Category: Social Media

LinkedIn Launches ‘Document Ads’, Offline Conversion Data Integration and More

Given the popularity of Carousel posts in the app, Document Ads could be a valuable addition.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/LinkedIn-Launches-Document-Ads-Offline-Conversions-Media-Library/633038/

Snapchat Announces New Content Deal with LaLiga, as it Seeks Ways to Attract Older Users

Snapchat's looking at how it can maximize its appeal for a broader range of audiences.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Snapchat-Announces-Deal-with-LaLiga-Looks-to-Attract-Older-Users/633037/

Report Shows that Snapchat Users are More Mentally Engaged with Snap Ads

The research shows how Snapchat users mentally engage when using the app.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Report-Shows-Snapchat-Users-More-Mentally-Engaged-with-Snap-Ads/633034/

Twitter Leans into Emerging Video Trends with New Video Showcase Elements

Twitter's not going 'full TikTok' like Meta, but it is trying to lean into the latest video consumption trends.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Twitter-Launches-New-Full-Screen-Video-Showcase-Elements/633032/

Meta’s Got a New AI Tool that Enables Users to Make Freaky Mish-Mash Videos

And the results are… pretty weird.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Meta-Creates-New-AI-Video-Creation-Tool-Based-on-Text-Prompts/633031/

Meta’s NFT Display Tools Extend to All US Instagram and Facebook Users

Now, NFT fans will have more ways to show off their digital artworks.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Meta-Rolls-Out-NFT-Display-Tools-on-Instagram-and-Facebook/633024/

All the Founders Around Me Were Raising Money — Here’s Why I Didn’t

All the Founders Around Me Were Raising Money — Here's Why I Didn't

I always wanted to build something big.

When I started Tech Ladies in 2015 as a coffee meetup in New York City, I could immediately see the potential for it to grow into something larger. As a woman in tech myself, I craved a network to support me through the unique challenges I faced in the workplace. I also realized I was sitting on the answer to the “pipeline problem” that every tech company at the time was claiming prevented them from hiring more women in tech. It seemed like such a simple solution to connect our community with those who wanted to diversify their teams.

Of course, when you’re building something big in tech, most people expect that you’ll raise money to help you grow that big thing faster. While nearly all the founders around me were going the VC route, I decided bootstrapping would be better for us. And now, all these years later, I’m so glad I built it this way.

Don’t get me wrong, there are downsides to bootstrapping your business: You will move slower in staffing up your team, you will operate in lean ways that make you miss out on some opportunities to test at scale, you could lose out to a well-funded competitor who gets market share of what you’re doing (although I find that last one to be somewhat rare). And sure, I had moments when I felt wistful about the glamor of raising venture capital. It would have been nice to have a quick win, to be able to say I raised millions and therefore had a solid idea that important people thought was going to be profitable for them. Sometimes I wished I had a shiny office like all of my founder friends, and the ability to hire right away, staff up, and get this thing as big as we could make it.

But ultimately, none of that stopped our growth. Today, Tech Ladies is the largest community of women in tech with over 150,000 members and generating millions in revenue. We’ve helped hundreds of women find jobs in tech and helped companies diversify their teams. We’ve offered events, training, networking, and resources to women in tech and have had a huge impact in the industry. And I got to do it all without sacrificing my vision (or a percentage of my company).


Here are some of the reasons why bootstrapping was the right path for me and the ways it has helped our company succeed since.

I Proved My Vision Quickly, But It Wasn’t VC Scale

The first indicator that I could bootstrap was the pace at which I started generating revenue that would, in turn, support business growth.

Early on, we started charging companies to place job postings in our weekly newsletter. At the time, the community only had 3,000 members but, because it was an incredible high-quality group of smart women in tech, it was a great pool to hire from. When the postings started bringing in around $5,000 a month and I didn’t have time to reply to every request coming in, I knew it was time to leave my job and work on building Tech Ladies full-time.

