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It's All in the Presentation: Packaging Matters!

holalou product packaging from No Issue

Fellow entrepreneurs and side hustlers, this post is for you! It’s been awhile since I added any content to the business strategy tips page of my blog, so here we are! A company called “No Issue” reached out to see if we could collaborate on some custom packaging for my brand or for our shop, and I figured this was a great opportunity to get back into sharing some tips that may help all of you business boss babes out there! Keep scrolling for some examples of product packaging like custom stickers and tissue paper, and iI’ll share some of the top reasons that I find this to be a crucial part of growing your business!

-This post is in partnership with No Issue, but all opinions are my own-

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-Get Legit-

It adds a bit of sophistication & legitimacy to your brand when you pay attention to details such as packaging. Even if you ARE just a mom and pop shop or are making your candles from your basement, put your best foot forward to the world!

-Make a lasting impression-

I can still tell you the names of most of the companies who have taken special care and extra attention to detail when it comes to packaging the products I’ve ordered online. I love the saying “wrapping it nice shows you care twice”, and that applies not only to gift giving but also to creating an ongoing relationship with your customers. There is something super special about opening a package that you’re already excited about, only to encounter fun details like having the item wrapped in custom tissue paper & tied in a string or closed with a special sticker. Bonus points if you can include a hand written note! Even if your business isn’t product based, custom stickers are also a great thing to have on hand. They are a fun way to seal envelopes when you’re sending snail mail to business contacts!

taryn draws product packaging from No Issue

-Grow Your Brand-

Stickers are all the rage these days; I see them everywhere from laptops to notebooks (yes, even for grown-ups!). A custom sticker can be an inexpensive item to send along with an order that just may wind up serving as additional marketing for you. If someone really loves your brand, they might just stick it somewhere visible, whereas a business card or other printed materials often go straight into the trash. Even if your business isn’t product based, custom stickers are a good item to have on hand. They are such a cute way to close envelopes when you’re sending snail mail to business contacts, or to hand out when you’re attending a conference or trunk show!


How cute is the custom tissue paper and stickers that No Issue created for our shop, Cannonborough Collective!?

A few other details to note about No Issue:

In addition to tissue and stickers, No Issue offers compostable mailers & is going to be adding custom tape soon! The ordering process was very simple, and luckily when you upload your logo you get to see a digital mock up before you order. I liked being able to envision what we were getting and choosing from multiple different layouts for our tissue paper.



Wouldn’t it just bring a big smile to your face if you got a product wrapped in one of these fun tissue paper styles? Thank you very much to the following companies for letting me share your gorgeous packaging examples in this post!

@deliciousmonstertea and @sophiepotterco // @amberstextiles

@loesvanoosten // @holalou // @taryndraws

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Weekender Workshop: Pinterest 101

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Weekender Workshop: Pinterest 101

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The only regret I have when it comes to my business is that I didn’t spend a little less effort on Instagram and a little more on other platforms along the way. If I had been putting more of my energy into growing my blog traffic, my newsletter audience, or my Pinterest reach this whole time, I wouldn’t have so much riding on my Instagram!

Well, there’s no time like the present to make a change, so lately I’ve been working on upping my game on Pinterest. The platform just went public, so it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon! I’ve rounded up some of the best of the best of the pinners I know & asked them to share some of their top tips that have brought them success on Pinterest. I’ve outlined each person’s follower count, but also their monthly views, so you can see that you don’t have to have a ton of followers to get a good amount of Pinterest traffic (which could equate to more traffic for your blog or your online shop)!

This post contains links that will earn me affiliate commission on Tailwind, the Pinterest helper I swear by! As soon as you sign up for Tailwind, you can apply to be an affiliate, too.


Pinner: Charleston Weekender (that’s me!)

Pinterest Followers: 1,079

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: ~150,000 views

My Top Tip: Start Using Tailwind & Join Group Boards

I’ve always heard that daily pinning is the key to Pinterest success. Well, who has time for that?! My assistant and I have been using Tailwind to schedule out posts, and it only takes us about an hour to schedule a month’s worth of posts to Pinterest! Tailwind is basically just an easy scheduling tool that let’s you schedule pins from your own blog or any other websites on the internet, and it gives you very valuable analytics about which boards & pins are getting the most traffic. Give Tailwind a try here (it has an Instagram scheduling component, too!). Read on for more on Tailwind “Tribes” in a few…

Another thing I’ve always heard is to try to join group boards. This allows you to exponentially expands your potential reach. For instance, a group board I’m on has 14,000 followers (because each of our followers are now following that board). My pins I pin to that board get SO many more views than they would if I was only pinning to my own board. I have a few group boards that you can join, just request to do so here!


