My friend Becky asked me to guest post here because she knows I’m one of you. You’re probably a solopreneur who runs a business from a home office with one hand and a mom or dad cleaning snot off your kid’s face with the other. You may be the smartest parent in the world, but dealing with summer vacation can be as difficult as trying to navigate why your kid is throwing a tantrum in the middle of Target. (Oh that’s right, because dad is so mean not to buy you that Pokemon ball. So Mean!).
Here are six tips I’ve found useful for people with a home office and children. (And then keep reading for some Facebook ads advice…)
1. Birth Control. Don’t have children. Just kidding, but not really. But yes, I’m kidding. Maybe. My children are the best thing that ever happened to me. Like last evening, my 6-year-old took my hand and said, “Daddy, you are going to do ninja training with me?” We went to the park a block from our house and did ninja training. He took me over ladders and down slides and we did a slalom thing between some evergreen trees. In the end, he christened me a “Blue Ninja” for completing the training course. How absurdly awesome is that? I’m a ninja now! Anyway, if you want to work and not have kids that take you on ninja training exercises preventing backed up client work, use birth control.
2. Put kids to work. Schedule work time for your kids. Have your kids do your work for you. Seriously, kids are the best content creators. Send them off with your phone to talk to your clients for you. Have them write your blog posts and schedule Facebook ads for your launch. Maybe even give them a microphone to do your podcast interviews on your behalf. Yes, I understand they write at a 2nd grade level and your press releases, sales copy, and blog posts will be about Minecraft and Roblox, but content is content. Don’t talk to me about child labor laws either. This will allow you more time for ninja training.
3. Send kids on “adventures.” When my 10-year-old twins annoy the shit out of me (yes, I have twins and work from home. For more context, see #1), I tell them to take their bikes and pick flowers from the park so mom has something nice to look at when she gets home from work. When they get back, I tell them the flowers are beautiful and they did well, but mom is more of a fan of peonies and not lilies. “You’ll have to go back and get peonies.” Give them 50 cents for their effort. Tell them to go to the store to buy junk food.
4. Screens. Plop those kids down in front of screens. Don’t feel bad about this. God made Kindles and iPads for busy parents who don’t have time to parent. Let them watch screens even if it’s videos like this one that my 8-year-old watched this morning. Highly educational stuff. They’re learning life lessons like how to slice open dragons and thumb and forefinger dexterity, which are skills we will need we need to defeat ninjas.
5. Pay them. Pay your children with money or candy or ice cream to shut the hell up and give you time to do your business things.
6. Work at 3am. Seriously, sleep is for dummies. Do you operate heavy machinery or drive a semi on ice roads? Of course you don’t. Those people are too busy operating heavy machinery to read blog posts. They need sleep. Do work when there are no distractions. Except for the Internet. And puking sick children. But the Internet is better for puppies and kitty videos. And spend that 3am time writing ninja training manuals. Put those ninja training manuals in your sales funnel and make dozens of dollars in profit.
Awkward transition to the real point of this post…
Retargeting Facebook Ads for Busy People
Okay, now that I have your attention and gave you all sorts of value, I’m going to assume you feel like you owe me. And I’m humbled you feel that way. And yes, you kinda owe me. So in an attempt to salvage my reputation, I made a video just for you that shows you three ways to target your Facebook ads that will make you dozens of dollars regardless of your niche or industry.
This is designed for people who are too busy to spend too much time on Facebook ads. You know, the parent whose kid… KEEPS INTERRUPTING HIS FATHER, TRUMAN ANTON JAMES! … I’m assuming you’re not a noob when it comes to Facebook ads, so I won’t bore you with all the mumbo jumbo. I’ll get right at it to give you the most bang for your blog-reading buck. Just a couple notes before you get to the video:
Facebook allows you to retarget to people who have a) visited your website, b) viewed a certain percentage of your Facebook video, and c) are on your email list. You can combine all these into one super great targeting list I call the Voltron List. I wrote an absurdly long post on this topic on my blog here.
And here’s a PDF that lays out the strategy if you want to nab it for free (you don’t even have to fork over your email to get it!).
(Oh my goodness, now I just gave you even more value. I’m killing it today. Now you owe me like 15 cents worth of your time. I just quantified it, so it’s totally true. So if you like Facebook Ads tips like this, sign up for my new email list. WAIT! Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me, Truman Anton James...
