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The Adventures

Here’s a round-up of what I saw, did, and read this month! Follow my Instagram Stories for in-the-moment photos + videos. You can find years of Adventures here.

The News:

The View:

A post shared by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

A post shared by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

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A post shared by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

A post shared by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I'm watching:

I'm eating:

 

What did you read, listen to and eat last month? Come tell me on Facebook!

Your questions answered: email list growth, self-publishing and what I’d do differently

Get YOUR questions answered: self-publishing a book, growing your email list, and advice on building your crafty biz!

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Today I'm answering questions from my Instagram followers (to get your questions answered, be sure you're following me!). In fact, I received so many questions, I split them into two podcasts!  You can find the first Q&A post here.   Today we'll cover:

  • Email List Growth
  • Self-Publishing
  • What I'd do differently

 

Resources:

Check out these awesome handmade businesses:

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.

Social Media for Introverts {PODCAST}

Social Media for Introverts

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Social media might seem like the perfect way for an introvert to connect (you can do it alone! in your pjs!), but I've found it's easily a distraction from your real work. In today's episode we'll talk about:

  • The distraction of social media
  • Three steps to combat the distraction and stay focused
  • What overwhelms people and how to avoid it.

Links mentioned

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

How to make Social Media easier (aka, how I schedule things)

Many clients find it hard to be consistent with their social media messages while also being consistent in making, listing, shipping, and writing content. The solution? Systems. At TaraSwiger.com

(Psst… Make sure you read all the way to the bottom – I've got a FREE gift for you that's going to take the stress out of scheduling social media posts!)

One of the basic tenets of any marketing strategy is consistency. You need to show up wherever you connect with potential customers with consistency, both in time and in content. But many (MANY!) clients find it hard to be consistent with their social media messages while also being consistent in making, listing, shipping, and writing content. The solution? Systems. The more systematic you make things (ie, you don't have to think about them each time you do them), the easier it is to be consistent. I'm still learning this lesson in a lot of ways, but when I shared by current system with the Starship, they really loved it. So I wanted to share it with you, if it'll help.

Remember what I said last week – you need to keep your goals front and center. My goals for social media are to be helpful and spread love and silliness to my people. That's it. I want them to like clicking my links, so they trust me to provide good stuff. That's it. (In other words, I don't worry about time, reweets and I kinda hate favorites (they don't do anything to spread the post at all!)). Because my goal is to be helpful and loving, I don't measure my success by outward signs (followers, retweets), but by the conversations it sparks and the number of new people who join my world because of it.

With that in mind, let's look at the specifics:

I do three kinds of sharing on social media:

  1. My own content published elsewhere (my blog and podcasts, and interviews, guest posts, etc)
  2. Useful links + ideas (from other people) that I know my readers will love
  3. Snippets of my own life (a kind of “behind the scenes”)

This balance changes all the time, but my #1 goal is to Be Me, no matter where I am or what I'm sharing.

Here's how that works:

1. Sharing my Content

I installed CoSchedule recently and now, after a post is all finished and scheduled, we scroll down a bit and set up social messages.

Here's my checklist for each blog post:*

  • Schedule tweet for when it goes live (The title, edited to sound like a real sentence or question)
  • Schedule tweet (with picture) for 7-8 hours later (For podcast say: New on the podcast: {title})
  • and again for 2 -5 days later
  • again 2 months later – give or take – (on a Monday morning)
    (Make sure each tweet is different every time – I don't want to “say” the same thing over and over!)
  • Schedule post to Facebook page as a “text post” (without the link). Quote the entire blog post (or the best part!) for the day it goes live
  • Schedule another post to Facebook as “image post” with link back to post, for 9 days later (so Tues posts would be scheduled for Thurs, and Wed for Friday (ie, days I don't have fresh content))

*And that's another system: Checklists! I have checklists for: blog posts, emails, launching a new class, Starship Boarding, Starship Welcoming…just about anything that happens more than once, so that every piece of content gets the same love and every student gets the same experience. (I try to keep an eye on what can be automated, like the Starship Orientation, and automate it after I experiment with what is working). This helps tremendously when I'm sick, or doing a big project like the CreativeLive class – it makes sure I do everything something needs, and I do the bare minimum (because the checklist just has to be marked off, not thought of anew, each time!).

2. Scheduling Useful and Interesting Stuff

Lately I've been so busy with students and projects (1:1s, writing, recording, etc) that I haven't been taking the time to find good things to share on social media (Twitter + Facebook mostly). This is a huge reason why people follow me (at least, it's what they say!), and I don't want to post just my own stuff (see above!)…and I've found when I just “look for stuff to post,” I just click around reading what I want to read, and don't share anything.
So now, I have a system for it! 

