Social media mockups are an, dare I say, iconic byproduct of our industry. Social media is a visual medium. When it comes to showcasing work to your clients, you have to make sure that what you’re presenting is as close to the final product as possible.
And that’s where social media mockups come in handy. But what if I told you there’s a better way? In this article, I’m going to show you the easy way to automate your mockups. I hope you’ll ditch test pages, screenshots, and Photoshop after you read it.
Why do we build social media mockups?
Before getting into the meat of the article, we have to understand why social media mockups are built in the first place.
It all comes down to the visual nature of social media. Just how you can’t explain a painting (ok, actually, you can, I’m just very bad at art), social media falls in the “shower, not teller” realm.
“The entire purpose for which social media was created, was to give people a way to connect with one another. You MUST keep this principle in mind with every move you make while marketing on social media if you ever want it to work for you.” says Antonio Thornton from MoneyMouthMarketing.
Plus, a social media campaign can span several months, and clients need to know how things will look, say, six months from the point the campaign starts. So designers start sketching social media post mockups, content specialists write copy, and then the entire marketing team pieces a year’s worth of mockups together like a deranged cartoonist.
It’s not ideal, but it gets the job done. Partially.
What’s so bad about that?
See, social media mockups are a very counterintuitive way to do things. One might think designers and copywriters would get a kick out of playing fantasy social media. Still, in reality, it wastes precious time that could’ve been spent on more productive endeavors. Like creating content.
“What’s more, content marketing will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise on a subject. If your readers get to the point where they respect what you have to say and they start seeking you out for answers to questions, then you’ll be able to sell to them more easily when you recommend an informational product you’ve made, or perhaps an affiliate product you’re getting commission on.” says Scott Douglas Clary, SVP Sales & Marketing at ExciteM.
Here are a few reasons why social media mockups (including social media branding mockups) are not as great as you might think:
They’re a huge resource and time sink.
Social media mockups don’t do justice to the amount of work and effort that goes into a social media campaign.
Social media platforms are changing all the time. Imagine having your designers create 100 Instagram mockups, only for them to be rendered obsolete the next day following an update. Of course, this issue could be prevented by planning ahead, but that doesn’t really address the root problem: that they have to create mockups.
They’re a logistical nightmare. I think you can visualize the amount of back-and-forth and endless email chains this entails for yourself.
They’re not entirely representative of reality. No matter how Photoshop savvy you are, it just won’t live up to the real thing.
But don’t close the tab just yet – I have a solution for you
OK, so what’s the best alternative?
Let me propose the following scenario – what if, instead of creating social media marketing mockups manually, there was an app or something that allowed you to, like, automate the whole thing? 21st-century style.
Well, I got just the thing for you – it’s called Planable. Again, the name’s literally on the door, so don’t you act so surprised.
Social media mockups begone – Planable to the rescue
In case you don’t know us, Planable is a social media collaboration tool that allows social media teams to plan, create and collaborate on social media content, and showcase their work to clients in a straightforward and intuitive way.
So what does all this have to do with social media mockups? Here’s the kicker: Planable is, essentially, a highly-engineered mockup generator. It will also do wonders in terms of your social media workflow.
“I would suggest creating a pseudo-editorial calendar. Here’s what I mean – and something that I coach people to do all the time:
Sit down and figure out how many days per week you want to post, and on what days
Identify which platforms you want to post on
Create themes for each day you want to post” – Tabitha Naylor.
So you can forget about wasting your laptop’s processing power on designing mockups in Photoshop. Or scouring those shady template websites for mockups that resemble Instagram’s latest iteration the closest. Here’s why:
Create posts in a natural environment
Say that big presentation with your clients is looming. You round up your team in the war room and start putting together, like, I don’t know, 30 mock-ups and dump them into a Powerpoint presentation. Right from the get-go, we can identify two problems with this hypothetical situation that I just made up:
That’s 30 more mockups than you’d ever have to make.
Mockups are fine when your posts consist of static images and a bit of copy, but what about gifs? Videos? How do you show that? Make a cardboard cutout of an Instagram post and attach it to the tv? Or a photo-stand in, or whatever they call those things from cheap amusement parks?
Ok, ok, I know, I’m being needlessly facetious – of course, there are tons of workarounds for this. But you shouldn’t have to do that when Planable exists.
Planable provides an intuitive workspace where teams can collaborate and create posts in the most natural environment possible. What’s a “workspace,” you ask? Oh, nothing – just the command center of your social media campaign. Where magic literally happens. Ok, not literally, but we’re pretty proud of it.
A workspace is a collaborative space where you can neatly organize all the brands and social pages you manage. In Planable’s workspace, you can:
Create custom time slots, and labels for your content topics.
Invite everyone involved in the content for that particular brand
Create, review, collaborate, publish posts and keep team members in the flow.
In terms of post-creation, this is one of the most useful features of Planable. And it’s so easy, your cat could do it:
At the moment, Planable has integrations for the following social media platforms:
Facebook. You can add text, (multiple) images, tag pages, video carousels, GIFs, videos.
Twitter, you can add text, image, multiple images, URL, video, GIFs, and tag other accounts. Add text, images, links, videos, GIFs, and the good old tag.
Linkedin. Same as Facebook and Twitter.
Instagram. Add images, text, stories. You can also schedule Instagram posts via our solution.
Google My Business. Write posts, add images, launch promotions and let fans know about your latest offers.
But believe it or not, that’s not all…
See social media mockups instantly
Think fast: what does Planable have and social media mockups lack? I’ll answer that for you: instantaneity. This fancy word that I have just learned perfectly captures the advantages Planable has over social media mockups.
Planable allows for multiple ways to view content:
Feed view. It’s exactly how it sounds like – you can see your content exactly as it would appear on social media feeds.
List view. For marketing teams that want a short overview of their posts. Entries include a short description, the status of the posts, author, page, date, the time the content is scheduled to go live, as well as the assigned labels.
Calendar view. Remember what I said earlier about clients wanting to see how their campaigns will play out long-term? Calendar view is perfect for that. It’s designed to cater to teams that want a birds-eye view of their campaigns. Teams can also use Planable’s calendar mode to strategize and make last-minute changes to their campaigns.
Grid view. Instagram grids are still cool. You know it, and I know it. They’re also a drag to create and showcase. Don’t worry – Planable has you covered. Creating those awesome, symmetrically-pleasing grids is as simple as, well, let me just show you…
Share them with your team members & get feedback and approval
Feedback is an oft-overlooked element of social media content creation. As many of these things go, it usually involves a tonne of tiring back and forths. Add the inherent clunkiness of using social media mockups to the equation, and yeah, I think you get it.
Not with Planable. Since it’s built with collaboration first in mind, by extension, it also facilitates the feedback and approval process. But don’t take my word for it – here are my words, but in bullet-form format:
Want to get feedback on your fresh-from-the-oven piece of content? Your team can drop their thoughts right next to the post.
Want to share your own thoughts on the feedback that you got? There’s a “reply” feature for that. While you’re at it, tag team members and invite them to do the same thing. Preferably by reacting with emojis (we have those too).
Once the feedback is implemented, simply click “Resolve” so that everybody knows that you’re a team player and their feedback matters.
If your team needs additional assets, you can attach files to the comments.
Another neat feature that I purposely left for last involves guest sharing. Planable guest sharing links allow external collaborators to leave feedback on content scheduled via our solution. Simply share the link to the post, and collaborators will be able to preview & review.