Finally there is a reliable app to schedule and post to Instagram and Pinterest

A picture is worth a thousand words.  --  An English Idiom

A picture is worth a thousand words.  --  An English Idiom

In my career as a social media strategist, I've been receiving more and more requests for Instagram. For Artists it is THE IT platform. Collectors use it to find and follow artist careers.  With that in mind and knowing that as an artist, I wasn't taking full advantage of this social media platform, I've been research and test driving a variety of scheduling platforms..  I like Hootsuite for most of my scheduling, but not for Instagram.  I can say now, hands down, I like Tailwind.  Because of the nature of Instagram being built for use solely on the phone, you can schedule your posts in advance and then it pushes them to your phone with a notice to post it. So you still need to post it at the right time, but if you are like me with a phone nearly always at your side, this shouldn't be a problem.

What I really like about it is that you can see what your posts will look like on the Instagram grid in advance. This allows you to make it picture perfect.  You can drag around and arrange posts. Super easy.  

Yeah, my newly formed Instagram account for LemonGrass Spa could be a bit more visually organized, but you see you can arrange like a collage based on textures and colors so your entire account has brand cohesion. You can add an extension that makes it super easy to push content from your blog or Etsy store. It's a simple hover and clicks system. They even have a slick way of finding the best hashtags.  The only downside is that you have to be careful as you post to be sure you are posting to the correct account if you have more than one like I do.  That simply requires slowing down and not just pushing any old button.

Seriously, on a scale of 1-10, I give Tailwind a 9.5.  If you want to try it out, I asked them for a promotion code for you.  You can get a one-month free trial and see if you like it too

https://www.tailwindapp.com/dashboard/settings/invite?ref=heart&theme=giftcard

And as always, let me know if you have questions.

Social Media made Easy - A hands on Workshop for Small Business Owners and Artists

I am so excited to be presenting this class!  It is a crash course on how to maximize your marketing time and dollars on Facebook, LinkedIn and if time permits Twitter and Instagram. The class is designed for the busy small business owner and artist who are trying to be seen and heard above all the noise. What do you say? How do you say it? How do you schedule it? What does engagement mean? Why is it important?  The class is only $60 and will have you sucessfully up and running your social media campaign by the end of the class.  You will walk out with a rocking content calendar to keep your clients coming back for more.

To register please go to Dabble.co at https://dabble.co/rc/b33177cc0ba97165d5d8b0a64ddc8682

Summer Bucket List

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it. - Sydney J. Harris

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it. - Sydney J. Harris

I suck at relaxing.  I admit.  Major fault.  I love my work and when not working on social media, I am selling Lemongrass Spa products or working on my art.  When not doing those things, I am trying to keep up with the everyday like cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, etc.  I try to look at each task with joy, but a season can pass and I hardly take notice.  

Friday I walked out of a meeting with a friend and colleague noting the beautiful weather and that we were already half way through the first month of summer.  I lamented all I had to do.  I verbally rattled off a list of summer activities I wanted to enjoy. He shot back with "So, what are you going to check off this weekend?" Ugh.  He was right.  I've been thinking about the exchange ever since.  It dawned on me yesterday while I worked the day in my studio that if I wanted to enjoy these activities, then I need to make a concrete list of them and schedule them into my calendar with as much diligence as I take with my businesses. So above, you see my basic list.  Some should be easy, the jam may be construed as cooking, but now that I am on a low GI, anti- inflammatory diet and I love jam, I need to master the art of homemade sugarless jam.  Canning has long been a hobby.  I should add mastering Kambucha to that list too.  So much to explore and enjoy.  Note that few of these items cost lots of money.  The hot air balloon is my staycation treat.  I must check this one off this summer.  I've parasailed and found the experience remarkable and imagine being in a hot air balloon to be similar.  

Today, I am taking time to be with my daughter on her day off. We are going to the movies, to see Wonder Woman. And I am ordering that Stunt Kite I want, so when there is another sunny, breezy, cool morning, I can take advantage of it.

Update August 2: I've checked off Kite flying and Reading a novel.  I'm researching the Balloon ride. 🙂

CIT @CET

The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art. -- John Lasseter

The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art. -- John Lasseter

I have been accepted into an artist residency program in St. Louis at the CET building in the Cortex Corridor which is the tech startup and biotech center of the city's commerce. The city recognizes that artists and entrepreneurs share much in common and want to see what synergy may come of the opportunity.  I overlap both realms and love having an office with conference room, a stocked maker space,  a kitchen with a steady supply of snacks, let alone the fastest and most reliable internet in the city.  I will be working out of the shared space for the next nine months. I have not let go of my home office and spend at least 1-2 days a week working here for the sake of my dogs.  (Don't say it, I spoil them...I know.) 

Thank you to the Regional Arts Commission for making this residency possible.

It's Social Media not Marketing Media"Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community." -- Simon Mainwaring

"Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community." --  Simon Mainwaring

"Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community." --  Simon Mainwaring

Social media is just that it's social.  It isn't called marketing media for a reason.  Your social media feed can't be filled with just sales pitches. Your readers, what is left of them, will tune you out completely.  They want to engage with you and your company. Social media is about being social.  

