How to Manage Your Social Media

social-media-diary

Owning a business (online or otherwise) in today’s modern times has become a big undertaking. Effective use of social media is often the difference between success and failure. There seem to be so many different platforms and knowing when to post and how often can be overwhelming but here are a few tips to help you keep on top of things.

What social media do I use? 

Although it may be tempting, I believe that you should only utilise the platforms best suited to your business. For an artist like me Instagram and Facebook are my best tools, however, I also have a Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube channel. This decision is very much a personal one but to help you decide take a few things into consideration: what are your strengths? Do you take great pictures? Or are you a witty writer? What is performing best? If you already have social media check the analytics and see what is working or, in some cases, not working. Only have as many platforms as you can handle: quality posting, not quantity.

How often do I post? 

I have created a rough guide to the most popular platforms as to how often to effectively post

Twitter: 4-6 x per day

Facebook: 2 x per day

Instagram: 1 x per day

LinkedIn: 2 x per week

Google+: 2 x per week

Pinterest: 1 x per week

YouTube: 1 x per week

Like I said, this is a rough guide and will vary from person to person, business to business but I find this schedule very realistic. You can use this guide or create one for yourself but remember that it should be realistic and that you stick to it. Regular posting will really help boost your follows/likes/subscribers.

Keep a Social Media Diary

To make sure you keep to your schedule keep a social media diary. A diary that is separate from your regular to-do lists etc that is clear and easy to read. I have been doodling mine on a piece of paper for a long time now so when I finally created a ‘proper’ one I thought sharing it with you would be the neighbourly thing to do!

My social media diary e.g.

Click on the images to download and print your own social media diary!

How to use: Write the week in the top left corner and shade in the boxes for the days you plan to post to which platform (see above)

social-media-diary Social-media-diarysocial-media-diary

How to be creative

How to be creative

Everyone is creative

Not an artist? Couldn’t draw a straight line? or tone deaf? I have heard people say this over and over again. Society has taught us that there are only certain ways to be creative and you should only partake if you have talent. This is a huge misjustice to yourself and to your inner child. Do you ever see a child complaining that the perspective on their drawing is off or that they hit a bum note while belting out their favourite tune? The simple answer is no.

What is creativity? 

The oldest human activity on record is cave painting on walls. We were creative before we were much of anything else, it is at our core. As far as creative living is concerned our minds need to broaden as to what falls under that category. Knitting, writing, beekeeping, dog grooming, ice skating, these all fall under the creative umbrella. Basically anything that provides you with joy and an outlet to express yourself.

How to be creative

Why bother? 

I truly believe that in order to lead the happiest and most fulfilled life possible you have to nurture your creative impulses. This is the point a lot of excuses will come into play ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I am too tired’ etc. I only have one response to these- just do it! Make time! Seriously! Work it into your schedule somewhere- before work, your lunch hour or on weekends. Soon you will start to crave your chosen outlet and you will find more and more time in your day for it.

Where to start?

You may already know what you love to do. Did you once write short stories before work/kids took over? Did you always have a secret dream? Go for it! Don’t give up your day job (putting pressure on your creativity will kill it) but instead look at ways to incorporate it into you life now. If you don’t know what you love then thats great as well! The journey to find it can be just as fun. Sign up to taster evening classes in pottery or painting or maybe photography has always looked fun. If you don’t like what you are doing, move on to the next thing. Extra help can be found in looking back at your childhood, what did your younger self love to spend hours doing?

Resources

You may have heard of the book/film Eat Pray Love? Well the author, Liz Gilbert, has written an amazing book Big Magic in which she teaches you how important it is to be creative and how you can do it. I listened to the audiobook which is just over 5 hours long (very short in audiobook terms) and I was truly inspired. This may sound strange but as a professional artist I am guilty of forgetting to let my creative side free as much as anyone else. I here are the links to both the audiobook and the hardcopy book

Big Magic Book

So if you feel there is something missing in your life try tapping in to your creative side and see what happens, you may just be surprised.

