9 Pinterest Marketing Myths Exposed

Before we get started, let me tell you that Pinterest was a hard nut for me to crack. I used to really struggle with gaining relevant followers on that platform. Once I figured it out, I was easily getting 1,000 new relevant followers each month. Save yourself some time and get my free eBook to learn how you can do it, too.

1. It is better to pin from the source, not from the Pinterest feed.

FALSE. You can grow a relevant following quickly and never pin anything from the source. In order to grow a following on Pinterest, you need to pin a lot. Pinning directly from the Pinterest feed is the easiest way to do this. Do you know how many things you should be pinning a day? Read my free eBook. Pinning from the source won't slow your growth, it just takes longer to pin.

2. Join group boards for more followers.

PROCEED GROUP BOARDS WITH CAUTION. Group boards that consistently have a high repin count AND have content that is in sync with your brand are dreamy. When you join boards like those, your content will be introduced to people who are looking for are your target market. It's a match made in heaven. HOWEVER, if you are joining Pinterest group boards willy nilly and the content posted there doesn't represent your brand...don't do it. Your feed will get clogged with a bunch of pins that aren't relevant to you. This will reflect badly on you and will slow you down because you'll have to sift through a lot of nonsense before you get to the good stuff.

3. Leave lots of comments to get people to follow you.

FALSE. If you leave a bunch of comments on various pins, Pinterest will think you're a spammer and freeze your account. Yikes. Nobody wants that. If you want to thank people for pinning your stuff, just click the little heart. You don't need to write a long drawn out comment instructing people to visit your shop for more merchandise. Ick.

4. If you delete a board, then you will lose followers.

TRUE. If a follower is only following that specific board and none of your other boards, then your total following count will decrease by one when you delete the board they are following. That sentence was so long, but thank you for powering through it. This is a big problem for people who convert from a personal account to a business account. After converting to a business account, you may want to get rid of personal boards that aren't relevant to your business. You may lose followers by doing so, but if the topic doesn't relate to your business, then who cares.

5. Include a specific caption for each pin.

FALSE. (SORT OF) When you are pinning your own content from your website, you absolutely need to include a description that is rich with keywords. I NEVER change the caption when I'm repinning other people's content and I'm still able to get 1,000 followers in one month. If you change the caption for every single thing you pin, it will take a million years to pin just a few things. I don't have time for that and neither do you. 

6. Pin your own content more than once.

TRUE. So, if you aren't pinning your own content over and over on Pinterest, then wtf are you doing there? Ladies. You need to promote your own stuff! 10% of the content you post should be your own. That means if I pin this blog post on Monday to my Little Farm Media Blog board, then I can pin it again two weeks later to my Social Media Tips board. Why two weeks? I don't know, BUT if you're pinning a ton of content and have at least 500 new followers coming in every two weeks then you will always have a new set of eyes on your boards.

7. Vertical pins get more repins.

TRUE. I don't care how good the article is, I will never pin it if there isn't a nice vertical image to go with it. Vertical images stand out more on Pinterest than small, horizontal images. Why should you care about repins? Pins with more repins have a greater chance of being shown in searches because Pinterest will identify you as a Pinterest Badass. The more pins you have with a high repin count, the more followers you will get.

8. Use hashtags in your caption.

FALSE. Hashtags don't help AT ALL. When you click on a hashtag on Pinterest, it will bring up a ton of content that doesn't even relate to the content of the hashtag. This article from moz.com explains it way better than I ever could

9. Delete pins with a low repin count.

TRUE. I never give advice on this blog that I haven't tried myself, but I heard from two reliable sources that this worked for them. I read about it on Erika Madden's blog post, Pinterest: The Ultimate Guide To Getting Followers + Repins, and saw Melyssa Griffin, of The Nectar Collective, post about it on her Instagram. I decided to go straight to the source and asked Melyssa and Erika to explain why. They both agreed that eliminating OLD (6 mos.+) pins with a low repin count would help Pinterest recognize you as a power pinner. Pins with a low number of repins make Pinterest think nobody cares about your content. If most of your pins have a high number of repins, Pinterest will think you're important and show your pins more.

How To Host An Instagram Loop Giveaway

Instagram Loop Giveaways are a great way to grow your following, introduce your followers to new accounts, and create excitement. They can also be a big dud. I have tested all of these tips myself during the last Loop Giveaway I organized and gained 700 targeted followers in 48 hours. They work.

WANT AN EXACT COPY OF THE EMAILS I USED TO ORGANIZE THE LOOP?

These instructions are super clear and will save you tons of time.

If you already are a newsletter subscriber and have the super secret password, click here to access all our digital freebies.

1. Don't post an open call. I see this happening in Facebook groups all the time and it drives me nuts. You need to choose specific people and reach out to them individually. Through email. Posting an open call is basically saying, "Do you have a pulse? I would love for you to represent my business." 

2. Ask the right people. Your audience trusts you, so don't break that trust. If you include people in your loop that aren't amazing, you will seem desperate and your audience will be annoyed. Amazing doesn't necessarily mean people with tons of followers, but it does mean people who share a similar audience. Each person in your loop should be chosen because you know your following would find their content useful. 

3. Don't be intimidated. If you have 1,000 followers, then someone with 10,000 followers may not be interested. BUT, they might be interested if the collective following is 50,000. 

4. Make it easy for everyone. Give clear instructions for all participants. Don't clog up their email with lots of back and forth. If you haven't downloaded my Instagram Loop Giveaway Email Series, then do it now.

RELATED POSTS

What's Your Instagram Strategy? | Violet Tinder Studios

One of the most frequently asked questions I get about Instagram is how to grow an engaged, targeted following. I found Natasha, of Violet Tinder Studios, on Instagram a while back and was sucked into her gorgeous feed. I can't remember how many followers she had at the time, but it seemed to me like she should have WAY more. She scheduled a consultation with me and we covered a TON of stuff. Now she has tons of followers, but even more importantly- she is getting more sales and has a few exciting collabs in the works.

1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?

I’m Natasha of Violet Tinder Studios. I love to paint and create “paper fun”- stationery, stickers, etc! It all started right after I had my daughter Lucie, in 2014. I had always love to paint and create as an outlet, but had never really done much more with it. Home with a newborn, I’d find myself with little pockets of time in the day (while she napped or ate) and decided to start using that time creatively. From there, it grew as I found myself more and more inspired, and loving every minute of it. In late summer 2014, I officially launched Violet Tinder Studios, and I haven’t stopped running since. Ha.

 2. Where can we find you on social media?

I’m mainly on IG, and I’m @violettinder- I just love the visual aspect of IG and the fun community of creatives. I’m on Pinterest and Twitter as Violet Tinder, and Facebook as Natasha Martin, but honestly, I spend much less of my social media time on those outlets. Well, actually, I do like to pin at night, while I watch Netflix.

3. What is your favorite hashtag?

#thecandyrainbow!! It was a fun collaborative project started by my friend Rachel of @linesacross and myself- we both love candy and taking fun, colorful photos so we turned it into a weekly challenge and it has been SO. MUCH. FUN. It’s also crazy how much it’s grown- not only do other people jump in with their own candy pics, but we’re starting to find new avenues to take it, like working with some candy companies and doing more styled candy photos.

 4. Why do you use social media?

Ok, if I’m honest, two reasons- 1) I honestly love the creative aspect… finding new and fun ways to photograph something, and the challenge of trying to make my work stand out in a little square photo- I really truly find it fun! But also, 2) it’s been INCREDIBLE for my business. I mean, really. Violet Tinder Studios has been in action less than a year, but in just that year it’s grown into it’s own profitable business (small, but growing) and I attribute 90% of that to my use of social media. If you’re smart about it, you can find new customers, promote and market your work for FREE, and learn sooooo much from other more experienced people. What else on earth gives you all of that, for free, and makes it fun?? I sound like an IG ad, I know, but I’m continually amazed at the opportunities I get from social media, especially as I become a little savvier in using it.

