How to WFH and still be super productive during COVID-19

As we all learn to navigate this new reality that is COVID-19, working from home has become the new norm. For those of us who are lucky enough and have the ability to WFH, it can be tricky staying focused and on track. Bed and Netflix are oh so tempting after all! Especially during a pandemic when everything is so uncertain! 

The team at Legendary Social Media works remotely every Friday, so we’re pretty familiar with this WFH thing. Here’s our list of tips and helpful tools you could use to keep your workflow efficient and productive. 

 

Create a designated workspace within your home

Make sure it’s clean and organized. Keeping this space tidy will help keep your mind refreshed and productive.  

Tidy up at the end of the day. Add a quick 10-minute tidy session to the end of your workday. This will help you be set up to hit the ground running tomorrow morning. 

Do not work from bed! We know it’s tempting, but you’ll eventually just be horizontal and snoozing with a laptop balanced on your chest. We know… from experience! 

 

Set up time management tools

Most importantly, establish a work schedule. In order to stay on track with work, you need to budget your time accordingly. It helps to keep a structured work schedule and routine, work 8-4 or 9-5 for example. 

Start your day with a reason to get dressed. We suggest working out in the morning – that way you have to shower and get dressed before you start your workday. Obviously, during COVID-19, we’re not suggesting you go to the gym – but perhaps a jog in your neighbourhood or even a brisk walk around the block would do the trick. 

Set yourself a timer! Set it for 60 minutes and commit to not moving away from your work for that allotted time. Then take a short 10-minute break, make a drink or go for a walk, then set another timer for 60 minutes!

Keep yourself accountable for time management. A great tool for this is Harvest. This software is a paid service, but will allow for the incredible insight into how long tasks are actually taking you and your team members! It’s also a great tool for billing potential clients and invoice estimates. 

Eliminate distractions. Use apps like SelfControl or Focus. With this software, you can literally restrict yourself from distracting websites for a block of time. 

Create a list of tasks to get done by the end of the day/week. You can use tools like Trello or Asana. These nifty programs allow you to prioritize work and assign tasks to each team member. Checking off your to-do list has never felt so good!  

 

Make it easy to communicate with your team

Stay in touch with your team members! Slack is an instant messaging app, and a great alternative to emailing! It’s less formal, quick and very collaborative in its functionality. 

Sign up for video conferencing apps. For video conference calls, Hangouts Meet and Zoom are some great options whilst working remotely.

Commit to communicating, even when you’re self-isolating. Human connection is important for our mental health, so checking in with other team members once a day could help prevent feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. Your COVID-19 experience doesn’t need to be a lonely one.

 

Automate your work to reduce stress and pressure

Wherever possible, add automation into your workflow! A very simple suggestion is adding Grammarly plugin to your Google Chrome, this will detect any errors in your writing and will save you from making spelling mistakes in your communications.

Need a simple tool for resizing files for your laptop? If you’re working within the creative industry, and have a number of high-resolution images that need to be resized, try JPEG mini! This software allows you to reduce file sizes whilst preserving the image quality. Ideal for uploading to websites and you can do it in large batches! 

Find the right tools for your unique work. Depending on the field of work you’re in, there are going to be many, many different applications available to you. Explore your options and create better WFH habits so you can effectively get work done but also have time for yourself once you’re off the clock. 

 

Here’s a list of awesome software/apps we love for WFH during COVID-19

Project Management

Time Management 

Sharable Documents & Files

Communication

Legendary’s top nine app picks for social media management

Ace your social media game with these nine apps that our team at Legendary Social Media use on the regular, to create awesome content: 

The best apps for social media management 

One: Hootsuite 

Hootsuite is probably the best known of the apps in this list. Our team uses the app to pre-schedule posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. While you can use it for Instagram, we use a different app for this purpose (see below). With Hootsuite, which has a desktop web-based service and mobile app, you can bulk-create posts, schedule them right from a spreadsheet, perform basic social listening and stay on top of community management, all in one place.

