2

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.

I'm not saying you should pick favorites… but if you HAD to pick a favorite… Which would it be?!#bestofstorenvy

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

  • 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!

 

6

100+ hashtags for handmade businesses, makers and small shops + tag hacks!

Do you ever wish there was just a perfect, ready to use, list of hashtags to pull from for Instagram? Well, now there is! I’ve been researching, experimenting, and perfecting the perfect mix of hashtags for a handmade business for MONTHS. Literally. I started the draft of this post in December of 2016, and have tweaked it constantly, adding & deleting tags constantly as I found which got the best responses, the most engagement, and of course the ones that didn’t end up throttling my posts, reducing visibility or even penalizing my entire account! (Yes! That can happen!!)

Below, you will find hashtags sorted into groups. There’s a various amount of tags in each group, and several are repeated in different groups. Repeated tags are great for use on basically any post about handmade businesses! Then there are some that are highly targeted for specific types of posts,  from WIP images to finished products to selfies & more! I set it up this way so you can copy & paste directly from this list into your IG posts, then add your own curated tags specific to your medium – for instance, I usually throw in tags like #monstertoys, #toystorage or #instagramkids for my Mon-stor posts. If you make jewelry, you will want to put in specific tags – #handmadejewelry #datenight #wedding #bridetobe #prom and so on! For drawing or painting or art makers, you will want to use specific tags like #prismacolor #penandink #drawing #watercolor and on and on. These little tag packets just help you get started!

WIP photos

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WIP (work in progress shots) are a great way to share your story as a maker. Humans are drawn to the process, and seeing products being made creates a connection between consumers and your product.

#handmade #handcrafted #creativedaily #wip #workinprogress #makersgonnamake #makersmovememnt #mycreativebiz #creativedaily #creativelifehappylife #abmcrafty #handsandheart #handsandhustle #cylcollective #calledtobecreative #artistoninstagram #abmcrafty #madebyhand #whatimade #goalgetter #cantstopwontstop #craftbuzz #handmadelove #craftstagram #makingart #doitfortheprocess #makearteveryday #creativeliving #creativelife #artsandcrafts

Product photos

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Show off your work! These tags are highly curated and many put your product photos in the sights of top handmade publications, feeds & influencers!

#handmade #handcrafted #makersgonnamake #makersmovement #mycreativebiz #handmadebyme #whatimade #creatorslane #handmadeisbetter #craftsposure #creativelifehappylife #helloimhandmade #supporthandmade #makersvillage #thehandmadeparade #makersofinstagram #abmcrafty #craftaholic #communityovercompetition #creativepreneur #creativedaily #handsandheart #handsandhustle #cylcollective #handmadewithlove

Selfies

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People love to know the person behind the process, so every once in a while, throw up a selfie and tell people something personal! Bonus points if you wiggle a handmade product into the pic, or wear jewelry/clothing from another maker and tag them in the photo.

#me #makersgonnamake #makersmovement #communityovercompetition #creativedaily #creativelifehappylife #abmcrafty #abmhappylife #selfie #behindthescenes #handsandheart #handsandhustle #goalgetter #goaldigger #meetthemaker #mycreativebiz #livecolorfully #mycreativebiz #makersofinstagram #ladyboss #girlboss #shescrafty #womanownedbusiness #womanpreneur #mompreneur #craftybitch #craftygirl #girlbossmoment

Sale posts

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Whether you are posting a discount sale, stating products are up for grabs, your new line dropped or that you just restocked, these tags will get your products out there and get people interacting with your posts!

#handmade #handcrafted #makersgonnamake #makersmovement #creativelifehappylife #abmcrafty #handmadeisbetter #makersofinstagram #shopsmall #supportlocal #golocal #buyhandmade #supporthandmade #shopsmallbusiness #womanownedbusiness  #creativedaily #handmadewithlove #ilovehandmade #handmadeshop #handmadeisbest #buzzfeed #huffpost #craftsposure #makersvillage #creatorslane #favehandmade #thehandmadeparade

Now for the fun ones – TAG HACKS! These hacks help you get more connections, engagement, and opportunities while also increasing engagement, but require a little work on your part to actually find the tags best suited for use for your medium/brand/products/audience.

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Publications

Do you know a publication, popular Instagram account, blog or magazine you want to see your stuff – and maybe share it? Find out if they have specific tags for reposts, or a tag for their brand, and USE IT. Search your niche, find the best publishers, follow them, use their tags. For instance, I use #punkymoms #momdotme #momazine #buzzfeedparents #huffpostparents & so on to reach publishers who are considered experts to my target audience.

