the lemonade collective

Building a Social Media Strategy

Building a Social Media Strategy | Lemon and the Sea: How to build a simple and effective social media strategy that will help you grow your business.

I have to be honest with you: I struggle to maintain a consistent social media presence. 

When I first started Lemon and the Sea, I fell into the trap of believing that I had to be on every platform, posting all the time. It was exhausting. I would spend hours each morning scheduling posts to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and then I would constantly check in to see who was engaging. I tried every new platform that came along - including Periscope for about two minutes.

Finally, I realized something very important - I couldn't give my best if I was trying to be everywhere.

Narrow down your platforms

When you're trying to build your social media presence, start with one or two platforms. Sure, you may be able to handle more, but in order to really put your best into it, you need to focus. Plus, your audience probably isn't hanging out on every platform. Figure out where you can best reach them - Instagram and Facebook for me - and be sure to show up.

Have a plan

You already know that it's important to be sharing content consistently if you want your audience to trust you, but that's not always easy to do when you're in the middle of client work and running a business. That's why it's so important to have a plan.

  • Lay out what kind of content you want to share. You could even set a schedule about what you post of different days of the week so that you're not always selling or always posting personal content. Change it up to cover hard selling, soft selling, personal content, and advice.
  • Figure out the best posting times. These will depend on your audience and the platform, but it you can figure out when your posts are most effective, it will be easier to reach people with less effort.
  • Spend a few minutes engaging with your dream client and your audience. Social media is about being social, so make sure you're engaging with others. If you only ever post about your business and never connect on other people's posts, they will be less likely to engage with you.
  • Learn the lingo of your platform. Should you use hashtags? An emoji? Take a look at what successful people are doing on your platform and see if it will work for you.
  • Be true to yourself. Here's the most important thing about any social media strategy - you still have to be you. If you're not the type to use en emoji in every post, then don't (I'm not). If you don't want to share photos of your kids, don't. The purpose of being visible on social media is to let people connect with you - so be yourself.

Scheduling is saving

For a while, I felt like scheduling out my posts for the week (or month or year) was cheating because I wasn't really engaging. But I've learned that as a busy entrepreneur, if I want to engage consistently, I have to schedule posts. It doesn't mean that I don't show up at unscheduled times as well, but it does mean that I don't have to worry about forgetting to post. These are some of my favorite scheduling tools:

  • Tailwind - I use Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest posts. Each Monday morning, I set aside time to schedule out the entire week. I have a paid plan, but I like Tailwind because it keeps track of your best posting times and lets you add them to your schedule easily.
  • Buffer - I use Buffer for scheduling to Facebook and Twitter. It's easy to set a schedule and plan out posts in advance so you don't have to worry about logging in to do it throughout the day. One word of advice - make sure that you add a separate description for Facebook posts or you wont' be sharing any content.
  • Later - I use Later to schedule my posts for Instagram. I can schedule up to 30 posts per month on the free plan, so I usually plan at least a week in advance and upload some edited images that fit my feed. With Later, I get a notification that it's time to post on my phone, so it's not entirely automated, but it's much easier to post when everything just needs to be copied and pasted.

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Tips on Working with a Copywriter

Tips on Working with a Copywriter | Lemon and the Sea: How working with a copywriter can benefit you and your business.

When you're starting your small business, it's tempting to believe that you have to do it all on your own. But I've found that hiring strategically can benefit your business and your life. One of the best things I invested in? Copywriting.

What a Copywriter can do for you

I like to write, but I'm not good at writing for a business website. Usually my thoughts come out as a stream-of-consciousness that never quite make it to a final draft. So when I started investing in my business, I knew I was going to need help with my website copy.

Copywriters constantly amaze me because of their ability to get the words I've been envisioning onto paper (or the screen) and speak directly to my audience - in my voice. So if you're on the fence about whether the investment is worth it, here are a few things a copywriter can do for you:

  • Write those pages we all struggle with - including your About and Sales pages.
  • Help your refine your message through your words.
  • Write in (and find) your voice.
  • Help you write that opt-in or course.
  • Allow you to focus on your strengths.
  • Edit what you've already written for consistency (and grammar).
  • Ghost write blog posts and newsletters.

Overall, a copywriter can take off many of the need-to-do tasks that you've been putting off because you just don't know where to start. And if you hire a professional, you don't need to worry about the words not sounding like your own - copywriters work hard to write in YOUR voice for YOUR audience.

How to work with a copywriter

Once you've decided to hand over those writing tasks, it's important that you find a copywriter you can work with.

