content marketing

A Snow Day That Will Melt Your Heart

This Is How My BFF Got an Instagram Makeover

Five years ago, I was newly engaged when my best friend, heretofore known as BFF (pronounced biff), convinced me to download some app called Instagram. Though I used to be an early adopter of social platforms, somewhere between Xanga and Myspace, I calmed the hell down and stopped using anything other than Facebook. It will help you plan your wedding, she said. You will get tons of info, she said. Little did we know it would lead to an eventual career change for me and a way for me to impact thousands of lives.

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My BFF has followed my journey and we've been there for each other for the majority of our lives—since we were 9 years old. Highschool, college in different states, weddings also in different states, and we're still stuck like glue. When she wanted to have a crafting business on the side, I gave her some social strategy tips and encouraged her to create a new Instagram, separate from her private, personal account which she limits because she's now a public school teacher. Crafting and Math Tutoring were the focus, and she wasn't that into it. She and her amazing husband are expecting their first child soon and what better way to stay creative and productive than documenting all of the fun things she's making and planning in anticipation for the little one's arrival?

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There was a snowstorm in New Jersey today and many places of business were closed, so my favorite growing family had the day off! Titi Angie was on it with a screen share and a pre-made tutorial. Two hours later, BFF had a new bio, archived any and every off brand post, and reinforced skills and strategies to kick much ass as she stylishly documents the beauty of her new life in a way that feels good to her. I'm certain she will inspire others.  

Here's a Before & After

She went from an account name that was something like @algebra_n3rd to the much more catchy @thecraftymami. I personally cannot wait to see all of the cute and creative things she shares.

 

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Are you interested in an Instagram makeover? For the month of April, I'm offering an Insta Reboot for just $197. You'll get a revised bio, up to 5 branded story highlights, a hashtag user manual, and a guide to curating content that will make your page appealing and easy to manage.

On Branding: 3 Reasons to Kick Fear to The Curb

January was wonderfully full of inspiring femmes, good friends, and women business owners. A really great bonus of surrounding yourself with people who are similarly aligned and ambitious is that you get to grow professionally and personally.

While chatting about content marketing and strategy, as I'm wont to do, one of my friends said she was nervous to offend other moms with her blog topics. There's a lot she wants to say to encourage women to do what works best for them in motherhood, and her followers ask her questions all the time that she's unsure about answering. This fear came up over and over again in conversations with other women I admire and respect, who are complete boss babes in their own right.

 Here's my favorite mommy blogger with the cutest dang babyyyyy aka Camilla. Click to see more preciousness on IG.

Here's my favorite mommy blogger with the cutest dang babyyyyy aka Camilla. Click to see more preciousness on IG.

Let's break down how and why you should speak your mind:

1. "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter."

The people who want to follow us on social and read our blogs probably aren't going to get offended by us speaking our truth. If they are, they're not our ideal client–and that's okay! An often misquoted saying, "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter," is perfectly true when it comes to your personal choices, and to take it further, your branding. This was Bernard Baruch's response when asked how he chose the seating arrangements for his dinner parties. After much success in business, he became a presidential advisor. He had a bunch of jobs and got things done well. Worrying about how people would react to seating arrangements wasn't a concern of his. You need not worry about offending someone because you share how you live or work. It's not for everyone and that's perfectly fine. It doesn't mean you have to keep it to yourself

 Sitting on top of a fireplace in a common area in my apartment in the middle of the day because I wanted to get this shot while working with a film photographer, and I didn't care who noticed. Thanks to  Steven B. Photography  for the photo.

Sitting on top of a fireplace in a common area in my apartment in the middle of the day because I wanted to get this shot while working with a film photographer, and I didn't care who noticed. Thanks to Steven B. Photography for the photo.

2. You Must Stand Out

What if we all wore the same clothes? Had the same hairstyle? Watched the same shows? It would be so boring! Niche accounts on Instagram perform incredibly well, and I've observed that they're the easiest to grow. Not everyone is going to give a hoot about fountain pens, but my friend John just started a blog as a passion project because he's been a collector for over 20 years. In less than 6 months, he's grown to have over 1,000 organic followers who are just as into fountain pens as he is! (I test drove some. It's really pretty cool.) Do not be concerned that what you create or put out isn't for everyone. It shouldn't be! Just like you don't serve everyone under the sun, your content doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. By being super honest and getting real, you'll attract the people who want to go along with you on the ride. So strap in and carpool with people who are gonna be into the same epic road trip playlist. My preferred mix of post-punk and 90's hip hop isn't for everyone.