Much love

Tracy

Happy New Year!

blog new year

Hello again! We are now well into the first month of 2016 and it has been an absolute whirlwind. It is true that the pace of life here in London is much faster than the sleepy village I have been hiding away in for the past two months! For those of you new to my blog or haven’t read my previous posts (naughty, naughty) here’s a little catch up, I moved to London in December and jumped in at the deep end by taking part in my first London craft fair before I even got the keys to my flat! Tiring though it was, I loved every moment and I haven’t slowed down since.

Looking Back at 2015

I feel that 2015 was the year I really started to find my feet as far as my Etsy shop is concerned. I am constantly learning and changing and my work really took a new turn at the end of the summer and I completely renewed my pieces and released my long awaited phone cases. These are my pride and joy as I worked hard finding the right manufacturer that ticked all the boxes; high quality, value for money and made in the UK.

dwarf bunny case photo

I was lucky enough to take part in several craft fairs, there is nothing better than talking face to face with people about my work. Selling online is great but the instant feedback you get from having a good old chat in invaluable!

I travelled to some amazing countries, all of which were blogged about here so I won’t go into too much detail. If you want to check them out you can click on the Food and Travel section at the top of the page.

I can’t forget to mention this blog of course! It has been exactly 1 year since it went live and it has provided me with a place to ramble on till my heart’s content. If you have been following these ramblings then I thank you from the bottom of my content little heart!

Looking Towards to 2016

I have a whole notebook of ideas that I am excited to put into action this coming year. One I would like to mention is my YouTube channel. A while ago (over a year) I posted a few videos on Etsy; branding, packaging etc in the hope of helping a few people learn what I learned over time. To date they have had a fair amount of views and my channel’s subscribers has just hit 100. I have had emails from people thanking me for these videos and asking my advice on selling online and about Etsy. I do not claim to be an expert but I have learned a thing or two that I am happy to share. Since posting these videos my whole shop and process has completely changed (as I said before, I am constantly learning and changing) and I think it is about time I did an update. If you are interested you can go subscribe to my channel here, I hope to get my first video out before the end of the month.

I released my first set of greeting cards over the holidays and I was so pleased you guys liked them so much so I have plans to design cards for all occasions and I may even make matching gift tags so be sure to watch out on my Etsy shop for those!

Lastly, my most requested furry fella has been completed and is ready to be transformed into a whole array of lovely things. What fella, you ask? A pug, of course! Pugs, pugs, pugs! This January all you pug mad people can pug out your phone, walls, whatever!

I hope you all had a fab holiday season and new years and I hope this year is everything you want it to be!

Much love

Tracy @Soapbox Fox

‘The Haven’ Festive Craft Fair

haven craft market

We are officially in December and the Christmas decorations are going up every where and there is less than 2 weeks left until The Festive Craft Fair hosted by The Haven. It will be held at The Bedford in Balham, London and I have to say I am super excited to be selling at my first London fair and it is also the weekend I move to London also so things are going to be crazy!

The Haven is a charity in London for women going through breast cancer so it is an amazing opportunity to not only support small businesses but also a very worthwhile cause! I have been looking at the other makers who will be there and I think I am going to have to bring some spending money as they all look very tempting. There is everything from bath bombs to chocolate all in a great venue so after all that Christmas shopping you can have a well deserved drink! Go take a look at their Facebook page for more information.

Needless to say, I have been squirrelling away at my desk making lots of stock and I even have some brand new brooches that will be available at the fair and in my Etsy shop very soon.

So if you are London doing some Christmas shopping, hop on the tube and come see us in Balham!

 

#Shopsmall this Christmas

shop-small-saturday

I am very pleased to announce I am nearly done with my christmas shopping and I think I have done pretty well. All my gifts were bought at small/independent businesses, even the wireless printer for my mum was purchased on eBay!

I know what you might be thinking, shopping independent is expensive and the bigger stores have such good deals. Well, in some cases you would be right and especially when it comes to children with very specific gifts in mind it can be near impossible but here is a clever way around that when shopping for your more grown up friends and family – quality not quantity.

