The Most Effective Marketing Tactic

You probably had the idea years ago. You woke up thinking about it in the middle of the night. You spent every spare moment nurturing it. You spent countless hours working the ins and outs until you had a product that you are proud of.

Now it’s time to sell your product. How do you market it?

Did you know that people form their first impression of something within a mere 50 milliseconds? That’s one quick glance that you have to grab their attention.

You had better make those 50 milliseconds worth while!

In addition to (or maybe because of) this short time frame that viewers will spend forming their impression, studies show that people can only recall 20% of material they read, whereas they can recall 80% of what they see.

How does this translate to your marketing strategy?

Images will set the mood for your brand and they will make your potential customers feel a certain way about your product. The emotional connection that your images create will help people remember your brand, building trust and a relationship with them. Images will give your brand an identity that people will remember, thus giving you more brand awareness.

In short, compelling imagery is the number one way to make your brand stick out!

Here’s the thing, in our day and age, most of our shopping happens online (whether or not we are actually going to buy the product online or not, this is still where it starts). According to the #1 ecommerce website, Xcart, one of their retailers, “increased conversions 300% by simply having bigger, better product images."

Put yourself in the shoes of a shopper. You’re searching online for a product and you come across virtually the same product on two separate websites. One site has professional imagery and the other has D.I.Y. cell phone imagery. Which site are you more likely to buy from? I would venture to say that even if the D.I.Y. website charges less for their product, you will be more likely to pay more for the product from the more professional and polished seller. It all comes down to that image.

According to PRWD, “In user research [they] have observed that images are the first thing users look at to make a decision, not the price or product description, as many retailers assume. They browse through a product range or result page looking in detail at images they are attracted to and compare images to narrow down their choice.”

In addition, “They were drawn to the products which were ‘dressed’ and more of a lifestyle shot within the context of a room. They explained that they could imagine this product in their home when they saw it in context of a bedroom or a lounge with other furniture, as opposed to a standalone picture.”

This is the reason why my focus is on what I refer to as “lifestyle product photography.” I’m convinced that if people start picturing your product in their everyday lives that they will feel like they can’t live without it, thus going from potential customers to happy owners of your product.

The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” couldn’t be more true in today’s world of online marketing and social media!

So where does that leave you? You want to raise awareness for your brand and sell more so you can live the life you imagined, right?

I’m here to tell you how!

I am excited to announce a new subscription package for my product photography services! Here’s the deal, I know that a lot of you launch new products all the time. In addition, you probably struggle to stay on top of having seasonal images to share on your website and social media. So I am here to make it easier for you. I am now offering a quarterly (think seasonal) subscription for photos. This subscription will come with four photo session per year. Each photo session comes with 30 images. 

No more wondering how to market your product. No more worrying about how you’re going to get everything done. More time spent basking in your success!

All you have to do to take advantage of this amazing deal is contact me here. It's that simple!

Who's in?

Writing Compelling Captions for Instagram Pt. 2

Last week I wrote to you about telling a story with your Instagram captions. This week I’d like to share about some specific things I do to increase engagement on Instagram posts.



1. First and foremost, keep it personal! This is basically what I wrote about last week with storytelling. Focus on telling a story like you would to a friend and building relationships, rather than just asking for your followers to buy something. It’s the “jab, jab, jab, right hook” method. Give, give, give, then sell.

2. Second and probably just as important, avoid statement posts. Nobody will know how to engage or respond if you post a picture of your kids at the park and write, “Fun in the sun!” Instead go back to my first point and tell a story about your park trip. Then take it a step further and ask a question at the end of your post. Make sure your question isn’t too broad and so easier for someone to have a gut response to.

For example, “It had been raining all day. The sun broke through the clouds and we literally dropped everything and hustled out to the park, including my coffee which I had hastily left on top of my car. You win some, you lose some 🤷 What do you always forget when you leave your house in a hurry?”

3. Another way to get engagement on your post is to ask your audience to “double-tap” or like your post. The most common way I utilize this strategy is to state my opinion on something and then ask my followers to “double-tap if you agree.” This is a simple but effective method to gaining likes on a post.

