Legs-Up-The-Wall -- my favorite relaxation technique to lower my blood pressure and heart rate.

My Favorite Relaxation Technique

Legs up the wall — the easiest way to relax and replenish, even with the kids running around. My heart rate and blood pressure immediately lower whenever I get into position, and I can just feel the tension melt away.

This position originates from a yoga pose called Viparita Karan. I love restorative yoga and practice it regularly to strengthen my mind and heart. You can view instructions on how to perform the position on Healthline or Yoga Journal. But I’m just here to rave about its awesomeness.

Legs-Up-The-Wall -- my favorite relaxation technique to lower my blood pressure and heart rate.

So how do I accomplish maximum relaxation with kids in tow? Easy, get them involved! Whenever I feel the tension rising, my blood pressure increasing, or just all-around stress, I yell “tunnel time” and the kids cheer and make a space on the floor for me to lie down. Then I get into legs-up-the-wall position, but leave enough space between my butt and the wall for the kids to climb through, like a tunnel. They are entertained for at least 5-10 minutes of solid running, jumping, giggling, etc. And, no, I don’t get peace and quiet zen time, but I do get to give my heart a break and be mindful and peaceful for a few minutes while also being present in my kids play time. Note: only a few times have I been injured during this activity because a kid trips and falls on my face. Ha. But the benefits outweigh the risks.

If someone were to ask me my favorite way to lower blood pressure quickly, this would be it. Try it, and let me know what you think!


My Journey to a Healthy Heart | Blog

A glass of water can change your life.

Living the Hydrated Life

Drinking water was engrained in my life at an early age. From ages 14-19, the only beverages I drank were water and diet peach Snapple. Where are my fellow people who used to think drinking diet sweetened “tea” was healthy?!?!? Ditto. My drinks of choice have expanded over the past 20 years (re: coffee, beer & wine!), but my hydration motivation dwindled.

Since becoming pregnant with my 2nd in 2019, I worked really hard to bring my water consumption back up. I drink my 8-9 cups every single day now. I’ll be honest that it’s been a lot easier working from home because I always have water available. There’s no planning ahead to make sure I have accessible refills like at the office. But there are two really noticeable differences in my body since improving this habit.

My number one piece of advice in my heart-health journey is to be hydrated. Water is the most important factor in my nutrition plan and has changed my life in 2 ways. See what water can do for you!

My Heart Rate Decreases

Thanks to smartwatches and being in-tune with my body, I know exactly when I haven’t had enough water. My heart rate is increased. I know my norm rate for the average daily routine, and if I feel a little off, the first thing I check is how much water I’ve had that day. 9 times out of 10, that’s the case, and it almost immediately goes back to normal after I sit and half a glass or two.

I Start the Day off Right

I feel so much better in the mornings! My mind and body have done a complete 180. I used to often get headachy and nauseous if I didn’t eat anything, and it would stick around most of the morning. But now, I wake up feeling good, focused, and as energized as possible (from interrupted sleep with a teething 12-month-old). This has been a game changer for setting the tone for the rest of my day, and I am here for it.

Being a morning person is not in my blood, but it’s becoming more enjoyable the more I focus on myself and my health. I’m also more present and patient with my 1-year-old on the days she wakes me up before my alarm. Gone are the days that I give my child the side-eye while wishing I was still in bed, and instead, I have a simple glass of water to thank for me being a better mom.

What do you notice about how you feel when you’re properly hydrated?


My Journey to a Healthy Heart | Blog

Intuitive Eating Challenge: try eating when your body tells you to eat, not at set times every single day.

The Best Time of Day to Eat

Whenever, wherever.

This is a habit that has been hard for me to break. It’s a well-known fact that parenting and work schedules don’t always allow us to eat when we want to, but there are always a few adjustments we have the freedom to make. You don’t have to eat at 12:00 just because that’s what society tells us when lunchtime is. Listen to your body and eat when it feels best for you.

Challenge: try eating when your body tells you to eat, not at set times every single day. See how it makes you feel.

The first thing I adapted was breakfast and everything else followed suit. I used to have to eat breakfast first thing in the morning, but now that I’m more hydrated, I don’t NEED to eat until later. Bumping a balanced breakfast until after 8:30 has been eye opening. I don’t need a mid-morning snack anymore, and I make better choices at lunch because I didn’t just scarf a bowl of cereal before heading out the door. Now I can be thoughtful and prepare (or pack) a meal that I enjoy after dropping off the kids or in between work meetings.

Fast forward to dinner and even my kids have become more adaptable. They are usually famished when I pick them up, so I used to think I had to hold them off and scramble to get whatever I could on the table by 5:30 to stop the screaming. Wrong. Now I provide a snack while I’m getting us settled in the house for the evening and then they play until dinner is ready. It’s been a life-changer for our evenings. No more hangry temper tantrums (from them or me). Pushing dinner back has made the dinner-bath-bed routine a little more crammed, but now we’re also not scanning the pantry for post-dinner snacks. A win-win-win!

So sometimes just one small altered habit can create a domino effect of healthy choices the rest of the day.


My Journey to a Healthy Heart | Blog

My top 5 grocery items to have on-hand for easy, healthy options.

My Top 5 Grocery Items

Here are the items I buy every single time I go to the grocery store. These are the go-to foods that I can sneak into almost any snack or meal at a moments notice if I need an extra whole food boost.

Strawberries

When I was little we dipped strawberries in sugar as a snack. Yep, we did that. Kudos for ruining a healthy food, fam. But my kids eat a handful every day (in their whole food, natural state…not in sugar) and I throw a handful into my smoothies. You can’t go wrong with strawberries. They’ll brighten up any day.

5 simple whole foods you can add into snacks and meals anytime.

Bananas

I consider bananas an easy versatile fruit since they don’t contain a lot of water that can make other foods mushy when you throw them on/in another sweet dish. The ultimate breakfast food addition.

Spinach

Spinach is such an easy way to sneak in those extra veggies. Avocado toast? Add a handful of spinach. Smoothie? Handful of spinach. Pasta? Handful of spinach. If I’m ever feeling like I didn’t get enough greens in a day, the answer is always… you guessed it… handful of spinach.