 5. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?

I don’t use a ton- mainly just VSCO to slightly tweak the lighting in some photos. I don’t use any posting apps, because I’m a spontaneous-control freak (who knew those things could go together?) so I like to be able to change my mind at any time about what and when I post. So yeah, I pretty much just take photos as they come to me, tweak them a little with VSCO, and save them up so I have options when it’s time to post.

6. What effect does social media have on your business?

Well, I sort of already answered this, but a HUGE one. I find a large percentage of customers and even wholesale opportunities, through Instagram. I also love how it challenges me to take better, more appealing product photos (that you get instant feedback on) so I can hone my styling skills. Basically, if social media didn’t exist, I’d be sitting at my kitchen table, 10 months after starting Violet Tinder Studios, with maybe 10 sales. And I’d probably feel pretty defeated. But instead, I feel like there’s this huge ocean of opportunities that I have access to, and all I have to do is suit up and make sure I dive in everyday. Business is out there. You just have to find it. (Do I sound like a motivational speaker? haha)

7. How do you measure success on social media?

Hmmm good question… well, the obvious answer is followers, but I really think that can be misleading. Personally, for me it’s engagement. Do people like my photos? Are they commenting? Do they seem interested/excited by what I’m sharing? Sometimes people get so hung up on followers, but then their photos aren’t that great, and it shows because their followers aren’t engaged,and they don’t seem to be encouraging it anyway! Caitlin, you’ve always said this yourself, but if you have 25k followers, but no one is engaged in what you’re promoting and they don’t buy from you, who cares? I’d rather grow my following in a slow & steady way (or, ok fast & steady would be cool too), and gain people that really like my vibe! That’s what counts.

 8. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?

I think just continually coming up with great new content that’s photo ready! Some days, I’m so crazy and hectic with projects (and juggling my toddler), and I think “man, there’s a gold mine of fun photos here, all over my floor/table/counter/studio… but who’s gonna clean it all up and stage it (in perfect lighting, no less) for me?!!” haha. I really do try to keep a backlog/library of photos, but sometimes that’s hard! I’m trying to get better about planning out my posts for the week ahead, to alleviate some of that stress. Especially as my business grows, I want that to be more streamlined. 

9. What makes you follow another brand back?

Mostly fun + colorful photos, and a consistent theme. I want to look at their page and clearly know what they’re all about. Sometimes, I’ll look at a page and see some cool photos, but then there’s a lot of other randomness, and I just think hmmm, I’m not sure here… I know it’s hard, because my style was WAYYY all over the place when I first started too. It’s like, you have to edit down your real life, and the real you, into a tighter package of what you are all about. Really, I think it’s a great exercise in branding! Oh, and I love witty captions. (Caitlin, yours have made me spit out my coffee more times than I can count. :))

10. Which brands have social media you admire?

Oh, there are so many good ones!! I DIE over @mattcrump and his #candyminimal photo series… he’s an amazing photographer, with such a fun spin. I love love love @shopbando- not only are their products super fun, but their social media is so on point! (@christinawinkelmann, I’m looking at you!)… and @sugarfina does such a great job with making candy seem so glamorous and fun and party-ready!

I think accounts that really master presenting a strong, branded image are my favorite- it’s so attractive!

11. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?

Ok, don’t get discouraged!!! You have to play around and experiment to find a style that feels right to you, and showcases your business in the best way for it. That will take time, so just keep going.

With that said, be consistent! Challenge yourself to post almost every day, and make sure you are interactive with people that interact with you.

Also- hashtags are your best friend, use them!! When I first started, I didn’t get the purpose- true story, I thought they like “declared” what your picture was or something ("#food? or course my ham sandwich is food!!”) BUT now I see- it’s like holding up a candle in the dark- it helps people to find you, in the crazy sea of Instagram!!! Thankfully, I had Caitlin to knock some sense into me. :)

See what some of my other clients are up to on Instagram.

How To Use Periscope Like a Boss

If your creative business has an account on Periscope and you don't know what to do there, then keep reading. Periscope is new and fun, which means a lot of businesses have jumped onboard. Build your following now before it gets super crowded. Before you start posting a bunch of rambling videos, I want you to remember this. If you want to use it as a business tool, then you need to scope content that your target audience wants to see. If you are an artist scoping biz tips, that's great if you want to start consulting or want to attract an audience of struggling artists. If you want to SELL stuff, then read on. P.S. You can find me giving a TON of social media tips on Periscope: @littlefarmmedia

WANT YOUR PERSONAL PERISCOPE OPENING SCRIPT WORKSHEET?

This script will help you plan out the first 5 minutes of your Periscope broadcast AND help you grow a loyal following quickly.

If you already are a newsletter subscriber and have the super secret password, click here to access ALL our digital freebies.

1. Tips. What are you an expert on? There are A LOT of business coaches on Periscope, so if you are a biz coach, then you need to create niche content in order to stand out. Just because you see someone with lots of followers scoping about email lists doesn't mean that you should if you aren't an expert! Tips are not just for biz coaches. If you sell skincare products, then give your audience tips on how to take care of their skin. If you sell accessories, then offer your audience style advice. 

2. Behind the scenes. Work in progress scopes show the time and effort that go into creating your product. Your product might be an e-course, a painting, a blog post, or a freaking birdhouse. I don't care what it is, show your audience how you did it! There is a reason Bob Ross was so famous and why home renovation shows are so popular. 

3. Unboxing videos are a great way to show how special your product is. I am obsessed with unboxing videos. Yesterday I watched a dude scope for 10 minutes just so I could watch him unwrap a dang memory stick. I have a zillion memory sticks, yet I was totally captivated and had to hold back from commenting: "Show me the stick already!" 

4. Demonstrate how to use your products. Think about QVC for a minute. They will fill up 60 minutes of air time with floral blazers. You probably make something better than a floral blazer and should have no time at all doing a product demonstration for a few minutes. P.S. I just decided we should bring back the floral blazer. Who's with me??? Periscope is just like QVC in that you have constant interaction with your audience. Ask them how they would use your product. Would they use it in a house? Would they use it with a mouse?

5. Save your videos. You can adjust the settings on Periscope to automatically save each scope to your phone's drive. Upload your videos to Facebook or YouTube directly from your phone! Repurposing content is a great way to save time and reach new audiences. Videos are super engaging on Facebook and will really stand out on the newsfeed. 

6. Write a great headline. Put some thought into your title and add key words that describe your content. Emojis also are a fun way to make your Periscope headline stand out. Not to harp on my whole floral blazer idea, but just imagine the emoji you could use. The possiblities are endless!

7. Tell everyone you're on Periscope. Your followers might not be on Periscope yet, so give them a reason to join. Write it in a newsletter, make announcements on your social media, and add it to your email signature. Tell people what to expect when they follow you. If you don't make it sound good, they won't do it. 

8.  Tell everyone on Periscope you're on Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook. If you are an artist and have a beautiful Pinterest account, take some time to show everyone. People like to see what inspires you. If you are a branding expert, show people your Pinterest board that is filled with branding boards. 

9. Make the most of your first five minutes. I've included 5 things you MUST say during the first five minutes of each scope. They work to help you connect with your audience and grow a following quickly. Click here to get instant access to 5 Specific Things To Say On Each Periscope Broadcast. If you aren't on my newsletter and don't know the super secret code, then click here.

