As we head into the dog days of August, many of us are preparing for that end-of-summer vacation - squeezing in one last adventure before the rush and hustle of fall routines begin.
Maybe you're jetting off on a European tour, perhaps a jaunt across the US, or maybe it's as simple as a day trip or two somewhere closer to home. These travels tend to share a common thread - seeking out the "amazing little local shops" that line the streets or are tucked into the charming nooks and crannies of the places we visit.
We return home, car stuffed to the ceiling with bags of goodies from our travels. Be it crafted knick-knacks, jewelry, or tasty treats – the lure of local treasure is near impossible to resist. Plus, it's always fun to chat with the shop owners. They're excited and chock full of knowledge about their products. And like a photograph, that experience becomes part of the bigger story. "Remember when…?"
Wait a sec, we do! Take a look around, there exists a plethora of incredible shops and businesses ready to be explored right in our own backyards.
Don't get us wrong, shopping online in your pajamas (free shipping!), running to your favorite Big Box Retail because you know where everything is and it's right on your way home –absolutely has its place - we're 100% with you. But changing up just a few of our buying habits can spread a bit of that summer vacation enthusiasm throughout the rest of the year.
Need a unique gift? A bookstore, home decor, or beautiful stationery? A new place to lunch with pals or meet with a client? Take time to adventure out into your own neighborhoods - we promise you will be amazed at what you can find!
Then spread the word whenever you can, to friends and on social media.
Let's make #shopsmallsummer a year-round thing!
Summerpalooza is in full swing! These summer days are few and precious, so the old routine goes out the window and we tend to find ourselves a bit distracted by the excitement of it all. If you’re anything like us, you’re craving time outside to enjoy the beautiful warm weather, maybe do a bit of gardening, hit the beach for some sun and sand, or just look for fun opportunities to keep the kids active and entertained.
This shift in attention hits your business’s audience as well. So how do you maximize engagement with your brand when your patrons have one eye on a flamingo pool float? (Unless of course, you're selling flamingo pool floats.)
Try something fresh and new, find another business owner that has a similar audience or product and collaborate. Working cohesively with another business opens up a world of opportunity for both brands, you just need to start with a fun and creative idea.
And because we like to help, we’re going to make it even simpler for you to get started.
Here are some of our splashiest tips for easy collaboration:
Pretty cool stuff, right?
Ooooh, now we want ice cream…
One of the most common faux pas we find when reviewing a client’s SM is shocking in its simplicity. It goes something like this:
Lovely, on-brand photo, check! Fun and entertaining caption, check! Relevant hashtags added, check! Throughout the busy work day, you hear chime after delightful chime as your phone lights up with notifications - likes and comments galore – YAY!
This same ritual occurs for several days until the notifications become fewer and far between, while comments disappear altogether.
Why the crickets?
Because someone forgot that using social media means you need to actually be social!
Get a comment? Wonderful! Now treat it EXACTLY as you would if a customer had walked in to your brick & mortar store - respond! You would never in a million years stare blankly back at a client or customer in real life, right? Build your online community the same way you’ve cultivated your loyal following IRL.
Here’s a handy list of quick tips to keep in mind:
Imagine this: it's the week before hordes of people descend upon your house for the holidays (or any special occasion for that matter), and you decide in a frenzied "driving-to-Home-Depot-as-we-speak" kind of urgency, that you need new carpet or a fresh coat of paint on the entire main floor?
We can't be the only ones…right?
If you think about it, most of us live in our homes 365 days a year. We look at the same walls, the same floors, the same hole in the ceiling - that we'll eventually get to fixing - every single day. Some of it becomes white noise. We're so used to looking at it that we don't even see it anymore. Life is busy, so we prioritize what we feel is most important, and everything else will just have to wait. So despite not totally being in love with the mauve and puce floral wallpaper in the dining room, you can live with it for a while, and it falls into a black abyss we all know as the "I'll get to it eventually" category.
And you know what? The same holds true for your website.
We all know it's super important to have one, and often times your website is your customer's first point of contact with your biz (thank you Google). You might even consider it your online "home." But like those four walls we look at 24/7, it's easy to set it and forget it. When we ask the question: are you updating the content on your website regularly? Many business owners give us the deer in headlights look followed by, "well, I have a website, isn't that enough?" Short answer: no.
A successful website is one that never falls into the "I'll get to it eventually" category. Renovations don’t have to be overwhelming, or all-encompassing. Even minor changes can create a huge impact.
We'll make it easy by giving you three easy tips to consider:
1. Spruce up your copy, and add some snazzy new images. Own a magic shop? Load a video demonstrating a new card trick. The point is, these are all ways to provide relevant, attention-grabbing information to new and returning visitors.
2. Keep up with your business's blog. If you haven't posted since 2009, you're missing out on a valuable opportunity to speak to your customer. You’re an authority in your field, sharing your knowledge and experiences in blog posts is a great way to build trust. Stuck for what to write about? Try answering a question frequently asked by your customers!
