How Build Your Brand Using Video on Instagram Stories

GUEST BLOG POST BY NATASHA OF SOL STUDIO MARKETING

With over 250 million daily users, Instagram Stories becoming the top choice for brands looking to grow their community and reach on Instagram. Similarly to how video is king of Facebook, stories is the queen of Instagram.

As a social media marketer and manager for small businesses and brands, stories are an important component in how I foster engagement and connection on the ‘Gram. And for my own business account, Instagram stories is the top way I sell to and engage with my audience. Most of my stories result in some sort of action like a direct message from my ideal clients, a question from a course student, or a new follower expressing how my value-packed content has helped serve them. My highlights store my most loved stories have been the top way potential clients learn more about my and my expertise in Instagram strategy. The best thing about stories is you can get away with posting 3-4 quality posts per week and still increase your following by using an effective Instagram Stories strategy.

These are just a few ways Instagram has helped my brand grow using these five strategies.

Creating Micro-Content for Authenticity.

Stories is the home of micro-content, content that is available for only 24 hours and created with minimal production. Fortunately for content creators, the simplicity of the content creation process resonates even more with your audience. It all comes down to authenticity. Showing up on stories fresh-faced, in your PJs and without a production light in sight is the real and raw content your audience wants to see. The more you focus on showing viewers the real person behind the brand, the more your audience will resonate with the content you’re producing. So keep it real and raw - show up with your unique personality and as unpolished as possible.

When creating a stories strategy, tailor your content to your followers' needs and focus on providing value. Be consistent with your stories - I typically suggest posting daily and numerous times throughout the day if possible. The more consistent you are, the more your story will pop up for your followers to view first. Fortunately, stories can be off-the-cusp and less polished than a post, so there’s no excuse to not show up daily.

The more often you’re posting valuable content on Instagram Stories, the more likely your followers are going to use that channel as a way to connect with you. When used consistently, this allows you to create a relationship with those viewers and eventually sell your product or service. While consistency is key for your feed posts, daily posting is vital for maintaining a presence on Instagram Stories. Since that bubble appears at the front of the app for users based on timeliness, the more often you’re posting throughout the day the more likely you are to be seen.

Tip: The more you post on stories, the more likely the algorithm will favor your content and push it out to your followers. Posting stories around the time you post a new feed post will help increase engagement overall.

If you struggle with showing up on stories through video, my best advice is to practice, practice, practice. The more you practice speaking on camera, the more “normal” it will feel to you. If you happen to stumble or trip over your words, avoid bringing attention to it and keep it moving. Mistakes and quirks are what make you appear real to your audience instead of overly professional and polished.

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Using Hashtags and the Location Sticker to get Discovered.

The best way to get discovered on Instagram Stories is by utilizing the tools available in the app. Hashtags and locations stickers are the best way to double your views and reach your dream followers. The location sticker can help you be discovered when posting about a specific location that may be applicable to your business. By tagging the city your business is serving or the location of your establishment, you can drive traffic to your feed and hopefully encourage them to hit that follow button. By hiding all 10 hashtags, your stories will show up on the page of each hashtag and be accessible to its viewers.

While you want to be using all 10 of your allotted hashtags on each story, you don’t want to distract your followers with a bulky list of hashtags. Fortunately, there are three ways you can easily hide hashtags on your stories. I cover each method in this IGTV Tutorial all about hiding hashtags in Instagram Stories. Since you’re only allotted 10 hashtags, be selective. It’s best to choose a hashtag that’s not over one million but somewhere in between to ensure people will actually see your story. Research the hashtags you’re already using and other keywords that are applicable to your story to see how active people are on each. Once you find a hashtag that works for you, save it in a note on your phone and post away.

Interactive Stories with Polls and Question Stickers.

Polls and questions stickers are the best way to gauge how to best serve your audience. Not only does it give your followers a place to be heard, but it also makes Instagram a space for 1-on-1 communication. Polls are a fantastic way to see what type of content your followers prefer to see or gather more information about a certain topic. Whenever I start planning a new course or blog topic, I poll my Instagram stories to ensure it’s something they want to see. When you are focusing on content that your followers want to see instead of what you think they want to see, you are guaranteed to have higher engagement rates on your post. Try to stray away from “yes / no” questions. Instead, give your followers two options or perspectives on a topic to gather more valuable information.

Questions stickers were one of the biggest releases of 2018 because of their ability to gather information from your audience and hold Q&A sessions. You can use this feature by asking a question or providing your followers with a prompt. Think out of the box with this tool as opposed to just say “Ask me something”. Provide your followers with a topic to get them thinking or inquire about any struggles they may have with a specific topic. Instead of asking a general question, I like to ask my followers for any dilemmas they’re having around a certain social media topic like IGTV or creating video content instead of just saying “ask me any social media question”. This question sticker can also be used by sharing linked blog posts, web pages, or IGTV videos with the swipe up feature on stories. This is the best way you can serve your audience with content they can access on the spot while providing you with an opportunity to get your followers off Instagram. I recommend storing your Q&A sessions in a highlight similar to a FAQ page to give anyone landing on your page to access them.

Tip: If you plan on holding an Instagram Live Stream, you can access questions from question stickers you’ve posted on your stories to hold a live Q&A session with your follower.

Utilize Your Highlights for Showcasing Your Micro-Content.

Traditionally, story posts only last 24 hrs, but the highlights feature allows you to showcase the type of content your followers should expect to see from you and recap what current followers may have missed. Your highlights are the first thing a prospective follower might see when landing on your page so it’s important that you choose your Highlights wisely.

Highlights are quite literally the highlight reel of all your Instagram Stories where you can showcase your most valuable content and give potential followers an inside look behind the brand. On my Instagram Highlights, I showcase my best social media tips while also offering an ‘About Me’ highlight talking a bit more about what I do in my business. You don’t need to showcase every story you post on your story in your highlight - just the best of the best. Five highlights are the sweet spot since that’s how many icons are shown in below your Instagram bio at a time. Simply choose your own branded colors and fonts, search icons that represent the highlight content, and voila - your Instagram Highlights are branded.