UPDATE: Academy of Handmade just wrote 25 Things Makers Can Do On Periscope. Get over there for more ideas!

RELATED POSTS

What's Your Instagram Strategy? | The Higgins Creative

You know what drives me crazy? A gorgeous Instagram account with a strong voice that has fewer followers than I do. I was dying to work with Lilah Higgins, of The Higgins Creative, for a long time before she contacted me for some consulting. We met on Instagram and I got to know her a bit more in my private Facebook group, Creative Biz Owners. Lilah has a beautiful minimalist aesthetic that I absolutely love. Read on to discover how she uses Instagram to grow her creative business.

1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?

Hi! I'm Lilah, one half of The Higgins Creative. My husband, Zac and I started "Techne Arts" back in 2011 on a whim to sell my art for extra income. We moved from Southern California to Wyoming right after we married and needed an outlets such well. We dreamt about eventually adding services like website design, social media management, logo design, and all kinds of other stuff we didn't have a clue about. Fast forward a few years and we rebranded in 2014 with a better name and a simpler plan. The Higgins Creative was born and we boiled everything down to "modern design for simple homes." Now, we design logos and graphic work on the side, but graphic design is really a means to provide for our real passion: making.

We take what we've learned about good design and mesh it with things you can actually use, like tea towels, coasters, unique jewelry, and art prints. Design meets purpose.

 2. Where can we find you on social media?

Our main site is www.thehigginscreative.com. You can find us on Instagram @thehigginscreative, and my personal account at @mrslilahhiggins. We tweet at @higginscreative & @zhiggins2010. We pin design work we admire, home decor, sailing & rving inspiration, and diy ideas on Pinterest @higginscreative. And we also post major updates and announcements to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thehigginscreative)

3. What is your favorite hashtag?

Our favorite hashtag is the one we made up (fancy that!) #waketomake! It is filled to the brim (over 1,000 photos!) with an authentic, gorgeous community of makers and shakers. When we're bored or discouraged about our influence or if what we do matters at all, all we have to do is scroll through #waketomake & everything is suddenly right in the world.

4. Why do you use social media?

We live in a rural area (a difficult thing for our adventurous & artsy souls!) and we don't have easy access to a large city or its amenities. Small town = small amount of customers. Selling online and using social media to promote our shop is THE best way for us to get our products out there.

 5. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?

Ha. So many. My main buddy is my Canon Rebel XTi. He comes with me everywhere. As far as apps go, we use the VSCOcam app for editing, Over for text overlay, TakeOff for managing Instagram, HootSuite for managing Twitter & Facebook, & IFTTT for picking up where the other apps lack.

6. What effect does social media have on your business?

It's the main way that we sell, communicate with our customers, and reach out to the world outside of our little town. It's like uber crucial.

7. How do you measure success on social media?

That's a tough one. Some days I measure it in how many interactions/likes/comments/follows I get, but that can be devastating to depend on if I'm not careful. Not gonna lie, I've cried like a baby over it before. When I'm a little LESS insane, I measure success in reaching people. Not in quantity, but in quality. In making someone feel a little less alone, in making others feel welcome to join in on the exciting things we've got going on, and in making a difference through whatever level of reach we have. And making a sale feels pretty darn successful too. 🏼

 8. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?

The most challenging thing for me is the constant need to keep up. The desire I have and the expectation I put on myself to post multiple times a day, with content good enough for he likes of Darling Magazine to MAAAYBE share, is so. Much. Work. Most days I love the hard work and the challenge, but some days I just want to quit and move to an island somewhere and fish.

9. What makes you follow another brand back?

On Instagram, good photography. I like to get inspired when I scroll. On Twitter, thought-provoking words. I like to be challenged to think bigger. In general, if it's a clean, well-made, thought-out and beautiful product or website, I'm a fan. 🏼

 10. Which brands have social media you admire?

I love @woodwoven (www.instagram.com/woodwoven) for their product displays and photography. I love @darling (www.instagram.com/darling) for the community they promote and how much I feel a part of what they're doing, even if I'm mostly a spectator. But we did get featured once for our magazine hanger https://instagram.com/p/1BiCpANPlG/! WOO! 🏼)

11. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?

Find your thing. What means the most to you? What is the message you're trying to get the world to listen to? Ours is focused on the importance of making, and we also (conveniently!) make good quality items for our followers to buy. Our voice screams "we make! you can make too! making is important! buy our handmade items!" And that's our thing, and we own it like its our job (oh wait...)

So, to sum up, find your thing. Own it. And learn how to take good pictures of it. White balance.

RELATED POSTS

Best Facebook Groups For Creative Biz Owners

I know Facebook is a thorn in the side of many creative business owners. This post will change that. One of the most profitable parts of Facebook for me has been Facebook groups. In addition to my own kick-ass, super amazing, bossy Facebook group filled with thousands of coaches, bloggers, and entrepreneurs (which you can join for free right here), I want to share another one that I am in and absolutely love. 

There are many super newbie groups that focus on VERY basic aspects of your business, but I don't hang out in those. Those groups serve a purpose, but they aren't necessarily my scene. The other kind of Facebook groups you will find are those that are SUPER spammy. They are filled with promotion after promotion and there is very little dialogue happening. Each group has it's own vibe, determined largely in part by the host. 

WANT MY FREE FACEBOOK ETIQUETTE GUIDE?

Before you read the list of my favorite Facebook groups, I am going to get a little Miss Manners on your ass and give specific examples of what to post and what NEVER to post. This guide will show you what I do to make the time I spend in Facebook groups enjoyable AND profitable. Cha-ching. 

If you are already on my newsletter list and know the super secret password, then click here.

1. Creative Biz Owners - Hosted by Caitlin Bacher of Little Farm Media

Description: "Not to brag, but this group is filled with the most amazing creative business owners you will ever meet in your whole entire life. If you are a creative business owner and like to have FUN, then get in here!"

The Vibe: Bossy, Smart, and Fun. 

Who Should Join: Creative Biz Owners: Makers, Artists, Designers, and Bloggers 

Frequent Topics: Social Media, Marketing, Production, Pricing, Handmade, Branding, Wholesale, Web Design, SEO, Etsy, Web Design (hint: if you provide any of these services, you should totally get in here) 

2. Savvy Business Owners - Hosted by  Heather Crabtree 

Description: "This is a private group for women who are or want to be Savvy Business Owners."

The Vibe: Savvy, Collaborative, Generous

Who Should Join: Savvy Business Owners - Wedding/Event Planners, Creative Consultants, Professional Service Providers

Frequent Topics: Outsourcing/VA, Streamlining, Web Design, Branding (hint: if you provide any of these services then get in there!)

For more Facebook Group recommendations, read 9 Smart Facebook Groups Worth Joining by Erika Madden.

RELATED POSTS

What's Your Instagram Strategy? | Married + Bright

I want you to meet one of my favorite makers on Instagram, Annika Benitz Chaloff. When I met Annika many months ago I had no idea she would turn into one of my favorite clients. Her commitment to growing her biz is truly inspiring. Just look at her Instagram and you will see what I mean. She has a consistent color palette, is product-focused, and has a genuine voice. The love for what she makes comes through in each post. Enjoy!

married and bright 1.png

1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?

Hi! I'm Annika. I'm the owner-operator of Married&Bright, which is a line of handmade lingerie which I design, sew, and ship myself. Married&Bright happened to me a little bit by accident after I decided to close down my maternity wear and children's clothing company, Expect, during a particularly heartbreaking holiday season. I realized that Expect wasn't a happy place for me anymore and I decided to just take a break. During my interim, I started sewing a few things "just for fun." One of them was a gold sparkly bralette, which I posted on instagram. I got a lot of "Ooh! I want one!" and so I set up a little etsy shop and started selling. It was the most serendipitous thing and I am so grateful for it! 

