Author: Lucy Hall

Visual Social Media Toolkit: The tools that make social media image and video creation easy

Social media marketing is tough, you need to be present, you need to be creative, you need to be strategic. So then how is it possible to do all of this when perhaps as either business owners and marketers our time is limited and all of these things are different skill sets? TOOLS of course!

Over the last few years as social media has become a mainstay in marketing the tools for managing social media have become more and more sophisticated. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer are the norm in a social media managers life now as being able to batch schedule to free up time for engagement is key to a successful, consistent social media strategy.

There are more impressive tools out there for image and video creation too, if you haven’t heard of Canva yet… where have you even been? – Canva is a visual social media tool where you can create fantastic images for your social media profiles without the need for a designer or photoshop skills.

These tools above are more or less staples of a social media managers business tool kit. How did we even manage before Canva and Buffer? I suppose there was Pic Monkey... Actually Pic Monkey is also pretty good, having had a major update recently, also you can’t really crop with Canva (or at least I haven’t worked out how to) with Canva you can crop and create transparent PNG images, with Canva you can but you have to pay for that, not much mind you but I always think it’s best to have a few tools in your bag. For cutting your images out onto a transparent background normally you’d have to use photoshop or pay a designer to batch crop your products, well no more is that the case, there’s 2 tools I use to cut out busy backgrounds and they are clipping magic and background bonanza. Both have a free version and both have a paid version and you are talking a few small pounds per month and the tool literally evaporates your backgrounds in a click of a switch.

Adobe not wanting to be left out of the easy templated image creation space launched Adobe Spark, it’s free, it’s fantastic and it’s very easy to use. Again no photoshop skills required, perfect for your blog headers, facebook and twitter images. All cropped to the right size for each social network. Actually Spark has even more to offer than the Canva’s and Pic Monkey because it also offers a video creation template (well several actually) you can upload or use the free stock images and video provided to create some great videos with text overlay and music, you can also easily record your voice over the top with a click of a button. They also include story templates which takes the planning out of the videos slightly, meaning if you have a creative video / slideshow idea then it’s easy just to populate the story very quickly. It’s also worth mentioning that Buffer have an Image creation tool too called Pablo (awesome name, I know) It’s very easy to batch create images and you can schedule them straight out though buffer.


Then there’s the image apps for your phone, i’ve personally been in love with Wordswag App for a long time now, it so easy to use and to create attractive images within seconds from your phone. There is an issue though, now that so many people are using it some of the designs do look a bit samey.. so it’s okay to have the tools but I think you still have to think creatively in terms of the images you create.. have you seen someone else using the same images and fonts? if so try to change it up a bit. Typorama is also a staple on my iPhone, it’s practically the same as wordswag, in fact the free images library they use is the same (pixabay) but the font are different. With both you have the ability to upload your logo to make your images look branded. It’s worth sticking to a design type or colour scheme for all of your brands content this way you’ll become instantly recognisable over time to clients and potential customers on social media. Some other similar tools I have on my phone for this reason are PicsArt, Photocandy and of course Canva (There you go Canva…. is that enough of a shout out for you).

Not only have the image creation tools exploded over the past couple of year but video tools are also getting more and more sophisticated. The more we use our smartphones to create the more there became a need for post production video tools that we can use easily on our phone, not only that but many of us don’t want to be on screen and so there are tools that make it really simple to create video (literally drag and drop) with stock image and animation just like Adobe Spark I mentioned earlier. These include web tools like Biteable, Biteable is one of my personal favourites it’s free or low cost (I would get the paid version to remove the Biteable branding literally £100 for the year). They have heaps of animation and footage available that you can drag drop and edit easily. Then there’s Animoto, again Animoto is a great tool for creating drag and drop animation.


The video apps for your smartphone are so easy to use, so easy that it even makes video creation fun! Now you can be creative without needing the technical skills to see your stories instantly come to life! Tools like Ripl are fantastic for creating templated short video for social media. Like Typorama (I mentioned earlier) there is Videorama which literally does the same thing but for video. If you are an iPhone user i recommend that you use iMovie the app for post iPhone video production, it’s so easy to use and it’s free! Perfect for editing short pre recorded video.

