Have you ever thought to yourself, “If I could just learn the strategies that the most successful women are using, I’d follow those exactly and finally get some results.”
Today we’re giving you the opportunity to put that theory to the test. Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com shares the Facebook and Pinterest strategies she’s using right now to increase her traffic and engagement. She also shares the top 3 ways she’s grown her blog.
Crystal lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, and three children. Despite a wildly successful blog and best-selling book, Crystal still loves bargain shopping, freezer cooking, and putting her faith and family first. She is truly a Brilliant Business Mom who has found a way to make it all work.
On the Podcast
01:38 – Turning a Debt-Free Focus into a Popular Blog
03:04 – How the Teen Years Shaped Crystal
04:00 – Knowing When to Move On
05:42 – The Top 3 Ways Money Saving Mom has Grown
08:14 – Why Planning can be Misleading
10:10 – The Early Days of Blog-Building
10:55 – 6 Facebook Strategies that Crystal is Using Right Now
15:30 – 6 Ways to use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to your Site
18:41 – Crystal’s Adorable Mom Moment
20:11 – The Best Book on Blogging
Turning a Debt-Free Focus into a Popular Blog
Crystal and her husband Jesse made an audacious goal of staying out of debt while Jesse went through law school. At the same time, Crystal became very sick with her first pregnancy and had to quit working. Knowing that they couldn’t pay the bills with Jesse’s part-time job, Crystal had to find a way to keep making money from home.
Crystal learned everything she could about making money online and discovered the world of blogging. She started a mommy blog where she wrote on many different topics. Her readers were most interested in saving money, and her Frugal Friday blog posts became very popular.
How the Teen Years Shaped Crystal
While other teens were busy avoiding chores and responsibilities, Crystal was learning real-life skills that ultimately shaped her blog and career.
She grew up in a family of nine, and her Home-Ec experience as a home-schooled teen involved recipe planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for her large family.
How to Know When to Move On
Crystal urges other women not to do what she did! At one point, she had 3 blogs that she was trying to run all at once. This was too much stress for a mom with 3 young children.
Her advice for starting anything new is to make sure you have the capacity in your schedule to add in that new project, and if you don’t, you’ll have to find something that you can subtract first.
(Great advice from Crystal! How many times do we assume that we’ll magically find extra time for something new that we’re pursuing?)
Crystal also encourages other moms to realize that “There’s nothing wrong with changing course.”
She advocates for jumping out and trying new things, and in this way, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. “Go with those things that you really love and that are working really well for you.”
The Top 3 Ways MoneySavingMom has Grown
(plus advice for you on growing too!)
- Build a community and listen to your readers. “The blog was never about me,” says Crystal. She advises others to listen to their community: What are they asking for? What do they find interesting? What are their needs and how can you meet them?
- Keep your integrity in the process. Crystal has been offered numerous opportunities that would earn her thousands of dollars, but they weren’t in line with her readers or her beliefs.
- Use Social Media, especially Facebook and Pinterest. Learn what works, rinse and repeat. When it stops working, experiment, learn, and try new things until you find a new formula for success.
Why Planning can be Misleading
Despite being Type A, very organized and driven, Crystal says one of the best things she’s realized is that there is no “typical day”. You can make elaborate plans, but they don’t always work out.
Just the other day MoneySavingMom was under attacks from Nigeria, and Crystal couldn’t access her site. She had to drop everything and just focus on that problem.
(Wow, what a great reminder that no matter how successful you are, no one is immune to stress and difficult circumstances!)
Despite being prepared for nearly anything to happen, Crystal does have a general schedule for each day:
- Wakes up before her kids, reads the Bible, prays, and begins planning for her day.
- Goes online, gets some blogging done, exercises, shower, and then the kids are up.
- Kids wake up, do chores, and have breakfast.
- School starts around 10 AM, and Crystal begins work on writing her book or blogging. (Crystal's husband Jesse is doing the homeschooling while she writes her new book.)
- At 3 or 4 in the afternoon, Crystal wraps up her writing and works on some projects around the house.
- The evenings are focused family time for the Paine's.
The Early Days of Blog-Building
In the early days of blogging, Crystal admits to not having good compartmentalization because she didn’t have any help with her online work. She had taken on way too much for herself.
She’d wake up extremely exhausted because she hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before, put out fires all day, and then repeat again for the next day.
“It was not a healthy place” Crystal admits.
6 Facebook Strategies Crystal is Using Right Now
Crystal's blog traffic from Facebook took a huge hit recently. So she began experimenting with ways to get those traffic numbers up again. Here is what is working for her:
- Post Round-the-Clock. The MoneySavingMom page puts out a new Facebook post every hour.
- Post at Night. Posts that are scheduled to go live at night often get more views than those during the day. The reason? It takes a few hours for Facebook to show posts to most people in their feed. At night, there’s not as much competition so Facebook automatically bumps up the relevancy of that post, shows it to more people, and then as those people engage, it gets shown to even more people.
- Don’t Share Every Blog Post on Facebook. Crystal used to share every post on Facebook but now makes more strategic choices based on which posts she believes will go viral and do well on the platform.
- Upload 3-4 Pictures and a Link versus using the Post Share Feature. Crystal uses a one-line, catchy title in all caps, adds the link, and then uploads 3 -4 photos for a given post. Many of her posts are how-to topics such as frugal tips or recipes. They’re very photo-oriented so posting a group of photos is more effective and helps the posts to receive more views.
- Share the Posts of Others too. Crystal shares a ratio of 50% her own blog posts, and 50% others’ posts. If you share directly from Facebook pages that have high engagement, Facebook will show those posts to more of your readers compared to pages with low engagement.
- Use Facebook “Pages to Watch” to make Sharing Popular Posts much easier. You can set up pages you want to watch in Facebook Insights. From there, you can see the top 10 posts that page put out from the last week. You can share those posts directly from that dashboard. (Wow, genius! We had no idea!)
6 Ways to Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to your Site
- Focus on Beautiful Photos, Well-Crafted Titles and Taglines in order to get Clickt-hroughs versus just Re-pins.
- Join Group Boards. Crystal is a member of multiple group boards.
- Pin many times each day and schedule them out if you can. Crystal pins 60-90 pins every single day, scheduled out, and most of those go to group boards.
- You can pin the same item multiple times a week to the same group board because many active group boards are updated very frequently every day. No one will ever be able to tell.
- Don’t worry about pinning too frequently when you use group boards. Your followers don’t see your group board pins; they only show those to the followers of those group boards. So they won’t be barraged with tons of copies of the same pin. They just see the pins you choose to put on your non-group boards.
- Find out which pins are your top 100-200 site-referrers based on Google Analytics. From there, make sure they're evergreen (not tied to a particular year or season, but instead, always relevant). Pin those over and over to the group boards.
Crystal’s Adorable Mom Moment
Listen to the podcast to hear how Crystal sets an example for her children by finding ways to stay creative, refresh and refuel.
The Best Book on Blogging
Crystal highly recommends How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup. Ruth shares loads of Pinterest advice and strategy, and Crystal says that everything she learned about Pinterest, she learned from Ruth.
(With more than 265,000 Pinterest followers between them ….'nough said!)
(I couldn't help but share this adorable note that Crystal received from her daughter when her book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode was released. How sweet is this?!)
Of course, you can find Crystal at MoneySavingMom.com
Why not send her a tweet to thank her for such a great podcast?!
What will you change as a result of hearing Crystal's advice? I'm trying the multi-picture Facebook post and posting at night first. One step at a time!
~ Beth Anne