Snapchat 101 for Mommy Bloggers

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Snapchat is a wildly popular mobile app that came on the scene is 2011.  As a mommy blogger who is trying to make money online, it is your goal to get your message, products and services out to the largest audience possible.  And the way we do that is online via our blog and social media.  Snapchat has over 100 million daily users who are on it for at least 30 minutes each time.  With over 100 million daily users, your customer is definitely on Snapchat.  And if this app is being widely used by your target audience, then you need to learn more about it.  But even if you know absolutely nothing about Snapchat, chances are you have seen a picture or video of someone using the Licking Dog lenses or wearing a Flower Crown.  So let me just give you a quick crash course on all you need to know about Snapchat.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app that can only be used on mobile devices.  It was developed by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy when they were grad students at Stanford.   Snapchat had a bad rap when it first came out.  It was known as the sexting app because you took a picture and then poof it disappeared.


But it has come a long way to shed this image and has become one of the top apps in the world.  A few years ago, Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion and they turned it down.  Wow!  Just so you know, I would never turn down $3 billion dollars. Never!

Who Uses Snapchat?

Snapchat is definitely used by younger people more than older people.  Over 60% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25.  However, if you don’t speak to the younger audience, don’t turn away just yet.  More than 25% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 25 and 34.  Rounding out this list, 12% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 35 and 54.  But this is not the end of the story because Snapchat is gaining millions of new users each month with increased usage from people in ALL age groups.  So if you think your audience isn’t on Snapchat, think again.  They are and if they are not on Snapchat now, they will be soon.

I admit, I was a little confused about how to use Snapchat when I first downloaded it to my phone.  I had to enlist the help of my 9 year-old daughter to show me how.  But I love using Snapchat to take pictures using their fun filters.

There’s a lot of information online about how to use Snapchat.  But I will condense it and give you a brief how-to so you can get up and running quickly on Snapchat.  Using this guide, you’ll be taking snaps, and adding fun lenses like the Licking Dog and Flower Crown in no time!

But Don’t Fret

I can hear what you are thinking right now.  You are thinking, “Oh no!  I have to learn how to use and be active on yet another social media platform”.  I get it.  I totally understand how you can become overwhelmed trying to post to and keep up with all the social media platforms that are out there today.  And I’m not telling you that you have to.  I wrote a blog post all about social media overwhelm and how to handle it.  However, if you are interested Snapchat or seem to like it and want to learn more, then read on…

Get a Snapchat account

Snapchat is a mobile app.  This means, it can only be used on mobile devices.  Most people use it on their cellular phones.   So go to the App Store or Google Play to download Snapchat   Once you have downloaded Snapchat, it will walk you through getting your username and setting up your account.  Once that’s all set up, you can start snapping!

The Lingo

Before we really get into how to use snapchat.  Let’s get the lingo down first!

Snap – a photo or video taken using the snapchat app

Snapchatter – A person who uses snapchat.

Lenses –  This is by far the most popular feature of snapchat.  Lenses are real-time filters, special effects and sounds that can be added to your snaps. Lenses use object recognition to map to your face, which is able to ‘see’ your eyes and nose to precisely overlay the filter onto your selfie taken with the in-app camera.  And they also add sounds and interactive motion effects to video selfies – like the Deer.

To use the Snapchat Lenses feature, go to the Camera screen in Snapchat, tap on your face until you see a grid-like network appear briefly over your face.  Then, all the lens options will appear next to the snap button.  Swipe left to select the lens you want to use, then tap the capture button to take a snap.
Snapchat adds new lenses all the time based on upcoming holidays, world events or funny things.  So check in daily to see the new lenses.

Filters – I used to get filters and lenses mixed up but no more.  A filter is an overlay to your snap.  So after you take a snap, swipe right or left on the preview screen to add colored filters, the current time, local weather, speed overlays or geofilters to your snaps.

