Blog #2 COM0015- Strong & Weak Organizations, Sarah Douglas

These days, social media has become an essential tool for businesses to connect with their customers and establish a strong online presence. While some businesses excel in leveraging social media, others struggle to make an impact. Two companies that stand out for their impressive online presence are The Ordinary and Tim Hortons. However, there are also local businesses like Toro Taqueria that could benefit from improving their social media strategy.

The Ordinary , DECIEM Beauty Group Inc.

The Ordinary
I have been using The Ordinary Skincare for almost two years now. I was always impressed with their presence on social media. Their social media presence focuses on education, transparency, and customer engagement.

Their informative posts and videos on platforms like Instagram and YouTube break down complex concepts into easily understandable terms. The brand actively encourages user-generated content, featuring customer testimonials and before-and-after photos, which fosters a sense of authenticity and community. The Ordinary also uses social media to launch new products, engage in Q&A sessions, and collaborate with influencers, further expanding their reach and credibility. Overall, their commitment to education, transparency, and customer engagement has solidified their position as a trusted and innovative player in the skincare industry.

They’re really good at jumping on the latest trends and staying relevant. One example is when they decided to go behind the scenes and ask employees about their favourite products. It’s an on-trend move that also gives you some interesting information. Check out their Instagram post by CLICKING HERE

Here is an Instagram post where they’re all about user-generated content. They know how to get their audience involved and engaged. Take a look at the post by CLICKING HERE

They have also recently released some new products. Here is one post from the launch of their new moisturizer. CLICK HERE

Tim Hortons
Tim Hortons, a popular Canadian coffee chain and Canadian staple, is a no-brainer for me. They have effectively used social media to engage with its customers. They use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share interactive content, run contests, and promote new products.

Tim Hortons’ social media strategy often incorporates Canadian pride, highlighting local initiatives, events, and partnerships. Have you tried Justin Beiber’s specialty flavours yet?  They actively encourage user-generated content through contests and hashtags like #Timsbeibs #TimPets #TimRun, fostering a sense of brand loyalty and community involvement.

Here is an example of their collaboration with Justin Beiber- CLICK HERE

Here is an example where they used social media to poll their audience. They asked which retired donut people would like to see back in stores. Was it the donut you would have chosen? CLICK HERE

Tim’s Camp, This is one of many of the local initiatives that Tim Hortons organizes. CLICK HERE

Toro Taqueria.
Toro Taqueria, a small business in Ottawa, can really benefit from having a social media strategy. They don’t have a big marketing team or a lot of resources, so they should consider hiring social media marketers or managers to help them out.

Social media can help them reach more people, engage with customers, learn valuable insights, and grow their business. Keeping up with the latest social media trends can increase their visibility, provide great customer service, and stay relevant. Another great thing about social media is that it’s a cost-effective way to market their business, bringing more people to their website and increasing sales. With a well-planned social media strategy, Toro Taqueria can make the most of its online presence and achieve their goals effectively.

Some objectives for Toro Taqueria
-Increase brand awareness and expand reach in Ottawa.
-Increase customer engagement to build trust and loyalty, consistency is key. 
-Promote their menu and specials. Make followers eager to try the food and generate more orders.
-Increase website traffic to help convert followers to customers. 

First Steps
-Determine their target audience and brand voice.
-Develop a content strategy.  Showcase menu items, behind-the-scenes footage, customer testimonials, and special promotions. 
-Monitor and analyze data to track ROI and figure out if the strategy is working. 
-Engage with the community. Actively engage with followers by responding to comments, messages, and reviews. Encourage user-generated content by hosting contests, asking for feedback, or featuring customer photos.
-Stay Active and evolve with the trends. Experiment with different content formats, such as live videos or stories, to keep followers engaged.

The power of social media in today’s world cannot be underestimated. It has become an essential tool for businesses to connect with their customers, establish brand identity, and drive growth. While companies like The Ordinary and Tim Hortons have successfully leveraged social media to create an impressive online presence, local businesses like Toro Taqueria have the opportunity to enhance their social media strategy and enjoy the benefits. By investing in social media marketing, Toro Taqueria can increase brand awareness, engage with its target audience, and drive business growth. Through careful planning, content strategy development, community engagement, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends, Toro Taqueria can establish a strong online presence, build customer loyalty, and ultimately achieve their business objectives. With the right approach, social media can be a cost-effective and powerful tool for local businesses to thrive in today’s digital age.

