Monday, April 23, 2018

SOCIAL MEDIA: Pinterest Enforces Sharing Complaints



I LOVE Pinterest. I need a t-shirt that says the same. I can see why some crafters and artists are angry about losing revenue because of shared and pirated images. Pinterest has received a lot of negative press because it is a platform where anyone can pin anything. Pinterest is like the poster child of shared images infringement. Some who would like to reverse what can't be changed in the way of our society's explosive social media sharing want to make Pinterest an example.

The Web is so big and there are so many users, that copyright and intellectual property infringement can't be stopped, or even policed by the average person. I'm not defending Pinterest, because anywhere that images can be shared, public and private, is a place where infringement can be done. Pinterest is a very popular, central location where incensed web users can focus their attack regarding their unauthorized shared content.

A lot of people use the internet now who don't understand netiquette, infringement, etc. They don't purpose to offend or steal. One good thing is that Pinterest has a very good trademark rights policy and is good at responding to complaints of infringement. They take those images down and alert all re-pinners. I believe there was a concerted effort to shut Pinterest down. I can see why it did not work because to be fair the World Wide Web, the Intranet, the deep web and others would need to be shut down. That is not possible for a number of reasons.

If I run across theft or infringement of my work online, I do address it. However, everyday I have to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to what could be going on behind my back with regards to my content. If I didn't I'd remove my Web presence completely (or as best I could) and go offline permanently. I like internet marketing and sharing too much to do that, at this time anyway.

BUSINESS: Crafters And Social Media Effectiveness

For those of you who have used social media heavily over the years, has it paid off for you?

Do the majority of your sales come through social media, or do you get lots of views but no sales?

Are you going to step up your social media activity, or reduce it?

Have you tried any social media ads or other paid promotion?


Here's a great article titled

Social Media Marketing Simplified for Your Craft Business

I'm already in the process of doing some of the suggestions, especially focusing on one platform and learning to use it well. It seems to me that in order to do a great job of using social media so that it pays off in sales (and I'm not talking about just posting a product link every time we list and getting an occasional sale through it) a person has to spend a large amount of time with social media each day.

Some who write articles about their huge success do just that. It takes a lot of time and effort, as well as money spent for tools and apps to help manage time, posts, or hiring someone to promote etc., to make social media activity pay off. Well, as a person who needs to spend most of my time creating, photographing and listing, I'll never be able to do that. I can't afford to spend money for social media aids or hire someone to do social media marketing for me, because I don't have the budget for that. Social media is important, but only if it's possible to use it so that it pays off. Otherwise, it's just wasted time, dashed hopes and continual disappointments.

I like Pinterest and plan to slowly learn more about using it. One way that many make it pay off is by designing and creating certain types of pins. Well I don't yet have time to do that. I just pin and re-pin a lot. Many bloggers who are successful at using Pinterest design their blog photos a certain way, so that when they pin their blog posts to Pinterest they attract more attention and visits. I barely have time to create my occasional basic blog posts, much less edit and design my images in special formats.

So maximizing the usefulness of a social media platform is the goal, and I'll never be able to juggle all of the social media sites in this way. It's best to narrow it down to where I like to be and am most anxious to return to.

In discussing social media sites with other crafters I rarely hear anyone mention any other than the big 4, FB, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Here's a list of many that are not well known:

60+ Social Networking Sites You Need to Know About in 2018  

This list features graphic comparisons on the size of 15 social media sites. I'm sorry to see that Facebook has the largest share of use:

Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites and Apps [April 2018]

Just because a site is popular in some ways doesn't mean that it's good for the average crafter though. Facebook recently made some decision that seem to jeopardize the usefulness of the very feature it created to help sellers, the business pages: Facebook Pages End of Days??




Thursday, April 19, 2018

CREATIVE SERVICE: Transcription

Transcription Of Audio Files And Video Captioning

I've added a new creative service for transcription of English audio files or video captioning. I offer a 48-72 hr turnaround for up to a 45 min file with one speaker. Longer files and a 2nd speaker may require more time. See more at Creative Services.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What Are Your Signature Colors?

Do you have a signature color(s)? It is the color that you've always loved, even from childhood. It is the color that makes you happy and makes you feel alive. It's the color that you gravitate to when making purchases.
All Occasion Handmade Pink And Green Note Cards

I have a pair of signature colors: chartreuse green and fuchsia. It also includes all yellow-greens from olive to lime green and all red-violets from plum to hot pink. These images are some examples.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF BEADED TASSEL NECKLACE
My crafting and personal life are centered around these color schemes, with some deviation because I love colors in general. I have a Pinterest board titled Color Galaxy.

Stop, Smell The Flowers Mixed Media Collage Handmade Wall Art
My neutrals are white and silver. I am a winter person who is most happy with bright, clear, cool colors. On some personality color palettes some of my yellow-greens are shown in the spring palette. 

