It’s no big surprise that many military spouses choose to launch their own businesses due to the military’s unpredictable lifestyle. Direct sales businesses are popular amongst the mil spouse crowd, and even more spouse military spouses are building from the ground up start-ups. Some are using sites like Etsy and social outlets like Instagram to showcase their handcrafted products.
Social media has become the most economical and popular way for business owners to drive traffic and sales to their services or product. Military spouses in particular have formed private groups and forums to share their businesses in hopes of building a new clientele. Some are doing very well using social media, and then there are many wondering “why social media hasn’t been as friendly to them?”. They are wanting to know why their business isn’t taking off. If you’re doing well with your business and engaging online then feel free to skip the below information, but if you are wondering why those Scentsy sales aren’t happening for you then keep reading.
You my friend are not promoting your business correctly on social media. As someone who has built her readership and following through social media outlets I wanted to share some key things you can start doing today that will increase your social media following, and hopefully help you to attract more potential customers in this new series about marketing your mil spouse business correctly. Rather then throw a ton of information at you one time I am breaking it down into several posts that you will see here over the next few days.
Today’s focus is on images.
When I spoke at The Spouse Experience (via SpouseBuzz) recently we had a small focus group where we discussed creating better pictures to promote your products or blog. Pictures are one of the very first things people want to see when selling a product, and when it comes to blogging pictures draw readers. Plain and simple pictures need to be aesthetically pleasing. Don’t worry if you don’t have the latest $500 Canon T3i or are not a professional-neither am I. The below tips will help your pictures to appear more crisp, clean, up to date and the best part is …it can all be done with your smart phone.
Below are 5 easy ways to create and improve your pictures for sharing on your blog and via social media.
Visuals and Images
Lighting- I know many times we work at night when the kids are sleep, however resist the urge to take pictures at night. Yellow light is flat out ugly and furthermore it throws off the color of your actual product. Older housing (especially on military bases) are known for having horrible lighting. You can easily rectify this by purchasing white light bulbs which stimulate daylight. That is why I have them for when I am putting on makeup because softer yellow lighting messes with colors, and doesn’t actually reflect the color accurately. Notice the picture on the right (natural daylight on a dreary day) looks whiter then the picture on the left which has a yellowish hue to it and reveals shadows. Normally the natal light picture on the right would be brighter but the weather isn’t so great here today.
The Lightbox- Ever wonder how people post a product and it looks all white behind it, as if nothing else exists? Most likely they are using a light box. The above picture were taken using a lightbox my husband made. One side shows the product with yellow lighting and the other is with day light. A recommended light box specifically for smart phones is the Standscan Snap – All in One Light Box for Instant Product and Object Photos. Built in Led Lighting. Perfect for Ebay & Etsy .
Writing On Your Pics- If there is one thing that is a turn off to me as a customer is seeing someone post badly lighted pictures with blurry colored font. People are infamous for this mainly on Instagram. You don’t want the font on your pics to look circa 1996. The best apps I have found hands down for placing text on pictures is Word Swag and Font Candy (available only on iOS ). For Android users Phonto and Typic should work well. If you like working from your laptop utilize PicMonkey or Canva to add incredibly beautiful fonts to pictures.
Editing Pics- Editing pics is somewhat important even if you’re not a professional. If you own an iPhone a simple press of the “auto adjust” button under edit can do wonders. Invest a little money in apps like Camera +. Afterlight is another great editing app to help your lighting and even add more great filters. If nothing else a Instagram filter can bring a whole other dimension to your pics. Click here to learn which Instagram filter to use for an image.
Be sure not to go edit and filter crazy. Not too many people have picture perfect skin and it will be come obvious if you are heavily editing your photos which will make your product seem unbelievable.
Who Is That- This tip applies mainly to people who sell beauty products or those wrap products. How come we never see you? If you want your product to be believable then post YOURSELF in the pictures. Don’t show me some blurry pic of someone you claimed to have wrapped, but they don’t reveal their face or it looks similar to pictures other wrap consultants take. There is a such thing as a google image search and with a few clicks a person can find out if you are using other people’s images. If you are going to sell a product then you yourself need to use your own product and show pictures. If you are uncomfortable with that and notice no sales are happening-then maybe that product isn’t for you.
For those selling products like Younique, Avon or Mary Kay stop showing stock images of people who don’t apply to your demographic. Like any other brand appeal to your market and show pictures of all skin tones and textures. With any business this means an investment. Invite a friend over and offer her a free product in exchange for making her face up, and letting you take a picture of her to use in your marketing. These type of pictures will be more relatable to potential customers.
Social Media Graphics- Sometimes you want an image that depicts a promotion or sale you are holding for your customers. This is where Canva is an excellent app to create social sharing graphics. People love clean backgrounds where they can clearly see text and not to many extra graphics and doodads. Use no more then 3 types of font in an image and make sure wherever you place your font it is aligned correctly. The point of a great promotional image is to draw attention to the promotion, not how many cute hearts or designs you can place on the picture.
Above is the first photo we took for SpouseBox (a monthly subscription box for mil spouses). We were new and starting out. We had to use our available resources so I took that pic with my iPad. My business partner added a little wording and guess what we have sold out every month since our pre-launch in December.
Placement- If I am buying a product from you I don’t want to see your sink full of dishes, pets (around edible items) or to many other personal items in the background. Be mindful of what you want to see if you were buying the product. If you were buying cupcakes would you want to see someone’s cat running across the counters where they make your food. Be mindful of what appears in your pictures. Have a select spot to take your pictures that shows a clean background or utilizing your lightbox. For edible products invest some inexpensive white plates to take pictures of the items on. This will avoid you have to panic clean every time you need to take pictures. It’s all about professionality folks!
What are your tips for creating better images for your products?
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