My Word of the Year!

So, it is the final week of 2016. Where did the year go?! It feels like yesterday that I was scrambling to decide on a good word for the new year. And, well, friends, nothing has changed in that department and I only just chose my word for 2017 over the weekend!

This has been a great year for me, personally. Our country? Our society? Not so much. The voids we have felt throughout the year as we have seen several of the greats from the artistic world suddenly pass away, the slap in the face millions of us felt with the election results….definitely a lot of heavy moments. I feel extremely lucky that this was a good year for me and my family and I am still standing.

The beginning of 2016 found me searching, or following, more so, my Bliss. Bliss was my word of the year and it found me doing adventures, enjoying the everyday life, giggles and silly moments.

This year? I have so much I want to accomplish and excel at. I want to continue to build my social media services and blogging empire (Or, at-least, my blogging “life”), be a great employee and asset for my day jobs, help people learn the basics to dominating social media and get everything I set out to do, DONE.

Thus, my word for the new year is…..

FOCUS, folks. 2016 was incredible to me for learning more about the ever-changing, ever-evolving Social Media industry, as well as wonderful opportunities for Along Comes Mary and speaking engagements on the basics of Social Media. The time is NOW for me to be leaping as forward as I can to excel and grow in these fields. I am passionate about them both, and that is a really exciting feeling.

But, why FOCUS? Well, if you know me at all, it may not surprise you that I can be a little ADD. My mind is hardly ever at peace or if I am even sitting enjoying some TV or playing music, I am most likely still thinking and dreaming about posts I’ve not yet written, or places I want to go.

I am the Queen of to-do lists, and hope to utilize that good quirk of mine as I attempt to stay FOCUSED throughout my work week. My first focus goal? Working on my blog and/or something that benefits Along Comes Mary each day before I start working. Just an hour. I can do it.

So, 2017 will hopefully be all about my FOCUSING on my passions, as well as those I love. Do you have a word for the new year? What will yours be? xo

 

5 Goals to Help Launch Your Blog (And #CyberMonday Offer!) #SocialMediaMonday

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Happy Cyber Monday meets Social Media Monday! November has been filled with some very fortunate opportunities that have come my way. Earlier in the month, I headed down to Coronado, California to host a beginner’s workshop to social media at The IFWTWA Conference (The International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association). While I was extremely honored and humbled (Did I mention, a little terrified??) to share my two cents on social media, I am still absorbing all of the fascinating information and knowledge gained at the annual event.

Following IFWTWA, I next headed over to Sherman Oaks to chat with the lovely LA based “Mompreneurs” of Playdate Connection about the benefits of launching a blog for your small business.

Something that’s been at the forefront for me is being asked Where do I begin to start my blog? So, I decided to share with you 5 goals to keep in mind when beginning your blogging journey.

**Read to the end of the article for a special CYBER MONDAY DEAL, too!**

DECIDE ON YOUR BLOG’S NAME

Easily the most difficult part for me when I started blogging, selecting a name you cannot change is no easy task. Sure, you can re-create your page, but, do you really want to get a flow going then up and re-brand, as you’re establishing a community? So, think a bit about the title for your website. Do you want it to simply be your name? Do you want it to reflect the genre you’re covering? The sky is the limit and its important to not only love the name you decide on, but also ensuring it is something catchy to grab one’s attention.

Why am I Along Comes Mary? I knew I wanted my blog to reflect my adventures, yet I also dreamed of being a music blogger. Drawing inspiration from The Association’s hit single of the same name, I knew that could easily make my page very music-friendly. Yet, there was space there to grow as I decided my niche was more in the Travel field.

And, before you have your heart set on a name and URL, make sure the domain is available!

PICK 10 DREAM CLIENTS TO WORK WITH

No matter what subjects you want your blog to be about, I am sure we ALL have those dream people to collaborate with. If you’re a foodie blogger looking to partner with food brands, think of 5-10 ideal companies you would love to have on your blog. If you’re a writer looking to share your short stories, think of a handful of authors you would love to interview on your blog or get feedback from. Having some role models in mind could mean a sponsored post, a product review, affiliate program. Think of those “dream” posts and work towards a goal.

ARE YOU LOOKING TO MONETIZE? BUY YOUR DOMAIN & HOST

I began on the free WordPress platform. My old URL included .wordpress.com and I had to oblige to the rules of WordPress. When you are not self-hosted, you cannot safely post giveaways and/or any sponsored content on your page as WordPress has the right to shut down your page. You own nothing and can lose all of your work.