 2. Where can we find you on social media?

My favorite social media is Instagram (isn't it everyone's?!). My handle is @annikabchaloff. You can also find me at facebook.com/married.bright

 3. What is your favorite hashtag?

I have a lot of favorites. I love #pursuepretty, #flashesofdelight, and #prettylittlethings. I use #makinsparklybras on my own work as a way to group together my favorite shots of my bralettes.

 4. Why do you use social media?

At first, it was just like a fun playground for me. I loved looking at pretty photos, seeing what my friends were up to, drooling over donut pics. But now my main purpose is to find customers. I actively seek my target customers out and work to convert them into shoppers. In one sentence: I use social media to make money.

 5. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?

Investing in a pair of white foam boards and a couple sheets of fancy wrapping paper from PaperSource has revolutionized the backgrounds of my instagram photos. I shoot 99% of my photos on my phone and then touch them up with either the adjustment settings (not filters! Filters are ew!!) in the Instagram app -- my formula is brightness up, contrast down, fade up, warmth up, and then if I still want it a little more white I add in some of that sunshine dial thing at the top -- or I use an awesome app called Rhonna Magic. I like it even better than Afterlight.

 6. What effect does social media have on your business?

I literally would not have a business if it weren't for Instagram. If no one had told me that they wanted the bralette I posted, I would never have started my etsy shop. Now, it's a great way to test what people are looking for, and introduce new products. I get feedback on what I'm putting out in real time and it's so helpful. I feel like I can reach through my phone and find and converse with my target customers. It's pretty amazing.

 7. How do you measure success on social media?

This is hard for me, because I can get very focused on follower numbers. I'm always trying to drive my follower count higher and higher. Recently, however I've been focusing on converting my followers into customers. In reality, the number of followers a brand has does not necessarily correlate to their level of financial success. And, I know a lot of makers who are raking it in, who have less than a thousand followers on Instagram. So, I'm trying to let go of the idea that once I reach a certain number, I'll instantly be super successful.

 8. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?

One of the hardest things for me is resisting posting personal photos on my business page all the time. I constantly have to remind myself to post product photos, since I'm not naturally inclined to do so. I just want to post pictures of food and my dog, which I know doesn't help my bottom line, but it's so gratifying for some reason. 

9. What makes you follow another brand back?

I love brands with beautiful pages, but what makes me follow back is when the brand is really conversational and communicative. It's nice when brands start conversations and then actually stay in them by responding to comments. It makes you feel like you can reach them if you want to ask for something, or even just say hi. It's a more personal experience. 

10. Which brands have social media you admire?

I love @vraiandoro's black and white minimal theme. It is so opposite of my own style, but it's so pleasing to look at! @shopbando's crazy fun, bright, sparkly feed is absolute perfection. The way they have created such an aspiration brand that is attainable at the same time is so intriguing to me. 

11. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?

I would advise to try to figure out a color scheme and theme for your Instagram page as soon as possible. If you scroll to the bottom of my page (please don't!), you'll find a whole mess of crazy looking photos. The sooner you can make an aesthetically pleasing feed, the better. And, don't be afraid to go after and communicate with your desired customers. They out there, they just won't know about you unless you say hello!

RELATED POSTS

Best Twitter Chats for Creative Biz Owners

Twitter Chats are a great way for creative business owners to meet and learn something new. If you are a maker, artist, designer, or blogger, then this is the place for you. A good Twitter Chat feels like a party and you better believe that's what this one will feel like. This will not be a Twitter Chat where we talk about what "inspires" us. Nope. We'll be trading actionable tips and tricks that will take our businesses to the next level. For a step by step guide to joining your first Twitter Chat, click here. 

My free private Facebook group, Creative Biz Owners, is growing like crazy! Right now we have over 1,000 members. Each day we talk about a variety of topics related to owning a creative business.  A Twitter Chat will be much more focused. It will give us a chance to chat about a specific topic each week, everything from marketing to branding.

Join me on Wednesdays at 7pm PT/ 10pm ET for a Twitter Chat that will be fun, informative, and bossy. Follow me on Twitter right here to stay updated.

If you have never participated in a Twitter Chat before, you are really missing out. Here is a list of some of my favorite Twitter Chats for creatives.

Tuesday

#sfetsy - Hosted by San Francisco Etsy Team - 9pm PT/ 12am ET

Wednesday

#altchat - Hosted by Altitude Summit - 9am PT/ 12pm ET

#createlounge - Hosted by Kayla Hollatz - 5pm PT/ 8pm ET

#owschat - Hosted by One Woman Shop - 6pm PT/ 8pm ET

#nectarchat - Hosted by The Nectar Collective - 6pm PT/ 9pm ET

#creativebizchat - Hosted by Little Farm Media @littlefarmmedia - 7pm PT/ 10pm ET

#savvychat - Hosted by Heather Crabtree - 8pm PT/ 11pm ET

Thursday

#ellechat - Hosted by Elle & Co. - 5pm PT/ 8pm ET

#blisschat - Hosted by House of Bliss - 6pm PT/ 9pm ET

RELATED POSTS

What To Do About Copycats On Social Media

We have all been there before. You may be scrolling through your Instagram feed and suddenly notice that your photo has been used without your permission. Or maybe you notice that one of your followers is now advertising a product identical to your own. 

When this happens to you, these are the thoughts that may be running through your head:

  • "Oh, no! She posted my picture without my permission and now she is going to get tons of followers from the blood, sweat, and tears I put into creating that product and taking that photo. Whyyyyy???" (This is actually against Instagram policies and you should report it immediately if they refuse to take down your photo.)
  • "What? That dude has been following me for weeks and now he is making the exact same felt floral headband that I make. His looks much worse and he clearly doesn't know what he's doing, but still. What if he takes hold of the felt floral headband market and makes my business obsolete. Whyyyyy???"
  • "Wait a minute, that lady is ripping off my photo styling techniques! I always paint my nails daffodil yellow, wear a mood ring, and insert my hand into each photo at a slight angle. My signature style will make her a millionaire and I will be living with my parents. Whyyyyy???"

It really does suck when this happens. I have a private Facebook group, Creative Biz Owners with Little Farm Media, and this topic comes up a lot. Sometimes all it takes to make you feel better is a little venting. Other times, it just makes you feel worse. I have been through this scenario many times myself and here's what worked for me. Obviously, this is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer. Just wanted to throw that in here.

5 THINGS THAT WORKED FOR ME

1. It's okay to be pissed. Don't try to talk yourself out of feeling upset right away, but do take some time to calm down before taking action. 

2. Give them the benefit of the doubt. The truth is, sometimes someone will inadvertently copy you or is just completely unaware of ethical reposting behaviors. Maybe they don't realize it isn't cool/against policy to repost without asking first and DEFINITELY not without crediting. Maybe they spend their whole day looking for inspiration on Instagram, got obsessed with your feed, and unknowingly decided to try out some of your techniques. 

3. Send them a private message. If someone reposts your photos without permission, I feel this is the best approach. Whether or not they knew what they did was wrong, they will most likely take it down to avoid any trouble. 

4. Do not call them out publicly on social media. One time I did that and it felt really good. I'm not gonna lie. However, it is really unprofessional and if you keep calling people out then people will think you're a weirdo. If you have already called someone out publicly, it's okay. Like I said, I've done it before and everyone has since moved on. 