Local tags

It’s important to post tags that are geographical – this opens you up to a LOT of opportunities, from magazine features, award nominations & invites to craft events, to making local maker friends, growing your local audience and securing sales to people who love to shop local.

Use tags relevant to your city, to your state, and your region. Use the nearest large city to you if your area does not have a lot of tags – I live about 20 minutes West of Asheville, but it’s the nearest large city, so that is the tag I use! For example, I use #madeinasheville #madeinnc or #madeinwnc. I also use popular local tags when I do events, like #828isgreat #asheville #AVL #ashevilleNC #wnc #smokymountains #ashevillefolk #ashevillemoms. Pop on Insta, browse the tags and find ones that seem to be trendy. If there isn’t a #madein*yournearestbigcity* tag – make one! Use it on every post – it will catch on!

Audience Capturing

Like I said above, you will want to fill in your posts with tags specifically curated for your audience. This also requires some homework on your part. As a toy maker, I use tags like #igkids #instagramkids #momlife #motherhood #childhoodunplugged #letthembelittle #creativeplay #sensoryplay #learningthroughplay #igbaby #instababy #nurseryinspo #kidsroom #playroom & so on. So you need to identify you target audience & then search through hashtags relevant to them. As you can see from my tags, if jewelry was your medium, you wouldn’t just post #jewelry – you would use tags like #datenight #girlsnightout #wedding #gettinghitched #bride #momofthebride #anniversary #ootd #wwiw – stuff people who will be wearing jewelry to, tags for fashion posts, events people buy jewelry for. Once you identify you target audience, you can find them on social media, browse the hashtags they use, see which ones are applicable to your products, and start integrating them and A/B testing them on posts!

Daily Themes

#meetthemakermonday #makermonday #wipwednesday #throwbackthursday (great for sharing your progress as a maker!) #friyay #flashbackfriday #followfriday #smallbusinesssaturday

Platform/Group Tags

Don’t forget platform centric tags! I sell on Storenvy, so I use #storenvy #storenvyseller & such. For Etsy sellers, there is a MILLION hashtags! Same for Shopify or other selling platforms. Do some digging, find which tags are popular and apply them applicable posts about your shop! Do the same for any communities you are in that have exclusive hashtags for interaction, exposure & feature opportunities, too!

Whew! Grab some tags and get practicing! I am always evolving, switching it up & changing what tags I use – you should too! Try a bunch of these out, and let me know what your results are! Remember, Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags. I recommend putting them in the second comment so as to not look spammy, plus they get buried as people come in commenting, so they are pretty much hidden from sight after 3 comments. Have fun!

 

1

3 things your social media campaign should be doing for your followers

It’s crazy to think I’m in my 7th year as a maker! I’ve devoted a lot of those 7 years to market analysis, social media experimentation & researching different methods of campaign building. While I can tell you what works for the accounts I manage (did you know I offer social media consulting/management? Sure do! Feel free to email me at cody@luanded.com for more info!), I’m also a huge consumer, and work to connect makers with consumers. Given my experience in the maker movement, I always try to wrap up my knowledge into some info packed blog posts to help other maker mamas get their footing & give them things to experiment with on their own journeys.

When you are running a successful social media campaign, it should be capable of doing these three things almost effortlessly, all of which result in higher sales conversions and consistent audience growth in my experience, as well as more opportunities for exposure, both locally and globally. Implementing some of the simple posting tricks below into your campaign is a definite way to increase interactions & pave your path to becoming established as a maker, which looks a little different for everyone.

So grab your favorite drink, curl up & evaluate your social media campaign – can it do all three of these things?

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Painting a clear picture of what exactly it is that you do

This is the one I deem the most important, and while it seems like a no brainer, there has been a huge shift in how makers present their products, thanks to the brand rep movement. It makes it harder to distinguish artisans from wholesalers. So when I say your social media account needs to paint a clear picture of exactly  what it is that you do, I don’t mean “I make monsters, so I should have a picture of monsters on my account and say I make monsters.” I mean, you should be showing very clearly how involved you are in the processes of your business. From sourcing materials to product creation to packing orders. This can be done many ways, from regularly posting WIP (works in progress) Insta posts to a blog post showing the steps of your process for products from time to time. It’s important to integrate those behind the scenes photos; while having a stylized feed of modeled product shots is great, it can alienate you from those grass roots connections that could lead to many, many sales & opportunities – from features in blogs, magazines, and other publications to vending and wholesale opportunities – even opportunities like being nominated as Best Indie Crafter of your region.

