Lists and Plans

How many of us make lists?  Are they listed on your phone?  Or do you still write them down?  Or like me, are they just listed somewhere in the vast space of your brain?  My brain can hold an awful lot of information (not all of it rather useful though!)

Last night I took part in #folksyhour all about blogging and how to blog and what to blog… I think I tweeted some valid points, since I started my first blog in 2006 (No I’m not bragging, it’s rather shameful really, too much time on my hands?) and that’s the problem now – there’s not enough time to do everything!

Life used to be so simple when all you needed to do was to blog – now there’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr… Not to mention the shop platforms – Etsy and Folksy (I will not even consider NOTHS being in with that, I don’t agree with their handmade policies, since I found a shop owner sticking a bought bird charm on a bought chain and selling it for £15!!!  Disgusting.)  Which ones do you pick?  Do you do all of them?  Do you do some of them one week and the rest next week?  Do you sign up for these apps which you pay good money in order for them to do it for you, hence losing the personal touch?  Well, you really don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do, no-one is telling you otherwise – just stop worrying and listen…, sorry, read!

PLAN.

Yep, that’s right.  Don’t rush into anything headfirst – PLAN.  The best day to plan is on a Sunday and it shouldn’t take more then an hour.  Look at the week ahead, create a timetable – personally I like to ‘draw’ one out, so I can refer to it as it’s sitting next to me, by my laptop – and I find if I write things down, rather then type them, I find it better to remember what I’ve written!

The trick is, is to do a little bit of everything. 

Blog at least once a week – I had a plan to do that 3 times a week…  The plan is still in place people! 😉

I always make sure I post one thing a day on Facebook, maybe twice – a piece of work, followed by a picture of what I’ve been doing – a bit like this:

“Today I have been busy, I’ve managed to find time to paint and enjoy what I have painted, I hope you like it too… Am I flying bird obsessed?

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Followed by later on:

“Do you ever feel like you’re being watched?”  Hey Louie!

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I tend to post anything to Instagram after 7pm – as that’s when it seems to be busy as people have returned to work, have had their dinner and are now on their phones/laptops – I post new work, work in progress (WIP) and photographs of either Louie or a nice sunset…

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When it comes to Twitter – I look back at my own handy blog as a guide – I love joining in with some of the ‘hours’ that take place – there are so many and it’s best to be selective – I don’t always do them, but during my time tabled week on a Sunday I make sure I’m there for at least ONE!  I like to re-write my timetable every single week…!

I make sure I list at least one new item per day on both my Etsy shop and my Folksy shop – so today’s offering for folksy, click on the picture to get you to the shop listing:

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And Etsy:

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Of course I don’t stick 100% to my timetable, it’s just a guideline – and it’s needed for people like myself who forget things so easily!  But I am indeed a creature of habit – I once read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit, as long as you’re doing this every day for 21 days that is!  Bare that in mind!

As for tumblr – I tend to steer clear of it – I don’t quite understand how it works, I’ve never liked it – but some people it works well – I am on there as lovearobin << I know, terrible name!!

Pinterest?  I LOVE THAT PLACE – trouble is, I can spend hours on it – every new listing on any of my shops, or any new photo posted on Twitter, I then pin to one of my boards – don’t even begin to ask me what that place is all about and how it works for your business, I simply don’t have a clue and hope someday someone will enlighten me!

Google+ – another total confusion with me – although I did notice one of my posts quite high up on a search item on google about hand painted jewellery – so I shall try it again – if I’m successful, I’ll blog about it!

Sorry for being so vague… I chat to my blog like it’s a real person!

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I tend to do social media in the mornings and then work in the afternoons and then network like crazy in the evenings – although some days I just disappear off the map, out with my camera, out for the day, away completely, which is so needed in this day and age or you will just about drive yourself insane.

As always, bare in mind that what works for you, doesn’t always work for others – it’s all trial and error – and as you can see I’ve rambled on and on here and because of that, I’ve actually created a blog post out of it!