4. Mix it up! I am probably the worst at this, but studies show that you will have a more engaged audience if you mix up the length of your captions. It makes sense if you think about it. How often do you read a super long, paragraph type caption vs. a shorter, more to the point caption? Another thing to remember here is that after the first 87 characters of your caption the viewer has to click “read more,” so compose your caption for those first 87 characters to draw them in! And if you are like me and like to spill in your posts check out this handy way to break up your formatting for better readability!

Writing Compelling Captions for Instagram Pt. 1


Do you remember how they teach you to write in school? They tell you to answer these questions: Who? What? Where? When?

I think when I entered the fast paced workforce of America I forgot how to write anything other than a short memo or quick email response. The sticky notes and smartphone keyboard version of life.

When I dove into the world of Instagram management a year ago I had to change the way I think. I had to go back to my school days and ask those important questions.

Who? What? Where? When?

This is the foundation of storytelling. And that’s exactly what I try to do with my Instagram captions. Tell a story. Not make a broad statement about the photo I’m posting. I tell a story about my life or business. I think of it as building new friendships with each of my followers. Giving them little windows into my life and work.

So what’s the story you are trying to tell? Who is the main character? What is the big idea, main point, thing they did or will do? Where/when did/will it happen?

10 Steps to Planning your Social Media Month

Last week I sent out a content calendar with ideas for what to post about on your social media for every day of the month of April. This week I wanted to follow up with these 10 steps I use to planning my social media month. Wait, you didn't get my email? You must not be part of my mailing list! Sign up here to get exclusive freebies not shared on my blog!


Step 1: First of all, leading Instagram experts always suggest picking categories of things you will post about. The thing they can’t agree upon is how many. I’ve heard numbers from 5 to 12 most commonly. My opinion is that there is no magic number of categories, just pick what feels right for you. Categories span anything from talking about your kids to your clients and your morning coffee to the book you’re reading. Just make sure you can use each of these categories to point back to your business and why people should follow, book or buy from you! Once you have an idea of what these categories will be for you, you will be able to make your posting roadmap!

Step 2: Look at a social media holiday calendar. Social media holidays can be any major or lesser known, quirky holiday that instagrammers made popular via hashtag. For instance the third Sunday in July is my favorite: #nationalicecreamday, for obvious reasons! You can check out this social media holiday calendar for some other fun ideas!

Step 3: Now look at your own content calendar. Do you have any blog posts coming up that you want to promote? What about a sale or a special promotion?

Step 4: You will want to write all of the dates from steps 2 and 3 on a calendar for easy reference. I prefer to print one out and have a paper copy to scribble on, but you can use an online calendar for this if it is more your style.

Step 5: Now you can fill in the calendar with the other categories you have already decided to post about in step 1. Rotate them through so you know exactly how many posts you will need for the month in each category.

Step 6: Looking at your calendar you should now be able to visualize the photos you will need for the month. I like to make an organized shot checklist off the calendar at this point; and then start to plan what props I will need to gather for the photos. Don’t forget to think about your grid as you plan this. Make sure that the colors will flow nicely. This should be fairly easy to accomplish if you have a color scheme for your props and backgrounds (thinking back to your branding color scheme is helpful here).

Step 7: Now you can shoot your photos! I usually try to take a couple different arrangements or angles of each shot to make sure that when I put my feed together it is visually compelling. For instance I like to do a mixture of flatlay images and straight on perspectives.

A note here: while some brands are able to completely plan and stage photos ahead of time, some are more event based and time sensitive. You should still be able to plan ahead for these photos even if you have some time sensitive materials that you can not shoot ahead of time, just leave space on your calendar for it and make a note to grab the shot at the event!

Step 8: Cull, edit and organize your photos into your content calendar. My favorite planning software is currently Planoly but there are plenty of other options available too. Find the one that works best for you!

Step 9: Write your captions! It may sound daunting but you probably already know roughly what you need to say with each post after all that strategizing! (Stay tuned for more on writing captions next week!)

