How to look good on a Zoom call! Five tricks to impress your audience.

Until recently, we were happily working from home in our pyjamas or yoga pants, but video calling has become a daily routine. Zoom calls, Google meet, Facetime and Whatsapp calls. They have become indispensable since 2020. And although we were all complaining about it at first, planning a meeting online is so much more efficient than in person. Remember the days when everyone had to grab their agenda first and nobody could agree on a date, or half the team was “stuck in traffic” and showed up late?

Scheduling online meetings is easy, but what should we wear?

But although it no longer matters where you are, you will still have to look as if you are in the same room. During an appointment with a client or customer, you wouldn’t normally show up in your bathrobe. By the way, did you know plastic surgery was booming last year, because of the rise in video meetings? I know, crazy! Now I am not suggesting we should all run to the nearest botox clinic, but we can start making an effort and have some fun with it. And there are some simple tricks to make you look great online. So how do you look good on a Zoom call?

What should you wear? And how do you look good on screen? How do you set up that laptop? And what do you do with the background?

Here are five tricks you can start applying to smash your next video call.

how to look good in zoom meeting

1. Zoom has a filter… for when you haven’t had your coffee yet

Zoom has a secret button to hide the bags under your eyes. Say what? Yep. When you are in a Zoom call, you can click on Video Settings in the bottom left corner. Then you click on Touch Up My Appearance and suddenly your skin looks smooth as a baby’s bum. Nobody needs to know that you were up all night binge-watching the new Netflix series. Or that you were just too lazy to put on make-up.

2. Get all pro with good lighting

We’ve all been there. Looking at our mobile or laptop from above. Not so flattering, that double chin. How do you fix that? Place your computer higher than eye level, for example by placing your laptop on a stack of books. It makes a difference! Also place a lamp next to your laptop; just a little further back. Choose your “best” side of your face and place the lamp on that side. The light highlights your face so beautifully.

what to wear in video call
Photo by Yan on Pexels.com

3. The trick with the white sheet of A4

With the lamp switched on, now take a white plain sheet of A4 and place it on the table you are working on, in front of you. The light is reflected and gives you a healthy appearance. Try it!

4. Put on your best clothes!

Oh my goodness, how long has it been since were last getting all dressed up to go out? Forget about the ‘working-from-home-comfy’ style you’ve been rocking since March 2020, it’s time to bring out your best pieces, and wear them in your Zoom calls! Only the top half of your body is in the frame, so you could still wear those comfy trousers underneath. But there is no reason why you couldn’t go bold and bright on the top half. Choose nice blouses, colourful jackets, a funky top and don’t forget that statement jewellery you’ve been hiding away in the drawer. Going out on the town may not be an option at the moment, but you can still dress-to-impress on screen.

what to wear in a zoom call
Photo by William Mattey on Pexels.com

Pick a nice background and clean up your mess

Last but not least: make sure your room looks presentable. OK, you may be at home, but no one wants to see a spilled laundry basket or dirty socks in the background. Also check the details. Inappropriate photos? An unmade bed? Dirty coffee mugs on the shelf? Clean it up. Select a permanent place for your video sessions and make it look good. A plant, a bookshelf and a nice framed poster work wonders. Natural light is good as well, rather than a dark space, or sunlight shining straight at you.

Have fun Zooming!

Coaching for creative professionals, how does it work?

Giving creatives the marketing and self-promotion skills they need

Coaching for creative professionals, how does this work? You may be a self-taught artist or creative entrepreneur, or perhaps you graduated from art school in the past. But you would describe yourself as a creative professional, that’s what you do, that’s what you love. The issue is, with many of you, that during your professional training, the marketing part is often forgotten, or at least not given enough attention. This is why I decided to offer help as a creative business coach, to fill that gap.

If you’ve been through art school, you’ll probably admit that the focus lies particularly on developing your own, new ideas, and producing the highest quality work. You go through the course, and finish with a fabulous graduation show where all eyes are on you. Feeling like a celebrity and ready to take on the art world. You are now a professional artist with a degree to prove it!

So you end on a high, only to feel lost and deflated after all the initial attention dies down. The fact that most of you will not win the Turner Prize, and somehow need to earn a living, suddenly punches you in the face.

