6 Tips For Shooting Videos Of Yourself On Your Own

How many times have you looked at your camera or phone and thought—today is the day I’ll shoot that video…

And how many times have you decided, “Eh… maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.”

🙋‍♀️*Raises their own hand*🙋‍

Shooting a video of yourself on your own is a daunting task, but we’re here to show you that it’s not as tough as you think. You can create high-quality videos at home or in your office, without fancy camera gear. Just using a phone, a quiet space, good lighting, and the right angle you can record videos that viewers will think involved a lot more fancy equipment.

Here are 6 tips for shooting videos of yourself on your own, so you can make high-quality videos for your followers, warm leads, and customers.

#1: Find a Quiet Spot

When you’re shooting video, there are 2 things you want to be most concerned with: audio and lighting. We’ll talk about lighting in Tip #2, but for now, we’ll focus on audio. Whether you have or don’t have, an external microphone—you’re going to need to make sure the environment that you’re recording is as quiet as possible.

Recording next to a window above a busy street is going to create a lot of background noise that you won’t realize exists until you’ve finished recording. That noise is distracting and gives your video a lower quality feel. By avoiding that street-side window, you’ll be able to amp up your audio, even if you don’t have the most expensive microphone on the market.

#2: Find Your Best Lighting

Aside from audio, lighting is a crucial factor for shooting videos at home. People (including you!) don’t want to watch a video of someone with loud background noise and dim lighting. It makes you feel less authoritative, weakening whatever conversion you’re trying to get from your video.

There are 2 options when it comes to lighting: find it or buy it. Natural lighting is always ideal, and natural lighting with extra lights around you is more ideal (but you don’t need that). To shoot with great lighting, find the brightest room in your home or office—this may change throughout the day—and figure out what the best time is to shoot videos. For example, the morning might be the best time or mid-afternoon. Between good lighting and audio, you’ll be able to fool anyone watching your video into thinking you have the best tech gear available… even if you’re just using your phone.

#3: Get Your Angles Right

If you’re looking down at the camera or up at the camera—your video is going to throw off the viewer. You don’t want them focusing on your chin or the top of your head, you want them looking at you just as they would if you were sitting across from them talking. Getting your angle right will ensure your video has a natural and conversational feel—which is exactly what you’re aiming for when marketing your business or products.

Tripods are by far one of the easiest video equipment to finagle at home. You can use drawers, nightstands, shelves, books, decor, etc. to prop up your camera or phone so that it’s at the perfect angle.

#4: Use The Best Camera Available To You

If you’re using a camera—then you’ve already got the best camera available to you. If you’re using a phone to record your videos, make sure to use the best camera on your device. For example, on the iPhone, the back-facing camera is the best camera. It takes better quality videos (4K) which means that’s the best camera available to you, not your front-facing camera.

Using the back-facing camera of a phone also keeps you from looking at yourself while you’re filming. You want to look at the lens of the camera while you talk—if you look at yourself on the screen your recorded video will look like you’re talking slightly away from the person watching the video.

#5: Do A Test Run

Ah, the infamous test run. The marketers who do test runs are the ones that have recorded a 10 minute (plus!) video only to find out that their angle was off, their camera was out of focus, or their microphone wasn’t turned around. And it always stings—always.

To avoid making these mistakes, do a quick test run of your video before you jump into the recording. Record for at least a minute to make sure that your lighting looks good, your audio sounds good, you are in focus, and the angle is right. Trust us on this one.

#6: Be Honest With Your Audience

If you’re usually in a studio recording high-quality videos OR if this is your first time recording videos for your audience—tell them. Being honest with your viewers, whether they’re prospective customers or paying customers builds the relationship between you and them. Instead of pretending that you’re not at home recording videos when you used to be in a fancy studio, tell them about it. Or, if this is your first few videos, tell your audience, “This is one of the first videos I’ve recorded.”

Then, ask them to give you feedback. If you’re recording videos for social media, their feedback, in the form of comments to your post, is going to boost your engagement and help them keep seeing your content (ah, the classic Facebook algorithm).

