Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

customer path

279: How to survive social media burnout

Social media is a big part of most of our businesses. But it can also lead to incredible burnout! Learn how to avoid social media burn out at TaraSwiger.com/podcast279

Are you DREADING logging on to IG? Has it been WEEKS since you posted to your Facebook page or group?

Honey, you are not alone. It is totally normal to get burnout, and this week I'm going to help you avoid it and deal with it when it happens, and I'm going to give you a dose of tough love!

Today's episode is brought to you by my darling patrons, you can join them in supporting the show, at Patron.com/Taraswiger, for as little as $1/mo.

It is sooo easy to get burnt out with social media. You feel like you have to be on all the things – Instagram, Facebook, groups, maybe even Twitter or Tumblr or YouTube depending on your Right Customer.

Not only do you need to CREATE for those platforms, you also have to INTERACT, comment, like, reply to comments and DMs…. ahhhh

It can get super overwhelming very quickly.

So let's first talk about how to AVOID overwhelm and then how we will deal with it when it happens.

To start with you need to accept one very big Truth: you don't have to be on everything. In fact, you CANNOT be on everything. Because, hon, you aren't going to be GOOD at everything, in fact, you won't be good at most stuff. AT FIRST.

How you get good, is practice and consistency, without expectation.

Now I know that “expectation” bit is hard, because why else would we be on social media as business owners if we didn't have the expectation that it would help our business?

The answer is counter-intuitive: Lower your expectations a little! (or a lot)

If you hop on a social media platform, there will be a learning curve, if your expectations of yourself and your results are sky high, you WILL be disappointed. If you look at the whole experiment as a chance to learn and get better, you will be delighted at the results.

Because here's the thing: even doing a social media platform “badly” is a chance to learn about your CUSTOMERS.

Because let's back up here, you're going to choose platforms based on two things:

  1. What you like to do or want to do more of.
  2. Where your customers are.

Now the thing about the big platforms (IG, FB, Twitter, YouTube) is that they are big enough now that no matter the demographic of your Right Person, if they're under 65, they're going to be there. (if your target market is over 65, why are you even stressing about this?)

So if you're choosing a platform based on what you like or want to do more of, you're going to have more FUN while you learn it.

And if your customers are there, because it's SOCIAL, you're going to have a chance to learn about them, even if you aren't particularly good at creating content for it yet. You can see what hashtags they use, who they follow, what they post about, what they like. You can have conversations in the comments of THEIR posts, or even the posts of a bigger creator.

(I originally had podcasting here, but it's broadcasting media, not social media, right now there isn't a podcasting platform that lets everyone (maker and consumer) talk to everyone).

If, instead of looking at it as a chance to talk to your customers, you look at is a way to boost sales quickly, well you're going to feel pressured and that leads to burnout.

Social Media is not a sales tool, it's a marketing tool, 98% of the time.

What's that mean? It's not IG where you'll make the sale. On IG you'll build the relationship and point your follower to where they can learn more or check out what's for sale. But for most of us, IG -> email -> sale. If you do in-person events, SM -> event -> sale.

I know, I know, so-and-so posts pictures of what's for sale and she sells it right away. But you know what? She's ALREADY used IG to do marketing (spreading the message of her work – the value, the worth, the work that goes into it) AND she's built trust. She's done this with enough people so that when she posts something, at least one of them wants to buy it. So yes, you can make sales right from social media, EVENTUALLY.

In the short term, it's a listening tool and a learning tool. You can use it to experiment with messaging (you get a new chance every day) and you can use it to have conversations.

You might have noticed that earlier I said you're going to get better at it by doing it consistently. Yes, the more consistent you are with any tool in your business, the better results you're going to have…but that's another cause of burnout – trying to stick to a schedule that doesn't work for you. If you are feeling ragged trying to post daily, what if you did it 3x/week? It's better to be consistent 3x/week than to post a lot one week and not at all the next week. You'll feel better about your work, so you'll stick with it longer.

So far we're avoiding burnout by doing what we like, by having conversations with our customers, by doing it less often and by lowering our expectations.

The other way to avoid burnout is to give yourself a break. Whether you choose to do it weekly (I don't pick up my phone on Sundays) or you choose to do it for a longer stretch of time (I stay off social media when I'm traveling with my family, to give myself a real vacation), just take some time AWAY.

What if you're already all burnt out?

First, step away. 

Just stop. Seriously. Nothing bad will happen.

Second, find the fun. 

Notice what feels good, what you have fun doing and do more of that. Maybe it's pictures of flowers, maybe it's funny memes, maybe it's videos about books, like it is for me.  Dip your toe back in with what's fun.