COM0015 BLOG #1- My Go-To Social Media Tools and News Sources as a Virtual Assistant and Social Media Manager

In the world of social media today, there is an overwhelming amount of listening and monitoring tools and resources available. As a virtual assistant and social media manager, I have my faves. Most of my work is centred around Facebook, Instagram and Website traffic. Meta Business Suite and Metricool are my top two choices for monitoring tools. In order to stay on top of news, updates and trends I enjoy reading Hootsuite Blog and Social Media Today. 

Why do I like these you ask? Well, let me explain.

Listening and Monitoring Tools

Meta Business Suite is a valuable tool that allows me to manage Facebook and Instagram profiles, pages, ads and schedule posts from a single dashboard that is both mobile and desktop friendly. This tool provides audience insights, engagement metrics, shares, and ad performance metrics, as well as reach and impression data. Meta Business Suite also shows page insights to help monitor growth and engagement trends. The dashboard also provides detailed performance metrics for posts and videos like, average watch time, audience retention, and engagement levels. These analytics are very valuable for virtual assistants and social media managers to assess and optimize our strategy to allow change to happen when needed. 

Dashboard screenshot of one of my clients profiles as an example of some metrics. S. Douglas May 2023

Metricool is another useful tool that I use specifically for website tracking and SEO although it does provide many other metrics for a bunch of social media platforms. Metricool helps me monitor metrics like traffic, page views, and bounce rate. The SEO monitoring features allow me to track keyword rankings, analyze backlinks, and conduct competitor analysis. As a virtual assistant and social media manager, Metricool’s data helps me step up my SEO game making sure my efforts to gain more website traffic are working (or not). 

Metricool dashboard example. Photo credit: Metricool July 2022

News sources and updates

Many of you have likely heard of Hootsuite dashboard and now they have a blog specifically for us social media managers and professionals alike. This blog covers everything we need to know like platform updates, social media strategy, content creation, analytics, etc. It’s like a one-stop shop for all things social media. The articles found on the blog are practical by providing useful insights and tips that you can implement fairly easily. 

Similar to Hootsuite, Social Media Today is a blog that is geared towards social media professionals, including virtual assistants and social media managers like myself! It stands out to me for several reasons. It covers many topics in the social media world like platform updates, algorithm changes, new trends, industry insights, and social media strategy all of which are extremely useful with the rate things change these days. The website also features articles from industry experts and experienced professionals sharing valuable insights, and in-depth articles that analyze trends, case studies, and best practices going beyond social media news updates. 

When it comes to social media tools, I’ve got a few favourites. Meta Business Suite helps me manage Facebook and Instagram with loads of metrics and data. Metricool is excellent for tracking website traffic and SEO. As for staying informed, the Hootsuite Blog and Social Media Today are my go-to sources. Hootsuite Blog covers everything I need to know about social media, while Social Media Today keeps me up to date with platform updates, trends, and industry insights. These resources make my life as a virtual assistant and social media manager so much easier!

Have you used any of these before?
What are some of your favourites?

COM0015- My Course Reflection

As I reflect on this course, it’s amazing how much I’ve learned about the importance of storytelling and effective communication in creating engaging and memorable content.

Storytelling has the power to capture your audience’s attention and deliver your message in a more impactful way than simply stating facts. In today’s competitive digital world, being able to stand out is essential, and storytelling is one of the best ways.

In addition to storytelling, the course emphasized the importance of considering the various communication styles of different audiences and the impact of diversity on social media. By tailoring your message to your target audience and choosing appropriate writing styles and tools, you can connect with your audience on a deeper level and build a stronger connection.

The course also taught me how to choose the best social media strategies and communication tools to achieve my goals. Each platform reflects different communication styles, and it’s essential to choose delivery tools that are appropriate for each one.

Lastly, I learned the significance of branding in online communication. Whether representing a corporation or an individual, presenting messages that complement your brand is key.

As I move forward as a virtual assistant and social media manager, I will incorporate the tools I have learned in this course into my content. Origin stories, customer stories, personal stories, inspirational stories, and collaborative stories will be a part of my storytelling content going forward. I am excited to share and write about these within my social media content which will also help establish my brand’s identity and build a stronger connection with my audience.