3. Are your social media accounts connected to your website? When website visitors can see your activity on various social channels via a live stream on your site, you are creating yet another opportunity to establish your biz as the authority in your field, gain followers, and convert those customers.
We're just going to say it: the holidays are coming, people. And though it might seem a little early to start embracing the spirit - don't panic, we're going to help you with at least one item that you may not even realize is on your to-do list!
Whether you are a retail store, online biz, blogger, author, or an Instagram postaholic - it's safe to assume that between now and January 1, there will be a cornucopia of opportunities to post the yumminess that rides in on the holiday food train.
We've all had that epic turkey dinner, a gorgeous NYE party cocktail, or marveled at a heaping platter of grandma's famous Christmas Crinkles - post-worthy moments?
The desire to share that experience with the world is understandable - food makes powerful memories.
But how do you get that amazing culinary experience to translate to a drool-worthy, I-want-to-eat-that-NOW, photo?
We get this question a lot. So charge your phone battery, load up your plate, and have the barista top off your latte, here are the Mamas' tips for fabulous foodie photos:
5. Forego the filter.
Filters are great if you're over 40 *wink*, but if your food is fresh and (hopefully) wrinkle free, they are totally unnecessary. Check out the difference between these shots:
Color, texture, detail - the unfiltered photo has it all. And we have to say this Pumpkin Spice Cake, from a favorite local bakery, tasted every bit as rich and delicious as it looks. (Trust us, there wasn't a crumb left!)
Hungry for more? Check out this link from IG Queen, Jasmine Star for additional tips and tricks for taking super fabulous post-worthy photos.
*Note: This blog post was written by Andrea as a guest post for Gila Green's Summer Guest Post Series (reposted with permission).
You don't need me to tell you that social media is a powerful tool. It's evident in the fact that we can upload and share a photo, video, article, message, or opinion - on an ever-growing variety of social platforms - in a matter of seconds. That's pretty impressive in its own right. But the real power comes into play when you consider that the content you just posted has the potential to be seen by literally millions of people around the world.
It's mind-boggling when you stop and think about how connected we are.
I won't tell you that social media is the new word of mouth. (It is.)
I won't even tell you that almost one-third of the global population is using some form of social media for personal or professional use. (They are. 2.46 billion, in fact.)
Facebook leads the charge with over 2 billion users globally, Youtube comes in at a relatively close second. And my favorite, Instagram, falls solidly in the middle with over 800 million users worldwide.
Now, this is something I will tell you - if you are a writer and you're not already on Instagram - you need to get on it.
1. Introverts Unite!
Writers can be notoriously solitary creatures. We sit alone for hours on end, staring at a screen, typing strings of brilliant ideas together until they take the form of a story. But if you're like me, thoughts like "who would want to read this, anyway?" and "this story stinks," fight to take up residence in my innermost being. Well, I'm happy to report that there exists a community of like-minded writers on Instagram that will not only help squash those negative thoughts, but they will lift you up with positivity, constructive feedback, and the encouragement one needs to just keep writing.
2. If you build it, they will come.
Take a look around Instagram. Check out authors you admire, or hashtags like #writerscommunity, #writersofinstagram, and #writerslife - there are literally thousands of writers posting great content. Some feature their own writing, or quotes from other authors books. Some share photos of their writing spaces, dogs, cats, favorite book covers...the list goes on and on. While I do not advocate copying another account's style, look around and get some ideas - then come up with your own aesthetic. The key: be true to you. If you apply this to the content you post, your following WILL grow. (More good news: selfies are completely optional!)
One of the things agents and publishers look for in writers is a strong social media presence. Why? Because a genuine following equals potential readers and a built-in fan base. Simple as that.
4. Be in the know.
Writers aren't the only ones to watch for on Instagram. Literary agents and publishers account for a growing number of users on the platform as well. Learn what is being published, what genres they're looking for, and make potentially valuable connections.
It takes time and effort to build a robust platform, so don't get distracted or disappointed by vanity metrics. A bazillion followers does not always equate to a successful feed. Instead, focus on the relationships you are creating and the connections you are making. Not only will you feel more confident about building a genuine following, but you'll also experience the added benefit of getting to know writers and fans of your own writing from around the world.
The bottom line: social media is a great way to share the vision for your writing. And the Instagram community is a great place to share, connect, inspire, and cheer our fellow writers on!
Raise your hand if gazing upon a lush, flourishing garden soothes your soul.
Now Raise your hand if you're all about getting in there - turning the soil and planting seeds.
For us, there is nothing more therapeutic, relaxing, and yes - productive, than spending time with our hands in the dirt. But, as much as we love it, we have to admit that sometimes it can be a time consuming, back-breaking chore. Relying on the weather report to determine your watering schedule, to fertilize or not to fertilize, battling pests and constant weeding. Yeah, these things threaten to suck the fun right out of it. But just when we're ready to throw in the gardening trowel...pop! That first tender green shoot breaks through, then another, and another - confirmation that all that hard work was worthwhile.
