Free Instagram Training

Get Better At Instagram with these FREE Resources from Thyme is Honey x The Mint Academy! Free workbook, tutorials and Facebook Live support!

It’s almost time for me to launch my online class with The Mint Academy!

But before it launches, we’re providing you with free trainings that will help you assess where your account is at and what you can do to start improving it. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been guest blogging over at The Mint Academy, providing short, informative posts on special topics related to the course. If you haven’t been following along, now is the perfect time to get caught up by learning more about each of these topics.

Get Better At Instagram with these FREE Resources from Thyme is Honey x The Mint Academy! Free workbook, tutorials and Facebook Live support!

Blog Post 1: A Quick Instagram Audit + Understanding Hashtags

Blog Post 2: Creating a 5-Minute Plan for your Account

If you work your way through those 2 posts and find yourself with questions, then block off your calendar for tomorrow morning at 10AM CST and join me on The Mint Academy Facebook Page, where I’ll go LIVE, walk through some of the processes and tips mentioned in those first two blog posts and answer your questions. I’ll be coming to you live while on vacation in northern Minnesota….so at the very least you should tune in to see if I have some festive cabin decor for you to enjoy! 😉

Get Better At Instagram with these FREE Resources from Thyme is Honey x The Mint Academy! Free workbook, tutorials and Facebook Live support!

As an added bonus I am also offering my iPhone Photography eBook entirely FREE! This short, 20-page book will teach you all about your native iPhone camera, how to use it’s features to get incredible photos, as well as tips on how to style, edit, and share your images! This is a great way to drastically improve the content you are producing for yourself or your small business! Download the Free iPhone Photography eBook here.

These free trainings and the upcoming online class are a great way to learn more about how Instagram works and how you, as a business owner, can leverage the platform to help generate more business, new clients, better exposure or just grow your following and engagement. Haley and Emily have done an amazing job collaborating with me to create a super helpful guidebook full of notes and tutorials that will help you get started with Mastering Instagram!

If you tend to be an overachiever (*raises hand*), you can read through Blog Post 3: Using Recurring Features for your Brand, and start working ahead on the course curriculum! Hope you’ll check out some of these free resources and consider joining me tomorrow morning at 10AM CST on The Mint Academy Facebook Page for the quick FB LIVE!


Get Better At Instagram with these FREE Resources from Thyme is Honey x The Mint Academy! Free workbook, tutorials and Facebook Live support!

Free iPhone Photography eBook

Learning to Master iPhone Photography - FREE eBook! Learn how to take better photos for your blog, business or personal life with this FREE iPhone Photography eBook | Thyme is Honey

I’m thrilled to offer literally everything I know about iPhone Photography in an easy-to-read eBook, now available for free download! I’ve been teaching this topic for nearly a year and I love helping people improve their photography. “Learning to Master iPhone Photography” will help you understand the basic function of your iPhone camera, and how to improve the quality and composition of your photos with just a few tricks!

Perhaps you’ve taken one of my Instagram Strategy classes at Revel or perhaps you are awaiting the release of my online class, Mastering Instagram, which launches in May at The Mint Academy. Either way — this book is a GREAT first step if you feel like your images could use an upgrade!

The book is 20 pages long and contains all my best tips for getting amazing photos for your business and life using only your iPhone! I explain all of the best features of the native camera app, but also share all of my favorite editing apps, equipment and props!

So, what’s the catch or what do I want from you? Nothing. I’m not even going to try to capture your email address in exchange for the book. I think that if you read through the book, improve your photos and then realize that you could be applying more strategy and intention to your posts —- then you should consider taking the next step, which is the online Mastering Instagram class. That course is $40 but will be one of the best investments you make in yourself or your business! Sign up for the newsletter to get first access when the course launches.

Instagram Audit

Instagram Audit Free Printable

I’ve worked as a social media strategist for the past 7 years, and there aren’t many things I love more than helping business owners understand, improve and master social media!

I’ve been teaching workshops for the past couple years, regularly for the past year at Revel Madison! Tonight will be my last regular class at Revel (we move to Minneapolis this weekend!), although I’ll be back in September to speak at a conference and hopefully teach a special topic class at Revel (keep tabs on their Events Page for more info).

