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iBlog SNAPCHAT!

PINTEREST UPGRADE: DRIVE PINNERS TO YOUR BLOG | 10 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS ON SNAPCHAT

The magazine for women influencers

EXPERTS WEIGH IN

IT'S NOT JUST FOR KIDS ANYMORE

HOW WILL SNAPCHAT CHANGE THE WAY YOU DO BUSINESS?

BEING BOSS PODCAST FOR ENTREPRENEUERS

June 16

The

SNAPCHAT ISSUE Join over 200,000 influencers that read iBlog magazine!

THE POWER OF IMAGERY LATEST TIPS AND TOOLS


©Disney


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CONTENTS 10 PINTEREST: UPGRADE PHTOGRAPHY How to upgrade your photography to bring all the Pinners to your blog

12 LINKEDIN: BACKGROUND IMAGES Stand out from the rest with LinkedIn background images

18

10 25

18

38

48

SNAPCHAT 10 Ways to use Snapchat to market your business

38 #BLOGHER16 6 Sessions on video, Snapchat, vlogging, YouTube & more

48 SYSTEMS & SCHEDULES Vital to blogging achievement GrowingUpGabel.com

DIY/Crafting

16

42

Creative Shifts Adaptation necessary to continue growth

4

Livestreaming

iBlog magazine JUNE 2016

Livestreaming Changing The World Livestreaming has changed the social media landscape for brands, small biz & broadcasters

Lifestyle

44 Finding Balance The secret to balancing blogging and home life


table of contents

SNAPCHAT

20

SNAPCHAT Leading experts and real daily users discuss if Snapchat is right for your business.

It's not just for kids anymore!

Feature - SNAPCHAT 22

Snapchat provides engagement through storytelling

Alcie Chase - ThrilloftheChases.com

24

Snapchat Connects

26

Snapchat: Is it right for your business?

Lee Hersh- FitFoodieFinds.com Davida Kugelmass - TheHealthyMaven.com Jenn Herman- JennsTrends.com

Feature - The Power of Imagery

31

32

befunky

34

How To Use Google Drive

36

Take Your Best Shot

Photo editing & graphic design made for everyone Create graphics for your business Powerful images lead to growth - Sivan Ayla

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE SOCIAL GOOD HELPING OTHERS THEGOLDENPOLKADOT.COM

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TECH TOOLS MEET EDGAR, A SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING TOOL LIKE NO OTHER!

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MARKETING 5 HABITS TO STAY UP TO DATE ON INFLUENCE MARKETING

46

PODCASTING BEING BOSS: PODCAST FOR CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS

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iBlog magazine JUNE 2016

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The Snapchat Issue

S

napchat may have started out being used by teenagers, but the rest of the world is quickly catching on with users watching 10 billion videos a day. According to Gary Vaynerchuk, if you have 1,000 followers on Snapchat, 900 of them will watch your story. That kind of traction is remarkable, especially with so many ways to be distracted. In this issue, we take a look at how some influencers are making the most of Snapchat and why it shouldn’t be ignored. In addition to streaming, visual content has continued to grow in significance throughout 2016. This is for good reason: studies show that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without and visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. This makes it more important than ever for influencers to include great images in blog posts and across social media platforms, particularly for those want to work with brands. Sivan Ayla leveraged her imagery to generate traffic to her blog - her Instagram account with nearly 20,000 followers was one of the primary ways she gained traction. She explains that “taking great images is also crucial for brands to see, as they might be open to a partnership purely for the content they know it will generate. It’s not always about the numbers; brands can recognize quality content when they see it, and in this business that means imagery.” With so many tools out there for use, like BeFunky featured on page 32, producing gorgeous images with online tools is easier than ever. While trying to keep up with all of the evolving platforms and increasing demands for stronger content, it can be hard to strike a balance. After six years of blogging, Colleen Shibley understands the need and

Meet the Team.

desire for balance. She discusses her strategies and tips, including to decide how many days of paid work you can handle and make sure that you only schedule work for those days. Sometimes that might mean turning down paid opportunities, but your ability to maintain your sanity is worth it. With so many images required and so many places to be online, setting limits might be just what you need.

Contact us today

iBlog magazine partners: • Social Media Conferences • Blog Conferences • Influencer Networks • Blogger Networks • Agencies, Brands & PR Firms Matt Cherry

Founder & Publisher @iBlogmag

Ashley Abele

Operations Mgr & Editor @AshleyNAbele

Christine Crowell VP Marketing

Networks Conferences brands

A strategic marketing partnership with iBlog adds value to your campaigns, helping you increase your reach with women influencers.

Contact us. Advertising inquiries: market@iBlogmagazine.com 813-551-0007

Membership inquiries: memberships@iBlogmagazine.com

Writing & Editorial inquiries: editor@iBlogmagazine.com

iBlog magazine Corp. Office: 231 N. Tennessee Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801

Halee Kalevitch

Jackie Ratcliffe

Client & Comm. Manager Graphic Designer

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iBlog magazine JUNE 2016

Amy Reid

Graphic Designer

Kristi Corrigan Content Coordinator

Printed in the USA, Copyright © 2015 by iTell Ventures, Inc. All rights reserved. iBlog magazine is published monthly except for combined July/August and December/January issues, by iTell Ventures, Inc. 231 N. Tennessee Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801. Subscriptions are by membership to iBlogmagazine.com website only. Address all membership correspondences to membership@iblogmagazine. com. To change address please visit your membership account at iBlogmagzine.com. Material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. Requests for permissions should be directed to permissions@iBlogmagazine.com.


iBlog Advisory Committee Industry leaders committed to your success

Ana Flores Founder, We All Grow Summit, Latina Bloggers Connect, Spanglish Baby

Stacey Ferguson

Kristin Hylek

Kim Garst

Co-founder, Blogalicious Justice Fergie Lifestyle Media, Attorney

Manager, Alliances & Brands PR & Brand Engagement McDonald’s USA, LLC

Co-founder, Boom! Social, Forbes Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers

Emily McKhann

Barbara Jones

Aliza Freud

Suzanne Fanning

Ronnie Tyler

Co-Founder, The Motherhood The McKhann Media Group

Founder, one2one Network CEO, Blissful Media Group

Founder & CEO SheSpeaks & SocialSpeaks.com

President, WOMMA Word of Mouth Marketing Assoc.

Co-founder, Black and Married With Kids, Tyler New Media

Laura Mayes Co-founder, Mom 2.0 Summit, Camp Mighty, Go Mighty, Kirtsy

Angela Sustaita-Ruiz

Pat Flynn

Co-founder, Hispanicize Partner, Hispanicize Wire, CEO, Latina Mom Bloggers

Founder, Smart Passive Income, iTunes Top Podcaster, Author, Blogger

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

Sami Cone

Instructional Design Mgr. Enterprise Training at Marketing Profs

Radio & TV Host, Savings Expert

Lynette Young Founder, Women of Google+, 1.5 million followers, speaker, corporate trainer

MJ Tam

Jeannette Kaplun

Editor, Chicagonista Co-Founder, Women Driving excellence

Founder, Hispana Global, Author-Todobebe, TV Host Journalist, Spokesperson

Nadia Jones

Joey Fortman

Cherie Whyte

CEO Niche Parent Blogger Network, Social Media Strategist

Founder, Real Mom Media, Parent Advisory Panel & Events Manager - Toy Insider

Director, Citizen Relations International

Bridgette Duplantis

Laurie Schacht

Cecilia Mecca

Katja Presnal

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Debbie Bookstaber

Co-publisher The Toy Insider, President The Toy Book

President, Element Associates, Social Media Director, Child’s Play Communications

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Skimbaco Co-Founder, Global Mappin

Amy Atkinson

Yoly Mason

Missy Maher

Sarah Beeskow-Blay

Jyl Johnson Pattee

Founder, Amy Atkinson Communications

Founder, Cuponeando.net, Founder Las Blogueras

EVP, Zeno Group Edelman Public Relations

Director of Client Services, Share A Sale

Founder, Mom It Forward, Family Forward Conference

Do you support women influencers? iBlog magazine is seeking out new partnerships with national brand, agency and pr firm executives that would like to participate on the iBlog magazine Advisory committee. Join our industry leaders and partner with the largest business resource for women influencers online. Receive year-round exposure for your brand(s), benefit from our partnerships with leading influencer networks and conferences while discovering new opportunities to support and interact with influencers in the iBlog magazine community. For more information about iBlog’s Advisory committee please email us at: Advisors@iBlogmagazine.com

ADVISORS


June / July 16 conferences and events

Conference 23 BlogPaws Phoenix, AZ

Parent West 7 Type-A Santa Fe, New Mexico

8 Beer Bloggers & Writers

A 3-day conference jam-packed with educational sessions led by leading professionals, networking with influencers, a busy exhibit hall, exciting brand events, more influencers, and lots of pets. Pets remain at the heart of everything BlogPaws does. Our pet friendly conferences invite all pets, everywhere in the event space.

Type-A Santa Fe will be 3+ days of top-notch sessions, workshops and keynotes featuring some of the best and brightest speakers in the business. We will also offer interactive brand and blogger networking functions and, of course, amazing parties with the backdrop of the picturesque Southwest.

The annual gathering of beer bloggers, writers, and those using social media in the beer industry. Topics covered include how to professionalize your blogging, work better with breweries, grow your audience, and monetize your efforts. Dozens of excellent topics on blogging and social media.

Tampa, FL

15 Blogging While Brown

10 iRetreat Conference

13 Blogger Bash

Dedicated the ABCs of online influence, iRetreat is the leading forum Aspiring, Building and Connecting both an online presence and real-life partnerships. iRetreat welcomes both bloggers and brand/agency representatives to attend since strengthening relationships between both is one of iRetreat’s primary goals.

Blogger Bash will feature multiple themed parties that will serve as networking opportunities between digital influencers and brands from baby, fashion, toys, food, travel, and more. The Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite allows digital in influencers access to the hottest new toys while feasting on sweet treats, will be the lead party.

21 FitBloggin'

28 Int'l Food Blogger Conf.

31 Affiliate Summit East

The FitBloggin’ conference is for anyone who blogs about fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle, regardless of where they are in their journey. Our attendees are a melting pot of fit-minded people. Some are trying to lose weight while others are training for triathlons. We have gym rats, vegetarians, vegans, and convenience food junkies.

We’re excited to transport our guests from the bustle of downtown Sacramento to the bucolic scenery of Clarksburg wine country, only 20 minutes south of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Here, Sacramento’s regional focus on Farm to Fork takes shape with Grape to Glass for a full ‘Farm to Table’ experience.