Testimonials is one of my favorite types of content to share in your highlights. Just like you would on your website to show off your portfolio, your Instagram stories and highlights can do the same. Be creative with video, text, and screenshots for your testimonials.

Tip: If you’re planning a launch campaign, stories is the best way to show the behind the scenes process and create excitement around a launch. Plan to utilize stories months before the launch date to create hype, and save the stories about the campaign in a highlight to keep your followers up to date.

Re-sharing UGC, IGTV Videos, and Feed Posts on Stories.

Sharing User Generated Content (UGC) on your Instagram stories allows you to show your followers some love with a simple shoutout. Encourage your followers to tag your account and share on their stories when they are interacting with your brand, product, or location so you can repost their story to your feed. Also, share any Instagram posts, screenshots, or videos on stories to grow credibility for your brand. When other viewers see other partaking in your community, they will be encouraged and welcomed to do the same. Consumers trust people or items that other people use and love, so this makes UGC valuable for building your brand on stories

With the ability to share IGTV videos to stories by using the share to stories feature or by linking the video in stories (even with under 10K followers), you can drive traffic to your channel and better serve your followers with video. IGTV is a powerful tool for your business because it allows you to use the power of video while providing clickable links in the description of each video. Since this is one of the only places you can links on Instagram, this a welcome opportunity to share links and get your followers on Instagram and on to your website.

Bonus: I have a bonus IGTV module in my Instagram course if you’re considering this platform in your Instagram strategy. Here’s the exclusive LifeLapse discount code.

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Showing Up with Branded Content.

If you’re looking to amp up your Instagram stories content, I recommend the app Unfold for templates. You’re able to add videos, photos, and stop motions to templates that you can customize for a branded look and feel. LifeLapse’s one-second video option is one of my favorite ways to show behind the scenes of my day through short clips and video. When it comes to using the pen tool or text, I strive to stay within the same color palette (yellow of course) with the addition of black and white as needed. This ensures my stories are seamless with the same colors, filters, and overall look. While being polished isn't necessary, consistently branded stories content can help you retain your viewers.

These are just a few of the reasons why Stories is my favorite place to be on Instagram and the most valuable tool in your strategy. If you’d like to learn more about Instagram, IGTV, and Instagram Stories, be sure to access this exclusive LifeLapse discount code for my course, Mastering Instagram.

If you’re looking for a 1:1 Strategy Session to help you bring your social media strategy to the next level with a complete audit, steps for implementation, and strategies personalized to your business needs, I want to provide you with $25 off my coaching call. Follow this link to book!







My Experience Going on Dragon's Den & Update Since Going on the Show

Hello, good evening! If you’re here now, it’s likely because you just saw me get absolutely destroyed on Dragons’ Den! As I write this, I have not seen the episode yet, though I am confident that from the 45 minutes I was in the Den filming and the 7 minutes they edit it down that it isn’t going to be pretty...

The thing is, when I went to film on Dragon’s Den, my app had only been out for 8 months. Even though I hit some cool milestones and had some traction, it was not a $2 million business. I panicked and came up with idea that we would pivot to a business where brands could purchase videos from our creators. You see, the entire reason why I created Life Lapse was so that people could easily create their own videos from their phones. Because I knew my business wasn’t an appealing investable business when I went on the show, I pitched this new vision. If I’m being honest, I didn’t believe in it, so I don’t blame the Dragons’ for turning down this deal.

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After filming on Dragons’ Den in May of 2018, I picked-up my shattered ego and dreams decided to use this experience to fuel the growth of my company.

When I launched the app, it was supposed to be a “time-lapse app for your Life”, hence “Life Lapse”. Even though people were downloading the app, they didn’t really have a purpose for it unless they were traveling or pregnant, so they were dropping off like hot cakes. What I DID NOTICE, was that people were starting to use Life Lapse to create stop-motion videos. There wasn’t exactly a light bulb moment here, but the more I talked to my users to see what they found challenging about the app and what they wanted to see next, it was based on the app being a stop motion app. Since the summer, we’ve made massive improvements to our user experience, added new features and here are the results we have seen because of it…

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5 Kick-As$$ Females Leading in the Stop Motion Space

5 Kick-As$$ Females Leading in the Stop Motion Space

As I female founder, I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate International Women’s Day! I am delighted to share with you 5 females who are absolutely killing it in the stop motion space. I have been following these women on the ‘gram for some time now, their videos and creativity are a constant source of inspiration for not only me, but many others in the content creation community.

We all know that “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back”, which is why I reached out to these leading stop motion creators and asked who the most influential female in THEIR life is.

IGTV Free Crop Guideline for Posting to Feed and Cover Photo

Last week Instagram released a new feature that allows you to publish a 1-minute preview of your IGTV video straight into your feed. I tested this new feature out on the Life Lapse Instagram page and saw 4x the engagement compared to our other IGTV videos.

I will definitely be using IGTV more because of this! And to streamline the process I created a crop guideline to overlay. I place this as a top layer while I’m editing my videos in Final Cut Pro because you know what? I exported my video MULTIPLE times and uploaded to IGTV, but the clips looked awkward in the 4x5 ratio in the 1-minute preview in the feed. Also, my video thumbnail/ cover photo was all wonky when cropped to 1x1 and ruined my Instagram grid. *GASP*

Publishing your IGTV videos will require strategic planning of shots while you’re editing that first 1 minute of your video. Overlaying the PNG file will allow you to see what the video will look like when the 1-minute preview is posted to the feed, so you don’t have to do what I did and upload 3+ times. Watch the video above to see how I edit with the IGTV crop guideline for my video + cover photo.