I guess with blogging – be yourself, be funny (if you’re not funny usually then here’s your chance to be that funny person you’ve always wanted to be), write about everything – write about the book your reading, the film you went to see, write about the artists you love and perhaps interview a few of them. Start your own trends – like ‘Treasury Tuesdays’ – found items from wherever – not just artists, but great articles to read, fantastic recipes.  Talk about yourself, your garden, your pets – what makes you happy, sad, angry – treat a blog like your own personal sounding board/soapbox – of course, everything is common sense and if you feel you’re getting too angry or heated, just move on… there’s a great ‘delete’ button, use it!  But above all, enjoy it – it’s not daunting and if anything, it doesn’t have to be straight away – I started this blog this morning, I’ve been coming back and forth to it, and it’s already lunchtime and I’ve prattled on already with over 1000 words (how the hell did that happen?)

Anyhooooo…  I’ll be back to blog some more soon!

Tweeting @ all hours

Twitter!  Now there’s an interesting concept!  I have come across so many people who are downright terrified of it… It moves so fast and your first tweet is daunting – how do you start? How do you add followers?  How do you gain followers? How do you just ‘be‘?!

Well – for a business owner – it’s perfectly simple – you have a brand, you need to sell yourself! It’s like the old line for ebay – ‘I sold my soul on ebay’ – now all you need to do is ‘sell your soul on twitter’ too…

This is a simple guide – and ok, you’ll look at my account and say ‘wait a minute, you haven’t followed your own guidelines’ – I know, I am sorry, I joined Twitter when it all began and then I had to delete that account as I got trolled and I didn’t want to protect my account, so I started again… But it was before I started Larryware – so my twitter name is, and confusingly, @EmyJSkylark  (follow me and say hello!) – Emy because that’s my nickname from Emily – J because that’s the beginning letter of my middle name (Jane) and Skylark because they are my favourite birds – and that was my name for various nature forums and the original BBC Science & Nature Messageboard back in the day… before it was shut down due to, yeah, trolls!

Anyhoooo

  1. Sign up to Twitter (seems simple enough)
  2. Create a username which relates to your business, whether it’s the name, what you make, what your interests are, a combination of all, make it easily remembered though and not too long either as it will take up valuable character space.
  3.  Follow people!  If you’re a small business owner like myself – type in search ‘handmade’ and see what comes up – @HandmadeHour for example may come up – follow that… and keep searching – look up ‘Craft’, ‘Small Business’ and then add some celebs, news channels, charities – anything that interests you and you alone, not because you ‘think’ that is what you should be following and looks ‘trendy’ on your profile, no-one is going to care and at the end of the day, you want to follow accounts which will tweet content which you WANT TO SEE!
  4.  Start adding content – remember each tweet size is just 140 characters long, and this includes twitter names and links, but thankfully, doesn’t include images (it used to!)  It’s the little symbol with the feather inside the square, that will give you a tweeting box!
  5. If you have an online shop – whether it’s Etsy, Folksy or a Facebook page, or even a website – then add this in the tweet, with the correct link – but instead of adding a direct linked image, physically add the image yourself from your computer and then copy and paste the link as occasionally, the etsy shop image or folksy or whatever, won’t show as the correct size and in fact, if you directly tweet from any of these other social media platforms, sometimes you won’t get a picture at all and I, like the rest of the world, is a lazy so and so and if I can’t see your image on your tweet and only see a link, I ain’t going to spend time clicking it – sorry!    5b – Now if the link is massively long, there’s a great free service which will shorten it for you, just copy and paste it to here  – Bitly URL Shortener – brilliant!  So add about 5 tweets of content – just to start off with for now
  6.  Start to ‘connect’ your other social media accounts to Twitter – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, tumblr, etsy…  you will find your account settings, top right on your profile page,next to the feather symbol which you can click when you want to start a new tweet.
  7.  Hashtags – easy to make a ‘hash’ of…  There are so so many… But you have to be selective, due to the 140 characters only in each tweet…  Looking around for my own hashtags for my own particular line of business, these are the ones I’ve found that work well for me – it only takes an hour of research on Twitter…

#womensart #smallbusiness #etsyshop #onlinecraft #craftbuzz #womaninbiz #shopsmall #etsysocial #handmade #giftidea #shopping

And those are just a few!