 John is also a photographer, which is why all of his  Fountain Pen Love  is so beautifully showcased.

John is also a photographer, which is why all of his Fountain Pen Love is so beautifully showcased.

 

3. Authenticity Is Necessary

All good and functioning relationships are based on honesty. Social media is all about the relationship you have with people who opt into a connection with you. Sincerely sharing about your business and your views will help maintain clarity on why you do what you do and who you want to serve. It's okay to be selective. In fact, it's necessary so that you stand out! Don't be one of the herd. If you're just like everyone else, where's the value in following you? Additionally, when we make content that's true to who we are, it fuels us. Here's a post from when I had my very own a-ha moment via an excerpt from one of my Instagram posts:

 I was all set to create some content for a beauty product. The more I used it, the more I disliked it. I also looked at the label and the list of ingredients freaked me out. Instead of going through with it due to obligation (I consider this potential partner/business owner a friend), I was honest about it not being my favorite. She wasn't mad. In the grand scheme of things, it did no damage, and I get to stay true to myself and only share things that I really like and think you may like, too.

I was all set to create some content for a beauty product. The more I used it, the more I disliked it. I also looked at the label and the list of ingredients freaked me out. Instead of going through with it due to obligation (I consider this potential partner/business owner a friend), I was honest about it not being my favorite. She wasn't mad. In the grand scheme of things, it did no damage, and I get to stay true to myself and only share things that I really like and think you may like, too.

When passion coincides with work, then you're living the dream. I give you permission to share your opinions. You're your own boss, after all. 

Instagram Posts: 3 Steps to Posting So You'll Never Be Stuck

Instagram is my jam - I help business owners, bloggers, and budding entrepreneurs understand how to use this channel as part of their core marketing strategy. Still, I sometimes get stuck and I'm not sure what to post. If you haven't batched in a while and find yourself here, repost an older piece of content.

1. Captions

After a one-on-one strategy consultation with me, clients are better equipped to manage their online presence. It's a lot of new information at once, and a whole new way of thinking about things. When I do my follow up calls, some of them struggle with writing copy for their amazing images. Here's the thing: your visual is the star of the show, and the copy is the supporting cast. Don't get too hung up on what you're writing. For the most part, it should be concise and succinct. There are 3 go-to captions:

  • Ask a question - this will engage your audience and make your social media account social again
  • Tell a joke. Some people are pun masters and I always appreciate a good dad joke.
  • Write a song lyric! Although, I sometimes feel really out of touch when I comment on a caption that's from a song I've never heard...

Austie is kinda the queen of song lyrics as captions. Maybe she actually credited the artist here because I so often am clueless and asking her questions in the comments...

 

2. Repurpose Your Content

This was my post from this past Tuesday. I'll make a habit of giving a Content Marketing Tip every Tuesday on Instagram, so be sure to leave me a comment or direct message if you have an issue or problem I can help you solve.

3. K.I.S.S.

Also known as, "keep it simple, s[illy]." (I interpreted that last word to be more positive than the traditional meaning, because name-calling isn't my ~thing~) My favorite quippy caption-generating machine is my friend Talena. This is a perfect example of keeping it simple. Her bright, perfectly laid work area says enough.

I hope these tips help you with your future posts! Let me know what else I can help explain or teach you.

Batching For Instagram: 2 Simple Steps

How Batching Content Creates Cohesive Online Aesthetic

In a community I helped create, a member recently asked how he can start integrating lifestyle posts into his Instagram feed without it looking "out of place." Most of his content consisted of self-portraits and selfies. While his self-love is something we can all aspire to have, and his posts are all above average as far as quality, he recognized the need to diversify his content.

   Brandon Quay 's Instagram has always been lit. This grid is from Fall 2016.

Brandon Quay's Instagram has always been lit. This grid is from Fall 2016.

 

Even the biggest influencers have to break up their posts with imagery outside of themselves. In a business sense, it allows people to promote products in a fresh way. In a visual sense, it creates a more relaxed grid that feels unique. From a creator's perspective, it seriously aids and relaxes the need for constant high-quality photography of one's best self.

Aimee Song's recent flatlay post showcases content created by another person. It fits her overall aesthetic and is a perfect example of how lifestyle photos can be incorporated into different feeds.

Back to our friend Brandon

  Early January 2017, before our conversation. 

Early January 2017, before our conversation. 

The bat signal I heard reverberate throughout our online community: "I mean I don't mind that I look like I'm obsessed with myself (because I am) but sometimes I don't have pictures to post or look a hot ass mess and can't take pictures. It'd be nice if I could just throw up a picture of something from my day. HELP!"