GET ON TWITTER

When asked what my favorite platform is, it is always Twitter. Fast and simple, to the point, Twitter is the inventor of the #Hashtag yet is also an astounding communicating tool. Everyone from Astro Physicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, to our President-Elect, know how to utilize Twitter and get their community’s attention. You can easily tweet to that company or person you want on your blog, and begin a relationship. Many brands and celebrities manage their Twitter pages effectively and will pay attention if you’re a devoted tweet-er.

STAY ACTIVE

This one is hard for me to swallow. I am about to tell you the importance of staying active on both your blog and platforms, while this is my first post in nearly 3 weeks. When life gets insane, I at-least stay very active on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  You can also schedule posts for your Facebook page on the page itself, as well as try out scheduling websites like Hootsuite. With Hootsuite, you simply load in your tweets and posts, designate when you want them to go live and bam, you’re good to go for a week.

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As some of you know, I offer social media consulting as well as complete management of your accounts. For Cyber Monday, I would like to offer you any service at $100 off through December 10th! Simply send me an email at alongcomesmary26@gmail.com to get started.  Not sure what exactly you need? Maybe just some crash courses? No matter what your social media goals are, I would love to help bring them to fruition. I hope to hear from you soon, and Happy Monday shopping! xo

 

Choosing Social Media Platforms Wisely. #SocialMediaMonday

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Something I often encounter when collaborating with clients who are new to social media is the idea that they need to be on all of the networks. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat, Google Plus, Tumblr, even Meetup. While I do have accounts with all of them for blog purposes, that doesn’t mean I am very active on each account.

Ask any of my followers, and I bet they would vote between Twitter, Instagram and Facebook that I mostly use for Along Comes Mary. Twitter is hands down my favorite to interact with friends and readers, share what I am up to, support others by retweeting their tweets and so on. Instagram….whats not to love? As someone who takes a lot of photos of my dogs, I have to be careful not to post on there throughout the day (to utilize those filters, if anything). As far as Facebook, I probably only post 3 times a day tops on my blog page. While my personal page, I sometimes will do more if its a busy week or we are on a fun trip, or there are too many good wine memes I see.

Since I have been asked what makes each of these platforms unique, I thought for Social Media Monday I would break down a few for you!

TWITTER

The birth of a hashtag was easily born with Twitter. Twitter enables its users to post 140 or less characters in their posts (But, coming soon, rumor is there will be no character limit on Twitter. I have mixed thoughts on that). You can “tag” users (Like my tweet below to Graceland) and by using popular hashtags, you will be apart of searches for said hashtags.

I think Twitter can be great for ANYONE, but, especially small businesses. Custom hashtags, giveaways, announcements, connections, are all great marketing tools available by using Twitter.

graceland

INSTAGRAM

Another platform that thrives on hashtags, Instagram has become quite the teacher’s pet since it got popular about 5 years ago. They do one thing, and they do it right: Your photography. While some may argue that Instagram has made us all think we are photographers, its a pretty great app and even better if photography is your trade.

Take a picture on your phone, or even in the Instagram app, frame it, select from 23 awesome cool, various filters, write your caption, throw in some hashtags (30 or less), and voila, you have a masterpiece. This would be perfect for a boutique, shop, medical office….ANYONE could really customize and make their Instagram page fun. Show off your employees, new stock in your store, or, if you’re like me, I love using mine to promote my blog posts. Like this:

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PINTEREST

I love the idea of Pinterest, but, personally? Its a bit more time consuming. But, when I use it more? I get great results back to my blog and traffic. Pinterest thrives on great pictures to “pin” onto a board on your account. If, say, you want to save a bunch of great “Gluten-Free Pancakes” recipes, you would put them onto that board. If you are a business that does not post original content or blog articles to your web-site, Pinterest may not be for you.

If you ARE a blogger, DIY-er or have great content to promote, Pinterest is awaiting for you. Most bloggers will tell you its their best source for traffic.

Snapchat, Stumble Upon, Linkedin–Say what?

I admit: I have become a Snapchat whore. I love this app that enables you to take a picture or video, add filters to it, send to “Your Story” for all to see, or just select certain friends, then, ut it goes for the world to see. Once they see it? Unless you save it, it goes bye bye bye forever. Anything you add to “My Story” automatically deletes in 24 hours, whether or not your followers have viewed it.

Stumble Upon has been uh-may-ZING for my traffic to Along Comes Mary. I simply add a link to my article, stumble it, stumble 50-100 pages of categorized content after and that increases my chance of more ‘stumblers’ seeing my content, going to my blog and then stumbling the page for more to see. It sounds time consuming, but its super simple and beneficial. I also utilize Stumble Upon for travel articles I add to the IFWTWA Facebook….or my own.

Linkedin has become far more than the professional’s Facebook. There are amazing groups, business pages and several ways to connect with colleagues and potential clients. Something I highly recommend is creating a business page on LinkedIn. Example: I am in the works to make a LinkedIn page for Along Comes Mary that I will be able to ‘tag’ on my Mary Lansing page so anyone interested to learn more about myself and my services can click from my personal page.

