Instagram Grid Design Tips

Instagram is the social media profile with the most design potential. It’s all about beautiful imagery, and video, and is best summed up, we think, as a story telling platform.

I’ve answered a few queries from clients lately about how to make their Instagram grids ‘better looking’, so I thought I’d round up some of my advice about Instagram Grid Design Tips in this blog. Enjoy!

First off – what’s a grid?

An Instagram grid is where all of your feed posts (not stories) are saved and they show up in a grid format if someone were to visit your profile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see your grid, log into your Instagram account, click on your logo in the bottom right of your phone…..there’s your grid!

Your Grid View is  a colorful summary of your brand’s identity and a quick scroll gives visitors a sense of what your brand is like and what kind of content they’ll see if they follow you.

How can I make my grid stand out

 There are a few ways to make your grid ‘shine’ and it’s really important that you know there is no right and wrong here. It’s about your brand and what works for you.

No Design is fine!

Some people ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ when it comes to their Instagram grids – and that’s just fine. We fall into this category, mostly, because we use Instagram as the ‘in the moment’ platform for us to post what we’re up to, who we’re working with and fun stuff along the way. We don’t plan our Instagram posts very much so having a grid design wouldn’t work brilliantly for us. However, we have started to dabble with ‘the big picture’ lately…..more of that in a minute.

A ‘no design’ grid is a hotch-potch of posts that tell a story without the need for artwork or much planning.

The Framer

These grids are classy! Each image is laid on a frame that perhaps contains your logo or a specific brand colour. The result is a grid that looks super organised and calm on the eye. This is a nice example from one of our lovely clients Rebecca Crayford Lifestyle Management.

These posts are made using Canva.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colours are everything

Some Instagram grids only post images that fall into a very specific colour palette. Jo Malone London is a lovely example of this, they use colour palettes to separate products, launches, messaging and the result is beautiful.

It’s all about the big picture

The Big Picture Grid layout is when you cut up one picture to spread across 3, 6, or 9 posts on your grid and the effect is one big picture. Like the image below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This example works really well because each individual post tells a story on it’s own as well as in the big picture – however these big pictures can also be used for a general ‘standout’ message, the picture below is on our grid currently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The effect on the grid is really great but the individual posts don’t tell a story.

For this reason, these are best used in small doses – special campaigns or messages, new launches etc.

There are various apps you can use to help you make these. Good old Canva is one and we also like Photosplit and Split the Pic on the App-store. (Similar versions available for Android)

As is so often the case with social media the best way to learn is to play around! Have fun!

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Top social media tips for small businesses.

Do you remember a world without social media? I’m of a certain vintage….. so I do!  The way we communicate has changed enormously in the past decade and social media is now a big part of over 4 billion people’s lives.

According to the Digital 2021: Global Overview report, nearly 54% of the total global population use social media.
45 million of these users are in the UK, that’s 66% of the UK population.

This blog offers a guide that I hope will help to unravel the complexities of marketing your business using social media.

Who is your customer? It’s so important to know who you are communicating with. Knowing your ideal customer will inform you where they ‘hang out’ on socials and therefore tell you where you need to be.

Plan. “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I LOVE this quote and it’s especially true when it comes to social media. “Winging it” will often mean your message is confused or you don’t post at all. Having a plan is a great way to save time, increase clarity and build engagement.

DIY or outsource? Some business owners do all of their own social media, some outsource it. I think a perfect solution is a bit of both. You be the voice of your brand, authenticity is key, but work with experts so you understand how to use the platforms properly and perhaps work with someone to help you manage the load of social media marketing.

A picture paints a thousand words – this is so true of social media. Imagery is key! Whether you have your own images, investing in a photo shoot is highly recommended, or you use free resources such as Pixabay.com or Unsplash.com really think about your imagery and how they match your message.

So many people are still a bit scared about video but I think it is an essential tool to help you to stand out from the crowd on socials. It helps your audience to get to know you – your authentic voice can shine in a short video.

Social media should not be treated as a ‘flat’ sales tool. Infact around 80% of your content should not be sales led at all. Think top tips, fun, personality and sharing others news before you think about selling.

It’s not all about you! Interaction with others on social media is as important as posting your own content. Don’t be one dimensional. Take time to comment on other’s posts and share them, become part of their conversations as well as starting your own.

Don’t get too hung up on the statistics. It’s important to grow your channels and engagement is key but remember it is better to have 100 engaged followers who are your ideal customer than 1,000 unengaged people who aren’t who you’re wanting to reach anyway.

Review your plan regularly. Messages change all the time – reviewing at regular intervals will ensure your strategy is on message.

