Protecting Your Mental Health

Social media is a great way to showcase your creativity and connect with different types of communities from all over the world. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok can inspire your creativity and push you to try new things or go places you have never even heard of. However, with all the hours we spend scrolling on our phones through all the different social media platforms, we might start to see our mental health decline.

It’s always entertaining to look through all the photos, videos, stories, reels, and everything in between, but it doesn’t always leave you feeling great afterward. Everyone experiences this, so know you are never alone.

Here at TOC PR, we thrive on creating content that stands out and showcases who we are. To do this, we are constantly scrolling and trying to find the next big social media trend and develop ways to utilize them and apply them to our work. It can still get a little overwhelming and discouraging at times trying to keep up, which is why knowing when to unplug for your mental health is crucial. 

Here are five tips we utilize to limit our screen time and promote mental wellness.

Create work-life boundaries and only allow yourself a certain amount of time per day on social media. As soon as you wake up, try to create a schedule for your day and include a couple of fifteen to thirty-minute breaks between tasks where you can scroll through social media if you choose.

Find time to digitally detox. If this means setting a timer, do it! It’s so easy to get distracted on social media, which is why your two-minute break can sometimes turn into an hour break. Setting a timer can help you stay on task and not get stuck scrolling for longer than you anticipated. 

Avoid comparing yourself and start unfollowing the accounts that don’t make you feel good. Pay more attention to how you feel after viewing certain accounts and posts and recognize the negative thoughts or feelings associated with them. You can easily avoid feeling that way again by simply unfollowing or blocking them.

Take advantage of mental health apps. There are so many different apps out right now that can help improve your mood, learn and practice meditation, provide therapy or advice, and so much more. Some examples of these apps are Moodkit, Talkspace, Headspace, and Happify.

Go outside to take breaks! A little fresh air never hurt anyone. Spending time outdoors can help you decompress and significantly reduce your symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Put your mental health first! Take advantage of the things you can do that benefit your well-being. It’s genuinely all about defining the boundaries you require, scheduling your time between work and life, and then actually committing to making those changes yourself to benefit your mind and schedule. Find what works for you and stick to it consistently. Your mental health will thank you.

Why You Need To Be Doing Newsletter Marketing

Newsletter marketing is when companies send informational and product-focused content via email to a subscriber list that comprises potential and existing customers. You might not think that email marketing is beneficial for your business, but trust us, it is! According to Statista, in 2020, the number of global email users amounted to four billion and is set to grow to 4.6 billion users in 2025. Therefore, your business needs to have an outlet like email marketing that quickly and effectively gets the word out on new products, services, or deals that you offer. Newsletters can also direct your readers over to blogs or web pages that provide them with more detail about your business.

Newsletter marketing is essential because it keeps brands on top of consumers’ minds, establishing authority and notifying readers of products that may interest them. If you’re not using email marketing, you are missing out on significant opportunities for your business.

It is so important to have additional ways of communicating with your target audience. Of course, social media is the most effective way to keep your customers engaged with your business, but what happens if suddenly you don’t have access to it? We saw this happen recently on October 4th, 2021. Without warning, Instagram and Facebook shut down altogether. If these two platforms were the only way to connect with your audience and attract clients, you would be in trouble.

The most effective way to counter this issue is to start building your email list. You might have a list of subscribers that love what you do but don’t hear from you enough, or maybe you have tried to build a list of subscribers but failed. Don’t be worried; we can help you out. Start making that email list today, no matter how difficult or time-consuming it might be. Next, find the most simple yet effective way to set up and grow your list. It can be as easy as going on social media and directing your audience to subscribe to your newsletter or creating a pop-up on your website that gives viewers an option to enter their email addresses for the newsletter. Consistency is vital when it comes to creating an email list for newsletter marketing.

What We Use to Write Our Newsletters

The easiest way to write an effective newsletter is by utilizing an online platform. Our personal favorite and the one we found most customizable is Mailchimp! Some other great platforms are Constant Contact, Mailerlite, and Campaign Monitor. Online platforms are easy to use and allow you to create newsletters that reflect your client’s brands. You can also easily manage your subscriber list and utilize segments to create different groups of subscribers. 

What to Include in Your Newsletters

Whether you use MailChimp or not, here are five things you should always include in your newsletters to make them as successful as possible:

Creative Headlines

Subject lines should both persuade the reader to open the email and correctly represent the contents of the email.

Consistent schedule

Information in the newsletter should be specific to the business and target audience and sent out in scheduled time intervals. Frequency truly depends on the brand. For example, we send ours out once a week, while some clients send it out once a month. Find the right frequency for your brand, but remember to be consistent.

Call-to-action

Newsletters should always have a desire to be performed by the reader. Therefore, we like to include buttons or links that redirect our readers to blog posts or web pages related to the content in the newsletter.

clean format

Readers need to enjoy the email visually. If the email looks scattered and uncoordinated, the reader is less likely to read the email and more likely to unsubscribe. Also, keep the information minimal. Share a snippet of your blog or content with a call to action to “read more” if applicable. We are in a day and age of short time spans; we don’t want to lose readers to too much text.

optimize newsletters for mobile

Readers are more likely to open the newsletters on their mobile phones. Therefore, you must make sure that your newsletters are optimized for smartphones and tablets. Many email marketing platforms have customizable mobile styles that take effect when someone reads the email on their phone or tablet. The default styles include font size and line-height settings that work well on a smaller screen.