Most pastels and muddy, muted colors drive me batty. My Sand Dollar Tags below make me happy because, while the colors are not deep shades, they also are not washed-out pastels, but are bright raspberry and lime tones.

Sand Dollar Tags 16-Tag Pack

Making products in your fav colors for your shop can give your online store a cohesive look. I can't always show my color scheme on my shop homepage though. Because I do work with a huge range of colors, the best that I can do is to show my signature colors in the featured products banners or widgets. Otherwise, these signature color scheme products are scattered throughout my shop.

I wrote an article on signature colors some time ago. I plan to make it into an e-book once I flesh it out more.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

WRITING: Free Verse Notes On Poem A Yellow Downfall In Winter


Usually, I let my poetry flow and create itself, and it will usually be free verse. But sometimes, like with this poem, I add a few rhyming lines.

Notice the 4-6th lines in the 8-line stanza. They rhyme, but it's still free verse. They add a nice little cohesive interruption in this short poem.

How did I create those rhyming lines? The same way in which I created the entire poem, by thinking about what I thought. By delving deeply into my feelings about my love of winter, my desire for snow, and how the falling yellow leaves helped to replace that lack. I was able to happily experience the falling of flakes, though they were not white. I was grateful, anyway.

I let my poetry flow and create itself.

A Yellow Downfall In Winter

Yellow flakes drift, shift and flip downwards,
What are they,
But flakes of snow in a snow-less place.
For me anyway,
These leaves my longings allay,
For I can truly say,
That I enjoyed,
A downfall in winter.




"What are they, But flakes of snow in a snow-less place."


I don't identify and write formal poetry styles very much. I do use the words haiku, senryu and free verse, because their formats are easy to understand and practice.


Creative Selling Ideas at TCS: 

  1. Cover a wall art-sized piece of cardboard with paper. If patterned, paint over with solid paint, covering completely or randomly, as with altered art. Hand-letter or ransom-note journal your poem on it. Embellish and decorate with various elements, creating mixed media artwork featuring your poem. Add string or wire threaded through the top, or to the back, for hanging. A nice gift to self, or another.

Images: Pexels.com

Monday, April 16, 2018

BUSINESS: FestivalNet.com Website Resource

FestivalNet.com is a website not only for those involved in the festival circuit, but for promoters and any creative person. The site is crammed with resources and includes a marketplace, gallery, community forums, videos and more. Sellers can open shops, with memberships starting at a free basic model. This site is also a great resource for locating festivals in which you might want to participate.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

BUSINESS: Watermarking Images Can Deter Theft

Using stolen product images in listings is a rampant practice. Have you considered using watermarks?

There are different types of watermarks that can be used, some more obvious than others.

The least effective are the ones placed in a corner of the image. They are easy for offenders to crop out. They would then fill in the space with surrounding color.

 Have you considered using watermarks?

Heart Flowers Place Cards, 6 pk 6 colors

Deepest Places Of My Heart Handmade Wall Art



The faint or transparent ones placed across the product are the best. They are the hardest for thieves to edit it out.

Good Vides Good For Me Crochet Necklace

There are different types of watermarks that can be used

The purpose of the watermarks is to deter theft.

The purpose of the watermarks is to draw attention to the fact that the person or shop that is selling the product is not the owner of the product and image, and most likely does not have permission to offer it.

The alert works best when the visitor knows the crafter or artist of the product in the image. I recognized several digital paper packs in a shop not known to me. I contacted the owner and asked if they had permission to sell them. They replied that they had permission. Somehow, I was not convinced, especially since they did not elaborate about the permission.

I contacted the 3 sellers of whom I was familiar and found that they had not licensed their products to be sold by this person. They pursued it and the shop was closed by the venue. There were many, many more brands in this shop than the 3 that I recognized. There were like over 500 products from many designers. I thought it was a digital clearing house at which the designers were members. I am glad that I pursued what seemed to me to be a fishy situation.

Note: some selling venues don't allow watermarks. I've also heard that Google Shopping does not accept images that are watermarked.
 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

BUSINESS: Including Shop Info Can Attract Customers



Fleshing out your seller profile and shop policies can keep visitors in your shop for a longer period.


Found a lovely snippet roll at Pinterest and followed the link to the crafter's blog. After reading her tutorial, I went to her Etsy shop. I was disappointed that though she had been on Etsy since 2015, she had not completed her shop pages, profile info or anything like that. Because of this, I was discouraged from faving her shop, and I didn't.

Many of you know how big I am on completing all of the info in the shop profile and policies. You ask Why does it matter? I still make sales. But what if you could make more sales by being diligent in sharing about yourself? What if more visitors shared your shop because it was completed on all pages?

