Kristen Morris helps people create their websites and brands to elevate their online presence and impact. A self taught designer, she started learning web design over 6 years ago while continuing to work her 9 to 5. Kristen started Redesignia to boost brands through technology which can feel intimidating.
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🔗 Where You Can Find Kristen
Ep#17 - Why I Use Reels Instead of Ads to Grow with Kristen Morris
Rose: Hey, it's Rose and welcome to another episode of The Sensitive CEO Show. And in this week's episode, it's my pleasure to introduce you to Kristin Morris. And Kristin will share with us how she uses reels instead of ads to grow her business. So welcome, Kristin. Wonderful to have you here today.
And I would love for you to introduce yourself and let everyone know a little about you..
Kristen: Hi. Thanks for having me. I enjoyed listening to the show, and I'm excited to be on the show. So I started learning about design and web design while I was in my full-time job when I had just graduated from college because I had started a semi-boring, regular office job. And after I had figured out how to do it pretty well, I was getting bored and wanted to quit, but it had taken me so long to get this job since I had gotten it kind of at the tail end of the recession, so I was like, probably shouldn't do that.
So I decided to learn some new skills, kind of go back to hobbies and things that interested me before, just to branch out and see where that would take me. And that's how I ended up in the design world. I started with graphic design. I went to some meetup groups and talked to some people, which eventually led to web design.
Because I wanted to create my website, it was my first web design project for myself. And I enjoyed how it was fun to create a website and then totally change it if I wanted, to see how it would evolve into something completely different if I wanted it to. And eventually, I had so much fun creating websites that I was like, Hey, I wonder if I could help other people create their websites too.
So that's how I got into web design.
Rose: I love that. And I don't know if you read my bio, but I had a web design bus web development business for about 20 years, so I understand that. Wanting to get into design and technology, and yeah, I love building; well, I don't build websites for clients now, but I still build my own, and I still really enjoy that hands-on.
It's just either you love it or you don't. I think. But I think I specialise in WordPress, and I know you specialise in Squarespace. Is that right?
Kristen: Yeah, I do Squarespace because I've tried to do the, like, coding from scratch, but for me, it's just too much.
Rose: I didn't have a choice when I learned, I had to code a Notepad, so there were no wysiwyg editors or anything, so I've got that coding thing and I still love the coding thing. Anyway, I digress.
So we're talking about reels today, and I love that you approached me on this topic because I don't know much about reels myself. And interestingly enough, before we hit record, I let you know that I was listening to a podcast this morning where they talked about reels, and I thought that was very good timing.
So, I know you use reels instead of ads for your business. Kristen, can you share with us why?
Kristen: So the first probably most obvious reason is that when you create reels, they're free, so that was the first thing that I was like, Oh, well, if I could create something that's gonna get a lot of engagement, get a lot of views, and the Instagram algorithm is gonna push it out to more people.
And it's free. Like why wouldn't I take advantage of that? So it seemed like a no-brainer for me to at least try it when I was starting.
Rose: And when you started, because I know that you're also highly sensitive and you're an introvert, did you, did it come naturally to you to do videos or was it hard to start off?
Kristen: Oh, it was not natural at all. I'm not the type of person that wants to be like on camera in front of a bunch of people; super outgoing, all that kind of stuff. So it was definitely one of those things where I was like, I don't know if I should try this. I guess I'll try it. And it did not come naturally, but I got a lot more comfortable with it over time because it, it's like most skills, when you start trying to do it, and you just keep learning and doing it, it just gets easier over time and its reels are pretty short, so it's not super crazy.
Rose: And how did you, how did you learn or teach yourself how to set reels up? Or did that part of it come naturally?
Kristen: Well, for my first one, I looked at YouTube videos for it. Now there are a ton of like content creators and accounts on Instagram where you can get these tips. But I started a little over a year ago, so I don't know if they all existed then or I just didn't know about them.
But I went to YouTube to learn for the first time because if you're just looking at the reels tab on Instagram, it can kind of be confusing if you're not sure what, like all the little icons, are. And how to find music or trending audio. It can all just be overwhelming. So, please have someone explain the basics to me, and then I can experiment and figure it out.