Plant Milk

When you live in a small town, sometimes you just have to go with what the store has in stock. I opt for the highest protein content ones when available, but I’m not always successful. My favorites (in order of preference) are oat, soy, and pea protein. Luckily, my kids will drink whatever I give them, and honestly it’s a little fun to constantly have different milks to give our taste buds (and recipes) some variety. You should see the milk situation in our fridge. It’s quite entertaining.

Avocado

Oh look, another whole food I can sneak into a bazillion recipes! I loooove how silky smooth it makes my smoothies. And again, you can throw this onto/into everything. Salads, sandwiches, pasta, rice, brownies. You name it, I’ve probably done it.

What are your go-to items you can’t live without?


My Journey to a Healthy Heart | Blog

A busy mom's life hack guide: how to workout when you don't have time for a workout

How to workout when you don’t have time to workout

Old me: If I don’t have enough time for a full workout it isn’t worth it. Just skip it.

New me: This water is going to take 10 mins to boil? Let’s do some crunches, planks, and babybell lifts (that’s what I call sets of lifting my 20 pound baby instead of a kettlebell).


Old me: Ugh, I feel like I’m wasting time straightening my hair.

New me: Squats while straightening! Woo!

Getting in sporadic workout moves has helped improve my healthy mindset immensely. I used to feel let down and like a failure if I didn’t fit in my workout, and I’d easily use the excuse that I didn’t have enough time to workout, shower, and get ready, so why even bother. But let’s be real, if my goal is to workout at 5:30 and the baby wakes up at 5:15, I didn’t fail and I didn’t balk out with an excuse. I’m a mom.

But now I love those few minutes throughout the day that get my blood pumping. Not only do I feel healthier (both physically and mentally), but I feel more productive. Multitasking at its finest. Do what you gotta do, busy mom. Get those heart-pumping moves in whenever you’re inspired to do so. We got this.


My Journey to a Healthy Heart | Blog

Super Simple Hydration Pro Tip | bethbackes.com

Hydration Pro Tip

Fill a couple of glasses of water and put them in areas of the house you spend the most time. And use a {reusable} straw. It’s easier to drink more when you have a straw, right? And if you have kids, they’ll be excited to have an easily-accessible sword at all times.

I’m so good about drinking water during the day while working, but in the evenings? Forget about it. So I started filling a glass and putting it right next to the stove before leaving to pick up the kids from daycare. I’m 100% more likely to sip while I cook when it’s already there for me. I’m so busy from the moment we get home that it’s 9:00PM before I know it, and all I had time for was half a glass at dinner. This trick has definitely helped me stay on track for the 2nd half of the day.

What are your hydration pro tips?



Glass of Water On The Go
Using my smartwatch to monitor heart health.

Heart Health Check-In

Between doctors visits, I monitor my heart health by keeping track of heart rate (active and resting), blood pressure, respiratory rate, and how I feel in general after getting my blood pumping. I use my smartwatch to help me learn about my common stats and what is normal for me. I’ve learned to really be in tune with my body. How am I feeling? What is by body trying to tell me? It looks like I didn’t drink much water yesterday, is that why I feel icky today?

By the way, smartwatch apps REALLY need a “new mom setting” where it doesn’t sleep shame us for only getting 5 hrs of sleep because of a fussy baby. Am I right or am I right?!?

I used to be able to get my heart rate up enough during a brisk walk to call it a workout. Today I went for a quick 1.5 mi stroll and my Garmin was like, umm your heart rate never left zone 2. Those were steps, not a workout.

That’s great progress in my book! Never forget the little accomplishments on your journey. They add up to create important milestones to a happier, healthier you.

What’s something small that has helped improve your overall health?


My Journey to a Healthy Heart | Blog

Heart health check-in: count the little steps that add up to a big impact.
Producing meaningful content that brings your followers back is what we strive for in the blogging world. Find out how to create, and update, those timeless blog posts to gain more traffic.

How to Increase Blog Traffic The Easy Way

Scenario 1: You publish a post, get a bunch of likes/views/engagement in the first 24 hours, and then go about your life continuing to post more content and never looking back at that original post. It already got the attention it needed, let’s move on.

Scenario 2: You publish a post, get a bunch of likes, views, and engagement in the first 24 hours. You publish a few more posts, and then a couple of weeks later you go back to your original post and update the content, respond to new engagement, and link back to that post in a new post.

How do you think your web presence will be affected by these two publishing behaviors?

Producing meaningful content that brings your followers back is what we strive for in the blogging world. Find out how to create, and update, those timeless blog posts to gain more traffic.

Now, obviously, not all of your content will always be considered memorable, timeless, and search engine worthy. There needs to be a balance so that your evergreen content sticks out. Go ahead and tweet about the funny thing that happened to you today, Instagram your morning coffee views, or blog about your holiday travel plans. That’s how you stay personable and gain invested followers.

Then, make sure you’re also providing your followers valuable information. That’s why you started the blog, right? This will show that you are a reputable source for information on the internet (because nobody ever lies on the internet……..). This will also help non-followers to find you. If someone is looking for information on How to Customize Pinterest Board Cover Photos , if your content is relevant and has a decent amount of traffic to it, Google will be more likely to list you higher in the rankings. See what I did there…..linking back to my own updated post? Smart, eh? Evergreen content, it’s where it’s at!

Common evergreen posts often consists of:

  • Lists (aka Listicles)
  • Tips
  • How-to Info
  • Videos about lists, tips, or how-to’s
  • Interviews with other experts in the field
  • Product Reviews or Resource Guides
  • Statistics, research, case studies

But guess what, the fun doesn’t stop there. Remember how I mentioned in scenario 2 that you go back and update the content on your original post? What makes these above items evergreen is that the body of the content is everlasting, but the physical list items, stats, instructions, etc. can change with time for accuracy. If you posted instructions for how to edit a video in YouTube and 6 months later YouTube updated its settings, go ahead and make note of these changes in your post.

