Paint On Canvas…
What image does ‘art’ conger up in your mind? If you’ve ever been to the National Art Gallery you’ll have seen a great many paintings from small to extremely large. However, if you’ve ever been to Tate Modern you’ll have seen something completely different. Art really isn’t just about paint on canvas, it’s much more than that. Of course, we can debate good and bad art until the cows come home but what it all boils down to is ‘do I like it’?
Who’s The Artist?
I can tell you straight away that it isn’t me! If I try to draw stick men I can guarantee they won’t look right. Thankfully we all have our own talents (art isn’t mine) so we can all be grateful for something. I may not be able to produce anything that even resembles art but I do know what I like and I am a collector of art in its many forms. I will buy anything from paintings on canvas through to photos, jewellery, carvings, sculptures, needlework…. You get the picture (no pun intended), I like art! Not just any art of course, it has to be something that I like. That may sound obvious but we all like different things. Surely, that variety is what makes the hunt for a good piece of art so exciting? Who is the artist then? Well, I believe that it is the photographer, the jewellery maker, the crafter, the potter… It’s not just about the paint on canvas but without the paint on canvas the art world would’t be complete!
How Do You Find Your Art?
There are many places to find art and in Lincolnshire we are blessed with some fantastic galleries and shops. Social media provides a good platform for art shopping too of course. I’ve found some fantastic pieces of art and, because it’s on social media I’ve also been able to chat to the artist too. Not every conversation ends in a sale but that doesn’t matter. The conversations help to build a following, the followers have friends, the friends have friends and family… If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, someone somewhere is going to like what the artist is doing and that can lead to sales and commissions.
Are You An Artist And Would You Like To Get Involved?
If you’re a Twitter user you’ll be familiar with the various ‘hashtag hours’ which involves everyone on the planet interacting about one subject in a frenzy of tweets and conversations. Choose a subject and there will probably be a dedicated hour to it! They are fantastic platforms for networking and getting messages seen but they can be very hectic and difficult to follow. By the time you have seen a post, reacted to it and asked a question you could have missed 30 or 40 other posts.
I want to change that ‘frenzy’ if I can. My plan is to have a dedicated hour using the #LincsConnect hashtag on Twitter with Lincolnshire artists of all genres posting their pictures, messages, links and special offers. The beauty of the hashtag is that anyone can search it at any time so if the #LincsConnect #ArtAndCraft hour is on Monday from 12.00pm – 1.00pm you can still search through it on Wednesday or Sunday of the same week, a different week or even a different month. Once the tweet is there, it stays there until the author takes it down. My challenge after that is to be able to transfer the idea onto Facebook so that those artists/crafters who don’t use Twitter can still make use of the idea.
If you’re interested please do get in touch by email so that I can get everything coordinated. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets set a start date:
Monday 7 September from 12.00pm – 1.00pm
How Will It Work?
Here’s the deal:
It will rely on the artists and crafters to post their messages, links, pictures and special offers which MUST include the hashtag #LincsConnect
The hashtag #LincsConnect will automatically post your message to the file for everyone to see. However, assume no one will be looking for you on the hashtag until YOU tell them to have a look!
Post your messages with the hashtag and tag in your friends. Ask them to help spread the message by telling their friends. This cascade of conversation can quickly get the hashtag seen and used locally which will mean your posts will be seen by more and more people.
Don’t worry that you aren’t available during the #ArtsAndCrafts hour because you can schedule your messages in advance to make sure that they hit the hashtag at the right time.
Here’s the crucial bit: You ‘must’ search the hashtag during the week to look at the posts and do your free networking. Be prepared to get into conversations, say something positive, share other peoples posts… The more you share for others, the more likely they are to share for you.
What’s In It For You?
The posts will be on twitter but I will also do a weekly arts blog. I’ll search the hashtag to see who has been interacting with others and as a ‘thank you’ I’ll highlight the posts in the blog. I’ll also include links to your websites and social media pages.
What’s In It For Me?
I’ll create paid advertising slots, paid blog links and paid features. The whole process will be time consuming for me so I will need to have some form of recompense for my work. Will it make me a fortune? No! Will it pay my bills? Probably not! I always enjoy helping others though and if I can manage to produce a small income from my efforts, all the better.
Click on the picture to go straight to Daves Facebook page or click on this link @DaveSpherical to find him on Twitter
Dave recently joined me on Twitter and ‘Oh Boy’! he has some stunning pictures for sale. In this day and age where photos are easy to take with our digital mobile phones and editing platforms it’s such a joy to see some truly stunning pictures of nature at its best. This is just one picture of many that Dave has taken and is offering for sale so if you like what you see you should definitely get in touch.
Mel is widely known around the County and beyond and when you see her artwork you’ll understand why. Click on the picture to go straight to her website or click on this link @MelLangtonArt to follow her on Twitter
Mel creates some truly remarkable artwork including bespoke commissions like the one you can see above. I’ve been quietly following Mel on Twitter and can honestly say that her artwork really needs to be seen (and purchased of course).