When a seller does not fill out his/her shop info, it can send a negative message. Whether it is true or not, it can appear that the seller only wants to push and sell products, but cares very little about potential customer interaction.

Sometimes a person does not know how to complete those pages, you say. Well, if the person knows how to create a product listing, she can fill out her shop pages. Maybe he doesn't know where they are, you venture. Well, if he can find the product listing page, he can find the shop policies and profile pages. No one reads that stuff, you insist. Well, I do. I am very interested in a seller's story, philosophy, history and anything else that tells me who the creative person is and what drives him. The addition of shop policies, as well, adds professionalism to an online store. They provide important info, preventing the visitor from having to contact the seller about simple shop operation.

If I am turned off by a seller's omission of profile and shop info, then some others are too. That is why I talk about this often, to help those sellers who persist in believing that this form of marketing does not matter. The truth is that fleshing out your seller profile and shop policies can keep certain types of visitors in your shop for a longer period. If they stay longer they may buy.

What is a snippet roll?
How to make a snippet roll.
Snippet roll board at Pinterest.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

JOBS: Pexels.com

Pexels.com, the free image bank, is hiring a Head of Curation and Photography

They offer work in a small, fast-growing company with more opportunities to come.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

JEALOUS MEALOUS: Make A Mum By Bobbie Ashley


3 Fuchsia, Bridal Shower Corsage, Bridal shower favors, Hand-dyed Corsage,wedding,GLASS PEARLS ,fUSC/tRIO/pEARL/btb.motg,motb
Unique, hand-dyed event mum pins by Bobbie Ashley: https://www.etsy.com/listing/489703951/handyed-bridal-shower-corsagebridal?ref=shop_home_active_7
Some people just come up with the greatest ideas! Like the "hand-dyed" to your color scheme silk flower mums made by Bobbie Ashley. 


Hand-dyed YELLOW baby shower favors, Baby Shower Corsage, Mommy To be Pin, GLASS PEARLS, Grandma To Be,yELLOW/pEARL gTB
Hand-dyed event mum wrist corsages by Bobbie Ashley: https://www.etsy.com/listing/580944334/hand-dyed-yellow-baby-shower-favors-baby?ref=shop_home_active_2

When I visited her Etsy shop, from one of her forum comments, and ran across these pretty event embellishments, I had to stop immediately and share.

Bobbie Ashley's Make-A-Mum shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/293410523/3-coral-baby-shower-corsage-baby-shower?ref=shop_home_active_9

Her silk, mum flower lapel pins and wrist corsages are beautifully colored and elegantly made, and she offers customization to your needs. Some are two-toned, and as you can see she makes them in a variety of bright and muted colors. I love the simplicity of her designs.

Bobbie Ashley's Make-A-Mum shop:https://www.etsy.com/listing/594515187/hand-dyed-baby-shower-corsage-baby?ref=shop_home_active_1
Bobbie has created an attractive product that is useful to potential customers, and that fills a niche in the event industry. Easy to make, from what I imagine, and easy to ship. I like too that her shop is dedicated to this brand. It gives her Make A Mum online store a lovely cohesiveness.

Visit Bobbie's Make A Mum shop at Etsy.



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Business: Pionik Is Like Pinterest

Found Pionik through a Pinterest pin (and don't ask me how to pronounce it) and did not like the site as soon as I went there. Firstly, social media buttons are lined vertically left on top of each and every image. Very distracting. Could not even look at a page of pins very long.

There is no help or about page anywhere on the site and I like to read about sites and people. I clicked on Our Community and there are about 50 registered members. Member Fercha has a profile page with an avatar, header and a few tote bag patterns on it.

According to CuteStat.com , the site has been in operation for 1 yr 9 mos, and the server is hosted near Wichita, KS. It gets over 1,000 unique visitors per day, and over 5,000 page views. The Alexa global traffic rank is #405,951.

If you're seeking a non-congested Pinterest alternative, you should give Pionik a try. They say this about their site: Pionic is a visual bookmarking tool that you can use to find ideas for all your projects and interests. This image bookmarking site has a long way to go to rival Pinterest though. Pinterest congestion, by the way, is what makes it such a rich place for inspiration.





Wednesday, February 14, 2018

WRITING: How To Write Poems For Beginners

If you have problems with a poem springing forth in your mind, i.e., you lack inspiration, first decide how many lines you want to have. In The Sky Through Bare Branches I decided to write 2 stanzas with 5 lines each. The lines do not rhyme, but are free-flowing thoughts.

To write a poem, decide how many lines you want to have.


The Sky Through Bare Branches



I love seeing the sky through bare branches.

I don’t know what it is, but

The white limbs of

The paper birch look silvery

Against the azure blue.



I love seeing the sky through bare branches.

As the scattered leaves

Shiver stiffly in

The cold gust,

I bid fall ado.