5. Keep it moving. If you are a one trick pony and someone copies you then you might be screwed. Lucky for you, your brain is filled with boatloads of creativity. Keep those copycats in your shadow by forging ahead with new ideas. Kari Chapin gave me really great advice one time, which was that those copycats will never be successful until they find their own voice. I sort of didn't believe her at the time (sorry, Kari), but I have now seen this scenario play out so many times that I know it to be true.

If you are feeling stumped about how to make your business stand out on social media, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me today. You will walk away with a clear understanding of how to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace. 

Can't wait for a One On One? Get started right away with my social media marketing e-course, Bossy Biz Ladies. If you are a busy creative biz owner then you need this course. You will love it.

RELATED POSTS

What's Your Instagram Strategy? | Dahl House Interiors

Sometimes I read someone's blog and I feel an immediate connection with them.  I can't remember how I met Lauren Dahl of Dahl House Interiors, but I know it was on Instagram. Like me, Lauren is a former teacher, mom, and just the right amount of kooky. Unlike me, she wears clothes that match. Kidding...sort of. If you haven't been to her website, go take a look. She has a really funny blog and offers killer e-services that you probably need. Who doesn't? Don't you want someone to make your space look like a magazine instead of like Costco?


1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?

My name is Lauren Dahl, and I'm the owner of Dahl House Interiors. An interior design business specializing in E-Designs, Art Sourcing, and illustrations. I provide affordable interior design to clients local, and far away. I taught middle school art/graphic design for three years, and recently quit my job to pursue my interior design business full time. A complex multitude of things also went into quitting my job, including more time with my son, creative freedom, and just freedom in general. It's scary, and exciting all at the same time. My true passion is curating objects and colors within a space, and helping a client live in a happy home. 

2. Where can we find you on social media?

@DahlHouseInteriors on Instagram, and @DahlHouseInteriors on Pinterest. 

3. What is your favorite hashtag?

#hurryup #what #yum , and #interiordesign . Mostly, I use a bunch of meaningless hashtags, but #interiordesign is always a good one, for searching, and for being searched. I also love searching #newhome, #justmovedin , so that I can connect with people who might need my services, or just see a bunch of cool people starting their own process of decorating their space.

Lauren paints homes. See more on  instagram.com/dahlhouseinteriors .

Lauren paints homes. See more on instagram.com/dahlhouseinteriors.

4. Why do you use social media?

The reason I started an Instagram account, was strictly for my business. My sister told me I needed to, so I did.  I'm an over-sharer, so I share details of my daily life, but also a lot of sharing about my business. They kind of overlap anyways. I also use social media because I like to stalk people. Lastly, I use social media, because It is my platform to share my creative endeavors, and always hopefully bringing in new clients. 

5. Which tools do you use for posting or creating content?

With Instagram, I mostly use my camera phone, but set up interesting compositions. And honestly, not all of the images are even interesting, which is something I need to work on. Some are impulsive photos of my son, or my food, or my toe, or whatever. But, anything I do design-wise, I want to showcase on a level that could potentially bring in a new client. So, if it's a wall mural, a finished space, or an art piece, I photograph it with my good camera, edit in Photoshop, and then post that image. If an image is dark, or not skillfully curated, then it will not be attractive to the Instagram world. Even progress photos of let's say, a painting, should be well lit, and interesting to look at. 

6. What effect does Instagram have on your business?

I am extremely thankful for social media, because no joke, without it, I would probably have like one client. I would say 90 % of people that hire me to design a space within their home, or creative a painting, have found me through social media. The other 10% is my mom being proud of me, and sharing the word about my business via old school conversation. 

7. How do you measure success on social media?

The amount of followers I have is how I measure success. Which sounds so silly, but with a small business, I use Instagram to promote my work, not necessarily just myself. So, it's not like a popularity contest. It's more like, I need more followers so that I can have a greater number of potential clients. Stemming directly from that, is the amount of people that found me via Instagram, that email me. Followers are one thing, and they are great because it means they enjoy what I post, but what I can consider an even greater measure of success, is when a person from Instagram emails me for a project. That is the moment that I see I have done something successful via social media. 

8. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?

Gaining followers, and using the correct hashtags to gain followers. Instagram is such a huge world, so it's easy to become diluted. How do I stay interesting? How can I keep my personality? How can I promote myself without being overly annoying? These are the challenges I face with social media. 

9. What makes you follow another brand back?

I follow brands that interact with their followers, and also provide spotlight opportunities for their followers. Martha Stewart is a great example for spotlight opportunities. Constantly, and literally almost daily, Martha Stewart (or whoever runs her instagram account) posts photos looking for people to make cute ornaments, cute pet photos, fancy florals, etc. The list goes on and on, and all of it is for the possibility to be featured on Martha Stewart Instagram. Which okay, sounds weird, but the opportunity to be featured on an account with 300,000 followers... Well, that should definitely bring some business my way. I follow a lot of artists. But, only if they have pretty photos of their work.  Emily Jeffords (@Emily_Jeffords), Gray Malin (@GrayMalin), Jennifer Davis (@JenniferDavisArt), and SuiteOneStudio (@SuiteoneStudio). I follow a few interior designers, but only ones that are uber successful, because I like to learn from them. Amber Lewis (@AmberInteriors), Shea McGee (@StudioMcGee), and Emily Henderson (@em_henderson).Also, I follow brands and people, that are just crazy inspirational or interesting, like female bodybuilders, and Hilary Duff, and okay like Kylie Jenner because I'm really into her new fake lips and goth style. Just putting that out there. 

10. Which brands have social media you admire?

My most admired brand/person on social media, is Bri Emery (@designlovefest). } I mean, yes, I am jealous of her followers, and awesome lifestyle, but she worked so hard to get there. She is truly an inspiration to wake up every single day, doing what she loves, and doing what she built. Her social media is inspiring not only because of the amount of followers she has, but because of her carefully curated images, her behind the scenes photos, and the acceptance of her flaws. 

11. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?

My advice is to keep your personality, so that you don't just look like everyone else. I mean seriously, how many more pictures do I need to see of an ice cream cone with a brick wall background? Or a pair of really cute shoes, standing on the edge of a gorgeous rug? Like none. Also, involve, and care for all of your followers. Remember, that each person that follows you, could be a client, or a reader or your work, or a new online friend. Not in a weird way though. 

If you are feeling stumped for what to post on Instagram, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me. You will walk away with a content calendar and a clear understanding of how to grow a relevant following quickly. 

RELATED POSTS

How To Join A Twitter Chat

My absolute favorite thing about Twitter is Twitter Chats. Twitter Chats are typically hosted at a regularly scheduled time. For example, San Francisco's Etsy Chapter has a Twitter Chat every Tuesday at 9pm PDT. Before I tell you how to join a Twitter chat, drop everything and follow me on Twitter. I just put up a new cover image and it is AMAZING. Let's get started.

1. Go to TweetChat.com -- TweetChat is a tool you will use to join a Twitter Chat.

2. Enter the hashtag associated with the Twitter Chat of your choice. I'll choose #sfetsy, which is SF Etsy's Twitter Chat hashtag.

3. Authorize TweetChat to login using Twitter.

4. You will see a stream of tweets from people in the Twitter Chat. The great thing about TweetChat is that it automatically adds the hashtag for you. Write your Tweet into the space provided. 

5. After you enter your tweet, click the blue Tweet button. Notice that I didn't have to enter the #sfetsy hashtag. It isn't visible, but it will be during the Twitter Chat. TweetChat does it for you.

6. Look! There's my very own tweet showing up in the stream. You can now see that TweetChat automatically entered the hashtag, #sfetsy.

7. Tweetchat automatically buffers the stream so you won't be overwhelmed with a gazillion tweets coming at you, fast and furious. If you are in a smaller Twitter Chat, you can click on the Room Settings button and turn off the buffer. 

