September 2017 Goals

August really got away from me y’all. Honestly, I’m not complaining that it’s gone because it was SO HOT. It’s too hot to even go to the pool because the water isn’t even cool. September is still stifling, but brings the hope of some temperatures in the 80’s at least (I hope!) Before we look at my goals for this month, let’s see how I did in August:

1.) Research and get ready for the cruise: A+ Yes! I spent some time doing research and have a plan for each day. HOWEVER, with hurricane Irma, I’m not sure what is going to happen to our cruise or ports. Sad times.

2.) Workout 5+ days a week: C- Yall. This ecourse is sucking the life out of me. I’m SO excited to share it with you, but it is so draining and taking up so much time. I worked out 3-4 days a week this month but not five. I’m working on it.

3.) Set a date for my course launch: C- I’m close guys. I’m about 85% done. I WILL go out on a limb and say by the end of September, but I don’t have an exact date yet. I wwiisshhh I did. I just want it to be perfect.


September Goals:

1.) Launch my course: Self explanatory, no?

2.) Organize and de-clutter: I realized after living here close to a year (woah) that I have WAY too much stuff and really need to get rid of things. If I haven’t used it since we moved in, I probably don’t need it.

3.) Workout 5 times a week: Giving this one another go. I can tell a difference in the way I look and feel that I need to workout more.

As always, I feel you have a better shot at reaching goals when you can print them out and see them all month. Be sure to snag your free goal and fitness tracking printables here.

Happy September everyone!

QOTD: What are your September goals? 

My Top Twitter Tips

Some people recently have been wanting to shy away from Twitter and say it’s not a valid platform anymore, but I totally disagree. Not only is my following continuing to grow, but I have gotten several Twitter only paid campaigns from brands, gotten paid to host and participate in twitter chats, and have had larger brands tell me they want higher Twitter numbers before they would work with me. So in my opinion, building up your Twitter presence is a good idea.

The first thing you need to remember about Twitter is that you need to be a real person and follow, like, and retweet other people’s stuff, don’t just post your own things. Remember the 80/20 rule, only post 20% of your own content and 80% other people’s, This can be interesting articles, questions, rewteets of recipes, blog posts, sales from stores, etc. While I do automate most of my Twitter posts, I also go in daily and like, comment, and retweet live so that I am interacting in real time with people as well. Even just spending five minutes a day doing this can make a big difference. 

Also, you want to make sure you spread out your tweets to different times of the day. Remember time zones, so only posting in popular times for your time zone is doing your account a disservice since the lifespan of a tweet is so short. While there are certain times of day I focus more on, I try to spread things out and then check my analytics in Sprout Social and see how those posts performed. 

Earlier I mentioned that you need to follow other people. You don’t want to be that account that has 30,000 followers but you are following 100 people. So how do you find the right people to follow who may potentially follow you back? First, Twitter is great at suggesting accounts you may like, so check the sidebar first. Then, do a hashtag search for a tag that has to do with your brand or things you post about, and find people who also post about the same things. For instance, I could personally search hashtags like “Disney, runDisney, fitness running, momblogger, travel, cruise, vacation” and the like. Not only do you want to follow these people, but you want to follow THEIR followers, because those are the people most likely to follow YOU.

I mentioned Twitter chats earlier. These are a great place to get new followers, find like minded people for you to follow, and to just get some exposure in general. A Twitter chat will take place at a certain time and day, and will have a hashtag you should include on every single tweet you post during the chat. That way, other chat participants can find you, reply to you, and follow you. Make sure you talk with other participants, answer the questions the host is asking, and try to be useful if the topic is something you know a lot about. I LOVE using GIF’s in Twitter chats, they are fun, and a good way to be seen when there are tons of tweets in a hashtag feed. 

Another tool I would recommend utilizing on Twitter is Twitter lists. Here you can create separate lists of people you follow, and break them down however you want. If you wanted a list of only runners, you could create that, and then whenever you wanted running content to like or retweet, you just have to go into your list instead of scrolling through your whole feed which will have irrelevant information. From your profile, you should see a button near the top going across the menu that says “lists”. Here you can add lists, and also see what lists you are a member of (ones that others have added you to).

Also, pay special attention to your profile. Here you are given a profile photo and a header/cover photo so use this space wisely. Also be sure to add in your website or link to subscribe to your email list or get a freebie on your blog.

Did you know you can also pin a tweet to the top of your profile that will never be pushed down? Write a tweet you really love, maybe one that links to something important to you, and pin it as long as you like. I switch these out every couple of months. All you have to do is click the drop down on the top right of any tweet, and you should see the option to “pin to profile”. That’s it!

One more tip I use, and I will be honest and say I don’t do it all the time because I lack the time for it, but I personally like to send a tweet thanking someone for following me. Now, before I get flamed for saying this next thing, note this is JUST A PREFERENCE. But I absolutely loathe the automated DM’s I get when I follow people saying “thanks for the follow, you can also find me here here and here.” While I love to automate things, in this instance, I think a personal thank you goes a lot farther in people’s minds than an automation. Again, just a preference.

