images by jane cather
For the purpose of online selling I opened, set up and tried most all of the social media avenues. One goal was to use all of the free platforms that I could eliminating the need for expensive tools like photoshop. My daughter has become a total whiz at her online marketing and gave me much guidance and advice. Here are some of the things I have tried.
Website Weebly – They offer a free level of website which I think would be plenty big enough for me. The templates offer enough flexibility to give it your own look. I admit to being a serious template snob in the past. But they have come a great distance. Creating this site was easy and easy to change. If you know how to write even a little code you can put in even more custom features. The easy to change part is important as constant change is certainly part of the success in social media.
Wix is another site that offers a free website. I set up one here too to see what it was like and I still liked Weebly better for ease of allowing more options to create your own style.
You can easily sell your work from either of these sites and link the site to anything you already have.
Tumblr This for me is where you can create a wonderful portfolio of your work with large photos that clearly show all the small details. But tumblrs on any subject or area that might support your work are great. I would love to have several on many topics!
Twitter Since they now allow photos I really like how it looks and works. As my life is always layered in one fantasy or another I loved the idea of the last thing at night one would do is send out this little thought about how it all was going or what one had experienced that day – somewhat like a tiny diary entry.
Pinterest My favorite of all. This I do use constantly for inspiration, information and just the best of times as I love images. Initially I did so because my daughter said that almost all of the traffic to her etsy shop came from Pinterest and I saw that most all of the traffic that came to my blog came from Pinterest. I thought I would just make a few boards and quickly pin a bunch of stuff and be done……….well, no. I was totally incapable of pinning anything that I did not truly love and I obsessively would search for that ‘love’. But I so enjoyed the search! Pinterest fills me with the excitement of the incredible amount of beauty that is in the world and this energizes me everyday. It is very easy to set up and use and enjoy. They have a free business level and word is that you may soon be able to sell from Pinterest. Pinterest works at its best if you pin every day. I have sped this up by finding people to follow that have similar interests and so they are all together in the general feed to choose from each day. Then as I go about the internet in my regular travels I can pin a bit more from there.
Picmonkey This is a photo editing site. I have been using their free level on all the photos I put on my blog and my website. Very easy to use and I am satisfied with the results. I really enjoy the collage feature.
Mailchimp This has a free level for sending out your news letter. I have not used this yet, but my daughter always does and really likes it.
Facebook Well……when I don’t like how something looks graphically I find it hard to work with. This I can’t say I like at all. There seems to be no way I can work out to give it one’s own style. You can now sell from facebook and have your own business page. Facebook is a huge piece of the social network that can drive traffic to what you are selling, but I am not sure I could put a lot of energy there? I guess my template allergy is showing now. It is impossible for me to get excited about going there and because of that I had a hard time learning it. I can not seem to force myself to fill in blanks in someone else’s form………if their form feels really alien to me. Hopefully there will be a bit more freedom offered there sometime.
Instagram I do not have a smart phone so I don’t do this. But from my daughter I know that it now drives most of the traffic to her and you can send your photos at one time across most all of the platforms. So I would use it as I love taking photos and sending them out. Again it is free ( but the smart phone has costs) and Instagram looks simple to use. To have the smart phone seems very important in making it easier and extremely time saving to ‘send out in the now’ while it is happening to all your platforms quickly and often. This feature of interacting in the now with those that follow you is heavily stressed in all the current marketing articles. Leaving any platform there to just ‘represent you’ with info apparently is not really effective when trying to market digitally or as I think of it ‘ in the air’.
Blog This WordPress blog I use is the free version. I find it very easy to use and post with. The professional version offers many other features. Many people that have the professional level sell from their blog using big cartel or something similar and don’t have a website.
I can do a post on my blog and send it out to post on twitter and facebook which saves time putting out info on more than one avenue as each may have different viewers.
One of the best traffic drivers is putting out good free tutorials. They end up all over different platforms and then people find their way to you. Another is lots of great photos of what you are selling. These are important as there are so many people looking all the time for images to put up somewhere. And then when all of your platforms are linked together and you are ‘found’ you will be presenting your self in may ways on many levels.
At this time I am not actively using most of the above except for this blog and Pinterest. I just wanted to see what they were all like and how I might work with them. Right now the focus will be in the studio and gardening. After this long winter time spent with the earth will be so very welcome!
The Internet appears to be totally empowering in every way. When I was setting up each of these different things I always got stuck at some point and always found the answer on how to solve my problem somewhere on the internet. I am continually amazed and grateful to all of the millions and more people out there who take the time to make available to all so much great information and for free.
My daughter, Laura, is actually working her fingers to the bone!
A new variscite bracelet is finishing up here.
Lots of shows coming up for LjB jewelry. So very fun for me too.
check her links above
Long ago when my metal arts teacher, Carol Holaday, brought to school a basket filled with various shaped hollow forms I fell in love for life. I have made many since then usually trying to create a wide variety of shapes. When working with the ‘witch sticks’ the other day and looking for other shaped elements to combine with them I used two bezels I had made for some pebbles but had not set the stones. (Photo above left inverted bezels) As I studied them for their effect in size and form I noticed the fine subtleties of their shape and thought how I would have never created this shape just by hand and bending it with pliers. The shape had been dictated by the stone I had wrapped with the bezel wire. This gave me a new step in creating my hollow forms – choosing pebbles and stones that appealed to me for size and shape and using them to create the shape of my hollow forms. Photo on the right is a group of pebbles I collected that had nice lines and shapes and looked like a very harmonious family. It might be nice to put together a piece with the pebble set in the bezel and its hollow form counterpart with it. Mother nature is always ready with a helping hand.
They are gathering. I carry them around all day. To me they have become “witch’s sticks” and can be heard to whisper divinations. It feels like home to look at them. They are good friends already. And that is really the journey for me when I begin is to find ‘my friends’ and to put back together the ancient female circle again and again.
Four have one coat of Thompson’s lichen. The lightest one has a single coat of Thompson’s Isle Blue. In one coat I do not see blue but I like the paleness.
Now to continue to look for more friends as this world builds and expands.
When starting new work I like to have lots of different shape elements to combine and recombine when I am making the piece. Here is one I started to work out today. Right now I consider this a ‘bead’ to string. It was a rectangular piece of 24 gauge copper.The edges were ground smooth. I did not anneal it. I pounded dents and holes in it with a nail punch and then hammered it into a fold leaving enough room for my stringing chain to pass through easily. The size after hammering in the fold is 2 3/8 ” long x 3/8″ wide. The channel for the chain is a bit irregular so I am thinking the bead will lie on the chain at somewhat of an angle and am hoping this will look okay. Next I enameled the piece. For me, as always, I must see the ancient female circle of witches in my pieces and their constructs. And this piece seems to have burned through from there.
” the circle as path and portal” figural mixed media by jane cather