Think of it this way.  When you get home you open your mailbox and sort through your mail. Most folks auto toss out the junk mail.  Set aside the bills and hope for a letter, a real honest to goodness letter.  Well, social media works the same way.  Folks will open their feed, ignore the ads without a thought, bookmark  the news stories they want to read and then search for that tidbit of connection, a virtual letter.

 As a business owner, you spend your time on social media to drive up sales. It is an integral part of your marketing plan.  Yes, I know.  I get it. Yet I ask you to put yourselves in the shoes of your customer and other followers.

Let them know who you are?  Who are the other people behind the scenes. And what do they do? Celebrate your work life.  Share your work story in pictures, anniversary posts and other related events.  Does someone always bring donuts for the office to share?  Then honor that morning moment with a photo and brief quote on gratitude.  If you own a brick and mortar business, take your customers on a tour of the shop or restaurant using Facebook Live.  Use videos on Twitter and Facebook to announce sales and weekly specials.  Follow up with a print version reminder.  

Another way to let your customers know who you are as a company is to share quotes that inspire you.  They highlight your values and the values of the company.  Did a news story strike you as especially relevant, then share the article and add a sentence of reflection.  Keep politics to a minimum a you may offend a potentially valuable customer.  But if there is going to be a heat wave, you could add a few words as to how your business could help folks prepare. You could also commiserate on how much you dislike the heat.

Artists may also use social media to connect with collectors.  Show a new body of work being created in Sneak Peeks.  I made a large work in a very short period of time.  It took approximately 224 hours to create which translated to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I posted updates regularly on Instagram.  Folks started to cheer me on. Giving me confidence that I could do it.  I also had the largest opening as a result as my followers wanted to see the work in person. See what the hype was all about.  I made it social, by talking about the work load, my coffee consumption, my audiobook selections and posting daily about the  progress.  Looking back at the quote with which I strarted this post, I'd say my service to community was to openly share what it means to be an artist and the real labor involved.  Some folks wrote that they now had a greater appreciation for why artist charge the prices they do for their art.

Helpful Tips for Social Media

"Social networking helps reach people easier and quicker." --   Bill Cosby

"Social networking helps reach people easier and quicker." --   Bill Cosby

Many business owners are slammed with trying to do it all, including their social media.  Thinking of you, today I thought a roundup of thoughtful posts on the subject of how to grow your business using social media might prove useful.

Entrepreneur Magazine : Number one is to be consistent with your posting.  The number one thing I notice when taking over accounts is a half hearted attempt to get started and then after a week, posts peter out to nonexistent.  No one knows you are there if you don't post consistently. I disagree with Number 2. You don't have to be on every channel.   Target your market.  Post where you know your customers are. Instagram works best for businesess that are highly visual, such as clothing shops or landscape firms, but the legal business isn't that visual, so you are reduced to creating a series of memes.  Twitter is best for business to business, rather than business to consumer.  Facebook is a must for everyone, especially non-profits. If you use Linked-In, then really use it.  Network on it, share blog posts, but posting your resume and then forgetting about it won't make the site do much for you and don't forget to add photos and videos to your Linked-In account to give folks a better sense of what your services are.

INC Magazine: published a good collect of tips the 11 absolute truths of social media.  Check out number 11.  I can't stress a social calendar enough. Every industry has a cycle of some sort to it.  Create a  content calendar that follows that cycle.  My old yarn store saw business slow down after Mother's Day and start to pick up around July 4th.  Special promotions were held in June to keep folks coming into the store.  Fall was a hectic time and Christmas always came quick, so be prepared for it all with a content calendar.

Click on the title of each magazine to be taken to the articles. Contact me if you have any questions regarding the content.

Social Media for 2017

You are a small business and want to take advantage of social media's social marketing potential. According to SmallBizTrends.com , 1.8 billion people worldwide logged onto Facebook in September 2016.  That makes for a whopping 17% increase from the previous year.  1.66 billion of those users are accessing their social media accounts via their smartphones.  If the target for your social media plan is to send folks over to view your website, then be certain that your site is responsive in design. In other words, it looks good and is easy to navigate both on a desktop computer as well as on a smartphone.  If you're not sure if your website was built with responsive design, pull out your smartphone and check your website.

® This example of a responsive design is from Awwwards®.  

®

This example of a responsive design is from Awwwards®.  

Ignore the news about Twitter fading out of the social media scene. That can hardly be the case with 21% of American adults using it and our president-elect seems addicted to it.  There are 6,000 tweets per second.  How in the world do you stand out against all those tweets? Consistent posting is the answer.  One tweet every few days or months will get lost in the shuffle.  And think about your tweets as a mini blog.  Schedule 5-8 per day with them connected by theme so a new reader can go back to your feed and see a story unfold. And consider whether you like opening a mailbox or email account to a cluster of junk mail.  Do you read it all or immediately delete it?  A mini blog approach allows you to share valuable content without overwhelming your readers with tons of ad style writing that will turn them off and tune them out.

If your customer target is women, then you may want to consider Pinterest.  Why?  26% of Americans are on Pinterest and of that number nearly half are women.  If women are your tribe, then you need an active Pinterest account.  

What does this all mean for you in 2017, with 97% of American adults 18-64 saying they use social media within the past month, then you need to go where potential customers are.

A book I highly recommend you read is Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen.  It speaks directly to the concept of writing content to engage with your customers, rather than blasting them with ads all day long.  I think of it like having a two-sided conversation.