Filling My Prayer Closet

My Social Media Report for March

Social MediaCristina 6 Comments

"I made $7,000 last month from my blog." "I made 6,200 last month from my blog.""Check my income report!"

You've seen these, right?  Passive income is the sweet spot for blogging, internet marketing, and consulting. I'm not there, yet. No where near. In fact, I've made $10.85 cents so far this month, and that's not even paid out yet.

I read this post about building trust, and not traffic.  I love this post. The message was so powerful, I instantly downloaded the book The Content Code by Mark W. Schaefer to sink my teeth into his thought process around content and social media. 

Social Media Report with Tips for March with a free downloadable spreadsheet to track your social media progress including the social media tips and tricks I used within the month by @fillpraycloset

In the article, Schaefer says "...building trust instead of traffic takes time, a new mindset, a new commitment, and perhaps even a leap into the unfamiliar."

Money is important, I'm not completely naive. But, what's more important to me is building trust, connections and networks. I thrive on the interaction and sharing of information that I can give and receive on social media. It's a really great resource to find like minded people, or even people you don't have a lot in common with personally, but really want to learn from.

I've been tracking my social media platforms. It's been simple, I'm not tracking goals or conversions for you google analytics nerds (I'm getting there) or even social media ROI, yet (you all confused yet?).  If you want to grab a copy of my social media spreadsheet you can, just look out for the button at the end of this post.

I'm starting where I'm at. That means noting how many people I had when I started tracking on February 24th and how many people follow me as of March 24th. Why February 24th? That's when I started a Facebook blog page. No big secret there. 

I'll share the before and after numbers, along with what I did differently to get that increase.

--1--

Twitter

Before: 1,657 followers

After: 1,750 followers, that's a +93

What did I do?

  • Every week, on Thursdays I use Tweepi per Melissa's post to find people on Twitter. Because there are a few steps, I created a spreadsheet (told you I love them) where I track her suggestions putting an X when I've followed someone's followers for example.
  • The highlight here? I followed some of Regina's followers, Erika Madden of Olyvia Media. She noticed and retweeted a post of mine, Regina picked up on it again (because she was mentioned) and it was retweeted all over again! Cool huh?
  • I also use twitterfeed to push those blogs that I love to my feed automatically. For example, I love This Felicitous Life, you know this. So every time she posts something, I get it pushed to my Twitter time line with her twitter handle. For those niche blogs, I include a relevant hashtag too. I don't just drop them, I check my Feedly in the evenings to read the links that twitterfeed has pushed for me so I'm always in the loop. 
  • I participated in two twitter chats. One for #SITSblogging on a Saturday morning and the other for design #ellechat They were super fun and I highly suggest attending a twitter chat if you haven't already done so.

--2--

Instagram

Before: 485

After: 535, that's a +50

What did I do?

  • I shared my blog posts to Instagram. I can show you how to do that too!
  • I began to participate in linkups and challenges. 
  • I started looking at Instagram feeds a little differently, I would search for topics I was interested in via hashtags and like photos I saw in that feed, while also doing the same within my own "home" feed.
  • I downloaded the Unfollow app and cleaned up my followers. Those followers that weren't following me, I gave a week and liked posts of theirs, or commented. If after that engagement, they didn't follow back, I deleted them. Why? I only want people who engage with me on social media. Follows are great, but we're building trust, right? 

--3--

Pinterest

Before: 1,206

After: 1,465, that's a +259 <-- yikes! Can I share a secret? My goal this year was to hit 1,500. 

What did I do?

  • I took a Pinterest course, Pinning Perfect that I LOVED. I also signed up for a pin scheduling app called Tailwind. With these two investments, I learned how to create a branded pin, craft keyword rich descriptions, work with contributor boards and schedule pins to post during optimal times based on when my Pinterest peeps were on and pinning, to name but a few changes. 
  • In the class we received a checklist for max return on Pinterest investment of your time. Of course, I turned that in to a spreadsheet that I check daily. It's color coded, so I know what to do each day, each week and monthly.