I hope this is helpful for you! As always, I am available for consulting and social media managing. Email me anytime at alongcomesmary26@gmail.com 🙂

Join Me at The IFWTWA Conference in Coronado!

 

Being a blogger, you can get a lot of emails from networks vying for you to join them as they are surely THE place to be if you want to be successful. While several of these organizations and groups are worth your time, it can be difficult to navigate to the good ones. Especially, when there is a fee.

Will this be worth my time? Where is my money going? Will I just get an html code to stick a badge on my page?! These are all concerns that go through my mind when I want to join a new group. I definitely thought that when I decided to apply, and, hopefully,  join The International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA).

Little did I know that when I was approved into IFWTWA, it would easily become one of the best things to happen for Along Comes Mary. With IFWTWA, I have met countless like-minded professionals who are living dreams similar to my own: traveling, learning about cultures, experiencing different cuisines, discovering wines in parts of the world you may not realize are thriving wine industries (IFWTWA went to Jordan this past Spring….and yep, there is  wine region!)

Thanks to IFWTWA, I am heading to The San Francisco Bay Area next month!

Thanks to IFWTWA, I am heading to The San Francisco Bay Area next month!

Personally, I know IFWTWA has opened doors for my professional growth as a travel blogger. Not only have I been on press trips with my “IFWTWA peeps” (as I affectionately call them on social media) but, adding the title of being a proud member onto my media kit has suddenly made dreams come true as I find myself getting more fabulous invites and offers that are furthering my career.

Remember when I had a margarita with a fried cricket as garnish at Mexicano LA? How about that hilarious night at Piano Piano Bar in Claremont, singing YMCA with friends? Or, my week in Oregon experiencing everything from a century old cemetery to a wheat flour mill?! That was all, thanks to IFWTWA.

IFWTWA members also get the opportunity to write for our magazine, FWT.

IFWTWA members also get the opportunity to write for our magazine, FWT.

What makes IFWTWA unique is how above and beyond the association goes. When I am not waiting to hear if I was approved for a FAM they have organized, I am getting referrals from members and intros to great PR colleagues. They are the real deal and a must for anyone serious about joining the travel writing world.

2016 could easily be their best year yet, as we have, for the first time, opened up our annual IFWTWA Conference to non-members! That means if you are NOT a member, even if you are brand new to the travel writing world, YOU can join me at the conference this year, in stunning Coronado, California….you will literally be 5 steps from the beach, and minutes from San Diego and Mexico.

This is where you will stay, play and learn! Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

This is where you will stay, play and learn! Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

You may be tired of my saying IFWTWA is unique, but, they are, and that means their conference is, also. We know how to work and learn, yet, we also know how to have fun. That being said, the conference will also be part FAM trip for you to really see how fun the group is. Along with fantastic key-note speakers, workshops like my very own social media hour and wine speakers including Hilarie Larson, IFWTWA is also hosting pre and post trips for existing members as well as 4 glorious days in Coronado.

You will come away with a vast knowledge of the travel, food and wine world, and enough experiences in both Coronado and San Diego to have countless new content for your outlet. If you are a new blogger, this would be perfect for collecting an array of content to write on your page.

Jacksonville trolley ride with IFWTWA President, Linda Kissam, in Oregon.

Jacksonville trolley ride with IFWTWA President, Linda Kissam, in Oregon.

As I mentioned, IFWTWA has never opened up the conference to non-members. We have only a few spots left. You can get all the info you need HERE, or by contacting Hilarie Larson at 877-439-8929 or admin@ifwtwa.org. (*Office hours are 11 am to 4 PM PDT Monday – Friday).

Be sure to mention my name (Mary Lansing) when you register, and feel free to email me at mary @ifwtwa.org if you have any questions. I hope to see you this Fall at The IFWTWA Conference! xo

5 Things I Took Away from #BlogHer16. #SocialMediaMonday

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This past weekend was easily one of the most anticipated of the year. Especially if you are a blogger r female entrepreneur.  The place to be was Downtown LA at The JW Marriott as BlogHer took over the house and LA Live to give like-minded women a weekend of amazing tips and tricks from the top people in  social media, a chance to make new connections with brands, meet new friends and see old, get inspired  and maybe, snag a little swag.

As some of you may know, I have been extremely excited for BlogHer16 since I bought my early bird ticket on New Year’s Eve. My goal? Spend as much time as possible at THE conference to be at if you are anyone in the blogging and/or social media world. I was going to create my ultimate agenda, see all the speakers I wanted (Sheryl Crow? Mayim Bialik?! Hell yes!), connect with brands I love like Garnier and Aldi.