Gifs are trendy again, remember myspace? it used to be bursting with fun and colourful animated gifs! Well, they are back! Since the major social networks started to accept Gifs we’ve all gone gif mad. If you aren’t in on the Gif action, then download the Giphy cam app or Gif X, these tools enable you to create fun and eye catching images right from your phone that you can embed in blogs and share on social media. Oh again, they are so simple to use.






Avatars of yourself are a fun way to show your personality without having to show your face, BitMoji is wonderful for creating your own avatar to share on social media or to add to your Canva images and so on. It’s actually owned by Snapchat and so integrated seamlessly. This app is available for your phone or even as a Chrome extension. You can even dress up in different outfits depending on the way you feel. Get the keyboard extension too so you can reply to social media massages with a simple avatar that gives a visual representation of how you are feeling. Emoji Me is also top for this, you can literally create an emoji that looks exactly like you wrinkles and all!


Oh what a day! Social Day Birmingham… 27th April 2017 was a day not to be missed if you work in social media or you run a business where you are responsible for the content and social media. Why? because we got together and learnt, we networked, we created and we laughed. And if you didn’t make it don’t worry, i’ve put together a roundup to give you a flavour (just a flavour… you should have been there!) of what went on…. So I want you to grab a cup of tea and relax, soak it up and imagine what it’s like to be part of something so special..

Social Day Birmingham kicked off with Julia Bramble, Julia talked about the importance of human interaction in a digital world. She threw colourful paper around the room exclaiming it was just like the content people share on social media… colourful rubbish. Julia asked us to think about the content we create and to remember the importance of just making more in depth connections with our customers.

Next up came Daniel Knowlton. To kick off his talk Daniel ran a giveaway asking the audience to post up a tweet with a selfie on social media, the winner was to take away 2 emoji cushions and bottle of bubbly, this got everyone creating content and interacting straight away. Daniel then took the topic of Influencer marketing and flipped it, telling the audience how they could become influencers online in their own right by creating incredible content, giving away valuable information for free that actually helps people. Daniel has used this strategy in his business to become on of the top influential digital marketers in the world.

Desi Dobreva talked about how to really use instagram for business sharing her top tools and ideas for growing a following. Desi explained that using hashtags in Instagram posts should be a key strategy. She also talked about the importance of branding in Instagram and social media. A great Instagram feed should be instantly recognisable as your own brand, in your own brand colours and style. To do this Desi explained that you should stick to certain colours and if possible stay away from the selfies! Again make sure you are posting consistently and using the stories and livestream capabilities available in the Instagram App.

After the break we heard from Cas Majid. Cas took us through his 8 steps to social media strategy success. Before he began his step by step talk he reminded us that with social media there are no silver bullets and that everything is different based on the objective of each company. Cas took us though his social media strategy beginning with: Start with the end in mind meaning that we need to have a goal to work towards, you can’t have a strategy without an objective. He then said before jump in we should analyse the platforms to see what fits in best with our objectives. Cas discussed the importance of social listening, curating and creating content and how being consistent is really important. He touched on social media post timing, looking at trends and things happening in the calendar and media as well assesing our values. Lastly Cas discussed the importance of mesaurement and testing.

Victoria Taylor was up next. Victoria spoke about the importance of customer experience. But first she explained what customer experience is: Victoria explained that customer experience is the product of an interaction between a business and a customer over the duration of their relationship, this interaction is made up of three parts:

1.) The customer journey

2.) The business touch-points a customer interacts with

3.) The environments the customer experiences (including digital environment) during their experience

Victoria asked up to think about experiences as mini moments

“All of these elements are mini experiences that someone has with you… you are only as good as the last ‘moment’ that you had with someone, so how do you make each moment memorable every single time? Victoria gave the audience a practical exercise asking them to create a mini moment about their best moment from social day and post it on social media. The 2 winners will receive a copy of Brian Solis book. 