How evergreen content can be updated over time:

  • Upload new images
  • Edit how-to instructions if steps have changed
  • Edit lists if there are new relevant items to be considered
  • Include new research or statistics that have come out
  • Add a paragraph that makes it sound more current
  • Update title

Not only does this keep your content fresh, but it helps with search engine optimization! One of the key things I ask myself when planning evergreen content is if this is something I could link back to in the future. Is this a piece I’m proud of and would be willing to reference later on? For instance, every year I remember to post about and link back to my Social Media Spring Cleaning Tips blog post. It’s technically something that could be useful year-round, but I have a specific time of year that I know it will be 100% relevant and new followers may not have seen it yet.

Not only does refreshing content drive more traffic to your blog, but it can also give you easy content to schedule on social media! Not sure what to post on instagram this week? Head over to an old blog post, update content if necessary, and shell it out. Hopefully you have a folder of possible photos to use for future posts on this topic, and then not a lot of extra planning is needed (*hint hint). It’s a win-win in my book!

Do you have other ideas for evergreen content or how to easily update an old blog post? Share your thoughts!

If you’re new to the search engine optimization game and want to learn more, here’s a great post I like to reference explaining what SEO is and how it affects blogs.

Continuous and valuable engagement is the ultimate goal to increase blog traffic. Find out how to create the best evergreen content to gain more followers.

How to Become a Hashtag Pro with Hashtag Groups

So you’ve found the perfect hashtag that increases your social engagement by 100% on every single post and you’re on your way to becoming a highly paid influencer. What next?

Oh wait, no? That’s not you? Okay great, me either. We’re all in the same boat…but if you do actually know Kim K’s secret, feel free to share with this community. We won’t tell!

Need help remembering all the hashtags you use? Find out what my top 3 hashtag management apps and tips are to save you time and energy!

If you’re doing social media right, your content is going to vary. Not every post will have the same content, so there will never be that one magic hashtag. And if you’re a social media manager, keeping track of these hashtag niches can become a headache! While my profiles focus mostly on social media management, I’m a real person so to best engage with my community my posts range anywhere from social media, technology, skincare, outdoors, travel, and my family. So I’m not going to use the hashtag #MomMomments on my post for this blog about hashtags. But I have plenty of others to choose from in my groups!

I started out old-school and simply kept a list of hashtags in the Notes app on my phone and copied and pasted them into Instagram. That’s a great way to start if you’re new to this and don’t have too many to manage yet. Instagram lets you post up to 30 hashtags in one post. I certainly don’t recommend going all-in like that, but I do think you can reach your main target audience by using about 5-10 per post. I have 4 main hashtag groups that I regularly use that can be adapted to most of my posts. Not to mention, if you frequent the same hashtags, Instagram will start suggesting you follow those hashtags, as well as others to follow you. So it’s a win-win!

I’ve since moved away from the Notes app and now use a couple of scheduling platforms which offer this saved hashtag feature. Not only can you save your hashtags to automatically add into your posts, but some of the platforms even make hashtag suggestions depending on your content. This is a great option if you’re still struggling to find what works for you! Here are the apps that I use:

Planoly : Scheduling for Instagram

Planoly is my dream scheduling app. It speaks to me. It’s pretty and it’s simple. You can drag and drop your photos into the order that you like best in your grid. You can edit your photos, tag people and places, and schedule both your feed and your stories. And of course, you can save your hashtags. Bonus: Planoly also lets you format your captions that actually convert over to Instagram! Want a line break? Press Return. Easy peasy. This was a huge struggle for me before discovering Planoly!

Here’s an example of the view for saving, editing, and adding hashtag groups to your posts.

If you're doing social media right, your content is going to vary. Not every post will have the same content, so there will never be that one magic hashtag. Find out how to best manage your hashtags to save you time and energy!

Tailwind App: Scheduling for Pinterest and Instagram

Tailwind is the magic wand for Pinterest which we’ll talk more about in a later post, but it’s also pretty rad for scheduling Insta posts with hashtags. This app is one of those that offer hashtag suggestions based on your caption content. It also demonstrates the art of hashtagging and suggests how to best follow these rules by color-coding their suggestions:

  • Rule 1: #don’t #use #hashtags #on #unimportant #words;
  • Rule 2: don’t use hashtags that are highly competitive and have millions of posts if you don’t want yours to get lost in the crowd;
  • Rule 3: know what a hashtag means before using it and keep within your niche market.

Here is an example of me using some of my saved hashtags in a Tailwind caption along with the suggested hashtags for my content. I think it’s pretty accurate!

If you're doing social media right, your content is going to vary. Not every post will have the same content, so there will never be that one magic hashtag. Find out how to best manage your hashtags to save you time and energy!

Buffer: Scheduling for Insta, Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook

I’ve had the longest relationship with Buffer. It was the first scheduling app I signed on with, and it will continue to be a favorite for Twitter and LinkedIn. They’ve gone through some changes over the years and it only continues to get better. I’ll just stick with the hashtag features for today, but be on the lookout for a more in-depth post soon.  Specifically for Twitter and LinkedIn, you only want to use 1-3 hashtags (less than on Instagram), so we don’t need to bother with saved groups here. Buffer’s hashtag suggestions are quick and easy. Start typing in a hashtagged word and the top ones for that word will immediately start to populate for you to choose from.

Need help remembering all the hashtags you use? Find out what my top 3 hashtag management apps and tips are to save you time and energy!

The Art of Hashtags

You may be saying to yourself, that’s 3 different apps I’d have to keep track of, why not just use one app? You certainly could! But I find that each of these apps have their own strengths and connect to certain platforms more seamlessly. Plus, having multiple apps with differing options keeps my creativity flowing. I’m afraid that if I were to stick to just one app I’d get more monotone and repetitive in my messaging. But with different options (both visual and operational), I have so much more to choose from, and maybe one app will give me a new idea (or hashtag suggestion) that I hadn’t seen before. Keeping up with the app trends also keeps your content fresh!

If you’re still wondering about hashtags, I enjoyed this article from Buffer titled How to Use Hashtags: How Many, Best Ones, and Where to Use Them. There’s so much info behind hashtags I feel like I could write a whole book on them. But the 3 rules I listed above are the main ideas I’ve been preaching for years on best practices. However, if you only take away one thing from this it’s rule #3: always to check the hashtag before posting! Make your list, then check it twice. As Kevan Lee stated in the Buffer article above, “the worst thing that can happen when using a hashtag is to realize after it’s tweeted that the same hashtag is used for an entirely different topic”.