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Grid Thumbnail (Cover Photo )

In the PNG crop guideline, there is also a “Grid Thumbnail” 1x1 ratio so you can plan your IGTV Cover photo. Just overlay the image in photoshop to help you plan your image. If you don’t upload the cover photo while you are uploading the IGTV, at the moment there is no way to go back and change this. I don’t foresee this coming any time soon either because the video has been on Instagram feeds for years now and you still can’t go back to change your video cover photo once you’ve posted it.

If you don’t upload a custom thumbnail to your IGTV, it will automatically select the first frame in your video

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Shooting Content with Nordstrom

Life Lapse showed the Nordstrom Canada team how to use Life Lapse to create fun looping videos for the @NordstromCanada Instagram account. Here’s the stop motion videos that we created!

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Nordstrom’s newest Pop-In@Nordstrom featured Away suitcases, so we create a couple difference videos for them to post on their instagram stories & feed.

Do you want 1 on 1 coaching to help you create engaging stop motion videos from your phone? Shoot me an email at hello@lifelapseapp.com and I’d be happy to provide a 15-minute complimentary conference call or a 30 minute in-person consultation (for Vancouver Area only).

Free Instagam Story Video Templates for Valentines Day

We got you covered this Valentine’s Day with 6 free Instagram story templates. Ditch the stock photos and stand out with animated videos, all of which were created on an iphone with our free stop motion app, Life Lapse!

All the videos below can be saved to your camera roll then uploaded directly to Instagram Strories. If you want to get extra creative with the videos, we recommend using the app Unfold to personalize the fonts/ layout/ messaging of your IG Stories.

If you’re looking to create your own custom video content for Instagram stories, download our free app. Like we said, all these videos were shot in a matter of minutes with our free stop motion video app. We have a tonne of tutorials in-app to help you get started. ❤️

Instructions

1 - To access the Free Instagram Story Template videos for Valentine’s Day, fill out the form above and we will send you a link to download the videos.

2- Once you get the email, click on the “Download Now” button

3- This will take you to a google drive folder with the 6 videos in them. You will need to save each video individually. Click on the 3 dots beside the file name, click “Send To” then “Save Video”.

4- This will save the video to your camera roll. To get it from your camera to Instagram Story, go to your profile. On the top left hand side, you will see your profile picture with a blue plus sign. Click on that.

5- IG stories will automatically open their native camera. To upload the free stories template, swipe up. This will give you access to your camera roll.

6- We love using other instagram story app’s like Unfold. Thankfully, they are video friendly. You can use their custom layouts (like we did in the above videos) to customize your Insta Story.

Interview with the Founders of Flax Sleep

Flax Sleep, can you please introduce yourselves and give us some insight into what you do!

We (Anna Heyd, Oana Papuc and Vivian McCormick) founded Flax Sleep in the fall of 2017. We are a three friends with entrepreneurial spirits, an appreciation of beautiful things, and a love of good sleeps.  We saw a gap in the Canadian marketplace when it came to buying simple bedding online at an accessible price point, and felt inspired to fill that void. We chose to sell exclusively linen bedding because of its many superior qualities compared to other traditional bedding fabrics. Linen is strong and durable, light but cozy and more sustainably produced. Since launching sales in April 2018, we have expanded our offering of 100 per cent French linen bedding from three to five colours, as well as added children and baby bedding, robes and tea towels. We have even more in the works for 2019, so stay tuned!

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As a start-up with a small team, do you find you’re wearing multiple hats in the day-to-day operations? If so, how?

Absolutely. We do EVERYTHING - order fulfillment, website maintenance, social media, bookkeeping, customer experience, supply chain management - you name it, we do it.

What’s important for you to convey as a Brand?

Simple luxury at an accessible price. Superior customer experience.

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I noticed Flax has amazing initiatives to give back to the community, can you share what that is?

As a female-led company, one of our guiding values is to support women, full-stop. One of the ways we uphold this value is to provide #ASafePlacetoSleep to women and children in need. Part proceeds and all returned goods are donated to our charity partner, Atira Women’s Resource Society.


How do you integrate compelling visuals into your campaigns?

As a primarily ecommerce brand, our customers mostly discover us online particularly via social media, but there is increasingly more and more noise to cut through to get their attention. The visual presentation of our brand and products has to cause people to stop scrolling and engage, so essentially every one of our marketing campaigns must start with eye-catching photos and videos.

Walk me through your current process for creating media assets for your marketing campaigns?

So far, we have used mostly still photography to create our media collateral. We pull from our inventory of photos as needed, depending on the nature of the specific marketing campaign. We have wanted to incorporate more video into our campaigns, knowing that social media users are often more likely to engage with videos.

What is your favorite social media platform to share on and why?

Instagram has been our most successful social media platform from the start, and we love being able to showcase our products visually while also reinforcing our brand values and voice in our captions. It takes a significant amount of time to plan our social media posts, but it’s one thing that we will likely continue to do ourselves for as long as possible because it is our way to connect with our customers without having a traditional bricks and mortar store.

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Why did you Download Life Lapse?

We meet many female entrepreneurs in Vancouver and try really hard to support what they are doing because we know how hard it is. We downloaded Life Lapse after meeting Sarah, to check it out and found that it could actually be very useful for producing media for our marketing campaigns.

Do you find the app easy to use?

Yes! It is super intuitive, even for semi-luddites like us.

What do you love most about Life Lapse?

We don’t need any extra equipment, other than our phone, to create a compelling video that can be used on Instagram and in our digital marketing. As a small business, every dollar counts so not having to engage someone to produce a video for us is so great.

How do Life Lapse Videos ads compare to your photo ads?
We saw a 52% increase on click through rates on our life lapse videos vs photo ad and a 51% increase on conversions with the video ad vs photo ad.

Where can people follow you & buy your beautiful bedding?