  • Determine what you need help with. Some copywriters specialize in one type of content, audience, or market, while others are open to a variety of projects.
  • Be prepared to answer questions. Just like working with a designer, you'll need to answer questions about your brand and business so that your copywriter can understand them and stay true to who you are.
  • Hand off the work. This part can be a bit scary if you've never done it before, but you have to let go a little in order to grow.
  • Receive and review your copy. Once your copywriter is finished, you should have a chance to read and review their writing. Don't be afraid to give feedback - that's how you'll end up with the best end product.
  • Take it live. Once your new copy is finalized, it's time to put it out into the world through your website and social media. Unless this is part of a big re-brand, there's no need to announce the update to the world - just start using it naturally.

Why Web Designers love Copywriters

I'm going to let you in on a secret - web designers love when you work with a copywriter for your project.

  • We need your copy to design effectively. Your designer can make suggestions about the length of your sales page or what to include in your service descriptions, but we can't finalze your website design until your copy is on the page. Lorem Ipsum can only take us so far - we need to see your words in order to make sure the design supports them.
  • We hate those red underlines. I'm not a copywriter and I'm not particularly good at spelling, but I hate seeing those red underlines pop up when I'm putting your copy into my design. I'm always tempted to make corrections, but I can't do that effectively because I don't know your voice. So the fewer red lines the happier we are.
  • We have deadlines that we need you to meet. We know you're busy, but if you want your website launched on schedule, you have to meet the deadlines your designer gives you. Hiring a copywriter at the beginning of a project can make the process smoother because it frees you up from having to find time to write while still running your business and it means that everything stays on schedule.
  • We know that your words can make or break your business. As designers, we know that websites are important - no one wants potential clients to be turned off by a slow or outdated site. But the visuals are just the first layer that bring people in - your words are what keep them coming back and can make the difference between getting hired or not. And we want you to succeed.

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


The Importance of Brand Photography

Brand Photography | Lemon and the Sea: The importance of brand photography and how to work with a brand photographer for your business.

When I first started Lemon and the Sea, I knew that I needed beautiful, eye-catching images for my website and social media, but I had no idea how to get them. I started by taking my own - which weren't bad, but as I'm not a professional photographer they didn't really capture my brand. Then I looked into stock images and mock-up scene creators. Again, both of these worked (and I still use them occasionally), but what I really wanted was a bank of images created specifically for my brand that I knew would be unique and capture the feeling I wanted my visuals to have.

WHY YOU NEED BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY

If you're ready to up your image game, consider hiring a brand photographer. Having your own bank of on-brand images allows you to always have something to share on Instagram or include in your website header without worrying about whether your image has been used by other people.

As a designer, I totally understand the use of stock photography when you need images for your website but don't have the skill to take them yourself. There's a problem with stock images though - they aren't yours - which is why working with a brand photographer to create images specifically for your business has some great advantages.

  • The images match your brand. No matter how hard you search, you're never going to find a stock image that is perfect for your brand. But with a brand photographer, you can communicate your target client, your brand colors, and the feeling you want the images to have so that every image will be tailored to you.
  • The images are unique. Even if you're purchasing a stock image, other people can (and probably will) use that same image. I can't tell you how many times I've visited a website and seen the same stock image as the header that also appears on three or four other websites. With branded images created specifically for you, you never have to worry that someone else will use the image you've worked so hard to create and curate (unless they steal them, in which case you can make them remove the images).
  • The images fit your needs. Another problem with stock photography is that many stock images don't come in a variety of sizes. This means that you're going to have to crop that image differently for your blog post, website header, and Instagram. But when you work with a brand photographer, you can communicate exactly what types of sizes of images that you'll need. That way, you can get a website header that fits the space you have and some great social media images that don't end up having items cropped out.

How to work with a brand photographer

Once you're ready to hire a brand photographer, you need to consider a few things to make sure that you'll receive the images you need.

  • Look at their style. While some brand photographers shoot in a variety of styles, many stick to just one. Take a look at their portfolio to make sure that the images you see fit with what you're envisioning for your own brand. If a photographer only shows dark and saturated images, don't rely on them to take bright flat lays for you.
  • Find out what you get. Don't be afraid to ask questions before hiring someone to take your brand images. For example, you need to know how many images you're guaranteed to receive and in what sizes. You also want to be clear on how you can use these images and how you need to credit the photographer.
  • Head shots, products, and props. Depending on the photographer and your location, you may be able to get different images. If your photographer is local, see if she can also take your head shots and images of your space. Find out how she will take photos of your products (usually you'll have to mail them) and if you can or should provide your own props. Many photographers will include some props in their quote, but if you have something specific to your brand, let them know ahead of time so that it can be included (many of my brand images contain lemons).

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.