JAIME: Welcome to Outgrowth: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts Jaime Schrabeck.
ASHLEY: And Ashley Gregory Hackett. As we transition into the busiest time of the year for salons, the holidays, juggling marketing efforts with the rest of our responsibilities can seem impossible.
JAIME: While many struggle to keep up, the proactive beauty professional uses all resources available to stay consistent and on track. Let’s grow together.
ASHLEY: Well, this is one of my absolute favorite topics to discuss, Jaime, and as we know, content creation can sometimes seem like an endless pit.
JAIME: An endless pit is an analogy. The one I think of is jumping on a treadmill and not being able to get off.
ASHLEY: You just have to keep feeding the beast and unfortunately that’s the reality of social media and digital marketing in general. But the good news is there is a light at the end of the tunnel, whether you’re on a treadmill or on a train, but there are tools available to make content creation and that whole process a little bit easier.
JAIME: It seems we’re bursting with good ideas and good intentions, and anything that can help us reach our goal, which is to build our clientele, build our business. I don’t think we’re doing content creation just for the sake of creating content.
ASHLEY: I totally agree. However, the longer we do it, the more it can seem like we are doing it just to do it, like it’s oh, I have to, and it becomes a chore, and we sometimes forget what it is that we’re actually trying to do or what we’re trying to achieve. And I love the way that you phrase that because it is a tool to help us build our business. It’s something that we should be using to get the word out, whether it be to attract new clients or to remind current clients that we exist. Definitely that treadmill analogy works because you have to maintain it. You have to be consistent in order to have those results and so sometimes the process of that content creation can overwhelm and just become the focus as opposed to part of the entire process.
JAIME: That we have so many more tools to do these things ourselves kind of shifts the burden on to us because many, many years ago, if we wanted something done around this, we would have hired someone to do it. We would have paid someone to do, design an ad, or if we wanted to produce, I mean I’m dating myself here, but a radio commercial, which I had never did, but we would be paying someone to do the production, to do the recording, to do the editing, if it were a graphic project, to be a pull that together and use the software that was inaccessible to us because we weren’t paying those high fees. It wasn’t so much that we didn’t have the talent, but we just didn’t have access to the tools.
ASHLEY: Yeah, there’s this great equalization that’s happened because all of these tools are now much more accessible. And if you were to do something like a newspaper ad or a postcard mailer, there would be, you’re entirely correct, a third party part of that process that would be designing it for you or creating it internally, or however the process worked. And now we have access to all of these tools, which means that we wear more and more hats and our time is more and more divided. And when content creation becomes this slog, where I think it all comes down to this. We have a process and a procedure and a protocol for all of our services. We have a process for customer service. We have a process for booking an appointment, but not many of us in the beauty industry have a process that is laid out for content creation, organization, all of the things that it takes to make something, whether it be an Instagram post, or an email to your clients, to make it pop, to make sure it gets results. There’s really no guide and some of us are a little bit adrift while we try to figure out what that process can look like and it’s different for everybody, of course, as it should be. We’re all different people. But it’s really hard to stay organized when your content creation process consists of dumping a bunch of photos and videos into your phone, and then throwing something on Instagram, and hoping for the best.
JAIME: Ashley, do you think there is a kind of paralysis that sets in because we have so many tools at our disposal?
ASHLEY: Oh, I would say definitely. It seems like every week there’s a new app for photo editing or a new website where you can organize your posts, and plan them, and schedule them. It comes down to this. If you have a really good idea of what your process is or what it should be, and you can sort of zoom out a little bit and look at, okay, it goes from raw footage, right, or your picture that you’re snapping in the salon for your before and after, your client photo, up until posting it and having it live on the internet forever. What are the steps between A and B? And if you can solidify what those steps are, then you can go in and start looking for tools that you can apply and just plug into those steps. And so what I want to talk about today are some of those tools that are available, but then also ways that you can apply specific tools to that process to save you a ton of time.