Lucy Hall (yeah that’s me) then came to the front to discuss tools, including visual, video and content creation tools such as Canva, PicMonkey, Bitmoji, Wordswag, PicsArt, Clips, Biteable, Animoto, iMovie, Giffy. Then tools for instagram: Planoly, Tagomatic, Layout. Boomerang. Scheduling tools included: Buffer, Hootsuite, SmarterQueue, Sprout Social, AgoraPulse. We then discussed analytics and passed over the to the audience to give their own tool suggestions which included: SEM Rush… (Stay tuned for a full list of tools discussed during social day – there were lots!)

After lunch we welcomed Andrew and Pete with an energetic performance about content, called ‘contents a beach’ – Equipped with beach balls. They explained the importance of being different and asked the audience to stop creating boring content. They asked us to put more effort into a post after working out that they spent a week on a social media examiner post so why don’t they do the same for their own blog? And since they took the time to create they have seen their business and clients business grow.

Next up came a really powerful testimonial for livestream from the inspirational Mr A Singh (Amrit Singh) Amrit told his livestream story showing how he was also able to use social media and livestream for good with his humanitarian efforts. He also managed to grow a business, He gave his tips for success.

Mike Hacker (Also known as Hax) took us through how to create great video using your mobile phone.. wow this was cool, mike did all his talking through video showing real life examples of how to improve your production including and this tip is good! – ‘Remember to clean your phone camera lenses”… it smudges you know? And if you stand further away from your smartphone the sound quality deteriorates so ensure you use a lapel mic. Some great takeways here, it was like having 2 Hax’s for our money in the room! We were seeing double…

Abdul Shakur discussed social selling and explained that relationships are key, that making your content and message all about the customer is best and reinforced the fact that education, help and nurture will often lead to the sale.

Then came the panel session, all the speakers got together at the top to answer the audiences burning questions. Here are some of the top tweets about that!

So there you have it… It’s not over though, it’s not. I don’t hear any fat lady singing. See you in London. 😉

Facebook just launched live video in messenger called Instant Video.

Facebook just launched live video in messenger!

The updates just keep rolling out for Facebook this year! Facebook just launched live video in messenger called Instant video! Another great feature Facebook should be applauded for.

Here’s what the team Facebook had to say:

‘we simply expect to have that ability in real-time, all the time. With Instant Video, you can bring your conversations to life in the most authentic way — seamlessly and instantly. It’s perfect for sharing quick moments with friends who aren’t right by your side or making your conversations richer by seeing each other face-to-face when you are messaging’

According to Facebook, here’s how it works:

‘First make sure that both you and your friend have the latest version of Messenger for either iOS or Android. Then, while both of you are viewing an open Messenger conversation, tap on the video icon in the top right corner to start sharing real-time video. Audio is off by default because sometimes you just need to see something, not hear it — but sound can easily be turned on if you choose. Your video will float over the active text conversation that you can continue while viewing the video. Your friend can watch your video stream and share a video back if they decide.’

instant video

Sounds awesome right?

Obviously this is a great fun feature for friends to keep in touch in real time with live video. But what are the uses for business? I can think of a few. Watch this space for our ideas for businesses using instant video in Facebook messenger.

How will you be using this new update?

Get the full story here.

Snapchat just made it really easy to create your own GeoFilter!

Snapchat Geofilters are a great way to snap moments that include your special event whether it be personal or business, such as Birthdays, Weddings, Corporate Events or Special Occasions.

We shared a video recently showing you how to create a Snapchat Geofilter using Canva, well now you don’t even need to do that!

Snapchat has added a new feature where you can simply login and create and edit templated Geofilters!

Currently Snapchat has 3 categories for design your own: Birthdays, Celebrations and Weddings.

So how do you do it?


Go to geofilters.snapchat.com and login with your snapchat ID and password.

2. Choose – Create online (as seen on right ghostie in screen grab)

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 21.22.48
3. Choose the type of event you’d like to create a Geofilter for (Birthdays, celebrations or weddings as per screen grab. Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 21.22.55

4. Use the editor to design your snapchat Geofilter – No design skills necessary!

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 21.23.14

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.27.42

5.Choose the date you wish your Geofilter to run from and to.

