Connect With Your Customers on Social Media

 

Connect With Your Customers on Social Media

 

Lesson Info

Craft Dynamic Lifestyle Promotional Content

Now that we've talked a little bit about how to create engagement-worthy content, we're gonna talk a little bit about something that's tangentially related to that, which is creating dynamic lifestyle content. A lot of you guys are running creative businesses where you're actually making a physical product or an end piece of artwork that you're offering for sale, and I wanna help you guys share a general sense of the lifestyle of your brand, and that goes beyond just the products. We're gonna be talking about showing off your approach to life, the sort of things that have to do with your product or your service or what you have to offer as a creative person, but it's not just the white background product shot. These are beautiful, we use white background product shots in so many of our online shops. This is a really standard way to share our products and get things out into the world, but for our lifestyle content, we wanna move a little bit beyond this, even if our products themselves...

or our finished artworks or whatever it is that we're putting out for sale are really beautiful, we wanna go a step beyond that to really inspire our fans and followers to imagine it connecting to their lives and get them a little bit more invested. Another case study I'm gonna bring up on this topic of lifestyle content is PF Candle Company. This is an L.A. brand of soy-based candles that are really gorgeous. I think they're actually a really great case study because candles are a uniquely difficult thing to sell on the Internet, right, because we're missing the one element that's probably most important: the scent. How are we gonna be able to choose something that we wanna buy when we don't have them in front of us to smell or to really get a sense if they're gonna fit into the things that we wanna have in our home? But PF Candle Company does a great job. We can actually start by just looking at their top six. They're doing a great job with this visual vocabulary. They have a really consistent way that they're sharing their work, they have a signature look to their products. It's got that nice brown glass that every single candle is in. The labels are all really consistent, and the way that they're sharing their work is this natural vibe. There's plant elements, it feels very fresh and very natural, and I think they do a good job with that visual consistency, that even if you're not necessarily interested in their candles, you might think, these are beautiful, I'm gonna click follow. Beyond that, they're doing a really great job with empowering their customers to share images of their candles in use. We're missing out on the scent, but we can see how people are enjoying these things in their day-to-day life, and oh my gosh, doesn't this look relaxing? I think this is the idea, is we want to go beyond just the physical attributes of our product, because we can share through that white background photo what the product looks like, we can detail all of the different attributes, but we wanna go beyond that and inspire people with, what impact is this gonna make on their lives, how will their lives be enriched by engaging with our work or engaging with our products? I think that they're doing a really great job with this. I think that you get a lot of the mood across in these photos, and you can imagine what it would be like to have that in your home, and wouldn't that help you feel relaxed, or enjoy just some quiet time in your home? They're doing this in a little bit of a different way. They take lifestyle photos themselves, but they also empower their audience to be sharing that lifestyle content as well, and thus freeing up their time to focus on creating new products, creating their own lifestyle imagery, and being able to get a little bit of a bigger impact by bringing in their fans, bringing in their customers, and saying, show us how you're using it, show us how you're using the product, show us how it's impacting your lives, use our special brand hashtag. Their hashtag is the good light, it's #thegoodlight, and anything their customers are sharing, they're able to then regram, share it on their websites, share it on Pinterest, use that visual content to help reinforce those ideas about what their brand is about. This idea of using a branded hashtag can be really helpful. I know we've talked a lot about how overwhelming it is to feel like, oh I've got so much to do already, how am I gonna make time to create all of this visual imagery? We can empower our customers or our fans to go ahead and do this for us. They're excited about what you make. They've made a purchase and guys create such quality work, of course they're excited to share how it's impacting their lives and making them happy by getting to enjoy these products. We can empower them by creating a special hashtag for our brand that they can then be empowered to share images that you could then use in your business. And of course we want to make sure that we get approval. We can go in after someone has shared a photo like this and say, hey, this is gorgeous, do you mind if I regram this on my feed? It's nice to ask permission because that way, you don't have to worry about making anyone upset that you're appropriating their work. I feel like when in doubt, go ahead and ask permission first, but generally when people are sharing this, when my customers use the @, they tag me at cotton flax, or they use the @cottonandflax hashtag, it's because they want me to see that work. They want me to share that so that hopefully they get a little boost, they get some new fans or followers, and they get to share with me their experience of the product, of the work. The other thing that's considered is, this is also from the PF Candle Company hashtag. They're going beyond just sharing images of their products within this hashtag, they take the good light to mean lots of different things. This is the type of lifestyle