Affiliate Summit provides educational sessions on the latest industry issues and has a productive networking environment for affliate marketers. Attendees will learn affiate marketing techniques bloggers can implement to monetize their blog. This event includes multiple tracks of educational sessions covering the latest trends from affliate marketing experts.

New Orleans, LA

Indainapolis, IN

Majesty Yacht, NY

Sacramento, CA

August

16 4 BlogHer Los Angeles, CA

#BlogHer16 is open to anyone & everyone who considers themselves part of the social media & online content creator space. #BlogHer16 is particularly focused on highlighting the skills & talents of women who are rising their voices and creating content online. All levels of blogging experience are welcome!

CONFERENCES

August

Washington, DC

Blogging While Brown is one of the largest and oldest gatherings of Black bloggers in the country. We emphasize technical mastery and diversity of purpose. Blogging While Brown is your strategic social media partner providing the networking, education, and professional development that you need. One size does not fit all and anything is possible!

New York, NY

August

5 Haven Conference

Bloggers Conf. 11 Wine Lodi, CA

Haven is a DIY/decorating blogging conference and brings 400 pro-bloggers together with over 100 sponsor representatives. Sessions focus on improving skills in blogging, decorating, home improvement, photography, writing, social media, brand relationships, book writing, and more! Our sponsors are the A-list of who-is-who in the world of decorating, blogging, home life, and DIY.

Who Should Attend? Citizen bloggers or writers who write about wine or the wine industry and who wish to network with other new media; learn from experts in writing, technology, and social media; and enjoy a fantastic weekend of meals and wines from Hutchins Street Square in Lodi, California and industry bloggers who maintain a blog to support their winery or other wine-related business.

Atlanta, GA


TAKE THE SURVEY Visit iBlogmagazine.com to participate in the definitive research survey of over 10,000 influencers and bloggers.

Your results provide the data needed to deliver industry findings and reveal trends that affect influencers as well as the agencies and brands you represent. Your voice matters. You can also visit this link to take the survey http://bit.ly/iBlogsurvey16 Survey Closes June 21st.


PINTEREST Susan Wenner Jackson

VP of Content Marketing at Ahalogy Co-founder of the blog Working Moms Against Guilt @SusanWJackson

How to Upgrade Your Photography To Bring All the Pinners to Your Blog If you examine the billions of Pins on Pinterest, you’ll find that only about seven to nine percent of them actually get most of the action on this visual search platform. What is it about this minority of Pinterest content that consistently captures most of the repins and clicks? The topic’s relevance and keywords within the Pin description certainly help. But the main factor in a Pin’s success lies in the visual itself. The more appealing and inspirational your photography is, the better chance your content has of being found, saved, and viewed. 10

iBlog magazine JUNE 2016

Unless you happened to be a professional (or unusually talented amateur) photographer when you started your blog, you might feel frustrated with how your Pins stack up visually among the most popular ones in your feed. It’s OK! You don’t have to buy a super-expensive camera or become a pro to

take amazing pictures. Instead, master these basics to achieve that Pinterest-perfect look you’re going for.

Fun Props

Look closely at any high-end magazine photo spread or catalog cover, and you’ll notice impeccably styled and curated props. Bloggers who embraced Pinterest early on copied this technique with great success. Whether you’re shooting food, crafts, people, or scenes, a little personality with props can go a long way. If you want to start your own collection of props, shop for these items at thrift shops, flea markets, garage sales, and clearance racks:


“… the main factor in a Pin’s success lies in the visual itself.” » F lowers (real ones are great, but real-looking artificial ones can work, too) » Blank or lined notebooks » Blank painting canvas »V  intage books (with plain or interesting covers) » White glossy table (IKEA) » Clipboard » F abrics (could be a swatch, tablecloth, towel, bedspread, napkin, etc.) » Jars and bottles » Small plates and dishes » Cutting board or bread board

Real World Backdrops

Scout out a good list of well-lit, attractive areas around your home – or your mom’s, your BFF’s, anyone who won’t mind if you periodically invade their space for photo shoots. You might even venture around town to find more photo-friendly places. Look for features such as large blank walls (bonus points for interesting colors or textures), gardens or water features, accessible rooftops, and staircases. Search ShotHotspot.com to get ideas based on location and setting (architecture, nature, city/urban, and so on).

Flattering Light

You don’t have to invest in expensive lighting equipment or accessories to take beautifully lit pictures. Simply harness the sun’s natural rays (they’re 100% free!) to show your subject in the best possible available light. If you’re shooting indoors, choose a time of day when the sun favors the room you’re

in. You could also open a door or window to bring in more natural light. When outdoors, if the sun’s bright, shoot in the shade just beyond the sun’s reach to avoid harsh shadows or glare. Many pros prefer doing outdoor photo shoots during the hour after sunrise or before sunset to get the most desirable look.

More Tricks of the Trade

Great photographers don’t just take a few shots of their subject. They take a LOT. Just as you might write several versions of your blog post before publishing, photographers try on multiple perspectives to get the best final images. Next time you do your own photo shoot, experiment with these tactics to expand your options and produce better results: » S hoot from a variety of angles: Wide, medium, and closeup shots; from above, side, below; selective focus; eye-level. » P lay with composition: Apply the rule of thirds by imagining your image is divided into nine equal segments by two vertical and two horizontal lines. Position the most important elements along these lines, or at the points where they intersect. » E liminate unnecessary clutter: Consider the whole picture, not just the main object of your photo. »A  dd motion and life: Use longer exposures, zoom, or actual movement to introduce motion blur for drama and interest in your photo. Many top Pins incorporate a human element such as spooning out a helping of food or gluing the finishing touch on a craft.

Keep Learning and Improving Once you start taking your photos to the next level, you might just be hooked. Why stop there? You can continue honing your skills and discovering more ways to create gorgeous imagery for your blog with resources such as: »D  igital-photographyschool.com: Created by Darren Rowse (you might know him from his other site, ProBlogger.net), this website offers simple tips to help digital camera owners get the most out of their cameras. »L  ocal photography clubs: Get out in your community and meet other photography enthusiasts of all levels for photo walks, learning, and fun. Check Meetup.com for clubs in your area. »L  ynda.com: With a free trial, you can sample some of this online learning site’s thousands of courses, including many covering photography, Photoshop, video, and more.

PINTEREST


LINKEDIN

Viveka Von Rosen

linkedintobusiness.com @LinkedInExpert

Stand Out From All the Rest With LinkedIn Background Images What's a LinkedIn Background Image?

Less is More

Similar to Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and Facebook banners, the new Background image – also known as a hero image – allows you to not only increase your branding and visibility, but also attract new followers and connections.

Having tested several images, let it be known that less is, in fact, more. Too much busyness on the tops and side of your image, and it becomes distracting rather than attracting. I thought it’d be smart to add my two books and my two programs, and my Mission and my Call to Action and my contact info on my header. Once my Profile popped up with my picture and name and professional headline … well, it was too much!

Creating Your Hero Image The Background photo appears above the top section of your Profile. You can click on “Edit Background” to edit an existing image or “Add Background” to add a new one. Your hero image should be 1400 x 425 pixels – up to 4MB. When designing your Background, focus on the outer edges, as your Profile will take up the middle of the image. LinkedIn provides 25 different stock images you can use immediately if you have a Premier account, but you'll probably want to create a custom image for yourself. I had my graphics guy at Fiverr who does all my LinkedIn Images (Company, Showcase, and Group Pages) do my new Background image (since I’m graphically impaired). But if you have Photoshop or even PPT skills, you can probably put an image together pretty quickly. Just make sure it’s super high-res and don’t go over 4MB; less pixilation and the image looks blurry, more pixilation and LinkedIn won’t let you upload it.

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As my friend Donna Svei points out, when creating your Profile, you want to ask yourself: How can I use this feature to help people understand what I do and how well I do it? Of course, you’ll probably want your logo and contact info in your image, but the most attractive banners are the less busy ones. Even though they’re simple and clean, the red and black of Greg Neil and Peggy Scott’s images are engaging and attractive. I love the red in Peggy’s Background Image. Notice she also has her email and phone number.


“ … the new Background image … allows you to not only increase your branding and visibility, but also attract new followers and connections.”

And here’s a color test … while the black was a strong image on LinkedIn, the red is definitely more arresting. The cool thing is, you can change your profile as often as you want. So you can even switch between colors, visuals, quotes, etc.

What You Can’t (or Shouldn’t) Do There are most definitely some limitations: · You can’t add video or .gifs · Don’t add important content to the middle of your image (your profile will cover it) · Be careful with writing or script; it could look blurry · Don’t just grab a screenshot and throw it up as your image – it will look awful · Don’t worry if it doesn’t look right when you upload it. You have to click the blue “View My Profile” button to see what it will look like. · Don’t try to make it fit on all browsers. It won’t. Images usually look best on Safari and worst on Chrome

Think Outside the Box Because you can change your hero image as often as you want, you may consider using it to:

· You might use your Background image to drive more connections and followers with a “connect with me” call to action · You can use it to showcase your own position and expertise · You can use it to share your contact info

Here’s my image (this week) below. It’s based on my website and in alignment with my brand … and my newest launch.

· Promote an event · Impress people with the other people you hang out with (influencer photo opportunity) · Promote a new product or launch · Share your new book or eBook · Make an announcement · For a “Quote of the Week” campaign · For a “Tip of the Week” campaign Even if you have a background image, it’s probably time for a new one. Remember: · Less is more · Make it branded · Add your contact info

LINKEDIN


social good

Turning personal experience into a way to help others finances are holding back wonderful couples from starting a family and although our contribution is small it spreads awareness of the issue and help families pay some of those fertility bills.