JAIME: Oh, please let’s do that because just the other day I was going through the apps on my phone and I was looking at some of the names. I thought, I don’t even remember what this app is, but at some point I must’ve thought it was useful for this very topic of content creation. And I have to say I deleted the ones that I didn’t recognize so I am ready to focus on the ones that are going to do the work.
ASHLEY: That’s so smart. I just got a new phone and I remember seeing some of the.
apps reinstalling and I’m thinking I don’t, I don’t know what that is. So let’s talk about some of the tools that I think are indispensable to this content creation process, knowing that, of course, first you have to solidify what your process is. So, first and foremost, we all know, I love Canva. I use it every single day and I use it for social graphics, for things I plug into my website or the website for this podcast. I do all of our graphics for Outgrowth on Canva. I create content for my emails. I use Canva to put together some of the downloads that I have on Ashley the Coach, and it’s just something that makes graphic design a little more accessible. I am not a graphic artist. I have said that forever, but Canva is something that I think we could even utilize more. And the best thing about Canva is that it allows you to resize your content for the right platform. So it’s something that we already have a ton of content out there. All you have to do is just slightly change the sizes and it opens up the possibilities to all of these different platforms where your content can live and be repurposed.
JAIME: I have you to thank for turning me onto Canva a couple of years ago and I will say that I wasn’t that impressed at the beginning, but my goodness, how that platform has grown and expanded to do things now that I wouldn’t have thought to do had it not been for Canva. If they hadn’t made it available, I wouldn’t venture into it.
ASHLEY: Yeah, it definitely started out as a pretty basic drag and drop editor and now they’ve added so many new capabilities. There’s video editing now, which is possible, which is really cool. And it seems like every month they add more and more phenomenal options. I actually just published a blog post about some of the hidden tools that are available like there’s an interactive color wheel on Canva. There’s a pretty basic, but it’s there, photo editor on Canva and it has these little unlocked secrets that you can go and use. And I think this platform is perfectly positioned for the beauty industry because it makes using, it’s very user-friendly, but it also makes really good design very accessible. And I know that there are graphic designers out there who absolutely hate Canva because some of the stuff coming out of it does look a lot like it’s all the same. But I do like that it is completely editable. You can customize what you’re going to post, and you can also keep things branded, and looking like they fit in with everything else that you’re doing.
JAIME: You mentioned resizing content. You don’t have to know what the sizes need to be because Canva tells you.
ASHLEY: Yeah. If you have a square Instagram post and you end up wanting to turn it into a Pinterest pin, you can just hit resize Pinterest pin, and it does it for you. It gives you the ideal dimensions and Pinterest is definitely a platform where we’re going to focus a little bit more of our energy just as individuals and also as a podcast, because that’s, I think, the next great frontier, but more on that later. And I also want to talk about some of the other tools besides Canva that you can use to stay organized and especially keep your raw content together and organized in a way that you can access it a little bit easier.
JAIME: Ashley, before we move on from Canva, can you address the cost?
ASHLEY: Sure. Well, Canva is a freemium platform. So you have the free part of it, which allows you to use a lot of the basic features. It just doesn’t give you access to some of the pro features like stock photos or some of the graphics and gradients and things like that. I pay 119 a year for Canva Pro, It actually just renewed and it’s one of the best investments I’ve made for my business because, like you said earlier, it opens up the door to so much more creation, and creativity, and things I never would have even considered making myself if it weren’t for Canva.
JAIME: What you just said about it being one of the best investments, I was thinking that just as you were verbalizing it, that 119 is nothing.
ASHLEY: Yeah, that’s one client. I mean, and it’s something that should be giving you one of the best returns on investment of everything else that is out there as far as tools for digital marketing. Because it seems like Canva is really positioning itself as the epicenter for all business marketing efforts, especially small businesses where maybe you have the ability to advertise your business in a much more economical way than we could in the past. Like you said with the third parties, and the fact that you would have to pay someone else to create these assets for you that now you can just hop on your computer and spend a few hours a week working on.
JAIME: Not only would you have to pay someone, you’d have to negotiate the back and forth, and the changes, and here you’re making the changes immediately, and you can come up with so many different versions of what it is you’re trying to produce until you find the thing that hits, the thing that you feel is ready to post.
