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Chris Campbell

Instagram or Facebook or ??? What?

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With a smile Joseph I have to say I admire your self control if you can spend only 5 minutes on posting ... not reading or clicking or thinking up what to write.  I end up looking at what I wrote in my blog,  wondering who the heck cares, and deleting it ... then of course I have to check the news, this forum, and my colored clay group and the clay buddies and then its lunchtime!!

I have heard many potters speak on using social media but never, ever heard any of them be as honest as Mea about what $$$ it actually brings in. I think a lot of them are stuck in the 'likes' and 'pins' area which is not bringing in revenue. The one speaker who was blunt and interesting was Ayumi Horie who provided a ton of useful info.  Every minute she spends online is focused on results.

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@Chris Campbell

I can relate to the blog thing. I have written several blog post and deleted them. I deleted my entire blog of about a years worth of posting earlier this year. 

The instagram thing is only because I don't like social media at all, and let us be honest here, there are times that I slip and spend 30 minutes on it before I realize it. The whole thing is super addictive, looking at beautiful pots all day!

I also have all notifications turned off on everything on my phone except people who are in my contacts. Anyone else calls me it goes to voicemail they can leave a message(doesn't alert) and I call them back when I see it later. I think if we restrict our distractions when we do go to these apps we are not used to using them constantly so they become easier to get the work done and close them. Of course, if you work all the time, Instagram can be used as a relief. My wife works an 9 hour a day job with a 2-hour commute. She loves surfing Instagram to relax in the bed at night, so it is what it is. There is nothing wrong with it if used properly, I just think people get caught up in the "likes", but likes don't pay the bills.

I have a course next semester on social media marketing, taught by a veteran in the space. I decided to take the class based purely on self-interest. If I learn any good tidbits I will be sure to share them here.

I like Ayumi Horie's work. I would be interested in seeing her speak about social media, is it on youtube? 

Edited by Joseph F

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5 hours ago, GEP said:

If these sites are unrelated to handmade pottery businesses, is it relevant to this discussion? It might be a completely different type of audience. 

Hi Mea  :)

It doesn't matter if one is selling baguettes in Paris,  cannolis in Capri, doilies in Dayton or pottery in Pottstown.

SEO, Marketing and Social Media all have the same premises, that is to get people onto your website to buy something.

Suffice to say all my sites are creative in nature that show one of a kind items that are handmade or custom designed. Some sites are personal others are business related.

 

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One thing I will add is that on Etsy where most say they never sell much there are a number of potters that manage to sell work in some numbers. Whitney Smith, an Oakland potter has almost 4000 sales since 2007 for example. With prices of $100 + (her stuff isn't cheap)  that easily gets her to mid six figures depending on the mix, maybe more. Just guessing but with a ramp on the 10 year number, say 50k a year is coming from etsy these days, with a location that's probably an important income stream. I would imagine that social media played an out-sized role in driving sales to etsy.

But even without an online income stream to point to, online media is just part of the deal these days. It is hard to qualify and if you just plop something out, wait a while and without some direct sales to attribute to it, say "see social media is more trouble than it's worth" I think you are really missing the point.

Us old folks may long for the days when everyone didn't have their head in a phone while waiting for something but for anyone born in the 90's forward online is blended into everyday life.    

Edited by Stephen

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Just checked out Ayumi Horie --talk about going down a rabbit hole of distraction, it's amazing I made it back !  Good discussion.  Pinterest & Facebook are fun for me, so I know how to use them if I choose, but  I know nothing (yet) about Instagram.  Seems like something I need to check out, but not right now.

Next year I am going to explore both  online selling and locally hit the bricks.  Won't do shows, tho  I may change my tune for some local holiday events, on a very selective basis.

12/31--just tried to remove the Happy Hollydaze image becasue it is too big, which was not my intention, but apparently I can't delete it-so sorry for taking up so much space! 

20171224_142339.jpg.2bc993264c9ae4ab9d224f9af6f68192.jpg

Edited by LeeU
Happy Hollydaze

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I have used both Facebook and Instagram.   And have received direct sales from them.   I am always closed on Sunday and decided on Friday to stay open today from 1:00 pm to 5:pm.  I posted my hours on Facebook and promoted for Saturday as well.  I did around $500 today in sales and all but one customer saw it on Facebook that we would be open.  I got over 1800 exposures from my first post.     Yesterday we made several sales directly from what people saw on Facebook,  around $700-$800.

That said .... I have found I get diminishing returns from Facebook.  A little posting here and there is good ... constant posting and people get "bored".