Martha Phillips is the owner of The Golden Polka Dot. She started her company two years ago as a way to help pay for fertility treatments. Martha and her husband have experienced four miscarriages, multiple surgeries and failed fertility treatments. Sewing since she was young, she never thought it would lead to such an amazing opportunity of starting her own business that can help others. Knowing personally the huge burden infertility can put on a family, they are striving to make a difference by spreading awareness about infertility. We personally have struggled and are still struggling with infertility, those bills that come in every month can be so overwhelming since it’s rare insurance covers any. I started to feel really passionate about trying to help families such as us. We sponsor couples throughout the year and donate a portion of our sales to their medical bills. I hate to know 14

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AN ISOLATING JOURNEY Infertility is so incredibly common that once I got more into the “world” of infertility and opened up about my story, it seemed the floodgates of people sharing opened. Many people won’t bring it up or mention first but it is amazing the amount of couples that are struggling. It can be such a sensitive topic! If you know someone going through this just let them know you are there, sometimes just a friendly visit, day trip, or night out can take their mind off it and help them feel loved. I hope that as more and more people are open about infertility people can start to understand how serious of a trial this can be for a couples. It is physically, emotionally and financially taxing and can creep into every aspect of your life. Most people do not know what to say to these friends, just do you best to not downplay infertility. Knowing that others realize how hard it is and being a friend to listen goes a long way. OPEN UP AND SHARE I think Instagram/bloggers can make such a huge difference just by posting about the topic. Ask someone to guest blog for them, or post about our store that donates money to couples and uses the money for fertility treatments. It makes a bigger impact than people think! We are always willing to work with people to spread awareness. As simple as sharing our shop with others goes such a long way in blessing our families and other struggling with this hard medical issue. Even if you’re not on social media as a professional don’t underestimate the power you can have by sharing! Some of our best customers, and advocates for our campaign, are the average parents sharing with all their friends and followers.

Martha Phillips thegoldenpolkadot.com @thegoldenpolkadot

SOCIAL GOOD


networks now

Maria Bailey momselect.com @mariabailey

MomSelect Creates New Waves for Brands, Influencers Alike

As one of the first blogger networks, MomSelect was created with a sincere mission of empowering moms and creating a bridge between moms and companies. MomSelect was founded by Maria Bailey and the award-winning mom marketing team at BSM Media. For over a decade, BSM Media has been guiding companies on engaging with moms in a relevant and valuable manner. Today, Maria Bailey and her team work with the biggest brands around the globe to deliver moms with opportunities that respect, honor, and leverage their influence and expertise. MomSelect executes sought-after campaigns for brands such as Disney Parks, HP, Chick-fil-A, Kimberly Clark, Beaches Resorts, and many more.

most highly visible social media influencers, we take care to match our clients with like-minded moms who share a brand’s values. We extend beyond blogs in order to reach millennial moms by leveraging social media influencers on Youtube, Pinterest, and SnapChat. All of our MomSelect members comply with FTC guidelines so you can rest assured that your campaign is being executed professionally and ethically.

Growing Programs to Deliver Results MomSelect is constantly adapting to provide programs that utilize new social media platforms and mirror the behavior of our influencers. Our media properties and research methods give us access to the pulse of the mom market every minute of every day. Not content to focus solely on blog reviews and Twitter parties, we’ve developed several proprietary programs, such as MommyParties and Social Spotters, that allow us to deliver outstanding results to our clients while providing rewarding experiences for the members of our network. While others proclaim they know moms, MomSelect and BSM Media have dedicated their entire discipline to connecting clients with the Mom Market. It’s what we know and what we do best. We are proud to say that it’s all we do. Over 100 global brands from Kimberly Clark to Disney to Avon to Build-a-Bear Workshop have turned to MomSelect to connect them with Social Media Moms. Why? Because we know how important it is to find the RIGHT moms for your brand and we have the connections, relationships, and reputation that allow our campaigns to stand out in a saturated blogosphere. With a network of more than 6,000 of the

The Value of Influencers Not only does MomSelect provide the opportunity to partner with top brands, we also understand and highly value the time, skill, and effort it takes to participate in one of our campaigns. That’s why we always offer compensation to our influencers. In fact, in 2015 we awarded over $2 million in compensation, product, and experiences to MomSelect members. We make sure to clearly outline expectations and deliverables for every campaign, and we keep an open line of communication with our members to ensure mutually beneficial relationships. The best marketing relationships are a two-way street – a two way dialogue. MomSelect strives to be the place where moms not only engage with companies but build their own brands, as well. We’re proud to work with the more than 6,000 digital trailblazers who are reinventing the face of motherhood.

What’s Coming Next We predict a move away from blogging, including product reviews and giveaways. Extensive research has shown us that consumers are turning to video and other social media platforms to make purchase decisions. In fact, millennial moms use YouTube like Gen Xers use Google. Through our Amazon partnership, our members now have the opportunity to produce high-quality brand videos that will be featured on Amazon. com. We’ll also be expanding our member base to include a larger subset of millennials, both moms and dads, who contribute more than $750 billion in annual spending. These trendsetters are drawn toward innovative programs that allow them to define their relationships with brands.

NETWORKS NOW


diy/crafting

Creative Shifts Adaptation Necessary to Continue Growth I have been blogging since 2009, and the game has changed so many times since those days. When I first started, visitors showed appreciation for a post by commenting. Now, I rarely get comments on my new posts, but instead readers share my work on Pinterest, Facebook, and G+. Social media was barely a thing when I started blogging. Because of all these changes, I have had to adapt how my blog functions, how I market my brand, and how I think about blogging in general. This past year has been a tumultuous year for creative bloggers like myself. Late 2014 to early 2015 was a high point for bloggers in my niche. Social media, especially Pinterest, was driving massive amounts of traffic to tutorial posts. Those increased pageviews allowed opened up a whole new world of opportunities, whether that meant working with large brands, or expanding our own brand by publishing books or creating product lines.

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Challenges Bring New Ventures Honeymoons don’t last forever, though, and both Facebook and Pinterest have changed their feed algorithms in ways that really hurt bloggers. Now it seems like Instagram will be doing the same type of thing. We can no longer count on that level of referral traffic to bring new readers to our blogs. Now bloggers are developing their own means of driving traffic – ones that are under our own control and not at the mercy of social media executives. I have been working to grow my newsletter subscriber list in order to have a direct means of connecting with my audience. Those subscribers are people who have demonstrated that they are already interested in my work, and they are more likely to become return visitors than random social media traffic. I use a WP plugin to serve pop-ups to first time visitors, and it has resulted in a huge surge in newsletter subscriptions. I have also jumped into the world of video creation with both feet. YouTube allows me to create content that is engaging and useful. I can reinforce my brand on that platform and then encourage those followers to visit my blog, as well. As a creative blogger, my niche translates really well to short DIY videos, which I can also share on other social media. I think more and more online content will be delivered by video in the upcoming years, so I want to make sure I have a presence on YouTube as that happens. Smart Investments Pay Off Because of my new marketing focus, I am happy to pay for my newsletter service through MailChimp. As my list grows, so does my monthly cost, but it is a service where I know exactly how many people I will reach with each campaign. With a paid Facebook post, I have to guess at how many eyes will actually be shown that post. I know that my email campaigns will be sent to each and every subscriber on my newsletter list. I also pay for both photo and video editing services: PicMonkey and Photoshop for video and Premiere for video. Creative blogging is a very visual medium, so it is important that my visuals match my brand. Considering how often I use photo and video editing software, the price is well worth it. It is hard enough to keep on top of all the changes to social media that I do not want to make things even harder on myself by posting everything manually. I pay for a few social media scheduling services (PostPlanner, ViralTag, and Board Booster) so that I can spend a


�As a creative blogger, my niche translates really well to short DIY videos.“

few hours each week creating social media content, and then set it and forget it. These programs also show me valuable analytics that help me see what works best with what audience and what is not worth my time. Free Tools Add Value I would be lost without my editorial calendar. I use Google Calendar to keep track of due dates, invoice dates, and to schedule out blog content. I love that it is accessible anywhere, and that I can easily drag and drop events when plans inevitably change. I use Google Drive to create spreadsheets, provide free printables, and share ideas with other bloggers.

IFTTT is a huge help in automating social shares. I have created recipes to automatically send tweets when I release a new video on YouTube or to send my Instagram posts to G+. It is a free service with tons of options for automating content creation and more. The most crucial element in my blogging success is both free and priceless. I have a tribe of fellow bloggers who serve as a sounding board for ideas, cheerleaders when I hit a motivational dip, and comic relief when it is most needed. Blogging is still a mysterious career for most people, so the support from people who really understand what you do for a living is incredibly helpful.

Jessica Hill madincrafts.com madincrafts

DIY/CRAFTING


SNAPCHAT

Kim Garst kimgarst.com @kimgarst

Snapchat currently has 100 million active DAILY users who watch 7 BILLION videos per day and share nearly 9 thousand photos every second. Those figures are set to increase as Snapchat has expanded the services it offers to include new features such as live text plus voice and video calls between contacts. That’s a lot of people, many of them potential customers, flying under the radar of most marketers. As one example, Cosmopolitan magazine is getting 3 million views a day on Snapchat.

Here are 10 ways to plant your flag and make Snapchat a new marketing channel for your business …

1

Keep It Real

2

Create Native Content for Snapchat

One surefire way to turn people off to your social media efforts is to constantly churn out sales pitch after sales pitch, and Snapchat is no different in this respect. Remember, you’re human and so is your target audience. So say something that will interest your followers.

10 Ways

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Because the content on Snapchat is unique in the way it’s viewed compared to other social networks, it won’t be in your interest to just copy over content from Facebook or Instagram. You’ll have to take this into account and create content that’s specifically designed for it.

3

Create Interesting Videos

Other than sales speak, think about something else that’s specific to your business. For example, if you’re a cellphone retailer, why not create an unboxing video for the latest iPhone, or show your followers how to change a


password or download an app? Unlike Instagram and Facebook, your posts (snaps) can only be seen on Snapchat for a short amount of time, so that means the quality of your videos doesn’t have to be up to the same standard, which, in turn, means they cost less and take less time to produce.

4

Go Behind the Scenes

5

Host a Snapchat Story

Invite your fans to take a look behind the scenes of your office party, or take a quick peek into your warehouse or shipping room. Where you choose doesn’t really matter, as the point of this kind of content is to increase a follower’s feeling of connection with you and your brand.

I have to admit that I haven’t watched too many soccer games in my life, but I love this story and the clever use of Snapchat to tell it. In a European soccer first, the English Premier League club Manchester City recently invited its fans to get closer to the action on Derby Day. The club hosted a Snapchat story from its five supporter locations across the world: Manchester, New York, Melbourne, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. The story offered fans the chance to see what it was like to be watching the game and cheering on the team from the perspective of different fans. Why did they do this? Businesses that foster relationships with their followers not only builds but so does a feeling of togetherness. You can see this in the way in which Apple’s iPhone users fervently defend the company and its products so much so that it has an army of brand evangelists.

7

Increase Your Follower Count

8

Keep it PG

9

Run Contests

10

Make Use of Followers With Influence

Remember that old adage “content is king”? At no time prior to now has that ever been more true. Seriously, you’ll live and die by the quality of content on social media, and Snapchat is no different. One method of increasing your follower count is to make great stories and share parts of them with followers on other social networks. The idea is to make the content so compelling that the Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram user follows your lead and pops over to Snapchat to find out what all the fuss is about. There’s a good chance that if they follow you elsewhere they may not want to miss out on updates unique to Snapchat and become a follower there, too.

