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May
14

Add More Hours to Your Day with Effective Social Media Management

So remember in my earlier post on Social Media Scheduling Tools when I said we spend nearly 4 hours on social media every day? As in, nearly 25% of our waking hours??

Holy crap, that’s 4 hours you could be spending working on crafting your latest design and growing your business.

But the truth is, you need social media marketing to grow your business.

And to do it right, you have to be aware of these 12 parts identified by BufferSocial:

The Twelve Tasks of Social Media Management

  1. Curating
  2. Crafting
  3. Posting
  4. Scheduling
  5. Measuring
  6. Analyzing
  7. Responding
  8. Listening
  9. Engaging
  10. Helping
  11. Planning
  12. Experimenting

We can’t even count everything we need to do on our own two hands. Even with the right time saving tools, you need to find a focal point to get the job done.

So to help you focus, here are three 30-minute routines for accomplishing every phase of social media marketing, thanks to BufferSocial.

Click Here to Download Your 3 Free Social Media Routines

Focus #1: Content

This takes care of your curating, crafting, posting and scheduling. Find the content you want to share and create interesting posts in 30 minutes.

The 30-minute Content Routine:

  •   5 minutes collecting potential content (blog posts, articles, images, etc)
  •   15 minutes reading that content
  •   10 minutes composing and scheduling

Ready? GO!

Save Time Finding Content: The RSS Hack

RSS feeds like Nuzzel and Swayy collate stories that your social media connections are sharing. There are also apps like Feedly combine all your favorite blogs into a highlight reel for quick browsing of new updates.

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Now all the relevant content that you would be sharing is all organized in one nice neat package for exploring.

How to Choose the Right Content (in 15 mins)

Now, you’ve got 15 minutes to read like the wind. The idea here isn’t to read every piece word for word – but enough that you know the content is of good quality and is something your audience will get value out of.

Open separate tabs for the content you want to read, and go one piece at a time.

When reading ask yourself:

  • Is this something my audience would stop to read?
  • Would my audience like this image?
  • Is this relevant to my biz and/or audience?

If your answer is ever “no” to any of these questions, MOVE ON. The key to making the most out of your 15 minutes (and making them long enough to get your reading done), is not wasting your time on content that’s irrelevant.

When in doubt – let it gooooooo!

Tip: If you find yourself stopping to read a blog post ‘cause you think it’s super interesting, but doesn’t necessarily relate to your audience, just make a folder and collect the things you want to read later!

The Best Way to Share Content

When you find a piece of content that you want to share, add it to your Buffer (or whichever scheduling tool you use).

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If the post or article has a good title or copy, don’t mess with it. If it’s just “mehh” then change it up so it grabs the attention of your audience.

Include any links, copy, or photos with your post (depending on the platform you are using, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). and you’re good to go. Now leave it up to your social media scheduling tools to automatically send out your content, and relax – ‘cause your 30 mins are over!

Focus #2: Growth

This includes the measuring, analyzing, planning and experimenting zones of your social media managing. The idea: find out what’s working for your accounts, and repeat it.

The 30-minute Growth Routine:

  •      15 minutes analyzing stats
  •      5 minutes planning experiments
  •      10 minutes experimenting

Some social media scheduling tools include analytics, but just about every platform has built in analytics (for FREE – woohoo!) that make it super easy to track the data you’ll need for growth.

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Twitter: Twitter Analytics

Pinterest: Pinterest Analytics

Facebook: Facebook Insights

Instagram: Iconosquare

Take a look at your top performing content. Make note of:

  •      Types of posts that did well (photos, links, status updates?)
  •      What time they were posted
  •      Common words/content
  •      How did the popular post look?

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(AHEM, hint: Focus on your engagement rates (clicks divided by views) rather than totals – they’re more accurate.)

Now it’s time to plan an experiment. Find common points in all your popular posts. Things like:

Did that status update right before lunch break do well? Great, maybe play around with more status updates, or focus on that timeslot right around lunch hour.

Make changes to your future posting schedules, and Bingo!

Focus #3: Community

Your community focus includes responding, listening, helping and engaging. And really, that’s what social media is all about! Here’s your 30-minute plan:

The 30-minute Community Routine:

  •      10 minutes checking your mentions and notifications
  •      15 minutes responding to questions
  •      5 minutes free browsing time

Now, if you’re crafty and already set up IFTTT to put all your notifications in one place, these first 15 minutes are a breeze. Take the time to sift through all your interactions and make notes of VIPs (important peeps in your industry or audience).

Find out who is talking about you so you can interact with them. Mention is a great app for finding where your brand name appeared across the internet and putting it all in one place. Plus, it integrates with Buffer so you can schedule responses to go out at the best times.

Now you get 10 minutes to answer questions, respond to those @-mentions and reply to comments. You know best how to speak with your customers and discuss your industry, so I’ll leave that part up to you.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 11.48.24 AM

But wait, an extra five minutes to spare? Take this time to breath, relax, and indulge in one of those bookmarked posts you saved from earlier. Browse through your feeds, followers’ pages, favorite blogs, and industry communities to leave some comments and feedback of your own.