For a quick example: Back when I ran the Daft Crafts blog, I did hundreds of product & maker features- but if the social media accounts were just stylized images, I was uncertain if the products were actually handmade. So those makers were never featured, because I didn’t have the time to individually contact every person with a product that caught my eye to verify they were made from raw materials and not purchased wholesale & were just being resold (which is another concern with highly styled feeds, but that’s a post for another day), and so some makers missed out on the opportunity of being featured on my blog with over 10K page views a month. There are literally thousands of blogs like Daft Crafts out there – and odds are, if their editors can’t distinguish if your products are handmade very quickly upon glancing at your site or social media campaign, they won’t be selecting your wares for features any time soon. Transparency is crucial to success in the maker movement.

So post those WIP photos! Show off your work space! Snap a shot of you out in the wild, sourcing materials!  Get someone to take pictures of you working that screen press or sewing machine! Hire a professional for a shoot if you want the images just right – but you need at least one behind the scenes image a week to be cropping up in your feeds to show consumers & publicists alike that your products are indeed made from hands and heart.

Not only do publishers love it, but consumers do, too! As a consumer, I personally don’t purchase from a shop if I can’t tell if their products are actually handmade and not drop shipped or purchased wholesale, and have had several discussions about this barrier between consumers & makers. Transparency completely eliminates this concern for consumers and handmade advocates.

From the maker standpoint, it’s very important for me to share my business processes. For every behind the scenes photo I post, I gain numerous new followers that day as well as see an influx in the likes and comments on photos both before and after the work in progress photo, as well as an increase in sales. I think it’s because it intrigues the audience – a lovely shot of something being made! What IS THAT?! So they click over to learn more. And isn’t the goal of social media that, to effortlessly create content that intrigues people about it to become a follower, then potentially a buyer, without having to give away product or spend time trying to make a sale? Showing the process of creation drives a genuine connection between you & your products, streamlining audience growth & widening your sales funnel.

I do want to address that I know it’s hard to let go of the Instagram mentality – that everything has to look the exact same, all your images should be similar – but really, you can build your branding into the process shots. It’s all about styling images, using key elements in your photos & having consistent lighting in your images. Baby Jives does an incredible job of maintaining her branding and stylized images even in WIP shots, as does Honey & The Hive, who also does a great job of sharing her family life and interests without straying from her brand, making her feel very authentic and personable.

Igniting conversations

I’m not saying every post should be some eloquently crafted conversation starter – but at least one a week should be.

With both Facebook & Instagram’s algorithms, posts with more authentic comments & likes (i.e., you aren’t link dropping or using comment pod groups)  pushes your posts and account higher in the algorithm and gives you better visibility. Both services have ways to detect inauthentic comments – ones that come from a link, for instance, or if 50 people are all commenting on each other’s accounts, it’s apparent to the algorithm these are not authentic comments. The algorithms are set to measure comments from followers or people who find you through hashtags, and tracks how many people who scroll past your photo/posts in such ways actually stop to interact with it. Those authentic likes and comments are what you want.

So at least once a week, create something great to talk about. It doesn’t have to be deep, or meaningful, every time – but it does have to be something worth talking about, or people won’t. Simple as that. I have a post here with ten Facebook statuses to get people talking – use it for a jumping off point and go from there!

Fostering community

And once you get people excited about your social media campaign & get them talking, keep them talking. Reply to their comments, ask questions, tag people who can relate to their reply – make them feel valued, like their words matter. Because they do – they spent valuable seconds of their life, time they can’t get back, investing in your business. They matter. So show appreciation!

Audience members who feel valued & appreciated are more likely to purchase & be a repeat buyer. Even if it’s as simple as saying “Thank you! How was your weekend?” when they say your latest photo is awesome on Instagram. Invest in your audience. Make them feel connected. They will only leave so many comments without reply or acknowledgement before they click that unlike/unfollow button.