--4--

Facebook

Before: 0

After: 166, that's a ... you know what that is. 

What did I do?

  • I started a Facebook page! I knew I wanted to get beyond my friends and family likes, so I began to look for opportunities to network.
  • SITS has a Facebook group where they have Facebook Fan page love days. Generally, I try to like between 3-5 Facebook posts for every link I drop.
  • Kim Garst has a #FanPageFriday where you drop your page on the thread and like others that you find interesting. 

It is time to celebrate! It is FINALLY Friday!FACEBOOK FRIDAY! If you would like to meet some new peeps, get some new...

Posted by Boom Social with Kim Garst on Friday, March 27, 2015

--5--

Google+

Before: 3,060

After: 3,346, that's a +286

What did I do? 

  • Honestly, nothing different than my usual. I post the way I usually do (there's a way to do it). I always tell this to people who ask, don't go crazy with all the platforms at all times. Focus on a few, and when they're under your belt, move on to the next. When you're confident with those platforms, cycle out again, and so on.
  • But the hightlight? Dustin W. Stout, a self proclaimed creative lunatic and social strategist with 48,170 followers commented on my google+ post of my epic Instagram post and thought it was "Awesome Stuff!!" Wahoo and cha-ching! 
  • How's this, here's what I would like to incorporate going forward. More +1's, more information sharing on my part to those groups that I admin to get the conversation going and being more thoughtful about sharing content from others to my stream. I'll let you know how I make out in a future post. 

--6--

E-mail subscribers

Before: 102

After: 120, that's +18

What did I do?

  • Well, here's a bigger picture. As of 2/4 when I made the move to Squarespace, I had 42 email subscribers. I began to create freebies for those people who subscribed on a Freebie page. I am currently at 3 freebies and it's a mix of faith related content to social media tips and tricks. I have some plans in the works to add more printouts and info for my subscribers
  • I added a subscriber bar at the top of my site.
  • I added a scroll box to capture subscribers from SumoMe just this week.

--7--

Bloglovin'

Before: 72

After: 91, that's +19

What did I do?

  • I participated in a follow thread within a Facebook group I admin. 
  • I began liking other bloggers on Bloglovin'
  • I also saved my own stuff! This way when people come over to your profile, they can see your lovely posts, along with others you've liked. 
  • I added a button just beneath my social links for people to easily find and follow me.

I would say before anything, start a content or editorial calendar. I just started using Trello for this and I LOVE it, but I'll always have my spreadsheets. In it, I have the dates on the left and have the following columns:

  1. Blog post title
  2. Social media push
  3. All of the tracking I note in #1-7 of this post.
  4. Color key to let me know what I have to do when.

It takes a little bit of time to set up, but after the initial creation of it, you're golden.

I wanted to share with you a great nugget of wisdom gleaned from a podcast I can't stop raving about, Hack the Entrepreneur. The host, Jon, was interviewing Brian Kurtz. Brian mentioned a way of thinking called the Entrepreneurial Gap. Brian explained that if you try to walk toward the horizon to meet it, you'll never get there. 

The Entrepreneurial Gap is this:

The gap is what's between today's goal and the horizon, and if you live in there, all the time without having one goal achieved and then turning back around and looking back and where you were and where you've been and where you are now, you'll stay out of the gap.

So here's to the horizon and my looking back at what I've done, what I've achieved. Here's to staying focused and meeting my goals, celebrating them and then making more goals.

There's always the horizon to get to, so I'll keep moving, but I won't forget to look back and take stock in how far I've come. You don't either.

And if you've gotten this far, you can get a copy of the spreadsheet that I use to track and keep track of what I need to do on any given day on social media, by subscribing.

This post contains affiliate links. Costs you nothing, and I get more money to keep the lights on around here. Thanks for supporting Filling My Prayer Closet!

For more quick takes, head over to This Ain't the Lyceum!

