Notebook

Instagram Tips for Creatives & Small Business

@littlebitheart on Instagram

Social media is awesome, and OVERWHELMING. We always say that it’s way too much work to not be making money from haha- to be growing your following, connecting with your clients, and building relationships that BENEFIT your business outside of the app. We’ve been really focused on curating our Instagram feed and growing our reach the past few months, and we wanted to share a few quick tips that have really helped us!

1. Firstly, we can’t recommend Jenna Kutcher’s The Instagram Lab course highly enough- this is the push that we needed to really take Instagram seriously. The course is go at your own pace, full of AWESOME info, and Jenna is an amazing teacher that you’d want to hang out with :) It’s an investment, yes, but we needed that commitment to really focus. She also has a FREE 5 Day Instagram challenge– definitely worth signing up for!

2. Try to plan out your photos and captions as much as you can so you can post consistently and stick to a schedule- it is such a timesaver and totally saves you from those “what do I post now?!” moments. We stick to a once a day, every week day schedule and that works best for us (we can’t imagine coming up with photos and captions for more than that!). We highly recommend the app Plann (available for iPhone/Android)- granted, we haven’t tried others, but this is one of the only ones that we found that’s a one-time price, versus a recurring monthly fee. You can load in photos, draft your captions, and even set up hashtag groups (we really love that it keeps a running count of them as you type them in so you don’t go over 30 and then have to delete to get it down when you post!). Then, you can set a reminder for the time you want to post and just copy + paste over to Instagram.

3. The photos! Obviously the photos you use are crucial because Instagram is so visually based. We’re not photographers by any means, but we get by with natural light, neutral backgrounds, a few key props (seriously invest in some faux flowers- real is so great when you have them on hand, but fake ones are always ready haha! And they can look beautiful in photos!) and a couple amazing photo editing apps. We take and edit all of our photos for Instagram right on our iPhones. We like VSCO and A Color Story (the Fresh filter pack is our go-to) for editing photos, and TouchRetouch is a freaking amazing, 5 second Photoshop for when we need to edit out an address or invitation details (it’s basically having a Content Aware tool on your phone).

4. Looking for photos? Check out our FREE Instagram Resource Library for pics that you’re welcome to use (only thing we ask is that you tag us in the caption @littlebitheart)- we hope this can help fill in gaps in your feed and help you post consistently! It’s full of lettering images, some lifestyle and workspace pics, and of course wedding stationery- if it fits in with what you’re going for with your feed, feel free to share!

instagram resource library at little bit heart

 

4. Boosting your engagement will help get you into the “Top Posts” for the hashtags that you use which will get your post in front of more of the people you’re looking to connect with! We’ll be honest, we even have a family group text that we’ll send out to with our latest post- there are quite of few us with our own businesses, so this is a win/win :)

A few groups we love on Facebook that might work for you, depending on your niche:

Brenda’s Wedding Business Club
The Rising Tide Society
Think Creative Collective
Instagram For Business
Instagram Posse (check out this one for details on comment pods- such a good idea!)

Most of these groups have days where you can share your latest post for others to like and comment (you like and comment on theirs as well). Find other creatives and businesses in your niche and engage with each other!

Comments that are 4+ words have more weight in the algorithm (that #@$! algorithm! Instagram switched from showing posts chronologically, and they now use an algorithm to determine who sees your posts- they’re more likely to show up on the timeline of a follower that engages with you, or if the post itself has a high engagement rate) so they’ll help the most. As much as we love emojis, just leaving one emoji as a comment unfortunately doesn’t help much. Take the time to leave meaningful comments, and really read the caption to see if they’re asking you a specific question- it can be so helpful to have that first person acknowledge your conversation starter (ie “So, what shows are you watching lately on Netflix??”) instead of hearing crickets!

5. For hashtags, do your research and see what other accounts in your niche are using, or what hashtags your ideal client would be using. If you know blogs or accounts that you’d love to be featured by, check out their profile and feed to see if they have a hashtag that they pull content from (for example, #ohwowyes for Buzzfeed DIY or #soloverly for Loverly). Try to be specific and find targeted hashtags that have about 50k posts, as opposed to millions (#love)- that way you’re much less likely to get lost! You can use up to 30 hashtags on each photo. We usually put a couple in the actual post, and then put the rest in the first comment so they’re not cluttering up our caption. And we love this tip from Brenda’s Wedding Blog: it’s a good idea to only use 27 or so, then you have the freedom to add a couple more if the opportunity comes up (for example, if a brand wants to regram you, sometimes they’ll ask you to use a hashtag if you agree- that counts towards your 30!).

paper post: custom wedding paper timeline

littlebitheart_paperpost_customweddingpapertimeline

From save the dates to wedding day paper, these are the guidelines we frame around (of course, there are exceptions) for our custom clients; other stationers may work with a different timeline. Here are the basics:

10-12 months before your wedding: You’ll (hopefully!) be working with the same stationer throughout your wedding paper, so this is a great time to start making inquiries and getting the save the date design process started.