Then, life kept happening. After looking forward to the Saturday night finale party, I decided to opt out as Mike got us Weezer and Panic! at the Disco tickets. No worries! I will just have fun in the AM before we head out to the show in Orange County, and cram in a full day Friday. Then, it turned out i’d be visiting my Mom, too. Getting a little busy. No biggie, right? Well, guys, Yes. It was a biggie. After having a run of feeling pretty good, dare I say, mighty, I came a bit crashing down. Joint pain and aches up the ying-yang (Thanks, rheumatoid arthritis), sniffles, blood sugars reacting to all the yuckies….I did my best to make Friday happen. I may have not done my full day as I had hoped, but, here is what I did take away from BlogHer:

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Theres  A LOT to see, hear, do and eat…..

One thing is for sure: BlogHer and their sponsors know how to feed a crowd. I heard Thursday night had a 3 course dinner courtesy of Ford’s Filling Station, and on Friday, we were treated to a beautiful breakfast buffet while we awaited Opening Keynote Speaker, Sarah Michelle Gellar. When I headed over for an amazing, informative panel from The Responsible Nutrition Council, all the fixings you need for a sandwich (including gluten-free bread!) were at the ready for you.

If you are looking to get crash courses on everything from SEO to social media, BlogHer definitely has your back. With so much to see and do in just 2 days, definitely take advantage of opening night which is mainly to get in time at the expo with the sponsors.

The expo is *not* huge……

While I have heard the stories of years past being non-stop swag coming your way, they certainly have cracked down on the amount of brands and sponsors throwing themselves at you. As someone who has received A LOT of complimentary products at brand sponsored events, I know first hand that more IS more and it’s not always a great thing. I was really pleased at the size of the expo; it was not over kill, and I walked away with several business cards from brands I hope to work with on Along Comes Mary. Stay tuned 😉

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No, I skipped Kim Kardashian….

Nothing personal, but, since I felt very low on energy, I stuck to my must-see’s, and Kardashian was not one of them. I understand that several of my friends adored her chat, and many gained a new respect for the reality star and social media mogul. Me? I had a luncheon appointment with The Responsible Nutrition Council, and cannot wait to write about it.

But I did see Buffy!

I was extremely interested to see what  Sarah Michelle Gellar had to say about her latest project, Food Stirs. Food Stirs is all about empowering kids and their families in the kitchen, while skipping on some of the harsh ingredients often found in baking goods. While they’re not gluten-free (Please get on that, Sarah!), they are Vegan and all products contain natural, whole ingredients.

Gellar really understands the importance of bloggers and social media influencers. I loved hearing how she balances this new venture with her acting career and family.

Why was I not in the know about the brand suites?

I stumbled upon a sign that said Aldi Markets had a “baby shower” suite in the hotel. I quickly hopped on that train and had a fabulous time visiting with the health food store chain and learning about their new line of baby goodies coming to their stores. Brand suites were a really great way for me to connect and take a chill pill with some great brands. (Psst, I may have even made my own body scrub!).

So, I may have not felt my best or made it to BlogHer as much as I’d liked, but, I made it! I plan to share more about the brands I met in the coming weeks, and I enjoyed my time while there and hopefully I will return next year in great health and eager to do all I did not this year! xo

 

Heading to BlogHer this week? Join my Linky Party! #BlogHer16

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I will always recall my very first event for bloggers. Jamie (Minnesota Girl in the World) had just helped Erin (Horsing Around in LA) and myself start our little blogs April, 2012, and  invited us to join her in Burbank for a dinner with The SoCal Lady Bloggers. It was both exciting and nerve wracking to attend this meet up! It was the very first time I met several ladies whom have become my peers and mentors.

I will always recall meeting one of The SoCal Lady Bloggers founders, Sidney Patrick. We lost Sidney much too soon that October, and I still think of her last words to me, which were on the evening (in person, anyways; Sydney was one my first faithful readers of mine and always left a comment): “Blogging can be scary. Thats why we’re here. Let me know if you need anything.”.

That evening, I listened to several of these women talk about their up-coming trip to New York for BlogHer. These women travel for their blog?! There are conventions?! I remember thinking. Managing a blog just like you would a business seemed daunting and impossible to me. I wondered if I would actually stick to Along Comes Mary, but, knew if I did, that I would one day attend BlogHer, too.

Fast forward over 4 years later, and I am sometimes amazed at all I have accomplished on this blog. Its my longest relationship, followed by Michael. And, guess where I am going this week? To my first time ever at BlogHer! Get ready for me, Downtown Los Angeles.