Moving into successful creative entrepreneurship

I know, this may all sound a bit harsh, and I am aware that this is not the reality for all art school students, but I have come across enough in my career to know that it is not a total myth. And the fact that you are reading this post, probably means that it resonates somehow. But how do you move into successful creative entrepreneurship that earns you a good income?

Get the marketing support for creatives by someone who knows the arts

Perhaps at some point you searched online for marketing courses to up your skills. Not because you wanted to, really. Ugh, you’d rather not. I can imagine you probably felt even more confused by all the results Google came up with. There are plenty of marketing courses and business coaches out there, for sure.

But how many of them can emphasise with someone like you? An artist or creative entrepreneur who has little to no affinity with the corporate world, and would rather hide away in their studio?

These standard marketing courses quickly bore you to tears. Right?

I get you! I have always been a bit of a rebel myself, and the thought of working in a commercial outfit never appealed to me whatsoever. As an art marketing manager, I worked in the not-for-profit sector for most all of my adult life. Surrounded by creative brains. But you know what? The basics of running a business are the same.

You have a product, you need to attract an audience, you need to earn money. And there are ways to achieve this, which I can teach you. Wouldn’t it be nice to work with a business coach who understands what it is to run a creative business? As a creative professional myself I worked with hundreds of artists in my career. Motivating and inspiring them is what I love doing most.

Coaching for creative professionals: this is how we can work together

So how can we work together to help your creative business? As a coach and marketing expert for artists and creatives I work with clients all over the world, teaching them about the missing links to make their business succeed. We connect, I listen, we agree on what you need, and we schedule the calls via Zoom, at suitable times. You also get access to many of my resources during our collaboration, such as worksheets, check lists and e-books. Nothing too exhausting, I promise. No jargon. Pure, practical help.

We can enter a 1-to-1 coaching programme for creative professionals, of six weeks or longer, where we look at your needs and together create a solid marketing plan. We will define your niche and marketing message, and help you to attract more clients who are willing to pay your prices. The transformation I offer will be huge, making you feel empowered about marketing and ready to grow your business.

If you just need that person to brainstorm with for an hour, to fire you up with fresh ideas, you can also just book a single ‘power hour‘, where you can ask me questions about anything you struggle with in your business, We will aim to find some quick wins and possible long-term solutions. I am usually full of art marketing ideas and love to see clients get those light bulb moments!

art marketing

Helping talented professionals find their clients

In my free community on Facebook there are many creative entrepreneurs just like you, who are in the same boat. I share daily tips in there, while the members themselves also help each other find answers to specific issues. They are all talented, ambitious people, who offer beautiful products and services, but find it hard to attract a steady stream of customers. They want to get a grip on social media, writing emails and promoting themselves, rather than the hit-and-miss way they do it right now. They need some sort of strategy and guidance, like you.

I teach professionals like yourself the skills to make marketing less of a chore and a natural part of your business. Through coaching programmes, but also masterclasses on specific topics. On blogging, for example, or copywriting and social media, but especially on helping you to see the wood from the trees. So you feel more in control, and promote your business in a targeted way, rather than shooting random messages into the world and hoping for the best.

If you feel like connecting with me, don’t hesitate to send me a message. If you would like a free social media planner, please leave your email with me and I will send it to you.

Authentic marketing, what does it mean?

It’s a bit of a buzz word, nowadays, isn’t it? Authentic marketing. But what does it actually mean? What is the definition of authentic marketing? And how does it apply to your own creative little business? In this blog post I will tell you a bit more about what this type of marketing means and how you can implement some aspects in the way you promote yourself online.

Authentic marketing versus old-style marketing

So, what is it all about, and how is authentic marketing different from the kind of marketing we’re used to? Until not so long ago, marketing was something that mainly belonged in the corporate world. You know, companies with a ‘marketing department’, and an advertising budget, looking at the best ways and places to present products, so you would buy them. Marketing meant boasting about a product or business, making it look all shiny, shouting about how good it is and why you should not miss out on buying.

Those days are over.

Marketing trends show us that, undoubtedly because of the influence of social media, that customers don’t simply trust a brand any more by seeing a flashy advertisement. People are doing a lot more background checks before parting with their money. They read reviews, listen to what their friends recommend, and may follow your business on social media for a while before deciding to buy from you. They want to get to know you.

marketing tips for artists

Honest, transparent and personable

What does this mean in terms of your marketing message? First, you need to be honest. Authentic marketing means being transparent. If you are a bad lier, then you’re likely pretty authentic already in what you put out, but if you have been bigging up your business online big time, you’d better stop. You’ll get found out at some point, either through reviews or because people simply don’t find your business very relatable.