Believe it or not, the same case can be made for your small business and its online presence. With well-planned cultivation, your website, social media, and e-marketing seeds can develop healthy roots and abundant fruit.
1. Start with consistent watering.
Don’t let your online presence fall into a drought! Posting on your social media profiles, and sending newsletters or emails on a regular basis gets (and keeps) your brand in front of consumers. Create a robust schedule and stick to it, the benefits are plentiful!
For one, you build your brand - the more recognizable your brand, the more trust you gain with your audience. Additionally, audiences engage more with likes, comments, and follows when they feel like they know you. And when they feel like they know you - guess what, they’re more likely to want to buy your product or service. By posting daily, and being diligent with your eMarketing, you are maintaining a positive presence in your market. Many businesses are already on social media, be the one that does it well!
Here’s a quick guideline for Small Businesses in 2018: post to Facebook and Instagram - one to two times a day, Twitter - three to five tweets per day, and Linked in - one post per day. Social Report breaks it all down for you here.
2. Feed them the right stuff.
And you have about three seconds to deliver the goods or risk getting swiped into the compost pile. Think about it like this: if your customer is into fine dining SHOW them the fine dining experience they will have at your restaurant - make them want to eat that steamed asparagus with balsamic glaze in a perfectly lit atmosphere that makes them look ten years younger while a guitar player gently strums in the background. (FOMO is real people! Heck, we’d go there!) Whether its your website or social media channels, stunning images and attention-grabbing copy that reflect your brand are a must.
3. Don't let the weeds take over!
Follower apps may promise - and even deliver - droves of followers to your social media profiles. Who wouldn't feel flattered going from 100 to 10K followers overnight? So, you download the app and wake up to a following that (it has to be said) is growing like a weed. It feels good for a while until it becomes clear that many of those "followers" are actually bots or fake accounts that don't add real value to your account. The unfortunate fact is that these “foolers” eventually choke out your authentic audience leaving you with a spam riddled feed and low post interaction. Don’t get tangled up obsessing over vanity metrics! The focus instead should be on strategies and actions to develop a strong, organic following and a credible online presence.
4. Talk to your garden.
While there may not be conclusive scientific evidence that talking to plants helps them grow, it has been proven that engaging with your followers on social media WILL increase the visibility of your posts. In other words - be social! Respond to comments, initiate discussions, use polls, videos, and stories to keep the conversation going.
High engagement = a credible account that algorithms recognize and reward.
While we aren’t in the business of horticulture, we do know a thing or two about helping small businesses develop healthy roots online. Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation today.
My mama told me, you’d better shop around…
Captain and Tenille had it right back in the *cough* seventies, and the concept of shopping around is still super relevant, much like Tenille's ginormous feather-trimmed sleeves. (For the full diddy, click the pic...we know you want to.) BUT how we do it has changed considerably. It used to be that we'd have to get in the car and drive from store to store to compare brands and products. These days the power to shop around fits right in the palm of our hand!
According to LinkedIn Marketing, the average decision maker reads ten pieces of content before finalizing their purchase and 57% are researching from a mobile device.
Mobile devices are our connection, our community window, and our go-to research tool - we can be educated, updated and inspired in less time than it takes to get an oil change.
And of course, we have our opinions, don’t we?
Like, comment, and follow. We eagerly consume content, but the reality is - impressions count. Brands and consumers have never been as closely connected as they are today. Posts have to speak to us, and our particular needs as consumers or we scroll right by. Words and images must hit just the right chord get an "oOOooOoh, I love it!" reaction (as well as a double-tap on that killer post).
Cultivating our attention has never been so competitive or so vital to small business, and yet there's this...
The focus of marketing on social media should not be about selling alone, but about ensuring your customers happiness and loyalty. Engagement is crucial to developing strong, authentic, and enduring relationships. Creating a dialogue by encouraging feedback and responding to customer needs makes for a powerful online community.
Have you found yourself thinking...
∙Social Media is too confusing.
∙I don’t see the value – is it really worth the effort?
∙I get frustrated trying to connect to my customer – how do I get them excited about my product?
∙I just don’t have the time to figure it all out!”
Don't sweat it, you're not alone!
In January 2018, Instagram once again changed its algorithms. Just when you think you’ve solved a piece of the social media puzzle, the rules of the game seem to change, change often, and with lightning speed.
Whether your social media puzzle has never been opened, has been pitched back in the box and left to collect dust on the top shelf of your closet, or even occasionally gets a piece added - Mama Media is here to find creative solutions to complete the picture.
To know you is to know your business. And the better we understand your brand, the more effectively we can connect its unique voice to your target customer.
Book a Complimentary Consultation today and remember - whether or not you are using social media, your customers certainly are, and they are searching for you.
Let’s get creativity all up in your business!