Tag: Instagram

instagram planning apps

Do You Need to Plan Your Instagram Feed? Tips for Useful Apps

Short answer? Yes and… no. It depends on how you want to use Instagram. Let’s have a look at two different ways you can use Instagram.

Instagram Grid is like your portfolio with the best photos representing your brand and Instagram Stories are a great way to share random moments from your day and they disappear in 24 hours. Today let’s talk about the Instagram Grid:

When a user discovers your profile, they browse through your grid and decide if the story your profile tells about you resonates with them enough to want to follow you. It’s important that it has a theme, so it communicates your brand.

Instagram Pro’s (usually bloggers and influencers) even edit their photos in a unified way and carefully plan out the posts so they work together on the grid. Here are some examples:

instagram influencers

However, when you look at the feeds of celebrities and personalities, you don’t see that level of effort as you do with influencers. For people famous outside of social media, it’s all about letting their fans in their lives, showing behind the scenes photos etc. Their feeds don’t look unified, but their face and status is a theme on its own. Here are some examples:

instagram celebrities

What should I choose?

Both ways of using Instagram are right and the choice depends on what you want to get out of using the app.

  • Do you want to focus on your acting career and only use social media in order to have an online presence?
  • Do you what to show what you are working on?
  • Do you want to just share photos from your life as an actor to connect with your fans? 

    If you answered YES to these questions and the thought of putting too much time and effort into Instagram stresses you out, then you should approach it like celebrities do. Just keep on sharing your life as you please.

    OR

  • Are you considering using social media as a content creator?
  • Do you want to start your own side hustle/online business to support your acting career?
  • Do you want to work with brands on sponsored content?

If you answered YES to these questions, then you should use Instagram as influencers do. Just know it’s a lot of work and you’ll need to put in a lot of hours before you begin to see any significant results. However, if you are excited about photography, enjoy expressing yourself this way or you have a particular project in mind, then you won’t mind all the work and you’ll have fun with the process.

Luckily for you, there are some really cool apps that can make it much easier for you to prepare the content for your Instagram in bulk. I’ve talked about batch creating in my e-book Social Media for Actors, but let’s recap why it’s useful to prepare content in bulk:

  • Consistency: If you have enough content prepared, it allows you to always have something to post even on the busiest days. That way you won’t stop posting and keep a consistent posting schedule.
  • Convenience: You don’t have to make time every single day to think of something to post. If you set aside time to prepare it in a batch, it will make your life so much easier.

Unlike with Twitter or Facebook, you can’t automate your posts. Instagram doesn’t allow 3-party sites to post on your account’s behalf. This means, that even when you use apps for planning, all you can do is prepare the posts and set a reminder. You’ll still have to do the publishing by hand.

Let’s have a look at some of the best apps out there:

PLANOLY

I really like Planoly for its friendly user interface. My most favorite function is the grid planning drag & drop feature, where you can upload a bunch of photos, move them around and decide in which order you are going to publish them based on how they look next to each other.

You also have a calendar, where you see photos you posted on each day, likes and comments. In the analytics, you have some useful data, this will help if your Instagram account set on personal and not on business (where you have an analytics function). Another great function is the hashtag storage that allows you to simply add the hashtag cloud to a photo. Planoly has a desktop version that allows you to prepare the content on your computer.

UNUM

UNUM only works as an app, it doesn’t have a desktop version. The app has very similar functions as Planoly does, including analytics, calendar etc. It’s easy to navigate and learn to work with this app if you prefer something more minimalist.

LATER

Later, formerly called Latergram, is a very simple app with a few functions that get the job done. Their desktop version is way more sophisticated than the mobile app with additional functions similar to Planoly and UNUM.  A great thing about Later is that you can also use it for other apps than Instagram, it works for Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest as well.

All three of these apps are available for iOS and Android devices and have free (limited functions) as well as paid plans (more features). If you want to learn how to work with the apps, they all have YouTube channels or blogs with tutorials (Planoly, UNUM, Later).

Safety tip: All these apps I recommend because I’ve tested them out myself. I’ve checked user reviews for any red flags when it comes to safety. There are plenty of apps out there that have similar features, but you should always read user reviews and search the Internet for any warnings. Also, read the Terms of Service and think twice before allowing access to your phone or your account. Read more about Instagram safety tips in my previous article.

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Wanna learn more about Instagram? Check out my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.

