Cookies aren’t the only thing you can make in batches. If you’re a small business owner, batching your social media content is a powerful way to save time and get your social media calendar organised. As a freelance writer and digital content manager, batching social media content for my clients has been a total game changer in terms of productivity. It also helps if you’re about to go on a break, and want to set everything up to let it run while you’re kicking back with wine! Below are my personal tips for batching #likeaboss.

What is batching?

Basically, batching is scheduling a set amount of time into your day or week or month to work on the same types of tasks. It’s a great way to keep up to date on regular work and the frequency of batches will vary depending on what the task is. You may choose to batch your social media or a weekly basis and blog content on a monthly basis. Responding to emails would likely be a daily basis.

You block out a chunk of time just to work on that one task. For example, you might decide Tuesday’s from 3pm – 5pm you’ll dedicate to scheduling the next fortnight of social posts.

Benefits of batching social media

Updating your business social accounts is something you’re probably aiming to do daily or every second day. Finding the right image or content to share, drafting a caption and pushing it out to
your different social media accounts each day takes up time. Batching the work allows you to execute your social media strategy more simply and clears your mind of having to think about that task every day for the next 2 weeks, or however long you’ve batched for.

Of course, you can still be spontaneous! If you see some awesome content to share, post it and just move what you had pre-scheduled for the day. It also leaves more time for networking and engaging with your social community once your content is curated and scheduled. Some people even batch work for months in advance, like blocking 3-4 days out to write the next 4 months worth of blog content and schedule them for self-publishing.

Batching is also the opposite of multi-tasking. Multitasking kills productivity and wastes time, continually switching between a bunch of different projects and tasks. Laser focusing on one type of task for even a few hours will save you time in the long run. I write blog content and manage social media for a range of clients in different niches from natural skincare and personal development to investing and move out cleaning. I find when I batch work and focus on just one topic and one client at a time, it speeds up my work rather than continually switching gears back and forth on topics during the day.

Tools to help you batch social media

There are some great scheduling tools out there to make the process of batching content simpler. I personally use Buffer to batch social media posts for clients, it’s a paid tool that allows you to pre-schedule content to be pushed out to various social platforms; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

With Buffer you can share the same posts across all platforms or adjust the content depending on the channel. I also use Schedugram for some Instagram accounts I manage, which has a great visual planning tool. I love that it allows you to layout your posts before scheduling so you can see what the feed will look like. Of course, you don’t need a paid tool if you’re just scheduling Facebook posts, you can do this within your business page for free.

Quick note – I don’t receive any affiliate income from the tools I recommend above.

Other batching tips

  • Once you’ve decided when you’re going to get your social scheduling batch-fest on, I have a few more tips that can help you get in the zone:
    Unplug from personal social media. Log out of your email and switch off your phone. Culling all distractions during your batching session can really boost your productivity during this time.
  • ‘Mini’ batch all the tasks within the process. For example, first, you might find and resize all images, then design any quote or branded posts, followed by locating another type of content to share. Write all captions and then lastly load them all into the sharing platform.
  • Set a clear goal. Define what you want to achieve in your batching time. 2 weeks of social media posting? 3 weeks? A month? Get clear on the goal and work to complete it within the timeframe you’ve set for yourself. The great thing about batching is you can apply this method to different areas of your business; blogging, commenting and networking on social media, invoicing, generating new business leads, website maintenance; whatever you like. The power of batching comes from applying focus to one task, so it doesn’t really matter what it is.


I hope these tips help you get onboard with batching your social media, I think you’ll find it’s a real game changer!

Elesha Piper is an Australian freelance writer and digital content manager for solopreneurs and small business owners. She writes on a range of topics from natural skincare and personal development to investing and end of lease cleaning. She’s also a minimalist and lover of fries.

When you’re running a business, there’s no denying how much is involved in the process. From organising insurance, selecting the right staff and building a website, it can all seem very overwhelming, especially if you’ve never dealt with a start-up business before.