Story –  A story is a picture or video that you can show or broadcast to your followers.  You can post multiple snaps to create a longer story or narrative that loops. Your story can be viewed an unlimited amount of times in 24 hours.

Those are probably the 5 most important terms when talking about Snapchat.  Of course, there is other lingo associated with Snapchat but I wanted to give you the most common ones so you can get up and running on Snapchat today.  And so you can take snaps with lenses with your kids and at least sound like you know what you are talking about!

Get to Snapping!

Okay, now that you know a little bit about Snapchat, get out there and start using it.  The best way to learn Snapchat is to experiment with it and use the different features.  Don’t be afraid to browse the app and take silly snaps.  Just remember, you can always delete a snap if it turns out wrong.   But let me know in the comments if you use Snapchat for your business or not.  I would love to know.

And if you love the snapchat pillow I’m holding in the picture to the right as much as I do, click on the picture to get your own!

Hey, if you are on Snapchat, follow me.  My username is marcella.wilson.  If you follow me, I will follow you back.  It will be fun, I promise!


Dr. Marcella Wilson


Snapchat is awesome for business but you gotta have a blog too.  Your blog is your business home.  Because you don’t own or control Snapchat.  Snapchat could disapper tomorrow and you don’t want to base your business solely off your Snapchat or social media following.  Remember what happened to MySpace.  So, if you are in need of a blog, I can help you get set up in 5 minutes.  Check out my blog post where I give step-by-step instructions on how to set up a blog.  It’s called “How to Start a Blog in 5 Minutes: Step by Step Instructions“.

Click HERE to read it.

Valentine’s Day Blogging Tips to Get More Readers (& Customers!) to Your Blog

valentine's day blogging tips

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  Love is in the air! Can you feel it? Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? It’s right around the corner so it’s time to get ready. But I’m not talking about buying flowers, chocolate or jewelry for your boo. Nope! I am talking about using Valentine’s Day to get more readers to your blog and even make a few sales. So depending on where you are in your blog and your business, here are a few love-inspired ideas that you can use.

But before I dive deep into my tips, do you have a blog yet?  If not, don’t despair.  I am here to help you though the whole process.  In just 5 minutes you can get your blog up and running.  Check out this blog post where I give step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow.  So get started on your dream today by clicking HERE to start your blog.



If you already sell products and services on your blog

Create a Gift List!  Since everyone is searching for the perfect Valentine gift, give your readers gift ideas featuring your products and services. Most people buy traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like candy but why not show them that your products and services can make their loved one happy too? They won’t know until you tell them, so show them and (hopefully) make the sale.

Package it Up!  You can even create special packages for the holiday that are only available for Valentine’s Day. Be clear about what products and/or services are being offered in the package and the pricing. If you can, offer several packages at different price points to attract a range of customers. If your products and services aren’t love-themed, try using red or pink packaging instead. I realize these ideas may take more than a week to implement, so be sure to give yourself enough time to give your products and services “the look of love”.

Gift Card, Anyone?  Another great option is to allow customers to buy your products and services as a gift to a loved one. This works for a wide range of products and services. And if all else fails, give your customers a coupon that can only be used on Valentine’s Day. The coupon code can be the word “LOVE” or another holiday-related term. If you have an email list, shoot them out a quick email Valentine’s Day morning letting them know about the special coupon code and see what happens. Hopefully, the sales will start rolling in.

Target Different audiences.  When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of romantic love, right? And that’s what the holiday is all about. But other people in our life need love too. Show potential customers that your products and services will make great Valentine’s Day gifts for parents, children, co-workers, friends and even pets. Yes, people love their pets and treat them like family members, so why not?

If you are not at the point where you are selling products and services yet

No worries. I still have some ways you can use Valentine’s Day to pull in more readers to your blog.