Pinner Extraordinaire: Marianne of Basil and Bubbly

Pinterest Followers: 22,371

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: 2.3 million views!

We asked Marianne: What are the two most important things you should do to set yourself up for success on the platform? Below she’ll share about verifying your website on pinterest & setting up rich pins.


Verifying Your Website on Pinterest

Verifying your website on Pinterest is an important way to indicate to pinners and Pinterest alike that you are a serious content creator, plus it gives you access to great analytics on how your account is performing and who your audience on Pinterest is.

  1. If you don't already have a business account, go to your Settings and upgrade your account (there should be a big red button for you to click to do this). 

  2. Once you've set up your business account, go back to the Settings page and click the link on the lefthand menu that says "Claim Website."

  3. Enter your website in the text input, and click the "Claim Website" button.

  4. Select "Add HTML Tag".  Copy the tag and then paste it into the <HEAD> section of your website.  Your web developer can do this for you, or if your blog is on a WordPress site, you can use the "Insert Headers and Footers" plugin to drop the code in yourself under the plugin Settings, in the "Scripts in Headers" section.

  5. Go back to the Pinterest website where you got the HTML tag, and click "Next", followed by "Submit" to submit your site for verification.

It will take about 24 hours for Pinterest to validate your site, but once they do, you should see a checkbox in your settings next to your website address, and have access to all the analytics! 

How to Get Rich Pins

Rich Pins are an important part of a robust Pinterest strategy. They entice users to click through to your site, by giving them information pulled directly from your site right on the pin, teasing them to get the rest of the article directly from the source. 

If your site is using SquareSpace or Shopify, great news! You already have everything you need to set up Rich Pins, simply enter your site into the Rich Pin Validator and click Validate. Once you receive the success message, click "Apply".  Note: It might take several days for your blog to be approved, but Pinterest will be in touch as soon as they have finished the process.

If your site is using WordPress, you'll need to make sure the Open Graph tags needed for Rich Pins are added to your posts and pages.  If you use Yoast SEO, they have some great tutorials on their website for how to do this with their plugin ( you can find them here .)  If you don't use Yoast but are a recipe blogger, your recipe card plugin should handle these tags for you. Once you've added the Open Graph tags, you can follow the same process as SquareSpace/Shopify users by entering our site into the Rich Pin Validator, and then applying for Rich Pins.

As a last resort, you can add them manually into your <HEAD> code of each individual page, and update the information for each post.  This is painful, and I highly recommend choosing one of the aforementioned options instead, but if you insist, the code can be found on Pinterest's website.

Find Marianne’s blog here!


Pinner Extraordinaire: Laura Leigh of Louella Reese

Pinterest Followers: 3,767

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: 1 million views!

We asked Laura: How many pins a day should we be pinning?

The optimal amount of pins per day really is all trial and error. Play around pinning 5-10 pins a day then jump to 15-25 per day. See how that changes things. Are you receiving more engagement or less? If you're receiving more, move on to 30-45 pins a day. If you're producing content 4-5 times a week pinning that many pins a day will be no issue. However, if your blog publishing schedule is one to two posts per week maybe stick around 10 pins per day. That way pins are consistently going out and not paused while you're waiting to publish new content. This will also keep a great mix of pins going out - that way it isn't always 5-10 pins from the same post in order going out. It stretches that content out longer. 

Laura also recommends a mix of pinning multiple pins from your blog as soon as you publish a new post and scheduling your pins (via Tailwind or another Pinterest publishing tool).

Find Laura’s blog, Louella Reese, here!


Pinner(s) Extraordinaire: Michael & Ian of I Love That For You

Pinterest Followers: ~100

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: ~100k views

We asked Michael & Ian: How can I make one of my pins go “viral”?

As the go-to DIY hub, Pinterest users are looking for fun and easy “How-To” pins to try themselves. We’ve found the most success when sharing a popular How-To (but with our own unique spin), such as Cookie Jar Organization with all different types of cookies. Other popular post topics include home decor DIYs & travel related pins. So, just give it a try to add a unique twist on your favorite DIY How-To, because I Love That For You!

Side note: if you’re using Tailwind, it helps you determine which of your pins are “viral” (getting the most repins/views/etc.), so that you can reschedule them again in the future.

Find the I Love That For You blog here!