Social Media Report with Tips for March with a free downloadable spreadsheet to track your social media progress by @fillpraycloset

Show up for Yourself

Working Mother, Vlog, Social MediaCristina 4 Comments

Do you show up for yourself?

Show up for Yourself. Even when you're exhausted and you can't take another step, always show up for you. A vlog in where I share how I show up for myself and am working on implementing blogging productivity hacks and social media tips to keep my day more streamlined by @fillpraycloset

Another week, another vlog link up. I am loving these, aren't you? This week has been rough. I won't lie, work is crazy and my allergies are at an all time high. I even used my asthma pump twice this week. I could have easily bowed out of the link up, but I like adding this to my week. It's real time and real talk. I don't plan them, rarely have a script (unless it's that lame index card that I finally threw out this weekend, I think?).  So have a quick look at my 3 minute "showing up for myself" vlog with pillows, as I hate on Charity because she's so cute and always has a cup of chai in hand. I know, that face, it's the best of the worst in bunch. Trust me. I'm a face maker. 

JVKom Chronicles

Looking for more inspiration? I'm always pinning inspirational quotes, memes and articles here!

Show up for Yourself. Even when you're exhausted and you can't take another step, always show up for you. A vlog in where I share how I show up for myself and am working on implementing blogging productivity hacks and social media tips to keep my day more streamlined by @fillpraycloset

How to Start Sharing Your Blog Posts on Instagram

Blogging, Social MediaCristina 10 Comments

You've just hit publish on an epic blog post, of course you want to share it. Visual images are all the rage, aren't they? But some feel that Instagram isn't the place for blog posts for a number of reasons, but if you're looking to build a brand, I say why not? I've had a lot of Insta-pals comment and say how much they loved the blog post and actually start a conversation with me about it. Even a link up was born out of one of my Instagram posts! I am also sharing a freebie for my subscribers (did you know they have access to their own page!) with Instagram linkups and photo challenges to build your following, so stay tuned for that at the end of this post!

How to Start Sharing Your Blog Posts, A tutorial for bloggers with blogging tips and tricks on Instagram by @fillpraycloset 

Is it crazy to think that you'll get all of your referrals from Instagram? Maybe. But what are you blogging for? To get your name out there, share your writing with like minded people, or just to convert and see your numbers climb? That's a brain teaser for another day. When my friend Emily sent me an email and asked how I share my blog posts on Instagram, I knew I had to share it with you.

Here's how I share blog posts on Instagram.

What you need:

  • A place where you can type, copy and paste (preferably your email account, but anything will do so long as your typing it out and not texting it. Easier on the fingers.)
  • A beautiful image trimmed, just so, for Instagram's pixel parameters (currently 640x640) or you can use a little hack I'll share in a bit.
  • Instagram, duh (and that means a smart phone).

Create your graphic.

  • I create two images, at least, for my posts. One to share on Facebook, and the other to live forever on Pinterest. Here's that hack I mentioned earlier: the Facebook image can be used on Instagram with virtually no cropping or any other editing. *gasp* I know, right?
  • Say you don't have an image on your blog post. First, why? Second, we gotta talk, and lastly, you can use Canva, PicMonkey or any photo editing software you like to create one so long as the size is right.
  • Whatever you do, use a compelling image. What does that mean? It means the image is not blurry, your Grandma's head isn't cut off, there's text overlay with an attention grabbing title, or an inspirational quote from your post, and it's something that catches your eye.
  • Don't have a compelling image? Go to morguefile, unsplash, or here for a whole list of places to snag free images. 
  • Save the image to your desktop, or somewhere you'll remember it. Trust me.

Begin to craft a compelling description in an email.