Don’t make your product look or sound better than it really is. Be honest and transparent. It goes a long way.


What does this authentic marketing look like?

1. Share your story

Show the human face behind your business. Tap into the emotions of your clients, by sharing your passion, your big ‘why‘ behind the business. People want to buy from a real person, not from a faceless shopfront. So show your passion in pictures of your work space, show yourself making stuff, show your messy desk. Keep it real. People love seeing the story behind the product that they buy, and they love buying from a real person with a passion.

2. Go Live and share your life

If you feel confident enough, go Live on Instagram or Facebook and talk about your business. Tell people about your week, share some insights, maybe even give a mini masterclass about something you know and your clients would love to learn. Going Live is scary (I know!), but the more you do it, the easier it gets, and it is a great way of letting your personality shine through.

If video is not your thing (yet), start with photos. Share an honest selfie of you at work or out and about, and write something that adds value to your business. A bit of background info, a fun fact about you, a useful tip. You can also have some good photos and headshots taken by a professional photographer, which you can start dotting around your website and social media accounts. Do what feels natural to you. Don’t compare yourself to others. If sharing pictures of your family feels too private, then don’t. Stick to yourself and your business. There is plenty to share and photograph.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

3. Look at the pain points of your client

No, I don’t mean whether they’ve got a sore back, or a migraine. I mean the problems they have that you can solve. Although authentic marketing is all about being yourself and building trust, at the end of the day you are a business, and you have to try and sell stuff. By looking at the needs of your client, and highlighting those in your marketing, they will be more likely to come to you for help. If you can solve their problem, they are willing to buy.

If you tap into the pain points of your customer, and make them feel understood, you are one step closer to making a sale. And there is nothing sleazy or sneaky about that! Selling is not sleazy, it is nothing more than offering a solution to someone with a problem. This problem could be an empty wall in a new house, and they don’t know what kind of painting would look good in their home. If you have an eye for decor, and a collection of suitable artworks, you are the right person to advise them.

marketing tips for artists
Photo by Collis on Pexels.com

4. Keep it real, but show up consistently

So keep it real, be relatable, be yourself. But the most important thing: be visible! No matter how much of an introvert you are, if you want to grow your business you have to show up. There is no way around it. Post every day, ideally, and be consistent and clear in your message. Show people who you are, and why you do what you do. Talk about it, share your story, show your work, show face. And it does get easier, I promise.

Get my FREE Social Media planner for Busy Creatives

Three tips to sell your artworks locally

You are a painter, a printmaker or a ceramicist. Or any other artist or maker, looking to sell artworks locally. Because marketing yourself online, or even selling on Etsy, is one thing, shipping large paintings is costly, and not without the risk of damage. So you would really like to explore the possibility of selling more of your work to the locals. How to you do this? Where do you start? Here are three tips to sell your artworks locally.

Of course, you can spend every weekend setting up a stall at local art fairs, when they’re on, but this is just one way of trying to get local business, and it is pretty exhausting. You can also try and get your work in local art galleries, but how many visitors do they get and is their marketing up to scratch?

In this post I share three tips on how to improve your online marketing in order to sell more artworks locally, without having to leave the studio.




1. Improve your local SEO to sell artwork locally

This is a very important one. If you want to start selling more art in your local area, then you need to make sure that people know where to find you. Think of it as the old Yellow Pages we used to pick up to look for a plumber. Now we type ‘plumber near me’ into Google. So submit your website to online directories (this will also create useful back links to your website, aiding your overall SEO), and to Google My Business. Here you can add your details, your description, your opening hours, if you have any, and contact number. Next time someone does a search for ‘portrait painter in (location)’, chances are you’ll show up.


Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

2. Improve your long-tail keywords on your website

Another bit of SEO you can work on: check which keywords you are currently using in your content. Try and be specific, to up the chances of ranking high in Google. Make the keywords a bit longer than just ‘photographer’, as there is no way you’ll be able to compete with that one word. Try ‘family photographer in Valencia’ or include keywords such as ‘art galleries in Aberdeenshire’ in your content or blog posts, or longer phrases like ‘Scottish landscape painting’, combining location, description and media.