Pinner Extraordinaire: Hillary of Hill Heady

Pinterest Followers: ~1000

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: ~230k views

We asked Hillary to tell us about the “Tribes” feature on Tailwind:

One of my favorite things about Tailwind is their Tribes feature! Tribes are a great way to get your pins out there and increase your reach. Not only are you growing your own account, but you get the chance to connect with like minded users and help each other! In addition to being a communal tool to have your content reach more people, tribes are also a good place to find content to pin on your own boards when you’re not sure what to pin.

If you're a blogger and are interested in Tailwind Tribes, join Hillary’s blogger tribe here!

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A few other pro Pinterest tips I hear over and over:

  • pin only vertical images

  • try to brand your boards and pin content that goes with your overall aesthetic/niche (I don’t cook, so I don’t pin a lot of elaborate recipes, but I love to entertain so I pin easy recipes to my “Weekend Eats & Treats” board

  • don’t only pin your own content! Apparently you should aim to pin about 70-80% other content and 20-30% from your own site or blog

  • add “alt text” to all of the photos on your blog or website; this helps more of your photos be discoverable on Pinterest

  • for your pin description, try to use keywords that people might be searching when they are on the platform. For example, instead of “hair styles”, try to add more details like “best wedding up-dos” or “easy hair styles for summer”


I hope you find those tips as helpful as I did! Don’t forget to check out Tailwind or head here to request to join my group boards. Happy pinning, my friends!

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Influencer Marketing: my guide to getting the ROI you want

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Influencer Marketing is still kind of the new kid on the block when it comes to advertising. Your company can pay a social media “influencer” or blogger (like me!) to promote their brand or location for you. As a consumer, I get most of my inspiration from an online platform. For decorating inspiration I typically head to Pinterest (which really leads you to blogs), and I usually discover restaurants or local stores I want to go try from Instagram. Based on my own habits as a consumer and also as a store owner myself, I can tell you I’m very confident that Influencer Marketing “works”! The real question is how can you make sure it is going to work before you allocate some of your budget to this outlet. Here are a few common questions I hear about this topic, along with some of the advice I usually give before partnering with a brand to help make our collaboration as successful as possible!

What guarantee do I have that working with an influencer will work?

Short answer: just like with any form of traditional marketing, there are never guarantees about sales or visits to your website.

You can’t put an ad in a magazine and guarantee you’ll sell out of your website inventory, right? The biggest benefit of most forms of marketing is reach/circulation/brand awareness. Just like circulation is the number you would focus on before deciding to advertise in a magazine, and viewership is what you would care about before paying to go on a local TV segment, I think the biggest guarantee with Instagram promotion is the reach per post. 20,000 followers doesn’t mean that many people see all of my posts. An Instagram post for me can get anywhere from 3k-over 20k unique views for an Instagram post and 1-2k views for Instagram stories. The average unique reach of my last 10 Instagram posts is 6,300.

Another “guarantee” with Influencer Marketing is often that you will get professional photos for your own social media use. Hiring a professional photographer is usually anywhere from $150 for about 30 minutes to possibly thousands of dollars for a full editorial shoot, so it’s a great added value to get that high quality content for your brand.

Ok, so there are no guarantees, but how do I make sure I get the best possible return?

  • Give a discount. Offer a unique discount code for the blogger so you can track how many sales they brought to the table (I recommend at least 20% off with a short term expiration date).

  • Repetition. From selling my own products on my platform as well as promoting other brands, I can say the most success comes with repetition. When I’ve done a series of 3 posts instead of a one off, that’s when companies tell me they see the most sales. I’ve noticed the same when I’ve promoted a new product or one of my workshops the 2nd or 3rd time.

  • Find the right influencer fit. Do not be blinded by shiny objects like follower count! Sure, hiring Kim Kardashian to post for you (for about a quarter million dollars btw) could help you get Internet Famous. Well, what if you are a Charleston based restaurant? You might actually see more real customers come through your doors if you team up with someone who instead has mostly Charleston followers. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you find an influencer who: is in the same location as you or the same genre. A beauty blogger will probably get more people into your spa than a food blogger, and if you have a store/restaurant/physical location you need to find someone with the majority of their followers also in that area. The only exception I can think of is when it comes to hotels/lodging, because anyone from anywhere could want to travel based on a blogger recommendation. Personally, I’ve added several places to my own bucket list after being introduced to them by gals like Hot Pink Pineapples and Palm Beach Lately! Also make sure you like their: captions, aesthetic, content, personality, etc.

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Be Your Own Influencer First!