I am also excited that this year’s conference could be the most controversial yet: Kim Kardashian West is a Key Note Speaker. Yes, that Kim. While at first I was extremely surprised and somewhat disappointed to hear that she would be a speaker (Reality TV? Sex tapes? Kanye?) I had to take a step back and really think about this: Yes, shes really not my image of an ideal speaker (Where are my friends who’ve built their empire? Where are the young women who began, like me, and are now at the top of their game?) BUT, this business mogul does make a rumored $10,000 per tweet. and Google “Kim Kardashian social media” and the second article is titled “How to use social media like Kim Kardashian.” She knows her way around a platform, that is for sure.

My first SoCal Lady Bloggers Meetup! April, 2012.

My first SoCal Lady Bloggers Meetup! April, 2012.

Even more exciting to me than West speaking, will be all of my friends I will get to see, new ones I will make and connecting with so many awesome sponsors and brands. Remind me to load my wallet with business cards, will you? 😉

Something I have wanted to try out for awhile, and thought that since this is my first BlogHer, I would also debut my first link-up form! If you are attending BlogHer, please drop a link (or 2!) to a blog post. It can be any kind; newest one, favorite, anything goes. I would love to connect with as many of you as I can. If you see me (Most likely I’ll be talking to someone, or on my phone…holding a coffee cup…), say hey!

 


Why I Love Pokemon Go (& Playing in Los Angeles)

3rd and Fairfax was loaded with Pokemon to catch!

3rd and Fairfax was loaded with Pokemon to catch!

While Summer 2016 has already established itself as a year to put in the history books (The presidential candidates, finding out Bill Clinton’s love for balloons…) nothing can quite match the phenomenon that is Pokemon Go.

Since its launch on July 6th, millions of smart phone users have downloaded this free app that takes us back to our childhood.

Or, if you are like me, you never were into Pokemon at all but are hooked with the new wave of playing.

Much like all the political posts, and memes making the Facebook rounds, quite a few coming up on my news feed are jokes about those of us playing Pokemon Go. Many think we are morons, silly, should find better things to do. Yet, after downloading this game myself, and having Michael show me the ropes, I have realized the teasing and eye rolls are not very accurate.

Look at all those blue dots indicating "stop's" in Beverly Hills!

Look at all those blue marks indicating “stop’s” in Beverly Hills!

As a lot of you know, I have depression and anxiety. While it is not too easy to notice these traits if you have met me, I have moments, days, even weeks, that I am really plowing through my mental state, and trying to work up the strength to get out the door.

How does this tie into Pokemon Go? Pokemon Go has helped me, as well as many other social anxiety patients, get out and enjoy themselves. Unlike Candy Crush Saga or Solitaire, Pokemon Go thrives on the player being out in the world. I have caught a few Pokemon in my house, but, there are way more to find, Poke stops to head to and Poke Gyms to battle at once you are out and about.

And, despite that some feel it is a new excuse to stare at our phones, I have had just the opposite happening. A beautiful day in Long Beach found me for a bit at The Seal Beach Pier, and, not only did I have amazing luck at catching many ocean Pokemon, but, the whole pier was literally playing with me. There were young boys racing to get more poke balls at the town clock (Clocks are ideal Poke Stops, just sayin’!), young couples asking me what I just caught as they could see the grin on my face and a sweet group of older people asking a guy what the heck is all the fuss about.

Thanks for the shout out, LA Farmer's Market!

Thanks for the shout out, LA Farmer’s Market!

Contrary to what some may be thinking, Pokemon Go is actually quite different from your traditional, sit on your couch video game. The app also thrives on your location. You won’t catch a Tauros at the beach. But, you may find a few Staryu

I also highly recommend Pokemon Go while traveling! For my trip to Chico later this month, my friend already cannot wait to show me all the parks and lakes that are crawling with our little Pokemon’s.

Head to Seal Beach for a gorgeous walk on the pier and some Pokemon catching!

Head to Seal Beach for a gorgeous walk on the pier and some Pokemon catching!

While word is Pokemon Go will soon make it so places can opt out of being a “stop” or “gym”, I’m also anticipating businesses will be able to manually make their location a “stop”. A stop is where players go to obtain more poke balls and other necessary “items” for catching, healing and evolving your Pokemon. I think it would be fantastic if Pokemon Go goes to that simple lucrative next level.

Would you want your business, or even, neighborhood, to be a Poke Stop, if it is not yet? If this post has left you intrigued to learn more about Pokemon Go, feel free to email me at alongcomesmary26@gmail.com. I am in no way a “pro”, but, I am at Level 13 and yes, have even gotten a few Pikachu (my favorite, along with Clefairy!) 😉 xo

15 Hashtags for 7 Days a Week! #SocialMediaMonday

 

 

Are you looking to make each day a theme on your social media posts and/or your blog? Whether you are a blogger or business owner, hashtags are huge and key to getting your posts seen and heard.