If you have a business, one way to start getting discovered in your local area is via your Google Business. This listing that is created directly with Google. If you do a search for a business in your local area, you may see a map and the various businesses placed on the map. This is a part of the Google Business listing. It’s one of the easiest ways for your business to appear on the first page of Google search results when people search for your type of business locally.

Recently, there have been a few different additions to this particular listing, helping you to showcase your business and be found when people do a search for your type of business. With the new features coming into play, optimising your Google Business listing is an important part of being found online.

Ensure you have created a listing

One thing that many people don’t do is create a Google Business listing in the first place. Creating one is simple and is just like registering your business with a directory such as the Yellow Pages. Head to and do a search for your business. If it’s listed, claim it and claim ownership of the business. If you’ve acquired the business and it is already registered by someone else, you may need to wait 7 days to claim it back off the previous manager. You may need to validate your listing with Google, which requires sending a code via postcard to the business.

Update your details

Once you have claimed the business, it’s time to start optimising. The key here is to ensure everything is up to date. Something as simple as your opening hours can help potential customers know when you’re open. It’s never fun to see a business is open only to head to their store and it’s closed, all because the opening times were listed incorrectly on Google. Make sure your address details are up to date and people can contact you with the right phone number. We all know how annoying it is to ring the wrong phone number, for personal or business reasons (and how embarrassing it can be to explain that you’ve called the wrong number. Ick!)

Add highlights

A new feature added to the Google Business listing is highlights. Generally, you can add specific highlights to your listing that apply to your business. One such highlight is one added by Google named “women-led”. It’s designed to showcase a business that is led by women and helps you to find businesses that are run by other women, too. Be sure to add it to your listing! It’s always great to see strong women running their business, so why not make a point of it?

Add services

No matter what business you’re in, adding a list of services can help other people understand what you do. If you own a day spa, services might include facials, massages and therapies. If you run an internet marketing business, you may include copywriting services, website building, and so on. Whatever service you’re offering, be sure to add a great description of what you can offer and a price if applicable.

Add a description

Your description is a great way to let the world know what you do, who you’re doing it for and why. It’s also a great way to add some excellent copy and provide a call to action to get people to contact you. Whether you want more people in your door, people to call or want some online enquiries, explain in this section what you have to offer and how to get in touch.

Get creative: This is also a good opportunity to show off a little bit of your personality. Create a description that not only tells people what you do, but what sets you apart from your competitors. Whether you regularly donate to charity, have funky wallpaper in your store or your hair colour matches your shoes, whatever it is, don’t be afraid to include these interesting perks about your business!

Provide some great photos

People love to see who you are and what your business is all about! If you can, provide and upload some photos to share on your listing. Team photos work well to show people who they’re contacting, but if you’re a one-woman-band, some photos of your interior is also a nice touch. Not relevant to you? Even some simple, nice-looking stock images can work. Depending on your business, you can upload some great images to show a little bit of personality. Adding regular photos also helps your business listing tremendously.

Get creative: Take a photo of customers in your store, your favourite item for sale or even some great images of your team. If all else fails, upload an image of your business logo to help improve your branding.

Create posts

Posts via Google Business are like short social posts to help people who find you on Google to read about your latest news. Whether you have a special offer, a sale or just want to let everyone know about a great new blog post on your website, here’s an opportunity to do so. You can add a post with an image and include a button to head to your website or blog page. Whatever it is you want to share, this is a great place to post it. Just note that these posts don’t last forever and become greyed out after approximately 7 days. Therefore, this makes them a great opportunity for short promotions and news updates.

Get creative: Tell people online about something interesting that happened at your business or perhaps share the news of a new client. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to add a splash of who you are and write in a conversational tone if it’s appropriate to your business.