  • You want to be sure to have at least 11 hashtags. Interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags. I wouldn't suggest you go hog wild and #have #every #word #hashtagged. That's a huge turn off. You have three options, one of which is my favorite, because strategy.
  • Use Tagboard to research beyond a general and broad tag, like #love, for example. You can also use Tagboard to brainstorm some great hashtags too. That #love example, when tossed into Tagboard brings back a few other hashtags to take a look at (#fashion, #beautiful, #cute, #instagood, #girl)
  • Strategy 1: Add all 11 hashtags to the end of your compelling description.
  • Strategy 2: Add all 11 hashtags interwoven or embroidered (that's my favorite word this week) throughout your compelling description
  • Strategy 3: Add 3 hashtags within the compelling description. Then add 3 more hashtags in the comments after a few hours. Then add 3 more a few hours after that, and your final 2 the next day. <--- my favorite strategy. Why? Because every time you add hashtags, you're coming up in the top of that hashtag search. This keeps your insta-blog-post fresher than the average daisy, umm post. 

Tip: Use only two in the initial post, and cross publish to Facebook. Facebook likes two hashtags, so that will work for that platform, and then you can continue your hashtag sprinkling schedule for the rest of them. Multitasking!!! Love it. Sorry, I get carried away when I can kill two birds with one stone #workingmom here!

Save your compelling image to your draft email.

  • See what we're doing here? You don't know the half. Eh, maybe you do.

Head over to bit.ly to create a shortened link that goes directly to the post you're promoting and paste that into your draft email. 

  • You could just use the link from your blog post, you know, the original one. But we all prefer short and sweet, right. I am 4'11" ;)
  • Say you have a post you're trying to push that has 9 words in it, because you're feeling descriptive. Would a shortened link on a mobile device look cleaner, or would a mouthful of descriptive words? Exactly.

Send that email draft to an email address you have access to from your phone, because Instagram said so.

  • Here's a sample of how my draft email looks. 

Now, the easy part.

Open up the email from your phone and copy all of the text, and save the image. 

  • If you have a cliptray function on your phone, all the better, you can copy all and paste where and how you need to.
  • If not, you're going to play a little back and forth with your copy / paste. I set my emails in the order above so it's easy either way.

Go to your Instagram profile.

  • Paste the bit.ly link in your URL (go to "edit your profile") and save. Don't know what I'm taking about?
How to Start Sharing Your Blog Posts, A tutorial for bloggers with blogging tips and tricks on Instagram by @fillingmyprayercloset 
How to Start Sharing Your Blog Posts, A tutorial for bloggers with blogging tips and tricks on Instagram by @fillingmyprayercloset 

Upload your image to Instagram.

  • Use whatever photo filter/s you like.
  • Here's a tip: For branding, purposes always use one filter you'll always love and stick with it. Every.single.time.

Paste that compelling description in with whatever strategy you've chosen (I hope it's #3) and include "#newblogpost {link in profile}".

  • That last bit is important, you're directing your Insta-friend to the blog post, letting them know that it's all ready for them to read. 
  • Here's a tip: Don't just push all of your blog posts on your Instagram feed. Like everything, people like variety. 
  • If you know you are going to promote a post on your Instagram platform, make sure you have other images in as a buffer. Need more rules around that? Let's say for every 3 or 4 Instagram posts, you get to share your blog post image with your Insta-friends. 

Now that may seem like a lot of work for what could be just a handful of conversions to your posts (but a whole lot of conversation if you do it right). Some light on that:

  • With practice it gets easier.
  • No one says you have to promote your posts on Instagram.
  • No one says you have to promote every post on Instagram. This is your show, baby.
  • How else are people going to know you blog? Think they're stalking your profile? Maybe they are, but I would bet they aren't.
  • If your Insta-blog-promo posts are consistent (same font, same over lay, same coloring, etc) it's a way to brand yourself, and that's always a good thing. You want to differentiate yourself from the other quazillion bloggers out there, right? Right.

I would love to hear what you have to say. Even if you don't think publishing posts on Instagram is worth your time and effort. I've created a list of my favorite Instagram linkups as a freebie for my subscribers (did you know they have access to their own page!) with ongoing hashtag challenges to get you to meet more people and snapping them photos!

