This past week, I hung out in beautiful Vancouver to ROAM with fellow influencers and bloggers. This wasn’t a trip I took lightly. It was one that I worked my butt off to be able to attend, as it is high planting season time on the farm right now. I have great respect for all the women and men who attend. We all carefully align our lives to be able to take these minutes out, to come together, celebrate and keep learning on how to improve, and refine our craft.
So why make time in the busiest season of the year? Why bother spending those hard earned dollars? Well, it all boils down to three main points for me.
Why I Make Time for Conferences
The Community We Belong To
We have a seriously great community of influencers in Canada. We are all hardworking people who believe there’s a slice of the pie for everyone. And there is. So, I am still continuing on my goal to help support influencers with my knowledge in any way I can. It’s fun to connect with them too and learn what their passion is and where it leads them. These conversations stick with me for months! (Huge shoutouts to my roomies – fellow Albertans – Merry and Sam & my favourite Torontonian – Melanie for many deep conversations).
You’ve Gotta Keep Learning
Things change quickly in the social media space, and you have to keep learning. Last year at this time, we would have been talking about Periscope as the next big thing, and now we are learning SnapChat. The ways influencers are evaluated is changing – brands and agencies are learning more about analyzing and reporting. As someone from a small town, I need to keep in touch with the community and make sure I’m following what’s new. There’s many ways to do this, whether it be online or in-person, I just prefer being eyeball to eyeball.
We Are Creators
We have that in common. It doesn’t matter if you do video, SnapChat, make jewellery or what. We started this because we had a burning passion for a topic that fuels us, keeps us up at nights and won’t let go. Those little small things that you “just do” – this is almost always where your genius zone is. People are amazed by your brilliance. Don’t understate these talents and abilities. Not sure what yours are? Ask a trusted friend or family member, and they will give you the goods.
My Takeaway Notes & To Do’s from ROAM
I know not everyone could make it out to Vancouver – we all lead busy lives with many priorities! So I compiled a list of my take aways from each session and tried to create notes from each session. Hope this helps you continue to grow & develop too.
- Expert: Alexandra (@tovogueorbust)
- SnapChat is where you get REAL and UNEDITED. Snap photos or videos in real time – which are shown for 0-10 seconds. It’s quick and concise. The content is only available for 24 hours which creates a sense of urgency (you might miss it). Users when viewing Snaps are on a full-screen view which means their eyeballs are on your content (no distractions), because of this users are highly engaged in the content, and often feel that they are part of your story (very invested).
- Think in stories that have a clear beginning & a clear end.
- Working with Brands: Take screenshots showing how many viewers you get on an average post. For sponsorship, need at least 100 views to start. Be very wary on what you brands you pick, authenticity is key on this platform.
- Integrating Your Snaps:
Live Q & A: Ask for questions via Twitter then answer them in a real-time way on SnapChat. Use one snap on Facebook to have users come over for the rest.
Instagram: Use your curated photos on Instagram, provide a behind the scenes or step-by-step, peek-behind-the-curtain through SnapChat.
YouTube: Upload your Snaps to YouTube & embed in your blog post in case your followers missed it. This is a great way to add more value to your posts.
Facebook: Upload your Snap videos (Facebook loves video!) or a portion as a teaser and ask followers to follow you on SnapChat.
- Expert: Jeff Bartlett (@photojbartlett)
- Okay, so maybe Jeff gives me a major case of wanderlust every time he features his mountains in Jasper. It was really cool to connect with him and talk about our favourite places in Hinton.
- First 9 photos in your grid tell users if they want to follow you. Make sure you are showing a variety of four types and a similar colour palette in these images. It’s totally okay to delete images if they don’t fit in your curated grid anymore.
- Stand up your yourself and your audience. You know what your audience wants and needs. Don’t be afraid to make it work how they would want it.
- Hashtags that have between 30-90K will give you the best bang for your buck, your popular image will hang out in it the top the longest.
- Three Main Rules of Photography:
Content is king, understand light and create strong compositions.