You can find us on the internet at www.flaxsleep.com and on Instagram @flaxsleep

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Interview with Colette Robinson, Professional Stop Motion Maker

When I was heading down to a conference in San Francisco and realized the talented and down to earth stop motion creator, Colette Robinson, was only an hour out of the city, I knew I had to reach out to see if she’d be interested in collaborating with Life Lapse. I had been following Colette’s work for some time and am always inspired by her creativity. We got on a call to chat what the collaboration could look like and without hesitation she agreed.

You see like us, Colette has a goal to inspire others, so it was a natural fit!! I rented a car downtown SF and hit up the windy roads up to Stinson Beach California. TIP: if you get car sick, highly recommend popping a gravel before you drive these roads, LOL. As you can see in the photos, Colette has a charming studio just minutes away from the beach where she does a majority of her shooting. Her passion for what she does is contagious which you will discover in the interview below & the videos.

Give us the 411 on Colette! (what do you do & where you from)

I’m a photographer specializing in stop motion animation, and I work out of my studio in Stinson Beach!

Did you go to school for photography/videography? If not, what did you study?

I had an interest in photo + video since I was young, but didn’t get accepted into my high school’s video program😭. At Indiana University, I studied Telecommunications with a focus on media marketing + audience analysis. I got my first DSLR camera for Christmas before studying abroad in Argentina, and used it on Auto the whole time! I ended up winning IU’s study abroad photo contest, which made me think it might be something I had an eye for. When I graduated and moved to LA, I went to Creative Photo Workshops weekly, and finally learned how to use my camera on Manual.

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How did you get started in stop motion?

Answer: I’ve loved magic since I was a kid. In 4th grade, I picked up my mom’s camcorder and shot 1-second segments of her cell phone... moving it between each cut. I have no idea why I decided to do this, but I remember watching it back and thinking it was MAGIC! Swipe on this post to see it 😂. I loved magic so much, that I applied to IU after hearing you can major in Magic there. (My parents convinced me out of that though.) After college I worked at a creative agency and was assigned to make creative content for the company’s Instagram account. I started making little stop motions on my iPhone, and one day someone asked me how much I charge. The rest is history!

Did you always know you wanted to be your own boss (if yes, how?) or did this come later?

Not really... I love learning from others and hate being alone! However, I’ve never been great with being told what to do and how to do it. I always treated my teachers and bosses as equals… which sometimes got me into trouble! But I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum.

How did you know it was time to take the leap and go on your own?

I didn’t land my “dream job” and couldn’t find anything that felt like the right fit. My fiancé Jesse convinced me to give myself a 6-month trial period and see what I could accomplish as a full-time creative. 8 months later I had forgotten that I was supposed to reevaluate at 6 months, and realized I had landed my dream job after all! I don’t think many people ever feel it’s the right time to go full-time on your own. It’s scary to start! It just, happens… and sort of feels meant to be.

What is your creative process when working with a new client?

When working with a new client, I love to meet in person (when possible), get a feel for the brand’s voice— and get to know who I’m working with! Next I figure out what their goals are and start brainstorming. Once we’re aligned on a concept, it’s go time. I storyboard, location scout, prop shop, schedule, and set up the lighting and shoot. I’m very communicative with my clients, often texting them photos and asking questions while I work. I most often use my Sony a7R III, 24-70 2.8 lens, and Dragonframe software. I’m going to be creating a YouTube video soon showing all of my in-studio gear where I’ll dive into what else I use! Once I’ve shot the images, I’ll bring them into Adobe Lightroom and edit. Then I export and bring into Adobe Premiere, and bring together the animation. I then add any sound/music, export, test/optimize for whichever platform it’ll be on, and deliver. It’s a long process and requires a lot of patience, but I really enjoy every step of it.

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Why should brands start using stop motion?

Stop motion is very “thumb-stopping” content. It makes people stop and wonder “how’d they do that?!” It performs great as social media ads, and brings personality and life to products.

Why is it important for you to inspire others?

I want to help others unleash their creativity and turn it into something! Like I said before, I only started on my own because I couldn’t land my dream job. I can only imagine how much further I’d be if I had recognized that THIS was my dream job! I notice creativity in people around me ALL the time, but feel like very few choose to pursue it. Making art your job can have that “starving artist” stigma, and I want to inspire people to prove that stereotype wrong. Now more than ever are there ample opportunities to make a successful business out of your art.

Collaboration over competition? Why or why not?

Always. I’ve been shut down by countless people in this industry. It can be tough. But the only person I can control is myself. So I choose to be open, kind, and share with others. I’ve found that when you reach out to collaborate with someone who might be viewed as “competition”, and they say yes, magic happens. I firmly believe that there is enough room for everybody in this industry (and more!). Be competitive with yourself, but don’t compare yourself to others.


One of these videos was shot with Pro Camera Gear worth $17,000, one was shot with our Free ApP

How have you integrated Life Lapse into your process?

Over the years I’ve been striving more and more for perfection in my work. I’ve found that doing a test shoot before the real deal is just what I need to practice my animation, see what works and what doesn’t, and prepare for a seamless shoot day. I obviously don’t want to use up 500000 GB on test shoots each week— so I use Life Lapse and shoot on my phone! It’s so simple and requires WAY fewer steps than my process with the high-end gear.

Who you would recommend people to use Life Lapse?

Life Lapse is perfect for brands who don’t have budget to hire a stop motion artist, but would like unique content to showcase their product. It’s also perfect for aspiring stop motion artists, who want to learn like I did!

What is you number one tip for people when creating stop motion?

Keep consistent shadows. Wear dark colors and stand in the EXACT same place for each shot of the animation. This will avoid flickering over your scene. To create even, consistent light, cover your windows and buy a lightstand or two. (These are good, cheap ones!) This will give you full control of the light and avoid outdoor light changing from shot to shot.

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What other hacks/tool do you use?

I always use putty to stick things in place. Also, I shoot at a slow shutter speed! 1/15 of a second or slower. It helps reduce flicker.