ASHLEY: Yeah, and it gives you the option to create these marketing materials much more often than you would if you were paying someone else to do it. Now the only issue is Canva does take time and just like any part of your marketing, creating content is something that takes time. Now how much time it takes is up to you, and if you’re using tools efficiently, and streamlining your entire content creation process, then it can feel a little bit less like a chore because you have a great process in place that works very well, is proven. It’s slick and it allows you to use your time to do other things, whether it be more free time to spend with your family or more time to take more clients, like, however you want to use that, that’s up to you. But if you hone in on your process, and eliminate the stuff that is extra, and really make it efficient, I think that’s when you hit the sweet spot.
JAIME: Ashley, part of the process is storing what you produce and given that Canva makes it so easy, you find yourself producing a lot of content. What do you suggest for how we store the content?
ASHLEY: Well, I definitely don’t practice what I preach when it comes to Canva because I just have a million designs just loose out there in the my designs folder. You can organize it into silos or folders of things. And you can always go back and delete things that you’re not using, or you won’t use again. So you can store things on Canva.
I like to have a backup, so I love using Google drive in order to back up, whether it be our audio files for the podcast, or our show notes, or even for me, I sync my photos to Google drive. So I have a backup, and I can also work on editing the photos, and shuffling them back and forth between my iPad or my computer, and dumping them into Canva, or putting them into Adobe Lightroom, or any of the other apps that we love to make our photos really sing. And it’s just easier that way to put things right where you need them in order to not only store them, but make them more usable and user-friendly moving them across all the different apps. I also use Planoly and there’s another service that I love called Later, which is a place where you can put your finished posts, and organize them, move them around, make sure your feed looks very aesthetic, and you are consistent in your brand voice. I use tools like that. Canva of course also has a scheduler. You can schedule right in Facebook. But I like using Planoly only because it has all the features that I need to make sure that not only are my posts organized, but they’re organized in a way that’s going to make an impact because isn’t that what we’re doing here?
JAIME: And that’s how we know Canva is the present and the future of graphic design because there have been so many more recent integrations of Canva with other platforms.
ASHLEY: Yeah, and I don’t think it’ll ever replace a trained graphic design artist, and the Adobe suite, and all of the things that we associate with that. I think it just makes it again more accessible to more people that if you are unwilling, or unable. or not having enough time to teach yourself Adobe Illustrator because who does, this is a phenomenal alternative.
JAIME: That’s been a trap in the past whether we’re creating visual content, or audio, or video. I think that the availability of these tools, sometimes we do a search, and we read reviews, and we realize, hey, this is the best platform out there. And it’s too much for us, like it’s too sophisticated for what we’re trying to accomplish, and then we get completely frustrated because it’s so overwhelming to try to use it.
ASHLEY: Yeah, I’ve been there, especially with video editing software. I tried teaching myself Adobe Premiere. It just did not compute. So I like that there are tools out there that are very user-friendly and you can get as advanced as you want to with them. I often use Canva in conjunction with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop because I have a working knowledge of both of those. And sometimes they’re just things you can’t do on Canva. And, of course, then there’s always YouTube to teach yourself how to use these, but it’s all part of streamlining the process. And so if you don’t want to teach yourself a new app, there are even ways to streamline the Canva process. And so it’s all moving towards this goal of taking the groan out of content creation and Instagram in general, and moving sort of the paradigm away from feeding this beast constantly to getting on the other side of it and being proactive, creating content in advance, which is a luxury I think a lot of us really aspire to. Because if you can create content in advance and have a big stable of content to draw from, it takes away the pressure of having to post something that might be a bit mediocre, but you feel like, ooh, I have to put something up. And then it also takes scrolling time away. You don’t have to scroll aimlessly to find inspiration or create engagement. You can, I love to use this phrase as, you know, set it and forget it because if you’ve got your content auto posting in the background, it just frees up more time. And so how do we get to that point where we have enough content to draw from that it is available to us to be preplanned and scheduled? And I think that’s the biggest question when it comes to streamlining your content creation processes, how do I get there?