So now that you know my secret for saving time with hashtag groups, let’s start connecting out there in our posts!

BethBackes.com Blog Signature

Save time with hashtag groups.

Smart Business Decisions: Turn On Two-Factor Authentication

“We sent a code to phone number +1(***)***-1234, enter the code to continue”.

This is your favorite notification ever, right? Especially when you left your phone charging in a different room. Fun times.



But whether we like it or not, this is one of the more important notifications we receive. This is for our own protection. A friend of mine, who runs her business on Instagram, was hacked a few weeks ago. Her account was deactivated and she lost thousands of followers and basically has to start from scratch again to build it back up. We can never be too cautious online, especially if you manage your brand or career…or someone else’s brand or career online! Never, ever, take this for granted.  Just like when you were little and your mom made you bring a jacket with you. You might not need it, and you’re sure as hell not going to admit that you were wrong, but you were occasionally thankful to have it. That’s what it’s like for these notifications to slide into your texts. 

How many of these situations apply to you?

  • You have credit cards and financial information saved online or in an app.
  • You have personal information stored online or an app.
  • You run your business from email, online, or in multiple apps.
  • When your browser prompts you to “save your password” you opt-in so you don’t have to remember it.
  • You’re not creative with passwords and basically use the same 3 over and over again.
  • You’ve worked hard to build your professional web presence through websites and social media platforms.
  • You manage information, websites, or social media for clients or businesses.
  • You have pictures of yourself, family, and children on your devices.
  • You use multiple devices and are constantly on the move.

I bet most of these apply to you, but even if just one of them does, you NEED to be using two-step verification for all of your accounts. If you get hacked, just one simple mishandled tweet could ruin the reputation, or dedicated followers, you’ve worked so hard to build, and don’t even get me started on what could happen if you’re hacked and you manage social media for clients or businesses! That’s a nightmare none of us (or your bosses) want to think about. They are trusting you to do right by them, so you need to trust the process and get over the fact that two-step authentication is annoying or that your passwords are secure enough.

Pro Tip: Protect yourself with two-step authentication. You can never be too cautious with your private information online. Never take this for granted. #techtips #blogger #socialmedia #girlboss #mompreneur

In most apps and on Apple, you can go to your account settings > privacy and/or password to set up two-factor authentication. For Google, go to your account > security > two-step authentication > get started. And for new sites that you sign up for, you are often prompted to set it up when creating your account.

So do the right thing and get double coverage. Please, and thank you.

BethBackes.com Blog Signature
Pro Tip: Protect yourself with two-step authentication. You can never be too cautious with your private information online. Never take this for granted. #techtips #blogger #socialmedia #girlboss #mompreneur

How to Save Time & Energy by Creating Your Own Brand Templates

When I first started blogging, I had a problem. A confidence problem. I always wanted to make sure everything was absolutely perfect before hitting publish…and rightly so. The writing came easily for me. It was the visual aspect that would trip me up. I’d have multiple posts written in my queue that were just waiting for an on-point image to really make the post stand out. I’d spend hours upon hours on Canva, Pexels, and Lightroom trying to create the perfect image or graphic.

Pro tip: Create your own colorful post templates to save time & energy in your blog and social media! #blogging #socialmedia #blogginghacks #template

But it finally clicked for me in the past few months when I’ve been short on time (hello new mom life!). I realized that there is no perfect image for any blog or social media post. It’s about what you make of the post, and no image or graphic will please everyone’s visual interpretation.

One thing that drastically helped, though, was creating my own branding in Canva. I sat down and spent an afternoon creating my own logo, color palette, and font. Then I created a few graphics that I could use as templates whenever I was in a pinch. This has saved me TONS of time lately! Like, seriously, I have been given the gift of time with this trick.

Whenever I’m stumped on a visual I go to my template. Now, be careful not to overuse your templates. Don’t use them as an excuse to not dig deep into your creative brain; it’s not there to give you the easy way out. But DO use it as an assist to help inspire more creativity. Now that I have a solid place to start and don’t feel like I’m starting from scratch every. single. time, I feel like I have more opportunity to visualize within my branding toolkit and am able to create more creative posts.

Not only that but having a set color palette helps me identify images that will look better on my page. Knowing that I will be slapping my logo in the corner, or will be putting a purple overlay with text on top of the image, helps me narrow down the search much faster. And it gives me the visual eye to think “Hey! That would look great on my page!” when I randomly see something that fits into my theme. My design eye is more focused and I am more focused.

Check out my templates and share in the comments what has been a huge time-saver for you in the blogging and social media biz!

BethBackes.com Blog Signature


My Pinterest Template

Pro tip: Create your own colorful post templates to save time & energy in your blog and social media! #blogging #socialmedia #blogginghacks #template

My Facebook Template

Pro tip: Create your own colorful post templates to save time & energy in your blog and social media! #blogging #socialmedia #blogginghacks #template

My Twitter Template

Pro tip: Create your own colorful post templates to save time & energy in your blog and social media! #blogging #socialmedia #blogginghacks #template

Pro tip: Create your own colorful post templates to save time & energy in your blog and social media! #blogging #socialmedia #blogginghacks #template

 

The Amazing Editing Tool Every Blogger Needs

What’s one thing that can totally turn readers away?

TYPOS.

Did you hear that? Yes, I said typos.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we all make mistakes, and nobody is immune to the dreaded typo that will be on the internet forever. It happens to the best of us, and usually, it’s the tweet you’re most excited to post for the day, right? Thanks, karma.

Don't turn followers or clients away because of typos! Use this great editing tool to help you display your best writing in any blog or social media post you do

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure here.

 

But here’s the thing, if your followers know you to normally be on-point with your proofreading, they’ll most likely look past the occasional typo so it won’t hurt you too much. There are some failsafe tools out there, though, to help you out a little.

My go-to app is Grammarly. Grammarly is absolutely fabulous and has saved me and my quick witted fingers quite a few times.