Two: Later 

Later has similar functionality to Hootsuite, however, it is much more visual. That’s why we use it to schedule posts for our clients’ Instagram accounts, including Feed and Stories. Our top reason for using later? The ability to easily preview how your Instagram feed will look, based on the images you plan to use. The Later blog also has all kinds of cool articles if you’re looking for more social media tips. 

Three: CutStory 

Posting videos on your Instagram Stories? You’re gonna need CutStory. This is a fast and easy video editing app that allows you to cut and merge material you’ve shot, creating a single video, or cut a longer video into short segments so they can be used for Instagram Stories.

Four: Repost 

We love Repost because it makes it easy to share cool content from Instagram and give credit to the original creator of that content. Instagram doesn’t off an easy share option like Facebook and Twitter do, and while we see people download material off Instagram, and then post it themselves without crediting the owner, that isn’t a cool move. The original creator always deserves credit for their work, so whether you use Repost or not to share content, be sure to always tag the person whose content you’re using.   

Five: A Color Story 

Love epic images for your social media? A Color Story makes them super easy to achieve, with over 400 filters and 100 effects – oh, and then there are all the editing tools. It seems like it should be too good to be true, but it exists and it’s just as great as it sounds. 

Six: Over

Want to place some creative text over a photo you’ve just taken? Over is the answer. The app helps you design photo-based graphics with the help of templates so it’s easy to keep your branding looking fresh and consistent. 

Seven: Unfold

Unfold is a favourite of everyone from Selina Gomez to White House staffers. That’s because this powerful little app can take photos and turn them into themed storyboards. You can make your images look like all kinds of cool things from pictures printed on old, ripped paper, to stills from a movie reel. In just a few minutes, you can create images that are sure to grab followers’ attention and praise. 

Eight: Lightroom

Now we’re into a real pro tool. Lightroom is used by professional photographers for image editing, but the free mobile app is a godsend for social media management. Not only will you be able to do all the photoshopping you want, but you’ll be able to do it from your smartphone. This includes editing out imperfections, changing temperature and lighting effects with precision, removing shadows, adding vignettes and more. 

Nine: Canva

Canva is brilliant for graphics. You can create layouts and images to drop onto your social media. There are even some cool templates in case you need to create something like a poster quickly for an event at your business. So use Canva and make life a little more beautiful. There’s a web-based version and a mobile app, both of which are on heavy rotation for our team.

 

We hope these apps help you have more fun, effective your social media content!

Legendary Social Media – what’s that all about?

Between the multicoloured unicorn-pegasus logo and the bright pink accents on the website, the Legendary Social Media brand has something a little different about it. Call it cheesy, funky or just plain weird, we decided to take a different tack than many social media management agencies in Vancouver. We wanted to be legit to who we are – a team of unique, original individuals with a stellar skillset and a penchant for creating awesome stuff.

A rare breed of online marketing.

Legendary Social Media has the goal of creating legendary content, whether that’s graphics or logos for your website, engaging social media posts, fully functional and SEO-optimized websites, or SEO-friendly blogs.

Legendary Social Media: doing it right, every time

Our brand is NOT about rushing through your project to get it done quickly. In fact, our policy is to keep working until you’re happy with the product we deliver. Why? Because the Legendary Social Media mindset is that your success is our success. So when you’re happy, we’re happy.

Our business is making your business grow online.

We would love for your to check out the suite of services Legendary Social Media offers, but here’s a quick snapshot:

  • website design: SEO integration and submission to Google Webmaster Tools is included every time
  • social media marketing: we only use best practices for each platform to get you the best possible response
  • social media advertising: can’t be bothered to navigate the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn ads? That’s our forte. Let us design your ads and whittle your audience down to perfection for best results
  • Google PPC: need your website to be on Page 1 of Google? We create highly effective ads (up to 20% CTR) for your website
  • email marketing: reach out to your newsletter subscribers with emails that have high open rates and great sales-driven content
  • content creation: boost your website’s SEO power with blog articles that are written to catch Google’s eye, plus wow your audience with great, original content

Have questions about Legendary Social Media? We’re always happy to chat via email, phone or text. We’d love to hear from you!

Awesome new visual content marketing stats for 2016

The amazing people at HubSpot produced an article recently about the power of visual content marketing. Visual content is an aspect of content marketing that involves adding photos or videos to your text, whether that’s on your blog or the text on the static pages of your website.