Download my FREE social media manager checklist and automatically be put on the list to get news on the launch date of my e-course, Social Side Hustle, how to make money as a social media manager, as well as info on pricing and bonuses!

Be sure to check my Facebook page tomorrow afternoon for a video going more in depth into my Twitter strategy!

QOTD: What is your favorite social media platform? Why? 

Growing Your Pinterest: Tips for Bloggers and Social Media Managers

While technically a search engine, Pinterest it frequently gets lumped in with social media and has recently become one of my favorites because of its ease of use and how I can automate most of the work while allowing it to bring a lot of traffic to my website.

Also, be sure to read to the end to get today’s free download!

pinterest

So how do I easily automate pinterest? A beautiful things called Tailwind.

But lets back up a little before I get into Tailwind, because you need to make sure your pins are optimized correctly or they won’t get repined in the first place! The first thing you need to look at is your photos. Pins that are vertical do WAY better than any other pins. This can easily be done in Picmonkey.

Picmonkey is free, but they have a royale version that I use that is super cheap and easy to use. They even have templates already made up for vertical pins, and then you just fill in the box with the photos, text, and overlays you want to use. Then you can upload it straight to Pinterest and add in the website you want it to go to, or add the photo to your blog or website and link to the pin in a post.

A few pin tips:

Make sure you are using a font that is easy to read, that your photo isn’t blurry, and that your colors and text stand out. Here are a couple of examples:

Descriptions:

The next thing you want to work on is your pin description. Keywords go a long way in Pinterest descriptions and will help your pins to be found by the right people. The worst thing you want to do is look spammy and just list out a bunch of keywords. Instead you want to write in sentences and strategically place your keywords within the sentence. Here is a good examples of a description, and I highlighted the key words I wanted to use so you can see how I made them flow in my description:

“There are so many great restaurants in Disney World for kids and adults, but a lot of them require hard to get reservations. Check out my list of the top 5 most overlooked places to dine in Disney. You may find a new favorite menu for your family on their next vacation!”

Boards:

Now let’s talk a little about board names. The names of your boards are just as important as the descriptions on your pins. I know it’s tempting to name your boards super cute and clever things, but those things won’t be as easily searchable. What do I mean? For instance, If you have a board dedicated to children’s clothing but title it “tiny human threads”, that is probably going to not be something people are searching in the search box when looking for children’s clothing. Be smart with your board names to make them show up in results. You can also add a description to each board. Make sure you follow the same keyword advice you used for your pins when creating descriptions for your boards.

Speaking of your boards, you need to remember that your boards are for your readers/customers and NOT for you.

What do I mean by this? If you are working with a brand that sells home furnishings, you will probably have boards for different types of furniture, maybe different rooms in the house, or design ideas. You may personally also like cake. Unfortunately, a board about cake has nothing to do with home furnishings and will look out of place and confuse your followers. You can absolutely still create a board about cake for your personal use, just make it a secret board that only you and whoever you invite to the board can see. I have lots of secret boards. 🙂

Tailwind:

Ok, so let’s jump back to Tailwind. Tailwind is a program that allows you to schedule pins in advance so you don’t have to manually pin them over and over. I can set it up at the beginning of the month and then not have to worry about my pins for four to five weeks! It make my life so much easier and makes me more efficient and gives me time to do other things. I consistently get lots of daily traffic to my blog form Pinterest, all while not having to do anything because Tailwind is working in the background for me. Time is money, so a program like this is worth it’s weight in gold.

If you really want to dive further into Pinterest you can do two things.

1.) Sign up for updates on my course launch, Social Side Hustle, because I go even further in depth with Pinterest inside my e-course.

2.) Take the only social media course I have even taken, called Pinning Perfect. It opened my eyes to the potential of Pinterest and I use lots of the things I learned there today!


***As a blogger and social media manager, it is important that I keep track of the money coming in and going out so I know how much I made at the end of the month.

For today’s freebie download, I have a money tracking excel sheet for you. There are two tabs on the sheet, one for expenses and one for money made. Feel free to edit as it fits in with your business or personal brand, I just wanted to give an example of how I track money coming in and out. Enjoy! 

ONE MORE THING. (I know there are lots of things today!) I will be doing another FACEBOOK LIVE tomorrow hopefully around noon EST. Be sure to follow my page so you won’t miss it. But if you do, you will be able to watch the replay later.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means when someone clicks on a link and purchases, I get a small percentage of the sale. I only recommend things I use and love. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Grow Your Instagram Following

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about growing your Instagram following. As I prepare to launch my ecourse next month on making money from home as a social media manager, I want to make sure everyone gets up to speed with their own social profiles, and that you know the basics so you can dive right into my course when it’s ready. Don’t forget to snag the freebie at the bottom of the page. It will also allow you to get updates about my course release!

instagram following

Instagram happens to be my current favorite social media platform. I love it because there are two separate things I can do on the account.