While Snapchat is one of if not the most casual of all the platforms you could use, a huge 71 percent of all its users are between the ages of 12 and 34, so keeping your posts fun and full of color and action is important. Also, keep in mind the need to remain professional and not to post anything that could be easily construed as something smutty or taken out of context. I’ve seen the term “Keep it Disney” referred to as a way to remind a company of just how young followers can be on Snapchat, and for that reason it’s probably the best to have that etched into your psyche and that of your marketing teams.

Since it’s all about engagement, run a competition in which you invite users to send you snaps of themselves using your product, visiting your store, recommending your products, or even briefly explaining why they love your brand so much. Set a date entries have to be in by, and keep followers interested with regular updates and reach-outs such as “Nice Snap KattyG1994 yours is one of our favorites” – then offer a prize that’s as useful as you can. For example, if you run a confectionery business, offer something small like a coupon to get 20% off their next purchase or a free box of chocolates.

Everywhere I look in social media there are people with large active followings who either stick to a particular niche, or who are popular because of their outspoken views on certain topics and products. As a business, you may find that some of those influencers are users of your products, and if given the chance would love to say a thing or two about them in a more official capacity.

6

Tease Fans With New Products

Snapchat offers you the opportunity to get users of your products excited about an upcoming new addition or update. You can use images and video to tease them, and, if done well, create some early buzz and chatter about it. With that in mind, I think it’s the perfect platform for product launches because, unlike others in which your updates can get lost in timerelated feeds, posts on Snapchat remain viewable until opened by the user. This approach I think naturally fosters much more engagement.

Final Thoughts Keeping your stories and snaps fun is a must do! Don’t forget that if you do it right, Snapchat can provide you with positive results quickly. What I would advise you to do is experiment. Don’t stick to just what works for others – try to stand out from the crowd; be unique, fun and engaging; and have conversations that make your followers regularly come back for more and send you snaps.

SNAPCHAT


SNAPCHAT SNAPstats 70% of Snapchat users are women 500 million "Snaps" are sent a day Over 27 million active US users Over 150 million pictures sent per day 18-24 Year Olds make up 45% of all users Over 60% of US 13 to 38 year olds are Snapchat users Millennials account for 7 out of every 10 Snapchat users Video views have grown over 350% in last 12 months (Over 7 Billion) Snapchat is valued at over $16 Billion in May 2016

Snapchat has been taking the livestreaming world by storm, with users watching 10 billion videos a day, as confirmed by Snapchat in April. While it began as a platform primarily used by teens and tweens, everyone from brands to government officials to celebrities have been adopting the platform. As an instant visual communication tool, it’s easy for its users to share timely content. Unlike other social media chan-

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nels, content disappears after 24 hours. A large part of its appeal is the ease of use and lack of as much effort that needs to be put into a more in-depth video or blog post. While some influencers are hesitant to hop on to yet another social media platform, there is a valuable return in that Snapchat allows you to connect with your audience in an authentic way that can get lost in the editing and


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It's not just for kids anymore!

Top SNAPstars and Also Bloggers Alice Chow & Linda Chen - Food Bloggers - Username: lettucedine Naomi Davis - Lifestyle Blogger - Username: love.taza Tina Craig - Fashion Blogger - Username: bagsnob Erica Domesek - DIY Blogger - Username: psimadethis Cassie Ho - Fitness Blogger - Username: blogilates Kate McCully - Travel Blogger - Username: adventurouskate Kiersten Rich - Travel Blogger - Username: theblondeabroad

curation of other platforms. As Lee Hersh and Davida Kugelmass, co-creators of The Blogger Project and freelance recipe developers and food photographers state “It’s easy to hide behind a beautiful Instagram image or a Pinterest-perfect pin, but there’s nothing perfect about Snapchat.” That being said, it offers a unique opportunity to gain trust and interest from your followers

without a ton of legwork. Of course, having a strategy is always important with any social media plan, but it does not take the time and tools a well-executed blog post might require. Instead, it allows you to gain instant feedback and to tell your stories in an engaging way. With so many users creating, broadcasting and, most importantly, consuming visual content, now is the time to start snapping.


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Snapchat

Provides Engagement Through

Storytelling

M

Y RELATIONSHIP WITH SNAPCHAT STARTED OFF … WELL, LET’S SAY IT WAS COMPLICATED. AS AN EARLY ADAPTER ON MOST PLATFORMS, SNAPCHAT AND I GOT TOGETHER RIGHT AWAY A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. BACK THEN, IT JUST WASN’T A 22

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GOOD FIT FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS AND WE RELUCTANTLY PARTED WAYS. LAST YEAR, I HEARD FROM A FRIEND THAT THINGS WERE DIFFERENT, SNAPCHAT WAS RUNNING WITH A NEW CROWD AND I REALLY SHOULD GIVE IT ANOTHER CHANCE.


After hearing some stats on the amount of content that is consumed daily, I was astounded. According to a February presentation delivered by Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel, Snapchat, at a $16 billion valuation, has more than 100 million daily users who spend an average of 25 to 30 minutes on the app each day. Sixty percent of those 100 million users are sending out stories and consuming content. These numbers meant it was time to take note and consider a committed relationship on this platform.

START WITH THOSE YOU KNOW

When I started out with Snapchat this time, I didn’t start off with a clear strategy or method of how to grow my audience there. Not much had changed with the interface from the first time I downloaded the app. The search features made it difficult to discover people. I began by adding all my personal contacts from my phone to see which of my contacts were already using the platform. This gave me a solid foundation to start with. Then I did some more research online to see who others were recommending to follow. Anytime someone shouts out another user, I always screenshot and follow. They maybe in another industry or field but I can usually learn a tip or technique that I hadn’t thought of before. I could have considered this an obstacle but it was actually the tipping point of successfully transitioning Snapchat from personal to business use.

CAPTURE YOUR AUDIENCE WITH STORYTELLING

It is not by accident that Snapchat refers to its content as “stories”. Storytelling has been used to capture the attention of audiences large and small for thousands of years and is certainly a “major key” of Snapchat success. By its very nature storytelling evokes a deep neurological response. The most successful storytellers focus the listener’s’ attention on an idea or concept and within approximately 30 seconds an emotional connection with the viewer can be formed. That connection is where trust is built and influence begins.

If you are just getting started on Snapchat or not sure where to begin, consider what makes you stand out from the crowd and makes you memorable. Unique content will always offer opportunity for engagement. Your early morning workout, landscapes or extreme weather conditions always get a response. What you may consider as an everyday norm may be fascinating for someone else in another part of the country to see. Be known for “your thing.” People also love to get a look behind the scenes of companies and people they care about. Snapchat can be a great place to tease followers with a sneak peek or a glimpse of what’s new. Snapchat’s pairing of short form video makes it more powerful than a singular tweet or Instagram photo.

another. Pose a question that requires a specific response. When your community replies, make sure to answer back. You also want to let your viewers know what you are doing elsewhere. Include a snap announcing a new post on your blog or YouTube video that just went live. Doing this with Snapchat has allowed me to introduce my existing content to a new audience. It has also created a great way to transition my existing audience to what I am doing on new platforms.

CREATING A SENSE OF URGENCY TO CONSUME CONTENT

My favorite thing about using Snapchat for business is the personal engagement and urgency it creates. Viewers know that if they don’t go back to check out the content there every 24 hours it disappears. This sense of urgency compels your audience to visit your story at least once every day giving you the opportunity to organically create an ongoing conversation. This frequency, paired with accessibility and personal interaction, builds

ProTip: GhostCodes is a great app to help discover other users by category and grow your audience. Consider the content you share on Snapchat as an actual storyline. The story elements can include pictures, video, doodles or just you talking. Try sharing a stories with a beginning, middle and end. The beginning is introducing them to what we are doing that day. The middle consists of the specifics that happen funny, ironic, relatable, and meaningful, whatever that day holds. I always recommend giving the story a conclusion for a sense of completeness to the story each day. This also rids the need for additional content added when I download the complete story. The most important part of finding success here is remembering that it must be an interactive storyline. Encourage your viewers to engage with you in one way or

relationships in a way no other platform is doing.Snapchat is really for anyone wanting to tell a story. As viewers it gives us the opportunity to read between the lines and get a behind the scenes view of our favorite creators, celebrities and brands. In the storyteller role we can truly create connection with our audience and receive feedback quickly. Whether we choose to tell stories that entertain, encourage or educate Snapchat gives us a wonderfully engaging way to do just that.

Alice Chase

ThrilloftheChases.com @alicechase

FEATURE


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Snapchat LEE HERSH AND DAVIDA KUGELMASS ARE THE THE CO-CREATORS OF THE BLOGGER PROJECT, A WEBSITE DEDICATED TO HELPING BLOGGERS GROW THEIR BLOGS AND RUN THEM AS A BUSINESS, AS WELL AS FREELANCE RECIPE DEVELOPERS AND FOOD PHOTOGRAPHERS. THEY ARE BOTH SEASONED HEALTHY FOOD BLOGGERS AT FITFOODIEFINDS.COM AND THEHEALTHYMAVEN.COM, WHERE THEY HAVE A SIMILAR MISSION TO SPREAD HEALTH AND WELLNESS THROUGH BLOGGING.