Think about how you use Facebook. Are you more likely to look at and interact with your friends’ posts that have photos or video, or just plain text? For most of us, visuals are more engaging. They grab our attention quicker and keep that attention for longer.

The same principle applies for websites. Below are some stats about the appeal of visual content, and a few resources to help you start building visual content for yourself.

Visual content marketing stats:

Source: HubSpot

  • 80% : The amount by which your audience’s willingness to read your content is boosted, when you add coloured visuals.
  • 65% : The percentage of people who retained the information they read after 3 days if an image was paired with that info, versus 10% without visuals.
  • 94% : The amount of extra views that content with relevant images gets, versus content without relevant images.
  • 65% : The boost to your click-through rates for emails with a subject line that says “VIDEO”
  • 40 : The number of times your content is more likely to be shared on social media if it’s paired with relevant visual content.
  • 2.3 : The number of times more engagement your Facebook posts are likely to get if they’re image-based, rather than text-based.

How to create visual content marketing assets:

There are some great tools out there to help you create visual content for marketing your business, and the even better news is that most of them are free!

At Legendary Social Media, we use Canva. Others use Picmonkey, and for those who have Photoshop, it’s a great tool.

We recommend branding each of your images with your logo or watermark. That way, when your content is shared online, people will always know that it came from you.

You can check out our blog post called Tips for Creating Awesome Visual Content about some really great visual content tools that will help you create awesome videos, images and live feeds.

You can also check out this blog with more details on the importance of visual content marketing for your business, or comment below if you have questions or feedback!

Twitter for Realtors: 18 easy tricks that will get you more leads!

In an industry as competitive and fickle as real estate, being able to connect properly with buyers and sellers within and outside of your market is crucial to making sales and getting your name known.

Here are 18 easy Twitter for Realtors tips and tricks to help you master a social platform that so many real estate agents haven’t been able to properly use for their business.

Phase One: Set yourself up

Whether or not you’re already on Twitter, revamp your profile with these tips to create a basis for getting down to business right away.

1. Your Twitter handle: This is your name on Twitter. When people tweet to you, they use the @, then your Twitter name. Make your Twitter name something like JohnDoeRealtor or Realtor_JohnDoe so people know off the bat what your primary purpose is.

2. Your Twitter bio: Twitter gives you 160 characters to tell the world what it is you do. This is where you should hone your elevator pitch and write a short, descriptive bio that tells people a bit about you on the personal side, too. Here’s a great example:

Twitter for Realtors - Legendary Social Media

3. Your profile photo: This should be a friendly photo of you, not a company logo.

4. Your cover photo: Twitter gives you space at the top of your Twitter profile page for a photo. This is a great space to showcase something that’s important to you, or to communicate with people who find your profile. Consider hiring a graphic designer or a social media manager to create a high-res photo for this space. Consider putting your phone number in there, with a picture of homes or condos in your market, and maybe your slogan.

5. Your location: Be sure to set your location to your market area.

6. Keep your profile public: Having a private Twitter profile kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

7. Your website: Twitter gives you a space to add a link to your website. You’ll definitely want to use this space.

Phase Two: Start Tweeting

8. What to Tweet about: Live by the 80-20 rule. 80 % of your Tweets should be NON-SALES RELATED. Yes, we said it. Why? People won’t want to follow you if all you post about is real estate. Frankly, don’t eat, sleep and breathe real estate like you. The other reason is that Twitter, like all social networks, is about creating relationships. You’ll want to let people get to know you.

9. So, 80% of the time (approximately), Tweet about stuff that’s going on in your city: news, events, activities, etc. Add your opinion to things. Tweet about what you’re doing that day: heading to the bakery to pick up macarons for dessert, getting stuck in traffic, listening to your favourite tune while stuck in traffic, forgot your umbrella on a rainy day.

The rule of thumb is to realize that people on Twitter are people. Make friends with them!

The other 20% of the time, post pictures of listings and send out information about open houses you’re hosting. Send just a few Tweets like, “Looking to buy a house in #(Your City)? Call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.”