Remember, we don't want to choke the feed with just your blog posts, right? Social media is about being social. So, be social!

How to Start Sharing Your Blog Posts, A tutorial for bloggers with blogging tips and tricks on Instagram by @fillingmyprayercloset 

Church Triumphant: The Annunciation Revisited

Church Triumphant, Consecration, Mary, FaithCristina 4 Comments
Church Triumphant series, The Annunciation Revisited. Where we cover another part of Marian Consecration, faith, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Blessed Mother Teresa's perspective by @fillpraycloset

I am teaming up with Tiffany of Life of a Catholic Librarian to talk about this month's Church Triumphant post so be sure to head over to her place to read about St. Isidore the Farmer.

While the Annunciation isn't a saint literally speaking, the people a part of the Annunciation are saints, Mary Mother of God and (or Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady, she's got all the great names), St. Gabriel the Archangel are. As you can see below, I've written (clickable thumbnail images included!) about the Annunciation before, so what new perspective can I give? What more can I share? 

I am making my consecration to Jesus through Mary tomorrow the day the church celebrates the Annunciation. I've found nuggets of wisdom from this book every time I use it. This year being no different. I would like to share another simple chart from the book, that I know was noted earlier in the book, but having read it last night I was made more aware of it. 

In the book, 33 Days to Morning Glory, Fr. Gaitley explains:

Part of the reason Mother Teresa took her consecration so seriously has to do with her roots in Albanian culture.  A key word in this culture is "besa".  Literally translated, this means "faith", but its more complete meaning is "word of honor" and "to keep one's promise".  Mother Teresa explains:

Besa means even if you have killed my father and the police are after you, if I have given you my word, then even if the police kill me, still I will not disclose your name.

In other words, to the mind of Mother Teresa, if you give your word to someone, you give yourself.  Indeed, besa has a sacred character like a vow, oath, or covenant.  Let's reflect on that last word, "covenant".  This is how Mother Teresa described her consecration to Mary.  It's a word that has rich, biblical meaning: It describes the bond of relationship between God and his people throughout salvation history. (Location 1122-1123)

Fr. Gaitley includes a chart that Father Joseph Langford, MC created as inspired by Mother Teresa's teaching of the Covenant of Consecration, spelling out the details of a Missionary of Charity's rights and duties in her relationship with Mary, listing 12 corresponding rights and duties. This is the list that I absolutely had to share with you. It's deceptively easy, but something you can look at daily and work on as a prayer to start your day. If I wanted to take one tomorrow morning and pray over it, I would say to myself:

Blessed Mother, I trust that you will give of your spirit and heart as I will give the gift of all that I have and am. 

or

Blessed Mother, posses, protect and transform my actions this day as I am dependent on you.

You get the picture.

Church Triumphant series, The Annunciation Revisited. Where we cover another part of Marian Consecration, faith, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Blessed Mother Teresa's perspective by @fillpraycloset

While the feast of the Annunciation is not a holy day of obligation, consider making it to a mass and pray with Mary for her Fiat, her yes that changed the world.

Don't forget to head over to Tiffany's place where she will be covering St. Isidore the Farmer!

Church Triumphant series, The Annunciation Revisited. Where we cover another part of Marian Consecration, faith, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Blessed Mother Teresa's perspective by @fillpraycloset

This post contains affiliate links. While this costs you zilch, it helps to keep the lights on here at Filling My Prayer Closet. Thanks for the support!

This Week in Blogging and Doing

linkups, Working MotherCristina 8 Comments

So, here I thought I had nothing to share. But I've been all over the interwebz consuming everything that had to do with blog conferences, social media, blogging, reading, copywriting, Facebook groups, meeting online people IRL. You name it. Let's get started!