Where can people follow you? (Your youtube, IG, email, website, etc)

Follow me on Instagram here: Instagram.com/ColetteRobinson

Check out my portfolio here: ColetteRobinson.com

Find out how we can work together, or just say hello here: helloimcolette@gmail.com

Watch my YouTube videos and tutorials here: youtube.com/channel/UCwITKcojANy8RUcWkLdoTCA

If a company is reading this and wants to hire you, what’s the best way they can reach you?

Email me at helloimcolette@gmail.com

You mentioned you can get a daylight studio light off amazon for pretty cheap, care to hook us up with some product page reco’s?.

All of my outdoor photo gear is listed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxCoF93NFRI&t=1s, subscribe to stay in the loop for the next video about my in-studio equipment!

Interview with Marissa, Owner of STIL | Using Stop Motion in Marketing

I met Marissa at my first “big girl job” midway through my career while I was working for an e-commerce eyewear company, Clearly/ca/Coastal.com. I worked in Marketing creating video content for their social media/marketing campaigns. Something that we did a lot at Clearly.ca was profile people that were up to cool things and if you haven’t noticed, I am doing the same with Life Lapse - because, selfishly, I love digging into the brains of these badass entrepreneurs! I FUEL OFF THAT. We did an eyewear campaign with Marissa at Clearly.ca. (It’s still up, you can see my mad filmmaking skills here, haha). Needless to say, Marissa and I kept in touch after that shoot back in 2015.

Back then, Marissa was focussed on designing planners & journals. Over the years I have been following Marissa and have loved seeing the progression of her business grow. She has been through a re-brand, has now jumped into the world of purse design (see photos below of her stunning minimal approach) & most recently successfully finished a kickstarter campaign (she went over her goal by 50%!!!!).

Read the interview below to see how Marissa has been using stop motion in her social media marketing. Also, if you’re ready to end the relationship with your current handbag so you can spend more time getting things done or want a beautiful planner, visit Marissa’s online shop!

Hey Marissa, please introduce yourself and give us some insight into what you do!

My name is Marissa and I am the founder here at STIL. My love for organization started when I was 10 years old collecting notepads. Growing up in Switzerland, I was introduced to the world of minimal design at an early age and that appreciation has stuck with me ever since. Today, I run STIL and am heavily involved at every level of the business. I've now successfully launched 2 Kickstarter campaigns and was recently nominated for a 20 ON THE RISE Award in the designers category. I design all packaging and product, manage photo shoots, social media and connect with my amazing customers on a daily basis. STIL is a company built by and designed for women with busy schedules. With a focus on simplicity, our organizational products can be used in many wonderful ways to fit your life path.


You started out creating daily planners, what inspired your to get into purses, clutches & wallets?

It was a natural transition for STIL. We are about organization at the core and that expands into all aspects of life, not just what happens on your desk. What inspired the idea was my own life and the things I used everyday that I felt could use a little re-inventing. 

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Why is a minimalistic design approach important to you?

It's important to me because that's what I grew up surrounded by. I lived in Switzerland for the first 14 years of my life so I was constantly reminded that simplicity and minimalism was the only way of life. 


Walk me through your current process for creating media assets for your marketing campaigns?

Currently I do photoshoots once a week feature a combination of new product and products that have become staples for STIL. We then use those photos across all platforms: instagram, email newsletters, pinterest and so on. We shoot mostly in the office and sometimes at my apartment when I need different props. 

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What is your favorite social media platform to share on and why?

It's still instagram but more and more I am leaning towards Pinterest being my favorite because I'm able to connect with my customers in a different way and they are able to check out directly on the platform which I love. 

Can you tell me about the process of how you created stop-motion videos prior to Life Lapse? How did you shoot & edit it?

We've only done 2 stop motion videos before using life lapse and we used an overhead tripod that was set up on my kitchen island with a backdrop. We had everything linked to lightroom so it was just a matter of pressing the space bar to take our photos. The process was definitely more tedious. 


How did that process compare to using Life Lapse?

Not having to set up the tripod, lightroom and the camera is a huge time save. When I decide I want to start using a new process the only way I will stick to using it is if it saves me time which Life Lapse definitely does. I easily created a quick stop motion video yesterday before I left for the day and that was awesome! 

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Why did you Download Life Lapse?

I downloaded it to check it out at first but realized very quickly that this could really change the game for our instagram feed! 


What do you use it for?

I use it to create stop motion videos for our products! 

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Do you find the app easy to use? 

Yes it is very easy to use and intuitive. No issues at all. 


What do you love most about Life Lapse? 

I love that it shows you the stop motion video immediately after you take the photos so you can make adjustments right away and erase any photos that don't look like. I also LOVE the ghost function. That has come in handy every single time. 


How do you plan to integrate stop motion into your marketing campaigns?

We plan to use them on social, our email campaigns and potentially some ads once we start doing campaigns for the Holiday season. 


For anybody else reading this in marketing/ content creation, why would you recommend them to download Life Lapse?

Yes absolutely! Everyone here in our office has already downloaded it because they love it. If you're in content creation this app is an absolute must! 


Where can people follow you & buy your beautiful products?

You can follow us on instagram @stilclassics and you can find us online at stilclassics.com 



You Can Now Tag People In Videos on Instagram

Instagram finally made an update which is beneficial for accounts that post a lot of video content: you can now tag accounts in your videos! Now, I don’t mean just “@-ing” them in the comments, I mean actually tagging them in the video. Previously this function was only limited to photo & carousel posts.

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So what’s the difference between tagging in the description or comments versus in the actual video and why does this matter? When you tag somebody in the description or in the comments of your post or even somebody else’s post, the user that you @ will get notified. The issue with this, if you @ them in the comments/description and the user gets a lot of notifications, it can easily get lost and hard to retrace to see what was tagged. Here’s why…Instagram doesn’t let you infinitely scroll through your history of notifications so it’s hard retrace and find a video somebody just “@-ed” you in the comments/description. For example, if somebody @’s @LifeLapse_App in the description of their video and I check my notifications on a Saturday, unless I bookmark that video, it will be very hard for me to go back and find cause I can’t go back to Saturday’s notifications a couple days later. So there was no way for me to find that video unless I bookmarked it OR the person just so happened to also hashtagg #LifeLapse.