Basically…

You want your social media campaign to feel like a place where people gather excitedly, happily, like an open studio night. Your social media campaign should be able to show people who you are, what you do, start conversations with them and keep those conversations going. Makers need to be as transparent as possible about their processes, to open themselves up to even more opportunities – maybe that’s their city’s indie craft niche, for instance, which can lead to newspaper or television features which leads to dozens of other opportunities, or maybe an invite to an exclusive maker’s group that is teeming with knowledge and support channels. There are so many benefits to sharing your processes with the world!

Embrace the maker movement & wear it proudly! Show the world the person, processes and personality behind the products, and you’ll feel a shift in how your audience responds to your content.

How important do you think these three things are to social media campaigns?

2

Getting to Know Your Dream Clients

This is part two in a five part series about identifying your target audience. Read the first post here.

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This exercise is all about exploring, getting to know and getting ready to approach your dream clients. This may not necessarily be the  people currently purchasing from you, but rather the people you dream of buying & using your products and telling their social media following about you!  This doesn’t mean in any way you are kicking current buyers to the curb, which a common concern about people learning to identify their dream clients – that’s not what is happening at all! It just means that you are working hard to expand & grow your audience organically and bring in additional clients who will help you spread the word about your business in an authentic way. So try to remove any considerations about your current clientele from your mind and focus only on your dream clients, who should be the most popular and influential peeople you could dream of buying your products!. Once you wrap up this series, you should have a clear vision in your head about your dream client is and how to approach them, so take your time and really consider your answers!
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Download this printable here
How to use this worksheet:
Again, it is not designed to analyze your current customers but to help you identify & define your target audience. These are the most popular & influential people you can think of that you would want to buy & showcase your products on social media.


Parts 1-3 help you identify their style and how your brand & products fits into their life by helping you determine where they live, how your products fit into that space, and why they would like your stuff to begin with. No matter what you make, your dream client has to want to bring it into their home, or they won’t bring it into their home. It’s as simple as that. So by identifying where & how they live, how they decorate & use their space and how your products fit into it, you have a better chance at staging photos & writing copy for listings as well as your social media posts so they speak to your dream client and drive sales.

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Parts 4-6 help you define your dream client’s interests and spending habits, as well as what sort of marketing tactics they are attracted to. Understanding your dream clients interests and consumption habits help you understand how they respond to marketing from larger industries & how your products fit into their consumption habits. This knowledge helps you analyze your own social media and marketing habits and alter them to appeal to your dream clients better.

Parts 7-9 help you to understand what type of content your dream client likes on social media. This is SO important – knowing what type of content your audience enjoys, actively pursues & shares is the keystone to how your social media campaigns should be administered, from photo styling to product modeling to how you talk about your products – recognizing the type of content your dream clients actually consume and respond to will help you create a killer social media campaign!

Try to think of at least four people to put on this worksheet that your target audience follows. It can be celebrities, indie brands, bloggers – anyone you look up to & think your dream client would too. Determine why they would follow those four people. Is it because they are all funny? Inspiring? Spiritual? Are they all kids clothing designers & parenting lifestyle bloggers? Are they all trendy moms? Photographers? What is it about these people your dream client loves? And of course – does your dream client share content from these people? If so, why? What type of content? And most importantly – are you curating the type of social media campaign that your dream clients would follow? Are you creating content they would share with their audience?

Harnessing this knowledge is the key to understanding what sort of content your dream client is looking for & how you can produce similar content that is unique to your brand. Explore the people you think your dream client would follow. Look at this objectively – do not try to find similarities between the people your dream clients follow and you. Look for the differences. Learn from them. Look at how they style their images & present themselves & their brands, if they are businesses.

Defining your dream client’s interests is so important to understanding how to approach them. Next, we’ll use the info gathered from this worksheet to help learn where to find our Dream clients online! 

Let’s talk in the comments: what did you learn about your Dream Clients today?

20

April #creativedaily Instagram Photo Challenge Prompts

So, I bombed on March’s #creativedaily prompts – between a half week vacation to Savannah, hustling my booty off making Mon-stors for stockings this month & prepping for my first maker market this Saturday (THIS SATURDAY! AM I CRAZY?!) I won’t even lie – it was the furthest thing from my mind! But with the scary word of Instagram changing, I know I need to get more consistent with posting! So I’m back and ready to get cracking with April’s prompts – which lots of lovely makers from the Makers Making it Happen group on FB helped me come up with! So they are ultra unique and some are super challenging, which I think always makes Creative Daily even more fun.