This Week in Blogging and Doing a quick wrap up of all the blogging conferences, social media, podcasts, books, and reads I've come across this week with a few WOW moments in there to boot by @fillpraycloset

--1--

I am headed to the Catholic Women Blogger Network conference in May! These ladies are a part of the Facebook group that I've been telling you about. The conferences are divided regionally and as a gal living in PA, I'm headed to the Mid-Atlantic conference. What's better than meeting ladies that I've been chatting with for-eh-vuh? I'm presenting on social media, blogging + branding - all that techie stuff I love! I am working on the presentation and can't wait to get out there and meet them!  Interested in joining a conference? Here's a list of all the ones around the country and I know there will be more scheduled.

--2--

I listened to an AWESOME podcast. Hack the Entrepreneur with Jon Nastor. I mean AWESOME. Drop everything and subscribe to everything he's got.  He interviewed Jessica Rea.  I was actually in the car screaming "YEAH! ME TOO!" Of course, after the podcast was over, I hopped over to her page and followed her on all platforms! I mean all. And she has a Facebook group! Ladypreneurs. I mean, did you ever?!  For a place to start, read 14 traits of successful ladypreneurs and see if MOST of these traits don't fit ya.

--3--

I was also selected to be a SITS Community Lead. This means that I'll contribute articles to their mega-insane-70,000+ community of savvy bloggers over the course of a the next few months. I'll also be hosting some Twitter chats. But more than that, I am meeting other like-minded bloggers who live locally! I think there's another meet-up in the midst. There's even one blogger a couple of towns over. Her response when she found out how close I was to her: "I didn't think anyone blogged around here!" HA! Me either! If you're interested, the founder of SITS was just interviewed by Brilliant Business Moms and it's not to be missed. Sarah and Beth Anne ask great questions, and Tiffany Romero delivers even better answers. 

--4--

I am going to BlogU! A blog conference in Baltimore, MD in June!  This is a little, ok a lot, out of my comfort zone because I won't know anyone there, but I joined a Facebook group for attendees and am working to get to know as many people as I can, before I get there. Last year they had an 80s prom themed party. I know I could have rocked insane, poofy hair. I am looking forward to the fun they'll be bringing this year. If you'd like to join me?? Maybe?? Here's the schedule to whet your palate! #BlogU15!

--5--

My husband bought me a couple of books while he was stranded at the mechanic for 6 hours getting my car serviced to attend all these upcoming conferences. Awwwww - ok. He asked me what was on my wish list, and well, I can say without any shame at all that it's about 111 books. What I chose was Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks by August Turak and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. When he asked the bookseller if they had these books in stock (he was on the phone with me) he told me she looked at him like he was crazy. He responded "yeah, my wife isn't the easy-to-find John Grishom type." I can't wait to get into those this weekend.

--6--

But what I am currently reading is Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by Howard Schultz. I read this book in college when I was taking a marketing class. It wasn't on the syllabus and I can't remember why I picked it up. I can't tell you how fun it is to see what I highlighted and commented on from almost 7 or so years ago, today. I'm getting a kick out of it. I read one chapter a night and then read one chapter of The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters by Joseph Sugarman. In my massive consumption of content from all over the web, I read that this was the book to read on copywriting. It's something that interests me and so, I read it. I have to say, it's good. Really, really good.

--7--

I am continuing to move outside of my comfort zone, making vlogs, stretching my reach and taking on new challenges. I have this insane social media spreadsheet that keeps me accountable each day and I am seeing results - not crazy, blow up results, but moving the needle in the right direction results. I set goals for where I wanted to be on each platform and I am almost at them, and it's only March! But nothing, nothing gets done without my daily rosary, consecration prayers and Lenten readings. 

For more quick take fantabulousness, head to This Ain't the Lyceum!

This Week in Blogging and Doing a quick wrap up of all the blogging conferences, social media, podcasts, books, and reads I've come across this week with a few WOW moments in there to boot by @fillpraycloset

This post contains affiliate links. It costs you zip and gives me some funds to keep the lights on around here! Thanks for supporting Filling My Prayer Closet.