Attend to reviews

If you’ve just started your listing, chances are there won’t be any reviews. However, after some time, you may find people start to add reviews on your listing about your business. Of course, you will want 5-star ratings all round. But, there will come a time when people give you a bad rating when they may have a not-so-nice experience. If this happens, the best way to deal with it is to address the concern.

You can respond to reviews in your listing and offer support where it’s needed. Your rater might find they change their tune or they may remain unsatisfied. Either way, by responding to the review, you can show other searchers online that you’ve made an effort to address an issue and you are actively trying to help.


A Google Business listing is something that many business owners forget about or don’t understand the potential it has to create more traffic for your website. With regular updates and attention to some of the boring bits on this listing, you’ll be able to help people find you, find out more about how amazing you are and get people onto your website to find out more about you.

Valerie Inkersole is the owner of online marketing and SEO agency, Ink Marketing. She has been involved in the world of SEO and content creation for over 5 years and aims to provide businesses with the knowledge and skills to succeed online. She’s passionate about helping small businesses and empowering women to reach their goals.

Let’s face it — having a good social media presence isn’t an option nowadays. With over 3.028 billion active users, social media has become an integral part of brands’ ability to increase awareness, distribute interactive content, generate leads, and boost customer conversion rates.

New features like Snapchat’s ephemeral content and Facebook’s live video streaming are helping brands to connect with their target audience more effectively than ever. And while it’s true that social media advertising budgets have doubled over the past few years — going from $16 billion in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016 — you can still craft a successful social media strategy and get excellent results on a shoestring budget.

Here, we’re discussing the course of action you should follow in order to implement a scalable social media strategy with a limited budget, plus a list of must-have tools to streamline every step of the process.

Step 1: Set Realistic Social Media Goals That Align with Your Company Goals

A 2015 study found that 88% of B2B marketers engage in some form of content marketing, with 36% of them reporting unsatisfactory results. Why? Not surprisingly, 70% of them either have no planned goals or undocumented ones.

If you want your social media marketing efforts to have maximum impact, it’s super important to set realistic goals that align with your company goals. Start by outlining the specific outcomes you’re hoping to achieve. It’s best to set both high-level and detailed objectives so you can efficiently keep track of your overall performance at all times.

The Framework: High-Level Objectives

High-level goals don’t need to be extremely precise — they merely provide the framework for your social media strategy. Think of them as a form of documentation that guides your social media efforts, or the “bigger picture”. Remember that social media activity isn’t all about sales sales sales – to engage audiences you have to offer content that is useful to them, not shoving them down your sales funnel from the outset. Think of each step along the path that your customers make to a sale – from the need to the solution – and set objectives right along that path.

The Details: Specific Objectives

Once you’ve set high-level objectives, it’s time to move on to the more specific ones. Would you like to increase your close rate — and if so, by what percentage? Are you thinking of building productive relationships with micro-influencers to amplify your brand message within your target market — and if so, how are you going to measure it?

Setting specific goals will help add more structure to your strategy. And once you know exactly what you want to achieve, you can identify the best course of action to actually achieve it.

Pro tool: Wunderlist is a great online tool that lets you create to-do lists. Use it to set high-level goals, split into several “steps” — detailed objectives — so it’s easy to keep tabs on your social media marketing.

Step 2: Identify and Understand Your Target Audience

One of the challenges with social media marketing is determining your target audience — or, in a nutshell, those users who are most likely to be interested in your brand and product offering.

Spend some time researching your target audience and assessing their background info. Is your product or service specifically for women or men, and what is their typical age? Are they married, or do they have children? Do they need to fall into a certain income class to afford your product? Are they local to you or do you deliver globally?

Once you’ve nailed down the basic information about your target audience personas, you need to start thinking about who they are as people. This is fundamental to crafting appropriate content that engages and resonates with your customers. What are their likes and dislikes? What are their values? What kind of lifestyle do they lead, and how does your product fit into it? What social media platform are they predominantly using?