Step 10: Don’t forget to plan your hashtags strategically! Want to read more about hashtag planning? Read more here!


A Quick Start Guide to Tagging Your Product on Instagram

I recently asked what your biggest questions about Instagram are and one of the things you asked was how to tag products in your posts. Ask and you shall receive! Here is a quick start guide for how to tag products with the shopping feature on Instagram: 


1. First of all, make sure you have a business profile on Instagram. If you don't, just click on “Edit Profile” and then “Try Instagram Business Tools.”


2. Now make sure your Instagram page is linked to your business Facebook account/page. Go to settings, then linked accounts, then Facebook to accomplish this. 


3. Then you'll need to add a “shop” section on your Facebook page. See the “shop” tab on the left sidebar navigation on your page to do this.


4. Instagram will now review your account for access to the shopping feature and once you are approved they will notify you (usually within a couple of days). There should be an alert at the top of your profile page where you can click “get started” but if you don’t see it there you can go into your settings and click “product tagging” to get started!

What is Engagement Rate and Why Should I Care?

Okay, so what’s all this hype about engagement on Instagram?

Well, a while back Instagram changed how you see posts in your feed. Instead of showing posts in chronological order, they now evaluate what you want to see based on your previous likes and comments. This means in order to have your posts seen by your followers, you have to keep them engaged (liking and commenting) with your content.

In a previous post I gave you some tips on keeping your followers engaged. Now I’d like to talk about how to find out how well you are doing on that. Your engagement rate is a stat you can find to help you gauge how well you are doing. If you have a good engagement rate, then great, keep doing what you are doing! If you have a low rate, then let’s take a step back and re-read these tips and re-evaluate what and how you are posting.


Wait, so what is a low engagement rate and what is a good one?

Most people agree that anything below a 1% engagement rate is low; between 1%-5% is a pretty average rate, between 5%-10% is looking good, and anything above that is excellent. Accounts with less followers actually have a better chance at these higher engagement rates so take this all with a grain of salt. And remember, any progress is good progress so don’t let a low rate get you down, just take it as a sign that you need to put in a little more TLC on your posts.

So how do you find your engagement rate?

It’s the total number of likes and comments on your post (engagement) divided by your total number of followers. Take that number and multiply it by 100 to get your engagement rate percentage. So (engagement/followers) x 100 = engagement rate %.

For example if my post has 155 likes and 15 comments that’s 170 engagements. Let’s say I have 2,000 followers. So I’ll divide 170 by 2,000 to get 0.085 and then multiply that by 100 to get my engagement rate of 8.5%.

Of course, you will want to pull multiple posts to check your engagement rate to get an average for your posts before jumping to any conclusions for your account. It is also helpful to keep track of which posts perform with the best engagement rates so that you can evaluate what type of posts your followers would like to see the most going forward.

How to Format your Instagram Captions to Get Better Engagement

Are you a skim reader like me? When I scroll through Instagram, I’m usually too [busy/distracted/Insert how you feel here] to actually read through novel like captions. But something I’ve noticed, is that if these long paragraphs are broken up into little chunks (preferably with an emoji in between 😉), I can skim through them and get the important or interesting information quickly. So instead of passing them by, I am more likely to engage with the content.

That’s what we all want for our content, right? Engagement! So here is a little tip for you to increase yours. Break up those paragraphs!

But, Effie, you say, I’ve tried! Instagram just won’t let me format my posts the way I want!

Yeah, I know. Frustrating, right? I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was right there with ya until a couple weeks ago (I know, I’m supposed to be the expert, right? 🙈).

Anyway, the problem is that you achieve these line breaks differently depending on what type of phone you have, and all the tips I found were for iphones, not Androids (where are my other android users? ✋)

Okay, so here’s how you create a line break on Instagram for Android. It’s so simple I could NOT believe it. The key is making sure that you DON’T hit space after your punctuation, JUST use the return button on your keyboard. Weird, right? But at least it’s simple.