Overall, this course has provided me with a solid foundation for effective communication and writing in the digital world. I’m excited to put these skills into practice and continue honing my social media communication abilities. Storytelling and effective communication are key to building a successful brand and connecting with an audience in today’s digital world.

COM0014- Blog #6- What makes me Unique

As a social media strategist and virtual assistant, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that set me apart from others in the industry. My focus is on small businesses and ‘mompreneurs’ who need a helping hand with social media and business management, especially those with little ones under the age of five.

Photo Credit: Sarah Douglas, 2022

What makes me unique in the industry is my niche expertise and diverse skill set. With years of experience as a virtual assistant and mother, I know how to keep track of multiple clients and prioritize tasks like a pro. I can create a social media strategy that’s not only sustainable but also realistic for busy entrepreneurs who are also parents.

In addition to my virtual assistant skills, I’ve been creating content since 2010 on various platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Whether it’s beauty, crafting, green living, or social media, I’ve got a diverse range of knowledge and expertise. As a dance teacher, I also know how to teach and pass on my knowledge to others effectively to provide my clients with the confidence to continue on their own. Being able to teach my clients how to sustain plans themselves is key.

As a virtual assistant and social media strategist, my goal is to help small businesses and mompreneurs grow their online presence and achieve their business goals. I take a proactive approach to networking and building relationships with potential clients. By taking the time to understand their business and unique needs, I establish trust and long-lasting relationships. This goes far beyond generic DM’s and salesy pitches made by others in the industry.

Overall, my unique perspective, niche expertise, organizational skills, and creativity make me stand out from the crowd. If you’re a small business owner or a mompreneur looking for social media or administrative help, I’m your gal! Let’s work together to make your business shine. Whether it’s creating a social media strategy or managing your daily tasks, I’m here to help make magic happen. So don’t hesitate to reach out and let’s get started.

What tasks do you struggle with the most? Let me know in the comments.

COM0114 – Blog #5 Sarah D’s Personal Brand

Photo Credit: Sarah Douglas, 2022

I’m Sarah Douglas, a virtual assistant and social media strategist. I help small businesses and “mompreneurs” manage their social media accounts, website, and admin tasks. With my diverse background and skillset, I can offer services tailored to my client’s unique needs. I’ve worked in various industries, including hairdressing, dance teaching, cafe management, barista work, content creation, and admin assistance.

To stand out in a competitive industry, I decided to take a proactive approach to networking. Instead of sending generic DM pitches, I focused on building a more personal connection with potential clients. By taking the time to learn about their business and find out how I could help them, I established trust and long-lasting relationships with clients. I believe that building relationships and establishing trust is the key to success in the virtual assistant and social media world.

My colleagues describe me as an attentive sympathetic listener, practical and realistic, easy-going, and level-headed. I strive to understand things from different perspectives and aim to maintain a positive and inclusive work environment.

I am most proud of my ability to provide my clients with the best possible service without overstretching myself. Through my organizational skills and ability to manage tasks effectively, I can prioritize my client’s needs and make them feel well-cared for. Additionally, I have learned to set better boundaries for myself, which allows me to maintain a healthy work-life balance and spend quality time with my family.

To sum it up, I am a virtual assistant and social media strategist who offers tailored services to small businesses and “mompreneurs”. I prioritize building relationships and trust with my clients, strive to maintain a positive and inclusive work environment, and pride myself on providing exceptional service while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Are you a business owner?

What do you think is the most important aspect of working with a virtual assistant or social media strategist?

Let me know in the comments.

Photo Credit: Sarah Douglas, 2022

COM0114 – Blog #4 B2C Case Study- Starbucks

Starbucks is a name everyone knows. I chose to focus on this company for my case study of a B2C business because they were in front of my mind after sending me a few emails this week to redeem my birthday beverage for free! How nice is that!

Starbucks primarily operates as a retail coffee chain and serves customers at its various locations, offering coffee, specialty drinks, food items, and other merchandise. The company’s target audience is individual consumers, and its business model is centred around creating a personal and convenient experience. The Starbucks Caramel Macchiato you get in Ottawa is the same Starbucks Caramel Macchiato you’d get in Los Angeles.

