Are you struggling with balancing too many social media platforms? What about monetizing your site to its fullest extent – so there's a chance to earn something from every single visitor? Jennie Brandon, our very first guest from the UK walks us through loads of great tips on how to use the IF app to leverage our presence on social media. She then goes beyond a handy app to teach us all the ways we can make sure our site is ready for an international audience. (The stats she shares are staggering, so you definitely don't want to ignore this huge demographic who could fall in love with your content!)
On the Podcast
01:26 – Jennie's Two Blogs
03:29 – How Learning Creates Opportunity
06:57 – What is the “IF” App?
11:30 – Build Leverage Across Social Media Platforms
14:38 – How to Start Using IFTTT
20:37 – How to Monetize your Site for International Customers
28:52 – Why your Amazon Affiliate Links Aren't Making you Money
35:25 – How to be Inclusive of an International Audience
47:10 – Jennie's Hilarious Mom Moment
Press Play on the Podcast Player Below to Hear Great Tips from our Favorite Brit, Jennie Brandon
Jennie’s Two Blogs
Jennie lives in Cambridge with her husband of 10 years and two small children Sophie and Joe. She has two blogs, The Errant Sock, and Laundry in the Temple. Laundry in the Temple is where Jennie shares how she teaches her children about her faith and The Errant Sock is a lifestyle blog with parenting hacks, books, and lots of recipes. All of Jennie's friends call her the “slow cooker whisperer” so she shares plenty of tips to help out other mums! Running two blogs and being a mum of 2 means that Jennie has limited time to invest in social media and sharing her content.
How Learning Creates Opportunity
When Jennie first reached out to us it was to share a story of how the Brilliant Business Moms podcast had helped her business and landed her a new job. Years ago, Jennie created her first blog where she focused on slow cooker recipes. Later when she tried to get back into blogging as a way of bringing in more income, she found that the blogging world was very different. In order to get caught up quickly she began listening to the podcast and it was Episode 53, Everything Twitter with Kelli Miller, that made the biggest impact on Jennie's blog and life.
Jennie had never been very comfortable with Twitter before listening to the episode, but by the end of the podcast, she felt ready to give it another try. Jennie dug into Twitter and got 600% more views to her blogs by focusing on the platform!
While Jennie still works on growing her blogs, she knew that she needed to take on a traditional job for now to make ends meet for her family. The podcast helped her with that goal too! A local pastor approached Jennie with a job opportunity, and it was her social media knowledge and web design expertise that set her apart from the other candidates! Jennie's new job lets her use her new skills in social media and website development, and it fits around her schedule and life as mum.
What a great example of how learning creates opportunity!
What is the “IF” App?
IFTTT (If This, Then That – now called the IF App) is an app that allows you to connect other apps and websites to each other for completing an array of different tasks.
Each app, program, or website you can connect is called a channel, and you can create “recipes” between the channels.The title really explains it all: If you do something on one channel, then something else will automatically happen on another channel.
There are hundreds of suggested recipes to help you get started, but almost any way of connecting two apps that you can imagine can be created to make your business and personal life more convenient.
The IF app currently has over 250 different channel options, which include Ebay, Etsy, Twitter, Evernote, Fitbit, Spotify, Feedly, Youtube, Trello, Reddit, and they just recently added Pinterest!
Here are a few examples of how the app works: Jennie has set up the IF app so that IF she takes a photo on her android phone, that photo is automatically saved to her Google drive. If she tweets something, that tweet is automatically saved to Evernote. If you leave the office, you could even set up a recipe to turn on your heat if you have a smart heater! There are so many possibilities!
Our heads were spinning when we heard that Pinterest was just recently added: You could automatically pin items that you just added to your etsy store, Pin instagram photos to a board, or Tweet every time you add a pin.