Art by LHdesign http://www.lolahoaddesign.co.uk

 

For the past two years I have bought my nearest and dearest lots of small and carefully selected goodies that I thought they would love. As it turns out the piles of ‘stuff’ soon add up, they forget they have it, don’t use it and I have ended up spending way more, if you add it up, and most of it goes to waste. Here is an example, my boyfriend loves a good game of air hockey. He even forced me to play on our first date, so when I found the mini air hockey table in 2013 I thought, ‘perfect!’ But it was not to be, it went in the bottom of the wardrobe and was forgotten about till we moved two months ago. What I am trying to say is even the most well thought out gifts can get lost in the hoo ha that is Christmas Day.

History repeated itself in 2014 but this year will be different! For my friends and family I have limited myself to 2 gifts maximum, most of which has come from Etsy and the few craft fairs I have visited this year. Its true I could find similar gifts in high street stores for less money but I want my gifts to be as unique as my loved ones and there is nothing like receiving a gift in love, that was made with love, not some factory, mass produced tat from a store that wants us to become crazed, consumeristic monsters. Look at the black Friday sales last year, it truly made me sad and sick to my stomach to watch usually sane and probably lovely people turn into violent selfish idiots at the thought of saving a few quid on a T.V! And while I am on this particular rant, the John Lewis advert just came on. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in spending £7 million total (including ad time) on an advert about the old and lonely at Christmas when that money could have been spent to help the real needy this season? That would have been great advertising for the store and I may have even done a little shopping there myself! (Deep breath, rant over.)

Please don’t be one of those this year, it’s not a saving if you weren’t planning on buying it before. Don’t be sucked in my the illusion, I promise you the feeling of a ‘bargain’ cannot be matched to the feeling of buying from real people with real skill and passion that shines through in their work. I was lucky enough to be one lady’s first Etsy customer and the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting a fellow artist/maker felt like Christmas come early and when I received the package in question I was delighted to find it beautifully packaged with my one off, handmade item all ready to go under the tree.

Even if you do half of your shopping independent, that will really help out the little guy and your hard earned cash won’t be thrown into the belly of the beast (the high street). I am not a religious person but I do love Christmas and the way it can bring people together but as every year passes depression skyrockets and people are losing the real meaning of the holidays (hot chocolate, over eating and snuggling up) :)

Make this holiday season truly special and appreciate the little things!

Need ideas? Heres a few few places you can start…

https://www.etsy.com 

https://www.notonthehighstreet.com

https://folksy.com

https://www.shopify.co.uk

Happy shopping!

Christmas cards & Xmas order deadlines

card

As the dark nights are well and truly in and there are christmas adverts on the TV. Must be that time of year again!

I have a brand new series of christmas greeting cards in my Etsy shop that come complete with a complimentary matching gift tag and real British bakers twine to attach to your loved ones gifts. The fabulous french greeting ‘joyeux noel’ adds a touch of class (in my opinion).

These cards are in limited runs so why don’t you ditch the mass produced hallmark tat and get yourself a unique greeting card that can be treasured and even put in a little frame for enjoyment for years to come.

You can either purchase all six in the set or if you have just taken a fancy to one then they are available separately. You can buy the set here.

Now while it might seem ages away Christmas will sneak up on you when you aren’t looking and you may be forced to wrap up and join the heaving masses desperately trying to buy last minute gifts. Don’t be that guy! Here are my christmas posting deadlines to ensure you get your gifts before the big day:

Australia- 10 Dec 2015

USA/Canada- 15 Dec 2015

UK- 21 Dec 2015

I will be telling all about my first xmas craft fair of the season in my next post so be sure to look out for that!

Au revoir!

 

Lanchester Christmas Fair

Lanchetser xmas market

As you may or may not have read in a previous post I have been staying at my mum’s house for a month now while my boyfriend and I find somewhere to live in London (a harder task than originally thought) and while I am waiting I took a little trip down to the local community centre to see what was going on and I found out they were having a Christmas Fair on November 7th.

So, with deposit payed, I am squirrelling away in my studio drawing, making, packing and ordering in preparation.

I am truly excited to be getting back to my roots and if the last ‘small town’ fair I did is anything to go from I will meet some great people and have a fab time. I can’t believe its been nearly a year since I did my first fair in Cardiff!

I will have a wide array of my new products up for grabs with a special Christmas discount for those early birds getting their shopping in early. I have loads of new earrings and prints that aren’t even available in my Etsy shop yet and the best part is there is no postage and packaging to pay and if I don’t have what you are looking for a free postage and packaging voucher is yours to take away so you can finish your shopping online.

