Business Facebook groups are a wealth of information and the number one task small business owners struggle with is creating social media content. The common complaint goes something like this, “I hate creating social media content. It takes so long to create content for social media. I just want to be creative, not be on social media all day.”
Often the solution that others in the group respond with is “I can help with that by managing your social media accounts for you.” The response is usually “I don’t have the money.” It’s true social media managers are usually pricey, but their service is indispensable for some. Don’t worry, there are other ways to save time posting content that is free or doesn’t cost you a fortune.
When creating content entrepreneurs often get blank page syndrome. Suddenly you don’t know what to post. Your mind goes blank. What do you do now?
Reuse Your Content
The blank page syndrome comes from the belief that you have to create new content for every platform you have. It’s not true. The best advice I have been given, and give to you, is reuse your content. If you blog like me use your weekly blog posts to create content on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tik Tok and anywhere else you are social.
Creating brand new content for every platform is just a waste of time.
Break down your blog posts into smaller chunks to post on social media. If I were to use the content in this post from what I have written so far it would be about the common complaints entrepreneurs have about social media, then I would ask my audience about their complaints too. How simple is that?
Content Photo Ideas that'll Save You Time
Okay, so now you know how to reuse content across platforms. What other hang-ups about social media do entrepreneurs have? It takes too long to take photos and write captions.
There are two options to help you create photos in faster and cheaper way.
The first, buy stock photos. You could subscribe to shutter stock or big websites like that, but there are so many better and cheaper options out there.
There are photographers who sell instant downloadable stock photo bundles on Etsy, like me. I am working on bundles for those weird national days everyone posts about. National Chocolate Cupcake day is on October 18, so if you need some photos, check out my Etsy listing.
Many photographers also have their own member websites where you pay a monthly fee to get access to their entire library. A lot of those same photographers offer free photos monthly if you join their email list (like me as well) or see my Pinterest board on the subject by clicking here.
The second is to hire a photographer or friend to take photos of you. Come up with five different scenarios like working on your craft, having coffee at your favorite place or cooking with your family. Take a day to set-up and photograph all of those scenarios. When you’re done, you’ll probably have two to four month’s worth of photos to use. Block scheduling content like photos is one of the easiest ways to save time and have a plethora of content to use.
Or third, you could do a combination of both professional photographers and stock photos.
Concentrate on One or Two Social Platforms
Unfortunately, social media is a must for any business these days. So saying that it’s a waste of time and I just want to create is not very realistic. Marketing is an essential part of entrepreneurship, whether we like it or not. It takes time, but it’s worth it when you get those new clients or make sales.
If you’re still struggling with posting consistently to social media, then I would suggest pairing down how many platforms you are on. If you are a one person show, it would be hard to reuse content on five different platforms, especially if they are all different.
Concentrate on one or two platforms that you love using regularly. For example, I love Pinterest so I use it for my business and I also love the feel of Instagram because of all the pretty photos. I am concentrating on building my audience on these two platforms before moving on to any others. I just don’t have time, especially this year, to add any more to my entrepreneurial plate.
These things I have learned over the past five years running my business. Before I was a stock and fine art photographer, I photographed weddings and family portraits. I switched because I wasn’t interested in doing that type of photography anymore, but it taught me so much about running a business. These are the ideas I learned and thought of (if I had to start all over again).
I really hope this helped you realize that creating content doesn’t have to be hard and that you are a little more confident in posting to social media. Let me know what you think of this post in the comments below or if you have something to add that everyone can benefit from.
Are you planning for October, November and December yet on your feed or blog? I know I am and lots of other creative business owners and influencers. If you’re not ready and need content ideas I love this website nationaltoday.com.
National Today lists all those obscure national holidays that you see on everyone's Instagram feed, blogs and Pinterest. Even if you’re not into that kind of content the calendar is just fun to look at. It’s amazing what kids of things are now recognized as national days. There’s everything from National Fossil Day to National Text Your Ex Day. Why someone who ever want the latter day is beyond me, hahaha!
In order to help you create content for these crazy days I have been adding photos to my Etsy shop starting with national holidays in October. This past week I added National Chocolate Cupcake Day on October 18th and National M&M Day on October 13th.
You can grab the full sets on my Etsy shop or get a few free ones by signing up for my weekly email list, which gives you access to my free gallery that I am constantly building. Click the button below to sign up!
Last year I purchased a sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project from the Brooklyn Art Library. I had comprehensive plans for it, just like everything else in my life in 2020. It ended up turning into a collage and drawing sketchbook about my feelings throughout this year so far. The deadline slowly, but also unknowingly approached and photography became a straightforward way of completing the sketchbook.
I have always used sketchbooks in the past for art classes, but never just as one to do whatever with. I now realize they are essential things to any creative process. I have discovered the art journaling, taking notes and keeping information is more easily remembered in these little books if you always have them with you.
Art is a process, and brilliant ideas come with a lot of thinking and planning. So if you’re not keeping a sketchbook even for photography, here’s five reasons you should.
1. Develop Ideas
If you are anything like me you have a million different things running through your head a day. You also have a million more for photo shoots or drawings. Sketchbooks help hash out those ideas to see if they are even viable.