Have fun! Social media is a fun place to be and a great way to allow your brand personality to shine so have fun and enjoy!

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An update on the way we are working

We would like to provide an update in the way we are working in light of the recent Government announcements and the lifting of restrictions.

We moved all consultancy work and training online when lockdown commenced in March 2020. We have adapted as the months rolled on and have learnt so much about the best way to work ‘virtually’ – feedback from our clients has been incredibly positive.

Many clients have told us they enjoy working online, that it saves them time and costs in travelling and feels more efficient as they can action our suggestions as soon as the meeting finishes. We’ve also begun working with a number of clients much further afield and in some cases even overseas!

We also find it to be an efficient way to work so our intention is to continue delivering consultancy and training via Zoom. There will be the odd exception, of course, and we will always be as flexible and accommodating as possible. All sessions over the Summer will remain virtual and we will review the situation again in September.

Take care everyone and thank you for your support.

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If you’ve been asked to verify your Google Adwords account – don’t panic!

If you run Google Adwords for your business, you may have received an email recently saying that you’ve been selected to complete identity verification for your account and that you must start this verification by April 10, 2021.

We have received this email on behalf of some of the clients we work with and wanted to reassure you it’s nothing to panic about!

If you do receive this email, click on the get started button which will take you through to your AdWords account dashboard.

Within the dashboard there is a very clear guide from Google telling you what documentation it will accept and exactly where to load this into the system. Documents include:

Certificate of incorporation

  • VAT registration certificate
  • Certificate of registration of charity
  • DUNS certificate

You may also need to load ID for a nominated representative of the business – a driving licence or passport are accepted.

If any documentation isn’t accepted or if there are any discrepancies (names and addresses must match exactly) you will get an email from Google and you will have another attempt.

Once you are fully verified you will be notified by email. 

We found the process straightforward and it took no longer than 10 minutes once we had gathered the necessary documents.

We just wanted to share this short note to tell you not to panic if you should get this email! Just follow the instructions Google has given.

We have always found Google’s help-desk to be particularly helpful,  so if you do get stuck just contact Google directly using the help button within your account. 

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Guest blog – WHEN TO REBRAND YOUR BUSINESS

We are so pleased to welcome Alison Joshi, founder of JWJ Design as our guest blogger for March.

JWJ Design offers a full suite of brand and design services ranging from workshops that introduce clients to the benefits of branding effectively; right through to developing a brand and rolling it out across all touchpoints and marketing channels.

This blog takes a look at rebranding your business – when is the right time and what should you be focusing on.

As a small business owner making sure your business brand image is the best it can be is extremely important, and yet when you are so close to something it can be difficult to know when you might need to rebrand your business. For many businesses that set up 20 years ago there was no such thing as social media marketing and they probably just about had a website. Today your brand is everywhere, from your social media business pages, through to your website and printed marketing, so you need to make sure it is working as best as it can. 

Since the Covid pandemic hit last year many businesses have turned their attention to their online presence and realised that the visual message they are putting out there is not necessarily communicating their services, product or business personality effectively. 

This sudden focus on your businesses in the online environment is a catalyst for thinking about the visual image you are projecting to your potential clients. One of the first signs that your brand image is in need of some attention is when people start confusing what it is that you do and the service you offer. Perhaps they assume you are too cheap or too expensive for them, either way if they are your target market then you need to reassess how you are talking to them visually. 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Here are some questions you can ask yourself about your business that may help outline if you need to invest in your branding:

• Has your business changed direction? Are you now specialising in a different sector or offering a slightly different service?

• Have you started losing out to competitors? Has a new business launched in your market and taking away some of your clients? 

• Is the company a family-run business that has stuck with the same brand focus for the past 20 years? The world is a very different place to 20 years ago and your target market will have possibly changed, or their shopping habits and how they purchase goods and services definitely will have.  

• Are you bored and tired of your business brand image? Do you dislike the way everything looks and feels whenever you create any marketing? 

• Does all your marketing look and feel different? Are there different fonts and colours used in your social, online and printed marketing pieces? 

• Do you only have a logo and no brand assets to use in your marketing? (For example; fonts, colours, graphic or image assets.)

• Do you apologise for the way your business looks when speaking to new clients or when networking? 

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then you do need to think about a rebrand or refresh. 

SO WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REBRAND AND A REFRESH?

Rebranding a business from scratch

When rebranding a business JWJ Design would look at your business in detail; who your target market is, what values you want to project about your business and how that can be reflected in your logo, colours, fonts, graphic shapes and imagery. It is starting from the beginning and stripping back what is essential and important about your business. It is not just simply designing a pretty logo, it is making sure that the logo and brand is right for your business and that it will last as the business evolves and grows over time.

