In this post, I want to share four ideas from the book—these ideas are about using the Carousel feature creatively.
Today's tip is called "batching" (as in, the verb "to batch").
Identify repeating content types
In order to "batch" content, you will first need to identify buckets, or types, of content that you might repeat (or have repeated in the past). For example, you often share recipes that involve new kitchen products you're selling. Or you have identified that to get people to your website, you want to share links to your blog posts. Yes, you have content that breaks the mold as well and gives surprises here and there, but today, we're focused on the "buckets" or types of content that recur to help you meet specific goals.
What is batching?
"Batching" is the act of creating one "batch" of content at a time, meaning one group of content that is of the same type. In manufacturing, batch production allows a company to make many products on one machine, rather than buying several machines that run continuously. With cookies, for example, you can make all your chocolate chip cookies first, then move on to macadamia cookies, then oatmeal. The idea is to do a whole set at once.
How to batch effectively
In your social media content marketing efforts, consider your "buckets". Perhaps you've identified recipes, tips for kitchen tool maintenance, and spotlights of new products. Instead of creating Monday's recipe post, then the next day's product spotlight, then Wednesday's maintenance tip, then starting over with a recipe again, try batching. This means creating all of your recipe posts at once ahead of time as a batch so that then you have a few months of your Monday posts already done. Then move on to the next type of post and create multiple of that type of post in one sitting.
Batching is a more efficient use of time because it creates less of a cognitive load. When you switch from one task to another, your mind has to acclimate to the new task, or "get in the groove." You will likely be slower the first time you do a task than the fifth time you do it in one sitting, even if it's a task you perform often. Once you "get in the groove," you are more efficient at the later iterations of the task. So it is with content creation. Reduce the number of times you have to switch from one task to another by doing many of one type of content in a series.
You can't do this with in-the-moment, live, or other unique posts, but at least with your repeating content you will become more efficient. For example, with an Instagram series, I created all of my "universe" images in one day (the stars and galaxies you've seen throughout the series). For me, this reduced the cognitive time and energy it would have otherwise taken to switch from one task to another. I became more efficient and reserved more time to spend on the serendipitous engagement with my community.
It's time for our Content Calendar exercise. You're going to need an actual calendar (physical or digital) or a 7x4 grid on a blank piece of paper. 🗓🗝
Alright. Lots of "social media gurus" talk about content calendaring and yes it is critical that you do this. Critical to your success, but also to your peace of mind.
Remember that list of types of content you made yesterday? Today, we're going to use that list. 📋
Consistency is something that brings calm to your community. You can build in some consistency. So, take one content type that's going to help you reach your monthly goal (sales goal, signups goal, whatever your goal is—remember, it should be quantifiable). Now assign it to a day or multiple days on your calendar. For example, you decide every Tuesday and Thursday you'll publish posts about new inventory. 📅
Go through this process again with another content type. Perhaps every other Monday you'll link to a blog post that will be published on your website. ⏰
3. Is it realistic?
Ask yourself if your calendar is realistic. Can you publish a social media post on each of those days? If you decided you want to publish a live video every Monday, do you have the time to do live video every Monday? If you have images you want to publish every day, but don't have the time every day to do so, consider using third-party software that will let you schedule ahead. 💻
It feels so good to plan ahead. For example, I planned a month-long marketing strategy series for Instagram ahead of time, so publishing each post is a dream. I already know what is being published each day. It's great! I also did this with a friend last week who knows what content she needs each day, lessening the stress in her life.
I shared two simple steps on Instagram for how to plan ahead.
1. What will you create?
Take your list of content and think of what you need to do to create that content.
Do you need images? Are you going to create those images or find stock images? (Please do not just take images off the Internet—that is usually a really bad idea unless they are public domain, licensed for your use, you paid for them, or you got permission.)
Also, do you need to write captions, and how detailed do those captions need to be?
2. When will you create?
Plan on your calendar when you are going to have the time to create this content. It's that simple. If you don't figure out when you physically can make this happen, then you need to pay someone to make it happen.
Planning ahead in simple ways like this takes a lot of the stress out of your work. Imagine if you are starting each day thinking about what to do, then writing and creating it, then getting it out there.
In your business, do you start each day trying to decide what to sell, then go out and buy it, then get back in time to put it on the shelves, price it, and sell it? Uh, no. That is ridiculous. You start the month, or the week (depending on the business) with a plan for what you want to sell, what has been selling well, how much to buy, when to put it on the shelves, etc. Why would you do any differently with social media content? Yes, there are times when something surprising comes up and you want to post about it, like an award or a trend, but living day to day not knowing what's going on with your social media... that's a lot of stress.
What methods do you use for planning ahead and reducing the stress in your life related to marketing activities?
There are so many interesting small towns in the world and they happen to be full of talented people who are winning on social media. Therefore, let’s focus on one small town and see who’s producing amazing content. In this post, we’re focusing on photographers in Dahlonega, Georgia who you might want to follow on Instagram. #dahlonega
A photographer with a consistent aesthetic is Phil Procida, whose photos seem to have a dark sheen to them. I am mesmerized by his “glass ball” photo. Phil often features nature when the light is low, from dusk to even as late as 3am, so that he can play with an element of light in the composition. Some of his images will blow your lid off.
Cari Pilgrim calls herself a Dahlonega-based “elopement, wedding + portrait photographer.” Her Instagram account is full of awesome wedding shots as well as details between shots, like photos of the landscape around her. You might also want to visit her website, where she does a bit of storytelling to provide context to the photos. One of my favorite photos by this skilled wedding photographer is what I call “the leaning tree.”
Michelle + Brandon Horn
Meet the dynamic duo Michelle and Brandon Horn, who are husband and wife photographers in Dahlonega who describe themselves in three words: adventure, love, and life. They are great at creating not only a consistent visual aesthetic, but also a consistent value-based focus to their posts. For example, they include faithful messages in their Instagram feed, like their post about why they love to honor the Sabbath Day. Their photos capture the remarkable, intimate moments of weddings, such as their shot of a bride dabbing a tear from her eye.
Wisdom&Stature Photography is owned by Rachel, a “traveling wedding + portrait photographer” in Dahlonega who is “dedicated to capturing the beauty of every single moment.” Her Instagram feed has a professional feel, with each photo capturing that perfect moment. She’ll even make your shoes look good.
On the other end of the spectrum is Brittany Peters of Nine Sixteen Photography, whose Instagram feed makes you feel like you’re family. She shares the personal moments of her daily experience that help a prospective client understand the type of person he or she will be working with, because we know it’s not just about talent—it’s about personality too! She specializes in adorable Anne Geddes-style baby photos, and true to her personality, she throws in a few not-so-baby baby pics.
Who is your favorite Dahlonega-based photographer?
If you know of other talented photographers in Dahlonega and have a favorite Instagram account to share, please comment on this post! Let's help give some visibility to those skilled with the camera in Northern Georgia.