Newsletter marketing allows businesses to demonstrate authority and expertise on the subject of their services and products. We make sure our newsletter marketing strategies are always attractive and informative to our subscribers so that there is a level of trust placed between us. Newsletters are imperative in taking your brand marketing to the next level.

Subscribe to our newsletter below!

Not-So-Basic Product Shots

Curious about how we take such professional-looking product shots? Don’t worry; we got you! Product shot photos look so effortless yet can be so challenging to get right. You change the way the product is sitting, change the lighting, change the angle, and change the location, yet it still might not look how you want it. However, product shots shouldn’t be difficult. Here are some quick tips for creating not-so-basic product shots.

Start with the lighting.
Lighting is the most crucial element to taking a sharp photo. Different products will require different lighting, and it’s up to you to figure out what works best for your products. You can’t go wrong with natural lighting. More times than not, natural lighting will result in an evenly lit picture. To find the best naturally lit area, keep an eye out for how the light changes throughout the day and determine when and where the light hits the best. Avoid hard light as it often makes colors look more saturated and can highlight even the most minuscule flaws.

Pro tip: If the sun begins to hide and the level of natural light drops, you can use a reflector to bounce and intensify the light around to fill shadows. A reflector can be as simple as a white foam board or any white screen.

Pick your background.
When choosing the correct background, try to be mindful of how you want the final product to look. We suggest keeping your background clean and simple. Your product must be the main focus of your photo. Your background should bring attention to your product rather than cause distraction. If you’re looking to use a backdrop, a white one is a great, clean option as it beautifully reflects the natural light; however, feel free to experiment with color that works with your brand. Depending on the size of your product, you can use anything from a large sheet of white paper, a white sheet, or a white roll of wallpaper. Also, don’t forget to make sure your backdrop is locked in place to ensure nothing moves during the photography process.

If you want your product in an actual setting it would be used in, make sure to be very specific with what you put in the shot. Every single thing seen in the photo should be on purpose and intentional! This goes for lighting and camera angle as well. The lighting, camera angle, camera distance, and everything seen in the photo all come together to create the mood and feel of your product and brand. You have complete control of this!

Equipment
Since we’ve gotten through the basics, let’s get into the camera details. You can use either a professional camera or a cell phone to get that seamless look on your product shots. When using a professional camera, you can control every single aspect of the photo through various settings. When using a cellphone, you can achieve that same high-quality image but may need to add a few filters to make it appear as if a professional camera took it. Don’t be afraid to mess with your camera or cell phone settings, but be cautious not to over-adjust them. Remember, you can always go in later and add those edits or filters to make the shot pop! We also recommend using a tripod or other stable foundation to reduce the chance of having blurry or tilted photos. 

Taking the photo
Don’t be scared to be creative with the product positions and camera angles; you want everything to stand out. You’ll most likely have to adjust things throughout the shoot, but practice makes perfect. Take lots of photos from various angles, making a note of the settings you used and what they produced. Take time between different angles to review the images to see if you need to adjust any settings.

Be sure to tag us in your product photos and show us what you created. Follow us on Instagram @TOCPublicRelations for more ideas for content creation!

Facebook hashtags, should you use them?

Since Facebook hashtags made their grand debut in 2013, their use quickly fizzled out and became pointless on the platform before making their big return in September 2020. 

Today, many social media managers are asking, do we use hashtags on Facebook again or not?

The short answer is: YES. Use hashtags to amplify your posts. 

In the past year, Facebook has made some significant changes to its platform. One of those changes is the re-implementation of #hashtags, which will now improve your organic reach and strengthen search engine optimization. 

“Facebook announced that it reemphasized hashtags as a way of bringing conversations about public events, people, and topics to the forefront. The world’s largest social network took into account the amount of buzz people tend to generate around popular television shows, sport games, and breaking events.”

socialbakers

You can now add hashtags to posts on business profiles, personal profiles, group posts, fan page posts, and comments. This is how organizations and agencies like yours can (again) capitalize on the use of hashtags on forthcoming Facebook posts.

Navigating through Facebook #hashtags

The next time you log on to Facebook, tap on the hashtag of any post…you’ll notice that you will be redirected to the tailored feed to that specific hashtag. For example, if you tap on #publicrelations, you will be redirected to the feed of all public relations posts on the platform.

You can also look for hashtags in the search bar, or you can type facebook.com/hashtag/example into your browser to be taken directly to its living feed. 

Again, just like Instagram, hashtags will now give your social media channels a boost in visibility, along with improving your SEO. 

How to implement hashtags into Facebook posts?

The biggest question you are likely wondering is, how many hashtags should I use on this platform? First off, just like any other social media channel, tailor all of your hashtags specific to your post and messaging. Just because #KimKardashian may be trending that day does not mean adding that hashtag to your post will help you in any way. 

Be intentional. Adding two or three tailored hashtags to your Facebook post is the golden number. But, as hashtags become frequent to your Facebook posts, you’ll have a better eye to determine precisely how many hashtags work best for the profile that you manage. 

Remember, don’t overdo it; strategically implement relevant hashtags to optimize your reach.