If your blog has nothing to do with love or Valentine’s Day, you can still use the holiday to get more readers. For example, if you blog about vintage Ford Mustangs, you can write a blog post called “10 Reasons to Love the Ford Mustang” or “5 Rom-Com Movies that Feature Ford Mustangs”. Take some time over the next few days to think about what you want to write about and try to come up with some cool ways to incorporate Valentine’s Day into your blog.

As a side note, I bought a bright red Ford Mustang when I finished my master’s degree. I sold it when I had my first child because I couldn’t fit my stroller in the trunk of the car. As you can see, I have never quite gotten over that.

It’s Valentine’s Day, spread love on social media

If you plan ahead, here are some lovely things you can do on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Dr. Marcella Wilson on Valentine's Day

Create love-themed posts on social media the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Now be sure to mix it up. Use quotes, funny memes, pictures and even videos hyping up to Valentine’s Day. You can use your posts to advertise Valentine’s Day specials that you are offering or to just send readers to your blog.

Create a Hashtag that brings awareness to Valentine’s Day but also promotes your blog. You can use your hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. But just remember that hashtags are not owned by anyone and can be used by anyone. So it is possible that someone else can use the hashtag you’re using for Valentine’s Day for a something totally different.

Photo Contest – If you are not selling anything, use your hashtag as a photo contest. The way it works is that readers can post pictures on their Instagram or Twitter account using your Valentine-themed hashtag. But only the best photos or top 10 winners will get retweeted on your Instagram or Twitter account. And you’ll be surprised. If you use this method, I bet you’ll get a lot more participation than you anticipate. People don’t always need the promise of winning something to get involved. Just giving someone the opportunity to be recognized and promoted is more than enough motivation for some people. Try it out and see how it works for you.

In closing, use one of these ideas to get your readers in the “mood for love” by showcasing your products and services or reading your blog. The key is to be creative and think outside the box. I know you can come up with something special, thoughtful and fun that your readers will just love.

In the comments, tell me which idea you are going to use this Valentine’s Day on your blog. Or tell me about an idea that I haven’t talked about.  I can’t wait to hear from you!


Dr. Marcella Wilson

Goals: The One Thing You Must Do to Accomplish Them

goals: the one thing you must do to accomplish your goals this year

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January is the month that everyone is setting goals and making resolutions.   But excuse me.  I did not say, “Happy New Year!”  By now, I think everyone has gotten back to their normal routine.  Hopefully, you had a wonderful holiday season.  I did.  I have taken down all the Christmas decorations, my girls are back to school and I’m prepping for my Spring courses (I’m a professor, remember?)

I’m writing this because I, like you and so many others am looking at myself and figuring out what I want to do and be this year.  The New Year just naturally causes people to look back at the previous year and look ahead and plan for the new year.  Lots of people make resolutions to lose weight, start a business, quit smoking and all sorts of stuff.  Personally, I don’t make resolutions anymore because by January 17th – and most of the time, even sooner than that – I have given up and am back to eating ice cream daily and just resolve to accept the size of my thighs.  But this got me to thinking…  Why do I and so many others fail to accomplish their resolutions?  Why are goals so hard to achieve?

People come to me all the time wanting to me to help them achieve their dream of starting a blog for their business or grow their social media following.  They are so excited, serious and motivated when we first meet up.  But some people fall by the wayside, even before we get started or just when things are starting to take off.  Why is that?  Why are we like that?

The Reason We Fail to Reach Our Goals

I believe it is because we do not take action.  And if we do take action, we stop and do not repeat those actions that lead to progress over and over again until we reach our goal.  After all, it is so easy and comfortable to just keep doing what we are already going.  To get 100,000 or more Instagram followers and be considered a major influence, just doesn’t happen.  To get to the point where brands are paying you big bucks to post a picture of their product on your Instagram feed takes work.  A lot of work.  That just doesn’t happen overnight.  Even to get 1,000 like on your Facebook page takes determination, consistency and hard work.


The #1 Thing You Need to Do to Achieve Your Goals

To reach those dreams and goals that God has planted in us takes time, work and action.  Specific actions on a daily basis that we do over and over again until we reach that goal.  And we can’t let “obstacles” stop us.  Like P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs (or whatever he is calling himself now) says in a lot of his songs, “Can’t stop, won’t stop”.  We must have that attitude in order to succeed.

Expect Difficulties

Actually, we shouldn’t be surprised when we hit roadblocks. We should expect them but not let them deter us from our path.  We should have the mindset that we are going to go around, though, over or under that obstacle to overcome it.  The key is to not to quit or let that obstacle stop you from achieving your goal.  This year, we got this.  Let’s do this!  #achieveyourdreamsin2017

Let Me Help You Achieve Your Goals and Dreams

I help people create their blogs and grow their social media followings (I specialize in Instagram and Facebook).  If you want to learn more and be inspired then join my tribe.  I would love to have you.  Sign up for my email list – and get a FREE cheat sheet, too!  It’s called “5 Rookie Mistakes Instaglammers make on Instagram”  Just click HERE.

BTW, in the comments below, let me know what you want to achieve this year.




Happy Anniversary to ME!

Hi!! Guess what? Today is my social media anniversary and I am so happy. I have been on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for 5 years today. It doesn’t seem like 5 years have gone by but it has. When I first started out I was definitely all over the place and didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going. I was just kinda winging it. This journey has been full of ups and downs, stops and starts, sleepless nights, frustration, fun, elation and joy. I wish I started earlier than I did but I am glad that I am where I am.

I went through several variations before I settled on what I am doing online today. I felt strongly that I should have an online presence but I was not clear on what I should do. At first when I starting blogging and posting on social media, I was just posting stuff about me and my family. But that kinda freaked my husband out so I stopped. And that was probably for the best because there are alot of crazy people out there. Then, I decided I would blog about the latest and greatest tech gadgets. But that didn’t last too long because I had two babies and a toddler that kept me super busy. I barely had time to shower or sleep, let alone keep up with the latest tech. After that, I started posting about social media and blogging. More specifically, I was teaching people how to blog and how to use social media to build their business. Now, while I do know a lot about that, it kinda bored me. I wasn’t excited to work on my blog or post pictures on Instagram. People always thought I dressed great and asked me about fashion, beauty, hair and stuff like that. I thought, maybe I could blog about that. But I shied away from it because I thought who would listen to me? Then one day I said to myself you know what, why not? You only live once, I could just do it for fun and see what happens. So now, I blog and post about fashion, beauty and tech. It has been truly heavenly. I love what I do. I love talking to you online, taking pictures, and making videos. It really has been a great experience and outlet for me. Thank you for being with me every step of the way. So, I am happy to share my journey, my evolution and my anniversary with you.

In closing, I want to tell you that it is okay to follow a dream or a passion – no matter how crazy, off-beat or unrealistic it may seem. Just do it. Do what makes you happy and don’t wait too long to do it because before you know it, years will have gone by. Why don’t you tell me all about your dream or passion that you are or want to blog about in the comments below.

Can’t wait to celebrate the next anniversary…

ISIS: The Terrorist is Only a Tweet Away

ISIS: The Terrorist is only a tweet away

ISIS is a terrorist group that is dominating the news right now.   America has faced other terror organizations in the past. But why does ISIS seem so terrifying? So close? Because they are only a tweet away, right in the palm of your hand where you hold your smartphone.  Terror organizations have used the internet in the past to further their cause.  But no other organization has used social media so masterfully like ISIS as means to capture the world’s attention. Why is ISIS’s use of social media so powerful? Because anyone in the world can access it at any time, they have a clear picture of who their target audience is and they are employing a successful social media strategy to grow their influence worldwide.

THE PASTUnfortunately, terrorist organizations using the Internet to recruit fighters and spread their message are nothing new.

Previously, we saw videos of al-Qaeda doing military drills in the desert or them taunting America in a foreign language. They seemed so distant and removed from our reality. Why? Because only if we tuned on the news that day would we see these videos and they had no real bearing on our lives. They were speaking in a language we did not understand, they dressed differently and were in a place none of us would probably ever visit. Yes, a war on terror was being fought, but very far away from our reality.

Al-Qaeda used the Internet to recruit young, single men with little to no education or military experience as fighters. They used pop culture themes to seduce new recruits through Jihad-inspired video games and rap music videos with lyrics sympathetic to their cause. But you had to find these sites and propaganda online. They were not mainstream. Once an interested recruit found this al-Qaeda propaganda and expressed interest, they were then guided to chat rooms and social media where they could interact and be radicalized with other like-minded individuals. From the chat rooms and social media, these recruits were urged to travel to Iraq to train with al-Qaeda. The ultimate goal being for them to take action to prove their new belief.

THE PRESENT – ISIS has flipped the script

ISIS specifically uses social media to imply that they are like us and here with us.  They tweet like we do. They speak in English like we do. They play Call of Duty like we do. They even posted a picture of the ISIS flag in front of the White House. Showing us that they are not across the world fighting in a desert. They walk among us. ISIS uses social media to bring terror directly into our homes.

But that has all changed now.  They are not only recruiting young men but they are also luring young women into the fold to have babies and grow the Islamic state. We know thousands of men and women from the United States, Britain and Australia who have “disappeared” and joined ISIS. But ISIS is letting its recruits know that they can still show their duty without getting on a plane or leaving their country. There are reports of ISIS terror cells outside of El Paso, TX.  Also, ISIS is calling for followers to carry out lone attacks on popular tourist spots in the US such as Times Square in New York City.

Through social media, ISIS has taken out that “middle man” or the underground aspect of it so to speak and can access anyone directly. Or anyone can access them right from their smart phone or tablet device that they’re holding in their hand. Anyone can look, troll and watch in horror or amazement at the videos and messages they send out to the world daily. You just get the feeling that this information is all too easy for a troubled person to access and carry out another Sandy Hook school shooting or Boston marathon bombing in the name of ISIS.


First, know your audience. Understand who you are talking to, how they communicate and mirror that in your language to them. ISIS is undeniably trying to scare, intimidate and recruit westerners. We know that because they now create splashy, propaganda videos in English showing them passing out candy and going through military exercises. All of their videos showing beheadings and taunting America are in English. There is no doubt that they are taking to us. More specifically, ISIS is talking to you.

Step two is to stay on brand, meaning know your mission and only tweet about those things. ISIS is brilliant in that respect as they only tweet about 4 distinct things to spread their message. ISIS tweets propaganda in order to recruit fighters and asks their followers to support them financially. ISIS also threaten and intimidate their enemies by posting horrific images and videos of beheadings, crucifixions and other violence.

The last step is to tweet or post consistently because you cannot build a following if you do not consistently put your message out there. ISIS tweets and posts regularly, plus show their mastery of Twitter by using hashtags. ISIS sends out tweets using popular hashtags like #WorldCup2014 so their tweets can be viewed by a world audience. Also, ISIS has its activists tweet out thousands of tweets using a specific hashtag on certain days at certain times so that the hashtag – and subsequently ISIS – can trend on Twitter and become a top trending Twitter topic for that day.  Thus, gaining even more attention. ISIS has a clear social media plan and it’s working.

In the wake of the spread of ISIS, America has conducted air strikes and is seeking help from other nations to join the fight against this evil. Twitter has also deleted some  accounts of suspected terrorists.  But ISIS is still tweeting, posting and spreading hate every day with 140 characters or less.

My question to you is, the Internet is a free place.  Do you feel that is right that ISIS is able to freely use Twitter and Facebook to spread their message and recruit?  Leave your reply in the comment section below.

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