendees

  • Number of posts published by influencers

  • Number of new social media followers after the event

  • Engagement rates on posts relating to event

Other KPIs may include new leads generated, website visits, social media mentions and more. If you’re serious about measuring the results of your next PR campaign, make sure you use these KPIs as a baseline. Once you’re able to define what success looks like for your PR campaign, you can then fine-tune future campaigns to be even more successful.


Want to learn more about creating a customized PR campaign for your company?
Contact
the Social Ape team to learn how we can help.

4 Ways to Refine Your Facebook Ads for Success Using the Breakdown Button

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Creating Facebook ads for your business can sometimes be overwhelming due to the fact that it takes a lot of experience and skill to fully understand how to make your ads as successful as possible at the lowest cost possible.

In this post, we’ll share with you four ways you can refine your Facebook ads using the Breakdown button to decrease your cost per ad and increase the number of ad conversions.

1) Run your ads at the most successful times of the day - One of the easiest ways to refine your ads for success is using the Breakdown tool within Ads Manager to view the times of day that your ads performed the best. To do this, click on the Breakdown button on the right hand side of your Ads Manager, then select Time of Day (Ad Account Time Zone).

If you prefer to see the time in the time zone the Facebook user, select the Viewer’s Time Zone instead. From there, you’ll be able to edit your ads by setting a schedule for the times that produce the most results. From the screenshot below, you can tell that there isn’t precisely one specific time range throughout the day that would produce a higher performing ad.

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2) Refine your ads by gender and age - Another simple way to make your ads more successful is to adjust them to reach the gender and age that best matches those who have already converted within your Facebook ads. To do this, use the Breakdown tool again and select Age and Gender.

You’ll then be able to collect data that will translate to running more efficient ads by only running certain ads to the gender and age that will produce the best results. For example, looking at the screenshot below, an ideal audience to choose for this ad would be males age 45-64 and females age 45-64.

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3) Target the top geographical areas - Most business owners or marketers assume that reaching as many people as possible is ideal when advertising their business, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Limiting your reach, especially by geographic location, can keep costs low and also ensure that you’re reaching the right demographic.

To determine your most successful ads by city or region, click on the Breakdown button in Ads Manager and select either Region or DMA Region. This will show the cities in which your ads have seen the most reach, results, impressions or conversions, whichever you prefer by customizing your Ads Manager. To refine your existing ads using this information, you should then edit each ad set to only include the cities that have seen the most results at the lowest cost.

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4) Refine your ads by ad placement - It’s common to see business owners or marketers running Facebook or Instagram ads on all platforms. There are so many options that, frankly, it’s become very difficult to know which platforms would be worth your while. However, we DO know that adjusting your ad placements is better than running your ads on ALL of the suggested placements such as the Audience Network, Messenger, Stories, and many more.

To determine the best placements for your ads that are already running, click on the Breakdown button and select Placement. You will then be able to determine the best placements for each ad. In the example below, you can see that this particular ad performed far and away better on Facebook Mobile News Feed than it did on within any other placement. Therefore, we would ideally adjust this particular ad to only run on Facebook News Feed Mobile to see a much higher return overall.

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Using the Breakdown button within Ads Manager is just one of the ways you can learn more about the success of your ads that are currently running and the users who are interacting with those ads. By implementing this data into the adjustments of those ads, you should see a decrease in the costs of each ad and an increase in the conversions!

Need help reaching your customers using Facebook and Instagram ads? Contact us to get started and we’ll do all of the legwork for you. :)

Meet the Media Monday: Morgan Fogarty

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It’s time for another Meet the Media Monday! The series features a brief Q&A with leading Charlotte media members as we get to know the faces behind the stories that matter most in the Queen City. This week, meet Morgan Fogarty of WCCB Charlotte.

You may recognize Morgan. After all, she’s on television screens every evening at 10 p.m. Morgan is one of Charlotte’s leading TV personalities. She’s an anchor on WCCB’s News @ 10 followed by her hosting gig on WCCB’s News Edge at 10:30 p.m. Currently, Morgan juggles her evening lead anchor role with motherhood and animal activism. We caught up with Morgan to discuss her career, rescue animals and everything in between.