I’m also launching an online course next month through The Mint Academy! Mastering Instagram will show you the strategy and programs I use to manage accounts for my clients and show you how to apply them to your small business to make your social media strategy more efficient and effective.

If taking my online class sounds interesting to you I hope you’ll keep tabs on The Mint Academy on Instagram for some free content and announcements about the course. It is only $40, and includes great resources and weeks of support through their Study Hall and Honor Roll programs, which I’ll pop into for free videos and Q&A sessions with you!

Maybe you aren’t sure whether your Instagram account is flourishing or failing? That’s a common feeling for us as business owners—-we are always questioning how we’re doing and comparing it to everyone else. That’s where my Instagram Audit (pictured above) comes into play!

This 1-page printable is what I email to my new clients and ask them to fill out. Before our first phone consultation I also sit down, look over their account, and fill it out from my perspective (the perspective of your follower/customer/potential client). It helps ensure that our first interaction dives right into what they are doing right and what areas they could improve upon, either on their own or with my help).

I’d encourage you to grab this free printable, pull up your account, and fill it out! If you want some initial feedback, ask a friend or fellow business owner to also fill one out for you.

If you’d like to learn more about each section, learn how to use the Audit or get more information about how I apply some of this information to developing Instagram Strategies for my clients, I would encourage you to sign up for the Study Hall portion of my online class (sign up right here)! It’s free and is taking place the next few weeks before the course launches. It’s a great opportunity for you to test out the course and see if it might be a good fit for you and your business.


Managing Social Media for your Small Business

Managing Instagram Learning Account Moderation and Community Engagement

I’ve been helping business owners with their social media for 8 years and even though the internet is filled with helpful tutorials and apps that make you more efficient, the top complaint I hear from business owners is how overwhelmed they feel by the amount of time required to manage their social media.

Some businesses can’t avoid having social media be a full time job (or a job big enough for an entire team of people), but generally a small business owner or entrepreneur should be able to not only manage their social media effectively on their own—-but be able to manage a successful account that is growing and bringing in business.

In order to be more efficient with the time you have to dedicate to social media, you really need to start by understanding what it means to successfully manage an account and what is required to have an account that is actually working for you. I often see businesses who are creating beautiful content and writing amazing captions, but are frustrated that all the time and money they are investing in a beautiful feed isn’t being returned in sales or clients.

On my first sit-down or call with any potential client I explain Account Moderation and Community Engagement. These are two distinctly different aspects of any social media account, and you need to be making time to do both!

Account Management: the basic maintenance involved in keeping your account active and up-to-date! Creating posts, writing captions, posting, responding to comments, answering messages in your inbox, and interacting on tagged photos of you.

Community Engagement: the part that makes these platforms “social” media! You need to not only share content and information as a creator, but you need to get out there and be active as a consumer, too. Community Engagement requires you to set aside time to log in and interact in various ways within different areas: with the people you are following, on posts within industry hashtags that you are using, on posts within industry hashtags that your customers are using, watching and responding to stories and perhaps interacting on posts within your geographic area or with specific location tags that pertain to your business.

To help you further grasp this concept here is an example:

I recently did a short-term project with a baby brand who was focusing their marketing efforts on new mothers and pregnant women. It was important that their account was posting 1-2 times per day, that the images were beautiful, the information was valuable, and that overall their account lined up with the marketing plan in place to sell their product (that is all Account Management). However, it was also important they they set aside time each week to go into their community and interact with new moms, pregnant women, and other accounts that are popular within their community. As an account manager it was my job to set aside time each week to look for new posts under hashtags that their ideal customers were likely using. Examples would be hashtags such as #BabyBump #20weeks #MomswithCameras #MomtoBe and #Nesting. We’d give the images a quick like and leave an uplifting comment about motherhood and parenting (that is an example of the Community Engagement aspect). Additional examples would be following new accounts (while also giving them quick likes/comments), and interacting on posts from popular parenting/motherhood instagram accounts, magazines or blogs (likes, comments, liking comments).

Managing your account with beautiful images, witty captions and well-researched hashtags will do a lot to get your information in front of people and increase interaction on your individual posts, but Community Engagement is what adds authenticity to your account and helps create a relationship between you and your audience. If you can find a balance with both aspects, you’ll start to feel like the time you are spending on one is paying off in the other, and soon you’ll start to feel more positively about the time and money you are investing in social media for your business.