6. Choose your area, such as a venue or house where the event takes place. Remember the wider the SQFtage the higher the price. Generally for 1 venue for 24hrs it will be just $5!

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.29.01

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.33.16

create your own GeoFilter

So there you go! What Geofilter will you be creating next?

Get Started with Snapchat – Quickfire Guide

Here’s your quickfire guide on how to get and use Snapchat..No frills I am afraid, just this is how you do it! – Perfect for those of you just jumping on the wagon!

Snapchat is so simple to use, literally anyone can get the app and get going. You need no tech know how just a phone and space for the app!

Let’s get going, as you are here I feel like you’ve not got or used snapchat

Get the app

This bit is very easy.. go to the app store or android store and get the Snapchat app (it’s free)

Sign up

When you use the Snapchat app for the first time you’ll need to sign up – which is the norm with social media and many apps. Follow the instructions and move on.

Basic bootcamp

Straight in, you’ll get a photo of your own face, take a selfie! Tap the button and take a photo. You are also able to (Instead) make a short video of about 10 seconds or upload and image or video you prepared earlier. This part is pretty fun, your pic will end up inside a little ghost shaped box with some dots around it, it’s called a snapcode, this is like your snapchat calling card or actually it’s a bit like a QR code (remember those!?) You can also use the front camera if you wish and in that case you may want someone else to take the photo.
You can download your snapcode and send to your friends or business contacts.

Making connections

You are able to access your contacts from your phone to see who is currently on Snapchat and connect with them (it always seems a little lonely when you first join a new social network)

Lenses & Filters

Okay, you’ve probably seen people sharing their snap stories and photos with funny filters and lenses around social media? These make your snaps more entertaining, exciting, funny and interesting and there are new ones added regularly. To turn yourself into a snapchat creature or make yourself look beautiful simply press and hold your face, you’ll see a mesh and you’ll be able to scroll along the lenses at the bottom of the page and with press once to take a photo or hold down to make a video.

For filters, simply slide your screen to the right with your finger and you’ll see a number of filters such as the time, speed or sometimes there are custome geo-filters that people have created such as for towns, events or parties that you can also use.

Story and chat

You can then add your snaps and images from the day to your story, once you’ve made your snap you’ll see a blue arrow in the bottom right corner.. press it and you’ll have the option to add to your story (your story is public for everyone to see) or you can send your snap privately to your connections. There are some great options in chat, such as live video streaming, adding images, calling privately and so on! The key is to just get on and try it.

For business: Geo-filters are also a good way to promote your own events and services….

Add me and send me your snaps I am Lucycshall on Snapchat.

Giving it a go won’t hurt and once you’e done the basics there is a chance you’ll get hooked! You’ll learn as you go from here but for more tips and tools keep an eye on this blog plus socialday.co.uk and socialdaytraining.com whereby they’ll be new guides, videos and training content added regularly!

This post originally appeared here

The Importance of Adding Value To Your Social Media Audience

The secret to a successful social media campaign is out! and it’s this simple: Give your audience or community VALUE! Is this obvious to you? Or does that confuse you? – Whatever, it doesn’t matter, offering value is the best way to build a great audience and build your influence on social media! In this post i’ll explain why… but first let’s look at the mistake many businesses make:

Many businesses make the mistake on social media of setting up and just posting the occasional piece of information. They don’t post regularly and they are not consistent. But this isn’t the worst mistake. The worst mistake is sharing posts or content that is all about them! They talk about promotions and products and services. They say things like: Check out our new products! or for a service you can trust give us a call and so on. Blah, blah, blah… right?

Ask yourself…. Would I want to read that on social media? … Would anyone else want to read that? And what would make me want to follow a page or social media account? – Even better… What would my target audience want to hear to make them follow me on social media?

These are some of the most simple questions you can ask, but people forget how important these simple questions are.
In all honesty to get people to engage and to want to follow you, you need to be offering something in return. Some VALUE!!