Pro tool: BuzzSumo lets you identify the most shared content for any search term or topic so that it’s easier to psychographically pinpoint who your target customer is.

Step 3: Establish Your Content Strategy

One of the key components of a successful social media marketing strategy is carefully considered, well-crafted content that is engaging and shareable. Fortunately, creating valuable social media posts doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Establish your brand voice — and make sure to stick to it. Remember that your chosen tone of voice is unique to your brand so it’s critical to maintain it consistently. You might want to consider putting together a style guide to better define your brand voice and ensure your content aligns with it at all times.
  • Enhance your posts with appealing imagery. In fact, tweets with images receive 18% more clicksthan tweets without images, while 98% of LinkedIn posts with images have a 200% higher engagement rate. Death to the Stock Photo provides image packs that are absolutely great at helping enrich the visual impact of your posts without paying lots of money.
  • Create a content calendar to maximize your social media efforts. Planning and scheduling posts in advance will not only save you time, but also ensure you post consistently and at the best times of the day for your chosen social media platform(s). Social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are extremely valuable when it comes to scheduling. They have very affordable pricing plans with great features that you can take advantage of.

Take a Social Media Course

In today’s ever-changing, hyperconnected world, social media is evolving alarmingly fast — which is why getting strong foundational knowledge will help you stay on top of the trends. Consider taking a social media course so you can gain a better understanding of how social media networks work, as well as how you can leverage each platform’s unique characteristics to boost brand awareness and generate more sales.

Emma Knightly is a Digital Marketing Specialist at the Digital Marketing Institute. The DMI offers marketing education and certification to over 20,000 marketing professionals and students worldwide. Enrolling now – sign up and change your career for the better!

Everyone is an expert in something, or so we are taught.

Honestly, the amount of advising today about influencing, thought leadership and expertise is staggering. We are told that in order to succeed in business, make tons of money, take dream vacations several times a year, and live the luxury life of which you’ve always dreamed, you must be an expert in something. Within recent years it has been touted that if you are not an expert at anything you will never be successful.

Sadly, this has resulted in a herd mentality, a stampede. A mad rush to the finish where people trip over themselves and peck at each other for market share, all the while duplicating each other- buying into the ‘follow me’ lie. As people claw each other online to establish their expertise, many persons can find themselves lost, confused, empty, and dejected because they do not quite fit the mould their favourite coach may have set for them. Others struggle to gain success in the way they see others have succeeded, mistakenly thinking that this is the way they too must go. Many others waste time, money, and energy simply pursuing the wrong path because it is the most popular one.

This leads to burnout, bankruptcy, depression, and a general sense of meaninglessness which we are prone to overlook and dismiss as laziness or lack of effort. But this is a common human response, and if we are not careful we will doubt the reality that the situation has not worked out and push ourselves to work even harder. Especially when we believe that there is merely one path to success, the one that most online influencers rave about, and expect that we should have succeeded following it.

If you wrestle with the fact that the way of the beaten path just hasn’t worked for you and wonder if this might be the only way; if you have found that you didn’t receive the guaranteed success that was sold to you despite working twice as hard as your coach and following instructions to the letter; if you don’t enjoy the journey nearly as much as he or she does… then it’s time to quit the ‘follow me’ lie.

The truth is that everything is not for everyone, and certainly not for you. All paths were not created equal. It is time we acknowledge the toll this sort of societal pressure takes on us and employ a sensible approach to solving it. There are different paths to success. I’ve discovered that there are 3 major types of influencers. You may be surprised to learn that all of them are equally as successful. As we go through them, try to determine which you fit into.

The Entrepreneur

These people show up as coaches and consultants online. They influence by teaching others how to achieve their goals in business, life, or a specific area, and earn their income from individual and group coaching programmes, of which they are constantly creating newer ones. They are gifted at connecting to the soul of the pain people feel, motivating them to achieve their goals, and effortlessly building community or tribe. They believe and live “the hustle” and indeed they enjoy it and naturally have tons of energy for it.