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Lee Hersh & Davida Kugelmass thebloggerproject.com fitfoodiefinds.com thehealthymaven.com Snapchat: @fitfoodiefinds & TheHealthyMaven

WE BOTH STARTED USING SNAPCHAT IN 2013 WHEN A LOT OF OUR FRIENDS STARTED USING IT. It took us a while to catch

CHANGE THAT IS HERE TO STAY Snapchat has completely transformed social media for our business. So much of social media is curated these days. All of the editing, copy, and various web tools that go into a single image or link sometimes feels like it

Snapchat, it is really them and not a perfectly curated photo or scheduled content. No other social media platform is as instant as Snapchat. Our least favorite part is definitely the lack of discovery. In order to get our readers to follow us on Snapchat, we have to be super promotional about it on

“We like knowing that when we see someone Snapchat, it is really them and not a perfectly curated photo or scheduled content. No other social media platform is as instant as Snapchat.” on, but before we knew it, we were using Snapchat in place of messaging/texting. At first our Snapchat accounts were 100 percent for personal use, and then a little over a year ago it morphed into a business tool. We both decided to start separate accounts for our blogs, FitFoodieFinds and TheHealthyMaven. Now everything we post on Snapchat has a strategy behind it. We started using Snapchat for business when we realized it could connect us with our readers on a more intimate level and give them a more authentic view of what our day-to-day looks like. At the time, a lot of celebrities were using Snapchat to promote themselves and to interact with their fans. We followed their model. Davida from TheHealthyMaven started first and Lee from FitFoodieFinds quickly followed suit.

takes away from the authenticity. Snapchat has allowed us to connect with our readers on a more personal level that also gives them a realistic snapshot into our lives. It makes them feel connected to us and us to them. We have no doubt that Snapchat will be around for a while. It certainly has some features it needs to improve on (its UI needs a little help!), but as with any social media platform, it will evolve and most definitely will find a way to monetize more than it is now. If anything, it may overpower some of the other platforms since there’s no algorithm at play. What you see is what you get, and we think that’s refreshing to our followers. SNAPCHAT KEEPS IT REAL (TIME) We love that Snapchat is REAL-TIME and that there are no scheduling features. We like knowing that when we see someone

our blogs or on other social platforms. This can get annoying at times, so we wish there was a feature to help our readers find us or non-readers discover our Snapchats, and make their way to our blogs. It’s easy to hide behind a beautiful Instagram image or a Pinterest-perfect pin, but there’s nothing perfect about Snapchat. Our readers want to feel like they can relate to us and that there’s really a person working behind the blog. Snapchat has helped remove this barrier of perfection and allowed our readers to connect with us emotionally. Plus, it doesn’t live on for the entire web to see, so this definitely gives influencers the freedom to really feel like they can be themselves. Snapchat has given bloggers permission to truly be themselves on social media.

FEATURE


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SNAPCHAT: Is It Right For Your Business?

NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT THE PLATFORM IS ABOUT, AND HOW IT WORKS, THE QUESTION IS, HOW CAN YOU USE IT FOR YOUR BUSINESS? AND SHOULD YOU? OF COURSE, YOU KNOW I’M NOT ABOUT TO TELL YOU HERE AND NOW IF YOU SHOULD OR SHOULDN’T USE IT. THAT’S NOT SOMETHING I CAN DETERMINE WITHOUT WORKING WITH YOU DIRECTLY. BUT HERE IS SOME GUIDANCE …

The platform is growing. Your audience may (or may not) be on Snapchat. The platform is growing and depending on your target audience, they may already be here. If they’re not, they may be soon. Much like we’ve seen with the growth on Instagram, just because they aren’t here now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in a few months or year. And getting in now, establishing a presence, and getting comfortable with the platform will make it much easier when your audience does get more active on this platform. There’s no time like the present! 26

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And, because the platform is new and marketers haven’t “figured it out” yet (ie. how to game it to splash their message all over the place), if you can get on there, and use it appropriately to build your community, you will have a serious leg up on your competition. Yes, at some point, we can all assume that this platform will go the way of every other platform, and introduce broadly accessible ad placement and revenue generating tactics (right now, the minimum ad budget on the platform is $100,000). So, having the audience and presence in place now will provide you with advantages when that time comes

Do you “have” to be here? Of course, it’s hard for me to say you “have” to be here, even if your target audience is millennials. I don’t say you “have” to be anywhere (except maybe Facebook, but that’s another conversation). But if your target audience is active on Snapchat, it might be worth investigating. Because of the unique engagement on this platform and the variety of communication


“So you’ll have to think differently – and think about community building, not marketing.” methods, this can be a hard platform to navigate as a business. It’s not marketing as you are accustomed to and it’s unlike anything you will experience on other platforms. So you’ll have to think differently – and think about community building, not marketing.

Four things to consider. You need to consider the atmosphere on Snapchat. People are having fun. Goofing around, doing silly faces, making fun of themselves (have you seen some of these filters?!). So going on there all stiff, uber professional, or depressing or serious, is not going to connect with this audience. Take into account the platform and the best messages you can share in this context. You also need to be prepared for engagement. Yes, people will respond and chat with you after you post. So be ready for them! Anticipate responses, questions, and reactions. And be available! Do not post and disappear. Of course, as I always preach, you need a strategy! Do not go jumping on Snapchat, uploading a bunch of content, and wonder what might happen. No. Take the time to research the platform. Then determine how you will use it. How will it enhance your business? How often will you post? What will you post? Why are you posting? What are your expectations? All that good stuff and more needs to be determined before you start throwing stuff out there. You should consider adding branded elements to your content. Think about color schemes, product placement, keywords in your videos, and other ways to make your brand stand out. Build all of this into your strategy so that there is cohesion no matter what you post.

What about discounts? You can (and should) branch into offering discounts or promotions, but understand that this platform isn’t all that easy to use this tactic. Whether requiring your audience to take a screenshot or remembering a code, you can get them to interact with a promotion but it requires more work on their end. So make the campaign worth it to see best results. Think about your call-to-action. Like anywhere else, giving people a clear, direct message on what you want them to do is paramount to building the success of your business through Snapchat.

A measure of success. There aren’t any great metrics for you to measure the “success” of your campaigns or activity. You can see how many people viewed your stories, and how many took a screenshot, so you have those basic metrics. You can also measure the fall off rates in your stories (from one snap to the next) so you can see what’s working and/or where you’re losing people. This can help you to create better content and stories in the future, improving your interactions with your audience. But you can’t see how many are following you, or compare following counts and vanity metrics like we see on every other platform. Is this good or bad? You can decide! But when you aren’t focusing on the vanity metric of followers, you can focus on creating the best content for your brand. As you can see, there is a lot to understand and a lot to adapt to if you plan to use Snapchat. Can it work? Sure! Plenty of businesses are using it successfully. But you will need to establish what “success” looks like to your business and have a healthy understanding of how you want to build your community through this platform. Explaining this concept to board members, owners, or clients may not be the easiest thing. Give it time and build it at a pace that works for everyone.

WAYS YOU CAN USE SNAPCHAT FOR YOUR BUSINESS: » Answer frequently asked questions » Ask questions of your audience » Offer a regular series to answer popular questions or address a current issue » Go behind-the-scenes of your business » Share insights into a live event » Create tutorials or tips » Share how-to content » Build anticipation for a new product or launch » Showcase your employees and/or their personalities » Share your thoughts and feedback on any topic related to your business » Host a contest » Exclusive discounts or promotions » Flash sales

Jenn Herman

jennstrends.com Instagram: jenns_trends

FEATURE


tech tools

Meet Edgar

A social media scheduling tool like no other HOW DID YOUR TOOL GET STARTED? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION OR NEED YOU SAW TO BE FILLED? We actually created Edgar because before him, there just weren’t any tools around that do what he does! Our business originally had a much different focus from software – we created online training courses that small businesses and entrepreneurs could use to learn how to manage their own social media marketing. We noticed that there were two big hurdles that people marketing themselves on social run into: First, it feels like nobody is seeing their status updates. Twitter moves so fast that a tweet’s half-life is literally just minutes, and on Facebook, the average organic reach for an update is usually a percentage in the single digits. It’s just really hard to get your message noticed, no matter how valuable or well-crafted that message is. Second, people feel like they’re spending way too much time doing all of their social media marketing manually, and that makes the difficulty of getting noticed even more frustrating for them. You have people putting a lot of time and effort into writing quality updates, only to post them and have them get seen by only a tiny fraction of their audiences! Plus, they’d spend so much time writing and loading and scheduling posts, they hardly had time to spend live on social media – and live engagement is what it’s all about in the first place. One of the courses we launched before creating Edgar, Social Brilliant, teaches an entire social media marketing philosophy based in part on breaking up the types of updates you post into categories, and in sharing every update again and again over time because so few people see an update any given time you share it. While you could do this manually, we saw the need for a tool that would do it all automatically – save and categorize your updates, allow you to build a schedule based on the times you 28

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wanted to share updates from certain categories, and recycle your updates over time. Apparently, it was an idea that really resonated with social media marketers, too – we had more than 1,000 users in less than six months, and in less than a year reached an MRR of more than $100k. HOW WILL YOUR TOOL HELP INFLUENCERS REACH THEIR 2016 SOCIAL MEDIA AND BLOGGING GOALS? Edgar helps people by seriously cutting back on the amount of busywork that goes into social media marketing. Instead of spending time writing updates that get shared once and seen by only a small percentage of fans, users know that their work will have multiple opportunities to get noticed. Instead of manually tinkering with a queue, they know that the right types of updates will get shared at the right times. Instead of constantly loading and re-loading updates into a scheduling tool, their updates all get automatically saved, and shared again and again over time. Edgar makes the work you do on social go further, while giving you more time every day to focus on other things. Edgar’s real strength when it comes specifically to reaching blogging goals is in sharing evergreen content. It’s easy to only want to promote your most recent stuff – and if you’re doing it all manually, it can be almost impossible to find the time and motivation to promote older content no matter how good or how relevant it is! Because Edgar recycles your updates, though, loading updates that promote your evergreen content ensures that they’ll be promoted in a rotation over time, so you can continuously drive new traffic to old posts. Edgar doesn’t just help people get more mileage out of their status updates – he helps them get more mileage out of every blog post they’ve worked hard to write, too.


The Top 3 Highlights of Edgar 1. Saving and categorizing your updates Edgar saves every status update you load in an online library, and you can organize them all by category. Your updates stay in the library even after they’re published, so you no longer have to spend time and energy writing and scheduling updates only for them to get shared once and disappear forever.

2. Building a category-based schedule Because your updates are saved in categories, you get to choose the types of content that get shared at certain times. That way, if you have certain times and days of the week when you want to share certain types of updates, you can make that happen automatically – you’ll never have to rearrange your queue to make sure the right things are getting posted at the right time.

3. Recycling your updates

Laura Roeder, Founder meetedgar.com @meetedgar

Most of your fans and followers don’t see any given status update you post – so why post it just once? Edgar makes sure your updates don’t go to waste. After he posts an update, it goes back in the library, and he’ll keep cycling through all the rest of your updates according to the schedule you made. Once he runs out of new stuff, he’ll start re-sharing older updates, so they get a chance to be seen by all new people. Since this all happens automatically, you never have to worry about running out of updates in your queue – no matter how long you go between adding new ones!

