What you need to know about the latest Instagram updates

A few weeks ago, Adam Mosseri – head of Instagram – announced the biggest Instagram change yet; “We’re no longer a photo-sharing app.”

Adam explained that Instagram is not going to prioritize photos in the feed. Instead, they’re going to start focusing on creators, video, shopping and messaging. The most important two elements here are video and shopping. You can expect to see more updates around video but one of the most important updates he gave was on the algorithm. By the sounds of it, Instagram is reformulating to have a more organic reach. This means that, just like TikTok, you’ll see a lot more videos from people you don’t follow.

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Our branding, website and social media packages explained

Let’s talk about The Branding Box, baby.

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that The Branding Box is an extension of The Pencil Box. It’s our creative solution for start-ups and small businesses.

Since we’ve launched The Branding Box offering, it’s grown from ready-made logo design and branding kits to include website templates, as well as social media content creation and management packages. Let’s get into it.

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TPB’s Branding Questionnaire: A guide to beginning your brand

If you’ve been keeping up with The Pencil Box’s social media posts for a while now, you’ll know just how important branding is. In fact, it’s one of the important aspects of a successful business. You’re introducing your brand’s personality to your audience and it’s what makes you stand out among your competition. It’s the reason people will choose your brand over others.

For a start-up or small businesses especially, it’s important to attract and retain loyal customers and branding will do just that.

It’s not just a pretty logo or a clever slogan. It’s why you’re doing what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and where it’s going down. This all forms part of your brand strategy.

So where do we begin?

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How to sell to the infamous Gen Z

Before you can sell to Gen Z, you have to know what – or who – that is.

It’s me. Aaliyah, the copywriter here at The Pencil Box. I’m part of the generation of people born between 1995 and 2015. I’m often mistaken for being a Millennial, but Millennials are the generation born between 1980 and 1994. (Let me guess: you just found out that you’re a Millennial, right?)

Despite many similarities, these two generations are not the same. Many older Millennials, who’ve just turned 40, have settled down and are making large purchases like cars and property. The youngest Gen Zers, on the other hand, haven’t even started Grade 1. Our attitudes towards technology, politics, trends and money are very different.

When it comes to creating marketing strategies targeted at these two groups, it’s best to come up with two different strategies. You might already know how to sell to Millennials, but do you know how to sell to Gen Z?Read more

The era of video: pricy but powerful

No one can deny the power of video. Consistently, statistics show that video consumption is only increasing.  In 2019, Limelight – a content delivery network system – reported that internet users spend close to seven hours per week watching online videos. It’s clear then that videos do better on social media. Videos posted on any platform – whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – generate up to 1200% more shares than texts and images combined. Marketing software company, HubSpot, completed a study that shows that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from the brands they follow – and that includes you.

But what goes into the making of powerful video content? While some videos are simple enough that you just need some good light and your cell phone, branded or promotional videos require a lot more steps, both before and after actually shooting the content.

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How to use social media as a business

Whether you’re sharing photos of your puppy or creating IGTV videos on how South Africans pronounce certain words, you have little restrictions when it comes to your private social media. However, when it comes to your business, there is a certain way to do things. Especially when it comes to the digital world. After all, one small social slipup will be on the internet forever.

So, here’s our code of dos and don’ts for businesses.Read more

TPB’s list of local thinkers, makers and doers to watch

We reached out to our fellow creatives, freelancers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, mompreneurs, mentors, consultants and other amazing humans. We did this because although we might be far from each other, we are not alone.

In these difficult times, we want to support those around us.Read more

Find inspiration with these Instagram accounts

Inspirational Instagram accounts to follow today

We’re sure you know how it feels to keep scrolling and scrolling through your Instagram feed, looking for something – anything – that moves you. You want something to engage with, to inspire you, to make you get up off the couch and get cracking on your laptop – especially during these overwhelming and uncertain times.