I explained a bit about batching and suggested that his next trip to a cafe serve as an opportunity to create multiple posts to share on different days, with these simple steps:

  • Take 2 pics of yourself, maybe from different angles or with different background
  • One pic of a thing (plate of food, your drink, a plant, whatever)

When planning your grid, put 3 photos in a row in this order: you, thing, you.

For the next row: thing, you, thing.

Repeat.

  • To really get into it, take 6 photos of yourself and 6 photos of things. This can be a close up detail of your watch, shoes, notebook.

You now have enough images for your next grid and then some. By utilizing batching, you can worry less about lacking content to post. What's that saying about working smarter, not harder? This is an example of how you can do that with your content marketing strategy for the best Instagram marketing. Or, create a strategy for your social channels if you've never had one before. 

I wish all of my clients took my advice as well as Brandon.

  Look at this glorious change! Brandon reached a new level of "slaysian" with his batching knowledge.

Look at this glorious change! Brandon reached a new level of "slaysian" with his batching knowledge.

I'm so impressed with the marked difference in his overall Instagram account. Brandon successfully took my suggestions and made incredible progress. As a stylist, his online presence is vital to his business. 

Even if you're not professionally using Instagram for marketing, a more cohesive account will yield more followers. And it's about time you started that blog you've been thinking about, isn't it? 

Instagram For Business @ Ink & Mortar

Mark your calendars Philadelphia! Learn how to Heighten your Social on October 6th and 9th. 

 Pretty standard expression & pose by me.  Photo by Lou.

Pretty standard expression & pose by me. Photo by Lou.

 

We've got a new course on Instagram For Business and we're launching it in partnership with Ink & Mortar. After helping countless business owners maximize their social presence, we now aim to help as many people as possible in the form of hands-on workshops.

Lucky for us, the award-winning company that designs some of Philadelphia's best known brands is also into teaching business owners necessary skills to excel. Recently, Ink & Mortar was recognized by Philadelphia Magazine with a Best of Philly award for their series of Personal Branding Classes. Pretty perfect for a partnership, huh?

Hardly a day goes by when I don't think of Sharon, founder and creative director of Ink & Mortar, in part because I see her packaging and logos all around San Francisco! It's an honor to join her and teach a class that's part of her ongoing series of professional development. 

Instagram is a big part of my life. It's how I keep in touch with some friends, document my travels, and get new clients. Teaching has always been a passion of mine and it delights me that I'm able to share educational content, on a topic I love, in a classroom setting. (Little known fact: I was a high school English teacher for some years.) 

Join us for a dynamic evening class on Thursday October 6th or an AM session on Sunday October 9th. This class is informative and collaborative in ways that webinars aren't. Come for a good time and leave with:

an optimized profile for your business

tools to create engaging content

a life-time community of fellow business owners

Looking forward to meeting you IRL and figuring out ways to creatively address your social struggles. The class is small and a special rate that is much lower than will be offered in the future. Sign up now and don't wait until it's too late!

Easily Connect MailChimp To Facebook

Email is not dead. 89% of marketers say it's their primary source of lead generation. If you're building your list, it's really important to capture your leads while they cruise social media.

MailChimp is really great with explaining step by step measures to make email automation accessible for everyone. Because there are still people who could use extra guidance, this blog is going to take you step by step through the process MailChimp has helpfully outlined here.

In order to integrate, your Facebook account must be active. Make sure your Facebook Page is set up. 

Tip: You want the same name on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. It ensures that your fans will be able to locate you quickly, as they only have to remember one username.

1. Sign into MailChimp

2. Go to the upper right corner to select Account 

3. Choose Integrations from the horizontal list of options at the top of the screen

4. Facebook will be your second option. Click that section and a Login button will appear

 

5. Login and give Facebook the necessary permissions.

If you're like me, and you manage several pages, MailChimp will give you a drop down menu so you can select the page and specific list to integrate. You may have to sign into Facebook for this step. Give Facebook the okay in the 3 boxes which pop up.

6. Unless you change the copy, the tab on your Facebook Page will read "Email Signup."

I prefer action words whenever possible, so I opted to alter the text. If your newsletter is specific to promotions or announcements, let them know what they're signing up for! 

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7. Press Save and "preview on Facebook Page"

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The envelope with a rainbow shooting out is a default design. This is how the signup section will appear on your Facebook Page. There are different ways of changing the design, though that's for another blog.

It's quick and painless to gain more newsletter subscribers. Why wait any longer? Give it a go!