Third, lower your expectations, yes, even more. 

Social media cannot be your entire business (unless you're a social media consultant, and then why are you listening to this?). Social media is ONE way you can practice your messaging and build trust through consistency. Your business is your product, your pricing, your messaging, and your follow-through. I teach all about these foundations and how to make them stronger in my new masterclass. You can find out when the next encore presentation is at TaraSwiger.com/foundations

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Fit all of your marketing pieces together

Blogs, newsletter, Twitter, Instagram… does your marketing work together, or is it random and fractured? In today's episode you'll learn: What most people are doing wrong with their marketing How to make your marketing both easier and more effective An example, from a real student, of fitting it together.

Blogs, newsletter, Twitter, Instagram… does your marketing work together, or is it random and fractured? In today's episode you'll learn:

  • What most people are doing wrong with their marketing
  • How to make your marketing both easier and more effective
  • An example, from a real student, of fitting it together.

Remember – we're going to be diving deep into this TODAY in the webinar. Register here.


How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

How to fit all of your marketing pieces together

Blog. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. It can be overwhelming to figure out how to fit all these little pieces together into one cohesive marketing puzzle. Let's talk about how to do that, on TaraSwiger.com.


How are you spreading the word about your work? How are you connecting with possible customers? If you’re like nearly everyone I work with, you’re using quite a few tools, but you feel like you should be using EVEN MORE – like you can never do enough or be in enough places.

This week on the podcast I’m sharing the story of how I helped one of the Starship Captains fit her marketing puzzle together. While I was broadcasting it on Periscope (I record and broadcast these a whole week early – follow me there to catch it early!), I got comments saying: OMG, I need to do this for my own business! I need to piece it all together.

So I’m super happy to announce that I am teaching exactly this, tomorrow! In a webinar with TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association), we’ll cover your newsletter, blog and social media and come up with a plan for fitting them all together. (Webinar = online workshop, that you can attend wherever you are!)

If you're in the yarn world (you have a yarn shop, you make yarn, you design with yarn), this webinar is for you. We're going to address how to fit your blog, newsletter, and social media together into one EFFECTIVE puzzle, that brings customers to your door.

You can register here:


Once you register, tweet me and tell me your questions – what do you hope we cover?

Know what to say

Know what say in your marketing, on TaraSwiger.com
Last week we talked about the struggle to know what to DO with your marketing, so today let's handle it's twin: what to SAY when marketing your business.

Do you remember when you first joined Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and you wondered: What do I write? What do I put on here? If you're using the tools for your personal life, it's simple – you share what you want to share, with the people you want to share it with.

But if you're using social media as a tool for your business, the issue requires a bit more thought and planning. You'll still say what you want…but what DO you want to say? What do you want these specific people (your followers) to know about your work or about you? What do they need to know? 

Everything you share online builds a relationship with the reader and it establishes who you are, as a business and a human (in the same way that everything you say in real life to someone builds a relationship and communicates who you are.)
It's easy to get stuck in a swirl over this (what should I saaaaay?) or to avoid the question all together and just default to the easiest thing (tweeting your Etsy listings with no personality). It bums me out when I see creatives with amazing work doing either, because it's not too hard find the solution.

Start with these two questions:

  • What is my message and how do I communicate that here?
  • Where is this reader on my Customer Path and what would she need to know to move forward (closer to buying or connecting)?

What is my message?

You'll learn exactly how to craft your message (and convert it to all possible situations)  in my book, but you can start by asking yourself:

  • What do I stand for?
  • What do I provide to my customer? (ie, it's more than art or jewlery – it's beauty, belonging, joy, etc)

Now, how can you communicate that on this particular tool? What would you share to bring more of that quality into your reader's lives?

Where is the reader on my Customer Path?

You see, what you say depends on who you're saying it to. Is she following you on Twitter because she wants to remember to buy in the future? Does she love your writing and want to keep up to date? Or is she just discovering you via someone else's retweet?
This might seem overwhelming, but it helps to put it in a framework: everyone who is reading, following, “liking” you on your blog, newsletter, social media is connecting with you – and over time, they're coming closer and closer. In other words, they're on a Customer Path.
What you say moves them down the path, and the more you understand their needs at each point at the path, the easier time you'll have figuring out what to say.

If you want to know what to say, and feel confident it's effective in connecting with potential customers, join me to Craft Your Customer Path. Registration closes Friday!

What are you saying? What are you communicating in your marketing?


The secret to turning readers into buyers

This week's podcast is live! Talking about my favorite question to your marketing floundering: Where does it fit on your Customer Path?

How customers find you, fall in love, and choose to buy = your Customer Path.