A brand refresh

A refresh is as it says, just refreshing certain elements of the logo and brand. It could be that when looking at the business the main emblem or logo still works but the colour palette or supporting fonts need to be updated and modernised.

Sometimes clients with limited finances may choose to go for a refresh in the short term with a long term plan to rebrand in a few years. This short term option just helps lift their business image and ensure they start to talk in the right way to their clients or customers.

Alison Joshi is the creative director and founder of JWJ Design, a design studio dedicated to elevating small and medium businesses in their respective categories through the use of strong, consistent branding in print and online.

www.jwjdesign.co.uk

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Happy Birthday to us – 11 years in business

One to Three turns 11 years old this month! Last year we celebrated our anniversary with a lovely lunch out in London and a trip to the theatre. Whilst we are really sad we can’t get together in person this year we will be celebrating with a glass of fizz on Zoom (something we’ve done throughout the pandemic to keep in touch – here we are just last Friday!)

We thought we’d have a bit of fun and share 11 facts about us that you might not know. Enjoy!

1. Lisa used to enjoy performing as a child (and dressing up!) and could be found ice-skating in shows at her local rink, performing on stage or entering disco-dancing competitions!

2. Lisa took Spanish and French A-Level and can still hold a good conversation in Spanish to this day.  She’s remained in touch with her Spanish pen-pal Miguel and used to stay with his family, taking part in Las Fallas in Valencia and even being invited to his sister’s wedding! They still exchange Christmas cards every year signed from “Your Spanish Family”.

3. Lisa’s main hobbies are running and tennis and occasionally she takes to the courts with her husband (they’ve even won a couple of trophies together).

4. Lisa is a qualified scuba diver, and holidays before the kids were always booked around diving sites.  Imagine her excitement, when her boys learned to scuba dive 2 years ago in Mexico and they were lucky enough to see a sea horse, and even follow a sea turtle along the reef!

5. Claire LOVED horse riding as a child and teen and entered many show jumping and cross country competitions on borrowed ponies, especially her favourite Jamie. Her dream is to take up riding again one day and perhaps even own her own horse.6. Claire’s first job was when she was 14 in the kitchen of a nursing home. She used to help prepare Sunday lunch and would sit with some of the most lonely residents whilst they enjoyed their meal. To this day Claire loves a good chat!

7. Claire is married to her childhood sweetheart – they began dating at the age of 17 and used to meet up at the bus stop outside school!

8. One of Claire’s dreams is to own a camper van and explore the UK  with her husband – once the kids are old enough to be left home alone this dream will become a reality!

9. Claire and Lisa first holidayed together at the tender age of 17 and 18 respectively. Two weeks in Tenerife were one big party – our kids are now nearing this age which is slightly terrifying!

10. We’ve since holidayed together a number of times – Lisa’s hen-do in Dublin, a weekend break in Edinburgh and Lisa’s 40th birthday in Barcelona.

Our most recent trip was in 2019 when we took the husbands, kids and dogs for a family break to Dorset.

11. Claire and Lisa are both dog lovers. Claire has a black lab Sookie who is 10 and a golden retriever Fergus who is 7. Lisa has a black lab called Milly who is 4 and Claire actually helped Lisa to find her when she started looking for a puppy! We adore our dogs!!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last 11 years – especially the last 12 months which have been our most challenging! We really can’t wait to see what the next 11 years bring.

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Facebook to remove our story tab on business pages – our guide what to do

Facebook is alerting Page owners to an update which will see the removal of the ‘Our Story’ section from your Page presentation options – taking effect at the end of February. You may have seen a notification in your Facebook account and then a message on the page like the below:

Don’t panic!

The Page Story section was added in 2017 – Facebook said it would “help brands provide more background on their business ‘why’, in order to better connect with Page visitors.”

The update means the section will be removed and “additional information” will become a secondary element – users will be able to click this tab – we think it will be in the menu under the cover photo (but watch this space).

Our advice is to copy and paste (it might be a chance to review your story too) into the additional information section asap. Just click on  ‘Settings’- ‘Page Info’ and then edit your ‘Additional Information’ field.

 

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Nicole Martin

Guest Blog – Planning for your business in 2021? Is it worth it? And why you should plan and how you can do it?

We are surrounded by brilliant businesses who we collaborate with on projects and over the coming months will be sharing some guest blogs. First up is the wonderful Nicole Martin of Pinpoint Marketing Consultancy Ltd

Nicole is an expert marketing strategist and planner – thank you Nicole for contributing.

This guest blog looks at why you as a small business owner or start-up business should plan, even if it’s not in the traditional sense at the moment, and how can you avoid your marketing being haphazard and inconsistent over the coming weeks and months.

