How To: A Gluten Free Thanksgiving

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Thanksgiving is upon us. 

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday – all of the food and fun of Christmas, but without the stress. And after I was diagnosed as a Celiac, none of that changed. 

Okay, maybe a few things changed like what sort of pie crust I use and the depths I go to when researching my turkey, but the general admiration of the holiday never faltered. 

Having Celiac Disease means a lot of big lifestyle changes, but it doesn’t mean your life as you knew it is completely over. In fact, Thanksgiving (or any other holiday centered around food) isn’t as stressful as one who needs to be gluten free may think. 

To ensure yourself a happy (and safe) holiday, just follow these simple steps:

Prep Wisely
It’s no secret that Celiac Disease means additional time and energy spent prepping and purchasing food. Start your list a good two weeks ahead of time, shop as early as your fresh veggies allow, and have a plan of action for each step of the way. Us Celiacs are good at this, considering we can’t put anything near our mouths unless we have conducted thorough research ahead of time. 

Do the Work
Sure, it may be easier to have your gluten eating friends and family bring some side dishes to your gathering, but unless they are well versed in hidden dangers and cross contamination, it is worthwhile for you to just dive in and do the work yourself. Another option is to only eat the gluten free turkey and potatoes you made and just stare longingly at the green bean casserole you know will make you sick, but we all know putting in the work pays off when you actually get to eat the food that lands on your table. 

Make New Traditions
No one says you have to eat stuffing and rolls at your holiday meal. Sure, they may be classics, but there is no written rule that says you can’t trade the rolls for a nice quinoa and veggie salad, or that stuffing for grilled corn salsa. While there are many gluten free alternatives at the store, oftentimes they just don’t taste the same, and leave you feeling like an outsider. Instead, ditch the traditions and dig into food you really love. 

Having Celiac Disease can be a bummer, but it doesn’t have to ruin Thanksgiving. Do your research, make a plan, and indulge in that gluten free pumpkin pie like there’s no tomorrow. 

What are your tips for a successful gluten free Thanksgiving? 


Best Practices for Facebook Live

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The next big thing in digital media is here – the livestream.

Livestreaming is a way of showing your audience the raw, unfiltered side of your business in real time. There’s no editing to make your brand look better than it is, and no script that can convince viewers as to why they should side with you. There are no middlemen in the case of the livestream, granting your brand a level of authenticity that has yet to be duplicated in any other medium.

When you hold a livestreaming event on your Facebook Page (because let’s be honest, Facebook’s platform is the only one getting livestream right so far), you create a sense of trust with your audience. Today’s consumers want honesty and truth from the brands they use, and talking to them in real time with nothing but a smart phone between the two of you can do wonders when it comes to your online authenticity.

Holding your own Facebook Live event can seem intimidating, but with these best practices, it can help build lasting consumer relationships in real time.

Keep It Simple
People watch Facebook Live for your authenticity, not the gimmicks you try to pull.  Sure, you can stand in front of a nice background and recite a carefully memorized script, but most people would prefer a casual stroll around the office and being introduced to the people behind the scenes.

Be Interactive
The beauty of Facebook Live is that you can read the comments of viewers as they are posted, and speak to them in real time to answer any questions. You can even take this interaction to the next level by playing a trivia game centered around your brand, and awarding prizes to the viewers that answer correctly the quickest. Real time interaction will help to make your viewers feel involved and like a real part of your business.

Keep It Short
For a live event, try to keep it to 5-10 minutes in length. Anything shorter doesn’t allow people enough time to tune in, and anything longer gives them incentive to leave the stream.

Have A Strategy
Not only should you announce your livestream the day before on your page, but you should also be sure to follow up with the event after it has happened and the video has been posted to your wall for future viewings. Use that video to your advantage. Ask your partnerships to share it on their page, create a blog post for your company that goes in depth on the topics covered, or even turn the video into an ad that will reach new consumers for your company.

A Facebook Live event can seem intimidating, but live videos are the way of the future when it comes to digital marketing. Get started now, and stay a step ahead of the game as new strategies unfold.

Do you use Facebook Live for your business? What are your best tips?

3 Tips for Better Influencer Marketing


The world of marketing is constantly evolving and shifting to meet current cultural trends. When radio first premiered, marketers were able to take advantage of this new medium with creatively crafted content with the latest technology, and now that trend continues up to this day with the ever unpredictable realm of digital media.

One of the biggest factors of digital media that marketers are rightfully taking advantage of is influencer marketing. This type of marketing consists of partnering with a “social celebrity” (like Aspyn Ovard, Mamrie Hart, or Ellie and Jared), and paying them to speak of your product or service in a way that spreads positive attention. Influencer marketing is, at its core, a new form of advertisement that allows for a more organic sense of awareness between influencer and fan.

Influencer marketing can be a tricky business to master, but these tips will help you get your campaign off to a successful start.

Build Trust
No worthwhile influencer will want to work with you unless they trust you and your brand fully and completely. Network wisely with influencers you wish to work with, send them samples, and let the relationship build organically so that, when the partnership forms, the social star can genuinely endorse your product, making the ad resonate that much more with their audience.