  1. On Mondays, I set a timer for 25 minutes.
  2. Open up my 10 fave sites for small businesses (rotating list)
  3. Scan 'em
  4. If I see something that I think would interest YOU (everything I ever write/post is with YOU, my readers and students, in mind), I read the whole thing and if I still like it, I use the Hootsuite* bookmark to grab it. I write a recommendation (or pull a quote), schedule it, and then post it. I keep my CoSchedule calendar open, so I'm sure not to overlap (I aim to have at least one thing in between my morning and afternoon self-tweets each day).
    I schedule at least one thing per weekday (or stop when I get to 25 min). If I find other things throughout the week (which always happens!), I schedule it for the afternoon (after my last self-tweet).*Several students use and love Buffer.

I have noticed that scheduled posts (both my own and shared links) get far less engagement (on both Twitter + FB) than when I just say random stuff, spur of the moment. That said, I need to spend most of my time NOT being spur of the moment (keeping my head in the game of producing good work), so I'm OK with that.

3. Snippets of life

These are unscheduled and spur of the moment – usually pictures on Instagram that also go to Twitter and Facebook.There's no schedule or plan here, although I try to take a photo a day, just because I want photos of my everyday life! (I scrapbook, remember.)

Just because these are unplanned doesn't mean they are entirely unthoughtful – I often rewrite a tweet or Instagram caption in my head several times, to get the wording and tone just right. No matter what I'm sharing, my goal is to be either helpful or encouraging, so you won't find many angry, disappointed, or snarky social media messages from me. It's not that I don't feel these things (and rewrite them over and over and in my head), it's that posting them doesn't serve my goals for these tools. (Trust me, I have plenty of tools for dealing with the un-fun, not-nice side of life.)
And that's it!

You'll note as you read that there are really multiple systems at work here:

  • Blogging
  • Podcast recording system
  • Finding links and sharing them

If you're just beginning to share your work, do NOT let all these systems overwhelm you – they develop naturally over time as you become more and more effective at doing what you do. The goal isn't perfection (My system changes every few months!), it's improvement. Just start with one system and continue to improve it as you learn more about what works for you.

This is the system that works for me, but it is in no way “optimized” to be the perfect, most traffic-generating thing ever. Keep your eye on your own goal, and find a system that works best for you! 

socmedchecklist

To help you do that, I've created a FREE checklist you can use to schedule your own social media! This easy format will remind you of all the steps, until pretty soon it'll be an automated process for you and it won't take much of your time at all to make sure you get the word out about your new posts + products. Enter your e-mail below and you'll get it right away!

How to use Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest in your creative business

How to use Facebook Instagram and Pinterest in your Creative Biz

 

 

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I get asked about this all the time, so it's time I answer your questions about how to use Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest in your creative business. You'll learn about the pros and cons of each and how each one can help you reach your specific business goal.

In this episode:

  • The three things you need to before  you start using a tool.
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the platforms I get asked about most,
  • The most effective ways to use these tools

Couldn't scribble notes fast enough? Get a transcript of this podcast episode when you sign up here

Links mentioned:

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!).

 

Social Media for Makers: a Primer

Social Media for Makers: a primer


I resist writing about using social media, because I find that many (most?) new business crafters get totally distracted trying to get it “right”. So before I go any further, let me totally clear: It is MUCH more important for you to make your product and make it available for sale, with clear compelling descriptions and photographs. 

Get really good at doing that, consistently, before you worry about other tools. Seriously.

That said, I get asked about Instagram, Pinterest or (to a lesser degree) Twitter in every Flight Plan Session, by established business owners. Over the last year, I've written up answers to the most-asked questions, so today I'm going to collect it all in one place.

 

1. Know why.

If you're going to use social media for “business” purposes (and  not just chatting with your internet friends), make sure it aligns with your overall goals and your you-filled brand. I go into detail on how to do this in my book, along with how to experiment with different tools to find one that works for you.

 

2. Make it a part of your Customer Path.

“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.”

Read about creating this path here.

 

3. Instagram for Winning Friends and Influencing Buyers.

The magic of Instagram is that it feels personal. It allows you a peek into my world, through my eyes. Instead of approximating the beauty (or quirkiness) of what I’m looking at with words, I can quickly show you.”

Today I've got a post on how to use Instagram in your business, over at Sarah Von Bargen's site.
You can read the whole thing here.

 

4. Do something with all your Pinterest followers.

In reply to a question I received, I put together four ideas (via video!) on using your Pinterest account. You can watch it here.

 

Remember: You might not need social media.

“Social media is not the solution to your business problem.

It is not going to quickly improve anything (in fact, it’s going to take time to build an audience, time that might be better spent on building a community of buyers.)”

You can read the rest of this post here. 

 

Got a social media question? Ask it in the comments and I'll answer!