Small Businesses

5 Best Apps for Photography on Your Smartphone

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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. 

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 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.

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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.

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 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. 

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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.

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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. 

Social Ape's 4 Year Anniversary Celebration

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DSC_0395

Time flies when you're having fun (and working hard of course).

With the continued support from our awesome clients, beloved friends, family, and all of our fans, we're cruising through the 2016 calendar and can't wait to see what lies ahead.

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DSC_0382

This past August marked Social Ape's 4 year anniversary. What better way to celebrate this tremendous achievement than with great beer and food at VBGB Beer Hall & Garden! Like in recent past, we asked people to bring school supplies to Classroom Central, a local charity that donates supplies to underprivileged children in the community.

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DSC_0378

A few local Charlotte businesses were gracious enough to donate gift baskets, swag and other great prizes to be raffled off to those in attendance.

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Untitled design (78)

Utmost thanks to The Olde Mecklenburg BreweryRich & BennettRoaring Riot, and New Leaf Construction for providing us with everything!

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Untitled design (79)

It's not a party without a photo booth.

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Untitled design (80)

We had a BLAST with everyone at our 4 year anniversary celebration and can only hope we can continue building on this success for years to come. It all comes a little easier when you have the support and love from our Social Ape family! Thanks again for joining us.

'Til next year

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Using Pinterest Analytics For Business

Analytics
Analytics

 

Pinterest only recently started giving us access to the analytics behind our marketing efforts for Pinterest business accounts. The new analytics tool gives more stats on engagement within your Pinterest profile, like being able to track actions that originate from your profile and actions that result in traffic to your website. This is crucial because it allows you to see where your efforts are being rewarded to maximize your presence on Pinterest, and ultimately the presence of others on your website. First and foremost, if you want to dive into Pinterest Analytics then you'll need to make sure your account is a business account. For those just starting Pinterest for business, it's really easy to convert your account to a business account. Next, I would personally recommend that you include a Pinterest widget on your website or a 'Pin It' button (especially if you're in the retail business or have lots of image-based content on your website); you can build those buttons here. Once you're account is set up, it's time to analyze your efforts.

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p4bmainpage

Your Pinterest Analytics dashboard will contain 3 major categories: your Pinterest profile, your audience & your activity from your website (for this demonstration we are using Kimbrell's Furniture's Pinterest Analytics). Underneath those categories will be a box of  your 'Top Pin Impressions' from the past 30 days, showing you which pins that you've pinned in the last month that received the most impressions, repins, clicks & likes. 

Now let's explore the categories a little further.

1. Your Pinterest Profile

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This section gives you a little more detail in what's actually going on with your Pinterest profile. With 4 sub-categories-Impressions, Repins, Clicks & All-time, you can see which pins are getting the most traction with your audience. The impressions section will give you data on which pins showed up on your audience's feed the most. The repins section will give you data on which pins were repinned the most. The clicks section will give you data on which pins got the most clicks (which hopefully most of them link back to your website). And the all-time section gives you data of which pins have done the best over-all. You have the option to view your analytics from the past week, the past 14 days or the past 30 days, depending on the timeframe in which you wish to analyze.

2. Your Audience

The 'Your Audience' section basically dives into the demographics of your audience and what they're interested in based on what they are pinning from you and overall. You can see how many monthly/weekly viewers you get on average and what percentage of your audience is engaging with your profile. This section also categorizes your audience by country, gender, metro-area and language, which is extremely beneficial when creating a strategy for your Pinterest account. My favorite part about the audience section is the 'Interests' tab that shows what your audience is pinning and what they are interested in overall.

This particular data (see below) shows that the audience is interested in Home Decor, Recipes, DIY, Furniture, Design, etc., which is right on target for a furniture store. For beginners, if you're only pinning stuff directly from your website, this is a great tab to use. It kind-of prompts you on things you could be pinning to gain more traction. For example, if Kimbrell's Furniture was only pinning their furniture, it would be a good idea to make a 'DIY' related board and a 'Food' related board to spice things up for our audience. Looking at the same ole' stuff can be repetitive, pushy and boring.

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p4baudienceviewers
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3. Your Activity From Website

This is by far the best thing Pinterest could have done for businesses accounts. Using this analytics tool to see how many Pinterest users are visiting your website will really prove your marketing efforts within Pinterest. This category also has sub-categories: Impressions, Repins, Clicks, Original Pins, All-time & the Pin It button. This will help you analyze different areas of your Pinterest efforts. This section is a great way to find out which pins are resonating with your audience the most so that you can create more content like this. The Pin It button sub-category can only give you data if you build the widget and add it to your website. If you take the time to do that, you can see how many impressions and clicks have been made through your website and see how many times stuff from your website has been pinned directly to Pinterest.

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p4bewbsiteactivity
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Throughout analyzing these 3 major categories, you have the option to filter your data based on the devices that your audience is using to engage with your Pinterest account, whether it's a laptop, a mobile device or an iPad. This is helpful where image sizes are concerned. In the image below, you can see that Pinterest Analytics also provides tips in several areas to help you optimize your marketing efforts. You also have the ability to 'Export Data' from the analytics to create reports when needed.

Have you used Pinterest for business yet? If so, share your thoughts or helpful hints!

