One Sweet Scenes

MY LIFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. ADVICE AND HAVING BOUNDARIES

Happy Tuesday, sweet friends! 

I'm talking today about a topic that I've felt passionately about recently. Earlier this year, (March I believe) I deactivated my Facebook account....and it stayed that way for 3 months. 3 whole months away from the non stop scrolling, clicking on unimportant links, and time wasting. Friends, it was amazing. Now, if you've known me for quite sometime you'll know that deactivating Facebook for me is a huge deal. Not too long ago I was addicted. Really addicted. I would take my phone with me into the bathroom, have it under my pillow at night, and I was that person at dinner with friends checking my feed. Yikes! Facebook with OSDIM came to a point of overwhelm with me and that was my tipping point. The constant messages from friends and fellow wedding industry pals and group notifications became too much. So one day I just did it. I hit deactivate and after Facebook asked me one thousand times if I was really sure,(yes I AM SURE) I was off it. That first day, hard. Really hard. Second day? I didn't even think about it. So strange for me, but I found it so worth it. I'm back on it now, but I've changed the way I use it and all other social media platforms. I wanted to share today the little rules I go by to get the most out of my social accounts and the systems I put in place as well as the boundaries that have helped put a little zen back in my life. 

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BOUNDARIES

Boundaries on SM is hard when you're running a business. Our society as a whole is consumed with distractions and the  need of information quickly and sometimes I feel us as creatives are more prone to the constant scrolling. We want to know what our industry peers are up to and what pretty things will pop up on our feeds. We want to post and keep everyone updated with what we're working on (or what we're eating for lunch) It's normal, totally normal. We own businesses who's ideal clients are on platforms like IG, FB, and Snapchat, it's where we have to be, but it's a tricky road though. Here are some things I'm doing to make sure I'm using social media platforms to their full potential for my businesses while minimizing my time using social media. 

Facebook- 

While I'm not loving being back on it, for me Facebook is where I network with area creatives and have access to business groups that I find helpful. Those things I did miss while I was gone. Instagram doesn't have an events section so while I was off of FB I missed out on a few gatherings I would of loved to attend, but didn't know about them because I couldn't be "added" or "invited" 

So what I basically did was took out everything I could that I didn't like. I no longer check messages on there. Regardless of who they are from. One less inbox to worry about. I also unfriended anyone I haven't spoken to in 2 or more years. My feed became a lot less cluttered and more filled with the people I love. I also went and unfollowed about a hundred more people so I don't see them on my feed and did the same with pages I have liked or groups I'm in. I turned off notifications to all but a few groups so I don't get those annoying notifications anymore. Hooray! Seems a little harsh, I know, but my mental health I figured was more important.  Since taking a Facebook hiatus I'm not attached to my phone anymore and have even on multiples times forgotten it at home and actually felt relieved about it. That my friends is me living the dream. I also recommend social media free weekends- life changing. 

Limiting my time spent on Facebook has been key for me to stop the scroll. I like to "check in" 3 times a day max and for no longer than 10 minutes. Facebook for me isn't where a lot of my business comes from so it's the last thing I post to. I love to keep my business page updated, but it's not a key tool for me in the overall picture. This is just me though. I know some ladies who kill it on FB. Using it as more of an informational outlet and networking tool has worked a lot better for me as far as time and benefiting my business.  

So FB, I think I'll stick around. (but please give us a way to disable messaging for personal pages...) 

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INSTAGRAM

My (and everybody's) favorite platform. I can talk for days about how much I love IG. It's where almost half of my inquiries come from and is such a huge part of my business therefore I spend the most time on it. Instagram is my brand. It's where you get to know me (as well as here on the blog) Some rules I like to abide by are...

1. QUALITY IS MUCH BETTER THAN QUANTITY

Something I've learned this year  is that for me quality over quantity is key. I know now that posting a few times a week about things I'm working on, intentional captions, and shots of behind the scenes work is a lot better than posting constantly. Quality of posts is so much more beneficial than everyday multiple times a day for me and my business. I don't have any rules when it comes to what I post (like 5 work posts 1 personal post etc) I just post what feels right. To me Instagram is little snippets of a bigger picture. Mini chapters of the book I'm theoretically writing. 

2. CONSISTENT FEED

Instagram is an extension of my brand and my website. I want it to feel like a little nook of my business and I accomplish that my sticking with a similar color scheme, exposure, and content. A pretty feed is a happy feed ! I like to also create little hashtag groups outside of weddings and work (#theschmidtchateau, #onesweetsummerfun) They make great little niches for parts of your life and creates consistency between projects. 

3. BE SOCIAL!

I always make it a point to comment back when people write a note on a photo. I also get a ton of emails asking where things in my office are from and I always respond. I think it's important to show that there is a person behind the pretty. I also comment on others photos as much as possible. It's such a good way to break the ice (I've made actual real life friends this way) And it's a great tool for bringing people to your account. Which brings me to my next rule...