Don't turn followers or clients away because of typos! Use this great editing tool to help you display your best writing in any blog or social media post you do

Grammarly is a free browser extension (and downloadable app) that will proofread anything you write in the web browser, and will automatically underline items it thinks needs editing, and offers suggestions. You just click on the word and a popup comes up where you can accept or decline the edit. In most cases, the suggestion is, in fact, something that needs correcting. The times the suggestion isn’t accurate is when I’m talking about a brand, or using a slang term or hashtag, and it’s not understanding the type of word or tense.

Grammarly checks for common spelling and grammar mistakes including punctuation, word usage, sentence structure enhancement, and even plagiarism. I’m a very fast typer (80 wpm, thank you very much!), and sometimes my fingers get a little ahead of my brain, so it’s great to have a helper up in the top corner of my screen.

Here’s an example of Grammarly working right there beside me. Notice that it picked up on different types of errors, but it’s pretty hip with the internet, and could detect a website so didn’t flag that as incorrect.

Grammarly is a great editing tool for bloggers that will fix your typos and help you display your best writing skills.

So if you are a blogger, use social media, or are an avid emailer (that basically covers everyone who uses the internet, right?), Grammarly is a must-have tool that is totally worth it! Plus, I also suggest following them on social media. Their posts are fun, intriguing, and often make me smile. Like this one:

Grammarly is a great editing tool for bloggers that will fix your typos and help you display your best writing skills.

 

What is the biggest typo culprit you’d like Grammarly to help you fix? Mine is misplaced commas. Sometimes I get a little comma happy, but don’t get me started on the Oxford comma. The Oxford comma is an absolute must in my book!

 

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Don't loose followers or clients because of typos! Use this great editing tool to help you display your best writing in any blog or social media post you do.

3 Steps For Cleaning Up Your Pinterest Profile

Remember the days when Pinterest first began and we’d just spend hours upon hours scrolling and repinning? In my mind, those days are over and Pinterest has more of a purpose. We’re over the mindless scrolling and can now easily find exactly what we’re looking for within minutes. It is a powerful search engine.

But here’s the thing. Not all pins are created equal. Are you pinning relevant, up-to-date information? Do the pins go to the sites you think they go to? Well, let’s find out and do a little Pinterest spring cleaning!

Step 1: Clear out old pins

This one will take some time, but it’s really important. You need to go through all those old boards, scroll to the bottom, and start getting rid of the clutter that isn’t accurate, isn’t of interest, or just doesn’t reflect the image you want to portray. I almost made a huge Pinterest faux pas the other day with the “pin now, review later” mentality. There was a pin that showed a social media posting calendar that looked pretty spiffy and I thought I might want to look at it in more depth later. Then a little Google+ icon caught my eye, and I was like, time out. Who is recommending I waste time on Google+? So I took a deeper look and not only was it recommending Google+, but Instagram wasn’t even listed! So obviously, I don’t want to repin this in 2018. And while you’re at it, take it a step further and actually click on the pins that make it through the first filter above and make sure they’re still going to an accurate site. Many pins lead to non-existent (or inappropriate) websites, and you don’t want to be known as the person that sends people to “no man’s land” through pins.

Step 2: Reorganize/Rename boards

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, let’s think about reorganizing those pins. Go through the same filter process with your boards as in step 1. Are the board names old terminology? Could topics be combined or split up? There’s a great new feature on Pinterest where you can now create sub-categories (or “sections” as Pinterest calls them) within a board. So for instance, you could create a travel board with sub-categories like Europe, Carribean, Disney, etc. This is a great addition for organizing boards with a lot of pins! Again, we’re trying to minimize the need for endless scrolling, and create direct search results.

Get insider tips for how to take your Pinterest page to the maximum level! Pinterest is one of the best search engines for driving traffic to your site, and you can use it too!

Step 3: Write a description for your boards

Now that you’ve cleared out old pins and reorganized your boards, you need to make sure people can find your stuff! So lastly, don’t forget to write a board description for each of your newly categorized masterpieces. Be specific to your topics and be sure to use keywords around your niche to improve searchability. People are becoming smarter about searching what they want to find on the internet, so you want to use words that lead them directly to it.

So for instance, if you have a board about blogging, write a description about what types of things people can learn from your board: “Collaborate with other bloggers to learn about incorporating SEO, affiliate marketing, keywords, social media marketing, and royalty free photos into your blog”. The more specific keywords you use, the better quality audience you’ll reach.

3 Steps forCleaning Up Your Pinterest Profile: Get insider tips for how to take your Pinterest page to the maximum level! Pinterest is one of the best search engines for driving traffic to your site, and you can use it too!

Want to share more ideas? Follow me on Pinterest and let’s get pinning!

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My top 5 tips for using hashtags

Build Your Brand: The Hashtag Game

What is a hashtag?

I get asked this question quite often from people I’m introducing to social media. My answer is that a hashtag is a way to categorize a word or term into easily searchable content on social media platforms. You could search for the hashtag term and it filters through posts and finds the term in whatever context it’s being used.

The next question I get is “well, why can’t I just Google it then? Why do I need the # symbol”?

As a professional in social media, you need to have a good response to this question, especially if you’re building a social media communication plan for your brand or other customers. They need to understand what a hashtags purpose is in their marketing strategy, not just what it is. So let’s show them!

Here are my top 5 tips for learning to play the hashtag game. Use and share these insights with your brand and you'll be on your way to making a bigger impact in the social media world, and getting your posts noticed.

Here are my top 5 tips for learning to play the hashtag game. Use and share these insights with your brand and you’ll be on your way to making a bigger impact in the social media world, and getting your posts noticed.

1. Use appropriate hashtags for your industry, not trending topics. You want to participate in your industry/community and build your following. Not only will your posts get lost in the millions of posts with #tbt (throwback Thursday) tagged, but will that tag successfully market you or your business?

2. Be consistent. Just like when posting content, use hashtags that will work regularly for your brand or a specific campaign. The more people that can recognize you around a certain topic, the better. Again, you’re building a following within a certain community, not just reaching out to the masses. I suggest saving hashtag lists on your phone that you can easily copy and paste into posts depending on the topic.

3. Be original and unique, but research your hashtags first! There are a lot of slang terms out there, make sure the hashtag means what you think it means.  Search social media platforms, Urban Dictionary, Google, etc. before adding a hashtag to your brand.

