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Simplify Your Week: Create a Happy Little Content Calendar (free printable)

You know the feeling – waking up, not knowing what to say or do on social media/your blog that day. Putting out less than perfect content on those days and grumbling in groups about how you just are never sure what to post besides product photos or WIP shots.

What if I told you eliminating posting stress was as easy as writing seven things down? It is! And today we’re learning about content calendars and how to use them to your advantage. I actually sat down this morning to create a content calendar for blogging so I can begin to work on posting several days a week again, and that is what inspired this post!

What a content calendar does is create a visual guide of what to post, when. It can be as strict or as flexible as you want. You can schedule specific content for specific days months in advance (especially helpful during holiday sales seasons, craft show seasons, and the like!) or have the same general content calendar that just evolves as seasons change (this is what I do).

To get started creating a happy little content calendar, you need to print out this happy little printable (available in color or black and white). I tried to size it so it can be printed as one large guide to hang in your studio, or in multiples & inserted into planners. I’m just getting into the planner game, so expect a few more fun freebies like this to come your way as I figure out what I need from my planner!

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Once you have your happy little content calendar printed out, it’s time to do the actual nitty gritty work. A good content calendar has a diverse mix of content. If you completed the Dream Client workshop, you have a really good idea of who your social channels should be appealing to & what sort of content they want to see. For an example, my Dream Clients are young, eclectic moms who are eco-concious & passionate about motherhood, that live in the suburbs or city. They like my products because they are sustainably handcrafted, unique and colorful. I carefully reviewed what accounts they may likely follow on social media, and spent a lot of time analyzing the content of my Dream Clients favorite accounts were putting out. I collected screen shots, browsed their websites, and observed how they captioned their posts & interacted with their audience.

Armed with the knowledge from my research, I know my social media feeds need to be:

  • colorful, positive & empowering
  • reflect my brand’s sustainability practices
  • easy to relate to & welcoming for mothers

Using just these bits of knowledge about my Dream Clients & what content appeals to them, I created a list of authentic posts that need to show up in my feed every week (ding! A content calendar!):

  • Photos of me & my children (motherhood is a tribe, so I frequently put myself out there to connect with my audience!)
  • Before & after photos – a lot of my Dream Clients can’t visual what a “textile discard” is so I demonstrate it frequently in posts where I show what the finished products are made from.

Raise your hand if you are, too. 🙌

A post shared by Cody · Creator of Mon-stors! ♻ (@lu_and_ed) on

  • Relatable content – hey mamas, I see you, I hear you, I am one of you. And I’m tired, too.
  • Photos of my products in use – my Dream Clients are selective about what they bring into their lives, so I use photos of my products from my target audience to draw in more of my target audience.
  • Random bursts of color & happy – my Dream Clients love positivity, support & kindness, and so do I! So I make sure to frequently post an uplifting photo & caption.
  • WIPs – my Dream Clients tend to be slow buyers, so hearing about the process & seeing a product from raw materials to half sewn to fully completed really helps showcase the work that goes into each piece & really demonstrates the one of a kind aspect of my products.
  • Finished product photos – because every time someone in your target audience clicks over to your social media accounts, they should be able to see at a glance exactly what it is that you do!

And there you go – a full week worth of content!

Radical honesty: I don’t always post every type of post every day every week – I actually usually don’t post at all on Saturday and Sunday. And you don’t have to either! I use my content calendar as a guideline for what kind of content I should be putting out so that my feed always has a good variety of content, fits what my target audience is looking for and represents who I am & what I do. Having it on paper makes it easier to make sure you don’t stray too far from what your target audience is looking for and keeps your content relevant & visually cohesive.

I’d love to get a peek at your content calendars you come up with after reviewing the Dream Client exercises! Feel free to leave me a comment telling me what you put on your calendar, shoot me a photo of your happy little content calendar all filled out to cody@luanded.com or tag me on Instagram!

 

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Save with a snap!

