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Chris Campbell

Managing your time

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Full disclosure ....

I would like to post a piece in the 'Business of Pottery" area of my website offering help on time management. I don't get paid for this at all so hope my asking here is OK.

I can write this article from a basic point of view ... I know how to manage my time since I had many years of production work ... but what I am lacking is the current experience of having to balance an active web presence with an active studio presence.

I have attended numerous lectures locally and at NCECA in regards to how to use the Internet ...  facebook, instagram, tweets, blogs, posts, pinterest, ... and always leave quite baffled on how one can stay this active online and still get any serious production done in the studio. I would opt to choose one or two and do those as well as I could ... but some people claim they can do it all.

Also ... how much of this activity results in a consumer's interest that lasts longer than the next click?? Not to sound crass or anything ... but show me the trail to the money$$. How much of this is just noise?

Thanks in advance for any input.

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Chris,

if you're posting content to your site that isn't directly related to marketing your own pots, i.e. advice, monetize your site with ads, for example with Google's ad service.  No need to post premium content for free.

And then there's getting good at search engine optimization (SEO).  This will ensure that your content and work show first in search engines.  Lots of people try all sorts of tricks in their quest for SEO, but generally the secret is consistently posting quality relevant content.

As far as generating revenue from marketing yourself on social media.  I use it like an online visual portfolio.  I've not gotten a lot of sales from IG, but I've gotten job offers, invites to shows, galleries, and even art symposia through my web presence.  It's about branding and selling your story.  Facebook's a little more spendy, but they also target your audience with surgical precision.  I'll be investing in some ad time with them in early November to promote a show and it will pay out manifold.

To get to your point about time management, it all goes into the time allotted for marketing--a necessary evil.  Print marketing, phone calls and door knocking have their place, but this is just a new way to do it.  And it does pay dividends if carefully deployed. 

This may not be what you're looking for, but it's how I look at it.  I can "pound the payment" from the middle of nowhere, or have scheduled release ads on facebook working for me while I'm throwing or working a show--which seems pretty efficient to me?

Edited by Tyler Miller

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Well for my 2 cents. I would love to see an article about managing time in a production studio. 

 As for sales, its very personality driven. Being that funny/quirky/edgy artist that people will check up on daily just to see what you been up to is what the large ceramic community on Instagram is buoyed by. 

Edited by BlackDogPottery

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I let myself spend an hour or so online every morning. I check and reply to emails, catch up on the forum, browse facebook, instagram, and reddit. Then I put the iPad down and go to work. I have another iPad in the studio (old and slow) so I do check emails and the forum a few times throughout the day. I make one post to instagram per work day, usually at quitting time. I post to facebook less often than instagram, often its the exact same post I just made on Instagram. I write blog posts maybe once a month, but only when I have something to write about. I don't pressure myself to write otherwise. When I publish a blog post, I announce it on facebook and readers come pouring in. 

Does it lead to sales? Marginally. I've only met one customer so far who only heard of me through instagram. I meet a lot of blog readers at shows, but honestly they tend not to be big spenders or not buying at all. That's not why I keep a blog so that's ok. I've written this plenty of times on the forum before, and email list is far more powerful than any social media message. Email subscribers are a totally different level of "follower" compared to a social media follower. For every show I write a well-branded email announcement. I consider this indispensible and clearly correlates to sales. Whereas I could easily live without any social media. 

It's not just the email, it's how I interact with customers when they are standing in front of me that leads to sales. Social media cannot match that. 

Social media probably works a lot better for those who sell primarily online. I don't, and don't want to. Pottery doesn't lend itself to being shipped. My customers need to visit me in person, therefore the far reach of social media doesn't have much value for me. 

Chris Campbell and Min like this

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I incorporate my social media feed photo shoots into kiln-unloading day (usually Friday) so that I'm touching things fewer times.  Because it's advisable to have a consistent looking feed, using the same setup that's close to the kiln is efficient and convenient.  It's not a lot different than documenting everything on a gradient background.