They represent the largest group of thought leaders in the market place; and because of the evangelistic charm of the entrepreneur type, many persons are influenced to believe they too must be entrepreneurs when they are not. While you may do some of the things the entrepreneur does, it doesn’t mean you are of the entrepreneur group. Not everyone has the energy to do what the entrepreneurs do. If you’ve hired an online business coach recently, it’s highly likely this person was of the entrepreneur group.

Famous Entrepreneur types include: Lisa Sasevich, Selena Soo, Denise Duffield Thomas, Melissa Hughes, Brendon Burchard, Jen Scalia

The Social Influencer

These are your social-solution driven, highly tech savvy, influencers. They essentially create, design, and innovate systems for greater efficiency. These would have come to fame by creating apps, inventing products, or innovating social systems to solve a human social problems. They earn their income from their inventive genius and their public visibility and leadership. They are gifted at leadership, advocacy, identifying a cause, and springing into action to solve it.

This type is fairly well represented in the population and is a growing class because civil leadership and social entrepreneurship is fostered and rewarded by governments and other major global entities like the United Nations, via numerous initiatives which provide scholarships and funding for young solutions driven influencers and tech start-ups. Social influencers live for “the challenge”. They chase causes and live for the adventure and intellectual challenge of creating solutions.

You know you are a social influencer if you dream of saving the world, have been praised or rewarded for your academic brilliance, are touched with compassion for a particular social issue, and have the capacity to create a solution for it. Social influencers are not keen on creating community around what they do, however, they can be seen heard their voices and speaking up about trending social and political issues.

Famous Social Influencer types include: Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Leila Janah

The Expert

These individuals rise to influence because they bring specific subject matter expertise. They are usually highly qualified specialists who bring new knowledge to the fore and shape modern dialogue on human existence. They earn their income from private practice, consulting, research, writing books, and lecturing. They are gifted at understanding, exploring, and explaining human phenomena.

Thought leaders in the truest sense, they believe in and live for “the truth” and are motivated to research and get to the bottom of things and will spend the rest of their time teaching and sharing what they’ve discovered. They are not motivated to create community or pursue a specific social cause and may find these draining as theirs is a more theoretical and incisive approach to the human experience.

You know you are of this group if you are fascinated with people, love to delve into how and why things work, have been complimented or rewarded for your insight or your writing, and would prefer not to be on social media except for the fact that it provides a way to share your knowledge – and those who may benefit are present there.

Famous Expert types include: Brene Brown, Dario Nardi, Esther Perel, Nadine Burke-Harris, Gary Chapman, Christiane Northrup

Now what

Now that you have identified the type that best fits you, and the unique value from which that type’s influence is derived, then you may want to be intentional about owning your unique influence online. Here are some things you can put into practice now!

  1. Connect with one of the important influencers in your category for mentorship. If you do not readily see any, purposely search for a few and begin following them on social media.
  2. Emulate the steps key players in your group are taking so that you show up like them in your own right. This is an efficient way to achieve your path.
  3. Hire someone from the Entrepreneur group to provide accountability for you now that you have a frame of reference for yourself.
  4. Put most of your energy into ONLY those events and activities that are consistent with where members of your group put their energy. For example, Entrepreneurs put energy toward building an online tribe (you may want to start a Facebook group around a problem you can help people with and begin supporting them). Social Influencers put energy toward advocacy (you may want to identify a worthy cause and lend your voice, volunteer, or begin building an app to solve it). Experts put their energy toward sharing their knowledge (you may want to start a blog, write for publications, start a YouTube channel teaching on topics or begin publishing your knowledge in a self-help ‘how-to’ book).