6-8 months before: mail out save the dates (for a destination or holiday wedding, you may want to send these out earlier).

5 plus months before: the invitation design process gets underway (for us, we ask for the invitation retainer prior to getting the design process started). This is when your stationer becomes your best email friend! Designs are created, critiqued and refined to the final stage. Your supply orders will be placed and your design will go to print. The remaining balance may be due at final proof approval (this is about 7 weeks before the mailing date for us).

6-8 weeks before: mailing out your invitations! We work with 8 weeks. The structure is a little like dominoes, each date depends on the one before it:

So if you wedding date is September 8…

your RSVP date would be around August 8 (domino: this date usually depends on when your caterer or venue needs the final headcount)…

and your invitations would be mailed around July 8 (domino: If you’re having a destination or holiday- like New Year’s Eve- wedding, or if you have a lot of out of town guests, you’d want to get your invitations out sooner).

There are other factors that may affect your timeline, but this will at least give you an idea of what to expect. Happy planning!

background image: joy michele photography

on wedding details

littlebitheart_paperpost_onweddingdetails

Weddings are a big deal.

You have wedding blogs, and wedding magazines, and wedding vendor blogs and wedding vendor magazines. There are inspiration boards for the colors, the flowers, the jewelry, the wedding party, the clothes, the table, the invitations, the photography.

So here it is: if you want them, all of these things matter. All of these things are little tiny pieces of the whole that are going to make the day YOURS. And you know what makes all of these details shine? The love that goes over and underneath and above all of them.

Next time you see a gorgeous wedding online, take a second to read (we know, we know. We look at the pictures first too) the text- why they chose that theme or that tradition or those flowers. If you still think the details don’t matter much after that, you’re reading the wrong blogs. Because there are blogs for every kind of wedding- the modern, the offbeat, the vintage, the handmade… you just need to find yours.

For us, it’s a little more than sad to read these articles lately that say details don’t matter, or this or that trend is so over or so last year.

Well, we’re so over hearing couples question themselves because they think that everyone has a photobooth or uses vintage china- if you love it, do it! Unless your guests are professional wedding guests (is this a possibility? If so sign us up!), they have no idea about “wedding trends” or the next big wedding thing. They just see a couple in love. If you think guests are standing in the hall talking about how the photobooth guestbook idea is sooo last year, someone needs to tell the guy who posted it on Facebook with the caption “Best idea ever. So ___ + ___.” True story.

We’re so over couples feeling judged because something they want is in all the wedding magazines right now. Or because it’s not.

So for all the engaged couples out there: it’s okay to want details. It’s okay to not want them- sometimes the detail that makes it so you two, is that there aren’t many. It’s okay to want something that just so happens to be the trend right this second- your love will make it timeless. It’s okay to think that detail you keep seeing is ridiculous and you would never.

It’s all okay- you’re getting married, and it’s your day. So do it up, and don’t let anyone let you feel bad about any of it.

background image: joy michele photography

paper post: wedding websites

littlebitheart_paperpost_weddingwebsites

The registry information…

The super long accommodations info that just wouldn’t fit on the Save the Date…

The who’s who of the bridal party that needs a ton of space…

Your proposal story that’s so sweet, but doesn’t fit in the program… guess what all these are?

Prime candidates for your wedding website.

Think of your wedding website as an extension of all your pretty paper: it’s a great place to share additional information that won’t work or fit on your printed pieces. Here are our tips for how do it and what should go on yours!

Where to start? The Knot and other similar sites have easy and free website builders for you to use- but your customization options are limited to their templates. Nearlyweds and Minted offer beautifully designed templates-  you can pay to upgrade to premium features, but they do have limited plans that are free. Appy Couple has gorgeous templates for websites and a coordinating app (how twenty first century!)- pricing is a one time fee that starts at $39.

Looking for something a bit more custom? Customizing a Blogger or WordPress.com site theme with your own graphics, colors and fonts might be the way to go. Want a cohesive look? Ask your designer if they customize wedding websites or if they could create web graphics for you to use.

It’s a good idea (ok, traditionally- it’s a must) to keep your registry information off your invitation- so if you’re registered, you’ll want to include that information on your website. Other things that may not fit on your invitation set that are shareworthy on the website: extended directions and accommodations information, your proposal story, your wedding party, and all those cute pictures of you two!

Having a destination wedding or expecting a lot of out of town guests? Load your wedding website up with fun local information, sites to see, and links from your city to explore.

background image: julie lim photography