Can you explain more about The Edge?

MF: “It’s more than 15 years old. I didn’t want anything to do with The Edge when I first started. My boss saw my responses in an article and liked how quick I was and wanted me to give it a shot. It’s a way to have fun with people and with the audience and end the night on an upbeat note. We try to be very intentional with how we build out the panel and who we bring in and the chemistry component. Can we all get along?”

If you could tell any story what would it be?

MF: “There’s so much to cover right now. I don’t know if I can choose just one. I do a lot of animal welfare reporting. I love animals. I’m an animal lover. So that’s a passion project for me always to get animals adopted or improve their living conditions. Bring light or awareness to our ordinances. I love animal issues but I also recognize there are so many stories and topics in the world. The opioid crisis is going to be really interesting with the Johnson & Johnson ruling. Gun control in the country and North Carolina. Gerrymandering issues across country and NC. Education, healthcare, CBD! Tons of stuff.”

What is the craziest story you’ve covered?

MF: “Truth is always stranger than fiction! The 9th district stuff was pretty wild. The ballot harvesting and Mark Harris vs. Dan McCready and, ‘Oh my gosh we’re having a redo.’ Pretty wild and pretty crazy. It got a lot of national attention for the wrong reasons. It’s still so top of mind for people and there’s fatigue around it and great curiosity to see what the end of the story is. Which Dan will win?”

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?

MF: “I curse a lot. If there was a sport for cursing I would be a professional curser. Not angrily, I just love the art of cursing.” Don’t worry, she’s never dropped any curse words on-air.

If you weren’t an anchor what would you be?

MF: “I would be an FBI Agent or a Homicide Detective. I’m very into the psychology of crime, criminals and understanding why crime is committed and their motivation. Even when we cover crime from a news angle, it’s one of the most fascinating to cover for me. They've always captured my attention. I would love to help solve them and bring people to justice that way.”

What attracted you to journalism? 

MF: “I always loved to write. For me, it was based on writing and research. I was a Print Journalism major at Penn State. I took a broadcast class and I really enjoyed the deadlines and television production of that. We always tell our interns that 90% of the job is writing, researching and making connections with people. 10% of the job is actually being on television. You have to be curious and you have to want to be a storyteller. If you’re only interested in how much camera time you will get, it will show.”

What are the challenges you face being a journalist?

MF: “Fake news is one of the most consistent, pressing challenges we face as journalists. It’s always a challenge to help people understand that just because they don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s not true. It’s very difficult to navigate this 2019 landscape where the foundational facts aren’t commonly accepted. Corporate media and network media have been complicit in the deterioration of the role of journalism in America and I think actually local TV news is the last factions of untainted journalism. So that is scary but it’s also a big responsibility that none of us take lightly here. We talk a lot here about viewer benefits and human impact that we put on the air. I watch stuff all of the networks do and cringe at how trivial and distracted the networks get by spectacle versus journalism.”

What’s your favorite social media platform - both professionally and personally?

MF: “Professionally, Twitter. For me the vibe on Twitter is edgy and a little snarky and you have to have a bit of a thick skin to play on Twitter. I like that I know plenty of people who don’t. Personally, Instagram because it’s more mindless. For me, I feel like I can be more of an observer or bystander. With Twitter, you sort of have to armor up and be ready to get as good as you give.” Give her a follow on Twitter @MorganFogarty and on Instagram @themorganfogarty

How long have you lived in Charlotte? What brought you here? 

MF: “I moved here in 2005 from Hagerstown, Maryland from my first job. I came here for a job (at WCCB) to work on the morning show for what I thought would be one three-year contract. It will be 16 years in February. I knew I wanted to move to nights to do harder news. I’m not a morning person myself - naturally, anyway.”

During her time at WCCB, Morgan did have a six-week hiatus where she moved to New York City. “In NYC, Al Jazeera America hired me to be a New York Anchor. It started to involve more international travel than I would like because I had a one-year-old. It helped me learn what I didn’t want. I love living in a community where I actually get to be apart of it.”

What's your favorite activity in Charlotte?

