Social Media

Small Business: Do you get Political on Social Media?


When I had my jewelry business, I avoided talking about religion and politics online.  I did not want to have separate accounts for such issues so I left it alone.  Now I'm free to write and say what I want - I kinda love it.  It got me thinking, with this change in political climate, what should a business person do who strongly opposes what is going on in our government and their online presence?  I'm not talking about big businesses like Nordstrom or LL Bean.  I mean small business, mom & pop shops, etc. who can't turn a blind eye - especially if legislation changes may impact their business (ie: who they hire, where they get their materials, obtaining a loan). 

You don't want to scare customers away or turn off new ones because they don't agree with you.  When I had Pulp Sushi, I would not have written An Open Apology or You're Not A Feminist? on that blog.  As a business/brand, you have to think twice before shooting off online.  Ask yourself what you think could happen when you post something?  Let's say you sell knitted kids hats, your customer base is mostly moms.  Are you going to share a link to an article is against increasing paid maternity leave because you believe that maternity leave is generous enough as it is?  What if you share a anti-Hillary Clinton meme?  Do these things reflect what your business is about? Is there a chance that there may be a backlash? I said I wasn't going to talk about big business, but it's okay for Anheuser-Busch to make a political statement about immigration during the Super Bowl.  They have been around since 1852 and made the commitment to use their products to promote a better world.  For the most part, they keep the politics off their Twitter and Facebook.  

Let's flip this around. You're a handmade soap seller who locally sources their ingredients and rely on local farmers who employs immigrants, you announce in your shop that a percentage of all sales goes toward the ACLU and Sierra Club, you market your soap as a way to "Wash off 2016 election FILTH!!" (go ahead soapers, you can use that). How about you make cards that say "Orange you glad I didn't grab your pussy?" It is CLEAR that you promote your activism through your products and you are catering to specific group of people, more power to you, your social media can be a part of that branding for your business easy-peasy.  

Perhaps you're ready to make that change and you want to bring more social awareness in to your business. You can introduce issues into your business slowly, maybe donations for sales of one specific item goes towards a cause, and as you promote that item, you can share additional information on social media about the charity or the general cause.  Raise awareness without coming across as preachy. People don't like to be preached too. Just look at the backlash celebrities get when they get political.   While the "experts" say you may be killing your business, I think there is a way this can be done smart and tactfully. You may lose some followers, but you can gain so many more once you provide more meaning to your business.

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I'm Throwing A Twitter Happy Party!

I've been doing TOO much reading lately and absorbing information, some of which is quite upsetting but important to know. I won't get into that now. Instead, I wanted to share some tweets I liked from the last couple of days...

Have a good week!

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It's The Instagram Icon Freakout of 2016

It seems like whenever a popular social media platform makes a change, people lose their shit.  I used to lose my shit too.  Yeah change can suck but we forget about it.  It's like our brains are now trained to adjust to changes quicker and forget what we were upset about in the first place. Just look at Facebook, people still use it, I don't know anyone who shut down their account after any changes were made even though they threatened to. 

There was a change recently when Instagram decided to change their logo from the familiar camera icon to a Starburst Berries & Cremé candy?  So what's with the Raspberry Sherbert/Color Wheel fixation anyway? 

Unfortunately, while it may render better in some environments, it's a very forgettable image that will get lost on people's phones amid the thousands of other similarly uninspired designs of most tech apps.
Adweek - May 11, 2016



There was a study conducted on how the brain responds to different app icons, I'm serious.  One of the findings was that the brain reacts more to images than text icons which leads a lasting effect. While this doesn't exactly apply to the Instagram change, it took an image that was "familiar" and switched to something more abstract.  We don't "Look" for the Instagram app on our phones, we just know it's there and tap it without giving much thought, every day, several times a day.

Instagram is not just about taking pictures anymore, they are really pushing their video feature (which I find a little annoying) but I guess it's working. If you think about it, the new app design looks more like the camera eye on your smartphone than a traditional camera.  I don't know if I agree with the Adweek article, I don't think it will get lost in people's phones.  I do miss the old icon look, I love cameras, and I love old cameras. I'd hate to see the appreciation of old photography wiped out with technology. 

