Category Archives for "Social Media"

What to Do When Asked to Donate Homeschool Products

Being generous is noble and right. So don’t be afraid to donate your products, services, and subscriptions when people ask. But do it with intent!

Sadly, there are a few bad apples out there who purposely invent sob stories to manipulate homeschool publishers into donating materials—which they turn around and sell for a profit. (I know. Tacky, right? It’s hard to believe there are such lowlifes out there.) Although you could play sleuth and verify the situations of every person who asks, you have better things to do! Decide how to handle these requests, and then stick to your script each time.
What to Do When Asked to Donate Homeschool Products

Sometimes Donate Without Strings Attached

Resolve right now to use your business to benefit others! That may mean you support a particular charity with your profits, contribute products to a specific entity on a regular basis, or simply have a budget line item for a certain amount of donated products each year.

  • For example, I know one homeschool publisher that supports several Compassion children as a company.
  • Other companies regularly donate cash to The Home School Foundation. Then when freebie seekers come knocking, they refer them to that particular organization which vets the recipients of the donations. (You are running a business. You have better things to do that researching the backgrounds of the people who are asking for handouts.)

Sometimes you just know. You read the email or answer the call, and something inside you knows it’s the right thing to do. Do it! Being generous is always right. However you choose to be generous, you can trust that the intangible rewards will come back to you! When you donate like this, it’s without expectation of receiving anything beyond that awesome feeling of satisfaction.

But if you have nagging doubts and feel unsure about how to handle these requests, it’s good to have a plan so that when someone approaches you—seeking a no-strings-attached donation—you know exactly how to handle it. It’s your policy, and it’s easy to simply apply the policy instead of having to decide each time.

Usually Donate With Strings Attached

There’s nothing wrong with donating and getting something in return, though!

A Personal Donation

If the person asking for a donation is a homeschool parent who is simply seeking curriculum to use with her own kids, here are a few ideas. If the person balks at these small requests, there’s probably something fishy about their request.

  • Offer a steep discount or offer to send the product free if they will pay for shipping. If someone is willing to pay even a small portion, they tend to value it more.
  • Ask for a testimonial or review. This can be submitted in your online store, on Amazon or other retailer, or simply emailed back to you. (Remind them the focus should be on the product not that they got it for free. You don’t want their review to multiply your requests for more freebies.)
  • Ask them to share about the program on social media, so their family and friends may see it. Simply snapping a photo and sharing to Facebook or Instagram is worth something to your business! (Again, the emphasis is on the product itself and not a thank you for getting it free.)
  • Ask them to share it in a Facebook group, a local homeschool co-op meeting, or on a local homeschool forum or email chain. While you may not have a way to verify this, it still puts the idea in their head that they can give back by promoting you within their sphere of influence.

A Blog or Online Event Donation

A blogger who is asking for a donation is going to be far more savvy in terms of social media. She should approach you with a clear idea of what you will get out of offering a donation. If she doesn’t offer any details, then ask! And even when she answers, realize that you can negotiate. Each event is different, but here are some things you can request or ask about:

  • Will I get a link on a permanent landing page?
  • May I give you a tracking link to measure the traffic you send?
  • Can I submit a piece of evergreen content?
  • Can I get a CSV of the entrants (to add to my own mailing list)?
  • Can I submit follow up content to be sent to entrants via email?
  • What kind of traffic does your site get?
  • How many people typically enter your giveaways?
  • Where will the giveaway be featured: email, social media, etc.?
  • How many other companies are featured and will I get solo promotion or will I always be listed among a group of others?
  • Are any of my main competitors included in the project? If I sign on, will you agree not to include them?

Obviously, the larger (higher traffic/subscriber/follower numbers) and more long-lasting (evergreen content on websites) the reach of the event, the more willing you will be to participate. If an event is really amazing, you may be expected to pay to participate. That is valid if you are getting a lot in return, so remember to ask probing questions and negotiate!

An In-person Entity or Event Donation

For a real-life event or organization, it can be harder to track your return on investment, but again, a seasoned event organizer will have some kind of perk to offer you. Ask for anything concrete that helps you see your donation in action—photographs, web archives of emails sent to group members, online event descriptions, etc. Many times the event organizers are volunteers who are brand new to anything of the sort, and while they are willing to make the donation worth your while, they aren’t savvy about what they should offer. So you may need to coach them a bit. If you don’t have the time to spend back and forth on these kinds of emails (or a marketing manager to delegate the task), then you can politely decline. It’s okay to say no. Do not feel any guilt.

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Exactly What to Post on Instagram: A Month of Posts for the Homeschool Niche

First you accept that you need to get an Instagram account. So you grab a handle that is consistent with all your other social accounts and fill out your profile. Bravo!