In today's podcast episode, we talk about what it is, what you already have and how to start improving it.

A “Customer Path” is a framework to think about your marketing. Once you think through your message and your goals from your own point of view (like we do in the book), you need to shift and think about how this all fits together for your ideal customer. What do they come in contact with first? Where do they go next?

This is how you turn a casual reader (or random googler) into a customer, and then a raving fan.

This framework will help you know:

The good news: you already have a Customer Path! Your job, your responsibility is to make it as easy and effective as possible, both to boost your own sales AND to provide service to your customers (they want to know how to find out more!)

In the podcast I share some questions to get you started in your own Customer Path building and a list of 5 things to remember as you map out your own Customer Path.

If you'd like to build your Customer Path, increase it's effectiveness, and get clear on how you make sales, join the brand new class: From Hi to Buy: Craft a Customer Path.

Links I mention: 

How to listen

Your Turn!

What does your Customer Path look like right now? Are there gaps? Cliffs? Too many options? 

What are you going to do this week to make it clearer (and thus, more efficient)?

If you don't know the answer to that question, sign up for my FREE marketing e-course:



Do you know what you’re doing?

Know what you're doing in your marketing, on TaraSwiger.com

One of the comments I get most often from makers, when we chat about marketing, is that they just don't know what to DO.

Should I bother with a Facebook page?
How important is it to have an email list?
Am I blogging right?

This leads to scattershot marketing. They don't know what to do after they list a new product. They don't know what to tweet. They don't know if any of it is worth it. Each day is filled with frustrating not-knowing and doubt.

Knowing what to do is (or being able to figure it out) is a business-transforming skill.

It saves you time, energy and stress. It keeps you enthusiastic and moving along joyfully.
Getting stuck in a swirl of “What should I do?” is the ultimate momentum killer!

But there's no easy answer to what you should do.

When you work with me, I don't tell you. (And you should probably avoid any one-size-fits-all advice that purports to know exactly what everyone should do.)
Instead, it's a process of discovery.
Instead, we look not at this ONE thing (email list, social media, blog) but at the overall picture of your Customer Path.

I'm always asking clients: How does this fit on your Customer Path?

And it's that simple. Once you know your Customer Path, you know just what to do. Whether you're listing an item on Etsy, preparing for a craft show, or building your email list, your Customer Path will inform what you do.

What would change in your biz if you knew what to do in your marketing?

Want more?
You can read this and this to get you started. Then, check out the new class that will help you order your marketing into a cohesive Customer Path! 


Creating a path of connection to customers


Wow! Tuesday's post about creating a path of connection really touched on something, prompting emails + tweets from so many of you!

We're all searching for a rhythm to interacting with our community, one that is sustainable for both sides, one that feels generous and friendly and doable. After spending the first months (or years!) of your business searching desperately to find your people, it take s a conscious shift to move into serving your people –  through your marketing and making – to stop pushing so hard and start looking around and talking with who's there already.

But take note! Even if you're in the very beginning stages of finding your People, you still need to think through the customer path, so that every new person who discovers you knows what to do next. This is part of the system you want in place as you begin to reach out to new customers.

Now that we have a path to bring interested readers closer, let's talk about what happens after they commit to us, after they become a customer. The path doesn't stop here, at the door of The Purchase, it can keep going deeper and deeper into your community. In other words, each of your products or services can act as a different part of the path – each one can deepen a relationship with your customer.

Like I said before, every path will look different. Even if you sell products online and never interact in the physical space of your customers, you can still create a path. Even if you only do craft shows in person, you can still create a path.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you lay your path

  • Make it easy to start on the customer path. Have something available for the taste-tester. If I'm on your newsletter and open all your emails and am a fan of your work — how can I first support you? If you're an artist – do you have affordable prints (or even notecards?) If you're a teacher, do you have a book or PDF or email series?For some of your people, this will be the end of the path (even if they love you), but for others this will reassure them that they want to continue on the path with you, into bigger commitments.


  • The more time or money commitment required by your product or service, the farther down the path it is. Offer this deeper commitment to people who have already invested in the relationship.


  • If you make products, it may seem difficult to come up with further parts of the path. Brainstorm ideas that would either give the buyer more of your products over time, more of your personal time and attention, or a special access to treasured, limited editions.


  • Guard your path. It's easy to think we should offer everything we have to everyone who finds us – but this doesn't serve you or them. It confuses a first-time buyer (or scares them off), and it throws your precious time into the hands of strangers. Instead, offer your deepest options to those already on the path – past customers, long-time readers, customers-who-have-become friends.
  • This isn't about keeping the wrong people out, this is about keeping your Right People engaged and interested. A clear path helps you and the customer know what to do next.


