We interviewed Bernadette Heydt and Renee Mason, the boss-ladies & founders of HEYDT + MASON, and they gave us some insider tips on how they strategically & aesthetically use social media to grow their creative agency based in Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
Q: What is your business all about and who is your audience?
A: We are a full-service creative agency that offers branding, styling + production services to businesses that are looking to enhance their image, products, or interiors for portfolio, social media, or general marketing needs. Our studio is located in the heart of Newport, RI. We have an in-house styling library that allows us to style on-site to capture ‘that perfect shot’ and fine-tune the details in the post [production] to ensure quality content that can be used across multi-media publications. The marriage of our production team’s state-of-the-art camera + video equipment and our professional stylist’s + designers on staff allows HEYDT + MASON to offer a variety of services + artistic direction that can speak to a company’s mission and aesthetic.
Q: Tell us a bit more about you! How did you get involved with this business?
A: Both coming from creative backgrounds in Interior Design and Styling, we found that the last touch to finishing an interior is the ‘Styling and Accessory Phase.’ After tackling several projects it came to be known that styling an interior ‘to live in’ versus one to be ‘photographed for publication’ are two different scenarios. HEYDT + MASON was founded on the idea of eliminating the chaos of the Styling + Photography Phase for Designers by incorporating the process of set design on the day of the photoshoot. We curate accessories that complement a finished interior and work with our production company to capture that perfect shot for an Interior Designer’s portfolio. Local businesses have really responded to this process, therefore we have recently grown to incorporate styling and production services for wholesalers, restaurants, retail stores, and hotels, especially during this COVID19 Crisis when Main Street needs to have a strong visual presence online.
Q: Overall, how has social media helped your business?
A: Social Media has helped our business by allowing us to connect with other creators in our niche and our local community. With the use of Instagram and Pinterest, our portfolio is promoted globally allowing for HEYDT+MASON to receive a strong online following and unparalleled free marketing.
Q: How did social media help your business during COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 definitely threw us a curveball. However, with the help of social media, we were able to reach out to our local retailers/restaurants and assist them in capturing product + food photography which they used to achieve a strong e-commerce presence online.
Q: How do you use social media to connect with your audience?
A: We connect with our audience on #Instagram by posting daily insta-stories that promote our portfolio and highlight our local clientele. We love sharing our favorite local finds and other content that matches the HEYDT + MASON brand and speaks to our craft.
Q: Overall, what has been the biggest social media marketing challenge for your business?
A: Growing our social media following organically. From our experience the best way to achieve this is through having a quality portfolio that shows the variety of your craft, making friends online or in your community, and supporting others via shoutouts and shares.
Q: How do you edit your Instagram pictures?
A: Our Instagram photos are pulled from our portfolio, therefore the majority of images have been professionally edited in our editing room using softwares such as Photoshop and CaptureOne.
Q: How do you edit your Instagram stories?
A: Editing insta-stories on the fly is always difficult. We normally have a weekly schedule in place in which we prepare our stories ahead of time with the use of an online or app software. We always try to have our insta-stories be inline with our brand aesthetic.
Q: What kind of tools or apps do you use for your social media management and/or content creation?
A: We use a website called Canva to plan our Instagram layout and create our Insta-story templates.
Q: Can you share one of your social media marketing strategies that help you generate leads?
A: When we photograph products or interiors we pull from our in-house styling library in our studio. A strategy that works for us occasionally, is when we share our portfolio pictures on Instagram we tag all the featured brands in the image. This has lead us to connect with new brands, allowed us to be featured on other accounts, and has generated new friendships and business collaborations.
Q: Do you have any special social media marketing campaign you're proud of?
A: We have a couple of insta-story campaigns we cycle through to keep our audience engaged in addition to our behind-the-scenes daily footage of our process of styling and photographing our client's interiors or products onset. We love supporting our locals by sharing 'Todays Favorites' which highlights our local finds/sales with our IG community. Our 'Trend Report' campaign highlights upcoming styles in the Interior Design, Styling + Fashion industries.
Q: In your opinion, why is social media marketing a valuable investment for uprising businesses & entrepreneurs?
A: Not only is social media a free marketing and advertising tool it allows for your clients and potential clientele to view you or your brand's personality on a day-to-day basis. Whether that is promoted through Instagram Lives, #IGTV, behind-the-scene footage, Instagram/Facebook Stories, etc. Social Media is today's marketing hub for any business or entrepreneur.
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest social media marketing mistake that uprising businesses and entrepreneurs should avoid?
A: The biggest mistake we see online is not having a constant visual feed on Instagram. Investing in good photography will always enhance your brand and attract an organic following.
Q: Do you have any social media marketing tips or content creation tips for rising small business owners and creative entrepreneurs hoping to use social media to grow their business?
A: One easy way to create content on social media is to share your behind-the-scenes footage of what goes on in your business day-to-day, especially if you work in a creative industry. People love following the process of your trade.
Q: Any additional comments?
A: Thanks for allowing us to share our tip and tricks of social media with you all! xo, Bernadette + Renee