Luckily, there are many hashtags utilized on each day that social media lovers thrive on and search for on other people’s posts on their favorite days of the week. Today, for #SocialMediaMonday (or is it more of a #ManicMonday?), I am going to share a handful of tags that are popular and perfect for you should you be searching for new, creative tags.

#MotivationalMonday

If Mondays gives you a case of the #MondayBlues, find a quote you love or a silly meme about your morning cup of coffee. Post it and include #MotivationalMonday. If you’re a blogger, maybe write a story about when motivating yourself got you somewhere you are proud of. The sky’s the limit!

#TravelTuesday

A Travel bloggers favorite day. Whether you are on a trip, or recalling a great place you have been, post about it and use #TravelTuesday. Search this tag, too, on Instagram and Twitter. to discover like-minded wanderlusters.

#TravelTuesday could take your audience to The Hollywood Bowl...

#TravelTuesday could take your audience to The Hollywood Bowl…

#WineWednesday

You made it through #HumpDay, and now, a glass of Pinot is calling your name. Snap an artsy-fun pic and slap #WineWednesday on the caption. This is one of my favorite days on Twitter as there are several chats, like #SonomaChat, that bring wino’s from around the world together.

#WellnessWednesday

Wine not your thing? Not to worry, there’s #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) or another goody, #WellnessWednesday. As someone who loves holistic living and learning ways to continually enrich myself, Wellness Wednesday will find you a slew of great articles and shares on living your best life.

#ThrowbackThursday (Or #TBT)

Did you write an article you thought was just the BEST ever on your blog, yet you were disappointed that it went unnoticed, or maybe didn’t get the hits you thought it would? Re-share your content on #ThrowbackThursday and see what happens. Do you have a shop and are remembering a fun event or your opening day? Post some pix with #TBT.

And, don't forget #FoodieFriday!

And, don’t forget #FoodieFriday!

#FollowFriday (Or #FF)

One of my favorites. On Twitter, you will commonly see #FF on Friday for #FollowFriday. This is a great chance to give a shout out to your fellow blogging friends or a favorite brand and tag your friends in with them. #FF is to encourage new follows and friends.

#Saturdate

A no brainer. Date with your love at the park? A blog article about a great date night restaurant? Use #Saturdate to tell peeps where the date hot spots are.

#SundayFunDay

This one is retro for me. I used this term way before I got into social media! Sunday is meant to be a fun day, so if you are out having a blast, snap some pictures for Instagram and include #SundayFunDay as a hashtag.

Did I miss your favorite hashtag for a day during the week? Let me know! And, as always, I am available for tutorials, coaching and/or social media managing. Email me anytime at alongcomesmary26@gmail.com and lets chat 🙂 xo

Snapchat Basics 101. #SocialMediaMonday

Add me at AlongComesMary26 on Snapchat!

Add me at AlongComesMary26 on Snapchat!

 

Happy Monday, folks! Its been awhile since a #SocialMediaMonday installment. I have been talking Snapchat with a lot of friends and thought I would break down some basics of it. “What is it? How do you use those silly filters? Isn’t Snapchat just for sexy photos between lovers?!” are some common questions I get…..

SNAPCHAT is actually pretty cool. Whether you are a teenager, millennial, business owner, even a Mom, everyone can have fun with Snapchat. This free smart phone app allows you to snap a picture, select filters that range from a new color tone to a “Geofilter”, which means this filter is promoting where you are, a store you are in (Sephora has a fun one) or perhaps an event you are attending.

SNAPCHAT BASICS 101

Once you download the app, you will go through all the norm when making a new account: Create your username, password, the usual. When you’re at last on Snapchat and in picture-taking mode, start playing! When you snap a selfie, go ahead and start swiping your finger left to see your available filters. See one you like but want to use more than one? Hold your thumb on the image, then continue swiping.

Other options are adding emoji’s, writing free hand and adding text. These are available in the upper right hand corner:  The first is where you can add multiple emoji’s, a lot are really unique and go beyond your smiley and sad faces. Next up is that capitol “T” which will give you large text to add (Think, “Wish you were here!” Or “Hey Friend!”, etc) then the third is the free hand pen, which you can change up the shade on the color chart that will appear once tapping the pen.

I do alot of wine and music snaps.

I do a lot of wine and music snaps.

NOW, probably one of the top reasons people are currently joining Snapchat: Those crazy, silly fun filters that can make you a panda, police officer, even Marilyn Monroe. When my friend, Holly, began doing this, I just had to get in on this fun. For this trick, simply be in selfie mode and hold your finger down on your screen where your face is.