Check out my mini ebook ‘Simple SEO to get more Clients‘ to get started on improving your website


3. Do some ‘bread crumbing’ in local Facebook groups

Spending a bit of time trawling your social media a few times a week, looking for relevant local groups to join, can really pay off in the long run. Most will have a weekly opportunity to share your links, posts and offers, which will make you more visible to local people in those groups. Also search in those groups for relevant posts by people that may be looking for services you offer. This is called ‘bread crumbing‘.

You leave traces of your business in various comment threads, so people can go and find your profile if they see you can help them. The more active you are, the more people will remember you. Be careful not to spam groups constantly with your links, or you’ll quickly be booted out. Instead, be helpful and add value, or say ‘I offer XYZ in your local area. Please DM me if you want to know more‘, but without sharing your link.

Bonus tip: network, network, network

I see you, introvert! You’d rather hide under a rock. But the truth is, the more people you know, and the more people know about your art business, the more referrals you’ll get. Show up at networking events, take part in workshops, join a mastermind group, and become best buddies with people who know absolutely EVERYBODY. The bigger your network, the more work you will sell.

So stop hiding, start shining.

Want more free tips and support for your creative business?
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How hot is your copy? Content writing tips for creative businesses

How is your copy holding up?

Did you give your written web content a lot of deep thought, or did you quickly put something in writing, just so it had a description on the site? What story are you telling to your site visitors? How are you trying to connect to them?

You see, written content is more important than you think. For many artists and creatives it’s all about the visuals, and that is normal, as that is how you work. And a picture does say more than a thousand words, in many cases. But only if it is a picture that tells your story. Your photos may show off your products very well, that doesn’t mean that the viewer will click ‘buy’. On your website, pictures and writing should go hand in hand.

Go and see what your competitors are writing…

Go and do a little research right now, before reading any further. Keep this tab open, but visit some of your competitor’s websites. What do you like about their written content? What message are they giving out? What problem are they solving? What are they telling you on their About page?

How hot is their copy?

Did you see a lot of difference between the websites of competitors you just visited? Whatever they do, make or sell, the ingredients and method of writing web content for a business should always be the same. Where many entrepreneurs go wrong, is the focus. They think:”Well, it’s not called an About page for nothing, this is obviously where I write about myself”.

But ask yourself why you would click on an About page on a website. Is it because you want to see a list of names of staff members? Or read a complete autobiography? Or is it because you want to find out if this business is trustworthy, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what they do? Would you rather buy from a company that shows warmth and personality, or from a faceless, cold, formal looking online shopfront?

Add some warmth to your content

How hot is your copy? Or, rather, how much warmth do you express in your copy? Just because it is written information on a business site doesn’t mean you suddenly have to go all corporate. There is no reason why you couldn’t write in the first person, if it’s just you running the show. You are absolutely allowed to let your personality shine through. In fact, even better! Let people know who is behind this lovely business of yours, and why you care about what you do.

Especially if you want to start attracting more of your ideal clients, writing in that way will pull those people closer, while keeping clients you don’t want to work with, away. And at the end of the day, that should be your goal: creating your niche, in order to target the audience you love to attract most. Writing in a style that feels natural to you is one of the tools to help you do that.

Use a grammar and spelling check app

Writing like you talk‘ can be a great way of connecting to people and lowering that threshold for clients to make that call. Writing informally, or in the first person, however, does not mean you can do away with spelling check. You cannot skip the punctuation! Whatever style you write in, make sure you throw it through an app like Grammarly. Not just because your SEO will suffer if the text is full of errors, but because it looks unprofessional if the content is hard to read and riddled with mistakes. If you are really not a writer, you could outsource it (a good copywriter will be able to capture your tone of voice in the text). But it’s much better to work on those skills yourself before giving up. So try the app, it will already improve your copy a lot.

Need more help in improving your website copy?

I offer Done-for-you services, such as writing and editing your website copy, and making sure keywords and key phrases are included for SEO-purposes. Have a look at my services page.

What is a Creative Business Coach and why should you care?

I don’t know about you, but I breathe creativity. I have ideas coming out of my ears, ALWAYS. I think, make, write, draw, sing, play, dance. I am never bored. Creativity is my fuel, and it keeps my fire burning. I am also an empath with a natural urge to help others. I meet so many people in my life who are creative, walk around with ideas, or are dabbling in a small business on the side, but play themselves down. “Just a hobby, really”, or “I don’t earn a lot, but I like doing it”. I could be at a birthday party somewhere, sitting next to a random person I have never met, and before I know it I am handing out business and marketing advice. Because I care.