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I thought long and hard about what sort of campaign I wanted to run this year to grow Lu & Ed. I knew I wanted it to be organic and authentic. I don’t like icky marketing campaigns where I feel like I am pushing pushing pushing products in everyone’s face. I don’t think anyone else likes those marketing campaigns, either.  I didn’t want to use a program to buy followers or pay to shove ads in everyone’s faces on social media. I didn’t want to pay a blogger to say they liked my products. I wanted something real.

I decided to create a campaign to connect with my customers, find out why Lu & Ed fans love their monsters, and have my products and previous customers speak for my brand & organically spread the word about it – a campaign that is perfectly authentic, raw and real. A campaign ran by real parents, aunts & uncles & grandparents  who have actually adopted a Mon-stor, Wall Monster or stuffie, a sensory blanket or library bag or any other product from me, while rewarding them for lending their voices & giving me their honest reviews.

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In an effort to drive authentic growth for my little monster making biz with this customer-led campaign, I’m asking my monster loving friends (you guys!) to help me out. If you have ever ordered from Lu & Ed, I’m asking you to simply post a photo explaining why you love your monster product to your personal Facebook or Instagram account. To reward everyone who takes the time spread the monster love, I’ll be distributing sweet, sweet 30% (the highest discount I EVER offer) off exclusive coupon codes, good for any single product in my shop, to everyone who creates a qualifying post! (details on qualifying posts below)

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To get your exclusive code, simply:

  1. Snap a well lit photo that shows off your monster product in use (extra virtual hugs from me if your kiddos are feeding their Mon-stors toys or playing with their stuffies in the photos!)
  2. Write a caption explaining why you love your monster(s). Posts must start with “We love our monster(s) from luanded.com because…” (In order to qualify for the discount, posts must have my URL luanded.com and not just my brand name, Lu & Ed. This makes it easier for people who aren’t familiar with my monsters to find them! Yay!)
  3. Once your post is up, screen shot it and email me a copy of the post to cody@luanded.com – easy peasy! I would say tag me, but private Facebook or Instagram accounts prevent me from being able to see tags or posts, so this is the most effective way to verify qualifying posts. You can still tag my page or Instagram account in your photo if you like, but in order to qualify for your exclusive 30% off code you must put the intro sentence “We love our monsters from luanded.com because…” AND email me a screen shot.

That’s it! Snap a photo, caption it with “We love our monsters from luanded.com because…”,  email me, receive exclusive coupon code! Super easy, huh?

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I am so stoked about this campaign and cannot wait to see what you guys come up with! ♥

Got questions, thoughts, ideas on how to make this customer-led campaign even better? Leave me a comment or shoot me an email! 🙂

 

 

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Facebook Now Has a LOVE Button (& More!)

You guys. I was scrolling through Facebook this morning and discovered the coolest new feature!

You can now hold down the LIKE button on select posts for more options – LOVE, HAHA, WOW, SAD & ANGRY reactions to page posts.

LOVE

While I’m a fan of giving & receiving comments as a form of interaction on Facebook (comments are like interaction gold, the more comments a page post gets the higher it ranks in the Facebook algorithm, meaning it will be shown to more & more people with each comment – basically, the best way to support a brand you love on Facebook is to take the time to leave a comment on their posts when you see them in their feed!) but I’m interested to see how these new reactions affect the algorithm & whether or not they increase interaction with posts!

Have you tried it out yet? What do you think of the new reaction options?

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Social Media Clean-Up: Get ready to start deleting

Similar to last week’s post about things to review and refresh in your online shop, today’s post is all about reviewing & refreshing your social media campaigns! A lot changes in a year on social media (remember when Periscope wasn’t even a thing? That was just like six months ago.) and so you should at least take some time out to clean your social media accounts – they are, literally, the face of your business, so keep ’em looking good!

So here’s some things you should start deleting STAT.