WITH TAGGING….I can go to my profile and click on the tagged icon to see all the videos Life Lapse has been tagged in. VOILA!!! You now have a more organized way to keep track of people tagging you in their videos + have potential to get MORE REACH on your videos!

Thank you Instagram for finally bringing this feature to Videos!!!

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Write here…





Moonlitchick x Life Lapse | Interview with Film Student, Erica Moon

When I saw Erica tag Life Lapse in one of her videos, I went down the rabbit hole of instagram creeping on her super cohesive & artsy feed. GUILTY. I knew immediately knew I had to reach out to see if she would be interested in being featured on our blog and as you can see, she kindly agreed!

Please, Introduce yourself!

My name is Erica Moon. I was born and raised in New Jersey, went to RISD and graduated this past summer, 2018. I am a full-time intern working with the Creative Services team at Refinery29.

What are your favourite type of projects to work on and why?

I enjoy more documentary as well as music video work. I got into documentary by being a camera assistant for a wedding company, and through that, I became intrigued about trying to tell the right story with the kind of content you capture at a specific moment in time. I love how with music video, anything goes. For music videos to work successfully, editing takes a significant role in making it come to life.

Best Free Stop Motion App iPhone Android

What inspired you to get into video creation?

Honestly, EDM after movie videos got me hooked into video creation. I loved the way those videos made me feel like I was there at the festival, and compelled me to go even more. I am a big EDM fan, and my hopes and dreams are to get into the industry and make either those fantastic after movies or to be the mastermind behind the visuals shown on stage.  





Why is creating visually compelling content important to you?

Making visual content that can be shared online is an extraordinary way to connect with people all around the world. Your audience can watch it anywhere at, and I think that tool is very powerful and inspiring.

Best Free Stop Motion App iPhone Android

I assume you often use DSLR's to create high-quality video's, why do you love creating video on mobile?

I actually don’t own any DSLR’s! I guess I like making videos on my phone is because it’s always conveniently right there. I tend to be very spontaneous and being able to look back at moments that I did not prepare for, makes it unique. Plus, I like to carry light.

Free Stop Motion App iPhone Android

With the rise of video on mobile (insta stories for example), would you say your approach to creating compelling videos on fly be impacted by this?

Being spontaneous, having a small, great camera phone and being able to edit all in the same place makes it easy and fun. I definitely feel more creative that way as well.

What is your favourite social media platform to share your work on?

My favorite social media platform to work on is on Instagram.

Where do you draw inspiration?

I’m a huge pop-up museums. I think that creative space and environment sparks creativity for me to make unique content.

Why Did you Download Life Lapse?

I was interested in making something different. I wanted to make things that are interesting and unique. I thought Life Lapse was just the tool for that!

What do you use it for?

I use Life Lapse for just making intriguing content for my Instagram posts. Also, help in producing fun content for friends too.

What do you love most about Life Lapse?

I love how it is an all in one app for an animation video app. You take your pictures, edit them, as well as add music to it. All in one place, I can make a quick short music video!


How did uploading a Life Lapse Video impact your engagement?

It raised my likes and views on my Instagram for sure! Everyone right now is on the disposable film look right now, and Life Lapse allows me to stand out, be unique, as well as make people wonder how I made my videos!

Would you recommend other people to use Life Lapse & why?

I have been telling a few of my friends about the app already! But I definitely have been selfish in keeping it on the DL because of selfish reasons. >.<

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Where can people follow you?

You can find me on IG @moonlitchick

Anything else you'd like to add? :)

I love how Life Lapse is intimate and genuinely cares about the users. LifeLapse have DM’d me about any suggestions and thoughts about the app. I really enjoy that I am speaking to the creator of the app and I have never had that happen with any other apps I’ve used before! It makes me feel like as a creative user, I matter and makes this app stand out from a lot of other videos creating apps.  I’m all for it!

Best Free Stop Motion App

Stop Motion Brand Spotlight: Starbucks

Stop Motion Brand Spotlight: Starbucks

The first brand spotlight is on Starbucks. With over 32 MILLION #Starbucks hashtags & 16.7 MILLION followers you would assume they have a pretty extensive library of creative collateral to choose from to regram and post. They also hit $22.39 BILLION in revenue in 2017. What I'm trying to say here is that a company with so much money & klout is obviously continuing to use stop motion videos in their campaigns for a reason... Marketers, take note! In fact, to prove the effectiveness of stop motion videos from the stats available to on their Instagram page, I went through the past 100 posts and shared my findings with you.

Instagram Story Stop Motion Gone?!

Instagram Story Stop Motion Gone?!

 Have you noticed for the past week that the Instagram stop motion feature in their stories is gone? I have no clue where it went and why it’s not there anymore, however, I do have a free solution for you! If you'd like to continue creating stop motion videos for Instagram stories, my free app, Life Lapse, is available on Android & iOS and can help you with just that! The simple interface is easy to use, just like Instagram stories stop motion…& BETTER!!

Today, Life Lapse Hit 100,000 Downloads!!!

Wow, wow, wow. A couple of days ago I was 12,000 downloads from reaching 100,000 downloads with Life Lapse. As I was drinking my coffee this morning checked in to see how far away I was from hitting that mark and just like that, Life Lapse is at 100,214 downloads!!!

Life Lapse has only been out for 10 months and I have had a blast working on it. I am so proud that we have reached this milestone. But you know what? 100k isn’t good enough for me. I want to get to 10 MILLION and I need YOURhelp to get me there.

When I started Life Lapse, I pictured people only using it for pregnancy time-lapses & travel videos. It’s grown into more of a stop-motion app and I’ve been working hard to improve the features in the app to make it better for this.