If you are new to me, my blog or the photo challenge, #creativedaily is an Instagram based daily photo challenge. Each day there is a prompt, and it’s amazing to see how each maker, artist, creative and mama interprets the prompts! We all take one little word or phrase and each post is so different and unique. I love it! You can post each day, or just when you want to. It’s a great way to grow your audience, get new eyes on your feed and connect with fellow creatives!

Here is April’s prompt list. It’s sized for Insta so feel free to download and post it there to invite your friends to join in, reblog it, share it on your Facebook – wherever you want to spread the word! The more people participating, the more people seeing your feed, liking your photos & the more friends you make, yay!

april 2016 prompts

Do you plan on joining in? Comment with your Insta-handle so I can connect with you! I’m @lu_and_ed!

5

Tips for Maker Moms: 15+ hashtags you should try out on Instagram

Moms. We’re busy people. We make humans, we raise humans. That alone makes us all superheros in my book. Maker moms? We make humans, we raise humans, we run businesses. Running businesses means we are the CEO, the head of marketing, the product photographer, the head of production, the public relations specialists & social media analysts, the product testers, the quality control team… and so much more. Plus, we’re moms.

I’m not going to downplay it – sometimes it’s not easy to balance it all, get to soccer practice on time, make the cupcakes for the play date and stay on top of social media trends, all while finding time in there somewhere to you know, actually make products.

But if I can help take a little of the overwhelm out of the social media gig for you, hey, that makes me happy & we all succeed, right?! And with Instagram’s new changes rolling out soon, I decided it would be a great time to share some of the most responsive hashtags I’ve discovered for makers & mamas! These are all hashtags I have experimented with, spent time exploring & found to drive authentic, organic traffic & interactions to my posts. Plus they have led me to some really great Instagram accounts I wouldn’t have found otherwise!

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#creativedaily

You know that awesome monthly photo challenge I run? It’s sort of taken off as a viral hashtag for handmade & makers. And I’m fine with that! Use it however you want. If you want to follow the prompts, cool! If you’d rather just use the tag to connect with other makers and share your daily bits of creativity, that’s fine too! The entire purpose of the project is to bring together makers & creatives!

#creativelifehappylife

This hashtag was coined by Danielle of Merri Weather Counseling. I love this hashtag because it is all about sharing how creativity impacts your life – whether that’s through your creative business, shopping handmade, doing crafts with your kids or a DIY project. There is already almost 100K images uploaded to this hashtag, and it is one of the top trending hashtags for makers to connect!

#craftymom

With almost 100K posts to this hashtag, it’s without a doubt a wonderful way to connect with your fellow maker mamas, share cutesy DIY arts and crafts projects with the kids & showcase your own fierce crafty mama game!

#makersgonnamake

This popular phrase quickly turned into a trending hashtag with over 300K images uploaded to it. It is ideal for connecting makers, creatives and artisans, whether they sell or create just for fun.

#abmcrafty

Created by Emma & Elsie, there’s a ton of A Beautiful Mess hashtags but for us makers, this is the one we want to use to show off our creativity and connect with DIYers or makers. Almost 50K posts to this hashtag already with hundreds being added daily!

#abmhappylife

Also part of the A Beautiful Mess family, this hashtag has over 125K images uploaded to it & there is a few ways to utilize this hashtags: Showing off a bright, colorful space, showing off things that make you happy, sharing snippets of your life & joyful moments and also to showcase how your products make life happier/easier/better. It’s important to be authentic on Instagram, so posting photos that show what real life happy moments are to you is essential in creating real connections & driving organic engagement!

#abmlifeiscolorful

Life with kids is colorful. So is life as a maker. Another member of the A Beautiful Mess family, this hashtag is one of my favorites for it’s vibrancy!

#momlife

If you are a maker mom, or you make products for kids or moms, this hashtag is a must for your kid/parenting related posts! With over 3 MILLION images uploaded to it, #momlife is a high traffic hashtag that can put your toys, kids clothing line or organic wooden baby rattles in front of thousands of people daily – or you can use this hashtag to share your parenting wins & woes, connect with other moms about balancing work/house keeping/feeding kids half way healthy meals every day and to basically put the real authentic you on display to help drive engagement, new followers and make it easier for other moms to relate to you/your products.

#wearethemakers

This hashtag is best used to connect with other creatives and makers – it’s all about sharing the process of your creativity and you can use it to show off your work space, show how your trade inspires others, share exciting maker milestones (yay for that feature in the magazine, go you!) and build community/make maker friends!