Suggest, But Give Freedom
Let the influencer you partner with have freedom with how they will integrate your ad into their usual content. While you can give them guidelines and suggestions, ultimately, they are the ones that know their audience and what does and doesn’t work.

Follow Up
One and done brand deals do work, but not as well as sponsorships that are grown over time. Work toward cultivating a relationship with an influencer that can eventually turn into more of a spokesperson role as both the audience of the influencer and your product grow over time. Loyalty between brand and influencer is often the key factor in successful campaigns implemented on a regular basis.

What are some of the best influencer marketing campaigns you have seen? What made them so successful?

October Reading Wrap Up


As the seasons change, one thing remains the same – my love for books.

October was a great reading month (I devoured 10 books), and the autumn temperatures that are just beginning to grace Tennessee have me ready to curl up with a blanket and even more novels this month.

But before we get ahead of ourselves – here are the books I read in October:

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The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Following the lives of foster siblings years after their separation, this novel shows what it means to move on and trust the future, with a past that seems impossible to escape.

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This critically acclaimed novel tells the story of our world after tragedy. Through the eyes of a traveling theatre troupe and the people they encounter, you’ll learn what it means to find yourself, after losing everything.

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The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
A futuristic Gossip Girl, The Thousandth Floor recounts the lives of a handful of teenagers living in the world’s tallest building. With a more hopeful take on what our world has coming, this book will have you sucked into the drama and scandal within a page or two.

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
A classic novel with eerie similarities to modern society, Bradbury paints a picture of individuality and the idea of doing good, even when the world is against you.

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Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
Everyone knows Drew Barrymore from her countless leading roles, but not everyone knows the behind the scenes of America’s sweetheart. In this memoir, Barrymore brings the reader on a journey through her past and present, and lays out a map for her future work and charity.

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A World Without You by Beth Revis
Easily the best book I read this month, A World Without You is a heart wrenching look into the mind of mental illness, and the devastating effects it has on both individuals and their families.

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The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy by Rainn Wilson
We all know and love Dwight from The Office, but how many of us are familiar with the man behind the Bears, Beets, and Battlestar Galactica obsession? In this tell-all, Wilson embraces the reader in honest tales from his pre-Office life, and gives inspiration to those in the arts that wish to follow in his footsteps.

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Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart
Best known for her wildly popular YouTube channel, Hannah Hart shares her story of family, pain, and optimism. While seeming like the same story is told over and over again throughout its pages, this memoir still provides insight for all those Hartos out there about the girl behind the self-made empire.

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The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The first book in the Shades of London series, The Name of the Star gives a modern twist on the phenomenon of Jack the Ripper. Johnson keeps you guessing up until the very last page, and ready to tear through the next books in the series immediately.

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A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer
Written by the popular Hollywood producer Brian Grazer, this book shares his ideas on perspective, and how having an open mind has led him to the life he has today. Grazer reminds the reader to always keep their eyes and ears attentive – you never know who or what might just set you up on the path to success.

Add me on Goodreads to keep up with my reading in November.


Pros and Cons of Automated Social Media


Since its start over a decade ago, social media has had a reputation for giving individuals real world updates in real time. Whether it’s breaking news regarding the latest political policies or a picture of what your college roommate’s cousin ate for lunch, social media has always shown us new perspectives into every day life as they unfold. 

Once businesses got a hold of this digital space though, things began to change. With assistance from Hootsuite or just Facebook itself, businesses are now able to schedule and implement strategies to go live on their page days or even weeks in advance. 

This automation of social has changed the professional media game, and has become a widely accepted practice for businesses all over the world. 

But is an automated social page a good thing? Let’s look at some Pros and Cons. 

Pro: Management Made Easy
With automated social, there is no need for someone to be waiting around to post the latest content at precisely the right time. Social managers are able to schedule campaigns in advance, and spend their newfound flexibility creating unique initiatives for their clients. 

Con: Social is Constantly Changing
If you are the type of social manager that schedules posts two weeks in advance, chances are, what was the big trend in social when you created the content will no longer be the latest news when the post goes live. Due to social’s constantly changing landscape, automating your posts can lead to missed opportunities strategically. 

Pro: Ability to Prioritize Projects
When you automate your pages and schedule content to post on its own, you allow yourself the freedom to prioritize your campaigns and other digital efforts. This freedom gives you the space and perspective to always be thinking two steps ahead to what is coming down the social trends pipeline, instead of harping on content that may or may not work in the moment. Innovation is the backbone of the digital frontier, and deserves the focus of all social managers. 

Con: Impersonal Atmosphere
When it comes to businesses on social, consumers want responses quickly and in real time. When you automate your postings, there’s a good chance you will lose sight of when specific content is going up, and fail to properly respond to comments/concerns/other engagement on your page that consumers expect you to interact with. Be careful with your social automation, and make sure you have your bases covered when it comes to monitoring all of your pages. 

Automating your social pages or choosing to post organically is a decision you will need to make based on the profiles you manage. What works for one company won’t always work for another. Finding the right strategy for your individual clients will come through different trials and campaigns, but will be worth the process once you hit your stride. 

Do you automate your social postings?