I admit, I was late to jump on the Snapchat bandwagon. I was one of those people who thought it was just for teenagers, not for entrepreneurs or businesses. When I finally took the plunge, downloaded the app, created an account, and started posting, a friend even asked me, “Isn’t that platform for sending naked pics?” I realized that many people have some misconceptions about Snapchat or just simply don’t understand what it is or how to effectively use it. No, Snapchat isn’t just for entertainment or secretly sending scandalous photos. There are a number of ways Snapchat can be used as a valuable storytelling tool for brands.
Snapchat content is all about immediacy – think idea over aesthetic. It’s perfect for event coverage. On Snapchat there are very few filters and no image-editing options. While it’s possible to upload an existing photo to Snapchat, most photos and videos are taken directly in the app. There’s no use of elaborate photo editing software or belaboring over the perfect hashtags – it’s a snap-caption-and-go mentality (pun intended). With Snapchat, you can quickly take a photo, add a line of text, post, and repeat. It allows you to easily capture all aspects of an event from start to finish without missing a beat and allows your audience to experience an event right along with you, in real time.
Behind the Scenes
Most other platforms and social channels show your audience the finished product – a composed blog post, a fully edited photoshoot, or even a carefully staged Instagram photo. Snapchat has a different focus – the process. The more immediate and less curated nature of Snapchat goes hand in hand with showing the steps leading up to that final, polished product. By giving your audience a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of your business, from day-to-day operations to travel, you build a more intimate relationship with the followers of your brand. It allows your supporters, clients, and leads to have a glimpse into your company culture, your creative process, and how your brand works.
At first glance, you might think that cross-promotion is less effective on Snapchat as opposed to other social channels because you can’t actively tag or link to other users. What differentiates the experience of cross-promotion on Snapchat from other platforms is, again, the way in which the promotion is presented – candid and in real time. With Snapchat you can illustrate the use of another brand’s product or service or show participation in another brand’s initiative or event. Like giving a behind the scenes look into your business, cross-promotion is another way to use Snapchat to help your audience gain insight into your brand’s attitude and values.
With platforms like Facebook and now Instagram moving away from a chronological experience, we’re slowly but surely losing the element of storytelling on social media. As algorithms give preference to the most popular posts, there becomes an increased pressure to have highly stylized images with killer captions and targeted hashtags. By losing the real time experience, we not only lose part of the story but also part of the authenticity. While platforms like Snapchat, Periscope, and even Twitter may be less popular, they’re at least continuing to offer the more raw and personal experience that social media was originally intended to create.
My mom grew up with short hair and knew little to nothing about styling long hair. So, for my tenth birthday I asked for a lesson on braiding. At the time I still went to my original hairstylist Tracy, who had given me my very first haircut. She was more than happy to grant my birthday wish.
Mastering basic braids – French braid, Dutch braid, fishtail braid – served me well at numerous slumber parties and school dances throughout my youth. I enjoyed the big, chunky braids of my friends with full, thick hair. I was even more fascinated with the braids of my friends whose moms had let them get blonde highlights. But my hair is fine, brown, and somewhat boring. I never loved braids on me.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago… I partnered with Salon Dm3 in Athens, GA and my friend and stylist of six years, Catie McWhirter, to undergo a summer hair transformation. I lost some length and bulk and got some fun, warm-weather highlights. Lastly, I learned three of the easiest hairstyles for summer – no braiding required!
Wish you could achieve those effortless beach waves?
Simply want a style to get your hair off your face on those hot summer days?
Need an amazing up-do to rock at summer weddings, parties, events, and festivals?
Looking for an alternative to the ever-popular braid trend?
If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, then you need to watch my latest YouTube video!
Photography and Videography by Sonali Prabhu of So Narly
Atlanta Apparel Show (click)
Market Events (click)
An Inside Look at Blogging with Jessica Camerata of My Style Vita, 11:30am, Floor 13, NW Quadrant, Veteran Atlanta-based blogger Jessica Camerata of My Style Vita gives an inside look into blogging and how it can benefit your business.
“MSV got started when I wanted to pursue a new career in writing and fashion. My previous job in a very conservative corporate America atmosphere had me itching for something that I was passionate about…”
I was sold. I’d considered starting my own blog for a long time and for the same reasons as Jessica. I attended her seminar, exchanged contact info, and met her for coffee a few months later.
“You have to sit down and just do it,” she said.
Jessica’s words were just the push I needed. I’m a creative soul, but I’m also a compulsive planner and perfectionist, the latter being why I’d put off starting a blog for so long. What I’d mulled over for years went into a short month of preparation. Using a branding questionnaire from Angie, a friend/graphic designer, and a focus group of my nearest and dearest, I decided on the name ARTicles of Clothing Blog and compiled a loose vision for from pages of notebooks, scribbles in margins, feedback from the focus group, and my own mind.
Without “sitting down and just doing it,” I may have never started a blog. However, after blogging for over a year, AOC Blog never evolved into what I hoped it would be. It became an eclectic mix of those initial intentions and whatever struck my fancy with a heavy influence from the blogging community and what my blog stats told me worked best. AOC Blog had become a mere fraction of me, half me and half something else. If I wanted to keep my passion for blogging, I had to get AOC Blog back on track, my track.