4. Look at the hashtag from all angles, and don’t trust capitalization. Capitalizing letters to emphasize words may look great at first, but not everyone will follow suit. The majority of people won’t use capital letters in a hashtag. Look at your hashtag from all points of view to make sure nothing inappropriate may come across depending on who writes or looks at it. You don’t want to start a Twitter rumor that Cher is dead, or that a therapist is now a rapist just because you didn’t format a hashtag correctly……

#Therapist / #therapist
#NowThatchersDead / #nowthatchersdead
#SusanAlbumParty / #susanalbumparty

5. Use short phrases with easy to spell words. You don’t want your hashtag to look like a run-on sentence. If you must use longer words, I say use a maximum of 3 words and 15 letters. Even though we get more characters on Twitter now, people still don’t want to have to type in #longhashtagsareannoying while trying not to make typos. As in almost all social media instances, shorter is better.

 

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We can change our mindset and make the world a better place by being more welcoming social beings.

What I Learned From My Dog About Being Social

My dog is one of the most friendly, outgoing, and trusting creatures on the face of this earth. He thinks every living being is a friend, and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He lives by the concept “what’s mine is yours”, and can read a room better than most humans. If there’s a group of people at the house, he will take a toy to each person to make sure everyone in the room feels involved. If he senses one of those people is scared of dogs, he will gradually place more toys at the feet of that person as a peace offering. Seriously, he’s probably more polite than me.

We can change our mindset and make the world a better place by being more welcoming social beings, and we can learn this simply by observing our pets!

But he also knows his boundaries and constantly learns from his mistakes. If he’s at the dog park and runs up to a dog who nearly bites his head off, he remembers to avoid that dog the next time. Nobody needs that negativity in their life! He’s just here to have fun, make friends, and be happy. I can’t help but notice how his giddy presence just attracts people and other animals, in most cases.

So this got me thinking. How can we, as humans, take this approach when interacting with strangers, in particular, on the internet? How can we make the world a better place by greeting people differently and reacting to negative situations with positivity?

Let’s start with your social media profiles. Your picture needs to be nice, bright, and visible. You need to be clear about who you are, what you do, and your intentions for using the social media platform. Are you there to post your daily meals or your exercise routine, will you be selling products, or are you just there to socialize and share information? Be clear in this intention. DO NOT, under any circumstances, send auto-DM’s to people who follow you. That’s where my dog would draw the line and back off because you were a grumpy old dog begging for attention and just made this experience not fun for him anymore.

Everything you do and say needs to reflect how you want to be perceived. Nicole Phillips, a wonderful blogger writing about the art of kindness, said this past weekend “does what you post online reflect who you want to be?”. Every time you post, no matter on what platform, this needs to be the focus. Even if you simply like a funny meme making fun of something, that post could show up in your followers feed, and it may not represent you properly.

We can change our mindset and make the world a better place by being more welcoming social beings.

You want to draw people in with your web presence and make them feel like they can trust you. You want to turn doubters into useful connections, and you want to share valuable information. Let’s go back to the concept of “what’s mine is yours”, and how my dog shares his toys with guests. You want to curate useful content for your followers, and be unique in your visual presentation. A good social media participant will share their insights to help build a knowledgable community, not keep them bottled up for their own selfish gain. Don’t just share what everyone else is doing or be a copy cat. BE YOU!

After all, that’s why you got into social media in the first place, right? You wanted to share your story, your business, and your life. You didn’t sign up just to show off what celebrities and social influencers are doing. Just like my dog, we’re all here to have fun, make friends, and be happy. And nobody can accomplish that for you, but you.

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We can change our mindset and make the world a better place by being more welcoming social beings, and we can learn this simply by observing out pets!

 

What is a Vlog?

Simply put, a vlog is a video blog.

Ok, that’s all, thanks for reading!

Wait, what? No, not quite. There’s a bit more to it than that. There are some folks out there who can post a vlog every day and all they do is record themselves on their phone walking to class, or eating in the cafeteria, talking about how they didn’t study for their exam and they’ll get over 10,000 views. Most of us, though, have to work much harder at it.

The beginners guide to vlogging, and how to get over the fear of getting started.

The most popular place to house a vlog is YouTube, obviously. But you can also do it strictly through social media like facebook, twitter, instagram, and snapchat. The latter 2 will limit you to short 2-3 minute videos, but that’s not always a bad thing. YouTube is more versatile in that you can easily edit, embed, and share videos on multiple platforms, whereas your videos will be stuck on some of the other platforms and can’t be seen without an account.

The art of storytelling is what draws most people to vlogs, and turns them into dedicated subscribers. You can more easily show your personality through video than you can through written word, and that’s the exact thing that either draws people to, or frightens people away, from vlogging. You are much more vulnerable in front of a camera, than you are behind a keyboard.

Personally, I prefer to read and write over talking and watching a video. So I’ll never be a full-out vlogger. However, I do like to incorporate videos into some of my blog posts to enhance the message. Perhaps one of your readers commutes on a bus every day and would prefer to just read your latest post and not deal with headphones, but maybe another reader is more visual and watching a video would help pass the time quicker on their bus commute. The more ways you offer your material, the bigger audience you’ll reach.

Check out this vlog by Amy Schmittauer, my all-time favorite vlogger, about why you should, and can, vlog. Notice below her video that YouTube allows you to easily post supplemental information about your video as well, which is an important factor in providing your followers with all the information needed and to get them to subscribe!

Acknowledging Holidays in your Social Media Strategy

When I started writing the post on tweeting responsibly during world events, it was in response to emotions following the Manchester attack. But then we got into Memorial Day weekend and I also began reflecting on the relevance of holidays on social media, and now here we are quickly approaching the 4th of July. There are some important do’s and don’ts if you, or your brand, chooses to post messages on holidays. Knowing these tips will give you a huge advantage on days where people are posting more than normal. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t fully understand the impact holiday postings can have on your followers, your brand, and your online community.

social media posting strategies for the holidays to connect you with your followers

1. Use analytics and insights to better understand your audience and followers. What holidays do they celebrate? Where do they live? Would it be beneficial to not just stick with the Christian and American holidays?