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Instagram Tips Tested, Marilyn Approved!

One of the things I love about working with Rogue Social is how much I am learning. There's been so much buzz about Instagram lately about their algorithm changes, Rogue Social published a blog post with tips on how to keep your Instagram images seen, noticed, and engaging and not worry about getting lost in an endless feed of scrolling. 


With my newer account, @marilyn_coffeeink - I wanted to try some of these tips. A lot of these I already do (ie: square images, not post several images in a row, using hashtags). However, the Hashtag tip of leaving them in the comments instead of the description was new to me.  I've seen other people do this and wondered Why?   

Hashtags in your comments are still searchable and work just the same as putting them in your description.  It's better to do this trick if you plan on using a lot of hashtags (at least 10, no more than 30).   The trick with the dots is to push the hashtags down so they don't appear as a cluster of hashtags when scrolling.  I'll still keep a couple of hashtags in the description and use the comments for more popular (but still relevant) tags. 


Continue reading "Instagram Tips Tested, Marilyn Approved!" »

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A Quickie Guide To Google Analytics

Previously published at Pulp Sushi in July 2015

Oooh I love quickies! (What??) I mean quick and easy tutorials especially to something as complex as Google Analytics.

GAOne of the things I do for Typepad is I help out with their blog, Everything Typepad.  Every month I share a tutorial for our bloggers.   I once posted a tutorial about using Google Analytics.  

Since using Google Analytics is not limited to just Typepad bloggers, I wanted to give it a plug here as there are tips and pointers which could come in handy for many folks who are interested in learning more about who is visiting their blog.  It's good to see how your blog is working in attracting visitors, whether it's through your keywords and tags, your social media plugs, or other bloggers sharing your links.  

I've been using Google Analytics for a few years and I have barely scratched the surface.  There is just SO much data you can gather.

In my Typepad piece, I focus on the features I refer to my personal blog which you can read in full here

Do you use Google Analytics? How do you keep track of your blog visitors? 

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Favorite iPhone Photography Apps For Instagram

This is a follow up to my previous post about Promoting Your Jewelry Business On Instagram.  Since writing that blog post, I have created a separate Instagram for personal non-jewelry stuff which you can check out @marilyn_coffeeink.


I use Frametastic when I want to show more than one item in a photo but I also like "Layout" which Instagram released in 2015.  It's sorta kinda built in to IG to collage your images which you can do quick and dirty.  

A pet peeve I have on Instagram is when someone uploads several images at once (like from a concert) so I'm scrolling through nothing but what they're sharing, it can get annoying. Break that shit up!  This might change with with their algorithm updates so we'll see. That's why I like to use frames, like when I go to see wrestling live: 

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 11.09.07 AMSee? There's my whole night in one shot for you to double-tap and move along.  I love this feature.

I knew I was going to be all over the A Beautiful Mess app once it was released.  I like to use it write text on my images for promotional stuff.  Plus they have a lot of neat doodles and pretty things you can add to your pictures.   It came in really handy when I changed my Instagram name. 


The Repost app is pretty awesome. It lets you share or "regram" a photo from another Instagram account. For example, it's great for giveaways when you're asked to regram the image. It saves time taking screenshots and then adjusting the size.  There is a similar app on Google Play called PhotoRepost.

The latest app I started using is Snapseed (iTunes and Android).  Like VSCO, it has cool filters, editing, and adjustment tools to bring out the best in your images. I still use VSCO Cam because I like to have options -  it's available on iTunes and Google Play.  


I really try to limit how much I adjust my images.  I use these apps to make them look their best, not to turn them into a completely different image.  In the beginning of my Instagram days, I went nuts with filters and tones and aaaaahhh look at all this cool shit!!! Now I'm over it and a bit smarter about it.  I got this thing where I don't want to lie to people but sometimes the phone can't quite capture what I'm trying to show off (like a Full Moon, I've given up taking pictures of Full Moons).

Not exactly a photo editing app but I gotta mention IFTTT.  When I found the recipe on IFTTT to share your IG images on Twitter as an IMAGE and not a link, I was all over it. IFTTT is the best, I use IFTTT for automated EVERYTHING.  

