A graduate and lecturer of the WebPromoExperts Academy, managing partner at NGN.agency, Vladimir Galika at the Case Day conference made a presentation on how to manage social networks during a lockdown.
Lockdown. How it all began
The pandemic became more difficult in the spring of 2020. We felt it especially vividly when we introduced a full lockdown for a long time. There was no understanding when everything would work, when the transport would start, when it would be possible to come to the office and when it would be possible to return to the old processes.
At this time we were on the rise, launched a huge number of projects. And everything happened at a time when everyone was forbidden even to go out. And we have more than 30 large communities with active posting in our agency. And the posting goes on regularly – if not every day, then several days a week for sure. A huge number of requests, moderation, stories, advertisements, and so on.
Imagine 30 pages for very large companies, for startups that depend on these pages because orders come from social networks. Young business is only trying, testing the product. Therefore, the team and I feel a great responsibility. 30+ communities create an average of 400+ crafting posts per month
Craft Post is a post that we are filming ourselves. We are filming from a camera or phone. We do the content ourselves, and do not download it from the Internet. We create 400 units of such content within a month.
Naturally, certain conditions have been created for this. There is a team in the office:
- at least 5 designers working on projects;
- at least 3 content creators who constantly take photos;
- 5-6 SMM managers.
Plus there is a studio, various backgrounds, cameras, lenses, stabilizers, lights, sparklers, and more and more. If you go to the room of our creators, you can find almost everything there. And all this is in the office, where the team cannot reach. And business centers do not work either.
I just finished converting some processes, everything is fine, everything is working. I watch perfectly tuned content production processes, receive emails from clients who like my team’s work. And then a lockdown – we find ourselves in a very difficult situation.
Problems during hard lockdown
What problems did you encounter? There were several of them. Instead of one office, we received more than 40 – this is according to the number of employees who worked in the office.
We have four people who create content: they take photos, videos, they come up with everything. In the studio, a person is seen illuminated, bright and beautiful, because there is a lot of light. It was exactly the same in our office. The guys gathered, “storms”, invented something, each came with his own ideas. Therefore, if the first problem is interaction, then the second problem is the infrastructure for filming.
The third problem is the lack of models. We shoot a lot of people for our content. They can be pros or amateurs, but they are different people with different faces. You cannot shoot the same model for 20 brands, then all Facebook and Instagram will look the same.
Besides, things are changing very quickly. Today we are planning to post one, tomorrow another. All clients need to make updates, some news, someone works, and someone does not. Such changes to content are difficult in quiet times.
Usually we like to plan ahead, but here we have new introductory notes every day. Therefore, everyone is tense, worried, and this is not the most creative environment. Yes, on the one hand, the artist must be hungry. But no one said that he must also be nervous. And that’s a big problem too.
This is the situation. Very unusual for an agency, but typical for many companies that make their own content. We love what we do, we love our business, our clients. Therefore, we had no option to close. And it was necessary to somehow get out of a difficult situation.
I had to include all managerial knowledge and project skills. And the Project Management course from the WebPromoExperts Academy was just very useful to me, where a very modern approach to work and a lot of recommendations.
Problem solving. What has been done
Our solutions are suitable for most content creation and social media businesses.
1. Planning & References
So what did we do? First, we introduced regular meetings and planning. We did them every day. We called in different messengers – both Zoom and Google Meetings. The only messenger that we have not yet mastered is Microsoft Teams, but we had to use it too, because some clients work in it.
Every day we planned what we would do today. These are the basic principles of the Agile approach, when the team gets together and discusses work points. We decided what needs to be done today, what is hindering or what problems were yesterday, what resource we need, what help we need, what our plan is for the day.
Several things helped us. Even if you have a personal Instagram, plan how you want to see the result. These can be so-called storyboards. You draw by hand how the frame will be built, and then go to collect the necessary items.
The second is the references. When you need to quickly collect in one place a certain amount of backgrounds, decorations, but there is no inventory, you must clearly think about what you need to shoot.
Reference – auxiliary image: a drawing or photograph that an artist or designer examines before work in order to more accurately convey details, get additional information, ideas. Wikipedia
For example, you are driving to some kind of location for an urgent shooting. Then the references will help you visualize what you want to see in the end. If you’ve already found a similar photo (Pinterest helps a lot with this), then you can do that. And if so far this is only in your head and you have not found any reference, then the question arises: it may be physically very difficult to implement it.
In the modern world, almost all content is filmed, and it is very rarely possible to surprise people with some kind of unusual approach to content. Everything has already been tried in Hollywood – here are a bunch of references.
So, the first tip: always discuss the plan for the day, sketch the scenes, how the footage will look like, and pick up references.
Editorial . Councilum to read the articles: “Secrets of building a team at a remote location” and “How to build an online office”.
2. List of things you need
The second is a list of things you need for each shoot. You will be surprised how many times we, the professionals who do this work all the time, discussed at the morning meeting what hindered us yesterday. And in the end it turned out that we had forgotten some one sheet of paper on which we could lay out everything. Or how many times we lacked a trite one light bulb or coarse salt.
Lifepack. Anyone who is shooting cooking, I advise: use coarse salt – it looks very nice in the frame.
Make a list of the things you need and remember – reference or drawing helps a lot.
From the Editor. Recently there was an excellent blog article – “How an SMM-Manager to Take Photos for Social Networks”.
3. “Golden hour” and “blue hour”
Learn the words “golden hour” and “blue hour”. This is the time of day when the ideal light, natural, coming from the sun. It depends on where you are located and what time of year it is. There is such light in the morning and in the evening.