Since it seemed like everyone around me was raising money from venture capital firms, I figured I should take a few meetings with some VC connections I had made over the years. From the first meeting, a friendly VC encouraged me to put together a pitch that would promise outsized returns. “How is this a billion dollar company?” he asked. Embarrassingly, I returned with a blank stare and fumbled some answer off the top of my head. Another VC offered me a $50,000 check on the spot if I would just tell him I was “building the LinkedIn for women.”

I went back to my desk later that night and started drafting up some copy around how Tech Ladies could be a billion-dollar business. But everything I wrote felt out of touch with reality, or like a huge exaggeration. When I thought about becoming a massive social network, it didn’t sit right, and I wasn’t sure we could maintain our quality at that scale. I glanced over at the whiteboard next to me where I had clearly mapped out a bootstrapped pathway to make $500,000 our first year, a million after that, and $10 million in the following years. I was the sole owner of this company. Why would I not take a swing at that?

I canceled all the rest of my VC meetings and got back to building.


Going all in on your business without venture capital can be scary. But I asked myself: Do I want to be the founder who burned through $20-30 million in capital trying to build something I don’t totally believe in, or the founder who made even $5-10 million building something smaller but meaningful? Yes, some companies need to raise venture capital because they can’t create revenue until they spend years finalizing their product. But a surprising number can start making an impact (and a profit) quickly. I felt in my gut that was the right path for Tech Ladies.

I’ve Had to Make Everything Work ASAP

As we all know from watching the rise and fall of unicorn startups, raising money actually says very little about whether a company will succeed. Many companies that go the VC route spend a lot of time and money spinning their wheels without ever quite figuring out how to make a profit.

The thing I always tell people about bootstrapping, on the other hand, is that everything has to work. You don’t have six months to ponder revenue models—you have to get to profitability as soon as possible. You don’t have time to debate different strategies—you need to start trying them and see what sticks.

That’s the hard part about bootstrapping, but also the great part. Building a successful company isn’t about getting a few rich people to believe in you, it’s about putting something out into the world that people think is valuable enough to pay for. I’m glad we were forced to figure that out instead of having the money to try a business model for years and have it ultimately not work out.

This isn’t to say we never had failures, we just had to learn from them and adjust very quickly. For example, when you’re bootstrapping it’s very easy to be overprotective of your revenue. After all, that’s your money at the end of the day, so investing it back in the business is another muscle you need to learn to build. For me, one of our biggest mistakes was not hiring full-time people to the team sooner. I think we could have accelerated our growth by about two years if we had made one to two strategic hires, instead of me stubbornly running everything on my own with a few freelancers.

Of course, there were times when I looked at venture-backed companies and dreamed of sitting in their beautiful offices with their massive teams. But I was okay with learning to live without that so I could stay focused on what really matters: the thing we were building and whether it serves people.

I’ve Been Able to Stay Dedicated & Responsive to My Community

Bootstrapping has been especially powerful because I’ve been able to stay focused on our community and our clients as our bosses, rather than having to balance shareholder interests, too.

Like many community-oriented businesses, we have a tight feedback loop with our members and are always paying attention to how we can better serve them. Unlike VC-backed businesses, we can stay really nimble and adjust with our members as their needs change over time. We’ve had instances where we’ve beaten companies with huge amounts of venture capital because we were able to ship something quickly while they were still running things by their biggest investor, putting together reports, and debating the plan.

While they were scaling up global teams that never panned out, we were focused on getting hires for our partners, hosting events that resonated with our community, and building a paid community to help women in tech grow their careers.

Ultimately, my favorite thing about bootstrapping a business is that it's available to everyone and ready for the taking. The only thing holding any of us back is limiting beliefs about what we can build, how we can build it, and if we even deserve it. That’s especially important given that only 2 percent of venture capital funding went to women-owned businesses in 2021. We can talk about all the societal changes that need to happen to fix that—and I’m personally investing my own capital in women-founded companies I believe in—but in the meantime, I hope more founders will stop waiting for permission from the VC powers that be and start working on their ideas on their own terms.

You can build any company you want on the internet right now and make millions of dollars doing it. Why not get started?