Sometime sales are not your main marketing goal; perhaps you are hoping to get a boost in your own Instagram followers. If that’s the case, this simply isn’t going to happen if your Instagram isn’t pretty awesome! Therefore, I’ll often encourage brands to invest in my Instagram Growth Workshop instead of hiring me to promote them. I want them to get follower growth if that is their goal, but when someone clicks over to their page it has to good at first glance in order for someone want to follow along. Someone will decide in a few seconds if they want to follow, largely baed on the overall aesthetic and content you have to offer.

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Is Influencer Marketing Better Than “Traditional” Marketing?

I am certainly not trying to knock print advertising, advertising on TV, etc.! I have a local TV segment, so I am confident that is effective, and the times our store has been featured in local magazines we have always seen new customers. I certainly appreciate and welcome any and all press for our brick and mortar store! However, there are a couple of reasons we’ve chosen to primarily utilize our marketing budget for influencer marketing. 1) Influencers have brought us new Instagram followers that are now ours to “keep” and continue to see what we’re doing over and over. 2) As I mentioned before, photography is expensive! We only invest in about 1 photo shoot a quarter, so teaming up with bloggers usually means we get access to new content to share on our social accounts in the interim.

Let’s recap! When it comes to influencer marketing, it’s super important that you:

-know your goals

-find the right influencer for your brand

-set yourself up for success by having a way to measure your ROI or ask for the stats after the campaign is finished

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Also, don’t be afraid to ask for more info up front. It’s perfectly fine to request a screenshot of their follower demographic, or ask to hear about their previous campaigns. As a business owner, I have invested in influencers by gifting product to bloggers. Sometimes it brought me sales and other times it didn’t, but I always made sure I got something out of it. If you’re like me, you may not have a large advertising budget to work with. I really want you to get the most bang for your buck, so always feel free to DM me at @CharlestonWeekender or email me (CharlestonWeekender@Gmail.com) if you have any other questions about all of this!

all images by Elizabeth Burgi Photography

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Influencer Gifting 101: Tips from Oh Joy Founder Joy Cho

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This post contains affiliate links which earn me a small commission.

If you have been wondering how to go about gifting your products to bloggers/influencers, there are some tricks of the trade that will certainly help you get what you’re hoping for.  I happened to see a great story on the @OhJoy Instagram recently where founder Joy Cho spelled out how she goes about influencer gifting.  She has an awesome new line of fun and colorful paper goods that she created along with Cheeky (at Target), so here are her thoughts on how to gift your products successfully!  Be sure to check out my other favorite Oh Joy collaborations here, like the fun hat box suitcase that I’ve been loving!

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1. Research the best fit for your products. Make sure that blogger’s style aligns with the aesthetic of your products.  Can you really envision them using and loving your products? Try to mix it up so you don’t always gift to the same people.  

My two cents:  Try to find people that are already sharing about your products or similar types of products.  They are even more likely to share if they are already a fan.

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2. Reach out to make sure they’re interested.  Narrow your list to 5-10 people to gift product to, then email them to make sure they are open to receiving your product.  You’ll have to email them anyway for their address, but this gives them the opportunity to politely decline if someone passes- they are just being respectful of you if they know it’s not a good fit for them.

3. Wow them with your package.  It’s all in the presentation!  Do a creative wrapping job, send it in a colorful bubble wrap with fun tissue paper, etc.  Include a postcard or something with your branding along with a hand-written note. This is a great way to share where people can buy your product and any relevant tags/hashtags you are hoping they’ll share.  

4. Have no expectations.  If you’re not offering to pay for them promoting your items, you shouldn’t necessarily expect a blog or Instagram post.  When you reach out, let them know that there are no strings attached so they will feel like they can share it in a way that’s as natural as possible.  

My two cents:  When I’ve given my products to bloggers with smaller followings, I’ve gotten a bigger return on the type of content they share.  For example, it’s more likely that you’ll get a dedicated Instagram post or blog post from a blogger who is just starting out. With larger influencers, I usually only expect an Instagram story or to be tagged alongside the other brands they might be getting paid to promote.  You never know- if they really love it they might share in a big way, but this has been my experience when gifting my Turkish towels. 

5. Just keep your fingers crossed that they will love it and share it in some way!  Typically influencers that know something is coming ahead of time will usually share in some way.

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It can be great to reach out to bloggers, and other times they might reach out to ask for your products.  If you aren't comfortable gifting, the best way to decline (well, the way that I most like being turned down) is to say that you have already reached your gifting budget/limit for the time being. Try following Joy’s steps if you're doing the "pitching", and it will most likely help you spread the word about your awesome products!  If you enjoy learning about entrepreneurship, blogging, and social media, read more free resources in the Social Media University section of my site. 