Build Leverage Across Social Media Platforms
In running two blogs Jennie really didn’t have time to devote to social media. She also didn’t have time to be creating new content every single day. Jennie uses the IF App as a way of sharing the content of bloggers that she trusts (as well as her own content) to various social media platforms on a regular basis. This happens automatically without the time and effort it would take to go in and manually schedule content. The IF App lets Jennie have a constant stream of valuable content across all of her feeds in a fraction of the time. In this way, her account always looks active and can engage with her followers. She never loses momentum due to a busy week at home.
Below are some recipes that Jennie uses:
- If she posts to Facebook, that same posts is shared on Twitter. (and vice versa)
- If Jennie posts to The Errant Sock, that post is shared on the Laundry in the Temple’s feeds.
- While TwitterFeed lets Jennie automatically share great content from her favorite bloggers, now with the IF App, those posts will automatically be shared on her Facebook page as well.
Overall, even when Jennie is crazy busy at home and has zero time to post on her blog or social media, she still looks perfectly active and keeps her sites top of mind for her followers by automatically curating great content for them.
For Bloggers who Work with Brands:
If a blogger sends out a tweet for Company X, they can auto-save those tweets (or any posts for that matter) to a spreadsheet. In this way, a blogger working on a large campaign with a brand can show them all the content they produced all in one place without having to hunt for it and manually collect it. In addition, if they work with the same brand every year, they'll have plenty of great content ideas ready to go in their spreadsheet.
There are thousands of possible recipe combinations you can use with the IF App, so be creative and don’t be afraid to play around. They also offer many suggestions for inspiration. And the app is just as useful for your personal life as it is for your business.
How to Start Using IFTTT
Jennie gave us some great tips and an outline of how to get started with IFTTT and make it work best for you and your business!
- Make a list of which social media platforms you are currently using.
- Prioritize the networks where your target audience hangs out most and where you enjoy connecting with them.
- Pull out a pen and paper and create an actual visual map of how you want your content to be shared. Which way do you want the information to go? This will help you make sure that you are creating a complete loop and using the channels to their best ability.
- Look at the IF App website and the suggested recipes. What are other bloggers using the app for?
- Think about what content from others you want to share. Where will that information be coming from? Consider the entire flow of your content and the content of others and how that all works together to build and reflect your brand.
- Start creating recipes! This is a very quick process and in less than 10 minutes Jennie created 8 recipes that form the basis of her IF App and social media strategy.
The Downsides to the IF App:
- Graphics. When you share graphics keep in mind that each platform shares photos in a different size so some of your photos may appear awkward on certain networks.
- Characters. The IF App does not count characters so make sure you know about what 140 characters looks like so your shares through to Twitter won't all be truncated.
- Hashtags. When you share a Twitter post to Facebook it will also copy over your hashtags, this may not be an issue for your particular situation but take this into account.
- Content Repetition. All of the content that you are sharing will be the same across all channels. Again, for Jennie and many bloggers this may not matter but keep this in mind. For most of us, our readers aren't following us or interacting with us on every single channel, so it's not generally an issue, but you'll have to keep your particular audience in mind.
- Bonus: The IF App does shorten your links for you.
How to Monetize Internationally
Based on the staggering numbers Jennie shared, it may be in your best interest to consider your international readers and to work to serve them better.
The population in the US is 320 million people. The population of other countries with a similar potential audience (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, & South Africa) is 190 million people. So these other readers in English-speaking countries with a similar culture could add 60% more potential readers to your site.
With a few tweaks to your content, your site, and the products you offer, you can monetize their visits to your website.
Monetization Ideas for an International Audience:
- Google Advertising. Since Google display ads are contextual and based on where someone has already visited online, you can easily monetize any visitor's experience on your site. For example, Jennie may visit a UK store to shop for coats. Then, she visits a US-based blog. That same coat will follow her there via a sidebar ad. If she clicks on that ad, the US website gets the commission for that click, even though both Jennie and the store are in the UK.
- Printables, E-books, and Downloadable Content. Jennie loves buying digital resources from brands she likes since she won't have to worry about shipping prices and she can begin using the product right away.
- Online Courses. Jennie took a great blogging course from a US blogger. When the courses are self-paced with no set times attached, they work perfectly.