Want to learn more of my bootstrapping strategies? Subscribe to my newsletter, Bootstrap to Millions (with Allison), for more regular advice and stories from Tech Ladies’ growth.

https://buffer.com/resources/all-the-founders-were-raising-money-heres-why-i-didnt/

How to Formulate a More Effective Approach to TikTok Marketing [Infographic]

Looking for ways to maximize your TikTok marketing approach?

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/How-to-Formulate-an-Effective-Approach-to-TikTok-Marketing-Infographic/632929/

Twitter Faces Advertiser Boycott Due to Failures to Police Child Abuse Material

Twitter's failures in detecting and removing child abuse and exploitative material look set to hurt its bottom line.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Twitter-Advertiser-Boycott-Due-to-Failures-to-Police-Child-Abuse/632928/

LinkedIn Adds New Features for Company Pages, Including Post Templates and Link Stickers

Some new options to drive more engagement with your LinkedIn page posts.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/LinkedIn-Adds-Post-Templates-and-Link-Stickers-for-Company-Pages/632927/

Meta Adds Enhancements for Call Ads, Including New Callback Option

Phone calls might spook some people, but for the right brand and audience, they can be highly effective.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Meta-Updates-Call-Ads-Including-Callback-Option/632920/

All the Key Updates for Marketers from Google’s 2022 ‘SearchOn’ Event

Here's a look at all the big SEO and product display improvements that Google unveiled at the event.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Key-Marketing-Updates-from-Google-SearchOn-2022/632919/

YouTube Tests Improved Comment Removal Notifications, Updated Video Performance and Hashtag Insights

The changes will provide more context on comment removals.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/YouTube-Tests-Comment-Removal-Notifications-Updated-Analytics/632913/

TikTok Reports 62% Jump in Fake Profiles on the App

As TikTok continues to grow, so too does attempted misuse of the app.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/TikTok-Reports-62-Percent-Increase-in-Fake-Profiles/632909/

I Took 7 Weeks Off Work After Hiring 3 New Teammates, Here’s Why It Worked Out

I Took 7 Weeks Off Work After Hiring 3 New Teammates, Here’s Why It Worked Out

In July and August of this year, I had the incredible experience of taking seven weeks off of work — fully paid. I benefited from our generous sabbatical policy (more on that below) to take a break from work.

It had been a particularly busy year, and I had two new teammates join in February and then a third in April who all reported to me— so the timing was tight here to get everyone onboarded and operational before I went on sabbatical. I was pretty nervous about taking such an extended period off of work after just having brought on three new teammates. But, in the end, my being away ended up empowering my teammates to level up their ownership and highlighting processes I didn’t need to be involved in.

Taking time away from work can be daunting, but in my experience, it can also be immensely worthwhile. It provided an opportunity for growth for both my team and me.

Here’s more about sabbaticals at Buffer, how I set things up while I was out, and why it ended up working out so well.

Our sabbatical policy

Since 2019, Buffer has offered sabbaticals to all teammates who have been on the team for five or more years. Teammates are invited to take a fully paid sabbatical and spend it however they’d like — working on a side project, traveling, helping a non-profit, spending time with family, achieving a life goal, or something else entirely.

We offer six weeks of sabbatical for every five years at Buffer, plus every additional year without taking a sabbatical adds another week (maxing out at 12 weeks).

February marked six years at Buffer for me, so I was eligible for a seven-week sabbatical. I’m one of 22 people who have taken sabbaticals from their time at Buffer since the practice was first put into place in 2019.

How I set up the team for support while I was out

I run the communications and content team, comprised of two content writers (you’ve seen Tami and Umber on the blog) and one social media manager (you’ve seen Mitra everywhere but might remember Instagram and TikTok videos in particular). Then we work with several agencies as well.

Everyone’s sabbatical planning was slightly different, but for me, I focused on my three teammates first. Here’s how they were supported:

1:1s with another manager

I do weekly 1:1s with each person, and in my absence, they did bi-weekly 1:1s with another marketing manager to continue getting that support.