10. Retweet and Quote Retweet: Retweeting stuff that other people have put on Twitter is a great feature: it lets you curate content that other people are tweeting about, and shows the original tweeter that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. We always recommend using Quote Retweet, and add a comment or opinion.

11. Reply: Do this often! Twitter is about conversations and connections, and what better way to have a conversation than by replying to other people’s Tweets. By the way, don’t get discouraged when people don’t reply to your Tweets and comments right away. It takes time to build trust and relationships online, just like in real life.

12. Like: You can like people’s Tweets by clicking the heart-shaped button. This is a nice thing to do, but isn’t productive in terms of getting noticed and building leads.

13. Use hashtags: For realtors, use your city’s hashtags often in your Tweets. Do some research to see what other people are using. In Vancouver, for example, there’s #vancouver, #vancity and #yvr. You may want to use all of them. On listings, try #(yourcity)listings and similar hashtags. Using hashtags helps people find you on Twitter, because people search hashtags to find Tweets that relate to their interests. And you should do the same!

14. Invite people to contact you: Publish your phone number and email address, and invite buyers and sellers to send you Direct Messages on Twitter.

15. Use shorthand: Twitter only gives you 140 characters for each message, so it’s OK to use things like w/ for with, & instead of and, # rather than number, 2 instead of to.

Phase Three: What NOT to do

16. Don’t: Sell all the time. You’ll turn people off. If you were at a dinner party with friends, would you talk about real estate the entire evening? If you did, you wouldn’t make too many friends.

17. Don’t: Spam people. Don’t Tweet repeatedly to people to try to get their attention. You’ll get attention naturally by following the advice above.

18. Don’t: Go MIA. Check Twitter daily, even if you can’t Tweet all the time. You don’t want to miss out on messages and questions from possible leads.

Do you have your own tips for Realtors to make the most of Twitter? Please share them below!

Six reasons why you need visual content marketing for your business

I love Instagram and kind of hate Twitter. Why? Twitter is pretty boring – it’s all hashtags and unenlightened comments. But Instagram is full of awesome pictures by people and businesses I actually care about. I like seeing pictures.

The cool thing is, most people love seeing pictures. That’s why visual is king. And what that means is your business should post pictures anytime you’re updating your blog and/or social media accounts. It’s called visual content marketing, and it works like a dream.

Here are the stats, courtesy of blogging guru Jeff Bullas:

  • Articles with images get 94% more total views
  • Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45%
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
  • In an ecommerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
  • In an online store, customers think that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%)
  • Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27% (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text)
    Read more here.

Now, the visual content marketing how-to.

The beauty is, it’s easy.

On your tablet, download the Canva app, or create an account with their online app.

You can upload your own images or use the ones they provide, although most of Canva’s images cost $1.

Now, add text, icons, shapes and lines to make your image look cool. That’s how I made the image on this blog post (and this one and a few others).

Done!

Is there a better way?

Sure! In fact, there are tons of free resources out there, including FREE infographics that you can use in your blog. Platonik’s guide to 247 free infographics is one of the best resources out there.

Don’t want to do it yourself? Cool, we’re happy to help. Get in touch and ask how!

Tips for creating a visual style guide for your business (or your clients)

This blog post is part of our Lessons from SMSS15 series. Legendary Social Media is taking part in Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Success Summit, which is the world’s largest online social media marketing conference. This blog series covers the points and ideas we’ve taken from the course that we’ve deemed to be eye-opening and highly useful for other marketers and for small- and medium-sized businesses. To discuss any of the ideas in these blogs or other ideas about social marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

It’s a well-established fact that online, visual is king. But it’s also a crucial element that you can royally screw up with something as simple as inconsistency. Here’s why.

Think about a major brand, maybe Nike. I’d bet that you could identify a Nike ad, even if it didn’t have the swoosh on it. It would be someone doing a physical activity, with tons of contrast to make the image look really intense. When the swoosh appears, it’s probably in the bottom right corner, or huge and centered on the image.