If you’re recording videos for a paid membership, asking them for their feedback on how to improve your videos is going to make them feel more attached to the final product. In both cases, you’re creating a better relationship with your followers, prospects, or customers.

We told you at the start of this article that shooting video of yourself on your own was a daunting task—but not a challenging one. Using these tips, you can record videos of yourself that have everybody fooled into thinking you’ve got the latest video tech, all while you are shooting from your bedroom.

Instagram is Expanding “Shopping” to More Businesses & Creators

Instagram is expanding its Instagram Shopping features to more types of businesses — including creators!

The announcement came alongside a slew of other updates to Instagram Shopping, including the rollout of new “Commerce Eligibility Requirements.”

According to Instagram, once the update goes into effect on July 9th, any eligible business or creator account will be able to use shopping tags to drive people to their website to make a purchase.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Instagram is Expanding “Shopping” to More Businesses & Creators

Instagram Expands Shopping Features to Include More Small Businesses and Creators

Over the past few months, Instagram has announced several new e-commerce features to help small businesses navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this update goes beyond supporting small businesses — it extends Instagram’s e-commerce features to a whole new category of users: creators.

According to the announcement, “whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merchandise, or a food blogger expanding into your own cookware line,” you can use Instagram Shopping to make sales on Instagram.

instagram extends shopping to creators

As part of this expansion of Instagram Shopping, Instagram is also adding new “Commerce Eligibility Requirements” that businesses (and now creators) must fulfill in order to qualify for Instagram Shopping.

Here are the updated requirements:

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #1: Comply With Facebook’s Policies

Firstly, your Facebook account and Page must comply with Facebook’s Terms of ServiceCommercial Terms and Community Standards, and your Instagram professional account must comply with Instagram’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.

This is all pretty standard and mainly has to do with regulating the types of products and services that can be offered for sale on Facebook and Instagram.

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #2: Represent Your Business and Domain

A second requirement is that businesses can only tag products on Instagram from a website that they own and sell from.

In other words, you can’t use your Instagram account to sell another business’s products, like in affiliate marketing. Your account should only contain listings for products that are available for purchase on your website.

commerce eligibility requirements

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #3: Be Located in a Supported Market

As before, in order to use Instagram Shopping, your business must be located in a supported market.

Keep in mind that not all Instagram Shopping features will be available to supported countries. For example, Instagram Checkout is currently only supported in the United States.

You can find an up-to-date list of supported countries here.

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #4: Demonstrate Trustworthiness

Your Instagram account must also demonstrate trustworthiness, including an authentic, established presence.

According to Instagram, this may also include maintaining a sufficient follower base, although Instagram doesn’t clarify what “sufficient” means.

instagram shopping

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #5: Provide Accurate Information & Follow Best Practices

Finally, in order to qualify for Instagram Shopping, your account must provide accurate information about your products. For example, product information listed on Instagram cannot contain misleading pricing and availability information.

Your refund and return policies must also be clearly displayed and easily accessible from your website or on Facebook or Instagram.

Beyond these new requirements, Instagram also intends to update its sign-in flow to give clearer guidance to businesses.

New businesses will go through Instagram’s updated flow and existing businesses will receive an in-app notification in the coming weeks with instructions about how to comply with it.

instagram shopping

What do you think of Instagram expanding Shopping to creators and more businesses? Are you planning on using Instagram shopping tags on your posts?

Let us know in the comments!

Top 5 mistakes small businesses make when choosing a marketing agency

The modern business environment is complex and challenging. Business promotional concepts like digital marketing and online advertising were once considered a domain for the big players in the business world. However, today, they are equally valid for small businesses and startups. Small business marketing is essential to compete in a thriving market place.
Small businesses need to choose a marketing agency for efficient and cost-effective digital marketing and online advertising. However, they need to be cautious. Incorrect selection can lead to ineffective and cost-prohibitive digital marketing and online advertising. As a small business owner, be wary of these top 5 mistakes that small businesses make when choosing a marketing agency:

1. Lack of research and ill-defined marketing objectives.

This is the most severe mistake on the part of a business owner when looking for a marketing agency. You need to have your homework done beforehand. Even the smartest marketing agency will work around its strategies around your expectations. You need to prepare a clear and concise brief about what you want and what should be your business end state through successful digital marketing and online advertising.