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 11.36.50 AM

What are your favorite photo editing apps? 

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Social Media: Making That Connection

The following was previously published at Pulp Sushi in 2015 as part of my Social Media Coffee Buzz series

Building your Social Media following does not happen overnight. While businesses use social media to promote their products or the launch of a promotion, it has also become more than just that. I must admit, it is easier for me to connect to people online than in person. It's like that for many people, it's the Introvert in me. That is just the world we live in now.


Get your brand message out there and grab people quickly! With a quick skim through a Twitter or Pinterest feed, you don't want to missed.  Once you grab your audience, you want to keep them. You keep them by getting them to connect with you, when they connect with you, they will follow you.

This is also a two way street where interaction is important.  Interaction with your followers keeps them engaged.  Don't just announce what's new in your Etsy shop, ask questions, follow back, leave comments, be topical, share some love!

It is more than “promoting” and saying “Look what I got!!” Building your brand is about telling your story, the message you want to convey to the world. Some people use words, other use images, or you can do a bit of both. It is why I felt comfortable using different platforms when I was actively promoting my Etsy business but at times, some apps may mesh better with you than others. 

Some of the most popular blog posts to read are when an artist, designer, or maker shares a “behind the scenes” of their studio.  They show what their workspace looks like, their desk, their tools, perhaps some inspiration art prints displayed on their walls.  

When you share more of yourself, it actually gives your customer an idea of how professional you are and how serious you take your craft, blog or business.  Once they relate to that, they can appreciate what your selling more.  When you invite customers in to your world beyond what you are selling, a connection is made. Let your true voice be heard! 

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My Favorite Social Media Apps

The following was previously published at Pulp Sushi in 2015 as part of my Social Media Coffee Buzz series

When asked which are my favorite form of Social Media to use for my business, I always say my top three are Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - in that order.  Twitter and Instagram mainly because I can access both on my phone which I admit I check a lot and can do quickie updates when something comes up.  It's great for sharing "behind the scenes" content.



Twitter continues to be my favorite way to stay tuned-in with what's going on.  I like being able to filter and group Twitter accounts together by using their Lists feature.  Much to many bloggers disappointment, it may have replaced commenting on blogs because I find myself way more chatty on Twitter than I do leave comments on blogs.  I talk to my blog friends on Twitter more than in our blogs.

Analytics - I like checking stats even though I could be better at checking them more regularly.  You can always get a picture of how your tweets are doing by checking out Twitter's Analytics page


Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 4.22.59 PM


No real analytics to check here but Instagram reached 400 million users.  I was interviewed recently for Veeqo on an article about how retailers use Instagram to boost sales.   I've written about Instagram before and highlighted some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow.   

I will take jewelry images just for Instagram that does not appear in the shop.  Now that Instagram has added frames, you can share more than one photo in an Instagram upload! Instagram is where I can get the most creative with my look.  In the spirit of Halloween, this year I decided to upload images from some of my favorite horror movies and turned them into Pulp Sushi promos and PSAs:

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 6.13.50 PM

I would alternate between horror pic and jewelry pic so when someone checks out my profile, right away they see I have jewelry but also like horror....hey this chick seems cool!

I try to be mindful of when to share something on Instagram because there are studies that show the best times to post on Instagram


Unlike Twitter and Instagram, I do not check Pinterest on my phone. I've tried their mobile app before and it's just not the same as seeing my feed on a big browser window. Pinterest is way more popular with women than men and since I make jewelry for women, you best believe I got to get my product images in there.   Pinterest remains my top referrer for my blog and Etsy shop.  Every new item to my Etsy shop gets pinned.  I have written about Pinterest a lot for my blog.  There are different theories and research on how to gain more followers on Pinterest.   What I like to do is take a couple of minutes, just a couple, throughout the day and pin a few items.  Instead of pinning 30 items in 30 minutes, break that up to just a handful and do that through out the day - maybe once in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  Once I started pinning this way, the followers increased.  

Don't be afraid to pin yourself! Whether it's from your blog or your online shop! It's a great way to get your item noticed.  It's also okay to repin yourself at a later time too. 

So what are your favorite social apps to use for your business or blog? 

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