Let the community know if you are using any cool apps they should know about in the comments below.

social-media-jobs

Social Media Survival Jobs for Actors

Online marketing is a perfect area in which actors can find survival jobs. Why? It’s flexible, can be done from anywhere at any time. Also, there are many companies and digital agencies looking for flexible and creative people.

What jobs can you do in online marketing?

Account Management
Can you manage Facebook pages or groups, YouTube channels, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest profiles? You can get hired by a company or a digital agency to manage their client’s profiles. Search for Account Management or Community Management jobs.
Data Entry
Do you enjoy working with spreadsheets or documents and are super organized? Many companies or freelancers look for virtual assistants to help them out with administration.
Copywriting
Product description, video scripts, captions, website copy, slogans and claims, bios and profile descriptions, all of this needs a creative mind behind it. If writing is your skill, you might be able to put it to use in this job.  Check out SMFA ninja and SMFA-U Prof Quincy Cho and her awesome copywriting business as a great example.
Data Analysis
They say this is the job of the future in the area of online marketing. Do you have the ability to think analytically, can sort out numbers and data into reports, that would help companies make better business decisions? This might be the right gig for you.
SEO Optimization
Do you understand how search engines work, can analyze keywords, do link building, correct HTML & CSS codes and such? SEO Specialists very sought after.
Web Design
Can you code or optimize WordPress templates? Great! You can work with digital agencies and companies as their in-house coder, or you can freelance and offer your services, which will give you even more freedom.
Graphic Design
Companies need logos, wireframes, ads graphics, social media graphics and much more. Graphic design is one of the most sought after skills in online marketing, not to mention amongst the best-paid jobs.
Content Creation
Are you good at photography, filming and editing videos, writing blog posts or creating simple graphics? Companies or agencies need creatives full of ideas both for one-off or regular gigs.
Brand Deals
Influencer marketing is a current trend because brands realize that people’s shopping habits have changed thanks to the Internet. People want to read or watch a review and hear recommendations from other people. So brands hire people with an online presence to review their products.
Sales
Do you have a talent for business? Companies are constantly hunting for great sales people and are often willing to negotiate flexible hours allowing you to work from home, run off to auditions and organize work so it suits your needs as long as you are delivering results.
Emailing
Do you understand emailing services and CRM systems? These skills are very sought after because e-mail is still among the best marketing channels. The best thing is that many tasks can be automatized, allowing you for a lot of freedom to do work when it suits you.
FB or PPC Ads
Can you create Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest ads and you know how to work with Google AdWords? These skills are highly sought after by companies with products or services. Search for Ads Manager jobs.

How to start with online marketing

Now, from my personal experience, it’s really useful to have a general knowledge of online marketing and a mix of skills even though you may specialize in a particular area.
Digital Agencies
If you have a user-level knowledge of social media and would like to do it professionally, consider getting a day job in a junior position at a digital agency. This is going to be the best learning experience as agencies often need universal soldiers, so you’ll get to do a bit of everything (at least according to my experience, can’t speak for all agencies).
Even though you can often work from home, it’s really good to go to the office as well, because working in a team is incredibly valuable. You can teach each other a lot and it will make you grow faster than being on your own all the time.
Check out Digital Agencies Network to find one the where you live: https://digitalagencynetwork.com/agencies/
Companies
Another option is to look for junior positions in marketing departments of companies. Perhaps your work won’t be as colorful as in a digital agency, but you can still learn a lot by working for a single brand.
Where to get remote jobs:
The upside of these sites is that if you are just starting out and need to get your first clients and references, you might get ones here. Set up daily e-mail digests to cut down on the time spent on that. The downside of these sites is a high competition rate and clients often look at the price and take the lowest.
Here is where all your SMFA ninja training pays off. Just like you create a Show Bible, you can create a list of companies you’d like to work for and approach them directly. Either responding to their job offers or just reach out with an offer of your own. Often companies hire even when they don’t advertise that.
You can also search for remote or digital nomad job-search focused groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.
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Did you like these tips? Make sure to let me know in the comments below and if you’d like to learn how to use social media like a ninja, check out my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.
instagram hacked

How to Prevent Your Instagram Account from Being Hacked

More and more Instagram accounts are being hacked these days, which is quite scary. You are building your account to represent your actor brand, investing a lot of time and effort into it and you wouldn’t want it to go to waste. So let’s have a look at what you can do to prevent a hack from happening.