So why do I need your help? In order to take Life Lapse to the next level, I need to make some major improvements in the app and would like Life Lapsers to dictate what the changes will be.

I have a survey with just ONE *required* question that I’m asking & it would mean the world to me to get your feedback on this. That way, I know what I should be improving on to make Life Lapse better for you. Please don’t hold back here, folks. I want to hear the raw and honest truth!! As a thank you for taking time to help me out, you’ll be entered into a draw to win a phone case of your choosing from Casetify! ($75 USD in value or under & the winner will be notified August 7th). I threw in a couple of extra questions if you feel so obliged to be extra generous. 🙂

 

Ahhhh, thank you SO much!  I’m pumped to have you along on this journey with me and hope to make you excited to use Life Lapse more. 

Sarah Boland, Founder & CEO

How to Shoot a Flat Lay Video Using Stop Motion All From Your Phone (No Tripods or Computer needed)

With almost 5 Million #FlatLay hashtags on Instagram alone, it's no secret that this style of showcasing your product is here to stay. Instead of posting a *boring* static photo to your feed/stories, why not bring the products to life with video?! If you're an influencer, brands will love you for going the extra mile!!! In this blog post/ in the video above, I'm going to show you how to create a flat lay video using stop-motion...and guess what?! You don't need a tripod, DSLR camera or computer!!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  1. A Chair
  2. A Book
  3. Your Phone
  4. Objects for your Flat Lay
  5. My free stop-motion video app, Life Lapse: https://lifelapse.app.link/hTTmWLfHGO

  6. Optional: Bristol board for a colored background

Traditionally with stop motion, you place your camera on a tripod. I understand that everybody may not have access to a tripod and even if you do, it's difficult to get those overhead shots of your product without getting the tripod legs in the shot - unless you have an arm extension on your tripod. That's why I searched around my house for an easy DIY solution for not owning an overhead tripod. The chair & book worked perfectly!!! 

Once you download Life Lapse, create a new project. You can do this by click on the "+" icon on the top left-hand side of the screen. Before you place the phone down on the chair to shoot your flat lay, you need to do a couple of things: lock the exposure, white balance & camera orientation AND set up your timer. 

You want to get the exposure & white balance on lock-down because you don't want flickering lights/color throughout the video. Especially as you move products in & out of the shot, if the camera isn't locked, the auto settings will be constantly changing. You need to lock the camera orientation because when you put the phone flat down on the book, it may set your project upside down. If you want your video to be verticle, take 1 photo holding your phone upright so the camera icons are upright too.

I always tend to use bright colorful bristol boards for my backgrounds which is why when I'm getting that first shot I lock down white balance, exposure & orientation, I point the camera somewhere near the flat lay that has natural colors & similar lighting. The reason I say neutral is because if you point to let's say a blue painting on your wall, it will offshoot the white balance and your video will have a very yellow look to it. That being said, don't just point it to a white ball, cause then it will be underexposed. This may sound overwhelming, but I promise it's easy and you'll get the hang of it once you start shooting! PS. You can lock the White Balance (AWB) & Exposure (EXP) from the top tool bar in the camera of Life Lapse. You will need to swipe right on the tool bar to see Expsoure lock. You'll know it's locked when the icon is locked....*duh*. lol.

Once that's done, set up your timer. I recommend doing this because it will allow you to focus on moving your objects without having to go back to the camera each time to take the picture. Also, since we don't have the phone on a tripod, it would be easy for your to accidentally move the phone. We don't' want that. You want the phone to be static in the same spot for the whole duration of your making the video. Otherwise, your video will look sloppy! You can activate the timer in the camera mode.  Make sure both timer in the top tool bar are activated. If you have just the timer on the far left activated, it means it will only take ONE photo 10 seconds from now. If you have both, it will take a photo EVERY 10 seconds. This is what you want! You can also customize how far apart you want the photo to take - all the way up to 60 seconds apart.

Now that you have all 'yo shiz on lock down, it's time to bring that flay lay to life with video! Place  the phone ontop of the book and take your first shot. Once you have the shot, you move your objects A LITTLE BIT in the direction of your choice. If you move your objects too far it will very jolty. That's why you do it little by little, so it looks like it actually moving on it's own. Okay, so once you moved the objects a little bit, wait for Life Lapse to take the next shot - keep an eye on your phone so you know it took....you'll see the shutter go. 

How many shots you need is 100% dependant what you want the movement to be. I've done videos with only 9 photos and I've done videos with 40+ photos. Once you're done the video exit the camera. You're going to want to look through the thumbnails and delete shots that your hand may have made it into. You also want to delete that first shot that we took to lock down the exposure, white balance & camera orientation. When you play the video, it's going to look slow AF,  so click on the "speed" icon at the bottom of the player and move it more to the right. You can also add music, filters, add a boomerang effect & change the ratio. Slide to the far right of the bottom tool bar to save. :) 

 

TIPS

  1. If you are using bristol board, I'd recommend taping it to the ground
  2. If you're shooting right beside a window, look outside to see the lighting conditions. If it's overcast or sunny, you're good. If it's sun & cloud - you may want to consider going to a controlled environment to shoot (with a lap), otherwise the lighting may flicker throughout your video. 
  3. Change your phone's auto-lock time (can be accessed from Settings> Display & Brightness) so that you can see your screen while you're making the flay lay video. I set mine to "never" while I'm shooting 
  4. Think about the motion and how it will look if it's looped on Instagram. If it's short you want it to loop nicely! For example, if you start with a blank slate then you have your product come in - if you don't boomerang it - it will look very jolty when it loops on instagram because the product will come in, then all of a sudden it will start from the beginning and go to the blank slate. 

FLAT LAY MOTION IDEAS

  1. Have the items come into frame, then go out
  2. Add motion to only one item so it stand-out. Up & down, back & forth, in & out, etc. This is perfect for influencers that are doing product based sponored posts
  3. Show the process of something - i.e. A lipstick container opening and the lipstick coming out. Apply boomerang effect so revereses after and you have a fluid video. 

