Childcare providers are some of the most amazing, hardworking and did I say, "AMAZING" group of entrepreneur's I have ever had the privilege to call friends. I am one of you. I understand how many hours we spend (60+) on our feet caring for, feeding, teaching, and loving the families in our care.
Finding the time to fit social media marketing into our packed schedules seems overwhelming. We are often, as a group, resistant to adding anything to our day that doesn't get a HUGE return due to a simple lack of time. It's real, not just lip-service to say that we lack time. Many professions claim that, but I have yet to know ONE person trade place with me for a day that didn't walk away and say, "I don't know HOW you do that EVERY DAY!"
Love...passion...calling...it's my heart and soul. That's how.
In my efforts to help other providers I often research information asked of me by fellow providers via our Childcare Marketing and Mastermind's group. Please join us if you are a coach, marketer, fellow childcare owner/provider/teacher and want to provide your help for FREE. This is a group of like-minded professionals sharing free information for the good of one another. Should you disagree with an opinion, simply state what you have found that works and remember that the ladies and fella's in this group have built their businesses from nothing with blood, sweat, heart and soul. We are a highly positive group of professionals supporting one another, JOIN US!!!
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This question was posed on our group this week, "What is the best time, day to advertise my business on Facebook?"
Here is some awesome information that I found on SocialTimes.com
Your mileage may, of course, vary, but this infographic from Quick Sprout contains a lot of useful best time to post social media data."
You did it! You FINALLY received your license to operate your center or family childcare home. You are ready to LAUNCH full speed ahead. You are ACTIVELY marketing, taking advantage of EVERY trick, tip, and tidbit. The calls start to trickle in, followed by the questions and you find that you struggle to turn those calls into ACTUAL appointments to tour your facility.
You failed to prepare.
It's a shocking realization isn't it? We can chalk it up to "shoppers," or "tire-kickers" but I will be honest with you because I want you to succeed. It will be o.k., this is fixable.
Here are the top 20 questions as provided by www.earlychildhoodcolorado.org (as referenced via The Milk Memos) that prospective clients need to ask prospective Child Care Providers. These are legitimate questions that you need to have answered professionally, succinctly, and readily available to the impromptu phone interview, church lady, mom's group acquaintance, or neighbor.
As the Boy Scouts say, "Be prepared!"
n Having the answers to these questions prepared, memorized, and ready to provide to whomever may come your way will go a LONG way toward taking a quick interview to the next step of a tour, and then securing the confidence of signing up your newest client.
One question I would personally add to this list would be one I hear more and more often, "What curriculum do you use?"
Families are increasingly concerned about the quality of the Early Childhood Education their child will be receiving while in care. They want their child to have the best start to his/her Kindergarten experience as possible and very often, childcare providers that provide preschool services are being chosen over those that do not.
There, of course, are many options for teaching preschool. Some providers hire in preschool teachers to their programs several days each week. Others create their own curriculum utilizing various resources with the ages of their children and abilities in mind.
Many, however, recognizing that their work week is quite busy opt to purchase an "out of the box" curriculum. Should you choose this route, my advice is to see the following reviews when I was searching for a solution to add time back to my schedule after years of "diy" preschool. I chose to go with Mother Goose Time for its emphasis on Kindergarten readiness in Literacy, Math, Science, Social/Emotional, Music and Movement, Language and Creative Arts.
You can read those reviews here, here, and here!
As always, I wish you well and I hope you get to play today! - L
The following marketing advice comes from Connie Jones Orman, a respected childcare provider in Kansas, my friend, and great marketer, as it originally appeared on our Childcare Marketing Masterminds closed group on Facebook. If you would like to join our group, and are in the profession of childcare, please join us!
Using Pinterest to market your childcare business isn't as hard as you think!
Pinterest is set up like pin boards. Each pin is a picture from a blog post or website that the person would like to retain for future reference. The boards are like file folders. When setting up a Pinterest account, never scrimp on folders. Dumping everything into one and then trying to sort it out later into more manageable labels is very frustrating and time consuming. Start out with a good idea of what categories you will want to reference.