So, it’s time to give your Instagram feed a makeover. We’ve done the work for you and scoured the ‘gram to bring you the best inspirational accounts to follow. Here are ten accounts that aid our anxiety and promote positivity:Read more

What’s happening on Instagram right now

As the corononavirus continues to sweep around the globe, our world has become new and uncertain. It has changed the way we connect, forcing many of our conversations online and making social media bigger than ever before. People are using various platforms to share information, talk about their concerns and getting creative with new TikTok dance moves they’ve learnt while in self-isolation.Read more

Tried, Tested, Tossed: TPB Guide to Productivity Apps

Running a small business doesn’t actually mean having to run around from office to clients and back to the office to check on your team. Neither does it mean sitting in front of your laptop with fifteen different tabs open. In fact, business management can be made simple with the right productivity apps. How do you know which apps will work for you? Our team has tried, tested and tossed a few apps to help make it easier for you to find the right tools for your business.Read more

Tips to grow your Instagram account

If, like us, you’ve been trying to get ahead of the everchanging algorithm to remedy your dwindling engagement, this post is for you. Yeah yeah, we know it looks and feels amazing when the numbers are high but what is the purpose of using this platform? First thing to remember is, Instagram doesn’t determine your success. Read more

How to improve your business: books, apps and more

We’re graphic designers and what we do is design. But we’ve learnt, after many missteps that we needed other skills to survive. Like how to work with numbers, manage cash flow, manage time, work collaboratively and more efficiently. Over time we've tried and tested a few apps, read a few books and relied on other online resources that have helped to shape how we work, make us more efficient and give us back a little more time. Read on for our reviews on a few apps and books that have helped us tackle those painful admin tasks.

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2018 Holiday Gift Guides

Finding something unique for the special people in your life is always possible when you shop at the Cape Union Mart Group of brands. You’ll find all the magic of the season of giving at Cape Union Mart, Old Khaki, Poetry, Tread + Miller and the newest member of the family – Keedo. Click on the link below.Read more

Everyone is creative

There is one myth about creativity that I’d like to bust. Creativity is not the domain of painters, writers, musicians or designers alone. Everyone is born with natural creativity. Perhaps some are born with more than others, passed down to them through their genes by talented parents. But innate creativity is not a reliable sign of future creativity or greatness even – regardless of any advantage of nature. My father gravitated toward sketching at a young age. Read more

A beginner’s guide to photography

By guest writer and photographer, Zaid Joseph.

Which entry-level camera is a good investment for taking lifestyle/blog style images?
I would suggest the camera on your phone. Don’t be bogged down by the tech. Today’s mobile phone cameras are amazing and with proper lighting (the #1 factor in good photography) you can take some great images.Read more

Content marketing for startups

While we’ve been around for a little over six years now, we’ve only been using content marketing for a few years relative to the life of our company. We have however learnt a few ‘truths’ about content marketing we think all startups can benefit from.Read more

The designers naughty corner

Yeah, we’ve all been there. We’ve all done things that we’re not proud of and that we knew we didn’t want to do. Round five of client changes and the energy to fight for what’s right quickly fades. So here we are, sending ourselves to the ‘naughty corner’ for the questionable things that we have done or rather, created. We’ve overcome the guilt-of-bad-designs-past and protected the identity of the responsible designer well enough to offer solutions that we hope will help you avoid the pitfalls of bad design.Read more

5 Things we’ve learnt at our first job in the field

Hey, it’s Nats here…
It’s often said that your first job in the ‘real world’ will not always be the greatest of all jobs. I can honestly say that being part of The Pencil Box team has been a true blessing. After graduating I was nervous about entering the creative work place for the first time, I didn’t know when, how or where I was going to begin my journey. Read more

How to tackle your first photoshoot

Lights! Camera! Meltdown! As an introvert, being the center of attention has always been frightening. I’m a naturally awkward person, so when I experienced my very first photoshoot, I was overcome with nerves. The end product was not what I had anticipated at all, it was so much better! The photographer, Zaid and his assistant, Danyaal did an amazing job at making me feel comfortable. Read more