At the bottom of the picture, you will see options pop up to scroll through. Begin the fun! As each option appears in the snap button, the filter will show up on your face. These filters change daily, and sometimes will be promoting events like a new movie or a celebrity’s birthday.

If its one that would be even better as a video, just hold your thumb on the snap button and the app goes into recording mode (Up to 10 seconds). This is how you record on Snapchat, BTW.

Fun with animal filters.

Fun with animal filters.

I really love this one.

I really love this one.

Still with me? 😉

If its not a selfie you’re wanting to send, maybe a picture of your pet? Record your kid’s softball match? Totally awesome, too. When not in selfie mode, all of these tips (except for the selfie filters like becoming a cowboy or a baby lamb) still apply.

Now, How do I send these darn snaps?! Once your snap is captured, there will be a self explanatory arrow pointing to the right, in the lower right hand corner. Hit that, and your contacts as well as “My Story” will show.

Simply select who you want to send your masterpieces and self portraits to. You can send to as many as you’d like, PLUS add to My Story. What are the benefits of this? Say something is super funny or exciting you want everyone in your contacts to see, definitely add that to your story. If a certain friend will especially love this video or picture, and you’re not sure how often they check Snapchat, send it to their name, as well.

How fun it was to get live photos from my friend, Holly, in England, at a Bruce Springsteen show!

How fun it was to get live photos from my friend, Holly, in England, at a Bruce Springsteen show!

Items added to My Story only stay there for 24 hours. Something sent to an individual stays until they open it 😉

And, the biggest reason users love their Snapchats: The ability to see something, then it vanishes forever. While thats the harsh reality of life, sometimes, you really want to save a cool picture. Luckily, just screen shot it as you look at it to save. Act fast, though! If the picture goes away, its gone (Unless you can see on someone’s My Story).

As always, I am available for crash courses, social media management and tutorials if you’re ever interested! Contact me anytime at alongcomesmary26@gmail.com and lets chat about Snapchat!

My 5 Must Watch Movies this Summer! #DataAndAMovie

(This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #DataAndAMovie #CollectiveBias)

I cannot believe I am about to say this, but, IT’S JUNE! Where has half of 2016 gone?! Not that I mind welcoming the Summer months to come.  While we have some fun stuff in the works, you know what one of my favorite past times is, especially during Summer? Just chill-laxing at home in the evening after a hot day, and watching a movie. Mike and I love film, yet, have seen vastly different genres over the years and, now, we’re attempting to join those forces together (see a movie reference there?!) and watch some of our favorites that we still have yet to see.

With so many video streaming services available, we love to take advantage of trying them out and see which has the best selection for seeing the movies on our lists. Our newest favorite? VUDU…..

How did we discover VUDU? Good question! 😉

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Mike was on me that while its great Along Comes Mary is thriving…..I am on my phone. A lot. And, when one is using their phone for everything (Pictures, internet, emailing, music, fitness tracking, etc), you are going to use up your data. This is when I headed to Walmart to check out the Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan. Not only am I getting unlimited Talk, Text, Data 10GB 4G LTE but, also? A free movie (rental (new release = $7 value) on VUDU every month, per line for $49.88. Not too shabby, no?

We’ve already began a list of movies to check out this Summer, courtesy of VUDU. So far, our top 5 must-watch movies this Summer are:

DIE HARD

How much you wanna bet this is a Mike favorite that I have not seen?

SUMMER OF SAM

A Spike Lee film that always reminds me of hot evenings in the city in the Summer, when everyone has their windows open to try to escape the heat. I was really surprised to discover Mike has yet to see this one.

BRINGING UP BABY

I grew up loving this 1940s classic! It stars Katherine Hepburn meets Cary Grant and turns his world upside down the day before he is to be married when she enlists in his assistance to help her when she finds herself left with a pet leopard!

Enjoying Bringing up Baby thanks to VUDU!

Enjoying Bringing up Baby, and all of our movies on our SmartTV thanks to VUDU!

INDIANA JONES

I know. This is bad, folks, that I have not seen Indy Jones yet! Thanks to VUDU, this will change 😉

MY GIRL

My Girl we have both seen. BUT, it captures coming of age in Summertime so heartbreakingly well. Am I right?

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Being able to “kill two birds with one stone” and not only get a free VUDU rental a month, but, also an ideal phone plan and bonus phone has helped me feel confidant about using data. With my Cool Pad Rogue (Which was just $19.88 thanks to a rollback from $39.83), I have also been super impressed that its battery life lasts up to six hours.

My out-of-pocket cost was also really low compared to other prepaid carriers; I simply purchased their Family Mobile Starter Kit, and, since Family Mobile bills you later, you only have to pay the $19.88 to get started when you sign up. How could I pass up these deals?!

