Why plan your Social Media post ahead of time

Calendar Planning with a team. Photo Credit: Freepik.

I always tell my client to have a long term plan for their social media. I usually recommend planning for at least a month of posts, but you can write out your posts for a week, two weeks, or more; the reason why: to save time.
For planning, you can do it however you would like. You can use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, Trello, Word, PowerPoint, or a Calendar. Personally, I like using a calendar view to write out special days for the month. Next, I’ll add the subjects for my posts. Afterward, in a PowerPoint, I put the images and captions next to each other so I can visualize them as I move through my plan. Some posts may require more work than the others, but that way, I know what to add and where to review later on. This format has worked for my clients and me when I still need pictures or info from them.
I also plan my hashtag, depending on the type of posts that I’ll be writing. For example, I have some hashtags that I use when talking about branding and another set of hashtags for when I talk about social media. I research them every month to see if they are still relevant and retire old ones that are not working anymore.
Finally, I schedule my posts for a later time. They are several ways to do this. I currently use later (you can sign up for later here: https://later.com/r/a37e0d). But I have tried Hootsuite, and am presently testing Sprout Social. Facebook also have their own scheduler – Facebook creator, which is free.
I bet you are asking yourself why I do all this. Well, if I spend 1-2 days working on my social media plan, I can avoid trying to rush and have my posts with mistakes, and I can enjoy the rest of the month without having to worry about missing a day on my social media.
What about you? Do you plan your social media? If yes, what are your steps?

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Keeping busy in the down times

Anyone who is freelancing knows that there are ups and downs in the workload. For me, this year, I get a lot of free time. It’s very easy to let yourself go; staying up past your best time, sleeping in in the morning, allowing the day go by with accomplishing anything. I am guilty of doing all of this. I have tried different tricks to face the laziness.

Here are a few that I would like to share with you:

  1. Stick to your schedule. Go to bed at your scheduled bedtime and wake up early like you would on a busy day.
  2. Learn a new skill. I know this one is not so easy. I try to learn a new platform, or I follow a webinar about graphic design and what is new in the field. I have learned a lot about social media trends during those past couples of weeks.
  3. Read. Find a book that has an interesting subject or even some fantasy books have some valuable life lessons. (My go-to book is the Alchemist).
  4. Do something fun. Cook, bake, paint, draw. Keep the creativity going.
  5. Plan for the future. I work on potential future promotions and make projections for the next month or quarter.
  6. I hope my tips can help you stay busy. But if you need to take a day to relax and recharge, be my guest.

That is all I have for today. If you have some tips of your own, please feel free to share them with me.

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What is Branding and why use it?

Branding is the way you portray yourself or your business to others. When you create a brand, you have an idea and a value that you want to share with the rest of the world. You want this brand to portray the beliefs and values that you put into it.

When I was creating my brand, I took the time to ask myself: asides from your services, ideal clients, etc, why do you do this? My answer was simple: Everybody deserves good design, no matter the price. I ended up creating different packages at different price points so that everyone could afford my services. I also knew that I wanted to work closely with my clients, take the time to have them go through my questionnaire, so I know their likes and dislikes to better serve them. Everything I want to do for them is because I care about them.

When it came to building my visuals, I thought it would be great to keep it simple and straightforward so I can showcase my work, my inspirations, motivations and processes with ease. I had designed my logo since my final thesis in Grad School and really liked the way the backward L looked like a box, and the C was coming out of it. It was like “thinking outside the box,” which was what I did when I was designing it.

I also had my colors since Grad School: the red for passion and the black for grounding. I have looked at a lot of Instagram pages and was really inspired by James Victore’s page where he has some regular typefaces and a burst of color from crayons or something. This was very interesting to see, not something I saw on other Instagram profiles which were more; clean, simple and elegant. His profile was real, and it spoke to me.

After finding my inspiration, I decided to go with a bold font (I used Helvetica Neue; it was my favorite font when I was in school). Bold font, Bold colors, and to top it all off, a lot of white space. Next, all I had to do was translate that into my website, my social media platforms, my promotions, etc… I had to figure out a way to show my client’s work without compromising my own branding. I have found that borders and frames do a great job of separating the work from the rest of the page. Red, Black or White to keep the colors from my branding.

There is a lot of thinking that goes into creating a brand and showing it off. I have found that the most important thing about branding is the repetition and consistency of the colors, fonts, and imagery. I really enjoyed creating it for myself.

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What motivates you? What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
Often I have to think of what keeps me going. It is not easy to go on everyday thinking that everything is going to work itself out. Some days, I want to give up and quit. I believe I am not the only one who experience that. I have been trying to motivate myself for years and this is what I thought works for me.

Motivational Quotes:
I follow several accounts on Instagram, which I read on a regular basis. I also have some blogs that I read too. Not all them are about design, some of them are about food and fitness too.

Old work/old photos:
I look at my old work from time to time. I can see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. For my weight loss, I find that this is the best way to motivate me. I looked had old photos of myself and I know all the hard work I have done and this keeps me going.

As a kid, I saw my parents work hard to give me everything I wanted. I remember the days were we studied, showered, and even started sleeping when they were starting up their company. I remember the late night after my dad helped me with my homework, he stayed up to work. I went to college and when I came back my parents were still working hard. Countless nights I have seen my mom and dad working.  They put presentations together, prepared trainings, and managed every aspect of their organization. While doing all this, my mom still managed to be at her clinic, volunteer with at her church, and never miss a family event. Seeing my parents do all this pushes me to be the best I can be. Even if I decided to get my work experience at a different company, I still look at all their efforts. That motivates me to do better so I can someday be like them.

Throughout the rest of the week I will put together some motivational posts and videos. Enjoy the weekend. And let me know what motivates you…

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Creativity vs Innovation

First let’s start by defining the following words:

creativity |ˌkrēāˈtivədē|
the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

innovation |ˌinəˈvāSH(ə)n|
the action or process of innovating.
a new method, idea, product, etc.

innovate |ˈinəˌvāt|
verb [ no obj. ]
make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.
[ with obj. ]
introduce (something new, especially a product).

Often, when working on projects, clients tell designers that they (the designers) lack creativity. What I think they mean is that we, designers, lack innovation.

I believe that both creativity and innovation are important. You need to be able to create, to come up with new ideas, try putting together things that never match before and make it work. You also have to be able to innovate, to take an idea and make it new with the same look feel and data from the client’s artwork.

What I have learned from the past years, clients don’t know the difference between those 2 words. We can agree with this little reflection from a friend:
“It’s amazing to see how easily they can be confused. One can generate the other but most likely will not always go the other way around because innovation can be spawned from creativity when all current process methods can’t help create the original idea therefor a new process is created that innovates and better the process and opens up new possibilities.”
– Cedric R.

So my dear friends, designers and other creative people, next time a client tells you that you are not creative, just tell your self that they don’t know any better and put some innovation into your work.

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