- Recorded webinars. Webinars can be tricky with the time difference, but a recorded webinar is a great fit for Jennie. (We recently heard Amy Porterfield mention adding recorded webinars to her launch sequence because she had so many international customers requesting this.)
- Membership sites. Jennie can interact in the forums on her time and consume the content on her time.
- Services. There's no reason why a blog designer, marketing consultant, or other service-based business owners couldn't work with clients overseas. They could greatly expand their customer base if they started targeting these audiences – and they might face less competition too!
- Affiliate Marketing. If you're marketing an internationally-available product, or a digital product, program, or course, you can market to everyone! Jennie has bought an Ultimate Bundle before through an American Blogger.
- Selling on Etsy. Etsy makes things easy by automatically doing all the currency exchange and tax calculations for international sellers and buyers.
Hopefully this gets you thinking about all the ways you can monetize your site to a wider audience. We all know digital products can be great for business, but if you've delayed creating them thus far, maybe knowing you could attract 60% more potential customers will be just the thing to get you started!
Why Your Amazon Affiliate Links Aren’t Making You Money
Did you know that if someone from the UK clicks on an Amazon affiliate link from your website you do not get a commission? Shoppers in the UK cannot order from Amazon.com; they have to order through AmazonUK. But there is a way to fix this and ensure you're earning a commission from your international readers.
- Sign up for each country's affiliate program through Amazon. Get more information from Amazon right here.
- Install the Amazon Link Engine Plugin on your WordPress site. This plugin ensures that each visitor is sent to the relevant Amazon site for them.
- Create an account with Genius links. This program ensures that you are getting paid from those other countries’ links. The program is free up to 1,000 clicks/month then $10 per every 10,000 clicks after that.
- Build your affiliate link just as you did before, and the intelligent link will send each visitor to the correct Amazon site.
Note: Amazon says that if over 10% of your traffic is from other Amazon countries, this process should be worth it for you – particularly if you get a large volume of traffic to your site, or you already do well by being an Amazon affiliate.
How to Be Inclusive of an International Audience
One of the best parts of having our first podcast guest from the UK is that Jennie was happy to share many ways that US bloggers and business owners can be more inclusive of international readers. Below are some simple ideas to cross different cultures with your brand.
- Be more inclusive in your language. For example, instead of saying “since next week is Thanksgiving” you could say “here in the US, we have Thanksgiving”.
- Show awareness that things happen at different times overseas. For example, in the UK back to school time is later in the year and summer vacation doesn’t start until late July.
- Not all trends go at the same speed in all countries. In the UK, online shopping has been a normal part of life for many years. Since they are a small country their postal service is very efficient and it is convenient to shop online and has been for over a decade!
- Don't use brand names, but describe the products as other countries often have different brands. For example, in a recipe instead of saying “can of Rotel”, say “can of diced tomatoes with chilies”. In the UK, Scotch tape is actually referred to as cello tape.
- Don't say “a package” or some other generic term. Use specific measurements to an international audience can still follow the recipe accurately.
Jennie sent over some other notes and thoughts, and I really liked what she had to say here to sum things up:
Be aware that we may have some different challenges and concerns. e.g. Brits have less disposable income and live in smaller houses because land is very precious here. We drive less because fuel is very expensive and driving is more stressful. Over half of us don't have a dryer for laundry, often because we don't have the space. We're also increasingly environmentally friendly and a post that suggests waste may hit a nerve.
But please don't feel sorry for us! We wonder how you manage without universal healthcare, how you cope with tornadoes and blizzards, how you manage with so little annual leave (we typically get at least 4 weeks, not 2 plus 8 national holidays) and how you can consider anything over 2 hours not being a really long drive!
(That last line really made me chuckle as Holden and I used to drive from South Carolina to Pittsburgh for an 11-hour day, and I didn't think that was “too long of a drive” 🙂 It's so fun learning about other cultures!
Jennie's Hilarious Mum Moment
Jennie's daughter Sophie's spirit of determination is so adorable in this story! You'll have to listen to the podcast to hear all about it!