Apps for apps. Because it never ends!
I wish that I had known about some of these apps/tools a long time ago, but it’s always better late than never!
Of course I have your basic apps/social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I also have the Facebook Business page app, along with my e-commerce apps for Shopify & Etsy.
Here are a list of other apps/websites/tools I utilize to help run my businesses.
• Tailwind [App & Website] for Pinterest & IG scheduling: A scheduling website/app that allows you to schedule out Pinterest posts and Instagram posts. This is literally a must-have for any blogger/business owner. I think that Pinterest is a very important platform that needs to be taken advantage of, and Tailwind allows you to schedule out your Pins which is a great way to maintain an active account. Tailwind also helps keep track of your website traffic from your pins.
• Planoly [App & Website] for IG scheduling/visual planning: I actually don’t use Planoly to schedule my posts, but I DO use it to visually plan my posts. This is a great way to make sure your feed is cohesive and flows well. It really has helped me make my feed more visually appealing. I also really like to use the analytics feature, which shows stats and top posts for the week/month/year.
• Trello [Website & App] for project management: I actually didn’t even realize this was available as an app until JUST now. Ha! I use it online on the website. Anyways! Trello is AMAZING. It’s basically like virtual sticky notes that are very easy to organize. The great thing about Trello is the fact that you can invite people to join your “boards” and they can see/add to your notes. You can even upload photos, videos, and files. This is perfect for making lists for yourself or working on projects with clients, employees, collaborators, co-workers, etc.
• GetVela [Website] for Etsy (Bulk Editing): I just recently used this website for the first time while editing listings for a client. It makes editing listings so easy. The website is very user-friendly and there is a live-chat option available for if you have questions.
• Collabor8 [App]: Collabor8 is a great way for influencers to find businesses to work with, and vise-versa. I have used it a few times and have had great experiences.
• Fiverr [Website]: Fiverr is basically a one-stop shop for freelance services. From logos, to graphics, to copywriting and more, you will find it all on Fiverr.
• UpWork [Website]: I feel like UpWork is a higher-quality version of Fiverr. Basically offers all the same stuff for a little bit higher prices, so remember; you usually get what you pay for.
• WordSwag [App]: WordSwag is perfect for making graphics for sales, giveaways, deals, quotes, etc. There are a lot of backgrounds to choose from, or you can use your own photo, then add pretty text over them.
• Bazaart [App]: Bazaart is really fun to use, it has a ton of different fonts/backgrounds/images to choose from, along with some cool editing tools. I really like using this app to create images for things like sales and giveaways or for making collages of new products.
• MailChimp [Website]: MailChimp is my favorite E-Mail marketing platform. It’s very user-friendly, which makes it easy to send out e-mail campaigns to your e-mail subscribers. MailChimp also allows you to create Facebook & Instagram campaigns directly from their site.
• WiseStamp signature [Website]: I use this to make my signature for my e-mails that I send out from my business e-mail address. This makes your signature look professional and allows you to add a photo and links to your website(s).
• GoDaddy Bookeeping [Website]: My personal favorite way to keep track of my books. This website makes my life so much easier, and it also makes taxes not as scary! My accountant loves me for using this website. It’s SUPER easy to use, all you have to do is link your bank accounts and it automatically separates all your purchases and expenses. (There are some that you have to manually.)
• DisplayPurposes.com [Website]: OMG you guys! I wish I had found this website sooner. I have been using it for about a week now and I am obsessed. This makes my life so much easier when it comes to adding hashtags on IG. All you have to do is type in a hashtag relevant to your post, example: #girlboss, and it pulls up 30 or less similar hashtags for you to copy and paste to your post! (AND it has the little dots to make it look pretty.) I am obviously way too excited about this.
• LinkTree [Website]: LinkTree allows you to link tour different sites all on one page. For example, on my LinkTree I have links to my blog, YouTube, Facebook group, and Virtual Assistant page.
Facebook groups are such an amazing recourse for business owners/bloggers/influencers. I have probably joined 100 in the last year. (Not even kidding.) Go into the Facebook search bar and type in anything, from: Photography, Etsy, Shopify, Business Owners, Bloggers, Collaborations, WAHM, Social Media Marketing, Facebook Marketing, Instagram Marketing, etc. etc. etc., and make sure to click “Groups” and you will find a ton to choose from. I try to join the ones with a good amount of active members. Groups are a great place to learn, collaborate, and ask questions. I definitely recommend joining a few that relate to your business!
Okay, so this list was pretty short, but I wanted to make sure to be authentic and only include apps/websites that I truly love and use often.
I am always open to new recommendations, so if there is an app/website that you can’t live without, please let me know!!
I plan on doing a separate blog post about my favorite Shopify Apps. I will link it here once it’s finished! 🙂
Interaction pods are the new way for Instagramers to gain likes and comments. I am completely against them and I want to tell you why.
In the beginning there was Instagram, and it was good:
Okay so, when I opened my first business (Root Avenue) I really had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t have a marketing plan or goals or anything. If I’m being completely honest, I saw other moms starting businesses selling kid’s stuff on Instagram and thought “well, that looks easy enough!”
While I always had a passion for design and marketing, seeing other people sell stuff via Instagram is what really pushed me to actually start my own business.
When I opened up shop my only strategy was to use Instagram to gain a following and market to other moms. My company did VERY well for having no strategy and primarily utilizing Instagram to market my shop. I hit 20K followers after just one year, and gained all followers organically (I did not pay for followers.)
My interaction was never outstanding, but my sales were always consistent. Even at around 35K followers my posts rarely hit 200 likes (sometimes I barely hit 100), however, I did not really care because I knew this was not a reflection of my sales.
