Scary, Sexy, Sentimental & Smart: navigating what works on social media

https://kelseytrif.wordpress.com/
https://kelseytrif.wordpress.com/

In honor of Halloween this week, we’re writing about the scary, sexy, sentimental and smart…ways people and businesses get noticed on social media. Why? It’s part of running a business these days, and while we were not prepared for the amount of time were going to have to spend on social media for Petite Marin, we’re getting the hang of it. It’s similar to posting updates on a personal FB page, but we’re really trying to connect with people we don’t know, who seem to have similar interests, audiences, aesthetics and personality- all online!

As we prepare to launch our business in 3 short weeks, we’ve been learning as much as possible by reading every blog post and magazine article hinting about ways to increase website traffic, taking online and local in-person classes on how to stand out, ‘stalking’ top-performers on social media to see what other people ‘like’ and scrutinizing our web analytics nightly to look for trends. It’s hilariously exhausting and nonsensical.

Why do we do this? Because businesses don’t just grow on their own; we want our concept of turning men’s dress shirts into custom baby clothes to be a business, not just an idea a few of our friends heard about. We’ve learned a few basics along the way that we’d like to share.

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Image: http://www.vandelaydesign.com/free-social-media-icons/

First, you need to figure out which social media sites work best for your type of business; there are lots of great options, but focus on just 3-4 as you get started. What should you post? People are going to ‘like’ things on social media they normally like in real life: pretty pictures, catchy titles and a story that ends on a high note. The rest, it seems, is pretty open to personal preference. Here are four ways that we’ve noticed social media light up:

  1. Scary. That’s right, a story that scares you, even slightly, seems to do the trick. I a liken it to rubbernecking, but, safely out of harm’s way. You scan a headline that scares you so much, you can’t help but click, then before you know it, you’re commenting and sharing. I’ve seen it happen. Look at ScaryMommy– there’s a reason they have over 450k followers (and I’m one of them, can’t help it!). Just look at their blog post on life-threatening food allergies!
  2. Sexy: This one speaks for itself. As we’re out there promoting a sustainable children’s clothing line, we are competing with all other chatter, topics that are provocative and coy…and get a lot of retweets. It competes for your attention, too, we get it. Victoria’s Secret has over 8 million Twitter followers. Coincidence?
  3. Sentimental: Nailed it! This is our big win. If a subject tugs at your heartstrings, you are much more likely to read it. Include cute babies (check!) or puppies, and you’re golden. People generally like to feel sentimental about a story they’re reading and connect at a higher level.
  4. Smart: Cool info-graphics and relevant information about topics you enjoy are going to catch your interest. With the advent of amazing free and low-cost graphics programs, anyone can create their own info-graphic sure to catch their reader’s eye. The New York Times and CNN both have over 20 million Twitter followers.

What about you? What makes you read an article or leave a comment?

4 Great Fall Crafts- using upcycling!

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Fall is always a fun time to do some crafting with your children.  Instead of chasing out to the store for art supplies, try these four great crafts that use items you already have at home!

1.Paper Butterflies, tutorial at diygreen and more butterfly craft inspiration at Handmade Charlotte

Upcycled household item: magazines

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Reuse magazine pages to create this beautiful hanging mobile. A great project for little ones and older kids. My 7 year old and 5 year old daughters loved this project and it looks adorable hung in their room!

2.TP Roll Mermaid and Hula Dolls, tutorial at MollyMoo and more TP roll inspiration at hello, Wonderful

Upcycled household item: toilet paper rolls

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The girls had so much fun making these on Sat. afternoon that they decided to make a few more on Sun. They even cut a roll in half and made a baby hula girl doll! This fun craft offers endless possibilities for creativity beyond hula girls- what is your child’s favorite character?

3.Boo Box

Upcycled household item: cereal boxes

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This is craft that I remember making as a child and wanted to make one with my daughters. With Halloween coming up, we decided to make boo boxes! I couldn’t find a tutorial for this one, but it is fairly straight forward. All you need is an old cereal box, tissues and a rubber band. Art supplies necessary are glue, tape, and pens.

First, use the cardboard from the cereal box to create a small box with a lid. Decorate the box with spooky pictures and write the word ‘Boo!’ on the inside of the lid. Fill one piece of tissue with a small ball of tissue and secure with a rubber band to create a ghost. Attach ghost inside of lid with glue or tape. Tada! A boo box! This simple project was a huge hit with my kids.

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4.Needle Felted Pumpkin, tutorial at The Magic Onions and info on how to felt wool at Mother Earth News

Upcycled household item: old wool sweaters

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Transform an old wool sweater into felt and make adorable felt pumpkins! This project was not actually made by my girls, but gifted to my youngest daughter from her eighth grade buddy. This is a super sweet craft that would be a fun one to try with older kids or a mom’s craft night.

What type of upcycled crafts have you tried with your family?

Starting a business, and changing direction

Over the past year and a half, we made many beautiful garments; they were everything we wanted – sustainably made in the US, ethically sewn by hand in California, had a classic silhouette and were made of the best cotton fiber out there, repurposed or new. We sold two dozen at craft fairs and through online sales. Where was our audience? Did we have an audience? Were we just another cute idea without a real business? Continue reading

4 lessons learned using toddlers and babies in photoshoots

We love our children, and the smaller and cuter, the better for photos, right? No, not really. With babies who can’t sit up, they must be propped up, and those who can’t stand, must be held up. Whiny toddlers are promised candy for a non-goofy smile, while we blow lots of bubbles, dance and dangle toys to elicit smiles from babies. Between acting like a clown, making sure no one pours bubbles all over themselves, and trying to avoid grass stains, it feels like a non-stop comedy hour trying to make these photoshoots work. But, it’s all worth it in the end when we finally have the gorgeous photos we dreamed of, but weren’t sure were possible! Below, take a look at 4 of our out-takes and most common mishaps working with people under the age of 5.

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Clockwise, from top left:

  • Taking a photo of more than one child requires more than double the amount of effort to get one child to look at the camera, and to try not to look bored when they do. Plus, it’s very hard to compete for a baby’s attention when he’s just discovered his hands.
  • Photographing an unwilling baby is tough, especially when holding a bright light into her eyes. We dangled a variety of toys to distract her from the light and finally took 2 shots that were worthy to use.
  • When using a baby who can’t stand, someone has to hold him up, or he has to hold onto something (and not let go). When a person is holding up the child, it’s hard to stay out of the frame!
  • A sweet toddler who wants to be photographed is fantastic, but you have to help every single step of the way- including what to do with her arms!

We’ve learned a lot from working with dozens of adorable babies and toddlers and a few amazing photographers. The bribes (yes, there was some candy involved) helped a lot, but we’re really getting the hang of it. New photos of our outfits that will be available for purchase via Kickstarter in November will be showcased soon, and I’ve got to say, they’re lovely!