Lleuella Morris teaches people how to think about things. She explores existential phenomena and brings new perspective on pesky, ‘thorn-in- the-flesh’ life issues. She creates tools, techniques, systems and frameworks to build people’s capacity and teach them how to think about things sensibly and in a way that promotes mental and emotional health and well-being. She blogs over at

Social media propels a comparison culture where we measure our success, self-worth and happiness through likes, emojis and comments. We measure, liken, contrast and mould our entire lives around comparison.

As humans, we all make comparisons. Perhaps more so now than ever. Our world is governed by digital media. Social media constantly shows the highlight reels of people’s lives, masking fears and self-doubt. Comparisons can be a motivation executioner when they keep you from working towards your goals. You scroll through your feed and draw assumptions that others are further ahead.

Social media is neither good or bad. It’s our use of social media and the meanings we derive from it that can either be helpful or harmful. Obsessive Comparison Disorder is real, active and spreading in our social media driven world.

Comparison has reached new global heights. Global thinking perpetuates the need for people to brand themselves in the best light possible. Studies support the extensive use of Facebook has been linked to many unhealthy mental conditions. Ted Roosevelt captured it well when he said that “comparison is the thief of joy”.

Gone are the days waiting to draw comparison at the 20-year reunion. Social media has reduced the time span to give you direct access to comparing yourself with everyone within a single moment.

Every day people are trying to pull off a dazzling, filtered, edited pictures of a life being lived. Sorry to wake you up from the dream. It isn’t real. When we buy into the illusion of the perfection, obsessive comparison disorder has just amplified – “Why can’t my relationship look like the couple snuggling together watching the sunset? Why could I never be wealthy like them? Why can’t l have all the good fortune like Zoe and have her body?”

This adventure creates a distorted view of all the things you don’t have to live this incredible life. It robs you of all the beauty that is in front of you – the people, the experiences and self-love. It blocks you of real conversations, prevents you from living and experiencing life, isolates you to the point that you ghost write your existence to experience a false sense of being alive.

The reality is people continue to showcase the best aspects of their life onto social media. We emphasize the best versions to hide the real version. We get drawn into the illusion and begin to question our individual accomplishments, appearances and behaviours. Even though consciously we recognize how this is illogical we are drawn to the emotional responses like a moth to a flame. Emotion trumps our sense of logic.

Comparison becomes a dark hole. A battle that you will never win. Let’s rewire our thinking by changing our practices to source a way out. Couple this with practice, self-compassion and positive self-talk to recalibrate the internal comparison monster by becoming the architect of your life and adopting 10 strategies to break the habit of comparison with others. Take the first step.

Invest in horse blinkers, they work

Cut your social media time in half by taking regular breaks and removing the opportunity to play victim. When you think about a horse carrying a carriage, horses are always wearing blinders to prevent them from being distracted or freaked out by peripheral noise. The horse focuses on the moment, here and now to the exclusion of anything else. Imagine what would happen if we reinvested all our energy from comparing ourselves to others to staying in our own lane.

It’s time for an inner revolution

As a leader, be clear about your values, beliefs and strengths. Know who you are and what you stand for. When you realize the power of focusing on your inside team, you build empowering beliefs and your positive impact on others and in business multiples. Always leverage your strengths and amplify your unique DNA.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all

Social media has become the toxic mirror. Selfies have taken over due to the array of applications to alter bodies in pictures, a bit of a nip and tuck to become prettier, thinner and hotter, apply filters to refine our features or cover up some of perceived flaws and imperfections. We touch up, tone up, cover up and all with a swipe of a finger. All this provides is an illusion of control. It’s time to let it go.

Comparing apples with oranges

How do you find someone with the exact same goals and priorities as you to make a meaningful comparison? You can’t. Where you are in life today is because of your choices, decisions and action that you have taken. You can’t compare with someone 20 years ahead or before you.

Let’s flip the switch

What if there was nothing wrong with comparison? We know in business competitor analysis is conducted strategically to determine strengths, areas of development within the market and uncover strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage. It creates a platform to adjust actions. At times, leaders in business make decisions not to create change but to stay the same. Maintaining their superior self-image becomes the priority.