Everyone hates dumb emails, but I will try and make it so you don’t hate me. The emails will be focused on Facebook ads tips and I will answer your questions about them for free in exchange for the right to send you about one email a month. I haven’t sent out an email yet, but it’ll be pretty much one per every three weeks or so until I get more ambitious or decide to sleep less. Sign up here if you wanna.
Phil K. James runs a digital marketing agency the kids call Good Milkshake Digital. He’s the father of four future Chicago Cubs statisticians. (They won’t make the majors, because, you know, bad genetics). In his spare time he takes care of his sunflower seed garden and the flock of chickens in his backyard. He’s married to a smoking hot artist named Nicole and is a certified Blue Ninja by the Abraham J. James School of Ninja Training.
Are you struggling to increase the visibility of your website or business? Gaining the number of followers, likes, or comments you need to be seen can be difficult. Pinterest group boards are a magical tool that many people, like myself, are using to help drive traffic to their websites.
If you can’t figure out how to find group boards or how to effectively use them, you aren’t alone. It was a definite learning curve for me, and I joined (and left) several groups before I found some that were a fit for me. Here are my best tips for finding and using Pinterest groups.
Build Your Pinterest Presence
Before you can tackle Pinterest group boards it’s good to have a solid presence on Pinterest. You should post 10-30 pins a day, and repin more of other peoples’ pins than your own.
It’s important when creating pins to use high-quality, vertical images. While images are important, so are the descriptions and content. The more valuable information your pins contain, the more likely it is they’ll be shared. You can add text to your pins to make them more eye-catching, and even get your name out there a little easier by adding your site address to the bottom. Another great tip is to use commonly searched keywords in your descriptions.
Another huge way to increase your visibility and engagement on Pinterest is to create a business account. This will give you access to Pinterest analytics and rich pins, which have more information than regular pins. There several categories of rich pins—article, product, recipe, movie, place, and apps. Rich pins allow you to have a higher visibility and SEO. Plus, any time you update anything on your website, rich pins automatically change too.
Engagement is also instrumental to success on Pinterest (and any social media platform). It’s important to repin your follower’s pins and comment on them. If you love the content that someone shares, let them know. Comment, share, and like! If you see a pin or board you know someone would love, share it with them!
How to Find Group Boards
Believe it or not, Facebook is one of the best places to find Pinterest group boards. There are several Facebook groups to help you find group boards to join, or share your pins to get more exposure. I like to post in both kinds of groups to seek out group boards that pertain to my niche.
When looking for group boards to join, choose those where you can post anything or boards that pertain specifically to your niche. This database and this one sort Pinterest group boards by category, which can is super helpful.
In addition to Facebook, a quick Google search turns up databases Pinterest group boards, some even sorted by category! I’ve found a couple of sites that do a great job of finding group boards. Both PinGroupie and The Pin Junkie have options to contact them to add your own group board to their database.
If all else fails and you’re struggling to find group boards that pertain to your niche, you can create your own. If you have enough presence on Pinterest and the time to devote to keeping up with a group board, it’s simple to add contributors to your boards. Just click the icon to edit your board, then the “add contributors” box at the bottom, and type in the name or email of the person you want to invite to your board. If you start small with friends or colleagues who share to your boards often, they can grow quickly.
How to Use Group Boards
First and foremost, read the description of the group board. Some require that you only pin a certain number of pins a day or only use high-quality vertical images. Even if the groups you’re a part of don’t limit how many pins you can post, still make sure your pins are relevant.
One of the many keys to using Pinterest group boards is to pin often. Just because you shared your latest blog post in one group board, doesn’t mean you can’t share it in others as well. Share your pins in all relevant group boards to get wider exposure and increase your chances of gaining likes, repins, and followers.
Pinterest group boards can also create opportunities for collaboration by widening your network.
The most important thing to remember is Pinterest takes time. It may take a while to get accepted to great group boards, and it may take time to gain repins and followers. Be patient, and persevere. If you keep pinning and joining boards, you’ll succeed.
Emilie Rabitoy is a newly retired dairy farmer who has found a way to use her work ethic to help authors achieve their dreams. She worked as a subcontractor for another author assistant before starting her own author assistant business. Emilie quickly learned how to effectively promote authors and their books, and the importance of social media management. She also became great at connecting authors with readers and reviewers. Emilie lives in Western Wisconsin with her boyfriend and two cats. She loves romance novels and coffee.
This is the second in a series of expert interviews. Don’t miss the first: A Q&A with Amy Northard, the CPA for Creatives.