WHAT TECHNOLOGY TRENDS DO YOU SEE HAPPENING IN 2016? As social networks keep changing, tools and apps are going to become less “one size fits all.” Entrepreneurs would rather have a few different tools that are each amazing at one thing than one tool that’s just okay at everything. For example, Twitter and Pinterest have very different styles and needs, as far as sharing content goes – it’s not unusual at all for someone to have separate scheduling tools for those different networks. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CORE VALUES OF YOUR COMPANY? Being kind and taking ownership are both integral to how our business operates. Our team is smaller than 20 people total, so everyone who works here is responsible for Edgar’s ongoing success in a big way. That’s a lot of responsibility, so we really prioritize maintaining a culture of mutual support, taking risks, learning from both our wins and our missteps, and holding ourselves accountable. WHAT ONE PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO SUCCEED IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA AND INFLUENCER SPACE? If you’re going to put time and energy into something, make sure you get the most out of it! Whether it’s a blog post, a status update, a podcast you recorded, a graphic you made, a YouTube video, whatever – don’t toss it out into the ether once and forget about it. If you worked hard on something, leverage it, and put it in front of people again and again. You and the things you create deserve it!

TECH TOOLS


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THE POWER

One size does not fit all influencers when it comes to choosing a network. Check out these four unique networks that take a different approach to influencer SPECIAL FEATUREservices. HIGHLIGHTING TIPS AND TOOLS

OF IMAGERY

FROM EXPERTS ON HOW TO CREATE POWERFUL IMAGERY.


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Derric Hoffman, Product Manager befunky.com @befunkyapp

Derric Hoffman started with BeFunky in 2012 doing support and social media management. As the now product manager, he understands the significance of images. Here, he shares his insights and tips for getting the best images you need.

Photo Editing & Graphic Design Made for Everyone Produce Stunning Photographs and Captivating Designs With Fun, Easy-to-use Editing Tools THE POWER OF IMAGERY

is at the root of BeFunky, and our apps all revolve around making photos look incredible. Our Photo Editor empowers users to enhance their photos in a way that is unique and beautiful. Our Collage Maker gives users the ability to take their photos and turn them into a story. Paired with the aforementioned Photo Editor, you end up with a story that is not only engaging but beautiful to look at. 32

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Creating the “Right� Images

Conceptually, great photos should be able to stand alone, requiring little to no explanation, evoke emotion, spur the imagination, and make the viewer think. Aesthetically, a great photo should be well composed, properly lit, in focus, and have a clear and defined subject. Photography is an art form, so there is a massive gray area when it comes to no nos. Some photographers go against standard convention, and it works really well for them. But as a general rule, it is best not to have photos that lack a defined subject, feature a poor use of depth of field, lack balance throughout the image, or do not use the full potential of their natural framing or perspective lines.


Collage Maker (upper right) gives users the ability to take their photos and turn them into a story. Photo Editor (center) empowers users to enhance their photos in a way that is unique and beautiful.

Beautiful Images, Creative Impact

Great images are the reason BeFunky was created. We strive for every one of our users to create great images. Our mission is to provide editing tools for anyone and everyone who takes photos, and help them improve their skills in both photography and photo editing. On our blog, we host a slew of tutorials and fun creative posts to help anyone with a camera take great photos. Everyday, we hand-select great photos our users have submitted, to be featured in our Explore gallery, with the intention of inspiring and

challenging other photographers to take and share great photos. Most of the response to our images comes from Facebook. We have a very large and engaged audience, and we share a lot of our own photos, as well as photos that have been BeFunkied by our users. We also see a huge response in our blog; we share a lot of tutorial-type posts featuring images created solely in BeFunky, with the hopes that we can inspire the same creativity in our audience.

How to Capture the Perfect Image on the Go 1. Have your camera ready at all times and take bursts of photos – so many times I have found a gem in a burst of 10 photos. 2. Use your camera’s grid lines to help you quickly compose a beautiful shot. 3. Use your flash sparingly – cameras have come a long way and most of them shoot really well in low light conditions. 4. Use the natural lines in your viewer/screen to add to the composition of your shot.

Aesthetically, a great photo should be well composed, properly lit, in focus, and have a clear and defined subject.

5. Edit conservatively – BeFunky gives you the tools to take a photo that you like and turn it into a photo that you love.

FEATURE


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How to Use Google Drive to

Create Graphics for your Business At least once a month someone asks me how I create graphics for my social media posts, blog articles, and ad images. These picture-quotes and infographics are a wonderful way to capture your audience’s attention. Plus, they provide a branding opportunity if you watermark your images.

Danielle Miller mmmsocialmedia.com @MMMsocialmedia

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In this article, I’m sharing my secret for a super easy tool that’s free to use. I’ve used Quark, Gimp, and Photoshop. But these programs can be quite intimidating and take a long time to learn how to use. What if you want an image today? What option do you have besides paying a graphic designer? You can use Google Drive to create graphics. Google Drive is like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all in one. It’s accessed online and linked to your gmail account. I love Google Drive because I maintain a mobile office. It allows me to access my files without having to carry around my laptop. Plus, if my computer crashes I can still access all of these files from a different computer. Talk about peace of mind!


Using Google Drive Drawings to Create Shareable Graphics

2. Drop in your background image. Place your background image. Then, set the text and watermark.

If you can upload an image and use PowerPoint, you can use Google Drive Drawings to create images for your business. Below is an example of a share-friendly image. Notice how my company’s website is on the image? This watermark is an important piece to building your brand. Also take note of the font styles and sizes. Use these factors to keep the image visually interesting. Google provides basics instructions on how to use the drawing program. What you need to know is how to get the image onto your computer once you’re done creating it. This way you can share it on Facebook, use it in blog posts, or add it to your emails.

Send the image to the back so your text box show up on top.

How to save these images on your computer: 1. Open a new drawing. You can make a copy of this template or create your own using a custom Page Setup.

3. Download as a JPG file. A .jpg file is a good image format for sharing on social media.

Or go to File > Page Setup > Custom

That’s it! Now take these new images and share them on social media.

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Sivan is a Los Angeles native living with her husband and two puppies Olive + Lyla. She began her blog in 2011 as a way to visually document her life for her future family to see and read. Sivan focuses the blog around attainability – realistic approaches to style, home décor, beauty, cooking (+ cocktailing), and crafting. With a popular blog and nearly 20,000 Instagram followers, Sivan knows the importance of great images.

Sivan Ayla

sivanayla.com Instagram: @sivanayla

Take Your Best Shot SIVAN AYLA For me, the power of imagery is just half the battle. My blog is heavy on writing and imagery, but I can’t have one without the other. I create different imagery for my different platforms (i.e., the blog, Pinterest, Instagram) because I know my followers are different on each channel. I always aim to use imagery as a way to capture the attention of a reader. Then once I have your attention, I hope to communicate a message within the image. A good caption helps, too. 36

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Powerful Images Lead to Growth


Prepare Your Shots

A great image all starts with the lighting. Of course, what’s IN the photo matters, too, but without great lighting the image will most likely not translate properly. It’s always frustrating when you’re looking at something beautiful, and then it looks completely different behind a lens. I shoot when there’s a lot of natural light since that will give you the truest depiction of your subject. In terms of composition, I love a well-balanced photo. If I’m shooting my shoes, there needs to be a fabulous rug beneath my feet. Think outside the box, throw in a random object that gives your reader an unexpected twist. In a lot of my selfies and shoe pics, you’ll often find a random donut somewhere in the image. Also, don’t underestimate the power of texture and layers in a photo. The deeper the better in my opinion! The crucial items to avoid in an image, aside from bad lighting, are pixelation and too much editing. I can always tell when a photo has been screen-shot or too heavily retouched. Readers and viewers love to glimpse raw and real. Taking a good photo definitely requires a lot of effort, but once the shot is taken the editing should be left to a minimum to simply enhance where necessary.

Great Images Get Shared

Sharing great imagery is how my blog gained traction initially. Before anyone was interested in reading about my life, they were finding my imagery on Pinterest and Instagram and gradually migrated to the blog, where I share the stories behind the images. Taking great images is also crucial for brands to see, as they might be open to a partnership purely for the content they know it will generate. It’s not always about the numbers; brands can recognize quality content when they see it, and in this business that means imagery. I tend to get the most reaction to images I post on Instagram. Since Instagram is a visual platform, I like to keep my followers interested by sharing a photo that you might not necessarily see on the blog. The blog is reserved for a more editorial feel, whereas on Instagram I’m not afraid to have fun with my posts.

My 5 best tips for taking a photo on the go 1. ALWAYS wipe your lens before shooting. Hopefully you’re using some sort of smart phone, too. 2. Find some shade. Direct sunlight will wash you out. 3. Take a least 50 pics. Kidding! But don’t be afraid to snap a few just in case one is blurry. 4. NEVER use Instagram’s filters (sorry IG!). Invest in a filter app like VSCO. 5. Don’t try too hard. The more natural, raw, and candid the better. FEATURE


Don't miss these incredible sessions #BlogHer16. Register today!

Best Practices Visual­-Storytelling Course Description: Social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram are focusing more and more on visual storytelling to tell your brand story. In this session, our panelists will share:

Dorothea Volpe Social Espionage

Evelyn Ngugi Naturally Curly

Rachel Matos theArtMuse

Heidi Nazarudin The Ambitonista

Jenn Fishkind Princess Pinky Girl

• Creative ways to tell your brand story and increase your reach • How to create brand narratives with a single image • How using themes and unique vantage points can help your images

convey your brand story to the masses

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• The best editing methods to make your videos look amazing • How to project confidence and get comfortable in front of the camera • What equipment you really need to make your videos look and sound

Jessi SanFilippo SHUGGFILIPPO

Lynn Chen The Actor's Diet

Amanda Rettke i am baker

Gaby Dalkin What's Gaby Cooking

professional on a budget

Facebook & Snapchat Best Practices Course Description: Are you a little confused about how Snapchat can help you get the word out about your brand? Does the ever­changing Facebook algorithm make you want to quit it forever? Our panelists will show you:

• Creative ways to tell your brand story and increase your reach • How to create brand narratives with a single image • How using themes and unique vantage points can help your images convey your brand story to the masses

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Lucrecer Braxton Hello Friend Podcast

Deva Dalporto MyLifeSuckers

Cerentha Harris Mom.me

Michelle Dowell-Vest Back2Us Radio Network

Ramou Sarr Black Girls Talking

Kandee Johnson KandeeJohnson

Whitney White Naptural85

• An argument for podcasting and an argument for vlogging • How to find and connect with your ideal audience using each platform • What kind of content means the most to you and what kind of content works best on video and audio

Managing Your YouTube: Best Practices Promotion & Distribution Course Description: Your YouTube channel is a valuable asset. The more you can promote your channel and earn visibility, the better. In this session, our panelists will share:

Sarah Penna Awestruck

• How to monetize your videos • How to use YouTube video features such as annotations & calls to action to increase views • Different ways to promote your YouTube content on all of your social media channels

Periscope & Other Live Broadcast Tools Course Description: Live­streaming video is growing in popularity and on an upward trajectory. In this session, you will learn how to:

• Grow an engaged, active community quickly • Get over being intimidated to “go live” and press the broadcast button • Create a compelling bio and catchy titles that drive more engagement

Ryan Bell Summit Live

Lizza Monet Morales PeriLatinos

Register today and save 25% Use code iBLOGBH16 at BlogHer16.EVENTBRITE.COM


marketing

5 Smart Habits FOR Staying Up to Date ON Influence Marketing

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he wealth of marketing knowledge available spread all over social media and our digital world can be overwhelming. Add that to the fact that influencer marketing is constantly evolving, and marketers have a really stressful job on our hands.

