Let's talk about instagram. Instagram is a tricky social media outlet. It's more of a personal platform, but now you can convert your personal account to a business account. However, beware. Just as I related to you in the post about Facebook, your audience is hounded by marketing everywhere they look & so Instagram is just another place to tick people off. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Let's get some things straight about this second social media platform:
Why Use Instagram?
- Use instagram to get your brand out there.
- Use instagram to "wow" your followers.
- Use instagram to slowly build your fan base.
-Slowly build your fanbase
Okay, no one wants to hear the word "slowly", but people, let's be real. If we're enticing and selling our souls with cheap giveaways, etc. we aren't creating followers that really will support your business or who like your business or you for who you are. Think about it. Just like building followers on your storefront, you want real people who really do like what you put out there.
- "wow" your followers
When's the last time you got on instagram and said, "wow", mentally or aloud. I'm talking about making a mental impact on your viewers with B E A U T Y- beautiful pictures, simplicity, L I F E, NOT PRODUCTS! I cannot emphasize this enough. NOT PRODUCTS. No one wants to get on instagram and see a computer generated photo of our cartoony products (or advertisement for that matter). That's fine for other platforms, but when you think of I N S T A G R A M think R E A L.
So what do we take beautiful pics of?
- your classroom elements
- your students (backs only)
- close ups of elements in your day
- resources you made & are using in your room (NOT THE THUMBNAIL FROM YOUR SHOP).
-field trips! FUN!
When I first began using instagram, I actually sought out people to follow whose photos & life spoke beauty to me, spoke peace & something lovely. Afterall, you can control what you see on instagram & you can block people who advertise. So don't be one.
- Get your brand out there.
Hardcore marketing blogs will push this saying things like "put your name on your photos" & "convert your personal account to a business". It's really up to you. But remember just because you shove something down someone's throat doesn't mean they want to taste it! Hello! Show people your life as a teacher, your classroom, your student work, the lovely things in the environment where you spend every day. REAL.
What about lInks?
Forget about bitly. You don't need it. Yes, Instagram only lets you use ONE link, & in you can tastefully say, "link in prof" in your text beneath your pic (which is a beautiful & real picture of your product, right?). BUT who has time to change their link in profile every time you post something resource related that's different & it won't match what you posted two days before that people are still viewing! So what do we do? SOLUTION. Your'e going to love me for this! If you register for a free account under elink.io, you can totally showcase several links. Check mine out here. Now IF some soul does go to your profile to see your little link, they will click it and end up in this beautiful garden of picture links into your life, your shop, your blog, your Facebook page, etc. Wowzers.
What about getting traffic to your site?
Congrats. We broke through the code & are able to link several links in profile. However, everything I read says that Instagram rarely ever gets a customer to your website & if you're trying for that, using other media platforms is more effective. Which brings us right back full circle to why we even chose to use Instagram. If you're just building your brand & your own special type of beauty, stick with instagram.
I actually LOVE instagram & find myself spending less time on other SM outlets. I almost live each day with excitement to see what the other people I follow will post today. Okay. So you get the idea. Keep reading for ideas of who to follow on instagram.
Since spring 2011, I've been a teacher creating resources for other teachers. It has been a remarkable learning experience- to say the least. I've been a small-side business owner of my shop five years this spring & those geniuses in the business world say it takes about FIVE years to get a business started off well.
In light of my 5 year anniversary, I'd like to share with you what I have learned about using social media outlets to aid in marketing a side business (a mysterious topic indeed)!
If you're a (teachers pay teachers) tpt seller, you've most likely done some research on what "works" and doesn't in the social media (SM) world. If you're like me, you might have never taken a marketing or business class in college, but figuring things out & learning is part of life. So here it is from my observations & experiences: (People, this is big & is going to come in parts!) This post will be solely about Facebook (FB). So, here we go!
Tips for using FB to market your TPT shop:
1. Less really IS more!
*People, I cannot say this enough: Your friends who follow you on FB (instagram or twitter) don't want to see you post a product or "salesy" post every day. They don't love you that much. Seriously. :) Just like you don't want to get on FB and be bombarded with ads, neither do they. You don't take your
-Make a schedule. Post 1-2 salesy posts per week- at the MOST for FB, instagram and twitter. (we'll talk about pinterest later!)
-Know your audience. By creating a FB business page, you can attract the friends who are in the educational field, no one else and only those friend will see you posts on your business page. You don't take your friends to work and so you wouldn't expose your friends to work related stuff online either which they have no interest in.
2. Getting my FB Posts Seen:
YIKES! That's a tough one. Let's do some history. When I started my FB page (finally) in 2014, things were booming for marketing. In fact, my sales jumped up a lot within the first three months of using it. HOWEVER, since then, FB has polled its users and they just flat out don't like salesy posts- even on a business page- people.
As a matter of fact, FB now uses algorithms to control certain salesy posts on your business page, limiting who of your FOLLOWERS actually see your posts. Double yikes. So, what does that mean to you?