The best advice I can give is to have a great first picture in every blog post and on every webpage you have. The picture is what gets pinned and is what grabs the attention of others.
Pinterest is like a pyramid scheme, in that if you pin something, then all your followers will see it. If you pin it into a folder that you have tagged with a category, such as EDUCATION, then it will be displayed on that board for anyone to see who is searching within that specific category. It can help focus your pins to a target audience. Your pin can then be found and pinned by others, for all of their followers to see and possibly pin. And on and on. If you are lucky enough, you'll get pinned by one of the masters, like Teach Preschool, Red Ted Art, etc. and get in front of all their followers. I recently posted my "Our 25 Activities of Circle Time" to a child care group, and it went pretty viral, for a modest blog.
What to pin:
Pinning is all about making information available to others, that others want to see, if you aren't just creating boards for yourself. If only your clients or family would be interested in your blog post, then don't waste yours or other people's time by pinning something most will find irrelevant. However, most of us have found things that do and don't work for us, that others would find valuable through pinning that blog post. Right now I have something I'm interested in, but don't have any idea about it, so I've invited someone in the know to do a guest post that I think will be a great one to pin, that will generate a lot of traffic to my blog.
If there are many pins regarding the craft you are blogging, then don't pin it. However, if you take a well-known craft and make it your own, provide better directions, provide a printable, discuss the educational aspects of it, etc. then it's often more pinnable and helpful than a unique craft that others aren't that interested in doing.
As with a blog post, key words in a pin will increase your SEO presence. Think about the many ways people may search for your pin and try to include as many key words as possible in the description, without making a tag word line, which is annoying on Pinterest. Keep the description to a few relevant lines.
If you have a following, often having a recognizable pin layout can increase traffic, as they instantly recognize the pin as from your blog.
Pinterest has easy tools to include in your HTML blog coding to automatically make your pictures easy to pin for anyone searching outside of Pinterest. If you aren't familiar with HTML changes, this takes about 2 minutes to add, and is very worth it to find some kid to plop it into your blog code.
People are drawn to different pictures. When creating a blog post, pin YOUR favorite or title picture, but have others within the post that are also relevant to the post. I've been surprised by the pictures other's have chosen to pin from my posts. All pinned pictures within a post will link to that post.
Remember that pins are forever.
So, even if a pinned post doesn't get much traffic immediately, I've found that even a year or two later it will suddenly become relevant and traffic will increase for an old post.
In addition to pinning your own blog posts, which will gain some traffic, the most traffic will be generated by having a good Pinterest presence. If people think that you are going to be sending them valuable web links through your Pinterest boards, then they will follow you and suggest you to others. Followers see everything you post, or if they follow only certain boards, then what you post to those.
Pinterest etiquette: don't pin multiple pictures for the same post at the same time, or to the same board. If you want to keep your post in front of your followers, pin it again in another week. The same people will initially see it, and if you post a ton of the same link, they will most likely stop following you for hijacking their feed.
If you aim your Pinterest boards towards your target blog or web audience and pin accordingly, then you can really broaden your audience. I keep a separate Pinterest board now for my non-child care related pins.
Hope this makes sense. Please feel free to ask questions. I was one of those people with dozens of binders full of magazine clippings before Pinterest came along, so it melded wonderfully with what I was already doing in gathering ideas and resources. For others, they have needed a push to see the value of it, but most do.
The majority of my blog traffic now comes from Pinterest. This is easy to track on your blog statistics page.
Here is an example of a great pin using my favorite curriculum, Mother Goose Time!!
Thank you, Connie, for a great tutorial on Pinterest!!
As always, I wish you well and I hope you get to play today! - L
It's my hope that the pages of this blog will inspire you, relax you, encourage you, reignite you, and help you remember why you entered this profession - the children.