2. Saving money at the cost of quality.

Budget is always an issue with small businesses, and it is smart to save money where they can. However, this can be a grave mistake when it comes to choosing a marketing agency for digital marketing and online advertising. Digital marketing and online advertising are required to bring your sales. A low budget marketing agency most certainly lacks the essential tools, expertise, and outreach for a converting marketing campaign. Most of them never cater for competition research, brand enrichment strategies, design uniqueness, and lead conversion. You spend less with such marketing agencies but gain nothing.

3. Looking for a local marketing agency.

This can be a grave mistake if you are unsure of the quality of the digital marketing service they provide. Just because you have physical access does not mean that it will ensure quality digital marketing for you. It is essential to understand that digital marketing and online advertising by marketing agencies can be effective even if you have only online access to them. Research well before you outsources your digital marketing to any company. Never fall for a local brand when you have a better offshore choice at competitive rates.

4. Don’t fall for claims and promises that are too good to be true.

If some marketing agency promises you fantastic targets at an unbelievable price, then you are in for a scam. There are defined costs of digital marketing and online advertising. A marketing agency can only cut their profit margin by offering low prices to bring in business. Impossible pricing means usage of black hat tactics or fake marketing success statistics. Your business will never go far with these tactics.

5. Overlooking experience, rapport, and customer feedback.

It is not unusual for small businesses to be impressed by flashy presentations. However, such impressive displays are not a substitute for effective digital marketing. So, how to check the validity?
Every marketing agency has an online presence. You can always find online references and customer reviews on their past performance. Choosing a marketing agency without a proven track record and positive customer reviews is a mistake that could cost you more than you think.

Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?

Wondering if you should switch to an Instagram creator profile?

In late-2018, Instagram announced that it was rolling out a new kind of Instagram account, created specifically for their MVPs: Instagram influencers and content creators.

Instagram creator profiles are similar to business profiles, offering users exclusive features, analytics, and more.

But there are some big differences too!

In this post, we explain how to set up an Instagram creator profile and look at the pros and cons of making the switch: 

Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?

What You Need to Know About Instagram’s Creator Profile

Instagram influencer marketing is big and getting bigger — in fact, according to AdAge, it now accounts for at least $2 billion in annual marketing spending in North America.

But it hasn’t been without its hiccups.

Before Instagram announced its new creator profile, influencers had to use business profiles to access their account insights, call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and more.

What they lacked, however, were features like advanced growth insights and tools to monetize their Instagram content.

Ashley Yuki, an Instagram product manager, acknowledged this in a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, stating that the idea behind Instagram’s creator profile was to “create this space where we can now start to specialize the experience for the needs of creators.”

By switching to a creator profile, influencers and creators would get access to flexible profile controls, simplified messaging, and more growth tools.

instagram creator profile

But is this actually the case? Are the features worth making the switch?

Read on to find out!

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #1: More Growth Tools

One of the biggest concerns for Instagram influencers is understanding their follower growth and trends on their account — so it makes sense that Instagram creator profiles are designed with analytics in mind.

For starters, Facebook launched its new Creator Studio dashboard last year, which includes an “Insights” tab to help creators better understand their audience and how people are interacting with their content.

Within the Insights tab, you can view Activity Insights to see what actions people take when they engage with your account. It also tracks the reach and the total number of impressions of your content over the last 7 days.

instagram creator studio

You can also view Audience Insights with information about your followers and audience, including their gender, age range, and location.

instagram creator studio

While many of these analytics are currently offered on Instagram business profiles, the Creator Studio dashboard makes it easier for users to access their metrics directly from their desktop.

Instagram creator profiles also get access to daily follow/unfollow data, which will make it easier for influencers and creators to map new and existing content to net follower changes (and therefore see what’s resonating and what isn’t resonating with their followers).

instagram creator: follow and unfollow

Previously, influencers looked outside the Instagram app for follow/unfollow data, until Instagram’s API changes disabled many third-party apps.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #2: Simplified Messaging

Instagram influencers are bombarded with DMs, ranging from “where’d you buy that top?” to collaboration requests, and more.