2. Know what the day represents! One of my biggest pet peeves is when people mix up Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is to honor those who have died while serving in the armed forces. Veterans Day is to celebrate those who have served in the armed forces. While people have good intentions, and it doesn’t seem like there’s a big difference in meaning, it’s enough that we should honor those men and women properly, instead of focusing on what’s going to be plopped down on the grill later. You will gain more trust from your followers if you are genuinely interested in the holiday, rather than posting as an uninformed spectator.

3. Is the holiday a day of remembrance or a day of celebration? Whichever it is, keep the proper tone prominent in your posts — {see my caution about posting on 9/11 in my previous post}. Don’t offer a big cheesy promotion in “celebration” of 9/11. You’ll get dinged pretty badly for that one on social media.

4. Use authentic and real content, and pre-schedule it so you don’t have the pressure to post in between parties. Don’t just find a gaudy gif of an American flag or Easter Egg. Create your own visuals, share a story or memory about the holiday, and use creative hashtags (#holidaycheer instead of #MerryChristmas). You’ll get more views and more engagement. It’s a win-win!

Don't isolate your followers by being biased in your holiday posts. Here are 4 simple strategies to help you connect with your followers year-round, but especially on holidays.

4 simple strategies to help you connect with your followers year-round and on holidays

Celebrating holidays is an exciting and special time, and if you have a plan and are smart about it, you’ll be in a good place to continue to grow in the eyes of your followers. And just for fun, here’s a complete calendar of hashtag holidays you can always get on board with too…I’m somewhat partial to #CheeseLoversDay on January 20th, how bout you?

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Build Your Brand: Podcast Edition

I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for a good podcast. Whether I’m stuck in a long commute, or walking across campus between meetings, I’m listening to something. I alternate between music, podcasts, and audiobooks.

In my opinion, podcasts are where it’s at. They’re entertaining, informative, motivating, and not necessarily a huge time commitment like an audiobook can be. They can range from 5 minute quick tips to hour long discussions and “lessons”.

One of the easiest ways to be productive is to listen to podcasts while you're out and about throughout the day. Here are my top choices to get me motivated to hit the ground running as an entrepreneur.

So here’s what I’m listening to to keep my brain working and get motivated at work, at home, and in my personal relationships. Whatever mood you’re in, there’s something out there for you. And don’t be afraid to hit he “subscribe” button for your favorites so you don’t miss a beat!

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner

This is the podcast that got me into podcasts. I owe all my audio professional development to this collection of awesomeness. Michael interviews other experts in the field of social media each week and they teach us about insider strategies for allowing your business to succeed through social media marketing. Topics range from business storytelling, to selling online, to paid ads and algorithms. And sometimes they start out the show with a quick tip for how to do something within an app, especially if an app updates their look and feel. It’s well worth a listen.

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add Amy to this list. She lays down the truth, just as she claims in her intro in episode #160, on the good, the bad, and the ugly about building your brand. She helps you in all aspects of building your brand, not just online marketing. Some of her recent topics include avoiding FOMO in your business, where you should spend money in online marketing, how to hire a project manager, and a behind the scenes look at her website redesign. Her approach is clean and simple, and will help your brand in the long run!

Social Pros Podcast with Jay Baer & Adam Brown

I’m a big fan of Jay Baer. I follow him on all social media platforms and have a few of his books. In his interviews (with experts in the field), he focuses more on HOW people and companies are using social media strategies, rather than how-to’s within the platforms specifically. The real-life examples from him and his guests provide evidence that he know’s what he’s talking about, and his content works for both small start-ups to mega corporations.

Lifestyle & Motivation

The Chalene Show by Chalene Johnson

If you don’t know who Chalene Johnson is, you’re missing out big time. If you just need someone to put a little pep back in your step (both at work and at home), she’s your girl. Chalene discusses steps and resources to lead a more healthy life by channeling energy, organization, and focus in all aspects of your life. Listen to her for just 15 minutes, and if you can’t claim that she didn’t pump you up and and put you in a better mood, leave me a comment below…because this girl’s got game.

Culture

Criminal 

Criminal is a guilty pleasure of mine. The podcasts are a quick 20-30 minute listen covering “odd” crimes. Sometimes it’s interviewing a random bystander who helped solve a murder case, people who have faked their own death, or the 4 hippie guys in California who inadvertently started the catchphrase “420”.  They’re all true stories, and many of them have a historical component to them. You’ll probably rock your next trivia night after listening to this podcast.

Anna Faris is Unqualified by Anna Faris

Ever want to know the down-and-dirty stuff about the “fabulous” lives of celebrities? Here’s a winner for you. Anna interviews super fun celebrities including Kristin Chenoweth, Allison Janney, Johnny Galecki, Chelsea Handler, and Shaq (to name-drop a few) and they talk about anything and everything. They put a hilarious spin on life, Hollywood, and the not-so-great things we deal with. If you want a good laugh, and can handle unfiltered celebrity truth bombs, you’re in for a treat.

Build Your Brand: Podcast Edition

Álvaro Serrano

What are some of your favorite podcasts? Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to check them out!

Social Media Spring Cleaning Tips

Ah yes, spring cleaning. It’s a wonderful thing. Graduation and move-out seasons are upon us in the world of higher education. For many, we’re cleaning out residence halls and offices, moving out of apartments, selling textbooks, and expunging a years worth of clutter from our lives. But don’t just stop at the physical clutter that stresses you out. Let’s take a look at electronic clutter that can be decreasing your motivation and productivity too.

These are my 4 favorite tips to clean up my phone habits each spring. It's always nice to start the summer off fresh with new passwords, follower lists, and app organization.

4 quick and easy social media spring cleaning tips to get some of that electronic clutter out of your life.

1. Change your Passwords

No seriously. CHANGE. YOUR. PASSWORDS! Right now. Do it! I’ll wait….

Think of this as your mom reminding you to take a jacket with you. You’re annoyed that you have to do it, but you’re going to be thankful that you did. I cannot stress the importance of this enough! Passwords should be changed multiple times a year, and don’t just recycle old ones back around. Actually, a good rule of thumb would be to change your passwords when daylight savings comes around, right after you change the batteries in your smoke detectors (which has the same frequency rule…we don’t just give social media tips here at Social Butterfly, we also give life tips…you’re welcome).