MF: “I love to ride my horse. I grew up riding horses and I took a break from the sport when I started my career because I didn’t have the time or money to properly invest in it. Now my kids can do it with me and we’ve gotten back into it as a family. It’s mental relaxation for me. We keep our horses in Waxhaw and I try to go out four times a week.”

What’s one thing you wish you could change about Charlotte?

MF: “We’ve got to figure out a way to provide housing to everyone that lives here. We continue to have local leaders talk about how we can change it and what we can do and I think we’ve got to make some more significant change. Less talk more action. It has to be affordable for all types of people to live here in all points of their life.”

What has surprised you the most about Charlotte? 

MF: “It doesn’t surprise me anymore but it does frustrate me the lack of cooperation we get from local government agencies in terms of working with us on stories. We either get flat out ignored or stonewalled. In particular, it’s frustrating when we see shows like “48 Hours” get police information we’ve asked for for a very long time and get told no.”

What is your favorite season in Charlotte?

MF: “I love the summer in Charlotte. I love the warmth and I know ‘warm’ is being very generous. It’s like walking on the surface of the sun. In my opinion, we don’t have a true fall in Charlotte.”

Want to learn more about WCCB Charlotte? Head to their website or follow along on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for the latest.


Micro-Influencers: What You Need to Know

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It’s a question we’ve heard on a more regular basis over the past few months. What is a micro-influencer and how can my business harness the power of influence? Although there’s no clear cut number tied to the definition, micro-influencers are widely considered to be those with a following between 2,000 to 100,000. Many marketers consider micro-influencers to be more of an “average Joe,” someone more relatable and accessible than their celebrity counterparts. 

Businesses have turned to micro-influencer marketing to promote products and services because studies show that consumers trust recommendations from those they feel like they know on a deeper degree. Capitalizing on this niche market is a great (and often more budget-friendly) way for businesses to target audiences aligned with their brand’s values.

With so many options, how can you decide if a micro-influencer is the right fit for your business? We have a few ideas. Keep scrolling for our tips on how to vet an influencer to ensure that they can effectively and accurately promote your brand.

Know Their Audience

One of the most important factors when deciding which micro-influencers to partner with is their audience. Marketing works best when the audience relates to and connects with the message or product you’re putting in front of them. Ask for data on audience demographics before jumping into a partnership. Thanks to the plethora of free social media monitoring tools, every influencer should be able to provide basic information about location, age range, etc.

Look at How Their Followers Interact with Their Posts

Take note of how their followers engage with their content. Scroll through the comments section. Watch their Instagram Stories. Are fans and followers “real?” Are they asking questions? Are they responding positively and with curiosity?  Visit any major celebrity’s profile and the comment section is a mix of mega-fans, haters and -- even worse -- bots promoting a service. One of the benefits of partnering with micro-influencers as marketers is that their following tends to be more authentic.

Analyze Their Past Partnerships

During the research phase, set aside time to browse a potential partner’s content to get a feel for both their organic and paid content. It's imperative to put past partnerships and collaborations under a microscope before diving in. Ask yourself these questions: Does this brand have a similar look and feel to ours? Does this seem like an organic partnership? How are their followers responding to sponsored content? How often do they post sponsored content?

Conduct Instagram Audits and Look for Fake Followers 

Use Instagram auditing tools to check their profile for fake or purchased followers and view engagement rates. HypeAuditor and Famoid are programs that run social media audits and work on any public profile on Instagram. Just type in any username and check away!

Determine If Core Values Align

It’s okay to ask influencers additional questions to evaluate if their mission and core values align with yours. Dig deeper by getting to know their backstory. What made them take hold of their platform? What they would describe as their brand? If the answers to those questions line up with your company’s core values, then go for it.

Think your business is ready to take on influencer marketing? Contact the Social Ape team to learn more about influencer marketing and how we can help you reach your goals with an effective collaboration plan.


Meet Frances Atkinson - Fall Intern

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Meet Frances Atkinson, our Social Ape Fall 2019 Intern. Frances graduated from the University of Alabama in May, majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Art History. Frances was born and raised in Florence, SC and is a recent transplant to the Queen City. She is loving her time here at Social Ape and is excited to gain as much knowledge as possible as a new member of our team. After her internship, she plans to continue working in the PR field and make a career out of her love for social media.