Everyone seems to have a private Facebook group these days. I’m in a ton of them, and some are amazing…but there are a lot that are just plain awful. So what sets the great ones apart from the rest? And just how do you make sure yours isn’t one of the crappy ones?
I decided to turn to the moderator of one of my very favorite groups, Think Creative Collective, for answers. I met Emylee Williams about a year ago. She reached out to me after I was really active in the group for a few weeks. That had never happened to me, and it certainly left a good impression. I think she and her co-founder, Abagail Pumphrey, are the real deal. They provide insane value with everything they do, and their group is a fine example of that.
If you’re thinking about starting a group or are running one that’s struggling, pay attention. What Emylee has to say here is on point. She knows her shit, and I feel honored to get to share this advice with you.
Q: Tell me about how you started your Facebook group.
A: We created it in March of 2015 just so we could secure the name in case we ever wanted it. We didn’t market it at all for the first few months because we weren’t sure how we’d use it. After about five months, we made it part of our onboarding funnel, giving access to anyone who signed up for a course. We didn’t add the daily prompts until the beginning of 2016.
Q: What do you like about having a Facebook group?
A: It’s one more platform to microblog and to connect with our people. We don’t get a lot of comments on our blog posts because I think those are dying down these days. A lot of relationships are built through comments, though, so that conversation could be moved over to the group. The group was also good for webinars because we could tell people to go there if they had questions. It’s a lot easier to respond there than through a lot of emails or calls. Plus, everyone else can provide feedback. That’s a great way to add more value.
Q: Your group grew from about 700 people when I joined in early 2016 to 8,100 a year later (and probably much more by the time my readers see this). How do you account for the rapid growth?
A: We’ve seen growth spurts for two reasons. The most recent has been word of mouth. So many of our members have at least one friend in the group. Before that started happening, the growth came because the group was part of our incentive for signing up for anything. Once people got there, they saw that we hang out there. We comment, we start conversations, we provide value. We market it as an opportunity to get free coaching from us. We don’t say that lightly. Time and time again we’ve actually shown up for our people there, and that starts to get out. It ends up not just being another group; people get value from it.
Q: What mistakes did you make in the beginning?
A: When we started the group, I had notifications on my phone. I’d find out every time someone commented on a thread and I’d respond. It took so much of my time. As it grew, I had to dedicate set times to be there because being there at all times was stressing me out and making me resent the group. When it’s built into my day, I’m able to spend more time and craft better answers instead of being hurried.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake you see others make when starting groups?
A: Not making time for it and not really adding value by showing up and answering questions. If you cannot be there, then it’s literally just white noise. You really have to be present. It takes a lot of freaking work once it is growing to monitor the conversations and making sure the right people are in there and the wrong people aren’t. It’s keeping an eye on conversations and making sure it’s a safe space for everyone. How will you handle it when it’s 1,000 people, and then 10,000 people? I’ve seen people shut down big FB groups because they can’t handle it anymore.
Q: How do you recommend someone go about starting a group?
A: If you don’t know if it’s right for you, I recommend the path we took. Add it as a free bonus for whatever you sell. Treat it as a beta test to see if you like having a Facebook group. This will help you learn how much time you want to spend and what doesn’t and doesn’t work. Start small. We had five or seven people at first. Use the first people for market research. Be there, answer their questions, and really engage.
Q: What about tips for growing a new group?
Once you have a better idea of what you want to offer in the group, trickle it out like you would anything else. Write a blog post about it, put a link in your Instagram bio. Tell people what they can expect from you. It takes time, but it’s like a snowball. Keep showing up even if only one person comments or no one comments. That happened to us for a long time. People lurk, but they’re still seeing it. Be real and helpful and add value, and just keep doing it and talking about it. Once we hit 1,000 members it started to flow in a lot faster. Enjoy the intimacy while you have it because if you’re actively trying to grow it, it’s going to grow and change.
Q: What’s are your best tips for people who are joining your (or any) Facebook group?
A: Stop lurking. Read the rules, follow them, introduce yourself, and speak up and get noticed. Even if there are thousands of people, if you choose to speak up and add value in comments, you’re in the minority. You’re one of a very select few who do that. If you want the attention from the moderators or others in the group, you have to speak up. People think their voice is drowning because there are thousands in the group, but less than 100 are probably active. We’ve hired people and collaborated with people just because they’re active in the group. You have to do it over and over again, but if you’re doing it in a way that provides value to the group, you’ll get noticed.