#livethelittlethings

This hashtag is a great way to showcase your products if they simplify, beautify or improve the quality of your consumers lives – or to show how you personally live in the moments where the little things happen, capturing your child(ren)’s toothy grins or how special it is to see your products in use. We all need to #livethelittlethings a little more often! (And no, it’s not a typo, it’s LIVEthelittlethings, not LOVEthelittlethings.)

#clickinmoms

Anyone else love using their kid as a model as much as I do? Or just photographing them in general? This is a great hashtag to use to connect with other moms who love photographing their children!

#momofboys or #momofgirls

I use this tag a lot, especially when posting photos of my son, because while I try to keep things as gender neutral as possible, it’s undeniable raising a child of either gender has it’s own unique struggles, celebrations & joys – and this is a great way to connect with your fellow girl moms & boy moms, and it’s always a great way to put your handmade children’s products out in front a wide audience of mamas who may be looking for gender specific items, like teething necklaces, baby wraps or toys, for baby showers or birthday gifts. You can also use #boymom & #girlmom tags as well!

#instakids

Let’s just say if you have anything kid related to post, this is one of the top hashtags to use with over four million photos currently uploaded to this stream on Instagram! It’s a great way to connect with your fellow moms + explore & share kid related posts & products.

#craftsposure

While Craftsposure is a community of makers, creatives and bloggers, the #craftsposure hashtag has over 300K posts to it so far and it’s one of the top trending maker hashtags out there with the sweet possibility of your post being featured on their IG account – which has more than 197K followers!

#handsandhustle

With over 90K posts so far, this is a fun hashtag full of colorful, real looks into the lives of creative makers & entrepreneurs. And us mamas know that it’s truly a hustle to get kids up, dressed, ready for school out the door, then it’s pedal to the metal all the way until the bus swings back around, and often right back at it after the kiddos hit the hay. If that’s not a handmade mama hustle, I don’t know what is. Love this tag, and all the cool posts that reside within it.

#handmadeisbetter

Duh, all makers know that! But did you know this trendy hashtag has over 200K posts to it on Instagram? Tell it to the world & connect with fellow makers!

#handmade and #handcrafted

These seem like a no brainer, but I actually don’t see many makers I follow utilize these hashtags when posting their handmade products, and these both have millions of photos posted to them (#handmade has over 42 million while #handcrafted has 2 million).

#flashesofdelight

What little things are bringing you joy today? Is it your baby’s smile, your latest product, or a fresh cup of coffee? Share the little moments & embrace those little flashes of delight – this creates authenticity and shows the life behind the lens! With over 800K photos, this is currently a really hot hashtag to share those sweet little moments that make you smile.

Are any of these hashtags new to you? Why not give them a whirl and let me know if you find them driving more traffic to your posts? Got some suggestions for great hashtags for maker moms to use? Leave them in the comments! #collaborate

14

Why I’m Not Asking Instagram Followers to Turn On Post Notifications

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If you’re a maker or follow a few makers on Instagram, your feed is probably completely overwhelmed with “TURN ON POST NOTIFICATIONS!” posts that are going viral because Instagram is updating their algorithm and instead of a chronological feed, it’s updated to a curated feed, similar to Facebook’s.

First up, this is not a bad thing. Basically, it means paid posts are shown at the top of the feed. Which is cool, if you or whoever follows you like the content they can click on it. If not, they can do what I do when I see a sponsored post I have no interest in – scroll right past it! Also cool, because when paid posts are available to everyone, you know you will have eyes on your ads!

Then, the most interacted with photos will show up next in your feed – cool! These photos are getting a lot of interaction, which must mean they are interesting! If not? Scroll on past them!

Then, I’m sure they will use image detection and show you the beautiful but less interacted with photos next, because their goal is to create a wonderful curated feed with great content for you – woohoo! (This is a good thing and one you can use to your advantage if you use IG to market, more on that in a moment!) These photos are most likely bright, well lit, clutter free, staged images that IG predicts are worthy of more likes because well, they look awesome, and that’s what a visual based feed relies on!

Below those images I’m sure you will find the least interacted with, darker, grainy cell phone images with no captions. You know the ones – I bet these are the ones that are usually skipped past  because the majority of Insta-users are eye-hungry for brightly colored, staged images of flowers spread out like mandalas or some other amazing & beautifully styled image with fun captions that give people something to talk about.

