Monday, November 30, 2015

Why Every Brand Should Have an Instagram Vision Board

Why Every Brand Should Have an Instagram Vision Board | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog

Think back to your favorite Instagram brands.  What do they have in common?

I'll give you some examples.  I love....

Why Every Brand Should Have an Instagram Vision Board | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog

Why Every Brand Should Have an Instagram Vision Board | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog

Why Every Brand Should Have an Instagram Vision Board | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog

What do they have in common?  .......

They all have a distinct aesthetic!  Their Instagram accounts scream their brand.  When I scroll through my Instagram feed, I know whose posts those are before I look at their handles.  Having a distinct look is a MUST for every brand (It's also something I teach you how to do in my IG mini e-course!).

By creating a vision board, you can make sure that your Instagram account also has a look that is uniquely yours too.  I use Pinterest to create my vision board. 

Check out my video tutorial on creating your own Pinterest vision board.  This is also in my Instagram mini e-course!  So, my friend, you're getting a lil' sneak peak!  Click here to learn more about the Instagram e-course (only $17!!!).


Sunday, November 22, 2015

15 Activities for Toddlers to Do While Mama Works at Home

15 Quiet Activities for Toddlers to do While Mama works from home | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog

Give me a hoo-rah if you're a working mama who works from home!  We're a special breed, you and I.  We have to do the job of a SAHM and a working mom all at the same time.  It's enough to make your head spin (it at least makes my head spin).  I have been doing this for over two years now and will soon enough be adding another baby to the mix.  That's right - TWO KIDS - while I work.  That's no easy task.  However, over the past few years, I have learned that scheduling, to-do lists, and a plan make it a lot easier.  You can check out my post on working from home with kids here.

Today, I'm giving you a list of my favorite activities to have planned for my toddler while I work.  Maybe they can help you out too!

Remember, the important thing here is to have a schedule.  No toddler, no matter how wonderful, is going to sit for 8 hours and do activities.  I break it up and let J watch Sesame Street while he eats breakfast, then he hangs with nana for a few hours, then we go to the gym, and then I have him do some activities before naptime.  I start working at 6am, so I do get a lot of work done before he wakes up too.  It's all about creative scheduling!

1)    Use worksheets with letters and numbers and have your toddler fill in the letter/number with stickers, markers, crayons, or gluing noodles.

2)  Teach your toddler how to make a puppet out of a paper lunch bag.  They can use stickers, glue, yarn, and anything else they'd like to make their creation.

3)  On YouTube, you can find stories read out loud.  This will give your babe a story time while you work!  I also have used Audible and Spotify for audiobooks.

4)  Don't underestimate the awesomeness that is LEGOS.  My son loves them and will actually stay focused on building his legos for more than 3 minutes.

5)  Busy Bags are awesome.  You can use them for work or when you go out and need your toddler to be sane.  Here's a link to 7 cool busy bag ideas.

6)  This clipping toy is homemade and helps your toddler work on his/her fine motor skills.

7)  If you're cool with screen time, you can give your toddler a spare phone or tablet for some educational apps.

8)  My son LOVES taking things apart and seeing how they work.  Give your toddler a screwdriver and a toy car and let him "fix it."

9)  Puzzles are another one of those toys that my son will actually focus on for some time.  Learn the benefits of puzzles here!

10)  Get a baking sheet and some magnets for magnet play!

11)  This sandpaper + yarn quiet time activity from Modern Parents, Messy Kids is awesome.  It's a three in one activity and super cheap.

12)  Make a few quiet books to keep the toddler entertained (and quiet..).  Here's an easy no-sew tutorial.

13)  Mark Xs on a piece of paper and challenge your toddler to put a sticker on each one.

14)  This one is easy.  Get a few pop/water bottles, pipe cleaners, and/or pom pom balls.  Here's the hard part, have him/her put them in the bottle and get them out.  Hehe.  As simple as this sounds, it totally works.

15)  Use toilet or paper towel rolls, paint them, and have your toddler string them on a rope, ribbon, or string like beads on a necklace.

What activities do you do to keep your toddler happy, entertained, and educated while you work?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How to Pin Like a Pro (without having to spend your days on Pinterest!)

How to Pin a lot of pins to Pinterest quickly and consistently | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (

Any blogger knows Pinterest is a goldmine for traffic.  Once you start to get known on Pinterest, BOOM, your blog's traffic instantly goes up.  The thing is, you have to pin something like 50 pins a day.  Not everyone has time for that (I know I don't!), but I do have a trick that allows my business Pinterest account to always have fresh pins without having to spend too much time on it.  You ready?

1)  Go to and login (or sign up if you don't have an account.  The first 100 pins are free and it's only $5 a month after that).

2)  Go to "Pinning Tools" and then "scheduler."

How to Pin a lot of pins to Pinterest quickly and consistently | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (

3)  If you already have Boardbooster, your boards are already loaded in there.  If you're new to Boardbooster, you can just click "Add Boards" and it will load your boards.  From there, click on one of your boards.  I'll click on my board "Blog Income Reports" for this example.

