5 Best Apps for Photography on Your Smartphone

photography-801891_960_720.jpg

Most think in order to create jaw-dropping visuals for social media content, you need a DSLR camera, professional lighting, backdrops, etc., but that isn’t the case. Now, all you need is a smartphone to take stunning photos. Apple, Samsung, LG and Google phones are now packing a 12-megapixel camera or above.  In order to create high-quality photos, just point and shoot, then edit your content using the apps below.
 
1. Polarr allows you to create your own filters instead of having to choose from the various filters already provided on social media platforms. You can also take advantage of the advanced editing tools within the app, such as color masking and batch export with filters. The cool thing about Polarr? You can also edit your photos using the desktop version, for either Mac or PC. 

polarr.JPG

 2. Over is a mobile app that can add text to any photo. In addition to its simple and unique design, the app has a wide variety of fonts and colors to choose from. Bonus? Over always saves your original photo, which can be helpful when testing out different versions of your image.

OVER.jpg


3. Facetune can be used to fix skin blemishes in photos. This app can even alter facial features like decreasing the size of your eyes or changing the face shape. Just a heads up… Facetune will make you a master in the selfie world but for a price of $3.99.

demo-photo-4.jpg

 4. Color Story is a mobile app that will give your image a distinct color or hue by making it either more vibrant or subdued. This app also allows you to stack filters for the perfect look or add filters to your Boomerangs. 

colorstory.JPG


5. VSCO is a well-known photo editing app that uses awesome photo filters to create a distinct mood for your photography. You can also snap your photos through the app and use the advanced editing tools to change things like the exposure and depth of field. Additionally, you can find photography inspiration through VSCO’s Discover tab within the app where photos are selected by the VSCO team to be featured.

VSCO.jpg

__

Using any of these apps will help you to create stunning, professional quality photos for social media content as well as your website and other marketing materials. 

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Social Media Ads Budget

computer-1563072_640.jpg

One of the questions that I get asked the most as a social media marketer is, “How do I decide on a budget for my social media ads?” For most people, this questions seems much more daunting than it actually is.

There are 5 factors that will go into deciding on your ads budget.

1. What is your annual ads budget?

It is important to understand what your ads budget is each month. If you have allotted a specific amount for your social media ads for the year, divide that number by 12 to determine your monthly ads budget. This sounds simple enough but I’ve discovered that many business owners or entrepreneurs have never taken the time to determine an annual or monthly marketing budget.

2. How many people do you want to reach?

To give you a better idea of how far your money will go when using Facebook or Instagram ads, for every $5 that you spend to advertise locally (within one city), you should be reaching about 800-1,000 people. If you’re advertising nationally, you’ll be able to reach even more people.

Therefore, if you choose a monthly budget of $100 for your Facebook and Instagram ads, you should reach about 15,000-20,000 people each month. This does not guarantee that those people will be engaging with or clicking on your links. This number only includes the people who actually see your ads. 

3. What types of ads will you be creating?

Some ads cost more than others so it’s important to factor this in when determining your monthly budget. The most expensive type of ad is a Link Click ad. Sometimes, these ads will charge $3 or more per click-through. If the service or product that you are selling is a high-ticket item, then that rate might be affordable considering the conversion rate. Engagement ads are less expensive than Link Click ads and Reach ads are even cheaper.

So, if you don’t necessarily need to send a lot of traffic to your website each month, then you might be able to spend less each month by using Engagement and Reach ads. 

4. How many ads will you be running?

If you will be running several ads at the same time each month, you may want to have a larger budget to ensure that each ad will have enough reach, engagement or click-throughs. If you’re only running a few ad campaigns each month, then it will be possible to spend less money on these ads if you’re on a tighter budget.

5. Will you run your ads on a daily budget or a lifetime budget?

When creating social media ads, you’ll have two budget options for each ad: Daily Budget and Lifetime Budget. If you choose a daily budget for one ad, that ad will spend the amount allotted for each day. For example, if you choose a daily budget of $5 for one ad, that ad will spend $5 each day until the ad stops running. You can also run this type of ad indefinitely. Another example: Let’s say you want to increase the number of your Facebook fans using a Facebook ad. You could spend $2 per day indefinitely to continuously increase the amount of Facebook fans for your page without having to constantly create new ads.