Instagram is key for a younger clientele.    I have found it to be very effective in promoting jewelry.   Somewhat effective for pottery.  You have people just waiting to get posts on Instagram.  I have  consulted for a clothing store that does a significant business using Instagram.  You get more exposure as people "tag" your Instagram posts.

I would say for what you are doing ... Facebook.    One of my goals this year is to rework my Facebook and have 2 FB's only for Dirt Roads Pottery and Dirt Roads Jewelry.  And eliminate the personal one for Sharon Grimes.    You need to get a significant customer base if you are using Facebook.  Same for Instagram.

Younger people use Snap Chat more than Facebook.   I think hard core shoppers really like using Instagram.

 

 

 

Edited by DirtRoads

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Good Post Sharon, definitely the first one I've in over 10+ years to reconsider social media.

One question if I may, what age group are your biggest pottery costumers in?

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Thanks for taking the time to do this Sharon

People in the 30 to 50 age group are typically the ones with the means to this type of purchase.

Are the larger percentage of sales from the shows you do as compared to your showroom?

Reason I'm asking is we did shows 10-15 years back, while my wife and daughters love doing this I knew within the first hour of our first show I needed to distance myself to help sales. They made a nice profit for the 3 years we did this thanks to them. I have a commercial store front nestled between a very popular hair salon and a garden center where my clay studio is now. I'm going to consider allocating the front room for pottery sales for the last third of next year

 

I was just on your facebook page and website, nice!

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This might be basic review info for some of you, but we wanted to share this anyway: The difference between "Likes" and "Follows" on Facebook. Also, "Profiles" are for people (usually), while "Pages" are for businesses. To create a "Page" you have to have a "Profile" first.

http://www.felicialin.com/blog/2017/3/15/whats-the-difference-between-a-facebook-like-follow

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On 12/28/2017 at 7:19 AM, RonSa said:

I'm going to consider allocating the front room for pottery sales for the last third of next year

I would say YES to this.   Situate yourself for gifts.  Maybe even a smaller store for the rest of the year.    I sold 5 wedding gifts today and a couple of birthday gifts.  Selling gifts is so much easier than aiming for self purchase.  Let me try and find that post I made about gifts.

I only do 2 shows a year now.   Canton MS Flea Market in May and October.    When I first started, I did more shows but was running out of inventory by Dec 1 and decided I rather sell more here.  This year I ended up with around $8K  ending pottery inventory.    Maybe enough to try and do a show called "Hand Works" in Jackson, MS (in November)

I do more in my showroom than at the shows.   Those 2 shows account for about 25% of my sales, with the showroom accounting for 75%

 

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On 12/28/2017 at 1:29 AM, DirtRoads said:

Range 30 to 50.    I did a demographic analysis  (visual confirmation)  

20 and younger  6%

25 - 30  10%

30 to 40  30%

40 to 50  32%

50 and over 22%

70% of my pottery purchases are for gifts.     

 

Very interesting that the data has not changed significantly ... “35-50 year old college educated woman looking to buy gifts” was it in the 1990’s. Not crazy as that is the age range for weddings, births, showers, engagements, graduations, new homes etc.

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On 12/21/2017 at 8:18 AM, Joseph F said:

 

@GiselleNo5 should be able to tell us more, but I guess she is busy with holidays. She has a large instagram following and I think it has done her well if I recall our discussions about it correctly. She has 13.4k followers! :ph34r:

 

Last year before they introduced the algorithm I was selling out of shop updates within two hours. Now less than 2,000 of my 13,000 followers see my posts. So I am the wrong person to ask. LOL Whatever rules were working for me up until last June have totally changed and they're not really sharing what they are. 

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Last year the changes were so new that no good articles were out about them yet. All the information I found was based on the old system. But this reminded me that it's been around awhile and so I just found two good ones. 

https://later.com/blog/how-instagram-algorithm-works/

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-algorithm/

 

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I am more excited about that app called Later than how the algorithm works. That app is exactly what I have been looking for. I hate using my phone to type a post and here lately I have stopped posting because I like to type the 2000 limit for engagement purposes and as a microblog for my ideas. However, it is so frustrating typing on a phone. 

Thanks for the articles Giselle!

Tried the app. Didn't like it at all. Uninstalled. I will just keep copy and paste between two documents. 

Edited by Joseph F

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@Joseph F Later can be signed into on a desktop if you'd rather type on a real keyboard. Most of the social media scheduling apps can do this, because touch typing is a lot faster than thumb typing. Up until about last week, Instagram didn't allow third party apps to post pre-made posts  for you, they could only allow you to organize photos and create text ahead of time, and remind you it was time to post. Instagram was looking to limit spam bots at the time, but it also limited scheduler apps. You can now fully automate everything. 