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How-To: Boost A Facebook Post With Targeting

FACEBOOK 101_
FACEBOOK 101_

 

When it comes to Facebook for business, you have to pay to play. As annoying as that is, unless you have a large following (and even then, not everyone is going to see all of your posts), boosting a post on Facebook is a necessary part of Facebook advertising. In this week's blog, I am going to show you step-by-step how to boost a post on Facebook by targeting a specific audience. First thing's first... Make sure that your post includes an eye-catching photo and an informative and engaging caption. Once you have the post you wish to boost, click the "Boost Post" button at the bottom right corner of the post.

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Once you click 'Boost Post,' Facebook will bring up a page with several options for boosting posts. You will want to click the 'People you choose through targeting' option in the top right corner to make the most of your boosted post. Since you probably won't already have your audience you will need to click 'Create New Audience.'

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targeting

The next step requires a little more thought. Choose a name for the audience that you ideally want to see your post. Pick the location of your intended audience; Facebook even gives you the option to add 'x' amount of miles outside of a particular city. Next, click on the age groups of your intended audience. We chose the minimum & maximum age for this particular post, however you will need to think about the age groups of your intended audience. If the post you are boosting is for a restaurant that sells alcohol, a bar, or alcohol in general, you must have 21 as the minimum age, otherwise, Facebook will not approve of your boosted post. As far as 'interests' go, it is in your best interest to be specific as you can, and to think about the interests of your intended audience. For this post, which is about an upcoming play in Charlotte, I chose the following interests: North Carolina's Blumenthal of Performing Arts, Discovery Place, Performing Arts, Theatre, Acting, Plays, William Shakespeare & Oscar Wilde; these 'interests' are intended to target people living in Charlotte that are interested in plays, acting, and have kids that are interesting in these activities.

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budget

Once you have created an audience for your post, the next step is to choose your ad budget. First, think about how long you would like for your post to run; Facebook requires you to spend at least $1 per day that your post is running. Our post is for a play that is on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, so we boosted it on Wednesday to run for 3 days through Friday in hopes that the audience will schedule the play into their weekend plans. 

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Now that you have set up your targeted audience, a budget and timeline for your post, click 'Boost.' You will then see that your boosted post is being reviewed by Facebook and will take approximately an hour to start reaching your intended audience. Once your boosted post run time has ended, you will be able to check out the results and see how many people were reached, how many interacted, clicked on a link, etc. It's a good idea to look this over and learn what you could possibly do different/better for next time!

Boosting a post on Facebook gives your audience a better chance to see and interact with your post. Without paying for Facebook advertising, you are only able to reach a certain amount of people who 'Like' your Facebook page, so it critical to pay for boosting if you want the right people to see you page, event, etc. If you want to run ads through your Facebook page for more page 'Likes,' Facebook will take you through a very similar process as the one above. As long as you've taken the time to think about who your audience is and budget correctly, you will start seeing results on your business Facebook page.

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A Beginner's Guide To Twitter

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print-7792594

If you have a business Twitter account, but you barely use it and rarely use it right. If you're just not quite down with the "language" of Twitter...This post is for you. In sum: Twitter is a social media network that is a constant stream of news and information, that allows you to connect and communicate with people who have similar interests. Each "tweet" is comprised of 140 characters (i.e. 1 character= "a" or "1" or "#", etc.) for you to tweet whatever information you feel compelled to share. You can follow other Twitter accounts about anything and everything you're interested in. You can communicate with other accounts by replying to their tweet or tagging their Twitter account (you tag someone like this, "@socialapemktg hey there!"). You can message other accounts for private messaging, most commonly referred to as "DM" or Direct Messaging.

A few things to remember:

1. When you reply to someone's tweet, only people following that person's account and your account will see the reply. If you would like your reply to be seen by everyone that follows you, add a period to the front of the Twitter name. For example...

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Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.41.04 AM

2. Tweets can have up to 140 characters * however* your Twitter handle, aka your Twitter name, is included in the 140 characters when someone retweets you. Because there are 14 characters in '@socialapemktg', it would be best to keep tweets under 120 characters. So hopefully you didn't choose @supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as your Twitter handle.

3. Retweets can be done a couple of ways. You can simply click the retweet button (we've circled it for you), which will take the entire tweet and post it onto your Twitter profile. Or you can "quote-tweet", which will allow you to add content to the tweet when sharing it with others. We've provided an example of a retweet and a quote-tweet for you:

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Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 11.58.01 AM
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Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 12.02.07 PM

 4. Twitter will automatically shorten a URL link so you don't have to worry about a URL taking up all of your 140 character limit. Links starting with "http://" will take a maximum of 22 characters, leaving you with 118. Links starting with "https://" will take 23 characters, leaving you with 117. Photo attachments will take 23 characters, as well. Here's an example of a tweet with a link and photo attachment.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.42.04 AM

5. Hashtags (#MaryPoppins) were invented with the purpose to search and categorize content on Twitter; they are also used to build a community or to reach a point. I'd recommend not using more than 2 hashtags. Here's an example of us using the hashtag #GIFWarsCLT to participate in a fun, local GIF competition.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.41.41 AM

6. You can favorite tweets by clicking the star icon below a tweet. This is good for showing some love to followers and for keeping up with tweets that you'd like to revisit (maybe a photo or an article). You can see your 'favorited' tweets on your Twitter profile page, under Favorites.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 12.50.31 PM

Have any other questions about Twitter? Ask away!

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