JAIME: I think you’ve solved that problem, Ashley, could you share an announcement with us?
ASHLEY: Well, of course. So using my own content creation process or lack thereof in the past as inspiration, I have come up with a membership for beauty professionals wherein you get all of these content options so that you can get to that goal of having a stable of content ready to go that you know is highly performing, is designed to engage clients, and is designed specifically with the beauty industry in mind. And so launching, actually yesterday, as of airing of this podcast, Social Content Club is live. And what it is is essentially a monthly membership where fully customizable Canva templates are delivered directly to your inbox twice a month.
JAIME: You felt the pain of this process and you have talents that most of us don’t have, so that you’ve been able to distill it down to something that’s delivered to your inbox without having to make the extra effort. All we’re doing in using these templates is changing the wording, changing the branding, correct, just the colors that we’re using?
ASHLEY: Absolutely, you can customize them as little or as much as you want. My goal at the end of the day as an independent educator, as a member of this podcast, and a member of our team of two, my mission is to make this process easier. And what can I do to lend my expertise or experience to help other beauty professionals get more time back? And this was my solution to that problem only because while I love Canva and I love all of its options, it can be overwhelming, to your previous point. But also you still have to spend the time combing through all of the different possible layouts that Canva has to find the ones that you know are really going to sing. And with Social Content Club, I’ve already done that work for you. So I’ve distilled these templates down to what I know will be eye catching, what I know your clients will love to see, and engage with, and share because sharing is the new hotness on Instagram. But the other part about this is these templates can be resized and repurposed. So it’s not just for Instagram. It’s for your Facebook feed. It’s for your Pinterest wall. It’s for your emails and website, You can repurpose these, resize them, and use them however you like, and they will be uniquely yours when you put your personal touch on them.
JAIME: I just breathed a sigh of relief hearing all of that because you’ve done for us what we would do for ourselves if only we had, you know, a full weekend where we could set aside and do absolutely nothing but this, but we’d have to do that on a regular basis. That’s the issue is that we can’t find the time, even if we had the skills, to figure out what would be most appealing to clients.
ASHLEY: You can only get so efficient when it comes to choosing the right tools to plug into your different parts of your process. I’m looking for, how can I make those tools even more efficient? So that way you can move from spending hours a week creating your content, and going through Canva, and resizing everything, and putting it into your editor, and bringing it back out and into your scheduler, and all of that stuff. How can I assist in making the tools we’re already using even easier and faster? And so twice a month, you’ll receive fully customizable Canva templates that you can drag and drop. And it is also my mission to make sure that these templates work amazingly whether you have a free Canva account or the pro version. But really I want to help simplify this content creation process so that you can get over the hump from reactively posting into a more proactive, planful mindset. Because if you’re planning, and thinking ahead, and being proactive, you are so much more likely to reach whatever your goal is on social media than to just chase something. And so to me, this is the way or the key to getting over that hump and into a more proactive mindset. Because if you already know that you can put your beautiful before and after photos into these templates, plan them on your feed, and fire them off, you can take a process that could realistically take hours every week down to 30 minutes.
JAIME: More recently, we’ve been making these investments in upgrading our technology, our equipment, right? So whether it’s a new phone or I think you and I are both hoping for a new laptop in our near future, it makes sense to upgrade the process. It makes sense to maximize on all this capability that we have whether it’s additional storage or the speed at which these things can happen on our devices. So I’m excited to join and I will be joining. I’m grateful to get in on the ground floor. So having said that, tell us how the membership for Social Content Club works.
ASHLEY: I didn’t want to design this around a Facebook group or a community that you have to join in order to get access to these things. I didn’t want to do an online course. I just thought, what could be easier than have something delivered directly to you via email? Because we all know how much I love email and get this information directly, like it’s literally one click. It takes you to your Canva and the templates are there. They’re yours to use forever and of course you can cancel any time. But on the first and third Monday of every month, you will open up your email to see some beautiful new templates to add to your library. The other part I love about it is it is available to all beauty disciplines and so I come at this from the point of view of a manicurist living in a world full of hair. And so I strive to make sure that all of these templates are applicable to all beauty disciplines and they can be used anywhere in the world. So you don’t have to see me at a specific show or a purchase and have something shipped. It literally comes directly to your inbox.