©Holland Writing And Publishing | All Rights Reserved  
~ 

In Blue Winter Sky, I chose 3 stanzas of four lines each, and this is a rhyming poem. If you want your poem to rhyme, decide on which lines. You can choose any format, but some seem harder to rhyme. The 1st and 4th lines are an example. You can even do something like the 1st and 3rd, and the 2nd and 4th in the same poem. This is quite a challenge.

Sometimes your thoughts will lean towards a certain rhyming format. I chose the 3rd and 4th lines in each stanza for Blue Winter Sky.

To write a rhyming poem, decide on which lines you want to rhyme.


Blue Winter Sky



The winter sky is very blue,

As I look out in disbelief

That winter sky could be so rich

In color blue, while trees are sticks.



I stand and gaze on wintry scene,

With brilliant blue across the sky,

With air so very crisp and cold,

With skeletal trees so black and bold.



The sky is such a lovely blue.

On Heaven's canvas Nature's brush

Has deftly added glorious hue,

Has placed her artist skill on view.

©Holland Writing And Publishing | All Rights Reserved
~

Creative Selling Ideas at TCS: 

  1. Print or type up a few of your poems on 8 1/2 x 11" paper turned sideways and folded to make 8 1/2 x 5 1/2" pages. So 1 sheet of paper will fold into 4 sides in stead of 2 sides for the large sheet of paper. Cut out pictures from magazines to illustrate your poems and paste them to the pages. Staple the folded sheets together at the fold line or spine. You can also glue each page spine into each other. Staple or glue a folded piece of 8 1/2 x 11" colored paper or cardstock to the outside of your folded booklet, or signature. Decorate the front simply or elaborately and give your booklet as a gift. You have now published a book of your poems, in the most simple and pure way.





Wednesday, January 24, 2018

BUSINESS: Facebook, Selling & Copyright Infringement

Ina Steiner talks about the nightmarish result when a seller bought an item at a flea market and listed it for sale on Facebook. The handmade product featured some type of branded element that was not identified in this article. There are so many pitfalls to navigate when selling anything associated with copyrighted and trademarked products. Maybe this will help you avoid some of them, The Hidden Risk Of Selling On Facebook.

Source:
eCommerceBytes

Monday, January 8, 2018

BUSINESS: Ending Product Prices In 9-Something



In considering changing to ending my handmades products prices in 9-something, I recently did research about the perceived value of this marketing practice. I have resisted in the past, preferring to list prices as I considered them to be, ending in .00 mostly, and sometimes in .45, .65 or .25. I have always felt that this is more honest. The psychological info about what helps lead people to buy, however, is sound. It involves more about what people are comfortable with upon first observation of a price tag, rather than deceiving shoppers as I had previously thought.

I've never felt that it was fair to lead shoppers to believe that a product is $10 when it’s actually $11, by pricing it at $10.99. I've always considered it to be a trick to fool the eye. It is interesting, though, to learn the psychological reasons behind what people think when observing $10.99 versus $11.00.  Here’s one article that I read at FastCompany.com titled The Psychology Behind The Sweet Spots Of Pricing

Even as a crafter and artist involved in eCommerce, I am still protective of consumers. When retailers use deceitful tactics to wring a dollar from my purse, I don't like it. It has occasionally resulted in protest and permanent boycotting from me. While I think that the psychology of buying can be abused, there is a lot to be said for helping the customer to feel comfortable, rather than repelling them. I'm going to work on my prices. Am I caving in? I could perceive it that way, if I want to be negative. I choose to perceive it as putting my customers first, rather than being stubborn.

I do understand that the info that I've shared above won't make a difference to everyone who reads it, but it surely changed my stubborn stance. I'm always seeking ways to encourage visitors to spend time in my shops, which can lead to more sales. It also shows compassion for potential customers, because they don't understand that they are being repelled and possibly missing out on just what they were seeking.

Understanding psychological behavior about many things is important to me, and I learned from the psychological studies of prices that some people can be unconsciously turned away by price endings, when otherwise they might have found something that they liked.

I LOVE sticking to my guns about anything and everything, but changing my habits about pricing my handmades is a small price to pay for the possibility of increased sales.

As an aside:  The studies show too that there is also value in pricing certain types of products with prices ending in .00.  Those who are crafters and artists can effectively use both methods.

Other interesting articles about the psychology of pricing:

Wikipedia.com: Psychological Pricing
PragmaticPricing.com: 99 vs 97 - Can You Help?
Blog.kissmetrics.com: 5 Psychological Studies on Pricing That You Absolutely MUST Read


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

BUSINESS: eCommerceBytes Nominations Ending Soon

Have you nominated your fav selling venues for inclusion in the eCommerceBytes 2018 Sellers Choice Awards? You can nominate up to 5, and nominations close in a week. Voting opens 1/14/18. 2018 eCommerceBytes Selling Venues Nominations.

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