There are useful apps out there to help you both randomize and remember your passwords. I use 1Password, but other good ones are LastPass and Keeper. Your passwords are all encrypted within the app, so they’re safe. Another tip for passwords is while you’re trying to think up something with 8 characters, a number, a symbol, and an arm and a leg, try to incorporate goals. For instance, if you’re on a weight loss journey, what’s your goal weight for the next 3 months? Add that number into your password somewhere. Or are you training for your first marathon? Add in your goal mile time. Not only will it be a reminder of what you’re trying to obtain, but you’ll be more likely to change your passwords more frequently as well. And in most cases, these goals wouldn’t be public knowledge, so they’d be safe to plug in.

instagram login

2. Clean up your follower lists

Get in there and use some elbow grease to get rid of those people you’re following who provide no benefit to your social media experience. If you hid them from your feed, get annoyed with how many times a day they post, “junk” that you scroll right past every time, or you only followed them because they followed you….get rid of ’em! Remember, social media isn’t about quantity of followers, it’s about a quality experience for both you and your followers.

And don’t forget that in Twitter you can create “lists” to categorize who you’re following. It’s best to keep up with this whenever you follow someone new, because if you get behind the catch-up can take days, but it’s a great social media hack and time saver once it’s all organized!

3. Reorganize your apps

You’re probably thinking “whatever, my apps are just where I want them”. But are they? You download an app, move it to where you think it’ll be best utilized on your screen, and leave it. You know Facebook is 2nd row, 4th slot. Twitter is 3rd row, 1st slot. You get used to where your apps are and open them like it’s second nature.

Moving around apps can be scary. It throws off your mojo until you can get used to it again. But trust me on this, your brain could use an app detox. Take a look at your phone and all of your apps. How might they serve a better purpose for both your productivity and your sanity?

Here’s how I like my apps organized. Take it or leave it, but do whatever will work best for you!

  • 1st screen – Things for ME that I use frequently for myself, not for work…apps that I enjoy looking at and won’t necessarily stress me out or make me think about work stuff.  [texts, calendar, alarm, camera, photos, google maps, music, kindle, podcasts, weatherbug, and fitbit]
  • 2nd screen – This is the work zone. All my social media, productivity, file sharing, and photo editing apps are here. It’s only 1 swipe away on the 2nd home screen, but it’s not in my face as soon as I unlock my phone each time.
  • 3rd screen – miscellaneous or less-frequently used apps. [CVS, banking, Southwest, Parkmobile, Sudoku, and Starbucks]

4. Clear the Cache in Social Media Apps

Data storage. It’s everywhere. Especially in your social media apps! All those gifs you post on twitter? Saved. The external links you click on to view news articles? Saved. The pin for tonights dinner recipe? Saved. It’s all stuff that the apps use to collect info on you and track your usage.

You don’t need that “junk” in your life, so get rid of it! Watch my how-to video to give your phone storage a little facelift.

So remember, spring cleaning isn’t only for your house. Use this time to get your technical life organized and you’ll be ready to kick off your shoes and relax a bit this summer.

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These are my 4 favorite tips to clean up my phone habits each spring. It's always nice to start the summer off fresh with new passwords, follower lists, and app organization.

4 Things Employers Look For On Social Media When Hiring

You are what you post online. Right? Well, that’s what the perception seems to be at least, whether it’s true or not. In my last post I talked about the pros and cons of having separate twitter accounts for personal and professional presence. Today, let’s go deeper and discuss what employers are looking for in a candidates’ social media presence when hiring, especially for young professionals.

I have done my share of hiring for a range of positions. I hire full-time administrators, interns, and hourly student workers. Obviously, each job has different expectations for the hiring process, however, I try to mimic the internship hiring process to real-world hiring when applicable. It’s great practice, and don’t sell yourself short. Interns can be just as important to the day-to-day functionality of a business as a senior-level administrator.

Looking to get hired? You should be taking a look at your social media usage now to set yourself up for success!

So as you continue to post online, keep these things in mind, and you’ll be headed in the right direction.

1. Industry-Related Content

We want to know that you’re keeping up with trends in the field. Whether it’s tweeting out data on recent findings, retweeting another professional in the field, using common industry hashtags, or conversing with others in a Twitter chat, it’s all relevant. Just show us that you’re legitimately interested in your field of work, and don’t be afraid to add your own flare to make the content your own.

2. Mutual Connections

No, we don’t care if your grandma’s second cousin twice removed is friends with the CEO on Facebook. We mean your professional social media network. Keep in mind that who you follow matters just as much as who is following you. If you’re following local businesses within your geographical location, or top social media influencers, when Twitter recommends “who to follow” it should show that we have similar interests. If you go a step further and make sure your profile has keywords in the industry, it will help match you up with people even better. I want to see that we follow similar type businesses and organizations, but don’t go spam everyone at my business. Remember it’s not the quantity of followers, it’s the quality.

3. Communication & Professional Skills

Do you communicate professionally? Will I be able to count on you to communicate well with clients? If you don’t use proper punctuation, spelling, or grammar, I’m going to say no. Even if you hit all the other items on this list, this is a deal breaker for many.

TFW u send me ur resume and don’t know how to address an email properly smh. #hireme #nope

Sorry, not sorry.

4. Examples of Your Work & Professional Experience

As a young professional, sometimes this can feel like the dreaded “entry level position with 10 years experience” job requirement. But examples of your work don’t have to be anything spectacular. Some of your day-to-day tasks are just as important as the big projects. If you’ve given presentations at a conference or published articles, great! But that’s not a necessity. Post a picture of you working at your internship, upload some of your projects and documents from school into an online portfolio, create a cool graphic with the topic of your senior capstone project. Then link these in your profile, or share the content in your posts. You’ve gotta start somewhere, and the humble brag will help you out here.

Things We Love

All of the above trickle down to your potential fit with the company. Do we think you’ll work well with our mission, vision, and current employees? At the end of the day, though, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Show us you’re human too. Use slang terms and acronyms every once in a while. Follow The Bachelor, Chrissy Tegan, and Justin Timberlake. It’s all ok in moderation.