The best way to look at this is to change your mindset around social media and marketing in general. Don’t think: How can I promote myself  or my business on social media but how can I educate, inspire or offer and additional free services to my audience?

What you want is to get people to want to see and share your content, so they want to follow you, they look forward to your content, they want to engage with you and of course to trust you so much they want to be associated with your brand and buy from you.

Once you have an engaged and listening audience, they’ll begin to trust you – this is how you build influence through social media! – Easy right? So what are you waiting for?

AM Marketing talks to Social Day about digital marketing

Amy McManus owner of Kent Marketing and PR Business of the Year 2015, AM Marketing talks to us about digital marketing:

Amy thanks for talking with us, let’s start with what got you into digital marketing?
I used to work in marketing on the retail / promotions side and did a lot of new product launches for companies such as Holland and Barrett, Amazon and Harrods. Digital was really growing at this stage and I could see huge potential for the future. Digital has amazing targeting options and an incredible ability to measure return on investment. As a marketing professional, making my campaigns financially viable for my clients was key. When I first went solo as a marketing consultant, it was clear that digital marketing was a black art and I met a lot of clients that had been burnt by contracts they didn’t understand. I trained and became Google to offer my clients an additional service, but it quickly became the largest part of the business. Today we are a Google Partner agency. 🙂

What are the biggest challenges you face at the moment in trying to get value for your clients?
As with traditional forms of marketing, it’s the ability to get results with smaller budgets. I work with a lot of charities and small local businesses who often don’t have any marketing budget. It’s our job to make sure that whatever they spend on marketing, they make it back and then some. It is someone’s hard-earned money or charity donations from supporters, so it is really important to us. We treat it as though it is coming out of our own pocket. We therefore have to make sure that the marketing activities we recommend are the right option. This is why I introduced our 3 month probation period for all of our clients. If they do not see results after 3 months, they can cancel the contract. No fees or bad blood. It’s just to show our clients that we are as serious about helping their business as they are. It has to be financially viable for them and they have to be comfortable; that’s what we’re here for!

Which of the platforms do you prefer to work with? And why?
As a Google Partner, we’re specialists in Adwords,YouTube and Google Display Network platforms. My favourite platform is YouTube as you can get really creative with it. I get to use a lot of local freelancers and artists for videos, voice overs, music etc. and the finished result is always really fab to see. We also get great engagement with YouTube and can target advertising really precisely.
In terms of the classic social media platforms, I love Instagram. I like the fact that everyone has the same size space to work with so you’ve got to get creative! Photography is a big hobby of mine, so I love looking at people’s work, a lot of which is just on a mobile phone. Amazing what people can create on their phones nowadays.

What opportunities do you see in the emerging networks such as snapchat or the broadcast platforms such as periscope?
More brands are coming round to these platforms and realising the power live content has for your marketing. Broadcast platforms such as Periscope and Meerkat etc. allow companies to finally show a side of themselves that pre-produced materials and signed-off content never could. I’m a big believer in the power of ‘humanising’ your brand and live content allows this to a level never seen before. It gives the customer a reason to engage there and then, ‘be there or be square.’ It’s like having a VIP ticket to access all areas. The brand just has to make sure that it’s worth the customers’ effort!
Snapchat is a great way to target younger individuals (around 50% of users are aged 18-24). Due to the time constraint, again it encourages people to ‘be there or be square.’ If you’re not engaged, you may miss out on a deal, important information or the latest news.
We’re completely smothered by content and advertising every day, so live and time-restrictive content is going to make a huge impact.