Rose: YouTube's such a good resource, isn't it, for all sorts of things. But I love that. That's a really good tip. And have you got other tips for people who are nervous on video, which you said you were? How did you start? Have you got a tip on how you started?
Kristen: I mean there’s not really a secret to it.
I just started it, and I made sure not to give myself super high expectations to be like, It's going to look great and professional right away. Of course, it wasn't going to; it wouldn’t be super great when I started. So I don’t think it has to look perfect.
Many well-performing videos and reels need to look more professional, which is why people like them and resonate with them. Because they're like, Oh, this is just like a regular person like me. They're just recording in their car. They're recording while they're taking a walk.
So, for reels, you don’t have to look more professional. It's a good thing.
Rose: Definitely. Because, as you say, people, it resonates, and people would relate more to being more natural and not having to be quaffed and have your hair done and put on lots of makeup or have the perfect scenery behind you and all of that.
I would love to know how often you post. Do you do it every day?
Kristen: So, my posting schedules changed a little bit. When I first started out, I wasn't sure. So I was all over the place. I would do an average of two to three a week and then when I was just trying to ramp it up a little bit. I don't know why. And I was posting every day, so I only recommend you have many of your reels or videos saved. Because then you'll get to the point where you're like, Oh gosh, I don't have anything to post. So now I've taken it.
Back down to five or six a week. I always give myself one day off just because I don't want to be on Instagram every day.
Rose: Yeah. I like that. Having to do it every day would be overwhelming for many people. And you mentioned that you had saved videos, so do you batch them?
Kristen: Yeah, I. Since it doesn't take me very long to make these videos now, I usually, I have, I still have kind of a giant backlog of videos, so just in case I'm having like an off week or I'm like sick or something, I can fall back on those if I need to. Still, it usually takes me about 30 minutes a week.
Record some videos, I’ll be good for at least a week or two. So yeah, I batch-record them.
Rose: That's brilliant. Like 30 minutes a week is doable for many people. So that's good to know. The podcast I was listening to this morning, this person said it took, in the beginning, it took three hours to do one.
90 second reel, but she's now got it down to an hour and a half. And that's a lot like doing that every day. That's not a great use of our time personally, but we, Yeah. 30 minutes a day. I love that. Did you start off taking a lot longer than that?
Kristen: Yeah, when I started, I mean like anything because I was starting from scratch.
Sometimes I would choose. You would find the audio on Instagram, save those, and then you can either use lip sync or do some action to them. And I would have to do multiple takes to get what I wanted and to get from it. But like anything else, I practised, and now it's pretty easy to get it done in one or two takes. So that's why it only takes me about 30 minutes a week. And even if I want to record that week, sometimes I don't.
Rose: That's good. And I love that you have the bank. That’s such a smart move to make. So you feel that you can do it only sometimes. Where do you get your inspiration for what to post?
Kristen: Well, when I started, It's really easy to find other people that have used a certain audio. If you save audio, you can go to that audio page on Instagram and scroll through the videos and get a sense of what other people are doing if they're doing. I know people make fun of pointing things, but that's a really easy thing to do: point to some text that's popping up but can give me ideas.
And I was also looking at TikTok too. I wonder if people know this secret. It's not really a secret, but many audios that start to trend on Instagram usually start trending on TikTok about two weeks before that. So sometimes you'll see videos on there and be like, Oh, and start thinking of an idea before it becomes trending audio on Instagram.
Rose: That's a great tip. That's good to know. I started a TikTok account a few months ago, but I've never done anything on it. I got curious about reels, so I started looking; I didn't spend a long time because I do find Instagram can take a lot of time, it can kind of suck your time.
You get addicted to looking at these videos, and I guess that's what these platforms are for. But I know it's also important to follow people to get inspiration. Have you got any tips for curating who you follow or finding good people that you resonate with?
Kristen: I wish I could remember some accounts now because I follow a few. But basically, you either search for like reels or find them. Usually, the people who give tips and tricks about reels will pop up on reels a lot. So if you're watching reels, you might find them naturally, and they will also tell you, like, "Hey, make sure to save this audio cause it'll be trending" and things like that.
Kristen: So I would search on Instagram or watch reels, which is easy.
Rose: Do you limit yourself to how much time you spend watching reels each day?
Kristen: I haven't had to thankfully, it used to be something where I would like to be watching them for probably longer than I should have.