Consistency is key to defining your brand, and customers may trust your brand more if they can identify it easily. So whether you’re a small, medium or large business, or a marketing professional like myself who’s responsible for creating visuals for your clients, sticking to these fantastic tips that came out of the Social Media Success Summit 2015 talk by Peg Fitzpatrick can go a long way toward increasing your brand awareness and even its performance online.

You’ve already started creating visuals for your brand, and noticed inconsistency with them? Don’t worry – there’s no erasing the past. But right now is the absolute best time to start on a track toward consistent branding that speaks to your message, every time.

The first step is creating a brand vision board. Fitzpatrick recommends doing so on Pinterest, and it’s a great idea! Search for things that suit your style and pin them to an inspiration board. Look for common themes like colours and fonts that keep popping up.

From that practice, you can pick out the four main elements of your brand’s style:

  1. Logo
  2. Colour Palette
  3. Style/Mood
  4. Fonts

Now, when you’re designing your own graphics for social media, for print, or anything else that isn’t too heavy duty, use this same elements in all of your designs.

Like Fitzpatrick, I totally recommend using Canva. It’s insanely easy to use and with Canva for Work, you can save all your fonts, colours and even photo filters so that you don’t have to do all the styling every time.

Got questions about styling, creating graphics for your business, or social media management? Get in touch today!

Tips for creating awesome visual content

This blog post is part of our Lessons from SMSS15 series. Legendary Social Media is taking part in Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Success Summit, which is the world’s largest online social media marketing conference. This blog series covers the points and ideas we’ve taken from the course that we’ve deemed to be eye-opening and highly useful for other marketers and for small- and medium-sized businesses. To discuss any of the ideas in these blogs or other ideas about social marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

Whether you’re a marketing professional, a small business or just looking to have fun with some of the cool new tools out there on the interweb, one thing to keep in mind is that visuals absolutely rule the world. People process images faster than text or audio, so having strong images can work miracles for whatever it is you’re creating, be it ads, infographics, blog post images, Facebook posts or even book covers. During yesterday’s Social Media Success Summit 2015, presenters Donna Moritz and Rebekah Radice gave some handy tips on how to create awesome visuals – with major impact – easily.

First, the tools. Here are Moritz’s picks for the coolest new visual content creation apps that you probably want to play with. I know I do.

(These are in my order of love/want to test out, from most to least)

Canva. Can’t live without it. Canva turns averages Joes like myself into wannabe graphic designers and the stuff I’ve churned out since I started using Canva even impresses my own picky self. Canva lets you combine images, text and shapes into graphics. And those graphics come with pre-sized templates so they’ll fit properly into whatever platform you’re using them for, like Facebook ads (beware – there’s no template for Page Like ads), infographics, Facebook cover photos and more.

Videolicious. Apparently makes it easy to whip up mobile video, which goes nicely with Amy Porterfield’s talk on video ads from the previous day. Definitely a must-try.

Hyperlapse. An Instagram app that puts video into fast forward. Perfect for tours, behind-the-scenes videos and events.

Piktochat. Makes it easy to create infographics.

Wordswag. Adds funky/trendy text on top of images, especially for Instagram.

Blab/Periscope/Meerkat. Is this the future of social media? Probably. Each of these is a live-streaming video app. I’m one of the ones who’s terrified of the live-streaming trend, but also interested it give it a whirl.

Legend. An app for turning video into GIFs.

Relay. Like Canva, but less customizable, which is great if you’re not super keen on creating visuals from scratch. It supplies the template, you plug in the images and text. Bam.

Stop Motion Studio. Just in case you feel like creating some claymation (or any kind of stop motion video).

Now, when it comes to the content within your visuals, it’s crucial that you consider the purpose of what you’re creating, before you create it. According to Radice, your visuals should very clearly solve your customers’ or clients’ pain point or problem. It should show them quickly that you know what they want, and you’re offering a way to solve that. That’s what the “purpose” is all about.

Use fonts that are easy to read.

And most importantly, be consistent. Keep the feel of your visuals consistent, not only with each other, but with your brand. Be consistent with the colours you use, and the fonts.

And finally, each piece of visual content you create should go beyond the purpose of the post it’s destined for. Instead, content that’s highly sharable should have a longer-term purpose. It should grab attention, be useful and fit in with your brand’s goals.