Starbucks has a strong presence across multiple social media platforms and country-specific accounts, such as the Starbucks Canada profile on Instagram. The company excels in marketing and uses social media and email campaigns to engage with customers effectively. In addition to Instagram, The company is also on Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to connect with customers and promote its brand.

Here are a few ways that Starbucks shows up on socials:
1. Product launches.
Starbucks is known to create buzz and excitement with its customers. Free birthday drinks, seasonal specialties etc. 

2. Engagement.
Starbucks interacts with customers on social media platforms, responding to comments and questions, and encouraging engagement through contests and polls.

3. Brand awareness and values.
Starbucks uses social platforms to showcase their sustainability initiatives, employee and customer stories, Wellness tips and social impact. The highlights on their Instagram profile are great at having this information easily accessible.

4. User Generated Content (UGC).
This is the new way companies get advertisements these days and Starbucks is no exception. Starbucks encourages customers to share their own experiences and photos with the brand on social media, using hashtags and brand-specific campaigns to build a sense of community among customers.

5. Customer Service.
Starbucks uses social media as a tool for customer service, responding to customer inquiries and addressing any issues that may arise. Twitter is usually the place for this type of interaction. 

6. Customer Loyalty
Starbucks has generated excitement and buzz further fueling customer loyalty through its star reward system. This incentive program rewards customers with gold star status for purchasing enough Starbucks products, providing a convenient and fast way for consumers to enjoy the Starbucks experience.

Overall, I think Starbucks uses its social media platforms effectively to engage with customers and promote its brand. The company is a well-established B2C business that is centred around creating a personal and convenient experience for its customers. With a strong focus on marketing through social media and email campaigns, Starbucks also excels in showcasing its brand values, using UGC, providing customer service through its social media presence, and its star reward system has helped in creating customer loyalty and a sense of community among customers.

Are you a Starbucks fan? What’s your favourite drink?
Let me know in the comments.

COM0014 –Blog post #3: 123 Petits Pas Target Audience

I am a social media manager and virtual assistant. For today’s blog on target audiences, I decided to use one of my clients, 123 Petits Pas, as the example because we have spent a lot of time fleshing out our target audience.

At 123 Petits Pas, our target audience consists of parents of children ages 0-6 years old who are interested in learning the French language together. The programming and resources are geared toward parents who have little to no French experience. The owner, Mme Amy, creates engaging, fun, and compelling content to teach French in fun and encouraging judgement free zone.

For this job, and all my other social media clients, we create an audience profile. We give them a name and write down demographic details like age and income, their struggles, frustrations, interests and opinions.


Name: Franny Frenchie (super clever)

Gender: Female (Content was geared towards mothers although we do have some dads)

Age: Parents to children ages 0-6 years

Language: English (who want to learn French)

Income level: Low to mid-range

Location: Worldwide ( we have participants from Canada to India to Australia and in between)

Photo Cred: Creations behind the lens, 2019


-Time Constraints: Many parents have busy schedules and struggle to find the time to devote to learning a new language with their child.

-Difficulty of the Language: French can be a challenging language to learn, and some parents may feel overwhelmed or frustrated not knowing where to start or how to keep it up.

-Keeping Children Engaged: Young children can have short attention spans, and parents may struggle to find engaging activities that keep their child interested and motivated in learning French.

-Limited Resources: Parents may struggle to find quality resources that are specifically designed for parents and children to learn French together.

Our parent participants have a wide range of education themselves but they value education and are thinking about future opportunities for their child(ren). These parents tend to be those who prioritize hands-on learning and like to participate and engage with their child(ren).
The 123 Petits Pas parent participant values spending quality time with their family and being open-minded, which helps in personal growth and being a positive role model to the child(ren) they are learning with.

How they like to consume info:
The parent participants are found on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Facebook is popular for parents who like to connect with our content as well as connecting to other parents who share a similar goal: learning French with their child. We utilize our own branded page to post about our new programs, registrations, sales and general tips (check it out here).  We have created a few groups to connect our participants together as well as take part in other groups to connect to others.