Oh, your an iphone user? Okay, for you it’s a little bit more complicated, but really not that bad. All you have to do is write your caption in a notes app and format it how you want, then copy and paste it into Instagram.

Now go re-format those Instagram captions! 💃


Why I'm Not Using Instagram's New Auto-Posting Feature

Users have been asking Instagram to add an auto-posting feature for a long time. Well, it’s finally here, at least if you have a business account. But it’s a little restrictive at this point and here is why I won’t be using it yet.


1. Geotags

You cannot geotag your location ahead of time when you use auto-posting. This is huge! Statistically, posts with geotags get 79% more engagement than those without. This is largely due to the fact that when you geotag your post it shows up in a larger pool of photos with that same geotag. When people are exploring they can search for a certain location and will see your images in that pool. Instagram has also recently added a feature where you can follow geotags so this is even more important than ever now! If you use auto-posting you will still need to go into your post and edit it in order to add a geotag.

2. Hashtags

If you like to hide your hashtags in the comments like I do, you will still have to go in and manually add them after the post goes live. Hashtags are another important tool for getting discovered on Instagram. You can use 30 hashtags for each post, but nobody actually wants to see them. It just clutters up your post! I keep a pool of relevant hashtags ready to go in my planning app and post them in the comments directly after posting my content. It is important to post the hashtags right away for them to be most effective. Because I would still have to go in and add this hashtag comment when my post is published, auto-posting doesn’t make sense for me!

3. Post Type

You cannot post carousels or videos with auto-posting. This is not quite as big of a deal for me, but it is for those of you who often post this type of content. Basically, auto-post only works with the most stripped down features of the app. 

What are your thoughts on auto-posting? Have you tried it yet? 

Instagram Q. and A.

Q. What should my profile picture be?

A. If you are a small creative business and include a lot of your life in your feed then use a headshot of yourself. If you are a brick and mortar business, a bigger brand, have a recognizable logo or you are not your business (you don’t post about yourself and you don’t interact directly with your clients/customers) then use your logo.

Q. How personal should my Instagram be?

A. Personally as a creative and someone who interacts directly with my clients, I like to include a personal touch on my Instagram. I include pretty pictures of my life and family often. It is part of me and by extension of me, my brand. That being said, I manage Instagram accounts for other local businesses that or not at all personal and it works great for them! I do encourage my clients to show behind the scenes shots either way and definitely have people show up in your feed, even if they aren’t you!

Q. How often should I post?

A. It’s not as big of a deal how often you post as it is to be regular about it. Make a plan and stick to it. If you decide to post twice a week stick to those regular days because people will start to expect to see you at that time. Remember that with the algorithm posting quality posts are better than frequent posts.

Q. How do you “re-gram” someone?

A. Once you have permission (Take a deeper look at the legalities of re-gramming here), the simplest way to regram someone is to screenshot the image. Next, crop the image to how they originally posted it. (No more. You don’t want to see their caption or handle in the photo. No less. Please honor their art by not cropping smaller than the original image.) Then take it on into Instagram. Be sure to credit them by tagging them in your caption (📷: @effiesphotography).


Why Show Behind the Scenes?

1. Behind the scenes photos tell a story:

People love a good story. As Gary Vaynerchuck says, “It's about stories. If I can tell the story to America, whether it's Riesling or a boxer from Harlem, it will sell.” That is the number one reason you should show your customers behind the scenes photos! To tell the story of how and why you make what you sell.


2. Behind the scenes photos humanize your brand:

People are loyal to you, not necessarily your brand. They love having a reason to support what you do. The person behind the product is often the reason. It makes us feel better about buying a product if we know that we are supporting a mom trying to make ends meet or a family who love to work together. Showing your face and your process will give them that personal connection.


3. Behind the scenes photos create variety:

When you plan your social media posts or design your website, do you ever feel like it’s all the same? Behind the scenes photos will help create variety within your feeds and mix things up a bit, getting people’s attention. In this day and age we are bombarded with advertising so our brains tune out a lot of it. Do something different and you’ll recapture your ideal client’s attention!