We are all creative. And so many of us have brilliant ideas and are passionate about what they do. I love seeing new projects emerge, small businesses pop up, and individuals becoming empowered in running their own show. In a world where we are ruled by Amazon and Nestle, I want to add fuel to the little individuals with the big ideas. Those budding entrepreneurs who are still on the fence, need that extra push, get rid of the imposter syndrome, and jump into their next adventure. An adventure which I know they will never regret.

marketing course for artists
Photo by Lucas Allmann on Pexels.com

Authenticity and staying true to your values

I embarked on an adventure myself three years ago. I moved to Spain, after having worked in the arts sector in the Netherlands and the UK for twenty years. After my move, I discovered that continuing my work as arts marketing manager for the cultural sector in Spain is pretty much impossible without the language skills and a network. So, to earn an income, I started a copywriting business, and have been quite successful the past few years working with a wide range of international clients.

But I am not a corporate, sales-driven, mainstream marketing type. And writing copy for factories producing taps and toilets….well, it just made me miserable. I missed the spark, the quirks, the creative buzz, and I realised I was drifting away from who I am and what I love most. I have become a lot more selective since, and now only accept copywriting clients I feel excited about working with. Authenticity is everything, not just in marketing and sales, but in staying true to your own values. Only then you are able to really grow your business.

Photo by Ravi Kant on Pexels.com

Supporting creative businesses on their journey

I recently decided to go back to where my real passion lies: supporting other creatives in their business. Inspiring them, sharing my wealth of knowledge built up over the years, and watching them grow in confidence. I launched The Creative Business Coach late 2020, and am excited. My fire is burning brightly again, and I am in the flow.

My Facebook Group is thriving, and full of creatives who are eager to learn about marketing and attracting more clients, by sharing their authentic story. I have started organising fun Masterclasses on specific topics such as blogging, to take the fear out of marketing. This year will have a lot more in the pipeline, all focused on inspiring, teaching and coaching those fabulous entrepreneurs who are ready to launch and grow their businesses.

Are you one of them? Join Nina’s Creative Business Bootcamp for daily tips and inspiration, masterclasses, and networking with like-minded souls.

How to start earning passive income with an eBook

Passive income, it sounds amazing, right? Making money while not working, is that even possible? Side hustles that allow creators to sell digital products online can help lessen some financial strain and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you run a small business, struggling to make enough money each month because of lockdowns, restrictions and other issues thrown at us lately, then creating something that adds an additional income stream to your business is worth thinking about.

What can you make that could create passive income?

If you are an artist or maker, think of tutorials, online courses, subscriptions or downloadable prints in PDF format. If you are a teacher, could you bundle some of your knowledge in an evergeen course, or a series of downloadable worksheets? As a physical shop owner, could you write tutorials, eBooks or additional guides on the products you sell that are of value to your clients?

Think outside the box

You may only think about your current business or professional expertise, but what other things do you know that could help somebody else? Converting your talent (or quarantine hobby) into a lucrative side hustle is absolutely possible. Have you developed some amazing craft ideas for kids during lockdown? Share them! Easy DIY decor ideas to give your home office an update? Go for it! People digest information in different ways, so offering your expertise in various formats (PDFs, audiobooks, videos, subscription emails, etc) caters for more people than if you only stick to one medium.

Today I am explaining a bit about eBooks.

earning passive income with ebooks
Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.com

eBooks: where to start

Know how to put your knowledge into writing? Start creating eBooks and earn money. eBooks are digital publications, and content can range from tutorials and guides on professional topics to romantic novels and anything in between. 

Creating eBooks as a creative business

If you know everything about interior design, smartphone photography, repairing clothes, doing up property, or permaculture, why not write an eBook about it? It doesn’t have to be enormous, you could write a really helpful step-by-step PDF guide on something in just 10 pages. If it is of value to your client, they will buy it. Remember, you are ten steps ahead of someone who wants to be in your shoes. Teach them what you know. And if there are already other people selling the same thing? Then it means that there is a market out there.

How do you price your eBook?