Hootsuite is another scheduler that lets you do all the platforms at once, if Later really isn't your thing. 

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I don't need anything fancy. I just want to create all the stuff on my computer. It makes no sense to me to create all that stuff on a phone. I am fine with it just messaging me to post it and then me clicking a button. Later seemed way too much for what I need. I will try HootSuite. Thanks Callie

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I went to a "new business startup" session about 7 years ago, and the guy there suggested Hootsuite as a way to do everything from one place.  Looked into it, seemed OK, but decided my business didn't warrant all that media coverage.

Edited by Chilly
added missing word !

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Thanks for the social media thread. I have always hated FB and continue to hate it. I have nothing I wish to share about the particulars of my dull life and really don't want to read about anyone else's. This might explain why I am hopeless trying to use it. It's a pain and a chore to me, yet I feel forced into it if I want to do business online at some point in the near future. *Gag*

Pinterest and Etsy are much more fun as I get to go straight to looking at stuff, not people or their opinions. (You ppl don't apply, as we are talking about ceramics, which is interesting.)

Edited by yappystudent

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Yappy, do you use Instagram? It is so much better than Facebook and there is a huge ceramics community (makers and buyers) that is really amazing. I never used IG until I started making pottery about 2 years ago and I adore it. It has been a wonderful experience so far...

 

Edited by PotterPutter
typos

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10 hours ago, PotterPutter said:

Yappy, do you use Instagram? It is so much better than Facebook and there is a huge ceramics community (makers and buyers) that is really amazing. I never used IG until I started making pottery about 2 years ago and I adore it. It has been a wonderful experience so far...

 

Potter---can you say something more specific about how Instagram works for you as a  potter?  What do you do to find this community? I know almost nothing about Instagram or how to use it. Any info is appreciated. 

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Instagram is a very simple social media app to just hop on and use and enjoy.  It is viewable on a desktop computer, but the full function of it can only be accessed through a smartphone or tablet. It's meant to be portable, spontaneous and fun. 

Basically, people post pictures all the time of all kinds of cool things. You can follow your friends and family, and share photos of birthdays and outings and all kinds of daily life stuff, or if you're an enthusiast of something (in our case clay and pottery), you can follow others with similar passions. The accounts that you follow show up in your home feed, and you can have a pretty much steady diet of pictures that you want to look at. It's kind of like Pinterest, but no repetitive images, and the only place an account can have a live outbound link is in the account's profile. So you're not leaving the app much, you spend time searching within the app. For this reason, it can be a real big time suck.

If to want to have your photos seen, once you post the photo with a caption you add meta data in the form of hashtags, so that people can search similar photos by subject matter.  Hashtags can also be used for humour. For instance, #mugshotmonday is a popular one to check out on a Monday morning, as it is mostly people posting pictures of their morning beverage in a pottery mug of some kind in some kind of peaceful AM setting. Interspersed in this feed will also be the occasional photo of a questionable looking individual who is clearly unamused by the camera currently being pointed at them. Adding hashtags can be either done in the caption or the first comment, for the sake of keeping everything looking tidy. 

Instagram holds a lot of appeal for artists because it's a steady diet of shiny things, so it's pretty easy to connect with others, because lots of us hang out there.  Some accounts act as a micro blog for the artist: they post a lot about their processes and thoughts, and you get more info about your favourite people that way. Liking and commenting is heavily encouraged, and it's easy to see the people who are interested in the same things you are. When you like and comment, and post things to be liked and commented on, it winds up building community. 

The community you participate in can lead to opportunities or sales (or not), depending on how you angle yourself, and how you choose to interact with people. Or it can just lead to online friends. This is cool, too.

If anyone ever wants to sign up for Instagram and poke around on it, feel free to message me on that app, and I can walk you through some things if you have specific questions. Once you sign up, follow my account (@dieselclay), and message me by tapping the paper airplane icon on the top right of the home screen

There are many forum members on Instagram, so you won't be alone!

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Terrific description, Callie! I’ll add that it’s also a good way to connect with potential stockists,  and also gain exposure by customers and large accounts sharing your work with their followers - Ceramic Review, Etsy, Skutt Kilns, etc.  Entire businesses were born on Instagram - Florian Gadsby and Jono Smart to name two who have rabid fans and sell out almost immediately after listing work for sale - Jono hundreds of pieces at a time. They are two extreme examples of Instagram success stories, but there is room for everyone on IG. I can’t think of any other platform that acts as a personal diary, marketing tool, learning tool, and ego boost :) like IG. 

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