123 Petits Pas Facebook Groups list: Click here 

<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://<a href="; title="facebook icons">Facebook icons created by Pixel perfect – FlaticonPhoto Credit:

Instagram is popular among our participants as a platform for participants to share their own experiences with 123 Petits Pas with reviews, stories while in class and posts with their children using French outside of the program.
We get the most engagement within this platform and spend our largest effort here.

Here are some examples of posts we’ve done:
123 Petits Pas Feed – click here
Promoting our new Parent Support Course- click here
Winter virtual programs options – click here 
Seasonal activities and French vocabulary – click here

<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://<a href="; title="instagram icons">Instagram icons created by Pixel perfect – FlaticonPhoto Credit:

YouTube is popular for parents to use with their kids. We have sample songs, classes, stories and more. We use YouTube as a tool and send people when they are wanting to see free examples of our paid content before committing.

YouTube channel and welcome video – click here
French colours lesson for preschoolers – click here 
French vowels song with freebie in the caption – click here 
Learn French with food! – click here 

<a href="http://<a href="; title="youtube icons">Youtube icons created by Rakib Hassan Rahim – FlaticonPhoto Credit:

Knowing our target audience and their unique characteristics are key to reaching our own goals. We are able to communicate with them in such a way that they will stop to listen, especially in today’s fast-paced world. We are able to know their goals, learn about their struggles and barriers in achieving those goals and provide solutions so they feel confident and build trust in us.

Can you share an example of a social media post that really resonated with you and made you feel like the message was specifically tailored to your interests and needs?

COM0014 – Blog #1:Storytelling – From drawings on the wall to social media

As our attention spans get shorter, the need to write concisely, in a well-packaged article is so important.  Using the strategies I learned in this module I will share strategies to help you write a better blog.

The inverted triangle method
As described in the course, This method involves breaking up your ideas into three sections:

Top- the most important information

Middle- the extra details that won’t be missed if skipped

Bottom- general information, the least important and for those who are really interested in the post or article.

Photo Cred: Wikipedia, 2022 ‘Inverted pyramid (journalism)”

This method is often used in news writing where the most important information is presented in the headline and first few sentences and then followed by supporting details and background information. This way, readers can quickly get a sense of the story and decide if they want to read on for more information.
This method works well for social media content and blogs because the important information is at the beginning so people who like to skim or who are short on time. It also provides more details deeper into the story so the reader can decide whether the title is attention-grabbing enough to want to read more.

Breaking it up
Organizing your content is important for readers so they can digest it easily. Guiding them through a beginning, middle and end will help them understand the information you are presenting or be able to follow along to your story easier. Having paragraph titles make it easier for readers to skim the content and to find the information they want to learn more about.

In this blog post, you’ll notice that my intro tells you what the rest of the blog will be about. I like describing a pain point, and telling the reader how to fix it. The body of this post goes deeper into each solution I mentioned. I use a headline in bold for each one so the reader can decide if they want to learn more about the inverted triangle method or how to “break it up” for example.
Even without reading these paragraphs and only reading the titles, the reader can still get the basic points of this post because there was the beginning (pain point and solutions, Middle (details) and soon you will see the conclusion.  

Using an active voice
As I was reading module two I came across this tip and I can honestly say I have never thought about this in writing before. I’m not the best at writing and have no formal training so learning more about techniques to strengthen my writing is so useful.

Active voice: Subject > Verb > Object
I’m writing this blog

Passive voice: Object > Verb > Subject
This blog is written by me

Photo Cred: Creazilla, ‘Yelling Clipart” Royalty Free

Using an active voice makes your writing clear and concise. It can help to build a sense of authority and credibility, making the reader more likely to trust and believe the information being presented.  I am eager to implement this into future blogs and see how it improves my writing. 

In conclusion, storytelling has evolved from cave drawings and elaborate long tales to social media and 5-second videos.
To effectively communicate with our audience, we need to adapt our methods to fit the fast-paced world we live in. One way to do this is by using the inverted triangle method which presents the most important information first, followed by supporting details, and background information.
Another way is by breaking up the content into a clear beginning, middle, and end, and using headlines and paragraphs to make it easy to skim and understand.
Lastly, using an active writing voice can also help to make the writing clear, direct, and more engaging for the reader.
By using some of these techniques we learned in module two, we can make our storytelling more impactful and useful in today’s fast-paced world.

What storytelling technique do you find the most useful?