On Saturday when I'm making my production lists and schedule for the upcoming week, I batch edit photos and plan out Instagram posts for the week as well.  It really helps save time, because I'm not spending an hour every day trying to come up with something smart to say. You can build posts in advance either within Facebook and Instagram, or you can get an app like later or hootsuite to help plan things out. Choose your overall tone for the week, choose photos that suit, write all your copy at once.  This method takes an hour or two, as opposed to being an insidious time suck throughout the week.* Copy and paste a pre made hashtag list into the first comment, and Bob's your Uncle.  Change out your hashtags once a month so you don't get shadow banned by the new algorithms. Usually I spend time researching a few new ones on the same day I do my monthly newsletter.  

My expereince of Instagram is almost identical to Tyler's. I get leads, job offers, show offers and all kinds of things that lead indirectly to money, but not usually direct sales of specific items. I've had a handful this summer, though.  And customers are definitely telling me they are looking for me there with more frequency. 

Facebook I do not have a handle on.  Figuring out that one is on the list for the new year.  I know I need to be a lot more consistent with my newsletter.  Currently working on using templates, and planning a few months in advance what I want to say.  It's still in the early stages, but I'm having some success with it. (Ask me how well I stuck to it after Christmas!)  I seem to do well with plans, and assigning a specific time to work on things. 

 

I have no ability to do a blog at this point, and I don't really like Twitter. I had to quit Pinterest cold turkey. I had a real problem.

*this method worked really well when I had a good rhythm going this summer, with a new kiln load out every week.  I'm finding with my Christmas prep schedule, I've been thrown off. 

Chris Campbell likes this

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Since most of my sales come from non internet sales and zero from social media I do not spend time in sales mode on the net.I do get email contacts that turn into orders so I check e-mail a few times every day as well.

I tend to check this board every day a few times (before studio time or at much or evenings)  to see if any info I  have in my knowledge base have may help others.

I keep all electronic devices (my iPad to phone or computer or laptop ) out of clay studio. I would kill it to quickly with liquid and dust.

My thoughts are work in studio -work in studio or work in studio.

ANY SPARE TIME I SUGGEST WORKING IN STUDIO when you are starting out.

Along with a heavy dose of working in studio-which for me ends with a line of production work that turns into money.

The work in studio is not working on the net ,its making work to sell.This requires many steps and lots of time .I do think the persons these days starting out should use the net tools to get traction (noticed) but do not get caught up in spending much time at this as making quality work is way more important that say a blog.

Time management is a key to making the studio work out in terms of a living. As a production potter one learns to spend ones tine wisely .

for me sales are based on my brand name (studio name) and years at work turning out quality products and dealing with people directly not the the net via e-mail.

Sure after 40 years I get orders from returning customers via the net but its a small potatoes deal compared to all the real income sources for me which are not net related . 

If you are a hobbist than spending time at whatever really does not matter including social media-but as a production potter with an existing market my time is best used doing the production.

I have spent my time being in front of the public with work either at shows or galleries or shops or now markets (mugs)

No matter how you approach this it will take time to get known-noways some net exposure will be part of this. My customers for the most part are not 20-30 year olds  so Instagram and twitter are not my tools as they are not needed for me.

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4 hours ago, Mark C. said:

I do think the persons these days starting out should use the net tools to get traction (noticed) but do not get caught up in spending much time at this as making quality work is way more important that say a blog.

 

Sooooo much this!!!

Rule number one of content creation: create GOOD content. 

If you don't have anything pretty to take pictures of, you can't take good enough pictures. Start in the studio. 

Chris Campbell likes this

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I just met the second person who only knew of my work through Instagram. She didn't want to buy anything, just wanted to take pictures of my work. Then she showered me with a few too many compliments. You could say that's Instagram in a nutshell: pictures and compliments.

The first person I met this way, whom I mentioned above, was a college student with a $20 budget to spend. Which isn't nothing, but it's not my main target audience either. 

Both of these are a good illustration of the value of social media attention in the real world. 

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