Get to know Frances a bit better by reading more below!

What are your favorite things about Charlotte so far?

I love exploring parts of the city I have never been to. I live in the SouthPark area, but I’ll occasionally venture to other neighborhoods when I have the time. So far, my favorite areas to pay a visit to are Dilworth and South End. I’ve been a foodie for as long as I can remember, and both of these places have so many great breweries, bars & restaurants. Oh, and did I mention Jeni’s Ice Cream? It’s a must-visit if you are a dessert enthusiast like me.

Why do you love social media marketing?

In college, I fell in love with the social media marketing industry. My final class as a PR student (and by far the toughest I might add) was a class where we created a social media campaign for a real client. My group conducted research, planned and implemented a full campaign that we were so incredibly proud of. From that point on, I knew I wanted to focus my career on educating business owners on how to use social media tools to effectively promote their messages to their consumers.

What do you do at Social Ape Marketing?

At the beginning of the week, I start by researching and drafting our weekly newsletter. Once that is done, I occasionally write blog posts for the website and find news articles to share on our Twitter account. I also help the team with social media influencer pitches and conduct research for our clients. Although I have only been apart of the team for a short time, I’ve learned so much about the PR industry and am continuing to sharpen my writing skills.

If you could give advice to people who want to enter this industry what would it be?

Network. Network. Network. I was a little late to the game on this one. After graduation, I knew what I wanted to do, but didn't know how to get there. I realized I didn't utilize all of the resources given to me in college, so make an effort to join clubs pertaining to PR and go to your professors for advice. I found it useful to add your professors on LinkedIn and find more connections that way.

What do you like to do when you’re not at the office?

Although I enjoy spending time in Charlotte, I love to travel on the weekends. My hometown is only two hours away, so I like to spend time with my family when I have the time. I also am an enormous Alabama fan and will RUN, not walk, back to Tuscaloosa to watch a football game. I grew up visiting Boone, NC and I can’t wait for cooler weather when I can head up to the mountains for a ski trip.

It’s been a treat to have Frances on our team the past few weeks and, lucky for us, she’ll still be around for a few more! Keep up with Frances’ adventures on Instagram at @francesatkinson.

Seven Apps for Editing Photos on Your Phone

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As a business owner, influencer or content creator, it can be hard to make your social media posts stand out in a constantly changing feed. The evolution of social media has led to the creation of hundreds of photo editing apps that allow users to make those final touches on the go. From finding the perfect filter to adding creative elements, below you’ll find our favorite tools for editing your photos in a jiffy.

VSCO

VSCO is a photo editing app that also allows you to publish your photos in an online community. You can follow users to keep up with their posts or use the app to simply tweak your photos before posting elsewhere. VSCO is great for finding filter presets and making any needed lighting adjustments. Another bonus? Get inspiration from other users’ feeds if you’re running low on creative juices. Cost: Free in the App Store & Google Play

Canva

Although Canva can be used to add filters to your photos, the real stars of this tool are its design features. Canva has thousands of templates for Instagram Stories and static posts, Facebook banners, ads and much more. These curated design templates are completely customizable and are a great option when you’re in a time crunch. Use Canva on the computer or on your iPhone or Android. Cost: Free or $9.95/month for a Canva Pro subscription

Snapseed

Snapseed is a user-friendly editing app owned by Google. Similar to other apps on this list, Snapseed has presets that can be used on-the-go or allows you to make fine improvements through its advanced menu. Two of our favorite features are the perspective tool, which shifts the viewpoint of the photo and the lens blur tool that gives your photos a professional-looking feel. Cost: Free in the App Store & Google Play

A Color Story

People often think of their Instagram profiles as a collection of individual photos instead of a place that unifies under a common theme. Aside from basic photo editing tools, A Color Story allows users to plan out Instagram posts so you can view photos in a grid as if a user was visiting your profile. Consider this app your lifesaver if you struggle with planning out your feed as a cohesive whole. Cost: Free in the App Store & Google Play or $24.99/year for ACS+