How do I get people who FOLLOW my business page to SEE my posts?
-GROUP PAGE: You can "friend" whoever follows your page and then, WITH THEIR PERMISSION, add them to a created group page for your business. (All your posts will be seen on the group members' feeds.) **(I don't do this because I like my family life to be private and my business followers would then see what my friends see on my personal page).
-DISGUISE YOUR POSTS: OR, you can limit your salesly posts & or link them from pinterest or from a blog (even yours) + disguise your salesy words with "sharing" language : ie. "Check out this really cute idea for your classroom!" ;) Don't use salesy pervasive langauge. Think "Friend language", not business jargon.
-COMMENT on your own posts. FB likes it when people interact about a post & the more interaction there is, the more they put it out there. (Obviously, no more than 1 comment of your own is allowed on a post unless you're responding to people who are actually commenting.) Haha!
-SCHEDULE: This helps you keep sanity & it also hits your users at the RIGHT time to maximize the number of people who see the post when it hits FB.
(To do this, look at your STATS on your business page & see when people who follow your page are on FB. Then schedule your posts at those times on those days by clicking on the drop down arrow under the post.
- Mostly, teachers are on FB around 7-10pm at night on week days only. Don't even bother posting on the weekends (including Friday nights).
-WAIT: This may seem ODD, but I've found that if I follow the above techniques & wait between posts 3+ days, the more people see the post. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe FB keeps putting it out there. There must be a magic window for this.
Example: If I go a few weeks between posts (which I did last summer), my viewers dwindle, but if I keep posting on a regular bases & wait even as much as a week between posts, the numbers on the posts climb! This is crazy. Again, I haven't figured this one out yet, but it's an observation I've made.
3. How do I get more interaction on my posts?
Hurtle: Getting more interaction = posts seen by more people.
-Ugh. This is a challenge. Think about when you scroll down your feed. How many posts do you actually take the time to comment on? Let's be realistic. It has to appeal to you in a MAJOR way for you to feel like typing in a comment, so expect that you're not going to have a lot of interaction. If your posts are seen, that's good enough.
-People want to know you're actively creating products and sharing teacher ideas, embracing the teacher lifestyle. By at least posting & following the tips above to get you posts out there, you will be in the near forefront of followers' crowded minds. So set a goal to do 40% informative posts about education, 20% salesy disguised as sharing, and 40% fun posts (jokes, neat positive stuff, pinterest ideas, pics of what you're doing in your classroom, etc).
Remember, getting yourself "out there" takes time...
I hope these were some helpful tips. If you're able to try some out in the next month, come back and comment to let me know how it went for you!
*Interested in learning about using Pinterest & other social media platforms? Make sure you sign up (top right) to receive notice of posts to follow this fall about SM!
With all of the getting back to school, and thinking about your classroom or homeschool work space, what about YOUR desk?
If you're a classroom teacher, we're seeing a greater trend toward incorporating beautiful, soft-to-the-eyes spaces in our classrooms which feel like a home environment.
If you're a homeschool educator as I am currently, it's important to carefully design and create spaces within our homes that are not only functional, but speak beauty to your eyes throughout the day. After all, homeschool educators dwell in our classrooms all day long!
Today, I'm going to show you my command center, my work space, my R E T R E A T- which would be an easy DIY for your teacher desk in your classroom or your homeschool area.
My teacher hubby made this space for me this summer out of love and it truly is a work of art. Even though my work station desk is in the center of our main living area, when sit down at my desk, I enjoy beauty, calmness and tranquility. (He's thinking of making one for his US HIstory classroom as well.)
DIY PREP WORK
Before you design & create your desk, it's important to assess what in NATURE speaks to you the most. You want this to be a piece of peace & of beauty in your classroom or home.
Nature is the highest form of beauty. In nature we find colors, shapes, patterns and intricate design that is there for our eyes to feast on and our souls to find peace within. What places/colors/patterns in nature speak to you? For me, it's always been the sea.
As soon as my feet hit the sand and I peer out onto the endless horizon of the ocean, smell the salty air, feel the breeze, my heart rejoices and I feel a peace that is special to that place.
I can't always be at the sea, so I bring it into my home in a tasteful and subtle way. You can integrate colors/design/patterns, etc. into your home/classroom as well to create your workspace & classroom environment. You can see my workspace below.
DIY Teacher Desk Details
The Desk- You can get the building plan and pattern for the desk here from Ana White, who we love to get plans from!
The Window Organizer- This was a $12 window frame from a local antique shop in my tiny hometown. :) (Love that it comes from my tiny hometown shop and not a big store.) I use a Bistro Chalk Marker to write our weekly layout. This is where I keep family events. It's easy and quick for my hubby to look at. He doesn't have to shuffle around on my desk looking for a calendar!
Antique Glass Milk Jug- This beautiful, glass antique milk jug also came from a local antique shop as well as the decorative cotton for a nice southern touch! It frames my window nicely and adds another dimension to it.