HAVE A STRONG PASSWORD
A strong password should be AT LEAST 6 characters long, the longer, the better. It should consist of a combination of  Capital Letters, Lower-Case Letters, Numbers, and Symbols. Also, don’t forget to change your password every once in a while and don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. Think twice before saving your passwords in a browser for convenience.

KEEP YOUR E-MAIL SECURE
Whoever has access to your e-mail might be able to get to your Instagram account, too. Do you let someone else use your computer or smart phone? They might unintentionally visit a website that harms your computer or smartphone. Make sure you log-off your e-mail, use a strong password and use a security lock on your phone. Also be careful about using public wi-fi.

USE THIRD PARTY APPS WITH CAUTION
There are some great apps for planning your posts that I recommend using in my e-book Social Media for Actors. These apps are approved by Instagram or even Instagram Partners. Before using any third-party app, it’s important to read their Terms of Service and do some research into what people say about the app.
I do not recommend using apps for buying or otherwise acquiring followers, mass following and unfollowing. These apps generally aren’t approved by Instagram and Instagram is shutting these apps down for API violations.

TURN ON TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Instagram created the two-factor authentication to further secure user’s accounts, but still many people don’t know they can protect their accounts this way.
How to turn it on? 
1. Go to your profile and click on   ios-settings-sign(iOS) or   android-settings-sign(Android).
2. Scroll down to ACCOUNT settings and click on Two-Factor Authentication.
3. Turn on  turn on signRequire Security Code by swiping on the icon. If it’s white then it’s OFF, if it’s blue then it’s ON.
4. Now you need to add your phone number, so you can receive a code. Your phone number will now be linked to your account for further security.
5. You’ll receive a code via text message, insert the number and click Next.
You’ll also notice that you now have Backup Codes for your Instagram account. You should save them safely as you’ll need to use them in case something happens with your account.

I hope you found these tips helpful and continue to enjoy Instagram. There is no need to panic over losing your account or to become paranoid and stay away from anything online. However, it’s good to adopt habits that will keep you safe online.

Would you like more tips like this? Leave me a comment or tweet me @SMforActors.

instagram photo editing apps

Great Photo Editing Apps for Instagram

Instagram is an excellent social media site for actors! It’s simple, visual and it’s easy to connect with a lot of creatives there. Not to mention this site has a great potential for actors as a side gig. But more on that in my eBook Social Media for Actors. In this article, I’d like to talk more about photo editing apps.

Some people use Instagram as their visual diary and not give much thought into editing – that’s perfectly fine. However, if you’d like to up your game with great photos, you’ll have to learn some editing skills. No need to get worried though, there are some amazing apps that you can use on your phone that will do the job.

SNAPSEED

snapseed

This app from Google can improve your photos just in a few clicks. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices. What makes it so great? It’s user-friendly, has an in-app manual that will teach you how to edit your photos and most editing tools have an automatic mode that will improve your photo. It doesn’t always work 100% (especially white balance or brightness), so use it in moderation. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like me to create a video tutorial for this app.

VSCO

vscoThis app has some amazing presets that work magic with your photos (pst, my favorite is F2!), but it’s not exactly very user-friendly. At first, I got discouraged from using this app exactly for this reason, but I’m glad I pushed through the learning curve and these days I don’t edit my photos without it. In addition to the presets, you can edit the photo in any way you like. VSCO is available for Android and iOS. What more, VSCO isn’t just a photo-editing app, it’s also a community of photography lovers.

MORE photo-editing APPS

There are a few more apps that I’ve experimented with, but don’t use regularly. They usually allow some basic editing and have some filters more similar to the in-app ones Instagram offers. Some have additional features (light leaks, lens flares, advanced face tuning, etc.) you can have some fun with.

  • Photoshop Express
  • Photoshop Lightroom
  • Prisma
  • Aviary
  • Pixlr
  • Enlight
  • A Color Story
  • EyeEm
  • Airbrush (free version of Facetune)

More ADVANCED INSTAGRAM tips:

  • Choose a theme – let your photos tell the story of who you are and what are you interested in
  • Edit photos in the same way – consistently looking grid looks better as a whole
  • Your grid is like your showreel – post only your best work
  • Post consistently – no need to post the photo the same day you took it, plan your grid ahead in 3, 6 or 9 photo series
  • Stories are the place to experiment as they are more raw and forgiving

Now, you don’t NEED to do all this if it will take the joy out of using Instagram for you. But consider applying these tips if it excites you to get creative and you’d enjoy building a beautiful grid.

Wondering what to share, how to plan your posts and grow your audience? Learn all about it here.