Connecting with my manager

In some companies, “skip level 1:1s” are popular as a way for teammates to connect with their manager’s manager. My manager is our CEO, Joel, and while I was away, he did a group call with the team to check in and see how they were doing. This isn’t quite a skip level but a similar idea.

Peer reviews

Our original process for blog content was that everything was being run by me for editing. We had peer reviews instituted instead for all blog posts in my absence. Social posts are not all reviewed, but there are several options for peer reviews on social posts around the company when needed.

Masterminds

New mastermind pairings were kicked off around this time, and each teammate was paired with a mastermind partner. These are fun pairings meant to connect two teammates who don’t often work together to chat about challenges and lend a different perspective. They evolve a lot as the relationship deepens. Here’s more on how we run masterminds at Buffer.

Passing off points of contact

In each of my agency relationships, there was usually one other person who was already familiar with how we collaborated. So that person stepped up to become the primary point of contact, or else I assigned several people to be points of contact so our partners at the agency would have options.

Documentation for everyone

Last but not least, we have a really great internal handbook and marketing wiki on our team. Over the past year, I’ve been building systems so that we regularly document processes and best practices in Notion and sometimes include a Loom video.

Before leaving on sabbatical, I regularly asked teammates questions like:

  • What don’t you know enough about?
  • What are you worried would go wrong?
  • Is there any process you’re unsure of?
  • Are you confident you can access all of the information you need?

Then I recorded videos or wrote up documentation for anything that came up.
I had already written down all the other documentation around using specific tools, but I checked that over multiple times to ensure it included everything I thought relevant.

After many months of setting everything up for success, I felt complete confidence in my team. So I set my out-of-office reply and logged out of all of my communications tools for seven weeks to be completely disconnected from work.

The positive benefits of being away for 7 weeks

I was expecting things to go well because I felt everyone had prepared, and I knew there was a solid support system in place, but I was surprised at just how well things went without me there. (Maybe I should go on sabbatical every year? 😆)

I saw a lot of positive benefits.

My team grew a ton during this period

There’s nothing like removing the quick gut check with someone to level up your decision-making skills. I heard across the board that making decisions without my input helped build confidence. I believe this was especially beneficial because, as a new teammate, the practice of running things by me was initially built into the onboarding. Once the habit is created, it can be challenging to break. This led to each person taking on more ownership over their area and projects.

We questioned our processes

When I returned, one of the questions I asked in our first 1:1 with each person was what processes we might want to reconsider. In the end, things I had been owning that I passed to others temporarily ended up sometimes staying with that person because the new process made more sense. For example, in one case, it was a new primary contact for an agency we collaborate with, and another instance was that peer reviews ended up being both fun and helpful, so we kept those.

We also realized there hadn’t been a lot of collaboration built into the content calendar before I left. I had been planning everything while my teammates were still onboarding. Now that everyone was onboarded, we started an editorial review where the content calendar planning is much more collaborative.

It surfaced unclear areas

Being away also surfaced areas that were unclear and that weren’t documented. They all ended up being tiny things (like choosing the right cover image for blog posts), but still, it meant there was room for improvement in communication and documentation around those things.

Ultimately, decisions were made without me leading to teammates being more empowered within their roles and areas, and our team processes were improved and felt much more robust. I couldn’t be happier with all of this!

Where could things have gone better?

I wondered, “could things have gone better?” and I think there’s always room for improvement. But the biggest thing was ensuring my team had enough connections across the company. They are connected to each other and others on our Marketing team, but for new teammates at a remote company, it can be challenging to feel connected. Without a manager there to help make connections, that can be even more difficult. So if I could change one thing, it would be ensuring that there were even more points of connection between my teammates and other leaders at Buffer.