8. Someone has tweeted you!  Way to go!  Go to your ‘notifcations’ and hit ‘reply’ to start off with, it’s the little arrow which is heading to the left, if you float your cursor from your mouse over each symbol, it will tell you what they do!  A box will appear already with their @profile name, so you don’t have to type that – once you’ve typed in an answer, click ‘tweet’ and then it should come up on your timeline, click ‘Home’.

9. You like a Tweet – so, Retweet it!  It’s the middle symbol below, the arrows going to the left and the right in a box image.  Or you like a tweet – then click on the ‘heart’ and it’ll get saved ro your ‘Likes’ which you can view from your own ‘Profile’ – click your name or your twitter name on ‘Home’ – to the left!

10. Now we come to the hours – of course, there’s a small matter of your profile pic, your small bit of bio which includes your shop url too – and of course, your cover picture… And not to mention what colour you’d like to be on the screen – I’ve always gone for blue, as I can ‘see’ it – I see many in light green and light yellow, which simply does not show up on the white background when I click their profiles to be nosy!  10b – if you want to follow someone without opening their profile, again float the cursor over their name and there’s a little person in a box in grey, just click that and you’ll know you’re following by the little tick to the side of their head.

But the hours, oh the hours and of course they have to relate to you and your business!  If you click on each link, it will take you to the relevant Twitter account – you’re welcome! 😀

Monday 

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1  #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

9-10pm #britcrafthour << no account as such, but FOLLOW @BritishCrafters (Facebook too!)

Tuesday

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1  #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

8-9pm #FolksyHour 

Wednesday

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1 – #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

7:30 – 8:30pm  #HandmadeHour

8-9pm #ArtistHour

Thursday

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1 – #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

Friday

11am-12 #elevenseshour

12pm-1 – #UKBusinessLunch

2-3pm #BizHour

Saturday

11-12pm #WeekendHour << no account as such, just a hashtag #

Sunday

5-7:30pm #SBS – promote yourself to Theo Paphitis – Small Business Sunday

7-8pm #CraftHour

8-9pm – #HandmadeHour

9pm – #EnglandHour 

There are also ‘county hours’ – my own is #DevonHour Wednesdays – 8-9pm – so do search for your own, it’s worth it!

Just make sure you use the relevant hashtag (#) to the relevant hour in your tweets, or no-one from that hour will see your tweet!

I’ve probably missed out a lot of other things – but this was meant to be just a simple guide!

Oh my word!  I hear you all exclaim – but like someone pointed out today, you don’t HAVE to do them all every week – just mix and match and try them out – some will work for you, some won’t… it’s all trial and error!

Twitter like any social platform is not just for you, it’s for everyone, so the more you help others by RT’s or Follow Fridays #FF and just taking part in the ‘hours’, the more of the possibility that they’ll help you back too!  Just to get yourself ‘out there’ is all that matters!

There are of course paid websites which will help you – you can schedule tweets, in fact, you can tweet in your sleep if you wanted to… I’ve tried several websites but I’m in love with Around.io – there’s a free trial to use, then it’s a monthly sub, which I am paying $9.99 – but it’s a massive help, it connects to my Etsy shop and I can schedule as many posts as I want to my Facebook business page, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, google+ – using all relevant hashtags and even schedule them to be sent actually ‘in’ those hours themselves… you just need a bit of time to schedule and then you’ll be set….

If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch – just leave me a comment underneath and I’ll reply as soon as I can!

I hope Twitter doesn’t feel as daunting now to any of you who haven’t tried… It really won’t bite!

Thanks for reading – please share this blog to anyone who needs a Twitter hand 😀 x