Which Part Should You Focus on Now?

The answer to that question depends on what stage of your entrepreneur’s journey you’re in – but honestly, you really need to focus on all three.

No matter where you are in your business right now, there are a few “for sures”.

  1. You need social media marketing
  2. Social media marketing can suck a lot of time out of your day
  3. But it doesn’t have to!

If you use these three 30 minute routines for your social media you will save hours and actually get more done through the power of focus.

Try them out and let me know how they work for you in the comments!

rachelwashi

Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the online store platform that actually helps you succeed.

Click here to get her creative marketing tips for entrepreneurs free, every week!

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May
12

A Social-Media Plan You Can Stick To

socialmediaplan

Social media marketing can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for an easy way to rapidly grow your business- having an online presence is key. Here are a few reliable tips to simplify the process and get you started.

  1. Setting realistic goals: When it comes to your weekly social media schedule, it’s okay to start small. Test out a few different social media platforms, and determine which are tailored to suit your needs. When you’re ready, write down a few weekly goals you would like to achieve and realistic ways you can meet them.
  2. Building a Following: Encourage customers to follow you on social media. One advantage of being a small brand is your ability to interact one on one with your customers. People are more likely to appreciate and trust your brand when you initiate person to person interaction/connections via the social web. A great way to find new content and make new connections is by following other bloggers, brands, or like-minded businesses you admire.
  3. Creating content for your audience: Before seeking out content to share, ask yourself: Who is my audience? What are they interested in? What might entertain them? or What expertise can I share with them? For example, if your company specializes in wedding supplies your audience might be primarily women, ages 20-40. They are likely to be interested in wedding related news and tips on how to prepare for their special day.
  4. Making a schedule: Determine how much time you want to devote to social media marketing per week. It’s important to consider if you have very limited time, or you just hate sitting in front of a computer. Check out your page analytics to get an idea of specific time frames when your followers are engaging with your posts and work from there. Once you have found your “optimal” posting times, you can simplify by scheduling posts ahead of time.
  5. Be Patient and be flexible. It’s not likely that you’ll become a Twitter celebrity overnight. Customizing a schedule that works for you and focusing on consistency will be two of your most important tools for success!

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Colleen Peddycord: ShopTender

ShopTender is a quick easy and insightful tool designed to enable independent online shop owners to sell on social media. ShopTender is free of cost and currently available for sellers on Etsy, Storenvy and Shopify. To learn more visit www.shoptender.com.

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May
7

Are you ready to be a tough boss + a good employee?

toughboss1Here is the deal.  I really should fire my employee and here is why…

She comes to work late and leaves early.

She takes personal calls while at work (she doesn’t even get off when I come in the room!).

She calls off for reasons like taking a walk with a friend, lunch invites, school parties, and even a great sale at target.

She checks facebook, instagram, and email every half hour (or more).  

She takes regular breaks to get drinks of water and ends up chatting up the babysitter about her grandchildren for like 20 minutes.

Her work space is a total mess (usually).

She does not accomplish important business tasks I give her like getting her photos edited and blog post written and instead sews her adorable 2 year old a new dress.

She watches English period piece mini series on her ipad during work hours.

She is terribly indecisive about fabric purchases and waits until the last minute to get important sewing projects done.

She even uses old needles and dull scissors because she is too lazy to go get new ones even when I have set aside money for her to order them.

She has the GALL to complain about wanting a raise…

Maybe I am too tough of a boss?  Is it too much to ask this woman to shape up and do her best?  I know she can do it!  She is smart and motivated!  She has been with me since the beginning and she works really hard when she is under pressure.  She has made such cute and successful sewing patterns in the past but what am I supposed to do with her now?

It’s true, I cannot fire her.  But she does need a reality check about her work performance.  Did you guess who the employee is?   Yes- the employee is ME and I am sick and tired of my poor work ethic lately!

fired

Recently I laughed with a friend about getting my annual job review back when I worked in the city many years ago.  I remember being surprised by criticism that I was too tough on workers that I was in charge of during large projects.  Me?  Too hard on people?  I just expected them to work hard and get their jobs done!  Maybe my expectations were too high?

It did get me thinking about my current job performance and how that tough boss would treat me.  How did I get to be such a slacker?  If you are the sole worker in a handmade business, have you ever tried to give yourself an honest job review?  BE TOUGH.  Are you really using your precious work time efficiently?

Here is how I have gotten better…

I try really hard to be ready for work as soon as my sitter gets to my house. 

I turn off my email, facebook & instagram during work time.  Unless using them to promote my handmade biz of course!  

I listen to classical music (or nothing) and no more watching shows (even if downtown abbey  or the good wife is calling my name with a new episode) or listening to podcasts/ audio books.  Even regular music is distracting to me so I have switched to classical which I find really good for work.

I don’t take phone calls or send texts that are more than very quick scheduling things.

I schedule all friend and school stuff  on my non work days.

