Interview With Minneapolis-Based Social Media Strategist Thyme Is Honey

 In ALIVE, People

Danielle Bruflodt has an eye for organization. As a Minneapolis designer and social media strategist with her company, Thyme is Honey, Bruflodt’s modus operandi centers around making complicated things simple.

With a background in museum digital archives, Bruflodt picked up her social media savvy through work at a publishing company and blogging for Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine. “Upon first glance, people usually think the transition from museum work to social media seems very unrelated,” she says. But for her, creating smart branding for clients and digitizing archives have the same end goal: accessibility.

Bruflodt was able to parlay her skill set into Thyme Is Honey, her social media consulting business through which she works with national clients to distill their brands into “a curated collection of images and short captions that can be more easily understood by the public,” as she says. And for keeping one’s personal sphere organized, she also designs a wide variety of daily planners and even fitness and water consumption trackers, available in her Etsy shop.

Below, Bruflodt talks social media strategy, design and finding a balance between personal and professional.

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As a social media strategist, how do you approach partnering with other businesses?
I feel like I’ve had a really interesting viewpoint during the “rise” of the ‘influencer.’ I’ve gotten to see this trend develop from the perspective of a blogger and influencer myself, as a product-based business owner who is reaching out to the influencers, and as a social media strategist who is organizing and overseeing these campaigns for clients.

Being on the “other side” of this (as a strategist) I have seen how poorly campaigns can go if the brand and influencer are not a good match. Consumers are smart and very intuitive. They can tell when a campaign isn’t authentic. That reflects poorly not only on the brand, but also on the influencer. For me, I try to only collaborate with brands that I feel really good about, and that fit into my life (and social media feed) naturally.

I’ve found that a really good approach to this is to write about and share the products or experiences that I really enjoy. And, hopefully, the brand will see it and reach out to me. Sometimes they just drop a line to say “thanks!” and other times it develops into future collaborations. I feel good about collaborating with brands that I already love.

Your Etsy shop offers paper and downloadable daily planners, fitness and waterconsumption trackers that you’ve designed. What do you hope these products will bring to people’s lives?
For me, life is all about balance. Of course, we need to work and hopefully we are passionate about the work we are doing. But for me, none of that matters if my health isn’t being prioritized as well. The Daily Page was something I designed for myself back in 2010. It is a one-page layout that allows you to track all facets of your life—your to-do list, appointments, shopping list, water consumption, meal planning, fitness routine and more—all in one place so that you are able to remove that information from your head and put it all in one place, which allows you to prioritize your day, think clearer and go through life with more intention.

What do you say to someone approaching the idea of using a planner and your organization tactics for the first time? Can organization make them happier?
I don’t know if organization can make you happier—I know plenty of disorganized people who seem plenty happy. But what I do know is that taking good care of yourself can make a tremendous difference not only in your happiness, but also in your ability to succeed—personally or in business. And I know that today, in our society, it can seem nearly impossible to prioritize healthy eating, fitness or proper hydration alongside the personal and professional expectations that are put on us.

Once I started taking better care of myself and putting my goals related to my own personal health and wellness on the same level—literally on the same page as my professional goals or day-to-day to-do list items—everything seemed to come together in a more balanced way and had a direct impact on my success. That is what I want for other people, and that is what I hope they get out of using any of the products I’ve designed.

Your blog and social media accounts aren’t just about your business and products—you also post about your home, what you eat and wear, and even your very cute dog. What’s the philosophy behind marrying the personal and the professional?
The philosophy there is pretty simple: this is social media, and people want to hear your story. They want to get to know you. They don’t just want a stream of images (no matter how pretty they are) that are all accompanied by a long caption that is ultimately trying to sell them a product or service.

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Your goal as a business or brand on social media should be to develop a relationship with your fans, and then serve that relationship by providing them with valuable content on your feed. Occasionally, of course, that feed is also going to tell them about your upcoming event or new product, but that content is going to be much better received if they trust you and value the relationship.

Is Thyme is Honey still evolving as a business? What are your goals for the future?
In social media, you are either evolving or going backwards. It’s an industry that literally changes every day, sometimes multiple times per day. Not only do you need to keep up with the latest updates to algorithms or UIs, but you also need to keep tabs on the changing trends for each platform. Along with that, a great social strategist is also someone who constantly has their pulse on current events—because one sudden and unpredictable event in the world of politics, celebrity gossip or fashion can instantly impact user behavior on social platforms, throwing your entire strategy or marketing plan into a tailspin (that is when my left brain really shines).

So yes, from that perspective my business always is, and always will be, changing and evolving. As platforms disappear and new ones rise, I have to learn new software, how to produce high-quality content for it and how to engage with audiences on it.

As far as my team or business model, I have one assistant who works remotely, and currently I plan to remain mostly a one-woman-shop. I think it’s easy for people working in creative industries to feel like success means having a “studio space” or having an entire team working underneath you. But I’ve dipped my toes into that world—I could have justified studio space years ago, and I’ve had employees and freelancers working underneath me. I realized pretty quickly during that test-run that I really put value on working from home, on having flexibility, on being able to work from anywhere, and not having the stress of being responsible for other people. For me, success looks like what I have: a job I love, clients that I really value and have gotten to work with for years, and usually a dog in my lap while I work at the computer.

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How do you balance work and creativity in your own life? And how do you balance organization and creativity, which so often requires permission to make mistakes?
I love this question because it really puts a spotlight on one of the strangest things about me: I don’t fit into the typical description of either a left- or right-brained person. While my work requires a lot of creativity—photo shoots, photo editing, writing captions, putting together marketing campaigns, writing and formatting long blog posts—my brain works in a very organized and systematic way. I guess I can best describe my days as very organized creativity.

I feel fortunate that the work I get to do every day is creative—whether I’m doing graphic design, photography or writing, those are all creative outlets for me.

Your products and social media posts aim to inspire people to boost their productivity and bring more beauty, creativity and positivity into their lives. What are some things that inspire you?
I’m very inspired by volunteering. I suppose this is because I put so much value on time, and I am someone who is—unfortunately—always watching the clock and using my time as efficiently as I can. That said, I have always made time to volunteer, and I am really inspired by other people who do the same.

I’m also inspired by great books—I read a lot. And by spending time outdoors. Give me a 20-mile bike ride, or a few hours in a canoe, and I am a very happy girl.

All images courtesy of Thyme is Honey.

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