COM0014 – Blog #1: The Ultimate Family Adventure

COM0014 – Blog #1: The Ultimate Family Adventure

Are you ready for the ultimate family adventure? Join me as I take you down memory lane and relive our unforgettable journey to visit family in BC with a 10-month-old and 3-year-old. Will it be a trip to remember or a complete disaster? 

Photos by: Sarah Douglas, 2022

As any parent knows, travelling with children is hard and travelling with kids under 5 is even harder. After 2 years of the pandemic and not seeing our families we were determined to bite the bullet and bring both kids to BC for two weeks of fun; we just had to get past the dreaded airplane ride. This trip would be about 5 hours each way with a connection in Vancouver to get to  Kamloops. Naively, we thought a red-eye flight would be best because the kids could sleep. Oh boy, were we wrong! Our 10-month-old, Ella, screamed the entire flight. The passenger in front of us said “it was the worst flight he’s ever experienced”. Ella wanted to walk, crawl and climb on and under everything, she did not take no for an answer and let everyone on board know it. Finally, as we exited the plane all sweaty and bruised (physically and emotionally) I told my husband “Can we skip our next flight I never want to get on another plane with Ella again!”

Little did I know, those were fighting words to the universe. Our connecting flight was CANCELED! The forest fires were too smokey in Kamloops and all planes were grounded. We frantically tried to find a hotel, all booked. We tried to find a car to get further into the city or to the interior, but all were booked. Skytrain is impossible with all the luggage and kids in tow. Buses, booked.  Everyone was in the same boat and we were stranded with no way to get to Kamloops which was a 5-hour drive away or 1-hour plane ride and nowhere to stay. The kids didn’t sleep and by this point, we were all up 19 hours.

Just as we were accepting our fate that we would have to live at the airport for a few days and feeling defeated our dearest diaper wearing Ella had the largest bowl movement of her life. With our luck, it exploded out of her diaper and all over her shirt, pants and me. I called in an SOS to everyone we knew and finally got into a hotel. Some strings were pulled and we managed to get the surgeon’s suite at the airport hotel. This suite was saved for doctors they have to fly in last minute for life-saving surgeries. One shred of luck, My bestie is a doctor and scored this RARE gem. I couldn’t be more relieved.

On the way to the room, I was on the phone ugly crying to my sister-in-law; where we were supposed to be staying. She decided it was best to drive the 5 hours to get us and drive 5 hours back to her place the next morning.
It all seemed to be looking up. I felt instant relief the following day getting into her van as we headed off to our destination. 

If any of you have spent any time in BC’s major cities you know that the forest fires are there but they never come too close to town. We all felt confident that we would be fine. The views were hazy and the air smelt of a wooden sauna. The first two days of our week in Kamloops were fun. Playing on the mountain and spending time with family was wonderful.
We thought our luck had changed but mother nature had other plans. We started watching the news as the winds changed direction which was blowing the forest fires our way. Every hour or two the fire map got closer and closer to where we were. As the day grew so did our panic. The alerts went from the suggestion of evacuation to you must evacuate immediately. Firefighters were starting to knock on residents’ doors to make sure they were being evacuated. Once we got word this was happening from family members close by at the farm, we realized we needed to hustle and hustle fast.

My sister-in-law has 4 kids and a dog. Her husband was at the farm being told to evacuate by the firefighters and trying to get home so we were one less adult. They needed to get their life in suitcases and bring all of their important belongings and we four had to pack all of our luggage onto the van and car. So 3 adults and 6 kids who were all under 10 years old drove down the mountain and into town to try to find a hotel. All of the hotels were booked. We decided to take the kids to a park to blow off some steam. Downtown Kamloops is surrounded by water so although ash was literally raining on us, we knew it was safe…for now.
We finally got in touch with a hotel that had two rooms for us but only for that one single night and nothing more. We immediately went to check in and decided on a plan.
We were in the same position as before and felt stranded again. With no cars and no hotels, our sister-in-law decided to drive us 5 hours to Vancouver to drive herself the 5 hours back home. Her family would find refuge elsewhere with her husband, thankfully. 

The drive back to Vancouver from Kamloops along the Coquihalla was one I will never forget. We were driving through the active fires, and helicopters with water bags were above our heads putting fires out on either side of the highway. The rolling black smoke engulfed the view on either side of us. The sky was even red at times. It was intense.