I make a list of what I want to accomplish that day and give myself rewards for getting that hard stuff done. Rewards are checking instagram or going upstairs to chat for FIVE minutes with my beloved babysitter.  She is on board now with my tenuous work situation and makes me go back to my studio ASAP!

I did tell my tough boss to chill out about the messy work space and give me a break about indecisive fabric choices.  I am doing the best I can!  AND, I told her that I work best under pressure so if it seems to her that I am waiting until the last minute, that is simply how the best creative me reveals herself.  She still wants me to work on those, but understands they are not such a quick fix.

Here is a check list for you from one tough handmade boss to another…

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I actually printed mine out and it is hanging by my desk to remind myself not to be such a slacker.  It’s pretty ugly too, so the sooner these good habits (40 days makes a habit!) take hold, the sooner I can take that ugly piece of paper off my pretty studio wall!  Here is the PDF so you can enjoy the ugliness too…

So, what do you think?  Do you have something to add to the tough handmade boss checklist?  How could you be a better employee for yourself?  How would you want an employee to act if you could hire one?  I would love to hear what you think!

virginiabiowashi

Virginia Lindsay — Gingercake Patterns and Design

Virginia Lindsay designs sewing patterns for Gingercake Patterns and Design. She loves the to sew practical, fun, and stylish things! Several of her patterns have been published by Simplcity and she has also written 2 books. Sewing to Sell and Fabric Stash Cuties:  Pretty Little Birds.

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May
5

Win A Ticket To Maker Mentors!

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 8.46.20 PMA few weeks ago I told you all about the Maker Mentors Conference coming up online. I will be talking about optimizing your day for creativity and I am so excited. I am even more excited to announce that I am giving away a ticket ($200 value) to one lucky reader! Woohoo!

To enter just comment below with one thing that keeps your creativity from flowing. It can be anything from comparing yourself to other artists, lack of sleep, fear, etc. I want to know! I have written my section for the conference already and would love to tweak it based on your responses.

Go here to learn more about the conference: makermentors.org. Giveaway ends Thursday night at midnight (PST). Winner will be announced on this post on Friday, May 8th, 2015.

Winner announced!!!
It is Dionne Siegrist. Congratulations, Dionne!
I will be in touch shortly. I loved reading everyone’s responses. I feel like I could offer a whole course to help everyone deal with their creative blocks. Hmmm…. maybe in the future! (The winner was pick using Random.org)
 
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Apr
29

The Network: Cultivating a Support Group of Empowerment

TheNetwork

The saying goes “Behind every successful man is a great woman”, an antiquated adage that acknowledged a woman supports her successful man, but she herself could never achieve success. There is still a lot of work to be done, but these times, finally, they are a’changing. Women have become great successes of their own accord, but often, it could not have been done without a powerful support system.

I recently came across the quote “Behind every successful woman should be a tribe of women who have her back”. This quote, which came from one of those very women who have my back, speaks volumes about how women need to support each other to be successful. In fact, I would change the quote to “Behind every successful woman IS a tribe of women who have her back”.

When I started the grand adventure to launch my own jewelry company, which meant doing everything from designing to fabricating to marketing to financials, I leaned on friends and family for support. And they have delivered in spades, but I did not expect to develop such a strong network of female empowerment. Through every aspect of this journey, there has been a woman that has supported me, taking me one step further in the path of success. The opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences, while also learning from others comes through this very site, a virtual network of support, knowledge and experience. Through a variety of events and markets, I have amassed a collection of fellow female independent makers. Whether it is as simple as a like on social media, an answer to a question via email or a brainstorming coffee break, this group is a foundation of support. I am thankful for the web of “brand ambassadors”, connected women that wear their Crusoe Jewelry with pride, pointing all inquiries directly to the website. And of course there are the dynamic women, who took a chance on an unknown designer, who own some of the stores that carry Crusoe Jewelry that continually push the brand to their clients.

Without this powerful network of women, Crusoe Jewelry would be nothing more than a passionate idea. I count on each of these women for support, inspiration and knowledge. And of course, there are the incredible men who have bolstered Crusoe Jewelry along the way, but there is something so potent about the power of women. Embrace the power by creating and expanding your own network. Connect with fellow makers via social media, by email or take the conversation offline. Think about who have helped you in developing your business and pay it forward by supporting their endeavors. Express gratitude for the relentless encouragement. Share in the comments what your network has done for you.

mayabiowashi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maya AhluwaliaCrusoe Jewelry

Maya Ahluwalia is the designer behind Crusoe Jewelry, a fashion jewelry line inspired by nautical motifs, but interpreted into stylish designs for the fashion-forward consumer with an appreciation for quality with an artisanal approach. Each design is hand-crafted in her Brooklyn-based studio.

In addition to creating Crusoe Jewelry, Maya is a marketing consultant with expertise in jewelry, fashion and luxury. Clients include Michael Aram Jewelry, Shawn Ames Fine Jewelry, Wells House Bed & Breakfast, and the LOU Lookbook App.

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