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Building A Brand: Q & A with Hedley & Bennett's Founder

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If you're not already familiar with the cheery lady behind Hedley & Bennet aprons, allow me to introduce you to Ellen Marie Bennett!  You've probably seen her aprons worn by chefs & servers at one of your local restaurants, and they are also the official apron of the Charleston Wine & Food Festival!  The 2018 festival is why I had Ellen on my mind lately; she's here in Charleston to moderate my favorite CHSWFF shindig (Pecha Kucha), and is hosting another fun event called Brunch Squad.  

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Last August I had the chance to visit Ellen's apron factory for her School of Hustle conference.  I learned so much, so I really wanted to have her share some insight for those other hard-working entrepreneurs out there.  I know you'll be as inspired by Ellen as I am!

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Liz: A brand is so much more than just a logo, but that really is part of what makes your business so recognizable.  Tell us how the name Hedley & Bennett and the decision to use the ampersand logo came about.

Ellen: Hedley is the last name of my English grandfather and he was a rocket scientist way back then. His name brings in the proper functionality aspect of the brand. We want to design aprons that perform better and last longer than what’s out there. Then there’s the other side… Bennett is me, colorful and vibrant. Design matters. The ampersand stands for the balance of those two things and the dignity that we offer people when they put on our aprons.

Liz: As a fun-having soul with a big personality, can you share your pros (or cons) of being the own face of your brand?  

Ellen: Being the face of your own company is A LOT of work! Between juggling my role as CEO and managing a business, to running around to events and being the face, I’ve learned that it definitely isn't for the faint of heart.  I mean I definitely love both but it’s a daily struggle.  The pros are having creative control and being able to direct where we’re headed--I’m able to guide the growth of the company and how our message is perceived and be the translator of our narrative. In terms of cons, IT’S REALLY HARD! I’m working long hours around the clock--it’s literally like working three full time jobs. It’s exhausting but something I truly enjoy.

Liz: Hedley & Bennett is more than just a product (aprons), so what are some of the best ways you have found to spread your brand message?

Ellen: Collaborations have definitely played a role in spreading our message--they’re really fun and exciting! Being able to collaborate with like-minded brands and sharing our stories along with theirs have helped us reach new markets, and is something we’re continuing to grow this year.

Instagram Stories has also been an amazing channel that’s helped spread our brand message. It’s a lot of fun being able to show people how a company exists and how we operate between my personal Instagram and the Hedley & Bennett account. We collectively get to show our audience the people behind the business; it’s human and relatable and I love that because it’s real. Our entire Instagram in general has gravitated more towards showing that we really care about our community. It’s a place where we can show people who they are and why we do what we do. Our new Test Kitchen is something we’re really excited for, too.  We have this opportunity to collaborate and share our message with our community on another scale by being able to have them come cook with us at Apron HQ --it’s something that makes us truly unique and we’re really excited for it!

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Liz: One of the things I loved about the School of Hustle was Ellen's advice about putting yourself out there at all times- now at conferences I try not to eat with people I know and I strike up conversations with anyone I can.  What are some ways people can get their brand message out there when they step away from the computer?

Ellen:  You have to put yourself out there! Even if you're uncomfortable, you should do it--don't let being afraid hold you back.  Find what makes your brand special--what makes it real and hone in on that.   Be real, don’t copy others and find what’s original to you. For me, color has always been my art.  Over the years, my color choices and clothes have gotten crazier and crazier, but it’s apart of my identity and the message Hedley & Bennett is getting across. We’re loud and proud and we know it’s important to have fun in what you’re doing and we stay true to that.  At the end of the day, it’s just really important to identify your brand in the most real way possible--be as human as possible, be honest, be unique. It’s so important.

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Liz: Your brand story & identity has really made a mark within your industry, and you've successfully grown your company within a relatively small amount of time.  What advice would you give other up and coming brands to be able to scale at a more rapid pace?

Ellen: I think it’s really important that you find your own path, and follow it. No two paths are the same and we can take advice and inspiration from other people’s journeys, but at the end yours is your own and for you to trek. When I first started making aprons, everyone thought it was ridiculous, but I was determined.  Find what makes you want to get up in the morning and make it yours--make it original.  It takes time but you have to try and figure it out. Try everything and if it doesn’t work, you learn from it and learn not to make that mistake again. You can’t wait for the right moment because it may never come. I always say look and then jump because you’ll figure it out on the way. Bring to the table only something you have the ability to do, and believe in it!

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Doesn't this year's CHSWFF "Street Team" look pretty fantastic in Ellen's aprons?  Follow us behind the scenes of the festival on Instagram here, and learn more about Ellen in my previous post

group photo via Libby Williams Photographs

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