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The fact that I may overlook an important post or research report sometimes keeps me awake at night. Wanting to make sure I know everything 40

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I’m expected to know about influencer marketing keeps me scrolling through my Twitter feed, and asking brands and agencies of all shapes and sizes questions (probably too many questions). To ease my mind about staying up to date on influencer marketing news, there are a few very simple habits I’ve formed. Here are my five favorite ways to stay updated and educated in the world of influencer marketing.

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Set Up a Google Alert

Check in on your Google Alerts. These alerts allow me to make sure I get a daily feed of new posts. I have eight alerts set up, and they all pertain to influencer marketing and companies in this space. I highly recommend making sure that one of your alerts is “influencer marketing.” The alerts I get for this topic are always great pieces and keep me up to date in real time.

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Host an Event

For GroupHigh, I run a bi-yearly influencer marketing virtual conference. The Outreach Marketing Virtual Summit is by far my favorite thing about my job, and an event that keeps me and my network “to-date” on the latest and greatest strategies and creative tactics in the world of influencer marketing. To promote attendance, steer clear of impersonal email blasts. Instead, promote your event through opt-in email channels and personal invitations. Once your event is underway, drive real time engagement with easy-to-share content like Tweetable quotes and data visualizations What I love so much about virtual events is that they are free to tune into and can be enjoyed from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection.

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(shown below), I see a feed of tweets from like-minded sources lumped together by any given topic.

Use Twitter Lists

On social media, content passes through quickly. I tend to soak up my content in chunks of time, so I consult Twitter lists. You can view a list someone has already made, and subscribe to it or make your own. This allows you to only view the topics you want to read about at any given time. When I click on one of these lists

Instead of logging in and viewing my normal Twitter feed, lists free me from scrolling through people’s rantings, food selfies, and tweets about their children.

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Sign Up for Specific Newsletters

Subscribe to blogs and newsletters that you actually want to read regularly. I tried subscribing to every blog, news site, etc. that ever mentioned “influencer marketing,” and it was so overwhelming that I ended up not reading any of them. I scaled back and now only follow a few bloggers who specialize in influencer marketing. My three favorites are TopRank Marketing, Convince & Convert, and SpinSucks.

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Nurture Marketing Connections

I make it part of my weekly routine to touch base with all of my marketing relationships. I make it a point to know what they are doing in marketing for their brands, and what they think of the results and current trends. Find some way to make sure you have a list of all of your “marketing friends” in a CRM or on a spreadsheet, and make sure to reach out periodically. This outreach can be anything from a “catch up email” to sending them a gift card for being awesome – just don’t forget to make sure your relationships are mutually beneficial! Savvy marketers can’t afford to let big news pass them by. Put these habits into practice to stay current, well-connected, and clutter-free.

Kristen Matthews convinceandconvert.com @KristenWords

MARKETING


video

Has Livestreaming changed the Social Media world?

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he answer is a resounding YES! Livestreaming has absolutely changed the social media landscape for brands as well as small business and individual broadcasters. Livestreaming (live broadcasting) has been around for years, (remember Ustream?) but it has gotten miles of traction, loads of press and many tens of thousands of participants within the past year; particularly since March 26, 2015 when Periscope came on the scene. Meerkat, the first Livestreaming app to appear in 2015, was actually launched three weeks prior to Periscope, but Periscope was very quickly acquired by Twitter ‌ and for now, the rest is history. Regardless of the livestreaming platform you use and how often you use it, live broadcasting appears to be here to stay; in fact, my business was built on Periscope and at one time 100% of my clients came from seeing my Periscope broadcasts. 42

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So what exactly IS livestreaming and how can you up YOUR social media game with it? Livestreaming is the ability to broadcast live and you don’t need any fancy equipment (although there are lots of tools you can purchase to enhance your broadcasts!) to do it. I produce 25-30 livestream broadcasts each week with my iPhone, iPad, laptop and the earbuds that came free when I purchased these.


I broadcast on Periscope, Blab, Facebook Live and MeVee and only talk about four topics: business, social media, marketing and livestreaming. I chose these topics because I was already blogging about them. It just made sense. Besides broadcasting about the latest changes in social media (which includes livestreaming), I also provide a variety of tutorials, Q and A sessions and reviews. Everything around me is a possible broadcast topic and I bring it all back to business. The fact that Periscope is owned by Twitter (and that you can easily tweet out your live broadcasts directly from the platforms themselves) has been a HUGE game changer for Twitter and for ALL livestreamers; in fact, my most recent stats showed that I had over 110, 000 Twitter impressions within the past 28 days.

What does this mean in terms of my bottom line? Can I really make money from this live broadcasting stuff? I can happily say that livestreaming has literally transformed my business; in fact, in the first two months of 2016 I doubled my 2015 revenue. Livestreaming can easily be

“… Livestreaming can easily be used to position yourself as an expert in your field … to an entirely new audience.” used to position yourself as an expert in your field and these platforms highlight your expertise to an entirely new audience. I’ve used livestreaming for lead generation, to promote all of my products and programs and to engage with influencers. Although many do not, I often sell directly from the platforms.

What should you do if you’re interested in livestreaming? How should you begin? I always advise my clients that they should try any new social media platform for at least ten consecutive days before deciding that they don’t like it and/or that it is not right for their business at that time. This means that, if you’re interested in trying Periscope, you should produce at least one Periscope broadcast for ten days in a row before determining whether or not to continue with it. Although there are lots of courses and guides to help you with the ins and outs of livestreaming, to find out where and how to begin, I would choose one platform to investigate and then research it with the classic two: Google and YouTube. Happy streaming!

Bonnie Frank

bonnielfrank.com periscope.tv/bonnielfrank

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lifestyle

Finding a Balance With Blogging and Home Life

I’ve been blogging now for almost six years. What started out as a hobby and a creative outlet has become a large part of my life, as well as my family’s. It now enables us to do many things, such as take vacations and make cosmetic changes to our home. As with any new blogger, one of the biggest challenges was trying to figure out how to balance blogging with my home and family life. After six years, I finally feel that I do have a balance. 44

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Crucial Business Costs Web hosting is the number one cost and something that’s NEEDED for my business. I began on a free web hosting service and then after a few months changed to a self-hosted service. Over the years, I’ve had to increase my plan to keep up with my growing audience. You’ll want to make sure you choose a reliable web hosting service, as it’s the base of your business. Advertising is another must for my business. This comes in forms of Facebook or Twitter ads, and promoting giveaways and articles for clients. Not only is this a value for your client, it’s a value for your blog. How are people going to visit and read if they don’t know it exists? Another regular expense is blog backup. Paying a monthly fee to make sure your blog is backed up is just as important as making sure you’re doing a good job so you don’t get fired. After all, without your blog you don’t have a business. Too many people have become the unfortunate victims of hackers, and lose their business partially or fully to not include this as a necessary cost of a blogging business. Balancing Business and Home Life It’s important to balance your workload. It’s hard to say no when companies are asking you to review cool products and compensate for your time. This is, after all, part of your blogging business. Keep a calendar or planner, and look at it daily. Decide how many days of paid work you can handle and make sure that you only schedule work for those days. This means if someone comes to you with an opportunity and it doesn’t fit into your schedule, try to negotiate more time or simply decline. Getting your family involved is probably the biggest way to balance your business and family. Instead of doing everything on your own, involve your spouse and children. Let them help you review products, write an article, etc. Also, when planning any business travel, accept opportunities where you can bring your family. I’ve turned down several campaigns that included single travel because it just didn’t fit into my business model. Get support from family and friends – one of the reasons I’ve been able to blog for so long is that I have the full support of my family and friends. When my husband knows I have a Twitter party to host or articles to write, he does his part by helping take care of the children or helping out around the house so that our family is still well taken care of.


Three Free Resources Where You Should Invest Your Time Social Media A social media presence is very important to a blogging business. With the world immersed daily in Facebook and Twitter, you need to be there, as well. It’s important as a business owner to know what’s trending and take note. At minimum, you should have a presence with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, all of which are free.

“Decide how many days of paid work you can handle and make sure that you only schedule work for those days.“

Blogging Support Yes, you can do it alone, but the progress will be slower than if you have the support of the blogging community. One thing that helps a blogging business is connections, and getting yourself and blog out there so clients know who you are and the services you offer. Accounting and Planner/Calendar Making sure you know what work needs to be done and when it’s due is necessary to making your clients happy. Just as important is knowing who owes you what and what bills you have paid on behalf of your business. There are many free online planners, calendars, and accounting software programs that will easily suit the needs of a blogging business.

Also, make sure to write about things you enjoy. It’s easy to sway from what you enjoy when you see money, however, writing will be easier and your audience will appreciate your passion when you write about things you enjoy. When I first started my blog, I wrote a lot about fitness and health, however, these days I focus more on technology. The great thing about a blog is that it’s yours, and you can move it in any direction you want.

Colleen Shibley shibleysmiles.com @shibleysmiles

LIFESTYLE


business

7 About Small Business Management

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efining your small business management techniques is a great way to grow your business. To help you get a better understanding about managing your business, I want to share common misconceptions that could be a hinderance to you. Then I’ll share tips on how you can overcome them. Misconception # 1

Blogging Isn’t Important I started with this misconception because blogging is one of the best ways to share your knowledge and get your message out. It’s definitely something that you should start doing on a 46

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regular basis if you aren’t already. Why? Because blogging is one of the easiest ways to share your content online when you share via social media. Blogging can help drive traffic to your website because it alerts search engines that you have new content. Also, when you share your blog post on social media, you can engage with your target customers and draw them to your website. As you start blogging, keep in mind that it’s a great idea to have an editorial calendar to manage your blogging schedule. Here are a few key things to remember when setting up your editorial calendar: • Create a theme or series of topics. • Identify which days or dates you’ll publish your blog posts. • Determine the keywords that you’ll focus on for your series. • Define the online sources where you’ll share your blog posts.