Sketchbooks also helps develop over all visions about bigger projects like a series or themes you want to explore. Often when I have one idea, it will lead to a series of other ideas related to the first. Hence, creating a series or theme you didn’t think of before.
2. It’s a Place to Safely Express Yourself and What You Are Feeling
A marvelous thing about a sketchbook is you don’t have to show it to anybody. Like a written journal, it’s a visual place for your thoughts. It takes the pressure off to be perfect and just make whatever pops into your head.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Want to get better at making art? Drawing? Observing? Or new ideas? Practice. Every day. And there’s no better place to do it than a sketchbook, because sketchbooks don’t have to be perfect. Also, by keeping a sketchbook you can see how much you have progressed and use it as inspiration to continue.
4. It Becomes a Source of Inspiration
Maybe you are stuck on what photo to take next or series to work on for your blog. Flip back through your sketchbooks. Was there something, an idea, there you wanted to expand on? Maybe a pic you forgot about or a quote that sparked a painting?
Having ideas to go back to means you’ll never run out of inspiration. You’ll never run out of ideas. You’ll never stop creating.
5. It Helps You to be Mindful and Live for Today
Do you see things in your day to day that you wish you could remember? That inspired you to create? I do all the time.
Sometimes I put the inspiration and idea in my phone, but I never remember to look at them later. When I have a small sketchbook that I can fit in my purse I am much more mindful of the things I see. I’ll often stop to look longer, write more details, or even draw the scene. I am excited to review what I wrote or drew that day. I am thankful for it.
Bonus tip for photographers:
I know a sketchbook might seem like a silly thing for photographers, but for product, stock, flat lays and even portrait sessions they are helpful.
See my photo of stock photo sketches I have planned out below? I do this so when I am shooting I can immediately move into the next scene without having to use valuable brain power deciding what I will do next. I have so many other thoughts in my mind to think about, I can’t make up scenarios as I go.
Sketching allows me to free up brain space to focus on camera settings and the best lighting for each shot. It also helps save time by allowing me to pump out photos quickly because I already thought of everything else.
The best thing about a sketchbook is seeing your growth not only as an artist, but as a person. It will boost your creativity and your mind.
This post is to mainly let you know that I have an additional set of stock photos available in my Etsy shop. But I also wanted to take this moment to talk about using stock photography and the stigma around it.
I think stock photography has had a poor reputation for far too long. Look, I have preconceived notions about stock photography too. Stock photography I have seen in my lifetime is far too cheesy, not relatable, and frankly just unimaginative. Let’s use stock photography to make our Instagram feeds and blogs creative again.
I also think Instagram feeds and stock photos are going down a strange and trendy path where everyone is looking the same. White backgrounds, neutral or blush tones and pink everywhere! Why do we want to all look the same in business and personality? Let’s get creative, let’s get different and make whatever you use stock photography for stand out, especially for your business.
The most common comment I get about stock photography is “stock for are ugly and I can never find anything decent.”
Stock images traditionally are ugly, but usually the ugly stock photos belong to large stock photo websites. What most people don’t know is that Shutterstock and iStockphoto are not the only websites anymore to offer stock photography. Many photographers now offer their own membership sites or sell on markets on Etsy. Find out who these photographers are and use their stock directly from them.
Often when you buy stock from individual photographers, the images are at affordable prices. You are also supporting a small business, which always is a good thing. So why is stock photography more affordable through small businesses? Stock photography with bigger companies has a higher overhead cost. Think about all the website maintenance, people they have to pay and photographers associated with larger companies. With small businesses, you don’t have to spend a fortune to use their stock images, plus individual photographers will have curated content. With larger websites, you must sift through the images to find images that play well together.
Speaking of curated content, buying stock from one particular photographer makes your visual brand look more cohesive. This is because that photographer has a specific style which shows up in their stock photos repeatedly. As stated above you don’t have to search a large website for images that feel cohesive. Most photographers/small business sell their photography as bundles, giving you full access to a group of photos for multiple posts on blogs, social media, etc.
Stock photography is not just for social feeds, websites and blogs. It also makes for great DIY projects too (check out the poster I made for my kitchen here using my herb stock photos). You can make these photos into affordable art prints, collages and more!
So have I convinced you yet that stock photography isn’t all that bad. Save time coming up with content images by finding a photographer you like and buy their stock images. Get free ones (updated monthly, sometimes weekly) by joining my email list here. Or check out my Etsy shop for larger bundles to purchase.
Another cool thing about the Etsy marketplace is the plethora of stock images that are available. I always thought Etsy was exclusive to makers, but many artists and photographers sell stock images and graphics for very affordable prices. And what I love about the images on Etsy is that most of them aren’t cheesy. The stock images are beautiful!
It got me thinking, what else can you use stock images for other than blogs and Instagram. I thought you could make your own DIY art! It’s a fun way to add a personal touch to your home décor.
So I took a few of the stock images I have available on my Etsy shop of herbs and spices and pulled them into the graphic design web software Canva. I had the idea to make a poster for my kitchen out of those herbs and spices images and what a perfect fit!
Here's what it looks like...
Personally, I think it looks pretty cool! Imagine this hanging above your desk where you work on your garden plan or a blank wall in your kitchen.
Here’s a fun example:
I am truly getting this poster printed. When it's done I'll update this blog with what it looks like. I can't wait to show it to you!