A lot of eBooks are priced around $3-$5, but you can ask what you want. It is your product and if your client is happy to pay more, go for it! I wrote an eBook of just under 50 pages on Moving to Valencia with Children, and I am selling it at $14.95. That is quite a high price for an eBook, but I am targeting people who feel anxious about moving to another country and are spending a lot of time researching online. My guide will give them everything they are looking for, in a PDF. So $14.95 is not a lot of money, if it solves their problem. What problem can you solve?

earning passive income with ebooks
Photo by Samson Katt on Pexels.com

What software to create an eBook?

There are different ways to create eBooks. You can use Designrr, which offers the option to create an eBook straight from your blog posts. Handy, if you already have a lot of content. The only thing I found (as I am quite picky when it comes to layout and graphics), is that you’ll end up spending quite a bit of time moving content around to make it look the way you want. With the Premium version of Designrr you can publish straight onto Amazon Kindle and other eBook platforms.

You can also keep it simple (and free) and create your eBook on Canva.com. Most of you are familiar with Canva already, so you probably know how to drag and drop images, elements and text into a document. You can use templates (I use the ‘eBook cover’ template). Save the design as a PDF, download it, and publish it wherever you want.

earning passive income with ebooks
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Where to publish your eBook?

Before you run over to Amazon, WAIT. Jeff Bezos is already very rich, so let’s look for some alternatives first – we are creatives, after all.

Amazon KDP has gained a vast audience and hosts a massive library of eBooks. If you want to tap a wider pool of readers, this may be the ideal platform for you. You get a free ASIN number for your book (similar to ISBN), advertising tools, and higher royalties. However, your eBook will be exclusive to Amazon, which means you cannot sell it anywhere else. The royalty can vary anywhere between 35% to 70% depending on the price of the book. 

Apple iBooks Store

It is a free self-publishing platform for your eBooks in iBook format. Apple iBooks store may not have a massive audience like Amazon KDP, but it’s fairly large compared to others on the list. You do have the alternative to sell your eBook on other platforms, unlike Amazon KDP. However, you will have to convert it into a different format such as text file, PDF or ePUB.  Besides, to get your book hosted on the Apple iBooks store, you require a Mac system. You get an incredible 70% royalty with this platform, which is very high.

Smashwords

Smashwords is another publishing platform with a good reputation. Not only does it offer a free ISBN, but also gets your book on some of the biggest stores, including Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple Books. If you choose to publish it on the Smashwords store, however, you can get 80% royalty on every sale. If you choose a retailer, you will earn 60% of royalties from sales.

Payhip

Payhip is a super simple platform I really like, which is a completely stand-alone site, so you have full control. It offers you the option to sell your PDF downloads, physical products and subscriptions (where you send members a PDF document – or a physical product – every month or less often). It’s free to use with unlimited product uploads, but with the paid plans you pay a lower transaction fee. Go to the Payhip website.

The free plan comes with a 5% transaction fee, or you can go up a level if you start to sell more, and pay $29/month for a 2% transaction fee. You can connect Paypal or Stripe as payment options. It obviously does not expose you to an audience like the others do, this part you have to do yourself. But I like the fact that you can easily create your own page showing all your eBooks or products, and link to this from your website, or social media.

Want more great tips and advice for your business? Join my free community on Facebook

Optimise your Instagram account for small businesses

Most of you will be on Instagram, or at least aware of the fact that it can be a powerful tool for becoming more visible online. Because Instagram is such a visual platform, it is ideal for showing off your products if you are an artist or maker. But also for a food related business, yoga studio, or fashion brand, posting gorgeous pictures of your products or lifestyle can create a strong visual presence online. Creating an account on Instagram is easy, but actually making it work for your business is a whole different thing. Here are some of the things you can do to optimise your Instagram account.

Choosing your username and display name on Instagram

Your username is searchable. This is important information, because it means that you need to give it some attention. If you are a meditation teacher or a pastry chef, make sure you have this in your username. No one will find you if you have a mixture of random words, numbers or a nickname in it.

The name underneath your username is your display name. This is an opportunity to say what you do. – so for example mine (username @thecreativebusiness.coach if you are not following yet) is The Creative Business Coach. You have a limited number of characters but if you can add in a keyword to your display name you will be more discoverable.

optimising instagram for artists
optimising instagram for artists

Be specific in your bio

Your bio is your shop window. Make good use of it! People clicking on your profile will decide whether to follow you not only because of the pictures in the grid below, but because of what you are about. This little shop window is your chance to pull them in. What you do, why you do it and how people should get in touch with you, these are the vital ingredients. Also, a little, well-written story does better than a random list of words and slogans.