Click on the picture to go to Ellies Etsy shop or click on this link @ElliesTreasures to follow her on Twitter
Arts and crafts go hand in hand and I’m sure you’ll agree that this hand made key ring really is delightful. You’ll find much more on Ellies Etsy shop page so why not pop over (click on the picture above) to discover more. I certainly don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Click on this picture to go straight to the Etsy Shop page of Twibell Arts or click on this link @TwibellArts to follow Serena on Twitter. I’ve been following Serena for several years and am always amazed at her talent and versatility. Not only did she paint the picture of this gorgeous cat (commissions welcome) but she also made the decorations in the picture too.
Manipulating an image (in this case ‘two’ images) to make an interesting piece of art is really special. This image of Lincoln High Street was taken by John and blended with an old image to create a piece of art that goes beyond the normal photograph. Click on this picture to go to Johns website or click on this link @jpbphoography to follow him on twitter.
If you would like to place an advert on the Lincs Connect blogs please do get in touch. Bloggers can also have links to their blogs here too. Get in touch today if you would like to feature here by contacting me at email@example.com
Mandarin Therapies and Mandarin Mothers provide bespoke mobile complementary therapies (Covid-19 safe) including Aromatherapy massage, Antenatal, postnatal massage and injury rehabilitation. Click on the picture to go to the website or click on the links above to go to the social media pages
PCC Marc Jones is looking for young people to join the Lincolnshire Commission. It’s an opportunity for young people to help the police better understand their concerns and thoughts.
Click on the picture above to go to the website
See You Soon
That’s it for now but there will be lots more happening here so please keep the link handy and log in for a quick catchup when you get the chance.
The rules have’t changed – keep washing our hands as it’s the best way to help control Covid-19
Hashtags – Do They Work?
The simple answer here is ‘yes’ and ‘no’! How many times have you seen posts on social media with the hashtag #ShopLocal on it? As crazy as it may sound, the hashtag really isn’t much use if you’re using it to help people find you. It’s fine as a statement of fact on your post but when you search for it you’ll find that the posts are anything but local. In fact, the posts you’ll find there are for all around the world so if you’re expecting people to find your cheese that you produced in Sleaford I strongly suggest you think again! When I set up Lincs Connect in 2012 I experimented with several hashtags and names before settling on #LincsConnect. Other examples of my trial hashtags included #ShopLocal (ironically I created this hashtag in January 2011 for use on my @MANDARINLEISURE account but scrapped it because it went global) #SupportLincolnshire #SupportLincolnshireBusiness #SupportLocal #SupportLocalBusiness with the latter being shortened to #SLBiz. However, my early research made me realise that the ‘Support…’ hashtags were just too long and people refused to use them because of the amount of space they took up on the posts. Another reason for scrapping them was because they start with the word ‘Support’. When searching social media for relevant hashtags to do with Lincolnshire you’ll find that typing the letters ‘Linc’ into the search bar will give you LincsConnect on twitter and Lincs Connect on Facebook in the top three names to visit. Compare that to typing in ‘Support’ which will give you all sorts of connotations from TwitterSupport to a whole host of other national and international business support sites. It makes sense then that the hashtag to use on your tweets needs to be #LincsConnect as it is at the top of your searches and is truly local to Lincolnshire.
How To Use A Hashtag
If you’re happily adding hashtags to your post but never searching them you’ve truly missed s trick! Here’s what to do: Type in #LincsConnect in your search bar then press enter. Don’t click on the account @LincsConnect as that’ll take you to the account only which means you’ll miss all the good information. Once your device takes you to the messages on the #LincsConnect timeline you need to look for the ‘Latest’ tab at the top of the Twitter page. If you type #LincsConnect into the search bar on Facebook you’ll need to look for the ‘Posts’ tab at the top of the page (this’ll also show you related Instagram posts). Once you’ve discovered these pages you’ll realise that there is a huge amount of information, business posts, personal posts, charity posts and requests for help etc etc that are all related to our local area. Try it now to see what you can find. It’s a fantastic way to network and find out what’s going on locally.
How do you support local? Is it as easy as going to the local shops and picking something from the shelves? In case you hadn’t considered it before, let me share some of my ideas about shopping and supporting locals:
- Shop locally – supporting local traders by buying their produce in local shops, garden centres, farm shops and markets
- Online – Many local traders have online shops. A more cost effective way of selling may be via platforms like Etsy shops or even selling directly via social media
- Don’t forget the local charity shops. Dropping off your unwanted items is absolutely crucial but don’t forget they are there to help raise funds for the many worthy causes that otherwise would’t survive without our support. Buying from the shops is absolutely essential if the charities are to survive.
- Social media – In the 10 years that I’ve been running #LincsConnect I’ve noticed some big changes in how people use the various platforms. I’ve noticed a big rise in the professionally run accounts (some companies run several accounts for different clients) and I’ve also noticed the reluctance of many accounts to share anyone else messages or support others. I’ll talk more about these two subjects later.