Misconception # 2

I Don’t Need a Team This is an old notion that can hinder your business growth. Having a team can help you with your small business management when you hire


virtually or locally. Choosing to have a team as part of my business has been the best decision I’ve made. My team has enabled me to focus more on growing my business while they took care of the day-to-day tasks and completing client projects. Because I have a team, I’ve been able to delegate content management, graphic design, email list management, and many other business tasks that help to grow my business. If you don’t have a team yet you want to build one, check out Upwork.com to find people who could help to share your knowledge and get your message out. It’s definitely something that you should start doing on a regular basis if you aren’t already. Why? Because blogging is one of the easiest ways to share your content online when you share via social media.

Misconception # 3

Mentoring Isn’t Necessary for Small Business Management Running your business without a mentor is like trying to take a road trip without a map. Mentors can help guide your business and give you coaching that will assist you in growing your business. When selecting a mentor, there are three simple things to keep in mind: • Check their track record to see what type of success they’ve had mentoring others with their small business management. • Make sure they understand the vision and goals you have for your business. • Ensure they have a clear plan for mentoring their clients, which includes accountability.

I’ve gone through several coaches or mentors who didn’t work for me. My current mentors have been a big blessing because they see my vision and understand my goals. With their assistance, I’ve been able to set up a highend subscription program that’s bringing in several thousand dollars per month. Having a mentor is a very important part of growing my business.

Misconception # 4

Continuing Education is a Waste of Time This misconception is one that can cause you to stagnate in your business. Continuing education can include things like workshops, webinars … even listening to/reading books. Participating in continuing ed is also a good way to be a great boss to your employees/ contractors too. One of my favorite ways to continue education is through listening to audio books. It helps me visualize what I’m learning while I’m taking notes – or in some cases, applying what I’ve learned.

Misconception # 5

Social Media is Only About Posting A big misconception about social media is that engagement means you’re just pushing out content. However, when you share your messages or content on social media, it’s a great idea to interact with your online connections. Engaging them is a great way to build up your community, too. The best way to incorporate engagement into your social media efforts is to comment, reshare, or like/+1 because it shows you’re supporting the message you’re interacting with. As you engage, think about building long-lasting relationships. Whether it’s with your peers, target customer, or your industry leaders, build engagement into your activities on social media.

business for your team members to grow. Examples of team building can include being open to business feedback, creating opportunities to have fun, and allowing team member to have input into business direction. One of my favorite things to do is to celebrate International Virtual Assistant Day, which happens in May. I celebrate this day as part of team building and to let my team know how much I appreciate them.

Misconception # 7

Lists Don’t Help Me Complete My Goals Lists can help you define your goals and accomplish them quickly. Creating lists that you update as you complete a task is a great way to stay on target. Having a general list has helped me to stay focused and keep things organized.

“ … as you get past the misconceptions, you can get started with reaching your vision and goals.” What’s Next? Hopefully this article will help you with your small business management. Realizing that misconceptions can be a hindrance to business growth, you now have a head start to getting past these hindrances. And as you get past the misconceptions, you can get started with reaching your vision and goals.

Misconception # 6

Teambuilding is a Myth First, having a team in place is essential to small business growth and then building your team is important, too. Teambuilding happens when you have various opportunities in place within your

Kim Beasley kimbeasley.com @kimbeasley

BUSINESS


lifestyle

systems & Schedules

Camille Gabel growingupgabel.com @thegabels

Vital to Blogging Achievement

I BELIEVE ANYONE CAN BE SUCCESSFUL BLOGGING as long as they are willing to work hard for the long haul. I realize some bloggers are an instant success, but most that I know have spent years building their business. Consistent hard work is the key. I’m also an avid learner and reader. I listen to podcasts, attend webinars, read articles and books like it’s my job – because it is! I also learn from other bloggers who are succeeding. They are the most valuable resource I have found for being successful. I learn something new every single time I talk to another blogger.

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It’s really important when working from home to set work limits. There is no way to physically walk away from the job because it’s always right there. I set myself office hours and I stick to them. I work three days a week from 7:30 AM until 3:00 PM when the kids are in school. About ten minutes before they walk in the door from school, I finish up, turn off my laptop and walk away so I’m able to focus on my kids and husband all of our family activities. I do work some nights after they go to bed, but usually I’m too tired to be productive. I take every Wednesday morning off during the school year


“It’s really important when working from home to set work limits. I set myself office hours and I stick to them.“

blogging. Bloggers will no longer be a picture in a sidebar. We will be able to invite readers into our real lives so they can see that we’re just like them. I think this change will make us even more influential when it comes to selling products and promoting a brand because we’re real people living real lives.

for personal care. During the summer, Wednesdays are for family and I spend the day with the kids. I rarely work on weekends, but if I need to, then I only work on either Saturday or Sunday, never both. I have found that blogging has a never ending “to do” list and I could easily work around the clock. But setting a schedule and sticking to it no matter what has helped keep my family happy and my life in balance. ADAPT TO CHANGE One of the best things about blogging is how fast things can change. One of the worst things about blogging is how fast things can change! One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in the past year is live video. SnapChat, Periscope, and now Facebook Live are all changing the way bloggers connect with their readers. I have been very slow to adapt to this change, but I think that it’s going to be a game changer for

BE PREPARED TO GROW As my site has grown, so has my income and my expenses. 2015 was my most successful year ever, but I wasn’t prepared for it. I did not have systems in place to adequately deal with the reality of income and expenses that moved at a pretty good place. There were many tears shed during tax season because of my lack of organization. This year I’ve already set up new software, hired help, and set myself up to better handle the financial side of my business. Creating and writing is fun! But that’s not all blogging is about so get those systems set up and in place from the beginning. WHAT SETS YOU APART? This is a question I struggle with every single day that I sit down to blog. I think what makes me different is that I’m not so different. My readers take comfort in knowing that I’m just like them. I struggle with my kids homework. I make recipes that totally flop. My kitchen table is almost always piled high with papers and books and who knows what else. I think what makes a difference is being real and authentic about who you are and what your life is like. Readers are looking for someone to connect with and who understands them and can help make life a little easier.

LIFESTYLE


podcasting Emily Thompson & Kathleen Shannon beingboss.club @beingbossclub

Emily Thompson (left) is co-founder and co-host of Being Boss – A podcast for creative entrepreneurs. Emily is also founder of Indie Shopography, a design and strategy web studio, where she and her team develop websites for creative entrepreneurs who want to rock their online presence. EmilyMThompson.com is where she shares “get-your-sh*t-together” advice and tactics for makers and doers, turning their dreams into a sustainable, profitable business.

Being Boss Sharing Real Advice

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eing Boss is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs with Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Our listeners (our tribe!) want to “be boss.” They are the rebels, the quiet ones, the schemers, and the dreamers! So our stories, advice, and interviews are about being boss the way we choose, and being who we are in work and life! 50

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Kathleen Shannon is co-founder and cohost of Being Boss – A podcast for creative entrepreneurs. Kathleen is co-founder of Braid Creative, personal branding for creative entrepreneurs who blend work and life – like designers, writers, artists, foodies, yogis and lifestyle professionals. AndKathleen.com is where she shares her own journey as a working creative, tackling fears and taking risks, whether trekking the foothills of Mt. Everest, starting a family, or starting a business.

Where did the idea for the Being Boss podcast come from? KATHLEEN: Being Boss started as our own passion project and a fun idea – there were no fears because there were no expectations. We went for it because it sounded like a rad project. EMILY: The idea for the Being Boss podcast came from Skype sessions Kathleen and I were already having. We were chatting all about email marketing tactics, balancing life and work, and how to manage clients. We knew our conversations were valuable because they were helping us a ton! It was my idea to create a podcast. It just came to me one day that podcasting would make us great – we just had to share the content we were already dishing about.

Did you have any fears about podcasting? We were totally afraid of what our voices would sound like and if anyone really listened to podcasts beyond Serial. But we were both bosses, already in it and dealing with fears every single day, so we didn’t think much of it and just dove in, head first.

What tips do you have for someone who wants to start a podcast? Just hit record. That’s what we did! We started out by recording conversations we were already having as friends and business owners – you can worry about logistics (like buying sound equipment) later!

How did you cultivate such a loyal online community? By being authentic and bringing other like-minded business owners on the podcast who are total bosses in life and work. We’ve cultivated this community of creative online business owners who primarily work alone – so it’s great for everyone to have a place to talk about business together and create new relationships.

What are the plans for the Being Boss podcast in the future? We’re writing a book, want to travel often, connect with other bosses out there, and create great content for our community!

PODCASTING


Looking for some fun recipes for your next barbecue? Try out these Grilled Caprese Zucchini Boats – or these refreshingly healthy Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Pops!

Grilled Caprese Zucchini Boats

Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Pops

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

2 zucchini 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt 3-4 ounces mozzarella cheese with the REAL® Seal, cut into 8 strips 8 grape tomatoes, cut into fourths Basil, about 4 medium leaves cut into thin ribbons

3 bananas ½ cup creamy peanut butter 1 cup plain yogurt (I used non-fat; you can use other varieties) 2 tablespoons honey (optional – feel free to adjust according to taste)

DIRECTIONS

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat the grill on medium heat. 2. Trim off the ends of the zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scrape out just a bit of the zucchini flesh, to create a well (just enough to create a place to cradle your mozzarella cheese), leaving about ¼" from the edge intact. 3. Brush the cut sides of the zucchini with olive oil and season with salt. 4. Place zucchini, cut side down, on the grill at an angle. Continue cooking until the zucchini is charred and beginning to soften, about 10 minutes or so.

Equipment: Popsicle molds and sticks

1. Place all ingredients, except the honey, into your food processor bowl. Process until very smooth. 2. Taste test the mixture and add honey according to taste (I used 2 tablespoons). 3. Spoon the mixture into popsicle molds and add sticks according to the instructions of your popsicle mold. Place in freezer and freeze until frozen (overnight is best).

5. Turn zucchini over, laying the zucchini in the same direction as the lines on the rack, as this will help to cradle each zucchini boat. Place 2 mozzarella strips into the well area of each zucchini boat. 6. Top the mozzarella with about 8 tomato pieces. Cover the grill and continue cooking until the cheese is melted. After the cheese is melted, remove your zucchini boats carefully from the grill. 7. Before serving, sprinkle with basil ribbons. Home Cooking Memories is a family food blog that not only shares creative and easy recipes that are making memories in Brandie’s home, but also shares modern-day recipe-keeping techniques and ideas so you can preserve your own food and recipe memories.

Brandie Valenzuela homecookingmemories.com @HomeCookMemory

RECIPES


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