Learn more about Think Creative Collective on their website, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Also, you should seriously consider signing up for one or many of their amazing courses, such as Trello for Business or The Follow-Through Method. I’m not sure anyone in the creative infopreneur space is providing as much value for the buck as these ladies. And I’m not an affiliate—I just truly believe Emylee and Abagail and what they’re doing for others.
Have you ever hit the “boost” button on a Facebook post and regretted it later?
Facebook puts the boost button on all of your business posts because it’s instant gratification for you and easy money for them. It doesn’t take much to convince someone to spend a few dollars to get a post in front of more people.
When you go beyond a boosted Facebook post, however, you can start to grow your business. With a bit of strategy, Facebook ads are a great way to share your content and grow your email list.
Install Your Facebook Pixel
First things first: install your Facebook pixel.
The Facebook pixel is a small piece of code that can easily be installed on your website to track visitors. With the information Facebook tracks, you’re able to build a targeted audience of website visitors for a Facebook ad campaign.
To learn more about the Facebook pixel and a video tutorial walking you through the install, head over to my blog.
Create a Custom Audience
With the Facebook tracking pixel installed, you can create a custom audience of anyone who has visited your website over a period of time. People who have visited your website are considered a warm audience.
To create a custom audience, go to the “Audience” tab in your Facebook Ad Manager. Start out by building an audience that has visited your website in the last 180 days. Find more information about custom audiences.
Write a Blog Post/Opt-In
Once your pixel is installed, you want to put together a great blog post and amazing opt-in your dream clients can’t wait to read.
If you aren’t sure what to write about, send out a survey to your email list or ask in a Facebook group. Asking others what they want to learn is a great way to make sure your blog post will resonate with your audience.
Create An Eye-Catching Ad
Now it’s time for the fun part—creating an eye-catching ad and copy.
If you’re creating a static image ad, your ad should be 1,200×628 px. Select engaging imagery and colors that will stand out from the clutter on everyone’s timelines.
Use minimal copy on the image itself and save your most compelling copy for the rest of the ad.
Set Up Your Ad
When you have everything ready to go, open Facebook Ad Manager to set up your ad. Enter all of the information and start running your ad to your website visitors, a custom website visitor audience, and a custom target market composed of people who haven’t visited your website but have an interest in what you’re promoting.
When your ad begins to run and someone clicks on the ad, the pixel will recognize who has visited your blog post but not opted in. That means you can build another custom audience targeting those who haven’t opted in yet.
Facebook ads can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but once you get a hang of them, you can learn how to leverage them strategically so you see better results.
Katie Williamsen is the web and social media strategist behind Katie Williamsen Web & Social Media, LLC. She is passionate about helping fellow boss ladies make sure their online tools are working and converting better than ever before. She’s also the editor of the lifestyle blog, Twin Stripe, dedicated to helping fun, fabulous readers create a bright and modern lifestyle that doesn’t cost a ton. When Katie isn’t strategizing with clients, researching or blogging, she’s spending time with her husband, Chad, and their pup, Hobbes.
A photo is worth a thousand words, and on Instagram photos speak for themselves, right? No!
In today’s flooded social media era, where images of everything from high heels to sunrises are prevalent, captions are the difference between Instagram posts that are liked and those that are overlooked. Most people call it “breaking through the clutter.” Not all photos are awesome, and even the best filters won’t give life to a ho-hum picture, so it’s up to you to provide a unique spin.
Why You Need Good Instagram Captions
You may feel writing an interesting Instagram caption isn’t as significant as curating your feed, but it still matters. Keep in mind your caption is the representation of your brand, which is similar to the Instagram feed. Your caption is the key for taking your Instagram profile from good to great.
It’s necessary to have a good Instagram caption because it will help get your post seen. The latest Instagram algorithm likes posts with high engagement. That means that the more comments and likes your post gets, the more people will view it. Also, Instagram captions that have a call-to-action can help you get more comments.
How to Write A Good Instagram Caption
Here are some of the best methods to use captions to enhance your Instagram profile:
The best part of imagery it’s open for interpretation. What looks one way to one person may look completely different to another. Use this to your advantage. Put a distinctive spin on photos with captions that attract the attention of the viewers and make them look at the picture through a new lens.
- Establishing Call-to-Action For Instagram Captions
It’s not necessary to add a call-to-action to all Instagram captions. However, captions are the perfect place to inspire audiences to engage with your brand outside the Instagram platform. You can encourage your followers to take action by asking them to visit your site, purchase products, answer a question, tag their images with your branded hashtags, and more.