Golden Hour is the ideal light (all photographers know this) when you can shoot in natural light. There will be high-quality, beautiful light if you are shooting outdoors or near a window. It will look like you are in the studio.
This is a very soft, correct and nice light. It happens in the morning when the sun rises and in the evening when it sets. Just google, for example, “golden hour Kiev” and find out: when, at what time of day. We did a lot of filming at that time.
There is also a blue hour . It comes after the gold one or next to it. At this time, it is good to shoot water, reflective surfaces.
This knowledge allows you to save in the world. This helped us when we had less light than people shooting at different points.
When I talk about light, it means that one lighting device is not always enough, sometimes there must be several of them. When three people are filming, there should be 3-4 devices for each. But even this may not be enough. But the sun is one for all – free, and it will definitely be enough.
4. Models and body parts
Lockdown problem – few models. This is a big business problem. It is difficult to change faces in the frame, but you can shoot other parts of the body.
I am often told that I recommend photographing people. Take a massage parlor, for example. What should we shoot? If there are two masseurs, then constantly remove them? Yes, you can shoot them, you can shoot the faces of satisfied customers (if they don’t mind). It is possible and necessary to get out of the situation globally.
Here we went out this way. All our family employees worked as models. We shot the faces once or twice, but customized the hands. For example, you can put on a ring, take it off, put on a watch. There are different clothes in the frame, different sleeves. This can be varied infinitely. And the person will get the impression that these are different people. This is very important because people in photographs and videos are responded to much better than they are to the subject. There should be people in the frame.
In the same way, you can shoot up to the chin. If you have a limited number of models, you can always customize them with clothes, accessories, just without removing your face.
5. Issue log
Issue log is a cool topic. This is a magazine with all the problems. We wrote down in this document a problem, an error, the reason why it occurred, and a solution, how to fix it in the future.
This is a knowledge base that every our manager reads and knows. Firstly, it removes the fear of error, because it is normal to be wrong, especially in such established situations. Secondly, it allows you to avoid such mistakes in the future. Because you can make mistakes, but it’s worse when you are wrong in the same place, in the same situation.
I recommend to everyone: keep yourself such a journal, where errors that occur in your company are recorded. We have the following rule: if you made a mistake and wrote it down in the journal, it is considered that you are well done. It’s worse when you do it the second and third time.
6. Keep it simple
I often say: keep it simple ( keep it simple .). For most filming, very simple things are enough. Enough sun and knowledge about the “blue” and “golden” hour, enough substrate (for example, a photophone) and a good phone.
And most importantly – you have to think. Everyone should come to every morning meeting with an idea (even a stupid one) of how to use the current situation to promote our brands. Very often we came up with interesting ideas, and they worked.
Challenge for the Ukrainian brand of conservation “Veres”
We run social networks for the Veres brand. During the lockdown, we launched a challenge – made Veres into a tourist attraction.
During a lockdown, people do not travel, everything is closed, there is nowhere to go. And almost everyone loves tourism and misses travel. We had freedom of movement, “no visa”.
We offered brands to help people remember what it is like to travel and unwind a little. And other brands have supported us. It was simply necessary to determine where and which brands, which attractions, and guess where Veres was. It was a cool move, brands reposted each other, talked.
We got such a synergy that both the brand and the company that launched it all received a lot of interesting benefits, reach and an active audience.
This is how we built the Eiffel Tower from cucumbers. We came up with this in the morning during a brainstorm and implemented it the next day. This is an example of a quick project based on constant thinking about how to use the current situation.
Here’s my advice . When developing content, create a “storm” in your business, in your company. If not every day, then at least on Mondays. Make a chat in the messenger in which you work, and let each employee write at least one, even the most stupid idea: what to do now, how to promote your business. Believe me, if not every second, then every third or fourth idea will deserve attention.
What did we get in the end? We received a publication in 8 large communities, 120,000 coverage without promotions (this is pure organic matter), a few publications in different media, Telegram channels, and so on.
And most importantly, we were receiving tags from other pages with a very similar segment. These were similar brands, which are also sold in the supermarket, at the same price point.
We got a new audience that subscribed to us from other pages. All pages interacted, entertained people. And to this day, in the comments on the Veres page, they recall this activity. They write: “Thanks, it was great! I’m still waiting for the chance to go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower not made of cucumbers. ”.
We have come up with and implemented many interesting ideas. But this moment was actually one of the best, when a fairly simple idea gave a lot of reach and relieved stress from the team and our followers. From an SMM point of view, this is an excellent result for the brand.
I advise you to apply these steps in practice, not only in content creation, but also for the business in general. Constant meetings, stormings can be organized even with small forces. And this is a great potential for your growth and development.
Forecasts for 2021
My forecast for 2021. In the trend – “everything will be”! Maybe everything will be fine. It’s not certain, but something will happen. And you will have to interact with this “something”. If you do everything right, you will be able to promote your business.
There are no hopeless situations. There are problems in specific categories. But there are categories in which you can switch, try something different. And here it is very important to approach the processes correctly, to configure them correctly.
I’ll end with a simple story. During quarantine, we arranged free consulting for small businesses, called up and gave recommendations. We had about 30 such calls, and in most cases we could advise on what to do and how to move forward.
However, we recommended four entrepreneurs to take a break and try some other business. One of them, tied up at events, agreed and admitted that he had long wanted to try something different. He took up tarot reading and said it was the best solution this year.
Therefore, I wish everyone the same confidence as this person.
Vladimir Galika’s speech at the Case Day conference:
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