Help! TweetChat stopped working.

8. If Tweetchat stops working for you, then you can also join a Twitter Chat directly on Twitter. Search the hashtag associated with the Twitter Chat you want to join and you will see a live stream of people participating in the chat. Easy!

Click the link below to Tweet!

Can't wait to use @tweetchat for @sfetsy's Twitter chat with @littlefarmmedia, @rjsaylor, + @acdmyofhandmade on Tuesday at 9pm PDT! 

If you are feeling stumped for what how to make your business stand out on social media, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me today. You will walk away with a clear understanding of how to grow your following and increase sales. 

Can't wait for a One On One? Start increasing sales right away with my social media marketing e-course, Bossy Biz Ladies. If you are a busy creative biz owner then you need this course. You will love it.

RELATED POSTS

 

 

5 Mistakes To Avoid On Social Media

1. Trying to Be Perfect Being a perfectionist on social media will slow you down and drive you crazy. Each day you wait to dive in is a missed opportunity to make a sale or a connection. Everyone sucks in the beginning. Everyone. The more you practice, the better you will become. 

2. Comparing Yourself To Others The first time you picked up a paintbrush, were you comparing yourself to Picasso? I hope not. Constantly comparing your achievements to someone else's will always keep you in their shadow. Stay focused on your own work. If this means you need to unfollow someone who you keep comparing yourself to, then so be it. 

3. Waiting For People To Come To You It is imperative that you take a pro-active approach to social media. Just because you are there doesn't mean people know how to find you. Spend some time each day reaching out to your target market. If you don't know who your target market is or how to find them, then save yourself some time and call me.

4. Taking It Personally Just because someone unfollows you does NOT mean they hate your guts. As your following on social media grows, so will the amount of people who unfollow you. There are a million reasons why someone may unfollow you, so don't waste your time trying to figure out why. Focus on the people who ARE interested in your work. 

5. Obsessing About Numbers I'm not gonna lie, I believe numbers matter. However, your primary focus should be on people, not numbers. It is easy to build a huge following of random people who will never buy anything from you. Growing a following of ideal customers takes time, patience, and creativity.

If you are tired of trying to figure out where your target market is on social media and of waiting for them to come to you, talk to me. In one hour I will change everything you think you know about social media and help you develop a strategy that will work for YOUR creative biz. Oh, and we will do all of this in one hour. Click here to find out exactly what a One On One Session entails. Talk to you soon! 

RELATED POSTS

10 Pinterest Boards Every Creative Business Owner Should Have

Here's the thing about Pinterest...You need to be on it. However, you should be very strategic about what you pin and which boards you create. In other words, stop pinning content that YOU like and start thinking about content your target market will love. 

The best way to draw a large audience is to include a variety of boards on your Pinterest account. Make sure that each board you create includes pins that are relevant to your target market AND match the aesthetic of your brand. My company, Little Farm Media, has a brand personality that is fun and colorful. The Home Decor board I created on my Pinterest account reflects that. I have lots of modern interiors that are white with pops of color. I also have a Food + Drink board that has a similar aesthetic. No crock pot recipes for me, unless they are in a bright pink crock pot. Take a peek and see what I mean.

Here are my top ten Pinterest Boards that every creative business should have.

NEW  Biz Tips :: Want to know who is interested in possible collaborations? Other biz owners and bloggers! Create a board with blog tips, Etsy tips, and small biz tips to attract like-minded people to your Pinterest account. You can find my biz board right here.

1. Food + Drink :: Don't go crazy here. Each pin should be branded to perfection. This is not the place for practical recipes. It is the place for gorgeous images of food that you will never make. Food + Drink is the most popular category on Pinterest, so find a way to include beautiful images of food that your target market will love. 

2. DIY + Craft :: There are plenty of DIY + Craft pins that are suitable for a variety of age ranges and tastes. If your target market has young kids, include fun crafts for kids. Don't think about which projects your target market will actually do, think about what they will want to do. 

3. Home Decor :: Avoid pinning articles about organization and focus on aspirational interiors. Remember, Pinners want eye candy. Think about what a 'dream home' would look like for your target market. Nobody wants to pin images of what their home actually looks like. They're on Pinterest to escape their reality.

4. Fashion :: This can be tricky. It is easy to pin style content that you enjoy, but you need to put your target market first. Research which blogs and fashion magazines your target market reads and follow those brands on Pinterest. Pin directly from the style boards those blogs and magazines have already created.

.5. Health + Wellness :: Puh-lease stay on brand for this board. Turn to the same blogs and magazines you used to create your Fashion board. What kind of articles do those blogs and magazines publish about Health + Wellness? Your target market might be more attracted to a board filled with marathon training OR they might find daily meditations and gentle stretching more interesting. Do your research first.

6. Design :: This category could cover everything from cars to architecture. Make sure there is a visual theme throughout your pins. In other words, all of your pins in this category should look like they belong in the same magazine or catalog. 

7. Photography :: This board category is a catch-all for gorgeous imagery. Think about beautiful places to travel, scenic beaches, photos of your dog...okay, not that last one. Escapism is your friend. Your target market may never travel to Iceland, but they may dream about it.

8. Quotes :: A mix of funny and inspirational quotes are sure to be pinned multiple times. Keep your quotes on brand by sticking to a consistent color palette and style. Memes might fit your brand, but they might not. Only pin content that expresses your brand's personality.

9. Board With Products Similar To Yours :: This will increase your chances of being noticed by your target market. If you make perfume, you should have a Beauty board. If you make products with attractive patterns, you should have a board filled with patterns. 

10. Your Product :: Make it easy for a Pinterest user to find a board exclusive to your brand. One board is all you need because you should be spreading your products throughout many of your existing boards. 

NEW 11. Biz Tips :: Want to know who is interested in possible collaborations? Other biz owners and bloggers! Create a board with blog tips, Etsy tips, and small biz tips to attract like-minded people to your Pinterest account. You can find my biz board right here.

Get instant access to my private Facebook Group and download my FREE eBook, "How I gained 1,000 Pinterest Followers In One Month" right here.

RELATED POSTS

How Many People Should You Be Following?

Let's get started right away. Today's questions are about whether or not it is okay to share the same content on multiple platforms and how many people you should be following. Enjoy!

Dear Caitlin,

I've been wondering if it's really that bad to duplicate content across multiple social media platforms? It's so much easier for me to focus on one and then transfer the content to the others.

-Sarah Blue, of Bluebirrrd Dreams. Bluebirrrd Dreams offers hand selected jewelry gifts for special occassions and everyday wear. Follow Bluebirrrd Dreams on Instagram for handmade and vintage jewelry.

Dear Sarah,

There is absolutely nothing wrong with repurposing your content. You will find that your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter audiences are all very different. Plus, there is a very small chance that a person who follows you on Twitter and Instagram will see your post on both platforms. I recommend using IFTTT to auto-schedule your Instagram posts directly to Twitter. You can also adjust the settings in your Instagram account so that you are able to share your Instagram pictures directly to your Business Facebook page. 

Of course, sharing content alone will not grow a relevant following quickly. Each social media platform requires a different strategy to build your following. I teach creative biz owners a variety of techniques to gain 10, 20, or 30+ followers a day on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you are increasing a relevant following filled with your ideal customers, then this will lead to increase sales.

XO,

Caitlin


Dear Caitlin,

I always wonder about the number of people I am following vs. the number of followers I have (mainly on Instagram). Do you think this ratio matters? I don't want to look like a "no follow snob" but I don't want to follow the entire world either. Thanks friend!