content that I want you guys to start thinking about. What are things that you could highlight visually in your feeds that aren't just your products, but get that same vibe across, they get that same approach to life, the things that are part of your brand values across. This has these beautiful light streaming in that feels very Californian, they're located in L.A., so I think you can tell this is a very California vibe that we're getting across, and I think that they're doing a very great job in peppering in this content that isn't just a photo of a candle in use, and it isn't just a photo of them in their factory making every product, it's a little bit more of what they're hoping to get across to you, what kind of lifestyle you can lead when you purchase their products and enjoy their works that they've made for you. Lifestyle content is all about sharing the value of your products, and we know that your products have value. All creative work has value. It might not be valuable to everyone in the same way, but whether you're creating a painting or a physical product that maybe someone will use in their home or their daily live, these products do have value for the folks that are buying them, and we wanna give them an opportunity to share the value, as well as illustrate for potential future customers or current customers what that full range of value could be. We want to share images of our products in use to help people imagine what it would be like to own that for themselves. Help them imagine, if I buy that painting, what is it going to look like over my couch? Where would I display it in my home? If I buy this handprinted pillow from Cotton and Flax, how is that going to work with my decor? How is that gonna fit into my life? Help them imagine having this product or having this finished piece in their homes, the experience of having it made it theirs, and give them a sense of what that will feel like beyond just this is the thing that you're gonna receive. It goes a little bit beyond that. Lifestyle content is actually a great way to share positive reviews or testimonials for your work as well. At the end of the course, we're gonna talk a little bit about some of the tips and tools and apps we can use to edit a photo to add text, or to create interesting visual imagery beyond just a photographic image. We'll get an opportunity there to talk about how to integrate these little short bursts of text that might help to get a testimonial across. This is also something you could do in your captions, share, a customer just shared this photo with me. They're obviously enjoying their pillow, look how beautiful it looks in their homes, and to integrate some of those positive reviews that you're receiving from your customers through your visuals. Like we've been talking about, we want to keep growing our following through sharing all of these different visual concepts. We're gonna be providing value through all three different types of content. They provide value in different ways. The behind-the-scene photos can help to share the value of getting a glimpse into the life of a creative person, knowing more about what makes you unique, and learning a little about your process, which is something that most people probably haven't encountered in their day-to-day lives, or providing value through these engagable posts, kinda getting people invested in what we're doing, getting them to talk about what's interesting to them or how this relates to their lives, having that open dialogue. And we're providing value through the lifestyle photography by basically getting them to imagine what their lives are gonna be like with this stuff in their home, in their life, on their wall, wherever it is that they're going to engage with what is is that you've made. Provide them that value of inspiring them and getting them excited about your particular point of view. We're also going to continue to grow our following by posting often enough that people are going to continue that conversation long term. We're sharing our unique style over and over and over again, reinforcing for people who we are, what we're about, and making sure that we're having that consistent perspective come across on a regular basis. In the next section, we're gonna talk more about how to put this into practice. Now that we have ideas of areas of our business that we can mine for creative visual content, we're gonna talk about how to put this into action and how we're gonna start to pull this stuff out of our lives and put it into our feeds and get really engaged with our customers. Erin, we have a few more tag board images that we wanna go over. Great, let's take them and put them down. Thank you so much for continuing to submit those. Yeah, thank you guys. First one, NuSpirit Designs says, I love sharing behind the scenes process but I get nervous about revealing how messy my studio is. That's great, that's so cool, I love this. Is he making a ring? Oh my gosh, yeah. I'm not sure what they're making there, but I love seeing the messier aspects of the process, and that's authenticity that's coming through. You don't have to worry about making everything perfect or making it look like this just came into being organically, it just appeared on the worktable. We know that there is effort that you're putting in there, and so sharing a little bit of that mess, a little bit of the reality of your studio, helps to reinforce that authenticity and share the reality of what it is to make creative work. I think that's fantastic. And then let's take another look at one from Hannah Grace Photo, where she says, trying to figure out what my visual vocabulary is. Ah, gorgeous! It seems like there's a lot of femininity going on here, this is amazing. I take it that she is a portrait photographer, we've got commercial and fashion photography here, and I think that her visual vocabulary is gonna be all about people. If you're taking a lot of photos of people, actors, whoever it is that you're taking photos of, I think that that visual vocabulary is gonna come through in