Tenille Lafontaine is a 30-something mom of three in Regina, Saskatchewan. She is the founder of FEISTY FRUGAL & FABULOUS, one of the top mommy blogs in Canada (in fact, in 2012 Reader’s Digest Canada named her among their top 10!) Over the years, Feisty Frugal & Fabulous has expanded to bring on three contributors, and Tenille can now regularly be heard on provincial talk radio and bi-weekly on Regina Morning News segments. We caught up with Tenille on her experience working as an Influencer for Branding and Buzzing and what it takes to make it in today’s competitive social media space.
Tell us how you first got involved with mommy blogging.
It happened more by circumstance than planning. I was living in a very small town and needed an outlet to write, share and interact with other moms. The blog started as a way to share online coupons and deal finds and eventually evolved into what it is today.
Tell us a bit about the work you’ve done with Branding and Buzzing.
I’m new to working with Branding and Buzzing but if my first experience was any indication, I’m a huge fan! I was asked to participate in Season Two of the TK Everyday contest and won the title of Season 2 Thai Kitchen Canada Ambassador with a delicious spin on a favourite childhood dessert – Banana Split Pie!
What does Social Media mean to you?
Social Media is all about connecting and having a voice. Today, brands can reach out to their customer base to advertise, gain feedback and learn. In turn, consumers have a voice more than ever before – they can connect with brands in real time and share insights that up until now, we reserved for sample groups and polling. Done right, social media can mean huge success for a brand and product.
How frequent do you post on your blog, Facebook and Instagram?
I’m a daily user. I think they have a support group for that but I’m not interested in an intervention! I love social media and will post somewhere on any given day and some days I’m everywhere!. If I disappear from the social space for more than 24 hours, you should probably send out a search party.
What are some of the challenges you face working in the social media space?
It’s harder to share tone and intention when writing than it is when speaking, so I’ve had to be careful to ensure people know when I’m being sarcastic or silly. That can be difficult to achieve on Twitter in 140 characters.
What blogger or blog(s) have been your biggest influence?
I started reading The Bloggess years ago and adore Jenny’s wit. I also love Illustrated With Crappy Pictures – Amber captures parenting like no one else can, even her stick figures are better than mine. For design and decor, I adore my friend Amanda’s blog, Natural Mommie.
What do you think makes blogging in Regina, Saskatchewan different?
Oh definitely having a prairie and western Canadian aspect to the writing. Bloggers in western Canada are, in my opinion, so different from bloggers in Toronto. We don’t have events three times a week to attend (unless you count backyard barbecues!) and we have a different perspective on lifestyle, food, fashion and travel. Parenting perspective is even different than it would be in a metro city.
What upcoming social media trends do you see in the mommy blogging industry?
I see moms branching out. We started writing about baby shoes and high chairs and our kids are growing. Sure, new blogs are popping up all the time and babies too (!!) but the bloggers here in Canada who have been doing it a number of years have children that are growing, so content is changing. Mom bloggers are now writing about fashion, lifestyle, and travel more than they would have when their children were small. They’re also, like me, utilizing traditional forms of media as well. My online blog has now helped move me into radio and TV.
What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I’m scared of clowns. And the thought of hugging one makes me want to cry.
What do you do when you aren’t attending events or writing?