If you choose a Lifetime Budget for an ad, that ad will spend the allotted amount by the end date of that ad. For example, let’s say that you’re hosting a Grand Opening event for your business in 3 weeks. To advertise this event, you would want to create an ad with a Lifetime Budget for the entire 3 weeks leading up to your event. 
__

By asking yourself these 5 questions, you’ll have a better idea of what you should be spending on your social media ads each year and month. 

Still need help with your social media advertising? Shoot us an email below to chat with us about our social media advertising services and learn more about how we can help your business grow by attracting the right customers!

5 of the Best Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

microphone-2469295_640.jpg

Entrepreneurs are always looking for resources to help spark their next great idea, and increasingly, podcasts have become a great source for that. Podcast consumption is now reaching 46 million Americans weekly. Whether the focus is on tech or startups, the volume of educational podcasts has increased in the past few years as business owners search for actionable advice on the go. Here is a list of the best podcasts available to help improve yourself in many aspects of your business journey. 

1. How to Start a Startup

How to Start a Startup is a collection of free podcasts that can help you succeed in starting a company. Initially, a class taught at Stanford, these videos include ideas from 9 experts on how to do sales and marketing, how to hire, how to raise money, company culture, operations and management, business strategy, and more!

2. How I Built This

How I Built This is a podcast where the host, Guy Raz, talks to innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, about the stories behind the movements they built. These stories are told by the founders of some of the world's best-known companies and brands. Listen on NPR or iTunes.

3.  Entrepreneurs on Fire

EOFire was created for entrepreneurs like you. If you're looking for actionable advice during your daily routine, this is a great place to start. The award-winning podcast chats with today's most successful entrepreneurs who share their best and worst entrepreneurial moments and lessons learned.

4. Mixergy

Mixergy is a place where successful people teach ambitious upstarts. The speakers are business people who take time out of their schedules to help teach others what they learned from their own experiences. These interviews introduce you to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you. Mixergy offers podcasts and free courses that encourage you to have a mission, not just a startup. 

5. The Tim Feriss Show

The Tim Feriss Show is the first business/interview podcast to pass 100 million downloads, and it has been selected as "Best of iTunes" for three years running. Each episode, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, business, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use. 

Is there a go-to podcast you listen to frequently? What's the best tip you've received from it? Let us know the in comments below!

The Path to Social Media Success [Infographic]

plan-2372176_640.jpg

How do you determine the best social media strategy for your business?

As we know, the social media landscape is constantly changing, and it's difficult to keep up with the latest best practices. One thing that won't change? People expect quality content. That means every action you take on social media should all be guided by a plan that's driving towards your social media strategy.

Social media is packed full of opportunity, but to be effective you need to plan a complete strategy (that includes attainable goals) and implement it in a careful and measured way. 

A new infographic from Carousel 30 is a great guide to keep you on track with your approach and strategy for leading social media campaigns so you can successfully connect with the people that matter to you.

How do you measure social media success? Let us know in the comments! 

5 of the Best Free Stock Photo Websites

pexels-photo-208165.jpeg

Do you find it challenging to find high-quality, license-free images at no cost? Thankfully, there is a wide range of websites popping up that offer just that and many of these photographs are licensed under the Creative Commons domain, which allows you to copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

Discover great images for your next piece of content on these websites:

mobile-759076_640.jpg

1. Pixabay

Pixabay offers a large collection of images and videos that are copyright free and safe to use without asking for permission. Looking for a specific photo to represent your brand or business? The website allows you to search over a million stock images in various categories or topics. 

Unsplash.jpg

2. Unsplash

The Unsplash team helps you find inspiration with photos that they hand-select every day. You can also search a huge library of high-resolution images for your next project from a community of photographers that upload them. 

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 10.58.26 AM.png

3. Freerange Stock

Freerange Stock was formed with the goal to provide quality stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use. For free. Their photos either come directly from their in-house photographers and archives or they are contributed by a growing community of creative and talented photographers.

why-premium-graphic@2x-44986f12ff846be2543f996b71931835.jpg

4. Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo sends you free monthly photos to your email inbox for all your creative needs. These ' photopacks' are carefully crafted stories accompanied with 12+ photos from the perspective of the artist. The photos are even touched up and edited before they are delivered!

pexels.png

5. Pexels

All photos on Pexels are free for any personal and commercial purpose. Every month at least 3,000 new high-resolution images are added that are handpicked from photos uploaded by their users or sourced from free image websites. 