Put the most significant information first; after 4 or 5 lines of a text, Instagram captions get truncated. Making your Instagram caption extremely engaging from the start will entice your followers to click and read the remaining information.
It’s common to believe that every picture you take is frame-worthy. The reality is most photos are unoriginal and uninspired. Top-down view of your favorite dress? Done that. Mug on a Sunday morning? Been there. Give these common moments a personal touch by using a caption that shows the unexpected side of the picture.
- Adding Emojis To Instagram Captions
When you’re not using emojis to gain attention for your call-to-action, you can use them to provide personality in the caption. Add various emojis at the start of your caption to attract your followers’ eyes. Or, try substituting all the words with funny emojis if it fits your brand.
- Play With The Wit Of the Viewer
Be clever! Check for connections between your potential caption and photos and write with that connection in mind. Make it subtle so when a viewer must take a moment to “get” it.
- Providing Mentions For Instagram Captions
Mentioning the handles of other Instagram users is the perfect way to connect with other users and with your audience. As you’re posting images related to other brands or individuals, add their handle to your caption instead of simply tagging them in the photo. This will help followers find their profiles.
Sometimes a photo can do all the talking, but a little explanation provides extra oomph. Those captions that stress a point in your picture help give clarity and context to an already impressive snap.
Your Instagram captions should entice and attract an audience. Within the first second of reading, they must make the reader want to hit the View More button. A picture alone isn’t as effective as one with a caption that adds to the message.
Sandra Christie, a writer for iDigic, has several published articles about social media that talk about general improvement of your social feed, and get more brand presence using it.
There are many ways to kill a chicken. The problem is, how do you want to catch your chicken?
I heard that proverb or some variation on it from several of my high school teachers. I’ll never forget the math teacher who said it to me when I was struggling to solve a difficult algebraic problem.
Much later, I had the same problem with social media. I spent so much time trying to figure out what really works and what doesn’t—tweaking one little thing in my social media profiles after another, exhausting myself with wanting everything to work.
Are you confused or having a hard time using social media to increase exposure for your business? Do you have a bunch of tabs open right now with different social media schedulers? Do you keep experimenting with what works and doesn’t, yet end up not understanding anything?
Let me show you the basics of how to amplify your blog traffic using the “rule of three” for social media.
1. Optimize Your Content
Learn how to boost your content by ensuring SEO is properly implemented with your posts. That’s all about the keyword you use for that post to help Google detect the site and the content.
To find the right keyword for your blog post, check out my video tutorial on how to search for keywords using underrated methods online.
2. Create Killer Content
When it comes to writing content, it’s really important to emphasize the needs and concerns of your audience. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your personal experiences on the subject or in your niche, but you also need to work in your audience’s concerns.
Always keep in mind your audience is reading your content thinking, “How can this post give me something of value?” If they can’t find that from your post, they’ll go away.
Not sure if your content measures up? Check Google Analytics for your site (here’s how to sign up if you haven’t already). If your bounce rate exceeds 80%, it’s time to work on making your content more valuable to your target audience.
3. Increase Your Social Media Activity
Many bloggers don’t spend much time on social media. In fact, the majority only invest about six hours a week, according to Social Media Examiner. If you want exposure for your products or services, you need to be active on social media.
There are tons of ways to increase your social media engagement. At Bitchy Chicken, we focus on Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook because they’re among the top referrers to our site. Knowing your traffic referral sources will help you decide where to increase your activity.
Step 1: Check Google Analytics for your top referral sources in the last 30 and 90 days. See where your traffic is already coming from and start increasing your engagements on those channels.
Step 2: Learn how to use Pinterest like a pro to ensure high traffic to your posts. First, learn how to search for group boards.
Then learn how to search for popular pins and create a board.
Step 3: If your traffic comes from Facebook and LinkedIn, which are big for B2B businesses, then you can also search for groups related to your niche. Check out the video tutorial below to learn how.
These are the basics of social media, pal. You won’t see any difference in blog traffic overnight, but if you’re consistent with your social media, better engagement will definitely happen. Mastering SEO skills may take time and effort, but it’s always worth your while.
Mecyll Jamilla is a creative blogger, freelance writer, creativepreneur, and coffee addict. She’s dedicated to helping other small business owners stand out from the noisy crowd at Bitchy Chicken. She’s offering a free course on blog traffic to new bloggers and small business owners who blog. She also takes care of an online shop with the help of her fiancé, Igen.
Question: What have you done to increase social media engagement?