- Top Four Types of Images that People Heart on Instagram:
1. Big Landscape, Small People: aspirational; people can imagine them as the person.
2. Find the Action (the Motion) in the photo and capture it.
3. Take Portraits of Others: tag them in it, find ways to colloborate.
4. Small Detail: zoom in and catch those finer details.
- Jeff’s Workflow:
Shoot image with DSLR
Import into Lightroom
Import into VSCO (favourite filters:) or SnapSeed, tweak
Upload to Instagram (tweak brightness slightly but not to change image, just to use the tools)
Put relevant hashtags in 1st comment
(This make me tired just looking at it! The key here is consistency – pick a routine and stick to it)
We were challenged to help support a local Vancouver group (the YWCA Child Care Center) by volunteering for the afternoon through Telus’ The Giving Effect program. As an individual who supports volunteers, I was happy to have the opportunity to do so. Here’s a little video of what our group got up to:
- Expert: Gillian Duffy (@_GillianDuffy)
- SEO Resources here & Gillian’s courses: SEO for Bloggers and Easy Peasy Affiliate Niche Sites
- SEO is a long-term game. It’s about getting traffic on evergreen content. It can take months to show up in Google.
- Spend 10 minutes on SEO for each post you do – Look for keywords between 100-1000 searches a month. These ones will help you maximize your process. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Moz SEO Toolbar and Long Tail Pro ($)
- Use your keyword in the first 60 characters. Use secondary keywords for section headings, following sections, and Alt descriptions, and make it naturally sounding.
- Don’t keyword stuff — anything over 3% of the words. Once every 100 words.
- Expert: Lindsay Faber (Lindsay Faber Photography)
- The Exposure Triangle: ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed work together to control the amount of light used to make each image.
ISO: The lower your ISO the LESS sensitive your camera will be to light; the higher your ISO the MORE sensitive your camera will be to light.
Aperture: Controls depth of field. Small numbers = small depth of field Large numbers = large depth of field
Shutter Speed: The amount of time the shutter is open. Speed it up to catch kids in action – at least 500!
- Turn on your histogram. The LCD Display won’t always show you if you blew out the white. It should look like a bell curve if you’re getting it correct.
- You have to read the light! Highlights, shadows all matter. Look before you shoot.
- Indoors, aim for a directional lighting at 45 degrees in a 3 box setup. Play with it & find your own sweet spot.
- Outdoor photography – find a solid 3 sides to use. Trees and bushes can help diffuse. Don’t use harsh, direct sunlight. Golden hour when the sun is setting or rising and makes amazing glowy backlight. Sun needs to be behind, & to the left or right of your subject.
- Windows are great for back lighting with your subject facing away from you. Try it!
- Food bloggers can’t always use natural light. Use a light tent with opaque fabric on 45 degrees to help at midnight.
- Expert: Josh Rimer (Josh Rimer: Sassy YouTuber)
- The key to YouTube is regular content – something you can sustainably do – at least once a week. Content needs to be there. Get the content going, then work on the SEO and YouTube Cards.
- YouTube is the second biggest search engine people go to – short videos on your blog topics can help them find your post.
- Josh uses his iPhone for the majority of his videos. Use what you’ve got, start from there, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
- If brands want beautiful, perfect video, they will go to a production company. They are coming you for the REAL video & audience. It’s YOUTube not CorporateTube.
- YouTube is personality driven. That’s what separates you – your take on it! Bring your passion to your video. AMP up your passion! Play it up a little more on camera. The camera doesn’t always see it.
- People take 5-6 seconds to decide if they will continue to watch, so explaining what you’re going to cover is wise. Do a content introduction, and then do an intro channel video – really short – like 3 seconds. Then do the content you promised.
- Always have a closing message. Ask them to subscribe. Invite them to join your community. Give the permission & reminder to do it. If you have upcoming series, let users know. Ask them to give a thumbs up or down, comment below or ask what they want to see in the next video?
- Build an audience, play with it. It takes a while to see what sticks, and what type of videos work. Find people to collaborate with that have similar audiences to you.
So what platform are you going to tackle next? Share your handle in the comments below so I can follow you or let me know what questions you are still left with!
a passionate recreation coordinator by day, crazy farm mama of two by night. i live outdoors: growing my own food, camping and hiking with my border collie with two active kids in tow. when I’m not writing, I’m experimenting with recipes, and crafts – or anything else that might keep the monkeys entertained.