Why is it important to be online?
Whether it's Email, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, Websites, Blogs, or Twitter, each of these platforms can connect, entertain, and inform us privately or publicly and perhaps, most importantly, for small business owners, can make us findable through SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Your target audience is waiting for you to share your gifts, talents and voice.
Although each digital platform has a different communication style, they each build the “KNOW, LIKE and TRUST” factor of business, originally coined by Dale Carnegie.
Why do you want to be online?
Personal accountability. “I create; therefore, I am!”
Sharing the visual journal of your ideas and creations over time.
Drawing in potential customers to see your work.
Building a rapport with collectors or galleries.
Promoting your upcoming events and shop updates.
Selling directly through your DMs.
Sharing your knowledge to build a reputation as a skilled artist or instructor.
If you want to be online, BE CONSISTENT, CREATIVE & CLEAR!
- First choose one platform only and get proficient with it. My focus is Instagram but I share the its content on my Facebook Page. I recently added YouTube to my list of platforms.
- Post CONSISTENTLY, whatever that is for you (certain days of the week, daily, or multiple times a day) and at the optimal time your target audience is online. That information is available in Instagram and Facebook Analytics if you have a business account. I recently accessed that data when scheduling posts in the Meta Business Suite.
- CREATE themed and authentic content for your target audience that flows in your creative cycle so they can see the labour of love involved in creating what you love to make.
- Aim for a CLEAR consistent style in the delivery of your content. Aim to have your feed style reflect your brand and brand colours which is easy to do if you use Canva. Clean up cluttered backgrounds before recording photos or videos. Your feed is the window into the artist’s soul.
What Resources do I use for Content Planning?
I have an Instagram business account for https://www.instagram.com/jacquieblondin/ and a Facebook Business Page https://www.facebook.com/jacquieblondinceramics and my access to Meta Business Suite functions is based on those settings.
As a former teacher, I was used to yearly, monthly, and weekly schedules all laid out in my red teacher planner book but as a new entrepreneur, I found it a challenge to stay organized until I found The Maker’s Yearbook 2023: A Goal Setting Workbook and Planner for Artists, Makers and Handmade Business Owners by Nicola Taylor, which keeps me focused with annual and monthly goals and allows me to delightfully check off little tasks completed each day. She only runs a small printed edition each year, so get your order in early. Luckily, you can get the digital version easily. Check out the Maker's Yearbook HERE.
Cover of The Maker's Yearbook 2023 by Nicola Taylor
I have the book The Content Planner: A Complete Guide to Organize and Share Your Ideas Online by Angela Crocker. It includes free access to downloadable forms, or you can fill your information directly on the pages within. I re-read her info annually as I set out to plan the year, or like a schoolgirl starting in September with the goal to keep my binder in order and all the pages dated and underlined with a ruler in coloured pen to reflect my mood. The link to the book is HERE.
Cover of the Content Planner by Angela Crocker
For the last 6 months, I have had the support of Action Coach Caitlin Blundell in bi-weekly meetings for entrepreneurs in Profit Club and 90 days planning sessions in Growth Club. My business is in its infancy and I have so much more to learn. For more information about Caitlin check HERE.
I also follow IDEA Mississauga which offers free business workshops and webinars for entrepreneurs. To learn more check HERE.
Amy Porterfield a marketing expert, provides a lot of free content to help with content planning. Check out her podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, Episode #409: From Social Posts to Weekly Content: Create Your 3-Month Content Calendar Step-By-Step. Check out that episode HERE.
I also follow Michelle Gifford on Instagram. She is a social media expert who gives great tips for business and provides free downloads such as 131 Hooks Ideas that Sell, Monthly Content Prompts as well as the ways to use the different features in Instagram (Bio, Posts, Carousels, Reels, Stories, Highlights and DMs) and the best content ratio to use for business (50% of your posts to Attract Followers; 30% posts to Nurture your Current Followers ; 20% posts to market or sell your wares or 3-2-1 Post Rule (3 posts that Attract - 2 that Nurture - 1 to Sell. She has a 5 Day Content Planning freebee. Check out her Instagram @iammichellegifford HERE.
I also follow potters who are killing it in their Instagram feeds:
- Esme Qi Lei of @commongoodspottery for great video and photography.
- Henrik Van Ryzin @Vantiki for amazing Tech Tuesdays and insights into slip casting and limited editions.
- Hope Limyansky-Smith @limyanskystudios for a cohesive feed that informs potters. Great camera angles and consistent brand colours.
My friends and family know I love goals. I appreciate their support and the way they cheer me on. My goal this year is to start planning with strategies to better meet my goals. This includes marketing campaigns for my course as well as product and collection launches, meaning, I have to prepare the content well ahead of time which in turn means my making cycles for theme based items needs to occur earlier. I'm using Reverse or Backward Planning to sort this all out with lots of margin for things that could go wrong with ceramics, technology and life.