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Whether you are a parent looking for a phone for your child, someone like moi needing extra data, or you just need a new phone, The Walmart Family Mobile PLUS = Unlimited Talk, Text, Data; 10GB 4G LTE plus a free movie is definitely the way to go. No contracts, data on your terms AND a free movie rental. Ba bam!

What are some of your must-see movies this Summer?! xo

(Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/3edbv  or your local Walmart for current pricing.)

Lets Talk Pinterest! #SocialMediaMonday

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Happy fresh new week, peeps! I hope you had a wonderful weekend….and your coffee is strong for your Monday 😉 A few weeks ago, I attended a great class held at General Assembly in Santa Monica; General Assembly is the place to be if you have a passion for the internet and tech world. From web-design courses, to graphic design to social media, General Assembly has certainly proven themselves to be the hot spot for us tech nerds here in LA.

Having yet to make it out to one of their crash courses, I finally did when I heard the unstoppable Lindsay Tredent Mauch would be a leading a Social Media Boot Camp. My firm belief in life is that your peers should be those you want to be like in life; your role models, basically, and Lindsay is one of those peers. The 8 hour class was awesome and I look forward to reporting back in the coming weeks on some tips and tricks learned. This week? A few tid bits for letting PINTEREST build your empire!

So, Pinterest is this super handy web-site that enables readers on websites to share an article or picture they like on the web via Pinterest by “pinning” it to their board and therefore, more eyes see the article. Example:

Say, I read an incredible gluten-free recipe on a site like this one, I mosey on down to the share buttons at the end of the recipe and select that red “P”icon; That takes me to Pinterest and I decide to pin this post to my Food and Recipes board. Easy, right? Well, I have just helped spread the word further on this recipe and web-site.

While I have known many bloggers love Pinterest for its search, keywords and traffic abilities, hearing Lindsay speak of it reminded me that all those who care about social media should be on it, too. When you utilize Pinterest for your blog and web-site and use the right key words, Google will reward you as well as the site itself which has well over 100 million active users….a month. Insane, right? This is why you should be on Pinterest.

When I have had social media clients ask me about Pinterest, I am quick to say: Lets make you a blog tab. Having a web-site with simply a home page, About and Contact is not enough to help you with PInterest. Pinterest thrives on articles with great eye-catching pictures. This is because you need an article for a PInterest user to click onto once your picture on your Pinterest board attracts them.

Some of my boards....

Some of my boards….

Try this exercise….

If you are a writer/blogger: Share an article/post by you and when you see the sharing option appear, there should be a selection of pictures to choose from that are in the article. Choose the best one, put it on a board, ensure there are some good key words (Key words should be simple, nothing fancy. If it’s a travel piece on your time in, say, New York City, use that, as well as NYC, Travel, Manhattan, etc) and click pin. Then, do some re-pinning from similar boards. This will help your article get exposure.

If you don’t have a web-site with articles or a blog, try re-pinning some articles and pictures on your boards that are similar to you. Like any other social media channel, you need to put in some time and reciprocation in order to see re-pins, follow backs, etc.

As always, I am available for crash courses, social media management and tutorials if you’re ever interested! Contact me anytime at alongcomesmary26@gmail.com! 🙂

 

Help Launch your Website with Groupon Coupons!

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(This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own)

Welcome to a special Wednesday edition of Social Media Monday! I’ve had a lot of people ask me about starting their own blog or web-site. With this being my blog-aversary week (4 years, baby!), nothing makes me happier than when my friends say they want to do what I do. The good news? Its super easy and rewarding and anyone can do what I do. While there really is no “bad news”, I will admit, it can be intimidating to start your own web-site.

While you can easily start a free blog through WordPress, Weebly or Blogger, this will not work for you if you wish to monetize your blog. This means doing sponsored posts, having ads on your page or even hosting giveaways. This is why its crucial to buy a domain name and self-host your blog. When I first heard these terms, I wanted to run for the hills.

The good news is, I have found such great support in using GoDaddy. GoDaddy is your one stop shop for all things involving online marketing, website design, domains and hosting. On top of all their services, they also have fantastic customer support and super affordable deals. Especially if you utilize Groupon Coupons! 😉

Groupon

Groupon is easily my favorite web-site for discounts on any and everything. From trips and events, to helping me save a few dollars on my social media managing (through deals with GoDaddy as well as Dell computers, and did I mention they’ve got some pretty sweet discounts at shops like JCPenney?!)

So, if you’re ready to take the plunge and start your own blog ventures, definitely see if Groupon Coupons have some promos you can use. And, as always, i’m here to help you get your blog off the ground, as well as answer any questions about big words like “Self Hosting” or “html coding”. Email me at alongcomesmary26@gmail.com and lets chat! xo