Next week I’ll share a tip and free printable for planning ahead and scheduling time for both of these. Please follow The Mint Academy to stay in the loop about my online class, launching soon!

Looking for more of my posts about social media? Here are some popular ones:
How to add Pinterest Optimized Blog Post Images
How to Use Instagram Stories for Business
Learn the Etiquette of Regrams on Instagram
The Best (affordable) Photography Backdrops 
Learning to Master iPhone Photography (eBook)
Managing Instagram: Learn the Basics
6 Tips for Small Businesses on Instagram
How to Automate your Instagram Posts to a Specific Facebook Album 
Understanding Instagram Changes (May 2016)
Understanding Instagram Changes (March 2016)


Best Photography Backdrops + Tips

The Best Photography Backdrops: affordable tips for bloggers and business owners who want to improve their photos! | Thyme is Honey

Photography is an incredible skill for small business owners, especially in a market that has become highly visual! You can save yourself an incredible amount of money if you are able to produce high-quality images for use on your website, social media, and promotional materials.

Thankfully you can hire someone to handle this for you if it’s in your budget (learn more about working with me), but for many small business owners a full-time social media manager + content creator is not in the budget. What then?

Over the years I fell into the role of content creator for many of my clients, and needed to help them fill their need for beautiful imagery while also staying within their budgets. I learned how to create quality work with budget-friendly supplies and equipment. My eBook, Learning to Master iPhone Photography, is a great resource for business owners who need to improve their photography skills. I’ve also always kept a running list of my favorite Resources + Supplies on my website for people to reference. On the list you’ll find my favorite tri-pods and lenses, but also some of my favorite props and materials. Below are some of my favorite tips for affordably improving your home studio + photography:

The first step in a home studio is to purchase 2-3 pieces of foam board! I walk you through setting up and using your $10 home studio in my eBook, so please reference that if you are unfamiliar with how to do this.  You can get a pack of 10 sheets delivered right to your door through Amazon.
Foamboard – $24 for a pack of 10

How to Improve your Blog Photography

Contact paper is an incredible way to create fast backgrounds that are cheap and easy to move/store. Having a few of these on hand provides you with new options to change up your home studio and add texture to your photos. Contact paper is an adhesive paper that comes in a roll, I simply adhere it to a piece of Foam Board to create a DIY backdrop. Here’s an example where I used a faux brick contact paper as a background. Below are my favorite contact papers.

Brick Contact Paper – $22.95
White/Dark Marble Contact Paper – $9.60
White/Light Marble Contact Paper – $9.58
Black Marble Contact Paper – $12.04
Faux Wood Contact Paper – $19.99

A simple coat of paint on a sheet of tagboard or foam board creates a custom background. I’ve done this to create branded backgrounds for several clients. It’s a fast and easy way to get the exact color you want or need for a specific project.

Another one of my favorite tricks is to create a  pattern or design in photoshop, and then have it enlarged and printed on plotter paper at your local office supply store. They can usually print them out at 36″ x 36″ inches and they can easily be rolled for storage.

Mounting Putty – great for getting your flatlay items in the perfect spot or elevating them slightly off the background.
Selfie Stick – for more than selfies! You’d be surprised how often one of these can help you get the perfect instagram shot. Try holding it above the shot with the timer on in order to get your hands into the frame.
Bottle Caps – Call me crazy, I always have a bag of bottle caps handy during a shoot! Once you have them, you’ll find dozens of ways to use them. They’re great for positioning bottles so they don’t roll away, while lifting them off the background just slightly. You can also stack them to create a little raiser for positioning plates, drinks or products.
iPhone Lens Kit – Can be great for getting close-up or wide-angle photos without needing a fancy camera. Just use your phone!

Your local GOODWILL or SAVERS are great places to find old cutting boards, serving trays, or tables with interesting tops! Your local home supply store can also be a great place to find countertop remnants or oversized tiles that make great photo props.

Be sure to check our my Resources Page for a full list of the lighting, equipment and supplies I use and recommend! If you want to learn more about using your iPhone to promote your business, check out my eBook, Learning to Master iPhone Photography