The world is very much in a different and unusual place at the moment and there are a lot of things about day-to-day life and the future, that are out of our hands. So, there is every reason to think of battening down the hatches and keeping your business head down when it comes to planning. Or you can think because of all the uncertainty, that maybe now could be the right time to plan? Use some downtime you may have to good use and plan for what you can control in the meantime?

Why you should plan for your business

A plan allows you to take a bird’s eye view of your business, take stock and review your business to build your foundations. As well as getting organised and getting ahead, a plan allows you as the business owner to brainstorm the bigger picture, take a step back and think logically. Be on not in the business.

No one likes taking risks unnecessarily or spending money if they don’t need to and if you haven’t set any objectives for your business and your marketing activities, how can you decide at the end of it all if you have achieved what you set out to do?

Other key benefits to planning for your business include breaking down what is potentially a huge and overwhelming task or goal into manageable pieces, therefore making it much more achievable, as well as you having somewhere to keep an eye on costs and ROI. A plan can also save you time, avoid procrastination and keep you focussed and on track. Detailing out what you will do, when and to whom also ensures you cover all the marketing mix and use all marketing channels that are relevant to your business and your target audience.

Be proactive not reactive (although at present, I appreciate this isn’t always possible).

What should a marketing plan look like

A plan can come in many forms. It can be a carefully crafted document covering pages, charts and tables on the 7 stages of marketing planning including objective setting, defining your message and target audience and implementing and measuring your tactics. Note a marketing plan differs to a business plan as it doesn’t cover financial sheets like P&L or balance sheets. Your business coach or accountant can assist you with these areas if required.

Or your plan can be goals/tasks to do, on a 30 or 90 day basis, in a simple table format.

Or your goals and action points can be in the form of a grid or mind map. Or even as part of a vision board exercise.

There is no right or wrong answer here and you could use one or a combination of all methods. The method you chose will depend on how you and your business work, what level of detail you need, and what resources you have around you to create and execute this plan.

It is worth saying that a plan can be created, reviewed and implemented at any time of the year. It isn’t just a January only thing. The same goes for goal setting as well. (read more.)

To summarise…

Whether you are ready to take the planning plunge or not or whether you have a plan written and ready to get going on, know you why first and be clear on your goals and direction. Do not see marketing as a tick box exercise that you should do because people tell you to.

Good luck!

 

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5 ways to keep in touch with your clients in lockdown

5 ways of keeping in touch with your customers

So – here we are again, in Lockdown. The latest news of Lockdown3 was a huge blow both personally and professionally  for so many, first and foremost we hope that everyone is okay.

When Lockdown1 hit us all back in March 2020 there was a real panic in the air – businesses had to move online overnight; this time, we all know a bit more about what we should be doing. Zoom has become our new best friend! There are so many marketing opportunities available in our digital world so we thought we’d share 5 easy ways of keeping in touch with your customers.

 

  1. Update your Google My Business listing once a week. When you post to Google My Business, unless it is an event post, it will last for 7-days. Making sure you have a regular post on your listing is great for local search and if you think about the content carefully can be really useful information for your customers. Think about what services you can offer, what discounts you currently have. Don’t forget to update your opening hours too and also make sure you post a Covid update if relevant.
  2. Use video. All of the social media platforms encourage the sharing of videos, it’s such a nice way to engage with your customers. You can go live or record a video and then post it. Just check in to see how everyone is doing – keep it short (around 3-4 minutes maximum) and don’t overthink it. Social videos do not need to be perfect.
  3. Share a story. Instagram is the “Mother” of stories but they’ve been adopted by all of the other platforms too. They last for 24 hours and are a really nice way to engage with your audience with a video, image or bit of fun.
  4. Comment on others’ posts. Remember social media isn’t all about you! Interact with others – answer questions, ask them, share a picture that made you smile, share your experiences. Be Social!
  5. Send an email. We are still advocates of email marketing – a carefully crafted MailChimp can be really appealing and is a nice way to check in. Really think about your subject line and imagery – keep things simple and on brand.

We hope you found this useful – stay safe and well and keep in touch.

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2020 – what a year!

When the Oxford English Dictionary can’t just pinpoint one word of the year you know there is something amiss! They’ve included words including unprecedented, covidiot, zoom-bombing, lockdown and circuit breaker. These words along with self-isolating and social-distancing wouldn’t have been uttered at all in 2019 would they?