What’s the most impressive digital campaign you have seen? (does not need to be one you worked on)
Aside for our own stuff… 😉
I like clever campaigns that aren’t necessarily massive, but make me sit up and take note.
Marmite ran a Christmas campaign on Facebook in November / December 2015 called Naughty or Nice. The idea behind it was to purchase personalised Marmite jars for your friends and family. If they were nice and loved Marmite, you personalised a ‘Nice’ jar for them. If they were naughty and hated Marmite, you bought the ‘Naughty’ jar. The advertising and purchase was exclusive to Facebook. It was a really great play on the classic ‘Love It or hate It’ campaign that we all know and love, but with seasonal focus for Christmas. I bought 5 jars…If you can market to a marketeer then you deserve the sale. 😀

If you were starting out all over again what advice would you give yourself?
1) You’ll be fine; it’s going to go well.
2) Don’t worry so much.
3) Take a step back and remember to enjoy your achievements.

Any pet hates or practices you see which drive you mad?
They all rest on the premises of fairness and honesty.
1) When people use confusing jargon as a sales technique. Scaring people into a contract is not on!
2) Promising results that cannot be achieved and a miss-management of expectations.
3) I also have a pet hate for long links left Facebook posts…messy!
4) Finally, when people ask for shares to enter a competition. It’s against Facebook terms and conditions, but people do it anyway!

Amy is holding a YouTube marketing workshop at social day on the 23rd March in London.

BLAB Queen: Interview with Hilary Steel

Why is blab a platform businesses should be adopting?

Blab is a live streaming platform where businesses can accelerate their ‘social’ interaction with their consumers. It is linked to your twitter profile meaning that part of your twitter strategy should be to feed your audience to your live streaming Blabs. As an industry expert, you can demonstrate your excellence in real time by hosting focused discussions and encouraging people to join you in one of the three remaining ‘hot seats’ that they platform offers. I don’t see Blab as a direct selling platform, it’s definitely about the engagement and relationship building, which can definitely be done at a super-fast pace. If you aren’t afraid of representing your brand in real time then Blab should, without a doubt, be included as part of your growth strategy.

You also run a business magazine and events portfolio for women in business, how do you engage with your readers? Any specific social networks that work better than others for you?

We actively use Social Media to engage with our audience as well as hosting events that increase the power of the network as a whole. For us it isn’t just about posting links and driving traffic to a certain webpage, it’s about listening to people and using what they tell us to ensure we provide the right content, both online and offline. Our readers are able to contact us directly, which maintains the personal feel to our whole business operation. Twitter, Facebook and Blab work the best for us. We have tried other platforms but we are directed by where our audience hangs out!

Have you embedded a social media strategy into your businesses to help them grow?, what are most important steps to take when considering a strategy for social media?

Having a plan for your social media activity is vital for two reasons, 1) so you have a clear vision about what it is you want to achieve and 2) you can measure your activity and find out what’s working and what isn’t. Our social media plan is as important as our business plan and it is a living plan, one that we regularly update and evaluate. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it has to be clear!

Have you been impressed with a Social media campaign, which one and why?

We recently ran a campaign that directed our twitter followers to a specific series of live streaming business growth Blabs that we were hosting. The audience we reached was literally worldwide and as a result a new ‘branch’ of our business was created to meet the demand and needs of this new found audience.

Some of our readers are starting out, not only as Social media managers, but as start-ups, any tips to help them grow?

Again, start with a plan. If you feel as though you are fish out of water watch what other people are doing and get a feel for the various platforms. Not all suit all, and the only way you will know for sure is to test them out. I like to think of all social media networks as an extension to my offline marketing strategy and all activities are entwined and not stand alone processes.

Any pet hates or practices you see that drive you mad?

I personally am not a fan of auto direct messaging on Twitter. When I follow someone and then receive a message telling me to use a discount code to buy from them or telling me to like their Facebook page. A HUGE step in the building relationship process has been skipped and instead of engaging me, they have instantly alienated me.

We are launching a Raising Standards of Social Media campaign, anything you would like to see included in the charter?

Social Media isn’t an anonymous world, far from it. The only difference between engaging with people offline and online is that your online words will always be out there in the public domain. I think people should be made aware of the potential impact their online footprint can have on them further down the line. I think that creating a ‘best practices’ guide could help people maintain their online ‘persona’ in a positive light!

Hilary Steel is speaking about Blab on Social Day and has since launched a magazine called ‘the livestreamer’ – We can’t wait to hear about it!

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