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Old Instagram Pictures

If you are anything like me, your IG game has seriously improved in the last year. And if you are anything like me, again, you probably find a shop with killer images & start scrolling through their entire lifeline (actually, just the past year or two of Instagram pictures, but you know what I mean). And usually halfway through there’s a wtf!? moment because suddenly the pictures have nothing to do with the products (remember that phase everyone went through where their entire feed was plates of food, cats or coffee?), or they are of a starkly different quality and make what you thought was an incredible product look sketchy. Yeah. That. We don’t want that. So girls (and guys) – get to digging. Scroll through your Instagram account and remove any images that do not show the very very very very very very best of your skills or any images that are totally unrelated to your business that got little to no interaction (sorry, I’m look at you, cat & coffee pictures). While you are digging through your feed, look at it objectively – is it cohesive, appealing? Would you follow you on Instagram? Are all of your photos the same quality/lighting/styling? Remove anything that is irrelevant, doesn’t fit with your vibe or doesn’t beautifully showcase your work.

That person you followed 19 months ago but never interact with

Seriously, when was the last time you went through your IG/Twitter/Facebook/Blog lists and cleaned up? Remove inactive accounts you are following, accounts you don’t interact with or benefit from  (IE, them posting education or useful tools regularly) and all those super famous people you followed in hopes of them noticing you. Not only does this eliminate a huge time suck of getting caught up in the virtual world and scrolling for hours, it also cleans up your feeds and helps you actually interact with your audience, peers & clients in a much lower stress, much more efficient way, which leads to a much higher conversion rate in your online shop. Winning all around.

Irrelevant Content on your Blog

Back in the day I used to post a music video when I didn’t have anything to blog about. A ton of irrelevant content totally killed my old business blog. Delete any and all irrelevant content from your blog – if you use your blog to grow your brand/promote your shop, there is no place for recipes until you have food related products, no need to post outfit of the day posts until you sell clothing or accessories & no need to blog about your two year old potty training, ever, on your business blog unless you sell cloth diapers or something and poo is something that actually relates to your business. That sort of content should be on a personal blog, not on your business or brand blog. If the content has nothing to do with your target audience, your products, your brand or your process, get it off your blog. You don’t want traffic coming in just for one or two posts that isn’t related to your brand – you want to bring in your target audience and keep them hooked with relevant content so that’s all you should be putting out! For instance, on my blog – if it’s not business related, monster related, eco-friendly or parenting related, I don’t post it, because my audience is eco-friendly, entrepreneurial parents. Find a theme, stick with it. Remove anything that doesn’t fit. It’s basically working less for better results. Promise.

Facebook Groups & Paid Communities

This one is going to be controversial. But hey, hear me out! Using Google Analytics, find out what is actually driving sales (not traffic) to your shop. That conversion rate? That’s what you need to focus on. If you have a lot of traffic and not as many sales as you would like, it’s probably because odds are,  Facebook groups and paid communities of crafters/makers/business owners are not where you find clients, and you are investing valuable time there. These communities are great for building connections, but make sure they are actually worth the time you spend in them. If you aren’t obviously, without a doubt benefiting from them either by:

  • opportunities that drive sales (features, cross promotions etc, but please, don’t fall prey to the “it increases your numbers” thing – if it is not driving sales that you can 100% without a doubt prove is from the opportunity, it is not benefiting you)
  • actually driving sales (can you prove that the Facebook group or community is responsible for X number of sales? Now divide those sales per hours spent in the communities. Is it a good hourly figure? If not, invest your time elsewhere. You’ll thank me later.)
  • or things that help you drive your own sales (e-courses, work shops and resources that you can directly tie to increasing sales).

… then you need to remove yourself from these groups/communities. Some communities are incredibly beneficial – but honestly, trust me, after six year in business & being a member of over 300 groups and communities in that time, only four groups/communities actually drove consistent sales & helped me improve my business by providing me with free resources to improve my business.