This time last year we had had a bumper year working with more clients than ever before and we were very excited planning our 10th business birthday, which falls in February. We were full of optimism and excitement and couldn’t wait to see what the year had in store…..little did we know! As we always do at this time of year, we’ve decided to put together a bit of a roundup of what we’ve been up to in the last 12 months, what we’ve learnt and what our plans are for the coming year are.

On the 8th of February we travelled into London with our lucky (some might say long suffering) husbands and celebrated our 10 years in style.  We really pushed the boat out and had an amazing lunch at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay before strolling to the West End to watch Hamilton. Both were incredible experiences.

 

 

 

 

This proved to be our last proper outing of the year, it’s sad to think of that beautiful restaurant having to close for much of 2020 and of course the doors of the theatre haven’t opened at all since we first went into lockdown in March. We are so glad that we celebrated as we did; 10 years in business is no mean feat and we are really proud of One to Three and the work we do. Whilst at times this year it felt like it was all falling away, we are able to end the year on a positive note.

As so many other small businesses have found, things changed in an instant in March and during the first week of lockdown we got several phone calls from clients saying they needed to pause our services, they were unable to operate as normal or they were furloughing staff.  We could sugar-coat it, but we’d rather be honest,  it was devastating – not only did we feel like we had no control over our own business but clients we knew well and respected greatly were effectively shut down overnight. It was heartbreaking.

Throughout all of lockdown there have been highs and lows and we’re not ashamed to admit at times there has been a little bit of wallowing and a few tears along the way, with feelings of overwhelm like so many others.  However, we’re proud that with the support of each other and some fabulous people around us (and some wine along the way), we’ve been able to dust ourselves down, pick ourselves up and ask, “right…. what can we do to help?”

At the start of lockdown, we were fortunate to be able to carry on working with some of our clients so we dug deep and gave them the best possible service we could. We moved all of our training and all of our meetings online…… thank goodness for Zoom (anyone else wishing they had taken out some stocks and shares in January!).

We are hugely grateful to every single client who was able to carry on working with us – we know it’s been so difficult for so many businesses and we can’t begin to thank you for your continued loyalty and support.

Networking groups moved online so we able to keep connected to our all-important communities  – huge thanks to Emma and The Athena Network-West Chilterns and Chloe and Anna at We are Tabono – the online communities you’ve kept going have been amazing.

On our social media channels, we focused on giving advice for free as much as we could, sharing video tips and regularly posted hints and updates to ensure we were giving our followers up-to-date information on what they could do with their digital marketing to keep in the forefront of their customers minds.

We’ve kept in touch with our team via Zoom and had a lovely summer get-together!

As many of you know we are the best of friends so we’ve had lots of fun on social Zoom calls too!  From weekly quizzes, a virtual Royal Ascot, to a VE Day celebration where we learnt to Lindy Hop and an online Escape Room with our families; we made the best of it!

When the rules allowed, we met for socially distanced ‘board walks’ with the dogs and enjoyed each other’s company, 2 metres apart, in Braywick Nature Reserve. We both took part in Fast Track Fit Camps online bootcamps and kept active – exercise really has been an important part of keeping ourselves well and sane this year!

We’ve always known we were fortunate to work from home and be flexible but the fact that we didn’t really have to change our mindset to work from home once lockdown hit is something that we are definitely grateful for. We saw our husbands, friends and other colleagues really struggle to adapt to working at home –  don’t get us wrong it’s not been a walk in the park,  we are used to being out and about meeting our clients and we miss that face-to-face interaction enormously, but at least we were all fully set up.

We are also grateful that our kids are older – whilst it’s been tough for them (lockdown and teenagers is not a marriage made in heaven!) we have to say we are really grateful this didn’t happen 10 years ago when we had toddlers and pre-schoolers at home. Hats off to those of you who had to carry on and home-school little ones ….. we genuinely don’t know how you’ve done it!

We are so grateful to have so much support around us – a huge thank you to our clients, our team, and family and friends. It definitely has felt like we’re all in this together.

We’re ending the year with busy diaries and we’ve been spreading our own little festive cheer with advent calendars for our regular clients, encouraging them to countdown to Christmas with us (and to the end of this strangest of years). We believe it’s important to carry on the traditions, despite the difficult circumstances and we’ve got a virtual lunch planned with our team, along with festive fun for the family, as our annual trip to the panto has also been cancelled.

So, looking forward to 2021 ……well of course there is a huge level of uncertainty still as to how will we come out of this pandemic but we are approaching a New Year as we always do, with positivity!  We have certainly built up a mass of resilience to take with us into 2021 and will adapt and change as necessary. Our focus will always remain on helping our clients to thrive, helping them to get back on their feet once restrictions lift and helping them to keep visible online.

We wish you a peaceful and safe Christmas and a successful 2021.

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