THE DREADED NEW IG ALGORITHM OF 2017
Before the new algorithm actually took effect I remember business owners/social media influencers freaking out and fearing it would be the end of their careers.
What’s funny is the fact that people were crying about their poor engagement even BEFORE the algorithm actually took place.
Once the changes hit, people claimed to notice a drastic change in engagement. While I do think that it did have an effect on some people, I also assume that their engagement wasn’t that great to begin with and they were using the new algorithm as an excuse for poor engagement.
Instagram “Stories” came out soon after the new algorithm, and I think that a majority of Instagram users stopped scrolling “up” as long as they used to and started spending more time scrolling left (watching “stories”).
This is just a theory, but the fact that everything is jumbled out of order makes it harder to tell where you left off, therefore I assume that people are not scrolling as long.
THE HONEST TRUTH
I think the reason why businesses in particular are getting lower engagement is because the content is, first of all selling to people, and second of all it can get BORING and repetetive. I follow a lot of kid’s clothing/accessory shops and the posts are all the same thing- kid’s wearing cute clothes. After a while it gets boring.
PEOPLE ARE SEEING YOUR POSTS
So, my Root Avenue account with over 35K followers would usually average 75-150 likes per post. However, when I would post a funny meme I would get 300-900 likes! That is a HUGE difference! So this just proves to me that it is not about who is seeing your post, it’s about CONTENT. (I am using Root Avenue as an example, but I have noticed it with other accounts as well.)
COMMENT / INTERACTION PODS
People thought that they could cheat the system by creating DM groups where everyone would share their post and the group would like and/or comment on it. I gave it a try and created a couple groups of my own, and I also joined a couple. At one point I was in 4 groups, but I rarely sent my posts to the groups unless it was a sponsored post (which I will get to later). I also manage other social media accounts and interacted in pods for them. I saw my organic engagement go way down after joining these groups, as well as the engagement of the accounts I managed.
I also noticed bloggers and shops getting hundreds of generic comments, which put a bad taste in my mouth. (Example: “LOVE THIS” commented 100 times. *eye roll*)
Here are some reasons I have heard for joining pods:
1. It will help boost your post.
My opinion: I do not believe this to be true. I think that it it will only boost your future posts for the people that are engaging with you. I manage several accounts, and I know that if there is a certain account that I engage with a lot their posts will almost always show up in my feed right away.
2. It makes you look good.
My opinion: Let’s be honest, if you see an account getting good interaction it automatically looks more credible. It’s sometimes hard to tell fake interaction from organic interaction…which is the problem!
3. It will help you land collaborations. (bloggers/influencers)
My opinion: I see some of these influencers getting loads of generic comments, and then landing deals with huge companies. At first glance it looks like these bloggers/influencers have great interaction, when really they are just in a shit-ton of pods! This is actually really sad for the companies that are hiring them, because they are being fooled. It is almost like LYING in my opinion.
Why Businesses Should NOT Use Pods:
So, I get why influencers use pods (to land collaborations), but I do not understand why shops are doing it. Yes, I get that it makes you look better, but it is ultimately a waste of time and energy. TIME IS MONEY! After working with other shops and interacting in pods for them I did not noticed ANY rise in organic engagement or sales. This means that it is a total waste of time. If you have had a different experience and are gaining sales and organic engagement then by all means keep doing it, but I would really find that hard to believe.
I hope that I didn’t come across harsh or judgmental, I just really feel like pods are ruining Instagram. I hate the new algorithm as much as everyone else, but I do not think pods are the answer to better engagement. I think that content, authenticity, and good branding should be the main focus to gain organic engagement.
Facebook groups are becoming a very popular place for brands to engage with their customers and promote their products.
With the annoying algorithm on Facebook business pages and Instagram it makes sense that Facebook groups are now a main focus for many brand owners.
One of the great things about promoting in a group is the fact that you are posting from your personal Facebook page. People love to see the face behind the shop, and groups become a place where you can essentially “bond” with your followers.
A lot of people ask me how to get their group to engage- and the answer is: Post engaging content!
I’ve collected some pictures for business owners to post in their group to engage and get to know their followers.
Feel free to use any of these.
*Tip* Post your own answer in the comments once you post, this helps bump the post.
1. Where are you from? Drop the emoji that represents your state!
2. Would you rather go a whole day with lipstick on your teeth or smudged mascara?
3. Or, if you prefer, you can replace “child” with “husband”. 😉
4. Type in d-i-s-n-e-y.com in the comments and the first person to get Woody wins! (Or you can crop it if you don’t want to do a giveaway)
5. Everyone has a favorite! (Mine is Jasmine…or Mulan.)
6. Who is your celebrity twin? Everyone says mine is Kourtney Kardashian.
7. Who is your favorite TV couple? I love Zack & Kelly <3
8. If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose & why? I would choose That 70’s Show or Saved By The Bell, because I love all the characters on those shows! 🙂
9. Which cup is yours? (Mine is probably B3)
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
[EDIT] Since I made this post “.gifs” came out on Facebook and have made for really fun engaging posts!! Here’s some more pictures to post to get your group to engage with gifts:
MORE CONTENT ADVICE:
• Ask your group “opinion” questions, whether it be which print to use for a new product, or which carseat to get for your baby. (People love to state their opinion!)
• Ask random questions such as: What is your favorite crock pot recipe? What are your plans for the 4th Of July? Etc.
• Create Polls.
• Do live videos!
• Create albums for your followers to post photos in, such as “Mail Day”, “Styled ____your brand name here___”
Post consistently to keep your group active! Your Facebook group can become a huge game changer for your business, so be sure to use it to it’s full potential.
For more advice and tips, join my Facebook group Facebook.com/groups/happyhustle