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Zoe Kahn Posts

Upgrade Your Insta-game

am_guest_101316Let’s be honest, half the fun of Instagram is editing your photos. With stunning filters and special apps, the most mundane moments can become a work of art.

As a Marketing Coordinator for davies + dixon, I’m on Instagram quite frequently. After testing out a number of different photo editing apps, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not one app that’s better than all the rest. However, there is a method to this beautiful madness and it requires just a few tips and tools.

For starters, I highly recommend planning your Instagrams in advance so that you can envision how they’ll look next to one another (use the Later app to help you with that). Sticking to a specific color scheme will also help elevate your gram game. For example, the Insta-pros behind A Beautiful Mess, Elsie and Emma, do a great job of color cohesion. So whether you’re trying to be like Elsie and Emma, or you’re on Insta just for fun, here are a few photo editing apps that are worth trying out!

VSCO

This is a must-have app for any serious Instagrammer. VSCO fosters a talented community of iphone photographers but you can still edit your photos without making an account. Within this app, there are several elegant filters to choose from, as well as a great selection of image adjustment tools. When experimenting with the filters, I recommend turning down the strength to a 6 or 7 – you don’t want your photo looking too saturated. For those of you that would like your entire feed to have a consistent look and feel, then this is the app for you. After editing your photo, you’ll see it appear in the front page of the app titled “My images.” Simply select the photo you just edited (a yellow box will appear around it) and tap the three dots in the bottom right corner to “Copy Edits.” Upload your second image, repeat the steps in bold and you’ll now see the option to “Paste Edits.” That is how you can ensure your photos look cohesive!

Afterlight

In my opinion, Afterlight is less intense than VSCO and more user-friendly. If VSCO is the black diamond of photo editing apps, then Afterlight is the blues on the mountain. The UX design is simple and the filter presets are fun and diverse. Once you have selected your image within the app, you’ll see a rainbow circle in the toolbar on bottom. This circle expands to show you their filter packs. I mainly use the options within “Original” and “Seasons.” Like I mentioned, you may gravitate towards different filters based on the photo subject, as well as the color scheme of your overall Insta feed. Something that differentiates Afterlight from other photo apps is the ability to add film-like borders to your photos. The film icon is next to the rainbow circle. These effects make for some very #artsy photos!

A Color Story

If you love bright whites and colors that pop than this app should be your go-to. It’s great for product shots and flat lays. A unique feature about this app is the S-curve editing tool – the other apps I’ve mentioned have all the fundamental adjustment tools (i.e. Clarity, Contrast and Exposure) but not Curves. If you’re familiar with Photoshop than you know how crucial the Curves tool is. This is the best tool when it comes to adjusting the lighting of your photo. Another awesome feature about A Color Story is the ability to create and save custom filters. If you’re the creative type, you’ll enjoy building your own original presets!

While Instagram has definitely improved their editing capabilities, why settle? Downloading just one of these apps will quickly take your feed to the next level. I encourage you to play around with each of them until you find the one that works best for you. And have fun with it! There are no rules to the Insta-game – only recommendations. What has worked for you? Share in the comments below!

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The Best Sources to Stay on Top of Marketing News

Anyone in the social media-marketing world knows that it can be difficult to turn your phone on silent, or go without it for a day. While we may have the luxury of working remotely, our devices are our desks, and those stay with us far beyond the typical hours of 9 to 5. The reality is social media does not sleep and our job, as marketing professionals, is to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

AM_Guest_062016So, what’s the secret to staying ahead of the game? Believe it or not, the answer is simple. Your source is everything – and most likely, you’re going to utilize more than one. (This will ensure that you’ve covered all your bases.) Sure, you could simply pick up a newspaper, or keep refreshing Twitter, but nobody, especially marketing professionals, has time for that. To help you be as efficient as possible, I’ve shared several apps and tools that effectively function as a news/media “strainer” – meaning everything you’re reading and absorbing will have significance. And while the news you need to know, and post about, certainly depends on your overall social media strategy, here are my favorite ways to find out what’s making headlines:

  1. New York Times Alerts

    This app will send you a notification when something major has just occurred. The Alerts serve as a warning for breaking news and what will soon be trending on all social media platforms. For instance, I woke up to a New York Times Alert on Sunday morning, June 12th, which read, “At least 50 are dead in the shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida, officials say; the shooter is identified as Omar Mateen.” Seeing this first thing Sunday morning gave me some time to try and process what had happened. I think it is important to get news like this from a highly credible source, especially as it unfolds, as opposed to finding out inadvertently on Facebook, Twitter or from friends.

  2. Refinery29 This AM

    Download this free app and find out the “8 Things You Need To Know This AM.” They cover everything from the Zika virus to campaign trail updates – and even that day’s most significant Entertainment news, like Justin Bieber’s new face tattoo. (I think the daily Entertainment piece is provided as comedic relief.)

  3. theSkimm

    This is an email newsletter that will arrive in your inbox first thing in the morning. In their words, “it makes it easier to be smarter.” And in my words, theSkimm is like the storytelling version of the Refinery29 app. If you’d like to read a quick summary alongside the daily headliners, this is the app for you. Vanity Fair called theSkimm “a must-have survival guide for any professional.” I definitely recommend trying it out. Even if you just skim theSkimm, you will get quick insight into the world today. By the way, you can now download Skimm Ahead, which will tell you what’s coming up; in other words, you’ll be in the loop before the loop exists.

Unlike the apps and email subscriptions listed above, these are more specific tools to help keep you in the know…

  1. Google Alerts

    This tool has been around much longer than some of the other apps I’ve mentioned; yet, it is still a relevant and valuable method of communication. Google Alerts can keep you notified in real-time about your clients and industry trends. Use this to track any time your client or company is mentioned so that you can immediately react. An email will hit your inbox to notify you and from there, your team can make moves.

  2. Twitter Lists

    Develop a Twitter list, private or public, with relevant news sources and/or influencers/thought leaders for your industry. Creating lists means having a curated feed. I recommend scrolling through this feed for a few minutes a day to discover relevant, trending stories to you or your client’s industry.

  3. Meltwater – Your Social Sidekick

    This email subscription tool will be delivered to your inbox each week. It will not inform you of breaking news, but lists a variety of things happening that month, as well as a dated summary of famous birthdays, national food days/holidays and even TV premieres. For instance, who knew today, Monday, June 20th is Vanilla Milkshake Day? Well, actually I do…because I subscribe to Meltwater’s Social Sidekick.

No one likes to feel left out when your co-workers talk about the latest headlines or today’s bizarre, but hilarious “National Food Day.” Adopting just one of these strategies will ensure you never receive the dreaded “have you seen this yet?” email ever again.

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