And then you realize you have to post consistently every day. Gulp. Getting the account was the easy part. Feeding the social media monster can feel like an impossible chore. Similar to laundry and dishes, it never ends.

Your best strategy for dealing with this perpetually revolving door of social media content is having a plan — an Instagram editorial calendar. 

Exactly What to Post on Instagram: A Month of Posts for the Homeschool Niche

Here is a suggested schedule of 31 posts to carry you through any month of the year. Feel free to rearrange the posts as best suits your needs. To get a printable version of this list plus suggested links for calls to action, scroll to the bottom of this post.

A Month of Instagram Posts for the Homeschool Niche

  1. post a meme made of a quote taken from a blog post or article on your site
  2. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  3. share a sale or discount
  4. post a meme of a question based on a blog post or article from your site
  5. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  6. post a photo of your catalog
  7. snap a staged photo of your product in use and with props
  8. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  9. post a meme made of an inspiring quote about teaching or parenting
  10. post a photo from a convention or conference
  11. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  12. post a meme made of a quote taken from a blog post or article on your site
  13. snap a staged photo of your product in use and with props
  14. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  15. share your opt-in offer
  16. post a behind the scenes photo from your warehouse
  17. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  18. post a meme of a question based on a blog post or article from your site
  19. promote a new product release or post a teaser for an upcoming product release
  20. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  21. snap a staged photo of your product in use and with props
  22. post a behind the scenes photo from your office/headquarters
  23. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  24. share a sale or discount
  25. post a meme made of a quote taken from a blog post or article on your site
  26. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  27. promote a product update
  28. advertise your affiliate program
  29. repost customer generated image (credit owner in caption and tag)
  30. snap a staged photo of your product in use and with props
  31. post a meme of a question based on a blog post or article from your site

The Power of Reposting Customer Images

In my proposed schedule, I planned for a customer repost every third day or 10 each month.

When you repost photos from your customers, you get a break from creating content! You simply have to find the content your customers are already sharing. Find this content by searching hashtags and monitoring mentions in your notifications (under the ♥ tab). Many users will not tag you on the image but will mention you in the caption with your @handle. Others will use your brand name as a hashtag, so be sure to monitor that hashtag and variants of it daily.

When you repost customer images, you train them to post about you! If their account is public, 99% of the time, they are thrilled to have their images reposted. Of course, you want to provide both a tag on the image and an @handle mention in the caption area to give them full credit. Reposting customer content is a virtual high five that builds even more customer loyalty.

Staging Product Images

There are a few ways to handle product images. You can use your catalog style images — formal with white/no backgrounds. Or you can make the images on Instagram more personal by using photos you snap with your cellphone. Most of the images on Instagram are taken with mobile phones, so informal shots look more natural in the Instagram stream.

Add school supplies like markers, maps, globes, pens, notebooks, colored paper, and scissors to give your image more authenticity. Or put your product next to a cup of coffee, a cupcake, or a piece of chocolate! Those feel-good extras provide emotional warmth that your followers will be drawn to.

Repeating Posts

Some posts need to be repeated periodically. You are always gaining new followers, and none of your followers are going to see everything you post. As long as you have plenty of intervening content, don’t be afraid to repeat the same post as often as monthly. For example, your catalog and your current opt-in offer are two posts that can be recycled.

Adding Links & Call to Action

If you are using a tool that allows you to add a link in your bio or profile (linkinprofile or Later, for example), then be sure to add a relevant link and call to action for every post you share. It can be as simple as these sentences:

  • Click the link in our Instagram profile to see XYZ PRODUCT.
  • Click the link in our Instagram profile to see more tips on our blog.
  • Click the link in our Instagram profile to request your own catalog.
  • Click the link in our Instagram profile to see our YEAR convention schedule.

The printable chart with these 31 post ideas includes specific places to link each one.

Note, if you pay Instagram to promote a post, there is an option to add a specific call to action and custom link which both appear directly under the image.

Posting More Than Once Per Day

Once you have once per day under your belt, you can move up to posting twice per day. Certain times of the year may produce lots of customer generated images of your products, and you may want to post more often. In that case you can share one of your own images plus one or more customer post each day. Or you may decide to post once a day but post two or three times a day only on the days of the week with the highest views (as indicated in your Instagram analytics). As long as you are posting consistently with no long dry spells, you can modify your schedule and experiment with what works.

With a plan in place for your content, you will be able to enjoy Instagram, especially the interacting with homeschool parents and loyal customers.

Get The Printable Chart

To get this list of Instagram posts in a convenient printable format, simply submit your email address in the form below. You will immediately receive an email with a download link to the PDF and also be subscribed for additional marketing advice for the homeschool niche. (You may unsubscribe at any time, of course.)
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Instagram editorial calendar • a month of Instagram posts for the homeschool niche