Part 10. Connect with your people
Now, you get to really get down to beginning to market your work with original content. You get to make things, share things, educate yourself, and educate others.
So, you have to keep making things! Make things that inspire you. Challenge yourself. There are many classes and tutorials out there and you can even make your own templates. Share what you make!
Remember the rule here: put high quality images and content on your website first and then push that out to social media. Your goal is to have people visit your web page--the one place on the web where you own all the content and the way information flows.
When I say educate yourself, I mean look deep within the industry and sub-industries. Paper floristry is exploding as a creative industry. It has a home within the floral industry, the wedding industry, the DIY industry, and both event and photography industries. Without a doubt, your passionate need to create beautiful work and present it as a brand and business has everything to do with solving problems within those industries.
For artists, the problem is solved through art. For paper florists, the choice is yours as to what direction you want to grow in, which I will explain in the next section. No matter what, you need to keep making things that challenge you and that have purpose beyond keeping up with the Joneses or in this case your friendly social media community of makers.
Remember the four rules of content for social media: make things, share things, educate yourself, educate others.
- It is ok to share your works in progress on Instagram but always make time for finished photos for your portfolio.
- Share your tips, processes, and resources.
- Depending on your time constraints, decide to post once a week or more frequently. As a business you should be adding content within the categories above at least weekly.
- Examples of content are works in progress, links to resources, round-ups of inspirational teachers, how-to posts of how you create unique works of art.
- Be very cautious of linking to work without citing the source and in some cases express written permission from the creator. It is always the right thing to check if you are unsure.
How do you know where to spend time socially? There are so many social platforms sprouting up. I focus exclusively on Instagram and organic growth. I never pay for ads, religiously check my statistics to see what my audience prefers for content, and enjoy the community there. You need to decide where you get the most connection with people. For me that is Instagram.
Instagram has a whole host of tips and tricks I could write in a separate guide, but for now, here are the best tips. 1. Share the highest quality photo you can. 2. Keep it positive, marketing shouldn't be depressing or about how unorganized, messy, or distracting your life is. 3. You are allowed to block, delete or otherwise disengage from negative accounts without telling them (in fact, telling them is almost always considered a "flounce" or cry for attention). 4. Keep your family stuff separate. 5. Use your Instagram content on your website with an embeddable widget or using their embed function on a desktop-meaning only publish your best because now it is on your front page of your site!
What about customer service? Customer service is a choice that each brand must make. It's a perspective on relationships, a stance you take, a conversation you cultivate, a problem you listen to with empathy, and sometimes a relationship you end as graciously as possible with a refund. If you don't have experience in customer service, the best tip I can give you is to research customer service in the ski industry. That is where I learned: two different ski resorts in college (and of course, at home on the farm).
When people participate in an experience in exchange for their money, they need clear terms, measurable outcomes, lots of support, a friendly attitude, professionalism, and guidance! If you cannot provide all of those things, step back and re-evaluate if you have a business that is providing an experience.