-Mitzi Christensen Torgensen, of Happy Confetti. Happy Confetti provides party design to help you create life's confetti moments. Follow Happy Confetti on Instagram for adorable party accessories.

Dear Mitzi,

Don't feel like you have to follow people to be nice. If someone unfollows you just because you aren't following them, they aren't your ideal customer and were never going to buy anything from you anyway. However, you should feel free to follow however many people you want to. I will say that your Following number should be less than your Follower number. If you are following way more people than are following you, then you may give out desperate vibes. 

If you want to find out who isn't following you back, you can use JustUnfollow. If you are following a large number of people who aren't following you back, you may want to make sure you really enjoy their content before you decide to keep following them. This will help lower how many people you are following.

P.S. I just followed you! 

XO,

Caitlin

RELATED POSTS

Want to be featured in my next edition of Dear Caitlin? Please leave your question and Instagram handle in the comments below. This post will also be published on Academy of Handmade's blog, which all handmade biz owners should be reading.

If you are feeling stumped for what how to make your business stand out on social media, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me today. You will walk away with a clear understanding of how to grow your following and increase sales. 

Can't wait for a One On One? Start increasing sales right away with my social media marketing e-course, Bossy Biz Ladies. If you are a busy creative biz owner then you need this course. You will love it.

5 Things I Learned My First Year Of Owning A Creative Business

5 Things I Learned During My First Year.png

This year at Craftcation one of the most talked about panels was Confessions Of An Entrepreneur, moderated by Tiffany Han. Unfortunately, I was taking a nap in my hotel room and missed the whole thing. Boo. Luckily, one of the panelists, Elise Blaha Cripe, shared her answers on her blog. You can read more about Elise's entrepreneur confessions right here. Elise's post got me thinking about my own business journey. Little Farm Media had its first birthday in March and I want to share some of my reflections on entrepreneurship with you today.

1. Anything is possible. When I started Little Farm Media, I was 34 years old and had just spent the last two years as a stay at home mom. Before I became Mommy, I was an elementary teacher for 8 years. I ran the blog and social media for our teacher’s union at night while I taught kids to read during the day. After I had my daughter, I knew I wanted to take a break from teaching elementary school and wanted to pursue a career in social media. While I had loads of experience doing this for my teacher’s union, I knew I still had a lot to learn. So, I started working…for free. It’s true. Since I wasn’t pulling in a paycheck, we couldn’t afford daycare. As soon as my daughter went to sleep at night I was working at my computer. She stopped taking naps really early, so my only time to work was during the evenings. As my skills improved, so did my rates. As my income increased, we put my daughter in daycare a few mornings a week. This REALLY freed up my time and gave me the space I needed to focus on work. TAKEAWAY: You are never too old or too inexperienced to start. Just start.

2. Be targeted. The best thing I did when I started my business was to be laser focused on my target market. At the time, I wanted to provide social media management services for interior designers and makers in the home space. I did a ton of research on what they read, cared about, and which Twitter chats they participated in. I began to have a really good understanding of what their needs were and how I could be helpful to them. If I tried to be everything to everyone, my growth would have been MUCH slower. TAKEAWAY: Know EVERYTHING about your target market.  Everything. 

3. Don’t get hung up on rejection. Toughen up, ladies and dudes. You will get rejected. People turned down my pitches, but I kept pitching. I paid more attention to why people were hiring me than worrying about why they didn't. Sometimes I offered packages and services that nobody was interested in, so I got rid of them. I could have cried myself to sleep in a puddle of wine, but I didn't...mostly. Okay, maybe I did that once or twice. TAKEAWAY: Focus on what's working and stop worrying about what isn't.

4. Be flexible. Your business will go through many changes and you just need to go with it. I started Little Farm Media with the intention of being a social media management business. I successfully managed Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts for multiple clients at once. Initially I found it incredibly exciting, then I did not. Like most creative people, feeling bored is the kiss of death. I love to strategize, but over time I became less interested in managing the accounts of others on a daily basis. Plus, I was spending all my energy on growing the followings for others and spent zero time doing it for myself. I didn't start working on my own social media in earnest until December 2014. I knew if I was going to start moving my business into consulting and away from management, this had to change. TAKEAWAY: You have permission to change your mind.

5. Be original. Do you know how many social media consultants are out there? Approximately one gajillion. My challenge was to figure out a way to stand out in a sea of noisy tweeters. I noticed that no one was successfully marketing their social media services directly to creative business owners in a way that was both informative AND fun. I was able to draw on my years of teaching experience to take a complicated task and break it down into simple steps. Do you know what got me through eight years of teaching a class full of 30 five year olds how to read? Humor. I use humor to make a stressful task seem fun and less daunting.  TAKEAWAY: Use your individuality to make yourself stand out in a crowded marketplace.

If you are feeling stumped for what how to make your business stand out on social media, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me today. You will walk away with a clear understanding of how to grow your following and increase sales. 

Can't wait for a One On One? Start increasing sales right away with my social media marketing e-course, Bossy Biz Ladies. If you are a busy creative biz owner then you need this course. You will love it.

RELATED POSTS

What Your Creative Biz Should Be Doing On Twitter

What The Hell Am I Supposed To Be Doing On Twitter.png

Is your Twitter a ghost town? Well, that's your fault. OMG, just kidding. Twitter is very different from all the other platforms out there. Here are a few tips that will help you find your way. 

1. Your cover image is your life. :: People will look at your cover image and make a snap judgement about you. TRUE STORY: I met Sharon Fain, of Academy of Handmade, on Twitter. She has a zillion followers on Instagram, but our paths crossed for the first time on Twitter. One of the reasons I followed her was because she had a really cute cover image. Seriously. See for yourself. Anyhoo, I looked her up on Instagram after I met her on Twitter. A couple months later I became a co-leader of the brand new San Francisco chapter of Academy of Handmade. All thanks to Twitter.

2. Be present. :: If you want to grow a following on Twitter, then you have to show up. Scheduling tweets ahead of time is better than nothing, but it is not the best way to build your community. When I am in intense Twitter mode, I tweet every 30 minutes. It always results in a big bump in followers. (FYI, Twitter etiquette says not to tweet more than once every 20 minutes.) This is not sustainable for long periods of time, but every so often it helps. I am not a content machine, so most of the time I retweet content I think my customers will find useful. How to find useful content? Read on, my friend. 

3. Use Twitter Lists. :: One of the reasons people feel confused about Twitter is because it can be incredibly overwhelming. Twitter Lists are a great way to get organized. According to Twitter, "A list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list."  I have three main lists that I tweet from: Maker Community, Creative Biz Community, and Social Media Community. I chose to create these lists because I want to share content that is useful to my target market. Think about who you want to attract to your Twitter page and make a list with relevant people. It makes retweeting easy-peasy.

4. No Auto-DM's. :: Like, never ever. Some businesses set up an auto-DM to be sent to each new follower. Usually it's something along the lines of, "Thanks for following me! Check out my Facebook page at www.annoying.com for more updates." No matter how nice an auto-DM is, it will be considered spam and may result in an immediate unfollow. 

5. Join a Twitter Chat. :: If you are interested in connecting with other creatives, then this is the place for you. There are Twitter Chats for everything you could ever think of. SF Etsy has a regular chat on Tuesdays at 9pm. Sometimes they interview experts (...ahem, like me) and sometimes it's a discussion around a specific topic, like holiday shipping. The easiest way to participate in a Twitter Chat is with TweetChat. All you have to do is enter the hashtag associated with the chat you want to join and you're in!

If you are feeling stumped for what how to make your business stand out on social media, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me today. You will walk away with a clear understanding of how to grow your following and increase sales. 

