Free Marketing Webinar on Thursday!

Hey so it’s been some time, right? Well, the first six months of this year were incredibly stressful – so all my plans to revive the blog got put on the back burner. I still don’t know if I want to come back to blogging or not – but I do know I want to do more for helping other small business owners.

Right now I’m working on things behind the scenes, cleaning up this site and slapping on some fresh paint. But, I did go ahead and put two free marketing webinars on my schedule for anyone to attend – no strings attached, no up-sell at the end.

No idea how to get started with your email marketing? Attend this free marketing webinar to get started on creating your first newsletter list!

Mailchimp – From Start to First Campaign!
Thursday July 23rd @ 7pm ET/4pm PT via Google Hangouts

(I had to reschedule to Thursday – we came down with a virus over the weekend and definitely aren’t in top form!)

Free Pinning with Buffer Webinar

Pinterest & Buffer – Tips and Tricks for Scheduling Pins
Monday July 27th @ 7pm ET/4pm PT via Google Hangouts

Want to attend? Click here to subscribe to my notification emails. I promise this email list isn’t to sell you some ridiculous program or anything, just free opportunities for you to grow your business.

Buy My Store Retirement Bundle!

So it’s come time to say goodbye to digiscrap designing! I hinted at it at the beginning of the year, my heart just isn’t in digiscrapping anymore. I LOVE digiscrapping still – but not enough to keep designing, or even scrapping more than with the Project Life app. I decided to go out with a bang this iNSD – with a huge Buy My Store Retirement Bundle!

Digiscrap Retirement Bundle Sale

The bundle is only available until May 10th, then it’s gone forever. You get everything in my store (except collabs – you get my half, but not the other designer’s half) plus some extra goodies I threw in for fun. For $15.50 you’re saving over 90% on $155+ worth of goodies!

{{ buy now }}

7 Not-So-Pretty Realities of Working From Home *Bundle Sale – 48 Hours Left*

7 Not-So-Pretty Realities of Working From Home

Yesterday’s blog post about how being a virtual assistant saved us from utter doom painted a pretty rosy picture of what it’s like to be self employed. It really is great, and I wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING… but there are some downsides.

Your “coworkers” are your housemates.

Even if they do nothing for the business, you call them that to get some sense of normalcy. This includes humans and animals. I’ve become that-crazy-dog-lady with an Instagram feed full of dog photos because I can’t exactly share screenshots of work all day. This also limits the number of birthdays to celebrate, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how much you like cake.

You get sick of being home, fast.

For many VAs, it’s easy to pick up your laptop and run to a coffee shop to work. But for those who are stay at home moms – or like in my case, I share a car with my husband – you CRAVE the weekends. And when you realize how long it’s been since you left the house, ANY outing – even a quick trip to Sonic for late night milk shakes becomes a much needed break. On REALLY bad days, even working from a different room is refreshing.

Breakdowns happen more often than in a normal workplace.

When you don’t have (legit) coworkers to watch you have an epic breakdown, there’s nothing holding back the floodgates. Believe me. Ask Jeff or my dad… they both have been subject to my inability to hold it in anymore to save face. Because let’s be honest, the dogs don’t care.

It’s easy to gain weight.

When you don’t have people nearby to see, you also can fall into the temptation to eat around the clock. It’s also easy to spend the entire day glued to your chair. Unless you have a fitbit harassing you – the most exercise you might get in a day is from trips to the bathroom and kitchen. On especially busy days I miss college, and having to power walk across campus to get to all my classes.

You forget daily grooming tasks, like brushing your teeth.

This sadly, is my worst. Too often I’m halfway out the door to buy salami at the deli (another great excuse to get out of the house) and I’ll realize I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth that morning. I need Siri to remind me or something. Thankfully, I remember my deodorant every day… but I’m pretty sure my favorite UPS guy changed routes because of one too many crazy hair days.

You become addicted to Amazon Prime, possibly undoing all your earnings for a day.

Run out of printer paper? Who needs to go to Office Depot for that anymore? Need a big pack of chocolate? It only takes one click! Without the restrictions of workplace internet use, online shopping is more tempting than ever. Online shopping easily substitutes for a work break… but it’s not so great for your budget. But you totally needed that 3-in-1 tool for slicing, pitting, and serving avocados.

Super surprise just showed up!!! Riley's jealous.

A photo posted by Meg B (@ourmisadventures) on

You watch and share all the new Buzzfeed videos before everyone else.

It helps to be connected constantly, without fear of your boss catching you taking a break to see what weird foods they’re eating today. Or if #AshDrew will ever happen. And it’s important to know those random facts about beauty through the decades… and what happens when normal people try pinterest tutorials. Yeah, that doesn’t make you look like an anti-social hermit at all.

Still sound like something you want to do?

There’s just TWO DAYS left to The Bootstrap VA Bundle sale – get the guidebook that saved us from Jeff’s devastating layoff plus $218.95 worth of other products and discounts for only $29.95. Read all about what’s included over here. Join the ranks of those of us who forget to brush our teeth, have a love/hate relationship with being a hermit, and have the ability to call your pets your coworkers. Believe me, being self employed and working from home is awesome… it just isn’t as glamorous as many of those self-made online entrepreneurs paint it to be.

Buy the Bundle Now!!

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Really – who would trade this cuteness for a normal nine-to-five?

It's not like I need my trackpad… #dogsatwork #dogsofinstagram #rileyandpebbles

A photo posted by Meg B (@ourmisadventures) on

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link, for each sale of the bundle I make a small commission. That does not change my opinion of the book and products included in the bundle, I would promote this sale even without the affiliate program!

How We Survived a Devastating Layoff *72 Hour Sale*

How we were able to survive a devastating layoff with just one income, and find financial independence!

Since college, I’ve been working as a Virtual Assistant – only, I didn’t realize that I was a VA until January of last year, and that I was actually pretty horrible as a business owner. One evening when I was browsing Pinterest, I came across a blog post about working from home – and how to make a full-time income. That’s the first time I heard about Virtual Assistants – and Lisa Morosky’s book, The Bootstrap VA. I read the book overnight, and by the end of the year went from feeling like I wasn’t contributing anything to our budget – to being able to support us both on one income.

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Before I force you to read my long story – if you want to jump right on over to the 72 hour bundle sale, click here to visit The Bootstrap VA Final Edition Bundle Sale.

The Layoff

This last fall, my husband’s place of employment for six years was suddenly shut down by the government for safety reasons. It was completely devastating, 1300 people out of work with no coverage from the WARN Act. It was a huge shock, Jeff actually wasn’t laid off immediately because his department was necessary for security of the company’s assets – but we knew his time was limited. I was a wreck, friends took turns checking in on me to make sure I was OK while Jeff spent the night in his office, and then only coming home for a shower before going back.

We were lucky, most families had both husband and wife working there – and some even their adult kids. We were completely surprised it escalated that far, even though we were always cautious because problems were happening on and off for years.

We went from Jeff’s stable income that always covered our bills and expenses, to my self employment income – which until then we weren’t considering for our budget, but were using to pay off our debt and extra fun money.

Now it was our only income until unemployment came in, and unemployment didn’t even come close to replacing what he made before.

How I Got Started

Let’s rewind to the early 2000’s – I was in college, working part-time doing research and data processing for some local real estate appraisers. When Jeff and I got married, I was too sick from an undiagnosed auto-immune disease to continue pursuing a career in Deaf Education, so I continued to work from home processing appraisals. Some months I would only make $20, others I would easily bring in $600… but it was nowhere near a full-time income, even though I felt like I was working full-time trying to communicate with clients, research, and process reports. I was paid by the report, and falsely believed that the easy 45-minute reports made up for the reports that would take me half a day.

After almost half a decade of working for the same pay (and I even let myself get talked into a reduced fee in some cases) with the work just getting harder – something needed to change. I needed to either figure out how to get paid what I deserved, or go back to working outside of the home.

At the same time, I was also designing digital scrapbooking supplies – which meant having to learn the ins and outs of marketing online. I absorbed everything I could about social media marketing, and combined with over a decade of web development – I realized I had more marketable skills than just processing real estate appraisals. But what does one do with that?

When big changes rolled out for real estate appraisals at the end of 2013, I started looking for more income options. Digiscrap wasn’t bringing in that much, I just didn’t have the creative inspiration to pump out enough product to compete in a oversaturated market. That’s when I came across that fateful Pinterest pin – all about how to make an income from home. I bought Lisa’s book and kept Jeff up WAY TOO LATE talking about the mind-blowing revelation – I was going to officially become a virtual assistant and put myself out there for work.

How The Bootstrap VA Changed Everything

With The Bootstrap VA, I finally had guidance. I realized my value and potential, and had a handbook to get me there. I learned a LOT from The Bootstrap VA, but here’s my biggest lessons learned:

  • I finally knew I was worth more than the little pennies I was bringing in, that the stress I was under from clients and myself wasn’t worth it. If I valued myself more, I would earn more with less stress.
  • I immediately joined The Bootstrap VA Facebook group – an exclusive group for owners of the book that is COMPLETELY invaluable. I have learned just as much from the people in that group as I did from the book, and networking in there has connected me to many of my clients!
  • I realized I had more skills than just processing real estate appraisals – from years of playing around in web development, graphic design, and online marketing – I could turn my geeky hobbies into marketable skills.
  • Setting boundaries with clients was my biggest weakness for years – but Lisa’s book opened my eyes to the fact that the client isn’t always right, and I need to protect my sanity even if it meant losing out on business. Before, I was available anytime for my clients to drop off a last-minute report. That’s not a way to live for anyone – I needed to set hours that worked for me, and not cater to everyone else.
  • The perfect client for one VA, is not the perfect client for another VA. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, you’re better passing up the opportunity for the next one.

With those lessons, my business and life were completely changed.

How We Survived the Layoff

Right after Jeff lost his job, we were kind of in a daze. Had I had any other job, I don’t think I could have survived that emotional turmoil. Things were still up in the air about the status of the company, we didn’t know whether he could be back in a week or months, or if he even wanted to go back.

But bills needed to be paid.

Fortunately, in less than a year my revamped VA business went from pennies a month to replacing Jeff’s income. 

A month later, my hard drive crashed and we were able to buy me a new computer.

If I had continued working the way I was before, we would have emptied our emergency fund and dug ourselves deeper into debt.

All because I was finally equipped to run a business from home, practically from scratch. Yeah I was a VA before, but I didn’t carry a single client over from the days before my Bootstrap overhaul – I started over with knowledge gained from Lisa’s book.

I no longer suffer from crippling anxiety, the reduced stress meant I could finally heal from my autoimmune disease, I don’t have self-esteem issues about not contributing more to our income, and I have the freedom to work when I want from where I want!

How Do You Get Started?

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First up – buy The Bootstrap VA Final Edition Bundle. This sale is only going on for 72 hours and it’s LOADED with even more materials than I had to get started. In addition to Lisa’s book, you also get these things for only $29.95:

  • The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More! by Lisa Morosky (a $9.99 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • Become a Virtual Assistant: The Virtual Assistant Forums Guide to Success byTess Strand (a $49.00 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom’s Guide to Passion, Purpose, and Profits by Alyssa Avant (a $4.99 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • How to be a Work-at-Home Mom: The Happily Ever After Guide to Leading the WAHM Life by Prerna Malik (a $19.00 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do: A Tutorial to Using PicMonkey with Professional Resultsby Richele McFarlin (an $8.00 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • Productivity 2.0: More Impact, Less Work by Prerna Malik (a $9.00 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • Profitable Blogging For Beginners by Tanya Peterson (a $25.00 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews (a $2.99 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • The Essential Guide to Successful Publicity Kits by Richele McFarlin (a $12.00 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • VA Starter Kit Checklist by Susan Mershon (a $9.99 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • VA Starter Kit Marketing Packet by Susan Mershon (a $19.99 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • VA Starter Kit Welcome Packet by Susan Mershon (a $19.99 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)
  • Virtual Assistant System Templates by Alyssa Avant (a $39.00 value – but it’s included in the bundle!)

And these exclusive discounts…

  • From Idea to eBook: An Online Course to Help You Make It Happen by Mandi Ehman (a $37.00 value – but you’ll get it for $9.25 with the included discount code!)
  • Plus Moxie Membership by Jimmie Lanley (an $89.00 value – but you’ll get it for $12.00 with the included discount code!)
  • Website by the Weekend by Angela Wills (a $47.00 value – but you’ll get it for $11.75 with the included discount code!)

Not only that – but inside The Bootstrap VA Final Edition, there’s advice from yours truly! How I spend an average work day, how I connect with clients, and more! 

This sale is for 72 hours only – and once it’s over, you’ll only be able to grab the book via Amazon or Nook!

Buy Now for $29.95

I look forward to seeing everyone in The Bootstrap VA Group on Facebook – let me know if you have any questions, I’m here to answer them!

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link, for each sale of the bundle I make a small commission. That does not change my opinion of the book and products included in the bundle, I would promote this sale even without the affiliate program!

My Word for 2015: Focus (Q1 Reflection)

Fonts: Janda Happy Day by Kimberly Geswein Fonts, and The Sherifs Sister by Fonts by Heather, Kit: Strong by Captivated Visions, Quote by Mark Twain

Fonts: Janda Happy Day by Kimberly Geswein Fonts, and The Sherifs Sister by Fonts by Heather, Kit: Strong by Captivated Visions, Quote by Mark Twain

We’re a quarter of way done with 2015… how am I doing with my word-of-the-year, Focus?

There’s been ups and downs. At work, I’ve been laser focused… and then the spring weather hit. The pollen and high temperatures are huge distractions. Thankfully we’re having a VERY random cool down… which is refreshing, even if it still is above average temperatures! The cool down has helped me get back on focus, and hopefully stay focused when the heat returns.

Right now I’m in the middle of trying to go without eggs or dairy – to see if I could be sensitive to either one. In my teens I was allergic to eggs if they weren’t baked into something else. I’m going insane over this, I had JUST come to terms with the idea of fermenting things beyond kombucha and milk kefir… and then I had to go and give up dairy. Yeah there’s vegetable starters out there, and I could do wild ferments – but the starters I’ve found could be cross contaminated with wheat, and I’m still too chicken for wild ferments.

 

Why am I giving up the dairy and eggs? Well, crazy bad eczema. If you follow me on IG… you’ve seen how bad it got. We’re pretty sure the eczema is caused by stress – but we wanted to be extra sure that dairy and eggs weren’t contributing.

Best care package EVER! Thank you Grandad and Grandma!!

A photo posted by Meg B (@ourmisadventures) on

 

Thankfully, my grandparents sent a case of avocados from their ranch – a HUGE lifesaver. Avocados are my favorite food – especially now that I can’t have sushi – so it was most definitely the best care package ever.

So health wise, I guess you could say I’m staying focused on keeping in line with food stuff. It helps that we’re able to get meats and most foods at a huge discount thanks to Jeff’s new job :) At the moment I started tracking food again to make sure I’m staying low carb and getting plenty of protein.

 

Since the weather is being nice, and because our fitness center is currently unavailable – I’ve been going on daily walks with friends. It’s much more motivating than a stuffy small room. Checking off my movement focus goal too :) I’m thinking about investing in something like a fitbit to make sure I get in enough movement each day – but for now, that’s not a necessity.

Overall, I feel pretty positive about 2015 – there have been a lot of stressful and horrible days and weeks, but the positives outweigh them.

Including a surprise I have later this week – something that will hopefully change your life for the better, like it’s significantly helped mine.

Easier Interaction Between Facebook Pages – a new feature!

Easier Interaction Between Facebook PagesI’m a huge fan of the “save this post” feature that Facebook has now. Now I have way too many things saved for later on Facebook, Pinterest, and Pocket. The other day I was trying to save a post from Traditional Cooking School, and I noticed a new little flag in the bottom right of the post. At first I thought Facebook was making it easier to “bookmark” posts – but once I clicked, I discovered a new feature that page managers will love!

Screenshot of new Facebook feature for Page ManagersWhen you click on the little flag – it’s actually the icon associated with Facebook Pages – you get this little pop up menu of pages associated with your personal Facebook account:

Screenshot of new Facebook feature for Page Managers

In this menu, you can select who or what page you want to act as when liking or clicking a post. Of course, your pop up menu wont be blurred out like my example 😉

Screenshot of new Facebook feature for Page Managers

Why is this so awesome? Because before – you had to basically “log in” to a page in order to like or comment on a post by another page. It was a tedious process that made it harder to navigate Facebook, and almost not worth it for most part.

It also means you can like or comment on a post as your personal account on one of the pages you manage without having to change your page role. For example, I manage a few pages for bloggers that I followed prior to working with them. I still like to interact on their pages as myself, and not as their brand. With this little feature, I’m able to make sure that my actions on their post are under the identity I want to make those actions with.

How can you use this to improve your brand?

If you only have time for one thing, use this tool to quickly respond to mentions or shares from other pages. One of the real food movement pages I manage gets a lot of questions about substitutions to make SAD recipes into real food recipes. If I know of a site or blogger that has written about that problem, I’ll mention and link them in my comment reply.  80% of the time that blogger chimes in using their personal Facebook profile instead of their brand’s Facebook Page profile! The follower they’re responding to is less likely to find their way over to that blogger’s page if the blogger is commenting under their personal profile.

If you have more time to interact with other pages – do that! Comment genuinely as an average follower would – “Great post – thanks for sharing! I had no idea that scientists were studying the microorganisms of cured meats this in-depth.”

One step further is to comment on a post that you’re also going to share on your own page. Don’t comment saying “Shared!” – leave a genuine comment like the example I just gave. It gives a more personal touch or feeling that followers will like.

Don’t ignore the little guys either – if you’re getting shares from a blogger with a much smaller following but good content, validate them! It will mean the world to them to get a nod from someone they look up to.

Should you make this a part of your Facebook marketing strategy? That’s going to take experimenting. Every niche responds differently, if you have the time and drive to do it – then it wont hurt to try.

How should I not use this for my brand?

Don’t troll or comment vomit – be genuine. Followers will notice. I’ll explain with examples – unfortunately I have more guidelines for how to not use this tool. These cautions apply to other platforms too.

One client of mine is known for a honest & well researched approach to essential oils. If you’ve heard anything about essential oils, you’ve probably heard of the brands Young Living and DoTerra – two MLM distribution companies for essential oils. My client’s page gets TONS of comments and interactions from those MLM partners trying to get the edge on selling to my client’s customer base. My client doesn’t sell for either company – but that doesn’t make it right for these people to come in and try to use her page as a source of direct sales opportunities.

Another example comes from the teacher-author niche (people who sell educational materials online) I see a lot of teacher-authors pushing their own products to followers of other teacher-authors. Say a teacher-author asks a question on their own Facebook page about topics that teachers struggle teaching in the classroom. Don’t go in there and link up the people responding with your own products. It’s fine to participate with a meaningful & non-promotional comment like, “Wow! I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles teaching some of these units.” But again – using someone else’s page as an opportunity to make a sale appears unscrupulous to both followers and your peers.

It’s just like a dinner party – you’re a guest – it isn’t appropriate to go into someone’s home and treat it like your own.

Lastly, the mean & offensive trolling – if you don’t agree with the content of a page – it’s best to keep your mouth shut when commenting using your Facebook page’s identity. I’m totally for standing up for what you believe in! But if it’s a topic that you have strong feelings for and can’t stay silent, weigh the risks of commenting under your page instead of your personal profile. I personally use my personal profile to open my big mouth – I don’t want to draw mean trolls from another page to my page by commenting with that identity. If you do feel it’s important to comment under your page identity, write out your response and sit on it. Go back in an hour and read through it again – or ask a friend or peer for their input. Do you really want to say those things as a brand? Even if your argument is well thought out with examples for your counterpoints – there’s still going to be a bad reaction, especially from people who don’t care about logic.

Mean trolls are a pain to manage, and speaking up on controversial topics as your Facebook page identity on someone else’s page will most definitely draw them back to your page. I’ve seen owners of pages completely target other pages – sending their page following to attack the other person’s page. People simply aren’t mature on social media, these days we have to anticipate the worst – even from other brands.

Does this mean Facebook Pages can now interact with groups?

Sadly, no. Facebook groups are a fast growing interface for bloggers to directly reach followers – but we still have to act in groups under our personal profiles. This new feature only works for page-to-page interactions, not page-to-profile or page-to-group.

But, Facebook is growing the functions and features of groups daily – we could see something in the future for brands to connect their pages and group communities.

If you’re concerned about interacting in groups related to your niche using your personal Facebook profile – go through your profile to make sure that only information you want public is being shown. Facebook allows you to view your profile as someone who isn’t a friend, and you can bulk set previous posts to “friends-only” and restrict who can send you friend requests.

In the past, Facebook has only allowed one personal profile per person – but that verbiage has been removed from their terms. Would I create a second personal profile to keep followers from finding your active personal one? Probably not – Facebook can go back to their old terms at any time, plus they also enforce their terms about not using a personal profile as a business profile instead of a page.

Think like a follower!

It all comes back to my rule of thumb for social media marketing – think like your average follower. Would they want to see you interacting with other pages in the manners that you are? How do you get annoyed by other pages interacting with other pages? Would you click over to someone’s page if you saw them genuinely interacting with a page you follow?

Is anyone else interacting with other pages under your own page identity? Have you noticed any benefits to it?

My Word for 2015: Focus

It’s taken me about six weeks (and four complete re-writes) to finally finish this blog post about my word for 2015 – “focus”. I guess I really do need to work on focusing?

Or maybe I really didn’t want to focus on reflecting on 2014… and what I’d like for 2015 to hold.

Because really – 2014 is in the past. It was an amazing year for both blessings and hardships, and what I had “hoped” for in 2014 was completely different from the results.

But the results for 2014 weren’t bad at all – we survived a traumatic event and came out even stronger and wiser. I made a huge shift in my business, growing it so much in 8 months that I’m turning people away daily. I moved forward, but not in the ways I envisioned.

So what do I want for 2015?

Fonts: Janda Happy Day by Kimberly Geswein Fonts, and The Sherifs Sister by Fonts by Heather, Kit: Strong by Captivated Visions, Quote by Mark Twain

My Facebook cover image to remind me throughout the year. Fonts: Janda Happy Day by Kimberly Geswein Fonts, and The Sherifs Sister by Fonts by Heather, Kit: Strong by Captivated Visions, Quote by Mark Twain

To focus on what matters, and not let the rest of the world distract me.

  • Start regularly blogging again, here at Our Misadventures.
  • Continue to make healthier decisions – and not focus on goals, but health.
  • Focus on relationships, instead of being “too busy” to be social.
  • Stop focusing on the details, learn to enjoy simplicity. Anxiety takes away too much of my focus.
  • Focus on wasting less (time, money, food, etc,) by learning to plan better.
  • Use my knowledge and skills to focus on helping others.

Will these goals stay the same throughout the year? Who knows. Last year I was all about “forward” and I most definitely moved forward significantly – just not in the ways I had imagined. If I can simply learn to focus more on what matters, 2015 will be a success.

Are you picking a word for 2015? Or do you have a list of specific goals? 

Facebook Changes & Digiscrap Designers

Facebook Changes and Digiscrap Designers

All over the digi world, designers are freaking out about the promotional post changes coming to Facebook next year.

There’s no need to pull a Britney and metaphorically shave your head of Facebook. That would be a huge mistake, because like hair – a Facebook page’s reach doesn’t grow overnight. Yes, the changes do make things a little harder to market on Facebook – but no, they’re not a ploy to get you to pay Facebook more money to advertise.

What exactly are the changes?

Facebook is essentially adjusting their reach algorithm so that blatant promotional posts do not get as much reach as not-so-blatant promotional posts.
According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:
  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Source

That doesn’t mean ALL promotional posts are bad, but that they’re rewarding the types of promotional posts that the Facebook insights show get less negative feedback. Yes, Facebook is making changes by listening to their users. In their announcement they give visual examples of bad promotional posts – and on this page, good ones.

Take a look at your insights. Click on an individual post, and it’ll pull up what the post looked like in the newsfeeds plus a detailed breakdown of the user interaction with the post. Here’s an example:

Facebook Insights Example from Our Misadventures

See the negative feedback at the bottom? That’s actually not bad at all considering how many people saw this post. But – that feedback would be pretty horrible if only 300 people had seen that post. When the ratio of negative feedback to good feedback is bad, Facebook isn’t going to reward posts like that. Make sense?

More from their now updated “guidelines“:

At Facebook, we believe that ads should contribute to and be consistent with the overall user experience. The best ads are those that are tailored to individuals based on how they and their friends interact and affiliate with the brands, artists, and businesses they care about. These guidelines are not intended to serve as legal advice and adherence to these guidelines does not necessarily constitute legal compliance. Advertisers are responsible for ensuring that their ads comply with all applicable laws, statutes, and regulations.

So how is this not a ploy to get people to spend more money on FB ads?

Because of the 20% text-on-an-image rule. You already can’t give Facebook your money so they’ll show these blatant promotional posts to more people. Facebook has never liked the infomercial “BUY BUY BUY!!!” promotional technique because their users make it clear that they don’t like it. And when it comes to digiscrap product previews, they wouldn’t pass the 20% rule anyway.

So what do we do as digiscrap designers?

Facebook does have a list of tips to help you optimize your business page reach, but here’s mine for digiscrap designers:

  • Post consistently, every day – not just release weekends. Be relevant to your community – digiscrappers really do like to be linked up to tutorials and articles relevant to them. Once you’ve got posting every day down, start increasing to two times a day. The more interaction you get on non-promotional posts, the more FB increases your reach on the promotional posts.
  • Have attractive posts. You can share CT layouts with links back to their gallery posting or your store – just be sure to word it so that the post isn’t solely to get people to buy something. Focus on what you like from the layout, or even a quote from the CT member who made it.
  • Use your FB insights to optimize your posting schedule. They show you when people are online each day, so you can schedule your posts to go out just before that peak time.
  • Build a tribe – interact with other designers from your store and reshare their posts that are relevant to your following, like tutorials and challenges. There’s no need to be exclusive to your own brand – it’s going to be hard to come up with enough of your own content to do that.
  • Overlap your social media or marketing platforms – meaning, link back to a pin you made on Pinterest. Share your newsletter subscription link once in awhile, especially if a freebie is coming up (just be careful to not be too used-car-salesman in your wording.)

That all being said, do not stay exclusive to Facebook or any platform for your marketing – nor should you ignore any one platform because you don’t like their changes. Running a business is more than just putting out a product, you have to connect with customers and provide them with content that inspires them to use your product. Take a look at other products that you buy – like Chex cereals. Do they just show you a bowl of milk and cereal and call it a day? No, they give you recipes and ideas for doing more with their product.

We’d love for digiscrap designing to be as simple as creating a product and being in a great store. “Build it and they will come” is a very flawed business model, it just simply doesn’t work unless you’re a monopoly. If you poke around online for marketing information, specifically social media – you’ll hear a lot about the 80/20 rule. 80% marketing, 20% product development. For many businesses that’s true – but in digiscrap many are definitely following the opposite or worse, almost no marketing. I’m not saying to all the sudden become a social media whore and post up a storm (that will just piss people off) but maybe work your way up to a 50/50 split of your time. Start at an hour one day a week curating & scheduling content for your social media following, at least one post a day. Think like a customer and what they would enjoy seeing.

Any increase of effective marketing techniques will help in some way. But an increase in spending all kinds of time complaining about Facebook changes? That doesn’t help at all. Everyone ignores the additions they make that are completely positive. Yeah, it’s going to be rough at first – especially as you try to find your groove – but it’s an investment in your business that will pay off.

If you’re interested in learning more techniques for marketing your digiscrap or craft business, let me know in the comments. Who knows, maybe this will turn into a blog series!

Note: Yes, if you take a look at my own FB page I’m not following my own advice. Because of recent events covered in other blog posts, I haven’t been promoting my own digiscrap business and site because I haven’t had the time to be a part of the digiscrap community. I do manage dozens of social media pages, big and small (as you can see by the stats above) – so I pretty much live and breathe social media strategy for others. 

Oscraps Advent & Sale

Our Misadventures Advent 30% Off Sale

Today is my turn in the Oscraps Advent Celebration! Grab 30% off all my products even if you don’t have the time to participate in the awesome activity Sara has planned for you today. Head on over to the advent forum, and start Day 15 to get to today’s challenge!

Sara’s asking that everyone share the best gift they ever gave… and I honestly can’t remember. I must really suck at gift giving! I even asked Jeff, who I got an “I don’t know” from. He’s pretty awesome at gift giving – last year he surprised me with a shotgun and accessories. Some years I do just gift cards for people (I know) other years I do handmade or homemade stuff.

Honestly, the holiday season stresses and depresses me – mostly because I’m so far away from my family. My dad and I did the math this year, and it’s only been four years – but it feels like much longer! I still don’t know what I’m going to send them all this year. I think I’m going to need to watch today’s advent thread like a hawk for inspiration! I really like this idea from Keeper of the Home, “Seasons” Greetings – a savory all-purpose seasoning. That and maybe some tea sets? I need help!

Head on over to Oscraps to participate & shop!

Thank You!

Since I announced the closing of Real Life Scrapped, I’ve received a lot of amazing messages from people in the scrapbooking community. It makes the decision even harder, but we’ll see what the future holds.

A lot are asking for updates on how we’re holding up since the last update, so here’s a quick one.

Right now, I’m finally catching up on work since my computer crash. Jeff has been an amazing help – his layoff has kind of been a blessing in regards to my computer crash and higher-than-usual chaos. He’s been a real help with remembering to take care of chores and making sure I eat. A lot of you sent messages of encouragement for him too, he loves the attention! We still don’t know what the future holds for him career-wise, but we’re not worried. Ideally he would pick up some outdoorsy-clients and expand upon my business, but I still need to find the time to train him.

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The dogs are happy as clams, Pebbles has taken up playing Civ5 with Jeff. They don’t care about much, except unlimited cuddles for warmth.

That’s pretty much it – work and dog cuddles! I hope to get back to proper blogging and designing in the new year, but right now I’m going to enjoy a book and the TV yule log!