Even more than that, what if comparison was used by a leader to stay passive because they were so invested in judgement of others to avoid living their own life. Sometimes it’s easier to externalize then perhaps take responsibility for ourselves.

AA Philosophy – admit that you cannot control your addiction

Comparisons feeds self-image. When we are insecure, our self-esteem is compromised and our self-work depleted. We engage in comparison as it becomes a habit. When you recognize your comparison is an addiction, then you embrace taking the first step on embarking on a sense of freedom, cutting the cords of not being good enough and ceasing from using comparison as a substitute.

What would we do with our time if we stopped comparing?

How much time and effort do we invest in the ‘why’? Why am I not like them, why couldn’t I do the same, why am I not successful? What if we focused our energy on our growth, development and purpose? Focus on following our own path and conspiring to do what’s right for you.

Life is not a competition

When we share other’s successes, our vibration rises. I’m not talking about “woo-woo”, I’m referring to when you close the gap from where you are to where you want to be. When we appreciate things no matter how big or small. Living with gratitude allows you to see the true essence of life and even more than that, the true essence of you and comparison is not an option. When you find new ways to collaborate with others, we see ourselves as equal. We let go of the need to compare and our energy flows to something bigger than ourselves.

Plugging in and out

Before we condemn social media outright, there is research to suggest benefits to being plugged in such as cultivating a positive sense of self through our profiles and gaining social support through our networks.

We also know that peace happens when you unplug. The constant pressure and expectation to remain digitally plugged in is taking its toll. We live a life constantly wired to social media to the detriment of our quality of life, health and wellbeing. We hear stories of addiction, cyberbullying and comprised emotional wellbeing.

It is time to consider usage in moderation and proceed with caution. Perhaps a digital detox occasionally, to stay grounded is a fabulous self-investment. Leaders, stop investing in comparing yourself to others. Stop focusing on how you measure up to others and invest all your energy on being the best version of you.


Angela Kambouris is a highly-valued leadership coach and business leader having spent over 20 years in the field of vulnerability and trauma. She is super-passionate about unlocking human potential to deliver extraordinary results and has spoken on stages and worked with thousands of people in the areas of self-development, leadership, mindset, human behavior and business. She has master-minded with leaders and expert authorities in personal development and business all over the world.

I know someone who has a lingerie business and people keep stealing her undies – photographs of them. The photographs are professionally produced and presented, and cost money. The thieves are robbing her.

Social media and Instagram in particular, has changed the way we promote products and services. 400 million people use it every month. The popularity of Instagram and the achingly hip visual content – aimed at aspirational users – allows business owners set their brand with carefully crafted and curated images.

Insta is an extraordinary means to communicate and engage with your target audience and is a great source of inspiration and a way to build trust, influence and attract consumers.

But what do you do when you see an image and realise it’s actually your image? How do you protect your images?

I’ll concentrate on Instagram here, but you can apply it right across social media.

What is copyright and how do I protect it?
The best approach you can take is prevention. Be aware of your rights. Your level of awareness of your intellectual property is important. Copyright is part of an area of law known as intellectual property. Intellectual property law protects the property rights in creative and inventive work and gives certain exclusive economic rights. It is the legal protection of your creative expression, not the idea or information itself.

Dramatic, literary, musical and artistic works, recordings, films and broadcasts are protected by copyright law. Generally in Australia, copyright is for the life of the author plus 70 years.
In Australia, copyright protection occurs automatically when you create the work, i.e. type the words, or take a photograph.

There is no need to register a work officially. The © system is used to show that the work is protected by copyright, but it is not required for protection to occur.

Copyright gives you as the copyright owner, exclusive rights to reproduce, publish, perform and communicate your original subject matter. These rights are economic rights. In many instances the author of a work will be the owner of copyright. One exception is where an employee makes copyright work during the course of their employment, in which case copyright vests with the employer.