As you can imagine, this can be really overwhelming for influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers — how do you manage all of those messages?!

This is another issue that Instagram has attempted to address with the creator profile.

instagram creator profile

Creator profiles have more DM filtering options (including three new tabs: Primary, General, and Requests), allowing them to prioritize messages from brands and friends, or rank them by relevance or time to make sure they never miss an important request.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #3: Instagram & IGTV Scheduling

Instagram Creator Studio also offers publishing tools for both Instagram feed posts and IGTV. This gives creators a unified place to manage their presence and content across both Facebook and Instagram.

To get started click “Create Post” in the top-left of the page (you should see options for both Instagram Feed and IGTV):

instagram creator account

The publishing flow is slightly different for Instagram posts and IGTV videos. Below we’ll cover how to schedule posts to your Instagram feed.

After you select “Instagram Feed,” a window will open on the right of the screen where you can upload your image (or images in the case of carousel posts), write your caption, add a location, tag accounts, and crop your images.

instagram creator account

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #4: Flexible Profile Controls

On top of having more control over who is messaging them, Instagram creator profiles also have more control over how they’re being contacted.

Creator profiles can designate their preferred method of contact on their profile (including call, text, and email), and have more flexibility on what they choose to include as a CTA on their pages.

instagram creator profile

By giving creator accounts more control over how they’re contacted, influencers will be able to filter out “cold” messages and spend more time engaging in meaningful interactions with brands they prefer to work with.

The new profile controls are a way to give Instagram influencers more control over their profiles, and the connections they make on the platform.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #5: Shoppable Posts

Shopping on Instagram has been around for a while — but it’s only recently that it was opened up to influencers and creators.

Announced in mid-2019, Instagram creator profiles can now share featured products in their organic posts and stories. And it works almost exactly like regular shopping posts from businesses.

As a creator, when someone taps a product tag on your post or a product sticker in your story, they’ll be taken to a product description page where they can complete their purchase.

instagram creator profile: shopping

Before this feature was released, influencers and creators were fairly limited in how they could promote other brands and products.

In terms of process, influencers would usually tag the brands they were promoting, add details in the caption, and then respond to countless comments and DMs.

With the ability to tag products in their posts and stories, influencers can now get back to expressing themselves and sharing what’s on their mind, which should make their followers happy too!

Note: Keep in mind that creators can only feature products from brands that have approved access to their products.

instagram creator profile: shopping

Creator profiles are also gaining access to Instagram’s highly coveted checkout feature! According to a Glossy article, influencers that have partnered with brands on paid Instagram posts are now able to tag Checkout-enabled products in their own feeds.

While this feature is currently being beta tested with a handful of businesses, we expect it to be more widely available this year!

Instagram Business Profile vs. Instagram Creator Profile

Like Instagram business profiles, creator profiles have access to a number of exclusive features and in-depth analytics, but there are also some big differences between the profile types.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key differences:

With an Instagram Business Profile You

CAN:

  • Get access to Instagram Analytics about your followers and posts
  • Promote Instagram posts as ads
  • Add links to Instagram Stories

CAN’T:

  • Go private on Instagram

With an Instagram Creator Profile You

CAN:

  • Get exclusive access to the Instagram Creator Studio on desktop
  • Access creator-specific analytics, including follow/unfollow metric and engagement stats
  • Filter your Direct Message inbox
  • Tag products from brands directly within a feed post

CAN’T:

  • Connect your Instagram to any third-party apps

Wondering if you should switch to an Instagram business profile or Instagram creator profile? Find out with our handy flowchart:

Which Instagram Profile should use quiz

Is the Instagram Creator Profile Worth the Switch?

There are unique advantages and disadvantages to each Instagram profile, and it ultimately depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your account.

Of course, if you’re an influencer or creator that’s actively trying to monetize your content and build more partnerships with brands, switching to a creator profile could be hugely beneficial — especially since we expect Instagram to continue rolling out new features this year.

However, as we described above, there are some downsides to making the switch.

Have you switched to a creator profile? Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!