I needed to take a step back, quiet the extraneous outside influences, be true to myself, and cultivate my own method. For guidance, I looked to a book that had been on my shelf for years: Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, A Practical Guide. First and foremost, this book helped me acknowledge and accept my identity: a creative. Under that creative umbrella, every aspect of my life falls into its own creative space: my compulsion to write, my fascination with fashion, my passion for dance, my love of cooking, my collection of journals, books, and magazines, and my blog. Next, I had to learn that being a creative is a way of life. It’s not just writing, fashion, dance, cooking, journaling, blogging, it’s everything from what you do while you drink your morning coffee to what you do before hitting the pillow at night. By approaching everything – no matter how mundane or exciting – with a creative mindset, I slowly began to tap back into my creative voice and my creative process. I began to establish my own creative habit.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you also started a blog for a similar reason – an interest in writing or fashion, to do something passionately, for a creative outlet, to express yourself. Maybe the typical editorial calendars, blog stats, outfit-of-the-day-posts, and affiliate links just aren’t working for you. Over the past month, I’ve developed a new approach to blogging, and in the coming months, I’ll share the steps I took to create my method. While, I urge you to carve your own way and form your own creative habit, maybe you can learn something from my process.
September is the Month of Firsts for ARTicles of Clothing blog, and today AOC is taking it’s first step into a new platform and a new medium: video.
I am beyond excited to share that ARTicles of Clothing Blog is expanding onto yet another social media outlet: YouTube! Today I’m launching the official YouTube channel of AOC.
I was fortunate to work with some amazing people on my first video. I can barely take a good photograph, so the idea of creating a video seemed impossible until I met veteran videographer Sonali Prabhu of So Narly. We shot on location at Woo Skincare and Cosmetics, a retailer of high-quality skincare and makeup. With the help of makeup artist and beauty expert Brittini Pearson, we documented how to create the perfect day to night look.
Woo’s knowledgeable and reliable staff is what sets them apart from your typical department store or drug store. Moving from the hot and humid South to the cold and dry Midwest has been brutal on my naturally dry skin. In my time working with Brittini, she has completely revamped my beauty routine. My skin feels and looks better and my makeup goes on more smoothly and better highlights my natural features.
So, watch the full makeup tutorial and check out all the products used on my brand NEW YouTube channel! Don’t live near a Woo Skincare and Cosmetics? Contact my makeup artist Brittini, and she will conduct a consultation over the phone and ship product to you! Free samples are also included with every purchase!
Shopping is a whole different game in Cancun, Mexico. Unless you go to one of the malls to hit up international stores also found in the U.S., don’t expect to see price tags and do expect haggle, a lot. The good news is, especially if you’re a pretty girl (or really just a girl from the United States), you’re going to be able to charm your way into a sweet deal. Better yet? Go with your girlfriend and get a great two for one deal. However, even with my man on my arm, finding a bargain was no problem for me in Mexico. If you’re up to the challenge, head out of the hotel zone, press on past the malls, and explore one of the sprawling flea markets in the heart of downtown Cancun.
The City Hot Spot in Cancun, Mexico: Market 28
Market 28, or Mercado 28 as it’s known by the locals, is an outdoor market with handcrafted goods and authentic food options. Speaking Spanish is a bonus but absolutely not required (I can’t say much other than hello, my name, and “I don’t speak Spanish”). There are hundreds of stalls, or booths, at this market with handmade leather goods, silver jewelry, embroidered bags, woven sunhats, and every other souvenir or trinket you can imagine. There are also some genuine Mexican dining opportunities, and, of course, ice cold cerveza to keep you cool. Definitely don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and clothes. As you trek around, you will break a sweat! Carve out a couple hours before sundown to hit up this hot spot. We took a very reasonably priced bus from our hotel that dropped us just a few blocks from the market.
How to Haggle
Perfecting a haggling technique is essential when shopping in authentic Mexican settings.
1. Make a game plan with your group. Create signals to let your shopping partners know when you’re haggling and when you’re ready to move on to the next stall. These vendors give the word persistent a whole new meaning. They will not take “no” for an answer if you show the slightest inkling of interest in one of their wares.
2. As I said earlier, there are no price tags. If you find something you like, ask the vendor for the price in pesos or dollars, whichever you prefer. There is a chance they will alter the price depending on the form of payment, so sometimes it’s beneficial to carry both pesos and dollars. Definitely carry cash, as most vendors will not take credit cards. They will either give you a starting price on the spot or in some cases, particularly with jewelry, they will weigh the item and declare a price by weight.
3. From here, you can either make a counter offer or start playing the game: show hesitancy, say you need to think or look around, etc. There’s also the option of simply telling them you think the price is unfair and see what type of counter offer they come down to. If you are looking at more than one item in a particular store, you can ask them to make a deal with you for multiple items. It’s essentially a process of trial and error, but don’t feel like you’re scamming the vendors. They expect to haggle with you! It’s part of the buying and selling technique in these markets.
4. If you make a purchase, they will treat you like a queen and if you decide to leave without making a purchase, they will try to prevent you from leaving. Do not let the vendors intimidate you if you decide not to make a purchase. Full disclosure: it will be slightly uncomfortable and awkward. Just remember you are in control and you have the upper hand. Stay strong and firm and don’t get pressured into purchasing something you don’t want to buy. You are on vacation and your hard earned money is precious! No need to return home with buyers remorse.