Picture Perfect? Not Even Close.

It’s time for the next topic in my series of social media lessons learned while working at lululemon: posting photographs.

If you bother to track our store’s Facebook image history (don’t), you’ll notice there is a distinct shift in the photos used as I practice a deeper understanding of what it means to be posting for a company.

With a quirky brand like lululemon, it’s easy to get swept up in the creative freedom they take with their advertising and lose the distinction between fun/luxury and “on brand”.

Again, this is where creating a mission statement about what your product or page is really about comes in handy.

I’ve had pictures that are fun, quirky and, I think, show the personality of the store be vetoed by management because they didn’t represent the “brand”. In other words, they didn’t educate people about the function of our product.

And that was frustrating.

But I got over it.

Eventually.

Lesson: Sometimes what I think is fun really equals spam on someone’s Facebook home page. I had to realize the tendrils of the company’s page touches more than my friends who’ve kindly ‘liked’ it.

In other words, not everyone will think a picture of two coworkers decked out in lululemon garb waving while standing out my car’s sunroof is particularly informative about our new line of clothing… Go figure.

Yes. That’s a true story. Once again, my deepest apologies, lululemon.

Anyhow. I now ask myself three questions before I post any image (or words for that matter) on our Facebook page. Perhaps they seem obvious, but I need things spelled out. And, it’s okay to admit it, you probably do too – no judgment, this is a safe space. Welcome.

Caileen’s Top Three Questions to Ponder Before Posting Anything Ever:

  1. What purpose do these pictures serve? I’m considering things such as if they’re educating people about a new line, demonstrating something cool about a piece or highlighting our community. What’s the purpose of your page and does every picture support it?
  1. Are my images authentic? This means avoiding over-editing so the photos look like something off Instagram or your first Photoshop project in high school. And again, it means thinking about your company and if you’re upholding the values it represents. For lululemon, this means ensuring my pictures of someone showing off a running crop is actually running. And looks like a runner, not someone off America’s Next Top Model. Take off excess jewelry, put the hair up in a ponytail, wear proper running shoes – leave the wind-maker, body oil and jewel-encrusted beetle accessories at home. It also means being aware of the backdrop to your photo shoot. Would a runner, decked out in a rain jacket and neck-warmer, be running in the mall? Or even in the mall parking lot? Would they be wearing that outfit on a sunny day? Would a yogi practice their sun salutation in flip-flop sandals on the pavement outside Starbucks? Make it realistic.
  1. Are these photos “on brand”? The term “on brand” is loosely thrown around for a number of things, but once again it all boils down to representing the values of your company. In my mind, being “on brand” encompasses not only the authenticity question posed, but if the picture is of the best quality possible. Is it edited nicely, not blurry, free of weird photo-bomb-y-things in the background? If I organize pictures into a collage so they’re more easily visible, I avoid unnecessary (even if fun) details like crazy borders or filters because they detract from the purpose of my photos. If I make an album (which usually attracts more “clicks” on your page), I try to edit and explain each photo as best possible. These little, seemingly nit-picky, details go a long way.

Of course, like my title suggests, I’m nowhere close to fault-free. I often fall short in one or two (or seventeen) of these ponderings. I call it “practicing” social media because, like with yoga, I seem to be forever learning, tweaking, losing my balance and trying to stand on my head.

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