Once we arrived in Vancouver, the rest of our trip was much calmer. We were able to explore the city, play at the beautiful parks, lounge on the beach and ate all the delicious food.

Although our trip was filled with adventure and unexpected twists and turns, we did decide to test our fate again and so glad we did. Kamloops/Vancouver summer 2022 was less dramatic but a nice (calm) vacation.

Have you ever been this close to forest fires?
I’d love to hear your story!

Be prepared & batch your content!

As a small business owner it is sometimes hard to stay on top of it all. The pandemic adds extra uncertainty, especially as a parent. I worry daily if school will get canceled, will the kids wake up with a runny nose, or you end up with the big ‘C’. Each scenario means you have kids at home to take care of while also juggling your business tasks. It’s hard to know what each day will bring, batching your content a week ahead (or more) has been a lifesaver.

There are so many ways to batch your content but I will show you what works well for me.

Step 1.  Create a plan
The first step of my batching plan is to figure out the pillars of your brand and plug it into excel, thankfully this step only needs to be done once. This allows you to focus and will ensure that when you plan your content you are able to get your message across while staying on brand. You can take it a step further and colour code each one as you can see in the photo example on the left below. 
In that same document I will add a sheet per month and add the dates with spacers for a visual of each week, see the right side of the photo below. I will plug in the content I want to create, add any sponsored posts and/or insert campaign posts on their due dates as well. I only do this one week ahead unless I know I need a specific post on a day later in the month. I use the squares to correspond to the colour code of the pillars so I can make sure content messages are evenly spaced and not too concentrated. I used one of my clients plans as an example but took out the content. Keep in mind that you do not have to post everyday like this client. Different strategies for different people.

Screen shots of excel workbooks by Sarah Douglas

Step 2. Create the content
I only create and manage Facebook and Instagram which use a lot of visual posts. I only ever use Canva to create my visual content. You can do so much in it and it is so user friendly.  There are blanks as well as templates in prefixed sizes, you can use custom ratios as well.
I get photos from the client or use photos I take myself. I use Color Story to edit the filters if needed then upload those into media on Canva. If I don’t have a photo I create a graphic myself or use a royalty free stock photo from Unsplash.
From there I create content that suits my needs. Keeping in mind the audience I make sure it all matches the tone and aesthetic.
Here are some posts I have created for a few different clients to give you an idea of the options you can create in Canva. If you just do text only platforms like Twitter, you can skip this step.

Step 3. Add to a planner or an auto posting tool
I personally like Planoly because I enjoy how you can see the whole feed and visualize it in its entirety to see if you need to make any changes as you make your plan. I have recently discovered that Meta Business suite does have a planner. I find the planner is better at auto-posting but you can’t see your future feed as a whole to see if it is conveying your message properly.
I use the free version of Planoly but the paid version is pretty affordable if you do find you need it. Here is where I will write all the captions and add the appropriate hashtags so I don’t need to think about it before posting. 

4. Post
When the time comes, everything is ready for me to post. All I have to do is click “post now” and add it to the feed. The photo and caption are copied over. All that is left to do is take that post and share in stories and continue with my engagement plan.
I usually turn the toggle on to auto post to Facebook however, after learning about writing for different platforms from Intro to Social Media,  I have adjusted the copy slightly and started to use Meta Business for the Facebook posts and set it to auto post at an ideal time.

Being a week ahead is a lifesaver for me, life is so unpredictable so having that buffer should things be turned upside down sets my mind at ease. It only takes me one day to plan and make a week’s worth of content so any catchup that should arise wouldn’t be too strenuous.
Creating a plan and sticking to it ensures that you are consistent with your brand and its message. Creating content in a place that is easy for you to navigate is key. Seeing your plan visually or adding it to an auto-posing tool will have your content ready for when time comes to post.

There are a million ways to batch content but I hope that you found value in me sharing my process with you.

Do you batch content already? Are you like me and need a lot of visual cues to stay organized?
I would love to know.

Don’t be caught off guard- be prepared! Learn how to batch your content by following this link: #momshelpingmoms #mompreneuradvice

Learn how to batch your content so you’re ready for life’s curveballs. Click the link to be prepared a week ahead.