Do you have a favorite website for free stock photos or videos? Let us know in the comments below! 

New Report: The Best Times to Post on Social Media [Infographic]

The best times to post to social media varies by industry, channel and target audience. While there is still value in using generic 'best times' as part of your marketing strategies, the only true way to know this is by conducting your own research on similar brands and studying your own analytics.

With that said, the team at CoSchedule collected results from 20 of 'the best times to post' guides to formulate this infographic that proves that posting at the best times will help you get more traffic, more engagement, and more followers.

How Popular Brands Are Using Instagram Stories

The introduction of Stories last August (just turned one!,) is making Instagram one of the more important channels for brands looking to expand their social presence. We are already well aware of the drama that surrounds the whole 'stealing Snapchat' dilemma, but Instagram is doing it better and big brands are noticing. 

Write here...

Write here...

A recent study conducted by Klear, analyzed 149 popular brands in 8 industries to see how they are using Instagram Stories to drive sales and what type of content worked best for their particular industry. 

The biggest discrepancy between Instagram Stories and Snapchat Story is the ability to link and mention users. Instagram's "swipe up" feature allows brands to link a URL to their story, letting users see more content if they choose to. This is huge for product promotion and purchase capabilities. 

According to the study, the most active industries on Instagram Stories are by far the fitness and fashion sectors. This is indicitive of the popularity of these types of accounts on Instagram already. 

Industry.png

Brands are using Instagram Stories to not only reach Instagram's 700 million total users versus Snapchat’s 166 million, but also to boost their messaging through inspiring and creative content.

How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter From Your Phone

Snapchat introduced a feature in June that lets users create their own geofilters directly from their mobile app. Since the release, Snap geofilters are being viewed over 1.5 million times through Story and message viewers every minute! And they said Snapchat was dying..

Now, you can design your very own geofilter on the go without breaking the bank (it's only $5.99). Here's how to do it:

Getting Started

  • Open the Snapchat app and tap the ghost(or your bitmoji) icon in the upper left corner to access your profile
  • Tap the Settings icon(wheel on upper right) then On-Demand Geolfiter
  • For first time creators, Snap will walk you through a few questions and templates as you design your Geofilter. If you have created one before, tap the icon in the upper right corner to create a new one.

Design Themes

  • Next, you'll be asked to select from different themes depending on your occasion like weddings, birthdays, graduations. More seasonal themes will be added throughout the year. 
  • Once your theme is selected, you can now customize your template with text, emojis, bitmojis, or stickers. When you've finished editing, tap the green checkmark. 

Set the Date, Time, and Location

  • Now that your design is created, you'll need to add a few details to your geofilter
  • Add a name for the geofilter
  • Set up the date and time range you want it to appear. This can last anywhere from 1 hour to 90 days. Next, you need to draw a geofence around the location the geofilter can be accessed. Snapchat pre-sets a 20,000 square foot range at $5.99 but, can go to a maximum of 5 million sq/ft. When your location is set, tap the continue button. 

Submitting Your Geofilter

Here, you'll finalize your order details and submit your geofilter for Snapchat to review. Once it has been approved, Snapchat will send you a confirmation email to complete your payment in the app. 

In conclusion, creating Snapchat Geofilters on mobile is quick, easy, and can make for some memorable Snap Stories for any occasion. And starting at $5.99, this is a great way for individuals and small businesses to create inspiring new content. 

How to Integrate Your Public Relations and Social Media Efforts

Most business owners and entrepreneurs know how important social media marketing and public relations is for their business but many may not realize how well these two work together to simultaneously grow a brand. That’s why we’ve created a list of ways you can integrate your PR efforts into your social media strategy and vice versa.

Use Media Features as Social Media Content

Using public relations to increase awareness of your business, will hopefully result in your business being featured in local or national publications, as well as TV and radio segments, podcast interviews, etc. These articles, videos, and radio shows can be shared via social media, which will result in more eyeballs on your brand, which will hopefully result in more sales for your business.