Mine goes like this:

I teach creative entrepreneurs how to grow their business through authentic marketing and storytelling. Join my free Facebook community: www.subscribepage.com/the-lazy-social-media-planner

It matters who you follow

This is something that most of you probably don’t know, but who you follow is an important factor in the Instagram algorithm. Top tip? Have a review of all the accounts you follow and have a clear out. Make sure you follow accounts that are relevant to your industry, niche or ideal client. This will not only help with the suggestions Instagram gives you to follow, but also who Instagram shows your profile to.

optimising instagram for small business
Photo by Nicole Michalou on Pexels.com

Tidy up that grid

Your grid is the portfolio of your business. Instagram is a place to impress with visuals, so go for it! You want to show off your products or services and stick to your brand. Even if you don’t have a clear idea yet of what your brand is or should be, at least make sure the images are well-organised, and relevant to your niche. Only post good images that show off your business the way you want, and stick to a certain look, style or colour scheme to pull it all together. If you try to be consistent in content, message and colours, you will soon start seeing a brand evolving.

The deal with hashtags

Most people, myself included, have often used the same hashtags in each post. Out of laziness perhaps, or just because we didn’t know any better. But the truth is, using different hashtags every time you post will send signals to Instagram that you are fresh with your content. You can rotate your hashtags, just don’t use them all the time. Instagram wants content creators, not spammers.

Try finding that sweet spot of hashtags. Using hashtags with 5 or 6 figure popularity means there’s enough people are using it and more chance of you being seen for it. Using hashtags with too many users will make you disappear in the masses. If you go too niche, the volumes are too low.

optimising instagram for small business
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Add variety to your content

When you are a designer-maker or artist, the temptation is to only post pictures of your work. But to build a relationship with your followers, you need to start telling your story behind your work. Think of other things you could post images of, such as topics related to your niche, for which you can then use different hashtags. Your content and profile will look fresh and will send positive signals to the Instagram algorithm.

Don’t post and run

It’s SOCIAL media after all. When you are posting, also spend a bit of time commenting on other people’s posts, supporting them and building connections. Actively collaborate on Instagram by tagging customers, colleagues in your industry and others relevant to your post. This shows you are using the platform as a community and not just to push content.

How to plan social media posts for small businesses

Social media can be fun and many creatives are very good at it. For others, it causes a right headache. What on earth should you post about now? And is anyone actually interested in what you are posting? Not only should you post daily, but now you also have to get to grips with video, Lives, Reels and stories. Today I will share a few tricks on how to plan social media posts for artists – or in fact, any small, creative business. Plus, I have a little gift for you.

Why should you post on social media anyway?

There are a number of reasons, and it’s not all about ego. It is actually way more important to focus on your followers than on yourself. These are the basic reasons why you should use social media for your creative business:

To connect.

To learn more about your audience.

To start a conversation.

To get leads.

To drive traffic.

social media marketing for artists

Engage and build trust with your audience

Social media is the ideal way to build a connection with your followers, and try to find stuff out about their needs and interests. Social media is perfect for doing that bit of market research, without being a sleazy salesman. Don’t just post pictures of your work and products, expecting people will jump on you wanting to place an order. Use social media to start a conversation and to connect with your audience. Aim for comments, prompted by a post, video or question you ask. You can also use ‘polls’ on Facebook for example, to get a better idea of why people are on your page, so you can tailor your services accordingly.

Remember: people don’t just buy a product or art work, they buy the story behind it.

Be your own lovely self

People love to see the person behind the business. Don’t be a faceless shopfront on your social media account. Show people who you are, why you started your business and how passionate you are about your work. You may think people are not interested in seeing your face, or hearing your background story, but this is not true. A live video does wonders for your account. You may be shy, but the more you practice, the more it’ll pay off. And don’t worry if you stutter a bit, or feel a little ‘all over the place’; people relate much more to a ‘real’ person than someone who pretends to be someone they are not. Once people get to know you and see how much passion you have for what you do, it is so much easier to sell to them.