If you have any questions or comments or would like to see a different type of tutorial, please comment below!! Also be sure to follow Life Lapse on Instagram to stay inspired with different Flay Lay videos! :) https://www.instagram.com/lifelapse_app

 

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What’s the Difference Behind VR and AR: Having Good Sense of Realities

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Looking around today we see our real world heavily mixed with the virtuality: and not only in terms of entertainment. The virtual objects and environments have grown an essential part of our everyday life and business processes turning as real as the sunlight behind your window.

The cutting-edge technologies are capable of improving the most various areas and industries and this would be unreasonable to ignore the promising possibilities.

According to Statista forecast, the augmented and virtual reality market size is expected to reach 27 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 (compare with 14.1 billion in 2017) and 209.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.

Starting from gaming and filming, application of VR and AR has been extending to other to fields as education, medicine, manufacture, social media, tourism, marketing, etc. The results already achieved really impress.

Curious to learn, but not sure to be quite good at the distinction between VR and AR terms?  

We are pleased to guide you step-by-step through the complete range from the natural world to the virtual environment, or through the virtuality continuum.

Real Life As It Is

 

The first point is a real natural world - that is the one we love and live in. The world of our everyday smiles and concerns, global events, and friendly get-togethers. Things and the environment we can touch, smell, feel and interact with without using any equipment required.

The moments we experience in the real life are not repeatable or reproducible. This is the key feature that makes our reality quite special. We are here and now.  Whether these emotions are touching, funny or absolutely crazy, we shall appreciate them. With this in mind we cannot but mention Lifelapse app that helps us to catch the best moments (or to set them in motion).

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Immersive Experience with Virtual Reality

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The next destination point is the Virtual Reality (VR). Things are completely unreal there: predesigned, preprogrammed and predictable (as soon as you are aware of the general idea). The VR world never meets the real one. That is you who are invited to interact with the virtual environment. It brings you outside of your time and state of life.

To interact with the virtual environment the user needs special equipment: headsets or goggles connected to PC/mobile device running VR apps and controllers. Taking into account that the VR user does not see real objects, in some cases, space around needs to be adequately equipped to assure the safety.

Creating VR apps require special skills and experience. Along with knowledge of 3D tools and SDKs, the developers need to follow the specific UI/UX principles. VR shall have not only a convincing look but sound and movement as well. Every detail needs to be thoroughly elaborated by designers and developers to make the app absolutely friendly for users.

To confirm that VR can successfully be used for other than mere entertainment purposes let’s check, for example, the area most critical for the human life  - medicine.

VR serves as an engaging and motivation solution to limitations during physical and neuro-rehabilitation. VR experience helps to reduce stress and pain immersing the patients into the world where their mind is taken off of the sufferings. In general, VR is especially helpful to smooth over hospitalization period, especially for children.

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Happy Place offers a virtual space for the user to escape from reality into the exciting camping environment. Happy Place was developed based on research of VR as a tool for pain mitigation.

Mixed Reality Upon Closer View

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From two extremes we switch to the in-between area.

This is referred to as the mixed reality and covers the augmented reality and the augmented virtuality. Whatever complicated it may sound, the difference is evident from the above figure.

Augmented Reality

The augmented reality lies closer to the real environment meaning it is still the physical world but enhanced with virtual objects.

As for hardware, required are processor, display, sensors and input devices. Due to accelerometers, gyroscopes, GPS, magnetic sensors, and cameras available the modern smartphones and tablet computers may be used as AR platforms.

With the sets of software development tools from two major market players: ARKit (Apple) and ARCore (Google) the developers have got the room for implementing the smartest ideas into reality with relatively low time and efforts expenditures.

Augmented Virtuality

Can you guess?  The position is closer to VR, but still in the MR area: the virtual world with the integrated real objects. Bingo!

AV requires powerful hardware and software as the input from various sensors has to be processed and channeled to virtuality where the physical object interacts with the virtual environment in real-time.

The mixed reality possibilities among others are widely used in marketing and social media as means to attract consumers and keep them engaged.

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Engine Creative in partnership with Aurasma and Top Gear created the first fully augmented magazine in the world.

“We have had tens of thousands of video views. Research has shown us that 50% of our readership has access to smartphones and one in four of those [27%] engaged with the video content, and that was just from the first two editions.” Publisher, Top Gear Magazine.

Bottom Line

VR and AR application open numerous possibilities, and lots of companies have already started their journey into the augmented and virtual world. The most we can do is to progress along with the global changes. Implementing VR or AR experience and objects into your products will require definite time and efforts, but any challenge exists to be overcome, doesn’t it?

Need an experienced developers team to create a VR/AR app? Contact Umbrella IT team right now!

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New Feature for iOS: Stop Motion Boomerang Effect

Life Lapse has an exciting feature that just went live today for iOS: The boomerang effect! By enabling this feature which is accessed through the player, Life Lapse will play your video in real time then play it in reverse. Click "Play" in the video below to see the feature in action!

 To save your video, scroll to the very right at the bottom of the player. Stay tuned for Android users on this feature! Have a feature you'd love to see in Life Lapse? Comment below or feel free to email me at hello@lifelapseapp.com :) 

🎉 Life Lapse is now Available on Android!! 🎉

There's been a lot of people patiently waiting for this day to come (myself included) and I'm SOOO excited to finally share that Life Lapse is now live in the Google Play store!! This wouldn't be possible without the incredible team at Umbrella Web, who have been my Life Lapse developers since day one, so thank you to the entire Umbrella Web team! 

I would really appreciate if you could send any feedback directly to me that you may have at hello@lifelapseapp.com. If you're feeling extra generous and want to help an entrepreneur out, I would really love for you to rate the app in the play store as this really helps with getting Life Lapse in front of more eyes!  

Cheers & can't wait to see what you create using #LifeLapse!!!