Use Social Media Content as PR Content

On the contrary, social media content can also make for great PR pitch ideas or stories. Let’s say a local outdoor supplies store is running a Facebook contest to give away a fishing expedition to one lucky winner and his family. This contest could be pitched to a journalist and featured on a local TV segment, where the business owner or marketing person from that brand would explain the contest in detail to encourage more people to enter the contest.

Partner with Social Media Influencers

There are other ways that social media and public relations can benefit from one another. For instance, social media influencers are currently a great way to expand your business’ reach by relying on the followers of these influential people. By using public relations tactics to reach out to these influencers and create a campaign for the promotion of your product or service, your brand would be exposed to many social media users in a way that is authentic and engaging.

Use Social Media as a Research Tool To Create Your PR Strategy

Another way that you can implement social media and public relations is to use social channels as a research tool to learn more about the target audience for your business. By looking at the analytics of your social media channels, you’ll be able to decide the interests and demographics of your social media followers and fans. This information will help you to determine the types of PR content that will create the most awareness for your brand. For example, if you determine that the majority of your social media followers are ages 25-40 and enjoy craft beer, it might be a good idea to create a PR event or partnership with a local brewery to get your brand in front of the people who will actually be interested.

Use Social Media as a Customer Service/Reputation Management Tool

We all know that online reviews can either make or break a brand’s reputation. Because of this, using social media channels to manage these reviews is a must. Reputations are no longer made just in the media. Social media now plays such a large role in this due to complaints, negative reviews, photos, videos, etc. To ensure that your brand’s reputation remains squeaky clean, make sure that you reply to all social media messages and complaints immediately as well as provide impeccable customer service using these channels. Additionally, should your company ever be involved in a PR crisis, your social media channels can also be used to issue a statement to the public as well as journalists in an attempt to rectify the situation.
 

Ready to get started on creating a social media and public relations strategy that will work well together? Contact us to learn more about how Social Ape can do just that and increase awareness of your business!

5 Instagram Mistakes You Should Avoid

With 700 million users strong, Instagram remains one of the most powerful story-telling tools for marketers and brands. So, if you want to keep your audience engaged with your content, don't drop the ball with these simple mistakes.

1. Too Much Focus on Promotions

Sharing too many products or images with your own logo isn't the best way to present your brand. People want to see lively content that portrays the value of your product without the spamminess of offers and promotions. Images of employees, work in the community, and other lifestyle content can build your brand's reputation in no time. 

2. Buying Followers

Growing your business on social media isn't always easy. And while some consumers may be turned off by a low count of followers or fans, it's best that you keep it honest in the end. So, instead of strategizing, planning, and sharing great content to better their presence, some brands are purchasing a false sense of popularity. 

When you purchase followers, you're purchasing a number. A number that, for a glance may look nice and legit, but really are fake or inactive accounts. These accounts WILL NOT engage with any of your content. So, why risk the integrity of your business because of a follower count. Instead, continue to follow your brand strategy and post relevant content to the REAL audience that you do have, and you'll soon reap the (legitimate)rewards. 

3. Not Engaging With Your Audience

Many brands have adopted the "point and shoot" attitude towards their Instagram strategy. Meaning, they post frequently but aren't very involved with the fans that are engaging with the content. Make sure to set aside time to regularly check your posts, and follow back new followers. Also, reach out to your followers by liking and commenting on their photos!

4. Misusing Hashtags

If you are like many users that spam their posts with irrelevant or too many hashtags, you're at risk of losing credibility and may come off as a bit desperate. Hashtags should be used to enable discovery from people interested in a part of your brand's story. According to Adweek, ninety-one percent of Instagram posts contain between one and seven hashtags, so they are a powerful tool, you just shouldn't overvalue irrelevant ones. 

5. Not Editing or Using High-Quality Photos

Instagram doesn't give you countless combinations of editing tools for no reason. Utilize your knowledge of simple photography and try to take the best pictures you can, so you don't run into over-editing. You can even use camera alternatives like VSCO cam on the same subject to compare the image quality with your native ones.