The Lazy Social Media Planner for busy creatives

I have created a super useful social media planner for creative businesses like you. Ideal to start practising in becoming more visible online, without losing the plot. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more organised. Does that sound like something you’d like? Leave your email with me, and I will send you the PDF a a gift.

Download your free social media planner today and:

  • Know exactly what to post
  • Feel in control of your social media
  • Get prompts for posts that engage and grow your audience
social media marketing for artists

Five top tips for attracting your ideal client

Do you feel overwhelmed by marketing your creative business?

Most people who have a creative business are finding marketing hard. So unless you are already a complete wizard at Instagram and have built up an army of followers, you are probably feeling slightly overwhelmed. You are not alone. The problem is, in most cases, artists, makers and designers are focusing too much about how to promote their product. But instead of showing off just what you make, you should really turn it around, and put the spotlight on your client. Why? Your product photography may be amazing, but that client needs a bit more nurturing in order to part with their money. I’ll tell you how.

1. What’s their problem?

Your ideal client has a problem, and you can solve it for them. The ‘problem’ is a need, something they are looking for or need help with. And where will they be looking for help in most cases? The internet. If you get your keywords and key phrases right (check my blog post about SEO), they will hopefully find your website in the search results. Once on your website, your job is to convince them that you are the expert and can solve their problem. If your copy and marketing message is right, you have a much bigger chance of selling to them. Keep that in mind, in all of your marketing, online and offline, on your website, in emails and social media posts.

creative business ideal client
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

2. Choose a niche and become an authority in it

The most successful businesses have a niche. This is an area they are absolute experts in and famous for. Need a certain service or product? These are your guys! What would you type into google if you were looking for, say, unique handmade wedding invitations in your local area? You wouldn’t just type in ‘wedding invitations’, because you’ll end up with irrelevant results. I stead you would zoom into the niche of handmade, unique and local. So be specific in describing on your website what you make and for who, and use this in your keywords.

You may not immediately see yourself as someone specialised in a ‘niche’, but think about what you do and sell: you can probably define a certain niche you are in already. Don’t solve a hundred different problems for a hundred different clients. Focus on one or two things you do really well, which your ideal client will be looking for.

creative business finding ideal client
Find your niche! Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

3. Work on your mindset

‘Solving a problem’, great for service-based business, but what do you do when you are an artist? What problem does an abstract painter or ceramicist solve? A cake decorator? A writer? I get it; talking in problems and solutions probably feels a bit alien to you. After all, you’re just creating something in your studio, and try to sell it to whoever wants it, right? You are, but if you consider yourself a business, and not just somebody who creates stuff for fun, you need to work on the mindset of a business owner if you want to make a decent income.

Making money is not something to feel embarrassed about! I know a lot of creatives find marketing a dirty word. But if you want to have an income by doing what you love doing, instead of having to work a boring job on the side to make ends meet, it’s time to change. Fine tune your marketing message to attract the ideal client. Because that client will love you, and is willing to pay the highest price. If you solve their problem/need, you are worth money.

4. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades

Who do you serve? What is your subject? Your medium? Why do people mostly come to you? That is your niche. The product images are of course very important, but if your message is vague, you will lose out. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades; be clear about what you offer and to whom. A sound engineer may be specialised in a certain musical genre, a painter in contemporary family portraits, a clothes designer in zero waste garments for design conscious shoppers. Be precise and you will attract. All products have a specific audience looking for a ‘solution’. Ask yourself: what would this client type into Google? Make sure they find you.

Photo by Amina Filkins on Pexels.com

5. Share your values and convince your ideal client

So now they know what you make and what problem you solve. But how do the clients know they can trust you? Next step in the thought process of a buyer is convincing them that you are the best place to be for their particular need.

To convince them, you have to share your values. Your values are the things you stand for, that you live and work by. Your passion, your ethics, your particular way of dealing with clients. Throw in some emotion also. How will it make them feel if they buy from you? You may be a great designer, but how do the clients know they will get what they want? You may be a yoga teacher, but how do people know they are assured of a well taught lesson by an experienced person? What makes you stand out from the competition? Those values will help to convince a customer to make that call.

Challenge for you!

Take a closer look at your website and especially your About page. Go through the text and try to read it from a client’s point of view. How are you describing:

  1. Your niche, or the problem of the client
  2. The solution you are offering to them
  3. The values that will convince them to buy from you

Need more help in marketing your creative business? Check out my services or join the free facebook community for more support.