I have been assured that there will be loads of great craft stalls there and a real, live Santa Claus to get you in the festive spirit, so why not come along and get yourself some beautiful, handmade gifts that will make this Christmas extra special.

Why not try the #shopindependent challenge and see how many unique gifts you can get from independent retailers but more on that in a future post!

Where to go-

Address: Newbiggin Ln, Lanchester, Durham, DH7 0HY

Old Tat Feature

Old tat Press page

I am so excited to be sitting here writing a post about my first press feature! Back in early summer Old Tat magazine got in touch and asked if they could use my temporary cat tattoos in their next issue ‘Cats and Hags’. I, of course, said yes and now I hold in my hand the final magazine and page after page of beautiful photographs. To go along with the photos are well written articles including that of London’s first cat cafe and why cats are arseholes. The magazine also included fab illustrations from a variety of artists, which of course interests me immensely!

Click here to get your copy!

old tat022

old tat021

New for Autumn

Bulldog Photo

What a month September has been! We are now entering my most favourite season of all, blue skies above and crisp leaves underfoot, what could be better! The last few days have been crazy, we have moved out of our house in Cardiff and I am back up in my beautiful hometown of Durham while we look for a place in the Big Smoke, yes that’s right, we are moving to London! I, for one, am super excited. London is the hub of all things arty with some amazing craft fairs that I will hopefully be frequenting sometime in the near future.

You may or may not have noticed that my Etsy shop has shrunk dramatically in the last week, the reason for this is that I am completely refreshing my stock with new art that I have been busily working on for the past two months. Some of the prints in my shop have been there since I opened in 2012 and I think it is long over due for some new life!

I am so excited about the new prints I have coming out, which are all animal based drawings that mix my passion for art and learning french. A cute little face peers out of the page with old typewriter font detailing the name of the breed/species both in english and french. My inspiration came from a big antique animal encyclopaedia I used to study as a child, although the huge volume is long gone now my passion and memories of the beautiful creatures within its pages live on.

bulldog

I will be expanding my jewellery range using all my new pieces, as well as offering phone cases. As I type this the first phone case sample is being printed and sent and in a cruel twist of fate my phone ended up in the washing machine this morning! *Sigh*

All of my new pieces should be available in my Etsy shop from the end of October and I will be offering a celebratory discount for the first week once everything is up, so get some early Xmas shopping in the bag before the big holiday rush! Keep an eye out on my Facebook page for updates.

I hope everyone is having a beautiful autumn and are drinking copious amounts of hot beverages while wrapped in numerous scarves or is that just me?

The Success Principles

success principles 3

Now it is common knowledge I have been loving audiobooks while working, walking the dogs etc but this month I have been listening to a different type of audiobook than I would usually go for. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield is nothing new to the book world and he also co-authored a book you may have heard of called ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ but after seeing a rave review I thought better late than never and bought it. The unabridged version is roughly 23 hours long and I have just over 12 to go but I think I have a strong enough opinion based on what I have heard so far to write this.

As soon as I pressed play I loved it. He makes you think and assess yourself and makes you want to grow and develop in any and all aspects of your life. Principle number 1, for example, talks about taking responsibly for you life. This means never complaining or blaming a person or situation for anything that happens to you. I don’t know if it is just me but I find this one the hardest. As Brits we all love a good moan but it is negative energy and, at the end of the day, doesn’t solve anything. I am now making a conscious effort to put this into practise and, while I am not perfect and may never will be, I know it will really help in everyday life.

I really enjoy the case studies he includes in each principle, this is not only interesting, they really help you see the ways applying these sets of rules can turn your life around and gives that boost of motivation.

I can’t wait to finish this book and go forward putting these ideas into practice and I may even write a follow up post about how they have had an effect in my life. Whether it be business, financial or personal these principles apply so why don’t you give it a try, what have you got to lose?

You can pick up this book as a hard copy (which I am tempted to do myself), on an E-reader and audible have both the abridged and unabridged versions. Let me know if you have any positive changes through this book, I would love to know!