Over to you

Have you taken time off work as a new manager? How did it go? Or do you have any questions about our sabbatical policy at Buffer? Send us a tweet; we’d love to continue the conversation!

https://buffer.com/resources/time-off-after-hiring/

Instagram Shares New Tips on How to Instagram Reels for Marketing

There's a heap of helpful tips for those looking to incorporate Reels into their digital marketing approach.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Instagram-Shares-New-Tips-on-Using-Reels-for-Marketing/632821/

Brands are Driving Higher Reach and Engagement by Posting Instagram Reels

The data shows that brands that embrace Instagram Reels are seeing significant benefits.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/Brands-Driving-Higher-Reach-and-Engagement-via-Instagram-Reels/632817/

YouTube Adds Voiceover in Shorts, Providing More Creative Considerations

YouTube continues to add new creative tools to its short-form video option.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/youtube-adds-voiceover-in-shorts-providing-more-creative-considerations/632811/

Facebook Tests ‘Subscribers Only’ Posts to Enhance Creator Offering

Meta continues to try out more creator tools to help boost subscriptions and community.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-tests-subscribers-only-posts/632809/

Meta Detects New Covert Influence Campaigns Run from Russia and China

Meta's latest discoveries underline the potential dangers of political manipulation efforts online.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/meta-detects-new-covert-influence-campaigns-run-from-russia-and-china/632804/

LinkedIn Ran Secret Test On 20M Users To Rate Job Success From Their Connections

 



Photo 164725791 © Andreistanescu | Dreamstime.com

 

 

Over the last five years, professional networking site LinkedIn has been running an experiment on 20 million users to analyze the success rate of job-hunting.

 

The results showed that one is more likely to secure new jobs via ‘weaker ties’ than through people close to them. 

 

The study, published in the Science journal, was conducted by Harvard Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). LinkedIn’s own set of researchers also joined the schools. The project aimed to better attune job recommendations and mobility across the platform. 

 

To gain data for the study, several “large-scale randomized experiments” were carried out on the platform’s “People You May Know” tab. This tab links users up with people they might potentially know. 

 

Using A/B testing, the experiment provided people with different contact recommendations, and then it examined the work offers produced from these 2 billion new connections. Out of those links came 70 million applications, leading to 600,000 new jobs.

 

The experiment was based on the “strength of weak ties” theory. According to Mark Garvenotter, a professor at Stanford, the people we know can be classified into two groups. Relatively “weak contacts” share about 10 connections, and “stronger” ties have 20 or more relationships in common, New York Times detailed.

 

A year into the study, the researchers found that people with weak connections were likelier to land work in companies with those acquaintances than those in their “strong tie” network. 

 

Though it should be noted that the results did vary between industries, more digital-based industries thrived better in their weak ties network, while sectors that relied less on software systems found jobs more through their strong ties. 

 

Professor Aral from MIT, one of the authors, said its primary purpose was to prove how vital social networking platforms can be and highlight significant economic issues. 

 

While the findings surfaced useful prospects, the lack of transparency in the research process has raised some eyebrows. 

For some, what was the most revealing discovery was that the tests were conducted behind users’ backs.

 

LinkedIn’s privacy policy, however, states that user data can or will be used in research experiments. Furthermore, a statement from the company mentions how the research techniques were “non-invasive.” 

 

As more corporations come under heat for surveillance of users without consent, privacy concerns are often at the center of debates

 

Weak ties or strong ones, some things are best kept private.

 

 

 

[via USA Today and The New York Times, Photo 164725791 © Andreistanescu | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420524/LinkedIn-Ran-Secret-Test-On-20M-Users-To-Rate-Job-Success-From-Their-Connections/

How These Sisters Turned Their Passion for the Alaskan Wilderness into a Fulfilling Small Business

How These Sisters Turned Their Passion for the Alaskan Wilderness into a Fulfilling Small Business

For sisters Anna and Kelly, life was anything but ordinary growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska. On chilly school mornings, as they’d make their way towards the bus stop, it wasn’t uncommon for moose to be idling nearby. Careful not to alert the striking creatures, the girls would nimbly make their way around the animals while somehow still boarding the bus on time.

An encounter like that might be frightening to some, but Anna and Kelly were raised to always respect and appreciate the wildlife they were surrounded by. Living in Alaska, away from relatives, they learned to rely on both their neighbors and the nature around them as their community and family. Now, as adults, they look back at their childhood and appreciate how unique their experience was.