-One, I can post visually appealing photos to grow my following and tell my brand’s story, and

-I can also use Instagram stories to get a little more personal and behind the scenes.

It’s a great way to still post photos without cluttering up your feed with things that just don’t fit. I talk more about Instagram stories in my freebie so be sure to check it out.

Your Feed:

Ok let’s talk about your main feed and things you can do to get more followers. First of all, you want to make sure no one of your photos are blurry, and that they make sense in your feed. If you have a very narrow market, like only posting photos of coffee mugs, don’t randomly throw in a photo of a dog. It just confuses your readers who have come to expect a certain thing. Now if you are a lifestyle blogger like me, you have a little more creative freedom, but that doesn’t mean I just post whatever I feel like.

When people come to your page to decide if they want to follow you or not, they are going to take a peek at your feed as a whole, and if it confuses them or has photos that just don’t make sense, you may get passed over. Think of it this way:

If you went into a shoe store and every time you visited they had lots of shoes, that would make sense right? Then what if one day you went into the store and they were selling school supplies instead of shoes. Wait a minute, but every other time I came in there were shoes? If I had known it was going to be something different than what I was expecting, I wouldn’t have come, right? Think of your feed the same way. If your audience is used to you only posting pictures of your kids, or only posting workout photos, or only posting food photos, and if you all of the sudden start throwing in pictures of cats or rainbows, they may not understand what is going on.

Editing Photos:

I edit every single photo before it goes on Instagram in some way shape or form. Some it’s as simple as cropping in the app, and some get edited on my computer in Picmonkey. Still others get touched up in apps like Snapseed, which is free in the app store. You want your lighting, cropping, and exposure to look the best it can. If I know I’m taking pics for Instagram only, I will set my iPhone camera to “square” so I don’t have to worry about cropping so much or having a photo that doesn’t fit correctly. I also use an app called Isntasize to size down things for me to fit in Instagram. (Snapseed is shown below)

Comment Pods:

Another great way to get better engagement on Instagram is to join comment or like pods. They have gotten very popular since Instagram introduced the new algorithm. Basically, you join a group of people (usually between 10-20), and every time one of you posts a photo, you direct message it to the group in a group chat within Instagram or on an app like Telegraph, then everyone knows to go and like and or comment on the photo to help boost the posts engagement rate. Think of it as a I’ll scratch my back if you scratch yours. It really only works if everyone actually posts and shares and comments, and the best ones have people engage within the first few hours a photo is posted. I am a part of a couple of pods, some have worked and some haven’t. A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work they are on the front end and decide they don’t want to do it, but that’s because they don’t see the value in it or don’t take their business seriously enough. I encourage you to find one or two pods to join!

Links:

A great free tool I use to drive traffic to my blog is called Linktree. It’s a website where you can actually add buttons that link to different posts within your blog. So when you click on the link in my profile, you then can choose which of my posts you want to visit. I can update these at any time, whenever I have a new post or what to highlight an old post. Super easy and effective.

Instagram following

 

Hashtags:

hashtags are great for allowing people to find your content, but they can also be a great tool if used in reverse, for you to find people to follow that could potentially become YOUR followers. Search some common hashtags that have to do with your niche, and find some accounts that you like.

When it comes to you using hashtags on your own photos, hashtags with more photos associated with them are not always the way to go. Try to find some hashtags with less than 100k photos and use those. Your photos have a better chance at staying at the tops of those feeds than using hashtags that have been used several million times.

Another tip if you are a social media manager for a brand especially, is to create a branded hashtag that you use when posting, and that you can encourage others to use when posting about your product or service.

Also be sure to use the location/geotagging so that you appear in local searches for photos!

Be nice:

A tried and true way to gain followers on Instagram is to follow other people, and genuinely like and comment on other photos. Don’t be one of those people who thinks they are better than everyone and is only following 11 people. Use hashtags and find people with great content that you like, and go like and comment on some of their photos. To get their attention, I suggest liking about 5 photos so they will see them in their notifications easier and see that it’s all from one person. What I DON’T like is when people do this just to get a like, then they don’t follow you back, or they do but then unfollow you the next day. There will always be people that play games like that, so just try to ignore it and not let it bother you.

I try to set aside time a couple times a day to like my friends photos, and then search for new friends and people to follow. Just be a real person and it will go a long way I promise!

Thanks for following along! If you want to get tons of great info just like this, but ALL about Instagram stories, be sure to download my free printable cheat sheet here!

HEADS UP: I will be doing a post every week for the next month discussing growth hacks for four different social media platforms, all leading up to the pre-launch and launch of my new social media management E-course. If you are interested in news on my course but don’t care for the freebie, I encourage you to follow the link and subscribe anyway (you don’t have to download the cheat sheet), so you will be first to hear news on my pre-sale (which will be when the course is offered at it’s LOWEST PRICE!)