How do I plan my social media posts?
1. I create my annual and quarterly plans in different ways:
- Annual Goal Collage (shown below).
- Annual Word Doc in a chart format posted above of my computer.
- Annual Excel Spreadsheet with weeks blocked for promotion of main events and happenings.
- Quarterly chart on printed on large paper 11 x 17 inches (Growth Club).
- Quarterly Excel Spreadsheet with a countdown formula based on events so I know exactly when I should start thinking about preparing for the next big thing.
2023 Annual Goals Collage by Jacquie B
Artist at work on with computer monitors showing annual plan and website
2. I create a monthly calendar on a white board (foam core board).
- Sharpie for the calendar lines, set information (i.e., days of the week and key reminders).
- Dry erase markers for things that change (i.e., dates, engagements, etc.).
- Post-It-Notes (use the real ones) for specific things that stay the same but can be moved around month to month (i.e., Blog, newsletter, YouTube Video, etc.).
Monthly Content Planner created by Jacquie B
3. I plan out and create the content based on the specific themes or events for the month.
- Overall, my content creation is organic, meaning I have mostly made it up on the fly based on what I am really working on. Being retired helps a lot as time is fluid and I can explore and experiment all I want and posting daily is not a chore.
- A content strategy is to use key words for specific days of the week like Mug Shot Monday, Tuesday Tips, or Feature Friday where you promote other artists on your own feed.
- Some examples of planning I need to do are brainstorming ideas, drafting, editing and posting for my Blog, Newsletter Emails for subscribers, YouTube Videos, Creative Process Videos and Photos, Seasonal and Business Events, Promotions and Sales.
- For each theme, make and label 6 Post-It-Notes (3 of one colour to indicate posts to ATTRACT, 2 of another colour to indicate posts to NURTURE and 1 in a third colour to indicate PROMOTION. (I also added the key term and left room to pencil in the content ideas; shown in the bottom left of the image above).
- Everything is content. People like to see behind the scenes in your studio and other aspects of your creative life. Don't be afraid to share.
Artist overwhelmed by her obsession with Post-It-Notes
4. Photos and Videos:
- I take photos of my work at all stages and film a lot of my process using my iPhone.
- This gives me quite a bit of content to select from for making Posts, Carousels, Reels and Stories.
- Recently, I started marking photos and videos as "favourites/heart icon" and filing them in specific folders or albums on my iPhone. This makes them much easier to find later.
- When I am not in a highly planned mode, I post once a day either around noon or 4 pm using current content so I can share authentic information and observations.
- I edit photos and videos ahead of time; cropping, trimming, changing the speed, and when necessary, removing the sound.
- I aim for shorter videos - 20 seconds or less.
5. Captions and Hashtags:
- When I create the caption (text content) I aim to make it conversational or informative.
- I give some thought to add a hook on the first line to grab people’s attention, so they are more likely to keep reading.
- Adding the text to the reel itself or the carousel slides is more effective in sharing information.
- To save time and finger strain, I have several batches of themed hashtags and captions saved in my Notes App ready to copy and paste as needed.
6. Scheduling Using a Planner:
- A couple of years ago, I used the Later App to schedule planned posts on IG. The free version only allowed for single photo posts and had a cap per month.
- A few months ago, I started using the Planner in Canva Pro which allowed for posts in both Instagram and Facebook but did not allow me to schedule Stories.
- Recently, I switched over to the Planner in Meta Business Suite when exploring ads. The Meta algorithm promotes posts made on its platform more than from posts from competitors. A nice feature is that you can plan out a single post whether it’s a single photo, carousel or reel for both Instagram and your Facebook Page and see how it looks on each platform as well as on different devices. You can add links for Facebook and hashtags for Instagram. One thing to keep in mind with Meta Business Suite is the size/proportion of photos and videos as a certain size might work on one platform but not the other. Simply resizing the file will allow your content to be created for both platforms in one place.
- Keep in mind, some things like Reels are easier to create fully in Instagram for access to stickers, fonts, voice-overs, and captions. Luckily, you can create and save your drafts and schedule your content directly from Instagram too. There is no shortage of instructional videos to guide you through. Here are some leads from Instagram itself:
- Another task I need to do is keep track of what does well on Instagram and try to repeat it. Did you use trending music or audio? Was is short and sweet? What value did you share? You can see how many times a reel has been seen. Reels have a life of their own and can keep gaining momentum.
I have set personal goals to try different Instagram features such as:
- Transitional effects for educations Carousels using Canva.
- Use Instagram Live and schedule and post about it ahead of time.
- Explore how to better engage with followers using Stories.
- Include formal images of completed work.
- Include situational images of completed work.
OH, AND I'M GOING TO TEST OUT THOSE STRATEGIES!
Hopefully, you will see the improvements over the next few months.
From my hands to yours,
Source: Lego Mini-Figure Potter assembled by Jacquie B