“For a couple of years, we lived in what we call ‘in the village,” Kelly said. “There were a lot of bears where we lived. And every spring, you could walk down to the river and see the blue whales coming up. That time was quite magical for a kid because it's just unlike anything else.”

Their parents always stressed the importance of being present in the moment – something quite easy to do when living near the vastness of the Alaskan wilderness – and intentional in the way they communicate with others. Presence and intentionality were values the girls were raised with and have stayed with them. And while it would take many years before they would eventually open up their own art business, these very principles are what inspired Arctic Haven Studio.

“When we started the business, our biggest goal was to share the art we're creating, but to do so in a way that connects people and back to nature,” Anna said. “Whether it's nature that they've experienced themselves — like if they've actually seen a Musk Ox, they can buy [our] Musk Ox and think about that experience — or to connect them to something they want to experience.”

Together, Anna and Kelly have created a small business that they hope will not only bring people together but also remind them of the beauty around them. This past July, Arctic Haven Studio celebrated their one-year anniversary. In a short amount of time, they shipped their artwork to 16 states, created 17 different design sets, and spent an average of 72 hours on the pieces.

Here’s how the two set up their brand in a way that’s allowed them to pursue their passions while doing a lot of good along the way.

Combining their strengths to create something special

When Kelly was a business major in college, one of the things that were drilled into her was to never go into business with a family member. But she’s glad she didn’t heed the advice of her former professors, as creating Arctic Studio Haven with Anna has been a special experience. Though the two have full-time careers – Kelly works in contract management and Anna is a wildlife ecologist – their other job is running Arctic Haven Studio together.

The studio relies on both Kelly and Anna’s unique strengths. With her business insights, Kelly has been able to handle all of the logistic and administrative work, while Anna creates the artwork that is made out of tiny pieces of recycled paper – a technique she’s been exploring since high school.

For each piece, Anna starts with a simple sketch of an animal, then she begins filling in the outline with scraps of paper – often starting with the creature’s eye which is usually the most detailed part. It’s a long process, and Anna has spent anywhere from 40 to 80 hours working on a piece. Each animal offers its own unique challenge. Recently, Anna made a walrus and enjoyed playing around with paper to create its wet and slimy texture.

It was Kelly who saw just how special and marketable this very art was.

“I would never have started this business if I didn't have [Kelly’s] support and knowledge as a business major and a business person because I like creating stuff, but I don't have the patience or knowledge to actually start a business,” said Anna.

In particular, it was a specific design that Anna had made of a ptarmigan, one of Alaska’s iconic birds, that became the catalyst for their small business. It was one of the most detailed paper-cut pieces Anna had created at the time.

The duo didn’t just want to sell any kind of product, however. They knew they wanted these art pieces to help connect people to one another, which is why they initially launched note cards with Anna’s designs on them.

“We started with notecard sets being our primary product,” Anna said. “We both write a lot of letters and [note cards] lend themselves well to being able to have some art that you get to enjoy, and then can give to someone else,” Anna said.

By playing off each other's strengths, the two have launched a company that perfectly embodies everything important to them.

As Anna said, “personal connection and community is a founding value for us.”

Laying out the groundwork for their small business

Despite already having a very clear vision for their products, Anna and Kelly didn’t rush to open up their doors. Instead, they carefully looked into vendors, reviewed contracts, and researched everything they needed to know about starting a business. In fact, it took them 13 months from their first official design to their grand opening.

While they were in the planning stage, they had clear talks amongst themselves about how they’d run Arctic Haven Studio. First, they broke down the six core functions of the business. They then turned each of those functions into job roles and divided them up between the two. While they value each other's input, they also decided there would be a decision maker for each aspect of the business.

“The agreement was that we both had a say in all the categories, but when a decision had to be made, whoever was assigned that category got to make the final decision,” Kelly said. “And we've never clashed on that.”