Wooden Heart Ornament- This really is a Christmas ornament from a local shop and it adds a nice natural feel and texture to my workspace.
Tin Pen Holder- IKEA, people! Not sold online, only in the store.
The Chair- Also an Ana White building plan. It's actually a bar height chair, which I love. I like that my desk is high enough to keep little toddler fingers out-except when she climbs on. But that's inevitable, right? ;) It is nice to have it a different and unique height.
The Stain & Paint- Coastal Gray (because you know I love the coast) + water based polycrilic and Antique White Paint, both from Lowe's. You can get stain in any shade you wish!
As stated before, this desk set would be really nice in a classroom as well. It doesn't have drawers or storage space, but many teachers are moving away from a "traditional" desk area as moving around the room to interact with students is more prevalent. The nice thing about it is you could use it in front of the class as a "podium" type desk which is tall enough you can stand behind it and merely lean on your chair! I like the trend we're seeing to bring soft & beautiful "home-like" spaces & textures into classrooms. I'm sure it helps create a welcoming & nurturing environment for students who need it so much at school!
Whether you teach at home or in a classroom full of little hearts, taking care to incorporate pleasant beauty into your learning environment is rewarding & well worth it!
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Happy Back to School Days!
As the 1st day is approaching, we're all scrambling to get that "organized" and "accomplished" feeling, right? Right. So, I thought I'd help out a little bit so you can sit down at the end of preplanning and say, "Ahh." Here is a little collection of things you might be interested in to get you started on your back to school mission.
The Home Front Comes First
If you're a teacher and mom, try out these cute little lunchbox jokes and messages. Just download, cut and place where you can stick them in your own baby's lunch. :) You can view lunch packing ideas on my pinterest board below.
Lunchbox Jokes -The Crafted Sparrow
Get to Know You Games & Ideas
Check out my pinterest board for Back to School for ideas for get to know you games in the widget below.
Get to Know your Students - from The Owl Teacher
Books to Read the First Week
I think we all have our favorite books because I haven't met an educator yet who doesn't LOVE the thought of a good piece of literature and read aloud time! I've comprised a little list of a few of my favorites here and will give you a more length list in a link. Visit Jenny's blog for a lenthy list.
Back to School Books - from The Jenny Revolution
The Kissing Hand- I love this book! It's great for little ones and reminds them their moms still love them and want them be okay at school all day! A great idea would be to send home a cut-out template of a heart for moms to make with their littles and send to school with them the first week. They can keep in their book bags. Use caution. This wouldn't probably be a good idea for emotional kinders! More suited for 1st grade or 2nd!
ABCers- A cute alphabet book to review the alphabet!
If You Take a Mouse to School- Need I say anything? We love this book, all of them Mouse books, really. There is a cute mouse template on my Back to School 2016 pinterest board below. For kindergarten, I actually did this activity with my little Roo the first day. She loves to draw and is quite an artist. She was to illustrate a picture of her and the mouse if he (or a girl version) was at school with her.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom- Not really a first day theme, but it's a fun way to start off the year in kinder! I've seen lots of bulletin board ideas for this book and the beginning of the year.
David Goes to School - Hello! We LOVE the David books. Who doesn't? This is a GREAT time to talk about classroom procedures. I like the idea of making a chart with David's head on each side, one with a smiley and one with a frowny. Brainstorm and talk about things we do in school and things we don't do in school. Great for kinder again! (We're doing kindergarten this year if you cannot tell.) :)
First Day Jitters- This is a super cute book with a surprise ending! I liked reading it to my third graders the first day of school!
You can search for any of these books on Amazon. What are your favorite books for back to school?
First Week of School Activities
There are many first week activities you can certainly pick from, but I thought I'd share this one this year.
Are You a Bucket Filler- from Scholastic Blog: I thought this was a SUPER neat idea! We all know the first 6 weeks of school should be a lot of procedures and routine teaching (Harry Wong college flashback). whoa. Okay. So, we also know that teaching a classroom culture is important as well. This year focus on building a culture of kindness. There's a big movement out there for this, Teacher People! I'm pretty sure you can even by a shirt. This mini-lesson discussed with photos on the Scholastic blog goes right a long with the book. "How Full is your Bucket"? Modeling this is ideal throughout the year, but having an upfront mini-lesson that's literature based, of course, would go a long way in the minds of your children.
Back to School Bags and Tags
Okay, yes, I homeschool and I only had to buy 2 of these, but it went over AWESOME in getting my girls motivated for school. My hubby and I hit the dollar aisle at TARGET (which happens to be full of neat little games and school supplies) and put together two Back to School goody bags. I know that could get super expensive for a whole classroom of kids, but it's the thought that counts, right? Giving students a decorative pencil, a candy good bag or just a handwritten note (don't underestimate the value of handwritten, which is fleetingly rare) letting them know you are excited to have them in your class goes a long way to encourage and motivate both students and parents!
BUT if you'd rather not take the time write out say...twenty-one notes before you start back, you can also find some pretty cute little tags for goody bags to print up and assemble before that first day!