Obviously there are many other ways to support local businesses, charities and organisation but I’ll focus on my main observations first if that’s OK?
This concept certainly isn’t new. However, during the Covid19 pandemic it has become much more important and (thankfully) much more prolific. We know how important our local CoOp, Post office, newsagent and Spar shops are. Many of them are in walking distance (for those who are able) and stock locally produced products. Perhaps, with the use of ‘people power’ they might be able to stock more local local produce to help the local economy even further. A polite request from customers or local traders may be all it takes. It’s worth a try! In addition to helping to support local traders (including the shop owners and staff) it must have also come to your attention that during the lockdown there have been less emissions, less fossil fuel burned and less litter. All of these positives are good for the planet so let’s see if we can maintain our recent good practices.
This isn’t something that I have ever considered for my own businesses before Covid19 but it is something that I have been doing during the lockdown. FaceTime and WhatsApp video calling has been a fantastic way to maintain contact with my clients while reducing my fuel usage in my truck. It’s definitely a practice that I intend to maintain. During the lockdown I’ve been busy writing blogs and searching for companies who sell online. Some are using Etsy, some use Facebook and others use Twitter. I’m sure there are other platforms that are equally as good or even better but I haven’t come across them yet. The obvious choice and probably the most popular is direct selling from websites. Many people have their own eCommerce shop on their website which is easily maintained by the trader and convenient for the customer. If, like me, you are a bit of a technophobe you’ll be able to find website designers who will be able to build a site for you or help you with your existing site. If you would like to get in touch with any designers please feel free to ask me for some suggestions. After all, that is what Lincs ‘Connect’ is for!
I often include charities in my blogs because I feel they need all the help they can get. I’ve focused on very small charities through to the very big charities and the one thing that they all have in common is their use of social media. The posts may not raise funds directly but their constant presence certainly helps to raise your awareness of them
Share The Love
Looking at the various accounts on social media I often make up my mind whether I should support them or not simply by looking at their posts. The ones who never share anyone else posts, have conversations or try in any way to support anyone else is a big red flag for me. I find myself asking the question ‘why should I support them when they don’t support others and are very unlikely to support me?’ I’m a big believer in helping others so when I find someone who shows no interest other than to post their own tweets I tend to move on to find someone who is more sociable and supportive.
Buying And Selling
I’ve noticed Fiona @OrigArtPrints on Twitter while searching the #LincsConnect hashtag and really like what she has been painting on old maps. Her main sales come from Craft Shows but obviously they haven’t been open over the last few months so, being creative she turned her attention to Facebook and Twitter for her sales. Facebook has been successful but Twitter less so. However, her Twitter account is a good platform for showcasing what she does and for directing people to her Facebook account. It is important to use more than one platform on social media if you want to increase your client base. It’ll be interesting to see if future sales turn more towards social media and less towards the craft fairs. Only time will tell. I think these paintings on old maps are fabulous. You have to admit, they do bring the map to life. Here is another example:
If you would like more information about Fionas art just click on the picture for a link to her Facebook page. I’m sure she will be happy to see you there and you’ll be Able to see selections of her cards and key rings too.
Websites, Social Media And YouTube
I’m no expert of course but it does appear to me that one of the best ways to find a website (given that you probably didn’t know the sites name or even that you wanted to make a purchase) is through social media. I’ll say that bit again just to clarify, “through ‘social’ media”. Why the emphasis on ‘social’? Well, I’ve noticed far too often that many people are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show off their products and gain new customers but quite often don’t realise that they need to talk to their followers to get continued engagement and (hopefully) new sales. Put it this way, if you don’t talk to me on social media I’m not likely to notice you. On the other hand, if you do talk to me but I don’t talk back you’ll soon stop talking to me. Either way, I would be the loser so that’s why it’s always best to be ‘social’ on social media! While being pre-occupied with social media I almost forgot about YouTube. Surely I can’t be the only person who searches YouTube on a very regular basis for music and information? I do think it’s a great platform for showing your products (you’ll have seen some of my YouTube videos if you’ve been reading my other blogs), courses and skills. While the social media could drive potential customers to your website the same driving force could apply to YouTube. I feature a local band of the week each day on twitter and invariably I find the bands on Twitter or Facebook first then either follow a link to their YouTube channel or take a few seconds to search for them in the YouTube search bar. This band (Saboteurs) from Sleaford have really got my attention this week. You can follow them on Twitter @sabsbanduk for regular music posts and updates about upcoming gigs when Covid19 restrictions allow. Alternatively you can go straight to their website www.saboteursband.co.uk for lots more info and a chance to purchase their new album.
The Saboteurs YouTube channel – just click on the picture to go straight there. It’s as easy as that and if you like good Indie music I think you’ll like this too
See You Soon…
I hope you like my brief blog about using social media for selling and finding new customers. Please feel free to leave a comment below and share the post with your friends and contacts. Hopefully I’ll see you when I search the #LincsConnect hashtag again soon.
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