  • Make it obvious. And then even more obvious. Don't rely on your biggest fans to find your other offers, show it them clearly and with love. Make it perfectly obvious what they should do next if they want to enjoy even more of your work.


What's your customer path look like? How do your products guide a reader into becoming a more invested buyer?


May 2014 Update: Craft your Customer Path with the new class! Register here! 

Creating a path of connection


If you're listening in to your people, and you're fully showing up to connect with them, the next step is to make it easy for them to connect with you. While it's true that having a host of option (blog, email, social media) gives your reader a lot of choices…it also triggers the paradox of choice. With too many equal options, people are more likely to choose nothing than to choose something. Not to mention, having too many equal options makes it hard for you to keep up with it all, which is oten “solved” by putting the same information everywhere, punishing those you follow you in more than one place, killing real connection.

It's your job to create the path.

If you want to connect with readers and buyers, and help them find your work and make the decision to invest it, then you need to make it as easy as possible for them. You do this by suggesting what to do next, at every step. You do this by creating a path for the reader/buyer to follow.

This pathway of connection includes absolutely every way you interact with people who may or may not be your right people – your blog, email newsletter, social media, guest posts, sales pages, and (once they cross over into Right People territory and pay for something), your connection pathway continues through your products, classes, clubs, retreats.

Today we'll talk a bit about creating a pathway of connection for your reader (before they buy, before they decide if they are one of your Right People), and tomorrow we'll talk a bit about creating a path for your buyer.

Every path is different.

I can't tell you what your path should look like. It's going to be based on what works for you and on what your People use and read (I talk about choosing your tools in detail in Chapter 5 of the book.) But as you plot your path for your customers, here's a few things to keep in mind:

  • The first steps on your path are the easiest to do – reading one blog post, replying to one tweet. This is where the person very first becomes aware that you and your work exist. Next steps on the path require more commitment and more information.


  • Honor this commitment your readers are making and the trust their putting in you. Honor it by giving them what they've signed up for. Respect the deeper commitment by matching it – create deeper content, invite them to specials, give them first sneak peek.


  • Keep in mind who you're writing for. A guest post is going to be seen by people who don't know anything about you. A tweet may be read by new followers and old friends. An email to your newsletter list is read by people who have committed to hearing from you regularly, and who probably have already decided they like you and your work. Write for the specific audience.


  • The farther people walk down the path, the closer they are coming to you. Since such a small percentage of people who read your blog or follow you on Twitter actually take the time to reply to you, treasure each response and give it your time and attention. In replying (or starting a conversation) this person is saying: Hey, I want to connect with you more, I want this to be a two-sided relationship. This is the best! These relationships are the bedrock of your business, so do whatever you have to do to make time for them.


  • Make it easy for the reader to move down the path. Once you know the steps on your path, lay them out in order for your readers. Suggest the reader of your guest post visit your blog, tell your twitter followers about your newest post, ask your blog readers to subscribe, create an autoresponder to introduce new subscribers to your work , invite your subscribers to your newest product or service. It's up to you to explain the path to interested readers, so don't wait around for them to find it.(You do know I send special weekly lessons to explorers, right?)
  • At the end of this path is a relationship, an equal exchange. This might be a sale (in which you exchange money for a product) or it might be a collaboration or even a real friendship. As you build your path and invite readers to the next step, remember this! Begin with the end in mind, and ask yourself if you want to say or do what you're doing, if there was a true friend on the other end.


Let's take a breather for a minute and acknowledge something. This is kind of scary. If you feel anxious or shy about talking about your Art, then it might be exceedingly uncomfortable to imagine this path, to imagine that you're going to have more and deeper conversations. I think this is why so many people just  default to  “I listed this” tweets or boring blog posts. It's much easier to be boring and impersonal.

But there's a huge upside – it's much easier to invite real fans into your work. It's much easier to talk to people who want to buy what you sell. And the only way to know they truly want it, is to give your fans a way to connect with it and you. I tell clients to look at their newsletter sign-up as a chance for the fans to speak up and say: I'm here! I want to know more!  It's a service.
And here's more good news – when your future customer is connecting to you in new ways, when you're respecting their commitment and fulfilling it with your best work, you'll see that you are both getting something out of the relationship. They're not just giving you money for your art – they are enjoying the relationship. They are delighting in knowing you.

If you're feeling scrambly about launching your book or writing your newsletter, it's likely that your pathway isn't clear (to you or your people).  Finding time to make your art and connect is often as simple as clarifying your connection path and making it obvious to readers.

May 2014 update: You can now learn how to build your Customer Path!