This methodological approach to opening the business is something they’re both glad they took the time to do. It allowed them to lay out a foundational groundwork for Arctic Haven Studio, making them feel confident in the business’s mission – to create meaningful work that not only represents their hometown but helps cultivate community amongst their customers.

While they’re proud of the growth they’ve achieved so far, they’ve always been realistic about their business and the fact that for now at least, Arctic Haven Studio is not their full-time job, but their passion project.

This perspective has helped them from getting discouraged.

“Everybody wants to be successful right away. But you have to figure out what that success even looks like and recognize, ‘I'm probably not going to make much money in the first three years’… but knowing that’s okay because success is making one more connection and just having those reasonable and reachable goals,” Kelly said.

Taking their time to open up connects back to the sisters’ goal of always being intentional with their work. This slower pace has allowed them to check all of their boxes, ensuring they were fully ready to become small business owners.

Giving back to themselves and their community

Contributing back to the wildlife they were raised by is something Anna and Kelly knew they wanted to do with their small business, which is why they’ve decided to donate 10 percent of their proceeds to the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center annually. So far, they’ve donated over $300 dollars to the organization, and hope to give even more soon.

“The Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center ended up being a perfect fit for us because they do a lot of conservation and rescuing orphaned animals that then they rehabilitate and get back into the wild,” Anna said. “Or they use them as captive animals in an educational sense. But they have very strong animal care guidelines. And so it's something we felt really good about.”

Along with giving back directly to the wildlife, the sisters have embedded sustainability into their business as well. They use recycled paper and recycled materials for their packaging as much as possible – despite the fact that it is quite pricey for them as a small business to do so. They are well aware of the fact that they could be bringing in more money if they used cheaper supplies, but doing so would feel wrong.

“How can we sell art that reflects nature, but [our customers] are going to rip open the plastic and throw it in the trash?” Kelly said.

But as much as they’re hoping their business can make a positive impact on the world, the sisters have also found that Arctic Haven Studio has brought back so much value into their own lives. While running a small business is not always easy, it has given them a chance to unwind from their everyday lives. For Anna especially, it’s been a creative outlet. The wildlife ecologist just recently graduated from grad school and says the business helped balance things out for her.

“I honestly think [Arctic Haven Studio] is kind of what kept me sane in grad school. Having the creative outlet, creating the art and then also having the business side of things to work on with Kelly, where it was completely separate from my grad school work,” Anna said.

Even more, however, this side project has given the two a reason to spend more time together, strengthening their bond. The most fulfilling part for Kelly has been seeing everyone appreciate Anna’s art – something she’s been doing since childhood.

“I really enjoy seeing people enjoy Anna’s work because I grew up with it,” Kelly said. “There's satisfaction in that and seeing Anna being proud of what she's made.”

The future of Arctic Haven Studio

Just recently, Anna and Kelly celebrated a big moment for their small business: their first in-person exhibit at Wild Scoops, an ice cream shop in Midtown, Alaska. This was the first time they had printed out Arctic Haven studio pieces on such a large scale and displayed them in a public setting for so many to see.

Another step they’ve taken is reaching out to local businesses to start selling their notecards, stickers, and prints in physical stores, moving away from their online-only model. They’re also extending their product line and considering including prints in poster sizes. While they are still selling their original note cards, they’re looking into diversifying their items a bit to reach more customers.

The two plan to continue growing Arctic Studio Haven together with the goal of adding more beauty, nature, and meaning into their customers’ lives.

“We all know that feeling that you get when you’re looking at art and you just want to be where that is,” Kelly said. “And so we hope our customers will take away that [our products] are more than just a piece of paper to write on, but an intentional piece with an intentional connection.”

https://buffer.com/resources/sisters-turned-their-passion-into-a-small-business/

14 Things That Can Hurt Your Site’s SEO Rankings [Infographic]

Make sure you're not making these common SEO mistakes.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/14-things-that-can-hurt-your-sites-seo-rankings-infographic/632611/

WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

The option will make it easier to invite people into your group audio and video calls on WhatsApp.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/WhatsApp-Launches-Call-Links-for-Group-Audio-and-Video-Chats/632698/