And THAT is why Instagram is using it’s data from MILLIONS of users to curate feeds to show images you are actually more likely to interact with at the top – and pushing less interesting stuff (all those brands you followed for giveaways? People who you followed for a follow back? Caption-less, blurry photos of cats?) to the bottom.

So why I am I not asking people to turn on post notifications?

Because then my account becomes a nuisance. So does the 3286318972101 other accounts asking people to turn on post notifications. Imagine if you were to turn on notifications for 100 Instagram accounts, and they all post once a day. That’s 100 notifications going off on your phone at all hours of the day. Users become inundated with notifications, begin unfollowing the accounts they signed up for notifications from, but mostly – then my posts would just be lost in the mix with hundreds of other Instagram notifications. Not only will they get notifications when someone likes or comments on their photos, or when someone replies to a comment they left on a post, but then they will also get another hundred notifications a day from all the accounts asking them to sign up for post notifications…

So instead of being lost in a curated sea, of photos yours posts become buried in notifications. That doesn’t really help, does it?

So how can you combat this?

There’s a few easy ways to keep your feed lookin’ sexy & interesting!

  • Unfollow anyone you don’t actually interact with regularly. Scroll through your list of people you follow, visit their account and scroll through. Does their account still resonate with you? Nope? Then unfollow them. Like what you are seeing? Follow the next step and…..
  • Like & comment on posts that catch your eye! The new algorithm is based entirely on curating stuff it thinks you will like so actually like posts you like so you see more of what you actually want to see in your feed! I see this algorithm change from Instagram as a big push to actually make users interact with one another. SOCIAL social media. What a crazy concept! But one I’m totally behind! So instead of just posting your latest products to Instagram, actually take some time to interact with the people you follow, like and comment on their posts. Not only does this keep them in your feed but it organically builds and maintains your audience.

How can you get seen on Instagram with the new algorithm?

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Paid posts will eventually be an option for everyone, but for your every day posts to get seen, here is some tips based on what I’ve learned about curated feeds over the years to make sure your posts are seen by your audience:

  • Only post beautiful, well lit, clutter free images. As Instagram moves to a curated feed, high quality photos will no longer be an option – they will be a requirement. Stop using your cell phone, break out your real camera. Curate beautiful, relevant photos. Edit them for brightness and to make colors pop. I’m not saying my feed is killer or anything, but since I moved and have access to better lighting, my interaction and followers went way up! The more consistent your growth on social media is plus a consistent amount of interaction (likes, comments) means your posts will appear higher in the new IG algorithm! So focus as much time & energy as you can into creating stunning images.
  • Always have some sort of call to action. Give people something to talk about – or they won’t! Post photos with multiple options and ask them what their favorite item is. Ask them for help naming your latest product. Ask them what’s for dinner. Just get people talking! Again: the more people interacting with your photos, the higher they will appear in the algorithm.
  • Dedicate a small amount of time daily to interacting with your followers + people you follow as well as new potential audience members! Click the “followers” button you profile – visit several accounts, like photos, leave meaningful comments. Repeat for people you follow. Repeat again by searching a hashtag relevant to your account (make jewelry? Try the #wwiw tag or #ootd. Make toys? Try #momlife or #clickinmoms, etc). This is important because it reinforces your current audience & reminds them to check out your account, it keeps people you follow & enjoy in your feed while introducing yourself to them in case they hadn’t checked out your account because you’ve been a silent follower, and lastly, it drives new interactions & followers!

How can you make sure you don’t lose your audience with all these crazy changes coming to Instagram (or any other platform)?

Social media users freak out when they feel like they are losing control of their audience on social media – but here is the thing: They were never in control of it. You do not own your audience on social media, the platform is solely in control of what is shown to it’s users. Getting mad or worrying about is a waste of time. The best way to prevent loss of audience due to changes in algorithms or sometimes even the loss of a platform entirely is to focus on building an interesting, engaging email list. If you haven’t started yet, do it now! The majority of new clients & 86% of all sales in my shop come from my email list! This is the best way to ensure you have access to your audience at all times. Building an email list is still something I am working on myself, and I’m just feeling like I’ve got a good idea of where  I want to go with it. Once I feel confident in my emailing abilities, I’ll have some posts to share on how I grow my mailing list & increase open rates!

Armed with this information, how are you feeling about the changes to Instagram?

Share your thoughts, concerns and game plan to get noticed in the new feed in the comments!