The rules relating to ownership of copyright may also be varied under an agreement; for example, an author may agree to assign his or her rights in a work to someone else. Copyright in most commissioned works vests with the person commissioning the work. In plain English, if you commission a photographer to take photographs, you own the photograph’s copyright.
When someone steals your intellectual property, it deprives you of the right to monopolise your exclusive rights.

Ignore anyone who says it’s part and parcel of the Internet. They might be right about it being part and parcel of the Internet, but they’re wrong to think anyone can do anything with copyright material.

What is copyright infringement?
Your copyright is infringed when any act that the copyright owner has the exclusive right to do is done by a person who is not the copyright owner (or his or her licensee). For example, when your photograph is reproduced and/or published without your permission. Even if the person uses a different filter on your original image.

Intellectual property gives you, as the right owner, property rights. There are times that your copyright can be used and not breached. As an Instagram user, you have granted Instagram the right to display your images; otherwise they would be violating your copyright by displaying your pictures in the app:

1. Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, subject to the Service’s Privacy Policy…

Infringement of your copyright is occurs when someone without your permission reproduces the work in material form, publishes the work, communicates the work to public, or makes an adaptation of it. The Copyright Act does include ‘fair use’ exceptions to infringement that allow uses of copyright material without permission. Parody or satire is an exception. You can see an example here.

Instagram Users and Influencers
The more your products appear in user feeds, the better. It’s a tremendous marketing technique. Small businesses can connect, collaborate and/or partner with Instagram influencers who are a great fit for their products and services.

Sometimes influencers discover YOU. If you are collaborating with influencers, you have given them permission to use your images. Users who have discovered your products or services on Instagram, and share it with their audience, should cite you (tag) as the source. Of course if it is a paid partnership/sponsored post, that information must be disclosed.

By signing up and using Instagram, all users agree to the platform’s terms, including this:
4. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Service or otherwise have the right to grant the rights and licenses set forth in these Terms of Use; (ii) the posting and use of your Content on or through the Service does not violate, misappropriate or infringe on the rights of any third party, including, without limitation, privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademark and/or other intellectual property rights; (iii) you agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owed by reason of Content you post on or through the Service; and (iv) you have the legal right and capacity to enter into these Terms of Use in your jurisdiction.

What can you do if someone is using your work and infringing your copyright?
You can watermark images with your copyright information but it can be cropped out – so it’s better to embed proof of ownership in your digital pictures. There is basic metadata written into a digital photo file which identifies copyright and contact information. Exif metadata is a standard that specifies formats for files recorded by digital cameras. Many cameras and most smart phones have built-in GPS receivers that store time and location information in the Exif header when a picture is taken. Removing or altering this information is prohibited by the Copyright Act in some circumstances.

Be assertive! This is your property. They’re using your property for commercial advantage. Because of the speed of reproduction on the Internet once the first infringement has taken place it can be very difficult to stop it.

The first step is essentially a cease and desist letter, to stop them using your intellectual property. Send a direct message to the account holder on Instagram. Tell them you are the copyright owner of the images and they must immediately stop using your images.

Make sure you have examples of their infringing acts. Use this link to get a sample letter for copyright infringement.

Report the infringing posts to Instagram.

If the infringements continue, you are best to seek legal advice, as further enforcement is generally through litigation. You may not have to go to court to get a result. But be aware this is potentially very expensive; so enforce your rights based on the advice in this article.

The best approach? Prevention. Be aware of your rights. Your level of awareness of your intellectual property is important. Add a disclaimer to your Instagram profile, something like “please don’t use my images without permission” or “all images copyright”. Don’t be shy about demanding that anyone who is stealing your words, sounds or images, stops it and stops it immediately.

This article is not to be taken as legal advice. You should seek advice specific to your situation.

Kat the Label has kindly given Leaders in Heels permission to use their image for this article.