I taught a class with Meighan O’Toole on Friday night called Social Media for Aritsts and Crafters. A group of nine women from the Boston area gathered at JP Knit & Stitch, a beautiful independent quilt and yarn shop in the city, to talk about social media with us. Over the course of two hours we delved pretty deeply into how to build an online audience for your creative work. Preparing for this workshop forced me to describe how I manage my life online in a real, day-to-day sort of way and I thought I’d share that with you.
All of us are busy. Life is busy. We’re caring for our children or our elderly parents (or both). We’re working other jobs and volunteering. Building a community online for our artwork, whether to launch a business and connect with customers or to develop a hobby and connect with like-minded makers, seems like a great idea, but the thought of spending time on social media can feel overwhelming. There’s so much of it and every channel has its own rules!
If tweeting and pinning and posting to Instagram aren’t already part of your day, how do you begin to fit them in?
My short answer is to develop a weekday routine that’s reasonable and then stick with it. The stick with it part is the most important to growing your presence online. In my experience consistent participation is the key to getting new followers and developing relationships on social media, no matter what site you’re on. A doable routine that doesn’t overwhelm you is key.
Here’s how my weekday in social media runs. One thing I will say is that I’m very dependent on my iPhone to make this work. In my family we share one household computer among all five of us and it’s a desktop computer so I can’t bring it with me upstairs to the studio or into the kitchen while I’m with the kids. My phone is my social media lifeline throughout much of the day.
My weekday social media routine:
6:40-7:00 am I’m showered and dressed and have 20 min. before the kids are up. I sit on the couch with my phone and:
- Open Twitter and respond to @ messages.
- Check my email to see what’s kinds of messages are waiting for me and what’s sold overnight.
- Open Instagram and respond to @ messages.
- Check my Facebook business page and my private Facebook group to see what’s waiting for me.
7:00-10:15 am I’m getting breakfast for everyone, doing dishes, and taking kids to school. Then I go running for an hour.
10:15-10:45 pm I’ve showered again (after my morning run) and am dressed for the work day. I sit at the computer and:
- Respond to all of my emails. Inbox zero at the start of every weekday.
- Tweet the day’s blog post with a link and an image, share it on Facebook and pin it. Now I’ve also begun creating a new graphic to post on Instagram for my blog posts. I learned that here.
- Read through my Twitter stream to see what’s interesting. Click through links to read articles. Retweet several links, adding my own comment, and load up Buffer with more. Add to several conversations. Think about what might be great to share in my newsletter or what might inspire a blog post.
- Open Instagram and look through my stream, commenting on several things.
- Respond to messages and comments on my Facebook business page and my Facebook group.
10:45-2:30 pm I work. I sew, I draw, I take pictures. I write, I do research, I interview people. Every day is different, but there are always multiple projects going at once. Writing three blog posts and my newsletter each week is non-negotiable. During the school year, I work until 2:30 (with a 12:30 preschool pick-up and 1:00 put the toddler down for a nap break) except on Wednesdays when all my kids are home at noon.
While I’m working I try not to get distracted by social media. I put my phone on mute so I don’t hear any push notifications. Most of the Tweets and Facebook updates from me during this stretch are ones I’ve scheduled using Tweetdeck or Buffer. But…I do share progress updates while I’m working. I work alone and these little progress updates help me keep going!
2:30-7:30 pm I’m picking up kids, serving snacks, emptying backpacks, driving carpools, supervising homework and cooking dinner. I’m sporadically on my phone, responding, reading and sharing, but my kids come first so it’s just fits and spurts. I tend to take photos for Instagram during this time because kids are cute you know!
7:30-8:00 pm You’re gonna laugh, but this half hour is golden. My 3-year-old is in the tub playing with her rubber ducks, and I’m sitting on the bathmat pinning. I didn’t really use Pinterest until six months ago and have built a nice following (6.4K) by pinning 5 nights a week during tubby time.
8:00-9:30 pm I work again. My husband is often on the computer in the evening and I’m mostly sewing. Before I turn everything off for the night around 10:00 pm (I leave my phone downstairs when I go up to bed), I go back through and respond to any @ mentions or messages.
And that’s my weekday on social media.
A few things to keep in mind here. First, I work at night (and on the weekends) because I have little kids. In order to get my work done I have to work when I have free moments, no matter when those moments happen. If being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t my other full-time job, I would definitely set a limit and not work at night and on the weekends. Some day that will be the case, but not today.
Second, I love every aspect of my work, including social media. I love to read what’s going on in the sewing and tech world. I like to observe how people behave, to notice what questions they’re asking. I love to write and sew and design new things. This is my favorite job ever. It’s intense, but incredibly fun and this is how I fit it all in.