So I did. I set a limit on my phone because I know you can do that now. Specific social media platforms to be like, Tell me not to be on here anymore after 30 minutes or an hour. So I think I did that for Instagram because it was just like on there, maybe a little bit too much, but now I've kind of gotten it under control.
Rose: tThat's such a good tip to limit the time. Yeah, and you can do that on the desktop with various apps. So you, your main platform that you post on is Instagram. And do you also repurpose the content? And if so, how do you do that, and where do you post it?
Kristen: I do. I post my reels on Facebook, even though the same company owns them.
But usually, you can get exposed to a different audience. So I'll do Facebook and Pinterest, and LinkedIn. And I know you also do YouTube shorts, but I usually do something other than that.
Rose: Yeah. I'm going to ask about YouTube shorts because they're a pretty new thing, aren't they? Or fairly new. And what about TikTokdo you post there?
Kristen: I do post on TikTok, but I haven't.
Something. TikTok is funky because they don't like to, usually things; if I post them on Instagram and then I try to post them on TikTok, they usually don't perform as well. So sometimes it's better to recreate it or do something completely different on there because it's so different from Instagram.
Rose: That's good to know. That's a great tip. Do you create your reels on your phone, or do you have a special app that you use to create them?
Kristen: I record them in the app. I don't do anything extra. I know some people can use apps if they want super fancy text or transitions or things like that, but I don't do that.
So maybe I'll do that later. But for now, just doing it, and the app works for me.
Rose: Yeah, and I love that you keep it simple. When people try to overcomplicate things, they end up with perfectionism and it can take a lot more time. So, yeah. That's great. And then, so you, you record it in the Instagram app, then how do you repurpose it to Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn?
Kristen: So I'll usually copy the caption for all of those. I might change some things because I have hashtags that I have saved just for Instagram, so those don't work across other platforms, so that I won't use those. But I keep the captions pretty similar across all the different platforms.
And change it up a little bit for each one. For Pinterest for example, I usually post reels as idea pins, which are different from normal pins because they act like the reels for Pinterest because Pinterest will push those out to more people. So it's usually better to have short-form content videos for those.
Rose: What length do you do for all of your reels?
Kristen: Usually, they're pretty short. I've done a few that are a little longer, but the length is usually under 10 seconds or so. They might be a little longer, but I still need to do a reel that's over a minute or something like that.
Rose: That's good to know. And since you've been doing them, you said you've been doing them for a year; what growth have you noticed in your business and why? Why do you think that is?
Rose: Two questions and one.
Kristen: Right. I love it. So I've got I. Besides just tracking the data in Instagram to be like, Wow, it's showing it to this many people.
And that's one of the reasons I continued to keep going with it because it consistently kept pushing it out to more people, especially those who weren't following me. After all, my Instagram account was pretty new. So, for my website traffic, about a third to a quarter of it is coming from social media.
So that's coming from people finding my website and clicking on it. So that's pretty good and I've had some messages from people wanting to work with me.
Rose: Great. So it's worth doing regular, weekly, sorry, daily reels for you. Love it. Have you got any more tips that would benefit sharing with the audience today, Kristen?
Kristen: Sure. If you're starting, I would say don't worry about it being perfect because it probably won't be. And also, a good tip is to look for trending audio. So that's if there's an arrow at the bottom of the screen showing the audio. So if you use that when you're just starting, that usually helps boost your views.
Rose: Great. I love those tips. So before we wrap up today, I have one question that I ask all of my podcast guests. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
Kristen: So, this usually means I have to take a break. So I'll usually step away from the screens or my phone. Cause that's usually where I am. So I'll either physically walk away from that, like maybe actually take a walk or go into a different room.
Or if I'm tired or depleted, I might just lay down and chill out for a few minutes.
Rose: I love that. So I will be popping everything in the show notes of where people can find you, but where would be the most preferred place to find you?
Kristen: Well, they can find me on Instagram at redesignia.co. And you can see all of my reels and see how they still need to be done because the Instagram algorithm is still hard to predict.
Rose: Yeah. Brilliant. Well, thank you again so much for your time today, Kristen. It's lovely to talk with you, and I'm sure many tips you've shared will help the audience listen today.
So thank you.
Kristen: Thanks for having me.