4)  Click on "Pin Sourcing" and "Add."  There are two options search and board monitor.  Search uses keyword searches and pins based on keywords in descriptions of pins.  Board monitor uses a board that you choose to pin from and automatically pins to your board.  I like board monitor because you can choose boards that you know are on point and not spammy or weird.  You never know.

How to Pin a lot of pins to Pinterest quickly and consistently | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (

5)  Now, you want to pick an awesome board that you want to pin from.  Your best bet is to choose a board you end up pinning from a lot anyway.  If you don't have one in mind, you can search for a good one.  I searched for the keywords "Blog income" and clicked "boards" so I could only see entire boards dedicated to the topic.  Scan through a few and choose the best one.  When you found a winner, copy the URL of the board and paste it into "Board URL to Monitor."

How to Pin a lot of pins to Pinterest quickly and consistently | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (

6)  Now, you want to choose your settings.  A couple things I always choose in settings is to only repin pins that have a certain number of repins (Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.) and I skip short pins because they don't get repinned as often.  You also need to choose how many pins you want pinned to that board per day.

How to Pin a lot of pins to Pinterest quickly and consistently | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (

That's it!  You can repeat this process for each of your boards and you don't ever HAVE to spend time on Pinterest if you don't want to.  Win.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Coming Soon.... A Little Announcement From the Mama Marketer

Blogging Changes Coming to the Mama Marketer | Sarah Smirks

Hello, my lovelies!  I have some news for you.  The mama marketer is going to be a mama to baby #2!  We are expecting baby #2 in mid-May, and we are extremely excited.

You may have noticed I haven't been keeping my blogging schedule as well as I used to (err, sorry!).  That first trimester morning (yeah, right) sickness and exhaustion with a toddler in tow has been challenging with work and blogging and everything else.  I want to apologize to my readers because I owe you more than that.   Because I love you, and want you to know what to expect, I'm making some changes that I hope you will like (please, let me know in the comments if I'm going in the right direction!).

1)  My Road to 10k series is going to become a monthly series instead of a weekly series, but they will be more complex and delve further into my strategies for traffic and each social media outlet.
2)  I will post once a week for the next year.  I can realistically keep this schedule and write more complex posts.
3)  I am going to add more posts about being a working mom, which is how this blog started out.  I will continue writing about marketing and blogging the majority of the time, but I will post more about working mom topics.  For example, I created a maternity capsule wardrobe for work that I'm dying to share with you.  Another thing I have been wanting to post is how I keep my toddler entertained all day while I work from home.  You all want to know about that stuff too, right?

Please give me feedback, and let me know if this direction is the right direction to go for you.  After all, this blog is about giving you advice and how-to's about what matters to you as women in business.

Thank you for all of your love and encouragement through my blogging journey and I am excited to continue to grow it with you as we grow our family.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Road to 10,000: Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates, Week 16

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 16 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (

Can you believe the weekend is over?  This week has flown for me!  I had house guests all week and it has been a madhouse around here.  With all the madness, I only wrote one post (eek).  Let's see how I did.

Blogging Goals from Last Week

Twitter:  2,900 followers
Status:  #Fail

I reached 2,831 followers this week.  With the lack of time, I struggled with taking the time to automate my posts and I didn't have a lot of fresh content, but I did make some progress!  I gained about 100 new followers and my followers were very generous with the retweets this week (thank you!).

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates, Week 16 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (

Newsletter:  Send it out!
Status:  #Fail

I started it.  I was really, really good.  BUT, you all know that my schedule is pretty crazy.  Work.  Blogging.  Wifey.  Mama.  Gym rat.  Daughter.  Sister.  Friend.  Probably the same list you girls have!  Well, because of this long, long list, I have a very strict blogging schedule.  I blog on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 6pm.  I literally have to schedule it that strictly.  BUT, this week, Thursday was my mom's birthday (happy birthday mom!), and that's when I had it scheduled originally to finish my newsletter.  No cigar.  My mama trumped it.  It will be going out this week though.

Hootsuite:  Try out the new campaigns feature.
Status:  #Fail

I didn't get the chance, but I'm excited about it!  Here's a link that explains this new feature.

Goals for This Week

Posts:  3

It's going to be a little hard to meet this goal.  I have physical therapy and an ultrasound this week on top of everything else, but, I'm going to try!  This week I am going to write about Pinterest resources and a tutorial on creating a Pop-up subscription box with Mailchimp.

Instagram:  1,700 followers

I currently have 1,667 followers.  I am aiming to get to 1,700.  I will use Crowdfire and post some awesome curated photos.  My favorite feature on Crowdfire is the "copy followers" feature.  That's the key to growth using Crowdfire.

Newsletter:  Send it out!

AND, for real, I am sending out my newsletter this week :).  I changed up the format this month, so let me know what you think!

What are your goals for this week??

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