Can't wait for a One On One? Start increasing sales right away with my social media marketing e-course, Bossy Biz Ladies. If you are a busy creative biz owner then you need this course. You will love it.

RELATED POSTS

What's Your Instagram Strategy? | Abacus Row

When I first started this #Famous interview series with makers and creative biz owners, my intention was to inspire others (and myself) to think outside the box. Oftentimes we feel confounded about what we should be posting on Instagram. Too many product photos? Not enough? Logo? Personal photo? It is enough to make your head spin. The truth is there are standard 'rules' that you can use on Instagram and beyond that will give you really good results. I write blog posts on these sorts of rules all the time. They are an excellent starting point.

What makes someone REALLY stand out on social media is when they are aware of the rules, but choose to interpret them in their own way. Christine Trac, of Abacus Row, is an absolute genius at product photography. While she consistently posts product photos, her feed doesn't look like an Etsy shop. My hope is that her interview will start inspiring you to think differently about your own product photography.

1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?

Christine Trac, designer and crafter behind Abacus Row. How it all began is a rather long story so let's sum it up with two life events - love and unemployment, a need to be productive, and a drive to just do it. 

2. Where can we find you on social media?

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest @abacusrow. You'll find I'm most active on Instagram where I regularly share shots of my brand and business life. While this is a business account, you'll still know it's me behind the account - it's always my voice and my photographs, unless otherwise noted, and I even integrate images of myself in there so you can put a face (and set of hands) to the work and brand.

3. What is your favorite hashtag?

Oh, hashtags...I'm just not that into them.

4. Why do you use social media?

I use social media for both marketing and networking purposes. I've found that active engagement on most social media platforms can be incredibly effective at helping me connect with a potential customer or collaborator. These are spaces for me to create digital communities that translate into support of what I actually do in real life. I spend most of my social media life on Instagram, and this in part because it's been the most valuable for reaching out to new and existing customers, and for making or maintaining relationships with other small and independent designers or business owners. The other reason I mainly use Instagram is because its simply the most visually effective way of communicating my style, my aesthetic, and ultimately my brand. 

5. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?

I use Afterlight for editing all of the photos I post to Instagram. If I want to overlay images with any text then I open up Over. If I need to correct for distorted lines, I go to SKRWT. (Let's be clear, I don't think any photo is worth posting if you have to use all three of these apps). I haven't started yet but I should be using latergram.me to schedule out my IG posts ahead of time so that it doesn't interrupt my work throughout the day. 

6. What effect does social media have on your business?

It's the only method I currently use for continually keeping people informed on what I do. It is also directly targeted at people who have expressed explicit interest in what Abacus Row has to offer so its the most effective form of marketing. I think participating in social media is how you gently remind your followers that you're there, working away every day, and when they need x, y, or z, they'll find you if you've communicated x, y, or z well. 

7. How do you measure success on social media?

Successful engagement on social media is when I meet a stranger in real life and they've heard of Abacus Row (or they at least think they have). 

8. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?

I find it challenging and essentially impossible to actively engage on multiple social media platforms, while attempting to run your own business. It often feels like a distraction from getting real work done, and I generally end up spending more time posting an image or looking through my feed than I actually intend. Social media requires a lot of attention and the reality is that while I think they all provide powerful ways to communicate, it's not something I always personally enjoy. Social media keep me tied up to my phone and I'm actually that person who loves being off the grid, that person who tried to go without a smart phone as long as possible. (I made it just about to 2013). 

instagram.com/abacusrow

instagram.com/abacusrow

9. What makes you follow another brand back? 

It'll be one of two things: I like the person behind the account (I either know this person or have heard nice things about this person) or else I think they're doing something that is really interesting, strikingly beautiful and different than anything else I've come across. At this point, I follow more than 500 accounts, which means I often miss posts from the accounts I'm most interested in hearing from. I need to see or feel something special to add an account to my feed.  

10. Which brands have social media you admire?

I admire the brands that put out beautiful and relevant product and behind-the-scenes content. These are the folks that continually make me fall in love with what they do and how they do it: @elizsuzann, @hillerysproatt, @sarahswelljewelry, @travelingmilesstudio

11. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?

Think about the kind of content you want to create, and see what social media platform is best suited for that. Start with just one or even two platforms. Then think about how you can contribute something that is different than what already exists. I think it's all about how you can convey your brand distinctly and consistently.


If you are feeling stumped for what to post on Instagram, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me. You will walk away with a content calendar and a clear understanding of how to grow a relevant following quickly.

Related Posts:

What's Your Instagram Strategy? | Sarah Deragon

Photograph by Lisa Wiseman

Photograph by Lisa Wiseman

Sarah Deragon is co-owner and photographer of Portraits To The People, a photography studio in San Francisco. I found out about Sarah on Instagram. (Follow her now, you will NOT regret it.)  She has an amazing series called Work From Home, where she highlights a ton of people who...work from home. Everyone from lawyers to piñata-makers share what they love about working from home. I know a lot of you work from home, so you will totally relate to their stories. 


1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all began?

My name is Sarah Deragon and I’m a professional photographer based in San Francisco. I’ve been doing this full time for the past years. I own this business with my wife Natalie and she does all of the behind the scenes stuff for me - scheduling, emails and contracts. It all got started when my wife told me that I should just quit my job and try to be a professional photographer. I’d never really considered it before, but I’m so happy that I did.

2. Where can we find you on social media?

Instagram - http://instagram.com/sarahderagon

Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/sarahderagon

Facebook - http://facebook.com/portraitstothepeople

Website - http://portraitstothepeople.com

Website - http://sarahderagonphotography.com - my personal work

3. What is your favorite hashtag?

#portraitstothepeople and #blurryonpurpose

4. Why do you use social media?

To connect with folks that are fans of my work and to be inspired by others. I don’t have to promote my business as hard as I did the first few years of running it, so I’ve done liberating things like deleting my Twitter account because I never liked trying to push content to it in the first place.

5. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?

I’m creating new content for my social media channels every single day, so I’m lucky in that respect. If I blog, which is becoming once a month these days boo, I will share something I’ve just done or I’ll announce an upcoming class or event that folks can attend.

6. What effect does social media have on your business?

Social media is a great way to connect with folks on a more personal level. I named my business, Portraits To The People, to have a little mystery about who was behind the scenes shooting, which is why I use my own name to promote the business side of things. I want folks to know that I’m running the show!

7. How do you measure success on social media?

Of course likes are nice, but really I’m more interested in the quality of interactions that I have with folks on Instagram and Pinterest.

8. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?

I hated Twitter from the very beginning, so I recently deleted my accounts which was awesome. But I think that staying inspired to push out new content can be challenging for folks. Sometimes we forget how special it is what we do and we take the little things, like where we live or what inspires us, for granted.

9. What makes you follow another brand back?

Consistent high quality photos and tone of voice. I like following funny and sarcastic people. Folks that take themselves too seriously on social media are soooo boring to me!

10. Which brands have social media you admire?

I love thebannerie (http://intstagram.com/thebannerie) and shopbando (http://instagram.com/shopbando) because they know who their customers are and all of their photos are full of joy and glitter!

11. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?

Don’t be afraid of deleting posts, especially on Instagram. Your feed should be a well curated gallery of your best work, something doesn’t fit it, delete it. I’d also say get properly trained on how to take great photos, there are ton of Instagram photography classes out there. Ugly photos aren’t going to gain you any followers. And be funny and engaging, share the most you can with folks about who you are. Your unique qualities will make you stand out, work it!

If you are feeling stumped for what to post on Instagram, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me. You will walk away with a content calendar and a clear understanding of how to grow a relevant following quickly.

RELATED POSTS