JAIME: Well, I, for one, am excited to have that be delivered, and be opening those emails, and going right to Canva. Because I think just getting those will be a prompt to think differently because it’s so easy when you fall into a routine, whether it’s a template that you create yourself or something that you really like to get stuck in it. And I don’t think any of us want to get stuck because years later we might ask ourselves, why don’t we move on from that sooner, like that wasn’t serving our purposes anymore. So that you’re giving us fresh content twice a month as a member will be super useful in pushing us forward to make sure that we’re always looking our best.
ASHLEY: Well, I appreciate that and that’s exactly what it’s designed to do. It’s sort of your twice a month reminder to reassess what you’re posting and make it even better. And of course the templates will be designed around the newest possible, coolest thing on Instagram to take advantage of that reach that comes from being an early adopter of new features. And no matter your aesthetic or brand, you’ll be able to make these work for you because you can change everything about them. There are template packs out there that I have seen. This is definitely going to be the new thing in beauty, but I have not yet seen these templates come from anybody who is a licensed member of our industry. And I’m really looking forward to being able to support all of these beauty businesses by taking something that takes so much time off of their plate. It’s been in the works for a very long time, So I’m really excited about this. I hope everybody listening is too.
JAIME: Well, your enthusiasm comes through, Ashley, and what’s more important for those of us who would benefit from this is that your expertise comes through in that you’ve acted as this third-party person we might’ve hired before, but you’re the one helping us by being proactive in giving us these templates and we just have to respond by doing our part, substituting photos and text, and making it our own.
ASHLEY: Yeah, I just want everybody to have as much time as possible to use how they want in their business. And I think it might just be a reaction to having worked in retail and having my schedule determined for me for so long. I’m very reluctant to have things on the calendar and I like to be able to structure my day exactly how I want to structure it. And I know there’s other beauty pros out there like that, that want the freedom of being able to cross something off their to do list. And if I can do that for you, I am very happy to be that person. But yes, the content is absolutely based on my study of Instagram and all of the things I teach in all of my classes so that way you don’t really even have to worry about it. You can just plug and play.
JAIME: Asley, give us the website address so people know where to find this wonderful membership.
ASHLEY: Sure I’ll link it in the show notes, but it is available at socialcontent.club. Dot club is a new, fun web suffix out there. So you can get all of this information at socialcontent.club. And if you follow me on Instagram at ashleythecoach, there will be direct links in my bio there too.
JAIME: Well, thanks for bringing this to us, Ashley. You’re going to benefit so many salon owners and independent beauty pros. It gives back some control of our time that we can essentially delegate this research to you and then we do our part to make it branded to our businesses. So thank you again.
ASHLEY: Well, you’re very welcome. It’s important to me that we are all supported and if this is something that can shave a few hours off of your process, then I am very happy to supply it, and I am really excited to welcome all of these new members into the Social Content Club.
JAIME: Well, thank you and good luck with launch day. I know that’s as of the recording of this podcast is just a few days away, but when this podcast airs will be the previous day, so best wishes with your live.
ASHLEY: Yeah, warmest regards.
JAIME: If you’re enjoying Outgrowth, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. You know it does help us reach more beauty pros and expose more of them to us, for what that’s worth. You can do that with just one click. Just visit bit.ly/outgrowthpodcast.
ASHLEY: And as always, you can follow along and comment on recent episodes, or really anything, on Instagram at @outgrowthpodcast.
JAIME: Ashley, I think you’ve got a full weekend ahead of you.
ASHLEY: Yeah, boy howdy, is that right. All right, everybody. Well, thanks for listening. I’m excited to connect with you all on the Social Content Club and until next week, be smart.
JAIME: Be safe.