4. TAKE RELATIONSHIPS OFFLINE 

I learned this one earlier this year. A comment or a few likes are wonderful, but even better is branching out and inviting that fellow creative out for coffee or lunch. This of course really only works if your local, but if not send someone you admire or would love to work with or become friends with a little note. Snail mail is a glorious thing in this day and age. Instagram might disappear at any moment (I really hope not, but you never know!) So it's important to bring relationships you start on IG into the "real "life"

5. IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW MANY FOLLOWERS YOU HAVE OR LIKES YOU GET 

Seriously! I'd much rather have 50 likes on a post and interact with 20 of those followers than 200 and interact with 0. Again, it's about those relationships. Focus on the followers you have now and cultivate those friendships and be social with them. Your business should not be solely run on social media and based on how many followers you have. If Instagram shut down tomorrow where would all those thousands of followers be? Nowhere. Start focusing on the ones you have now. (This also works for booking clients, but that's a whole other post..) Also, please don't like your own photos...I promise you the amount of "likes" doesn't matter. 

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INSTAGRAM STORIES AND SNAPCHAT

Anyone else's jaw drop when IG launched stories 2 weeks ago? Yikes! and Rude. I wasn't sure what to think at first. I'm on snapchat, but admittedly not great at it. We know that Stories is pretty much the same thing, but I quickly realized how much of a great tool it can be. lt's basically snapchat but for my for my IG audience. Gotta love that! So far I don't have any rules or advice for it, but I'm thinking of using it mostly when I'm working behind the scenes on a project or a wedding to give followers an inside look. And a little here and there in everyday life. 

FURTHUR...

if you’re needing help with managing your social media content you can look into apps like CoSchedule and Postso.com. You can also create a social media calendar to really get organized! Buy a separate calendar or planner and schedule out the next month of blog posts, Instagram, and Facebook content. Talk about a weight lifted off your shoulders. Once you have topics and and content figured out you can get to work on bringing those blogs and posts to life so that when publish time comes along, you'll be set and not stressed. High fives all around for that! 

There are so many other tools out there to help professionals lead a more organized and stress free life so that we can reach our goals. Everyone and every business is different. Find the boundaries that work for you and the "rules" that take your Social Media game to the next level. 

Warmly,

Michelle 

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MY WHY

The smallest title for probably the most meaningful blog post I've ever written. 

Welcome back to the blog friends. It's been a while hasn't it? I've taken some time away from this little space and it was MUCH needed. I felt like I was just blogging to blog a couple of months ago and I didn't have a clear vision of where I wanted my little corner of the internet to go. I fell in love with writing here last year, but a path was needed (as well as a carefully curated blog calendar) and guys, I'm back for good. We're kicking off all new blog posts today with an important one. If you follow me over on IG, you'll know I was at Creative at Heart Round 4 in Maryland last weekend and I always leave that conference on a high filled with motivation and a positive outlook on this little business. There was just something about round 4 that made it such a special experience for me. Every CAH does that, but this one just had that boom about it.

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Image by Andrea Pesce Photography.

This post I'm about to write stems from Tiffany Farley's speech from this past weekend and all the way back to Bonnie's speech last November in Charleston at CAH round 3. It's about building a business and brand around your why. Basically we all want our businesses to be profitable because there are bills to be paid y'all. But that's not your why. It's not my why and it really shouldn't be anyone's reason for wanting to start their own business. 

So what is my why? Well, it's something I've never shared before ever to anyone really. Chris is my reason for starting creating centerpieces on our kitchen island, but why did I turn it into an actual business? Why do I love to invest in each couple of mine and be a part of the biggest day of their lives? For starters, I never thought I would get married. I was always a relationship girl (6 year high school sweetheart, 4 year relationship before Chris) but I never thought I would be the one in the white dress with every detail perfect, and having a grand sparkler exit of most girl's dreams. I know it sound silly, but I really did think that that was for other girls, not me. See, I didn't have the greatest childhood. I won't go into too much detail as much of it is too personal for me to share here, but growing up was difficult for me. I was the girl who after years of a terrible home experience started high school and basically lived with friends because I didn't want to go home. I was the girl who was parent-less at graduations because they didn't feel like coming. I was the girl that couldn't have opinions at home because they were always wrong. I was the girl who tried to hold her head up high while her home life was crumbling. Family was not a word I associated with happiness or safety. It was a burden and something I just had to deal with. My extended family is all overseas, so I didn't have an aunt or uncle or grandmother to turn to. I just had me and some rather wonderful friends who will forever be special to me. They got me through. I knew what was happening in their houses was normal and I remember thinking at about age 15 that maybe one day I would have a functioning home life like them. Maybe. Then, 10 years later I met Chris. Life as I knew it changed. And with him came this great big family that treated me as one of their own. I had a mother for the first time that I could just call and say hello and ask advice for. (Hi Kathy!) And for the first time marriage seemed like it might be in the cards for me. And it was. On September 20th, 2014 I made Chris my forever. I actually got my happy ending and the word family became the happiest of words and the most important thing in the world to me. (insert dancing lady emoji here) 

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So my why comes from my past. Creating beautiful florals for a bride and her family is a way for me to celebrate something that I never thought I would have. I put a little bit of my heart into every bouquet because as I'm making it, I'm thinking to myself. This is the last thing a bride will hold on to before becoming a wife. And as Mary Marantz would say, THAT MATTERS. There not just roses or peonies or dahlias, they are little parts of a girl who uses this business to celebrate how far she has come in life and gets to love on others because of what she went through. And that little girl inside from 20 years ago is beaming inside of her. My favorite part of a wedding day? Walking into a bridal suite with the most stunning of brides surrounded by her family and friends and I get to hand over her bouquet. Something that has been curated just for her and her story. They are not just flowers, and each wedding is not just another wedding to check off on my calendar. Each one is so meaningful to me.

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And now you know why. 

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Warmly,

Michelle