Enlight

Enlight (rightfully named we might add) allows users to adjust lighting issues on top of making basic edits to photos. Users can create multiple layers, similar to Photoshop. Although the learning curve is a little steep with this app, with patience and practice Enlight can help take your photos to the next level. The app offers advanced editing adjustments as well as easy preset options. Cost: Free in the App Store & Google Play

Foodie

Sometimes our phones eat first. Foodie is an app dedicated to editing all of your decadent food snaps. The app operates a lot like Instagram. You can choose from roughly 30 presets or make individual tweaks. Presets are designed specifically with your favorite dishes and treats in mind. If taking food pictures is your thing, Foodie is a must-have. Cost: Free in the App Store & Google Play

SKRWT

In some situations, it’s impossible to snap photos from the perfect angle. SKRWT is a great tool for when your photo’s perspective doesn’t quite line up properly. The app allows users to skew the viewpoint of their photos from all directions, as well as crop and make other basic adjustments. The best part about SKRWT? It has an auto-fix button that adjusts your angles instantly. Cost: $1.99 in the App Store & Google Play

Interested in learning more about content creation and social media strategies? Contact the Social Ape team to learn more about creating and executing an impactful social media plan.

Meet the Media Monday: Cathy Martin

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Meet the Media Monday returns! The series features a brief Q&A with leading Charlotte media members as we get to know the faces behind the stories that matter most in the Queen City. For the latest installment, we sat down with Cathy Martin, Editor at SouthPark Magazine.

Where are you from?

CM: I’ve been in Charlotte for over 20 years. I grew up in Eastern North Carolina in a little town called Wilson but I haven’t lived there since high school. My mom is still there and I get back to visit her. My husband is a Charlotte native. He grew up in Weddington but it was considered the country back then! 

How did you get into journalism?

CM: I was Sports Editor of my high school paper. I always liked it and all of my friends were on the staff. Several of us ended up at UNC-Chapel Hill for undergrad in the journalism school. There was always something I liked about journalism with the story-telling aspect. 

About 8 years ago I took a job as Assistant to the Publisher at Business North Carolina which is a state-wide business magazine. I liked it but I very quickly moved over to the Editorial side and that’s where I discovered what I love. I consider myself an Editor first, and writer second. Most people look at it the other way! I like managing projects and I’m very detail-oriented and that’s what I love about being an Editor. 

Has it been different moving from a business to a lifestyle publication?

CM: It’s really fun! I loved covering business and found it interesting but I’m a curious person and am interested in learning about anything. I’ve lived in Charlotte for 20 years but I feel like I’m discovering a whole new side of the city with my role at SouthPark Magazine

What’s your favorite activity in Charlotte?

CM: Being married to a chef, I love going out to eat and trying new restaurants. It’s really evolving and there’s a lot of interesting things going on in Charlotte that was not the case 10 or 20 years ago. The Whitewater Center is fun too. I don’t get out there as much as I would like to but it’s as good as they say it is!

What’s your favorite season in Charlotte?

CM: I’m a summer girl but Charlotte’s maybe not the best place for summer activities so I guess fall. There’s a lot going on in terms of festivals and patio seating. If I can be outside, I will take it. 

What are the challenges of being a journalist in 2019?

CM: I think just generally the state of the industry is everyone trying to do more with less. I don’t think of things so much as a challenge but rather as an opportunity to learn new skills. Sometimes people who’ve been in the industry for a long time are less adaptable and that’s a challenge. 

There’s also a nuance to magazine writing if you haven’t done it before. It’s a different type of writing and a lot of people who pitch me are used to writing more short, snappy things and I have to coach them. It’s fun and I enjoy it! A lot of people in the industry are open to learning new things as something they can add to their repertoire.  

What’s your favorite social media platform? 

CM: At Business North Carolina, everything was Twitter all the time. SouthPark Magazine is more geared towards Instagram - that’s where we get the most engagement. Instagram has been a great tool for me to learn more about our partners and the people we work with. I’m more of the Facebook generation but I like Instagram. I love pretty pictures and I’m more visual. 

Interested in learning more about SouthPark Magazine? Visit their website or follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram