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A Day in the Life with Jessica Smart

My name is Jessica Smart and I started The Littles Life blog a little over a year ago in the hopes that others would be just as curious about the people behind some of the incredibly talented small shops and businesses that I’d found through Instagram. I’ve made so many wonderful connections and friendships throughout the past couple of years because of my initial interest in a product or shop that I’d accidentally stumble upon while on Instagram.

I became fascinated with talented business owners after striking up conversations and learned that I really enjoyed getting to know these people! They all have a story and most of them started with a dream, no money, and sometimes hardly even a vision. Just a passion and a talent and the hope that others would find their shop, love their product, and want to support them.

Blogger

So many of their stories I’ve found to be inspiring and it has made me want to share with others!  At the same time I was getting asked by friends, family, and even strangers where I’d found such cool and unique things. I’m talking purses, sandals, moccasins, t-shirts (adults and kids alike), hair bows, prints, mugs, leggings, jewelry…the list goes on and on! After being encouraged by shop owners and friends, I finally decided I’d put myself out there and give this whole blog thing a try and man, I’m so glad I did!

In addition to sharing shops and shop owners, I sometimes like to share a piece of my everyday life. Sharing real life as a busy mom with others who can relate is really and truly amazing! There’s so much support and love that goes around just by opening up and sharing a piece of who you are with others. I know I enjoy getting to know so many lovely people in the Instagram/blog community so I truly try to give others a glimpse of our everyday adventures as well. I’m a real person, (with a real family, with real struggles) who desires to search for the joy and wonder in ordinary, everyday life moments.

Blogger Family

Costco Family

When I’m not blogging (usually on my bed with a cup of coffee), I’m taking care of my three children (ages 9,6, & 4) who all have their own activities and schedules as well! In addition to that, I’m a part-time dance teacher at a studio not far from my house. I also nanny my 7mo old nephew part-time. Needless to say, it takes a lot of serious intentional effort to stay organized these days.

Weekly Planner

Mostly because I’m naturally a “free bird” and organization is not my forte. I like to fly be the seat of my pants and have no schedule, but you and I both know I’m not 5 anymore (darn). This is where idieh design has been a life saver for me! The Let’s Do This Weekly Desktop Planner has proven to be a total game changer! Each day of the week has a big enough space for me to jot down all my goals and plans for the day. No more tiny square to work with… too limiting. And how cute is this Brain Dump Notepad?? I had to have it! I literally have to purge my thoughts onto paper because I’ll be honest, they are fleeting and gone with the wind and writing on paper for me is way better than a list on my phone. Who doesn’t love a good “check” when a task on the list has been completed anyways?

To-do Checklist

Another serious favorite is my personalized black and white notebook!! I may have squealed a tad when I saw it in person. It’s the first thing I’ve ever had my logo physically printed on! I love it and of course I write everything having to do with my goals and visions as a lifestyle blogger. I do have a desk by the way, but since this is “real life” I’m giving you here, I’ll tell you I rarely use it! My bed is my favorite even if there’s a tiny person in it me :)

Spring Cleaning Your Social Media [Part 3]

Social Media Tips

So now that we’ve covered Parts 1 and 2 on how to find and build a killer social media audience, we’ve got to find a way to squeeze all those posts, tweets and pins into your already packed schedule.

The best way to accomplish this is to schedule your posts!

Now, I’m not saying to schedule EVERYTHING. You should definitely be spontaneous and tweet, post on Instagram or re-pin items as the moment strikes you while you’re going about your day. But scheduling can come in handy when there’s different content you want to put out there that doesn’t involve breaking news or instant inspiration.

Here are some of the best rated social media management programs for all the #girlbosses out there:

 

Social Media Planner

  • Social Media Connected To: Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others
  • What It Does: You can monitor almost all of your social media outlets in one fell swoop. Hootsuite can also provide you with analytics on your social media outreach as well as allow you to schedule posts in advance.

 

Social Media Planner

  • Social Media Connected To: Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn
  • What It Does: The best part of Buffer is your ability to schedule posts exactly when you know they will have the most impact. You can fill up your list with content (or “top off your Buffer” as they call it) and then set the posts to come out when you want them to (several different times that day or that week). Like Hootsuite, Buffer also has an analytics program that allows you to see the impact of your social media activity.

Note: This blog post has a great comparison between the two and how you can use them to supplement each other

 

Social Media Planner

  • Social Media Connected To: According to the information I’ve read (I’ve not yet tried this service), it works with almost any social media website
  • What It Does: First off, it stands for “If This, Then That” – which makes more sense once you realize the purpose of this tool. You program it to follow a “recipe” (their word) so that when something happens, then something else happens. For example, if you want to post to Instagram and have it go to Twitter, Facebook and your Dropbox, then you can program it so that every time you post on Instagram, then those other sources get the picture as well.

 

Social Media Planner

  • Social Media Connected To: Big shocker here – TWITTER!
  • What It Does: It does what it’s tagline says – it creates “a custom Twitter experience.” You can create and build multiple different timelines based on criteria that you set (say you want to track one thing for your blog and another for your etsy store). You can also create custom searches that will allow you to track trending topics, events and hashtags, and then narrow those down with filters that relate to what you are interested in.

 

Social Media Planner

  • Social Media Connected To: Again, I know it’s surprising, but it’s Twitter.
  • What It Does: This program works well in conjunction with Tweetdeck. You can get rid of fake followers, sort out the inactive accounts, follow back people who followed you and find new people to follow. It’s basically the younger sister of Tweetdeck.

 

Social Media Planner

  • Social Media Connected To: This one was actually a surprise – Google+
  • What It Does: I have recently discovered the joy of Google+ and this Chrome extension allows you to make it even more awesome with many of the same features for Google+ that the other programs above do for other social media networks. It will let you write and schedule your posts, share links from any tab on Chrome, and schedule posts to share in circles or communities just to name a few.

 

SO, now that we have reached the end of the road with our Social Media Spring Cleaning, I hope you’ve found it helps you to get your game face on to tackle your projects!

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Spring Cleaning Your Social Media [Part 2]

Hey ya’ll! Welcome back to my multi-part series on Spring Cleaning Your Social Media!

If you haven’t checked out Part 1, you should do that first :)

And in case we haven’t met before, I’m Amanda and I blog over at The Color Coded Life.

On to today’s topic!

Flowers, rose. Beautiful, pink bouquet in the pot

After last week, we should now know who we want to target with our Social Media as well as where our fabulous ideal audience hangs out. Now we want to look at how we can find more of our dream buyers/readers/etc. on whichever platform (or multiple platforms) that they frequent the most.

There are two main ways to do this and, whether you choose to do both or just one, either of them can help you both find your audience and track what they like and don’t like of what you post, tweet or share online.

Flowers, rose. Beautiful, pink bouquet in the pot

All forms of social media have search features where you can key in a specific topic and it will find other people who share your interest. Facebook has the most advanced version of this and can be extremely helpful when finding your audience. Using this method of the search function allows for you to potentially target these people by liking their posts or following their tweets.

 

Flowers, rose. Beautiful, pink bouquet in the pot

Many social media platforms have apps developed specifically to track, find and analyze your potential audience:

FOR TWITTER – numerous websites recommend FollowerWonk

  • According to the Social Media Examiner, this app, “allows users to search Twitter bios (or Twitter profiles) by keywords. It helps build influencer lists for engagement at a later time. So if you search ‘technology editor,’ the tool will pick up any profiles mentioning this phrase in an easy-to-consume list for simple identification.”

FOR INSTAGRAM – one that I use and love is Iconosquare

  • This app allows you to, “Promote your Instagram account across other social networks with feed tabs or photo widgets, [m]anage your community and their comments on a user-friendly platform, [a]nalyze your activity through professional statistics, [and e]ngage your community with photo contests [because you can s]etup, promote, moderate, monitor and publish results of an Instagram contest all within Iconosquare.”
  • Basically, its an all-in-one program for working with and finding your followers on this photographic medium

FOR PINTEREST – there are a number of excellent apps, categorized by Lilach Bullock over at the HeyYo blog (although, sadly, none are free).

  • Her favorites include:
    • Tailwind (formerly Pinreach) – which calculates a Pinterest score for you as well as provides you with a daily list of trending members and pins.
    • Piqora – this app allows you to start a promotion on Pinterest and then track your results and analytics, as well as manage your Pinterest content. Even better, they have a feature called Pinner360, “that helps you identify your most influential pinners, [and] your brand advocates as well as who engages the most with you.”
    • Reachli – lastly, this app also allows you to follow the analytics of your Pinterest promotions and content so you can see where you are having the most impact. They also have a special feature that allows you to promote your pins outside of your regular network.

Be sure to check back next week as we continue to Spring Clean Your Social Media and make it as amazing as you are!

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P.S. Today is my dad’s birthday and I just wanted to give him a quick shoutout! I love you, Dad!

dad

5 Must-Have Apps for the Creative #GirlBoss

Every #GirlBoss has their arsenal of apps to keep them on track and help them remember every little thing (I get goldfish brain frequently–I’m telling ya!) There’s an infinite number of apps out there and honestly, I get really confused sometimes on trying to pick out which one is best for me. How many downloads does it take to find the perfect app?! Probably like 5. Instead of having to scour the app store, try these top 5 apps every creative freelancer and business owner need in their life!

Girlboss Apps

1. VSCO Cam (Free)
This will probably always be my #1! If you’re an Instagram junky (like me!) you need this app for minimal, yet impactful, photo editing. Curated filters that enhance the natural characteristics make your photos look like a pro photographer took them. I’m seriously obsessed, and if you haven’t gone over to the VSCO side, you definitely need to test it out.

List Making Apps

2. Post It Plus (Free)
I consider myself a list junky. If I don’t physically write it down, it never gets done. When I’m at work, my boss and I scribble tons of notes on post its and place them everywhere. I LOVE this app because all I have to do is snap a photo of those notes and they digitally organize them for me! I can edit, add, and organized into different categories. It’s a fun app that puts a fresh perspective on the traditional to-do list.

Brain Break App

3. Luminosity (Free)
When need a digital detox, I turn to Luminosity for a pick-me-up! Does anyone else feel like their own brain turns to mush when they stare at a screen too long?! I love Luminosity for a break from social media and all of the work-related issues currently happening. Cultivated brain training “games” that sharpen your memory and attention strengthen up our very important organ.

Photo Editing App

4. Over ($2)
Not everyone has the luxury of Photoshop at their fingertips–this app the next best thing! (Maybe even better…) There’s tons of fun fonts you can choose from to create fun, design savvy text overlays. All you do is pick a color, font, and size to your liking! It’s fun to play with and great for adding character to cool snaps.

Doodling App

5.  Paper by Fifty Three (Free)
Doodling, drawing, illustration… Paper is perfect for ALL of it. I like to roughly sketch prototypes and ideas out before moving on to make sure I understand my idea on all levels– it’s always great to a have visual! I love this app for doing just that when I’m on the go, either on my phone or iPad. If you’re meeting with a client, it’s also a great way to go over and conceptualized with them during a meeting.

What’s your favorite app to help you stay on track? Until next time! Xo, Sami from The Unexpected Type.

Expand Your Reach Podcast

Office Space

This month, I did something I never thought I would do. Something a little bit terrifying (okay, a lot a bit terrifying), but super rewarding. If you guessed that I had a dance off with Usher, the answer is – not yet, but that’s still on the list of things to do.

I guest starred on a podcast! I was interviewed by Dana Malstaff, founder of the Expand Your Reach podcast. Dana is a creator, innovator, strategist and a downright kick-ass #girlboss who loves Harry Potter just as much as I do.

Office Space

During our time, we chatted about my ‘why’ (& the journey I took to discover it), if I could do anything in the world what it would be, and how my dream of idieh design came to life.

For more on my story, and maybe a thing or two that could add to yours, check out the podcast here: The Story Behind a Rad Brand with Heidi Bartlett 

You can also download the podcast here: http://www.expandyourreach.club/itunes

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Social Media Spring Cleaning [Part 1]

Flowers, rose. Beautiful, pink bouquet in the pot

Any savvy #girlboss knows that utilizing social media effectively is crucial to her success.

In my multi-part “Spring Clean Your Social Media” series, I am going to showcase the best ways to ensure your social media is doing the heavy lifting for you. Because who has the time to spend hours upon hours working on social media when there are a million other tasks to get done? Organizing your social media from the ground up will make sure you take your creativity to the next level.

So where do you start?

While you may think you should start with the programs or apps that allow you to post to several social platforms at once (and yes, these are awesome), the best place to start is to actually define your social media audience.

Who are you talking to when you tweet? Who follows you on Instagram? Who’s pinning your Pinterest images? You want to make sure you know and understand your audience so you can maximize your impact.

Flowers, rose. Beautiful, pink bouquet in the pot

Are you a blogger who is looking to reach other women who love sustainable fashion? Or are you an artist looking to showcase your work via your website? Or maybe you’re channeling your DIY love for a side job in making over furniture?

Whoever you are (which, if you’re reading idieh design means you are already an awesome woman!), figure out who is the ideal type of person you want to reach. Bust out that old school pen and paper and write out words or descriptions of that person (and I know a certain awesome website that sells fabulous pads of paper here and here).

You may envision your audience as:

  • Female
  • Mid-20’s to mid-30’s
  • Loves interior design
  • Loves dogs
  • Colorful
  • etc.

You can ask yourself questions like:

  • Is your “type” someone in a certain generation (i.e. millenial) or a stage of life (i.e. newly married)?
  • What are their passions?
  • Fears?
  • Insecurities?
  • Likes?
  • Dislikes?
  • Are they visual learners or do they prefer long written content?
  • Are they dog or cat lovers? (hey – you never know what might be important to someone! hahaha)
  • Do they want paragraphs or full sentences or just lists of information?
  • What would motivate them to come to your website or buy your product? (i.e. what do you bring to the table?)

Once you’ve figured out WHO you want to reach, then you need to look at what these people are already doing.

(Some helpful additional questions you can ask about your target audience can be found here, here, and if you run a business – here).

 

Flowers, rose. Beautiful, pink bouquet in the pot

Do this by googling the topics that you identified above, look for blogs or websites that cover them, search for Google+ groups, or Twitter accounts or Instagram hashtags that have to do with what you figured out above is important to your “type.”

The important part of this step is to see where your audience IS and where it ISN’T. This will help us down the road to streamline your social media. But the most important thing to do is look for where your “type” is and then follow where they lead. See what they are sharing or posting or pinning. Look at the websites that seem to get the most love from your ideal audience. Check out the hashtags. Join the groups that speak to your “type” and take part in the discussions.

By taking this step to find out what matters to your audience, you will be setting yourself up for killer success once we finish spring cleaning your social media! I know this all may seem like a ton of work now – but trust me, you will end up making your social media significantly more effective in the long run, meaning you have more time to follow your dreams!

Until next week!

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