Today we're going to talk about social media marketing tips, and how life has changed from full-time teacher to what Brooke currently does now. Brooke taught for five years where she started in first grade. After COVID hit, she went completely virtual. Which then led her to do what she is doing now. She gets to stay home with her baby and work from home, managing social media accounts for local businesses.
Brooke has always wanted to be a teacher. When she was little she would set up all her stuffed animals to read to them, forcing her brother to play school. She grew up wanting to be a teacher and wanting to be a mom. She absolutely adored the classroom. But it kind of just migrated into a new season and that's okay. You don't have to write the story for the rest of your life. You can make a decision based on what season you're in right now.
She recalls teaching first grade to be really hilarious. They are still at that point of loving their teacher and wanting to please. When you get into fourth grade, they've matured a lot. So they don't believe all the things you tell them, but she reminds me you definitely need more patience in the first-grade classroom. Which I don't have. So I think that was why when my student teaching was in first grade, I cried every single day. I think I might have a little bit more patience now, but I was 22 then. And so I was struggling every single day. Those of you who teach kindergarten or first grade, deserve all the crowns and jewels when you go to heaven because you're an amazing human.
So Brooke was in the classroom as a teacher, and the Instagram world is exploding because it's been growing crazy over the last couple of years. She always had this desire to do more. She wanted to be a teacher but also wanted to have something on the side. And her favorite thing to do before she was a mom was to have coffee in bed and relax. As she was on Instagram, scrolling something from the CEO Teacher® popped up. She doesn’t recall if it was a sponsored ad or just a post.
She remembers reading it and waking her husband up and telling him, “this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to start a teacher Instagram and I'm going to open TPT and I'm going to make all this money and I'm going to do this, this, this, and this.” She’s sure she sounded crazy but she jumped in headfirst and Instagram followed.
I feel like that is a pivotal point in life, whether it's your significant other or yourself. There comes a time when you see something and you say, okay, I've been looking for something a little bit more, and this is what I want to do. So she started Instagram.
She was teaching first grade when she started Instagram. She was watching, and taking the CEO Teacher® course and practice, but she wasn't confident yet. And then once she got into fourth grade and was more passionate about what she was teaching the resources came more naturally. They were easier to make, but she didn't do it very long because then COVID hit and everything went digital.
She didn't really even have the mindset of being able to take on digital products. So as far as TPT goes, she still has stuff on there and people do purchase them. But it's not what she thought it was going to be.
And that happens to a lot of our students that come into the program and then they see what it entails and how much work it is. And they realize they're just not as passionate about creating resources as they thought they were going to be. But they fall in love with the process of all the other fun things, which is social media marketing or blogging. So Brooke found her passion through Instagram!
There are so many different avenues. There's Pinterest, and Instagram there's Facebook and Tik-Tok. Which I have recently fallen in love with not to share my life with, but just to watch. So how did Brooke decide on Instagram?
In those early days of starting the account, coming up with her logo, and connecting with the community. Finding teachers, friends from across the world, and everywhere. She has teacher friends now in California, and New York and talking with those people and just having that community. That is where she feels like the passion was really born because when you meet new people you're connected to others. She loved that community aspect of it.
Besides meeting new people, some early wins that she had in those beginning days were celebrated too. We hear this a lot too, it's a slow go, and no one's following me. And only three people watch my stories. She remembers being nervous before she started her time in 4th grade. She didn't really know any of the teachers on her team. And right before she walked in she posted a picture of her classroom door. She has about a hundred followers and then went to lunch. She didn't check her phone. And when she came back, she had 300 new followers. She had over a thousand likes on that one-door picture and was like, oh my gosh, this is so fun.
When you post things that you're passionate about, because she spent two hours on that door, the people will connect. When she started posting things that she was excited about and passionate about, that's when she would really see the engagement. Even now on Pinterest, I can be typing ‘teacher classroom door’. And my original doors still pops up. So it's, it's funny that Brooke says that if you guys want some engagement, post a picture of your classroom door!
Instagram’s algorithm is constantly changing, but back then using the max amount of hashtags was the way to go. Now you're supposed to use fewer. Hashtags are still important. Just different than it used to be. I used to use 30 and now use like five. So it does change.
It was after she had her son that she began thinking, “I don't want to go back. It's not that I don't love the classroom, but this is a new season. I want to be with him.” Even though she had 12 to 15 weeks of maternity leave, she was already getting upset about it. She vividly remembers being in the Chick-fil-A drive-through and telling her husband, “You know what? I am going to call my dad. And I'm going to start doing his social media for his business. And I'm going to do your bar. I'm going to start posting for your bar. He's like why? I said, I'm going to make a portfolio and I'm going to start doing this for people so I can stay home with Palmer.”
And even though he may have thought she was crazy, he saw what happened when she went all-in with TPT. So during her maternity leave, she just started posting on Instagram for his bar/restaurant and for her dad's landscaping business. She made a portfolio and then just started hustling, reaching out to different local businesses and going from there.
A little side note. My husband's dream is to open up a bar. He's a principal, but that is his dream, to open up a restaurant and a bar. I want to be able to send him to culinary school. Of course, he's a principal and he has an amazing job, but when you can chase things that you love, why not?
So I love that Brooke makes it so simple, right? She said, Hey, I am looking at my baby. And the thought of going back to work, it's just too much for me to bear, which never gets easier. No matter how many kids you have, I think it's always difficult. And then she said, I'm going to reach out for my dad too. Her dad probably really needed a social media manager because there's a generational gap right there.
It actually took Brooke a couple of months with her brand new portfolio. And honestly, this was all in God's timing because if it were up to her, she would have quit in January when her maternity leave was over. But she knew she couldn't financially do that. And so, because there was a virtual aspect at her school and she was the virtual teacher. There's a lot of downtime. So in between teaching classes, she would then work on social media stuff. And it took her three months to start figuring out a system and how to actually run a business. She couldn't just, wake up and say, oh, what am I going to post for City Tavern today? She had to actually plan things out. And so it took a couple of months to get that system going.
As your business grows, it's a great thing to have those systems in place so that you can spend more time with your baby and hire people to do work for you. It sounds crazy, but as your business grows, that's just a wonderful goal to have in mind. You know, I've been on maternity leave for 10 weeks now and have barely picked up anything with work. And it's been just such a beautiful, beautiful blessing. There's a lot of grind and hustle in those beginning days. And I think that that's part of the process, but it helps to know that there's more out there.
I do think you've got to work really hard in the beginning. So for someone that's just getting started, and thinking I really connect with this idea because I don't necessarily love creating teaching resources or I don't necessarily want to be in the classroom forever. Some of those steps you need to take today start here.
Find a business coach that you trust. Start reading quality blogs that show you how. And put yourself out there a bit. One of the things we are constantly sharing about here on the blog is email marketing, SEO, having a website and a blog that belongs to you. And then using those blogs and email lists to grow your own business and stay connected to your audience. Brooke originally thought she was too busy managing everybody else. but she realized she needed to be marketing herself just as much. She would stay up late watching different YouTube channels and just listening to what people have to say, Canva is her best friend. That's how she created a ton of graphics for her different clients. Putting those systems into place. You just have to start somewhere.
And you have to get scrappy in those beginning days. Canva is something that we practice and we preach. It is so simple with social media graphics to do things on Canva. So we highly encourage our readers to do that. But if you're making resources for TPT, we still stick with PowerPoint.
Brooke also mentioned ClubHouse, and I wondered if she was still finding value on the platform. Yes and no, since there is valuable information. But there is no way to make older content accessible if you need to go back. I think originally that part of the draw was that you couldn't record it. But it's also the biggest con for me. And the validity of the people that are chatting, you don't really know who they are. You know, if I'm listening to Amy Porterfield on her podcast, I'm like, girl, girl, yes goals! I write down all the things. She has a proven strategy. And with ClubHouse, I got to the point where if they weren't a big name, I wasn't sure of what's real and what's not. I like podcasts for the rewind effect and the learning component, but ClubHouse is a good community and networking opportunity for sure.
So I asked Brooke how she manages everyone? Everyone else's social media life, her business, and her baby all at the same time without feeling a little overwhelmed.
At the beginning of her business when the school year was over and she was learning how to manage both, she was working late nights getting up early. She credits having a very strict schedule. She respects the time she has with her baby. Because it's so important and so special to her. So when he's awake, she is present. They are playing, learning how to crawl, doing all the things. When he's napping. She is immediately in her office, laptop open, every nap time. And then when he gets up in the morning, he usually will have a bottle and then go back to sleep for two hours. So she makes sure to stay awake and work during those two hours too. So nap time or when the baby's sleeping, she’s hustling. When he's awake, she’s playing.
I love that. There are very clear boundaries because it's so easy in this digital world for you to be like, let's put him in front of the television, and then I'll get some more work done or I'm in the middle of learning something. But if you're present and you say to yourself, I'm not going to sleep in with him. Cause it would be very easy to give him a bottle and lay back down, I'm in that season of life right now, too. But this is your time to shine. And so it’s time to get busy. I think that that's the most important piece. Now it doesn't always go great. And sometimes changes every couple of weeks. But if there's a time crunch or something needs to be done, you can make it work. There's a give and take there. My husband right now will stay home with all of our children so that I can get a little bit of work done too.
Brooke believes while it’s different for every business, the number one idea that covers everyone is connecting with your community. Create an avatar for the perfect customer, who is that person? Where do they hang out? What do they like to do? And knowing who that person is so that you're creating content to speak to them.
Brooke also mentions (this is a big one) don't post and ghost. Make sure you're engaging with the community. Don't just expect to get engagement if you're not giving it back. Top 3 strategies and social media marketing tips for teacher business owners?
There are so many social media platforms out there right now. And I always recommend picking one and getting good there before moving on. So which one do you pick? Pinterest for someone who is creating content all the time and just needs a little push to get a larger audience to see their content. Facebook pages for teachers who like to share videos, and Instagram for those who are wanting to create graphics. Layering your email marketing and blog writing across the board. It’s a lot to take in. So Brooke has created systems that are super important for helping figure out how to manage all those different platforms in a given day.
In the beginning, she knew she wanted to replace her salary. But she started out not charging enough. So as she grew, she started charging more. And then she did her research to know what other people are charging and what she is capable of. Now she feels confident moving forward with her clients. Know your worth and then add tax! Because in the beginning, you're going to run yourself ragged. I can't even imagine running 2 social media accounts let alone 13 or 30.
So let's talk about imposter syndrome for just a second. It's the worst. I don't struggle with imposter syndrome as much as I used to. I think over time when you gain more confidence and then people can give you testimonials and their businesses are flourishing you'll feel more confident. But then there are always setbacks. You're always going to have a moment when you may lose a client or you can't make everyone happy and someone's unsatisfied with your program or service and it's hard. But as Brooke said, the best advice is that you have to constantly speak to yourself in a good and kind way. And if you do everything with integrity and you practice kindness and grace, then those little small blimps will only last just a little while.
So what encouragement and advice did Brooke give someone who is apprehensive about maybe getting out there on social media? Life is too short and if you have a dream, you have to just go for it. If you want to grow on social media, if you want to start that business or start selling your resources, you just have to start. And for Brooke, it's just to post that one thing and then the next week post something else. Find a way to just be consistent and try versus constantly wondering what if.
And best of all she gave some encouragement for someone who is looking to start but isn't sure that Teachers Pay Teachers is the route that they want to go. Brook would say begin blogging. Maybe you aren't confident in making teacher resources, but you can start blogging about what's going on in your classroom. Start small. You can share that blog on Instagram, and on Facebook. Just dabble in different things and see what sticks. That's kind of what she did. She didn't expect Instagram to happen for her the way that it did and then teach her the things that it did for a business. So just start doing different things and see what you like, what you become passionate about.
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If you want to connect with Brooke you can find her on Instagram @HelloMrsHubbard. Or on Facebook or her website at www.hellomrshubbard.com
As you are getting started with your own social media journey, here are a few other points of view to help get you started.
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