So end game on the communities discussion: Take a hard look at your numbers. Is Facebook groups sucking up more time you could spend working and not actually benefiting you sales wise?  Remove yourself from them and focus that time and energy on actually making & promoting your wares to your target audience. I did this last year and increased my conversion rate by 15% since then. And no, I’m not lying. Photo from last month’s stats via Google Analytics:

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Of course, if there is a community you just LOVE then by all means, stay there. But if you are in 287318726198271092819874287631 groups in hopes of increasing your exposure and sales, seriously narrow down which ones to invest your time in.

 

I hope these tips help you clean up your social media channels & refocus your energy into constructive habits! By keeping my social media feeds free of clutter, my feed free of unrelated images/content & focusing my time where I see the best results, I was able to increase sales, improve my conversion rate & get featured in major publications like Parents Magazine. Where you invest your time truly determines where you thrive!

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3 Reasons No One Likes Your Facebook Page

As a maker, blogger or brand, odds are you have a Facebook page. And if you have one, odds are also likely that you are frustrated with lack of engagement & interaction on Facebook due to all their algorithm changes that lessen the amount of people who see your posts.

3 reasons no likes your Facebook Page

But here’s some real, hard to swallow truth. While Facebook does limit visibility, they do it for a reason – and maybe the reason is people aren’t liking or commenting on your content because they don’t like it.

I know, that stings. It sucks, and  it’s a hard truth to accept. But the entire reason Facebook implemented the algorithm was to reduce low-quality pages from Facebook Newsfeeds and replace it with highly interactive & appealing content for users. So if your content is not relevant to your fans and receiving interactions from the people it is shown to initially, your posts will appear in less & less of your fan’s feeds. This is why it’s so important to have a killer marketing campaign on Facebook.

After my divorce & I moved, I had a lot of sleepless nights that I spent scrolling through Facebook & finding new pages to follow. And I took in a lot of content pages were posting, and could see some giant red flags that actually made me not want to follow or interact with their pages. In an effort to make marketing better,  more approachable and easier to digest, here are three reasons your content may not be king:

You don’t post frequently

I’m not sure why, but a lot of pages aren’t posting regularly – several makers & kid’s clothing brands I browsed recently were only posting 2-4 times a month!! – and the less often you post, the lower your page goes in the algorithm abyss! Brand pages should be posting at least once a day, twice a day on their busier days. Think about when your audience is online (if they are moms, probably in the mornings after breakfast/school drop off and in the afternoons after school pick up & activities) and post accordingly. It may take some experimenting to get it right, but if you want people to interact with your content you have to continuously be pushing out fresh goodness for them to love on!

Your content is totally irrelevant

If I am looking for kid’s tee shirts, I don’t want to sift through posts about your dog, coffee from Starbucks, your new hair cut and where you got your new dress. I’d rather see posts about kid’s fashion, how to style your products, fan photos, parenting advice maybe, some fun questions about kids (you can then use the information you gather to develop future products), testimonials from consumers, and posts asking fans which option they like better – you know, content that revolves around your products, your target audience, and your end goal – which I’m assuming is getting new interest in (& selling) your products! It doesn’t hurt to be creative and share other parts of your life – just make sure that at a glance, your Facebook page can show off your work, direct people to your shop & drive interest around your products, preferably all within the last 5 posts! Most people won’t scroll much further than that when they discover a new brand, especially on mobile, so make sure you keep posts with this content close to the top!

There is no original content on your Facebook page

Why even have a Facebook page if you are just going to push posts from Instagram to Facebook? Take time to add some text posts, photo galleries, share relevant articles, customer testimonials, etc – don’t just use automated posting & never check your page! Update it daily, and be sure to upload unique content directly to it so it has value as a business tool. If you don’t give people a reason to follow your Facebook page and interact with it, they won’t. So focus on curating fresh content just for your Facebook page to ignite conversations with your current fans – and watch the new fans come trickling in!

 

Every brand has the potential to have an amazing community rooting for them – you have to make sure you are watering the roots of this community by giving them content they desire & can support. Take some time to get to know your audience & find what they respond well to – and keep doing more of that!

Do you struggle with marketing on Facebook? What is your biggest challenge? Let’s discuss in the comments!