the way that you're letting them shine, in the way that you're highlighting their particular attributes that they wanna be known for, and it's just gonna be your consistency and the quality of your work. That could have to do with your visual vocabulary as well. These are gorgeous. excellent. They are beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing, everyone. Then let's take a look at one from Soul Satisfaction. Here's a look behind the scenes at a watercolor lettering piece. (gasps) Oh my gosh. I love the video. This is amazing, yeah. And we're gonna talk a little bit more about integrating video content into our content creation process, but this is amazing, and I think that this is so rich, too, because we're seeing a product, maybe she'll have this for sale, maybe not, but we're seeing something come to life. We're going from that blank page to potentially a finished product at the end of, maybe she'll share a final, this is kind of how this ended up, but being able to see it come to life just reinforces how personal this process is and makes it really special for the viewers. Thanks so much for sharing this. And then we've got a few more questions, Erin, that I want to pass along from some of our online students. Okay, great. One coming from Mackenna Zubay, who says, I wanna start a style on a budget blog, but I also make affordable jewelry, accessories, and art. Is there any way to promote both of these ways, both of these on one Instagram account? Oh, absolutely, and I think it makes sense to promote them in the same way, especially if your jewelry is going to be affordable, and you're creating something to essentially get those values across. If your core value is style on a budget, you can be sharing inspirational images of how to get that style, as well as pepper in those product photos that are gonna say, and if you like this style, I've made something just for you, and look how affordable it is. That all sort of fits together. Don't be afraid of having all of that messaging in together. I think that makes total sense. Great, and then Erin, let's tackle another one. This one is from Smurphy, who says, if you're starting a business and not on social media at all, how do you get your first followers? And they put in parentheses, besides family, friends, present customers, and their friends. How do we get people to find us who have never heard of us before? Right, right. The first thing I want to say about that is don't discount those friends, family, and current followers because if you imagine, I think a lot of people who I work with on consulting projects for social media, they get really stressed, they're like, oh I only have 10 followers, I only have 20 followers, this is so embarrassing, I don't know what to do about this. That's not a problem, if you had 20 people in a room who were there, excited about what you had to say, my god, that's incredible. You have to start somewhere, and I think that having that first step of reaching out to people who you already know, that's the first step of getting there. And the way that you attract in new people is by creating this beautiful work on a regular basis, showing up, continuing to post on the things that make you really unique, and through other people sharing your work, or putting it up on your blog or website and making sure that people know that you're engaged there, that following is going to come organically, but it's all about just showing up and sharing the process. Great, and then I've got a clarification question from Hannah Gray, so I appreciate she's been sending in a lot of questions for us today. Thanks, Hannah. When sharing the process, should it look the same as the other photos? I think you can try, I think that the core idea there is to have that visual consistency as much as possible, but if you're worried about nitty-gritty things like, oh my desk is really dark black and my core values are more light, more airy, maybe think of a way to work around that. Maybe buy a piece of foam core that you can photograph your sketchbook as well as some of the materials and progress. Find some workarounds if you're really struggling with how to create visual consistency and these behind-the-scenes photos. You know, when I shared Caico's photo of her studio before, I think maybe that could trigger some, oh my studio doesn't look that clean, ugh. That's okay, you don't have to share the whole view of your studio, your whole setup, you can just share a sliver or whatever it is that you're comfortable with that fits within that visual voice. That's a perfect place to start.

Class Description


The prospect of having to find time to maintain your social media accounts and continuously create content can be overwhelming for some creative entrepreneurs. Deciding what to post and how to engage your audience can paralyze you before you even begin. Connecting with Your Customers on Social Media with Erin Dollar will give you all the tools needed to create an authentic social media presence so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to open your business to a new base of customers.

Incorporating social media into your business doesn’t have to be an all-consuming experience. Join Erin Dollar for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to create a visual story on Instagram and Pinterest
  • Content creation strategies that use your design process
  • Ideas for memorable promotional posts that build your brand online
  • Proven techniques for enhancing your Pinterest boards and Instagram posts

Follow Erin behind the scenes of her own business Cotton and Flax, where you’ll learn actionable tips and tricks that allow you to stay engaged on multiple social channels, without losing time to run the rest of your business. Take it from her: learning to use social media in an engaging and effective way is a must-have skill for any budding entrepreneur - and it can actually be fun!

Take the first step in gaining long-time and repeat customers and catapult your business with to the next level with stand-out social media.