small business tips for creatives

How to use Pinterest trend predictions to grow your business

Pinterest publishes an annual categorised list of data-backed emerging trends, and last December they shared their list of 100 trends to know for 2018.

The Pinterest list of 100 trend predictions for 2018

To begin with, have a read of Pinterest's blog post list: 100 trend predictions for 2018.
You can also download a PDF of the complete report with additional insights and metrics here.

You may be wondering how to use these trend predictions for the benefit of your small business. It's all very well to look at the list and think 'ooh, statement ceilings are gonna be big this year, how interesting!' but as businesses, we can actually use the data as actionable insights and make this information worthwhile to our brands. What can we do with essentially a free guide to what will be searched for and salivated over in the near future?

The Pinterest trends list is a vault of unlocked ideas. From a creative perspective you could use some of these to inspire what you make, how you market your business/products, and even aspects such as what to post on social media. You may not see any obvious connections with your own products/services, but some of the trends are transferable and linked in un-obvious ways!

Using Pinterest data to inspire and adapt what you make

Example: you're a bookbinder, and Pinterest predicts that 'unique keepsake guestbooks' are on the up. You could think about creating your own version of keepsake guestbooks. People are specifically searching for unique keepsake guestbooks, so be sure to design something original, perhaps even combining this with another trend, e.g. 'boho baby showers'!

A post shared by Stacy Koo (@doraecyscraps) on

Using Pinterest data to inspire your marketing

Example: you make scented candles and are planning a photoshoot. Pinterest predicts that the colour 'sage green' and 'patterned plants' are gaining momentum. These could be used as a theme for your photograph backgrounds and props to keep them fresh and on-trend. You could even incorporate these elements as a theme for social media cover images, branding, etc, and tailor towards your target audience.

A post shared by vtwonen (@vtwonen) on

Using Pinterest data to inspire your social media posts

Example: you're a leather worker, working from your garage. Pinterest predicts that 'garage workshop' is a rising trend, with a specifically targetable interest of 'craft storage'. Now imagine you organise that workspace a bit and take gorgeous pictures of it. Include some close ups of details, images of you working in your 'garage workshop', photos of your 'craft storage', videos of you speaking about your work, etc, and then release these as a series of posts on Instagram and Pinterest, along with explanations and your story, and blog about it too, why not! Further the reach of your posts by researching hashtags relevant to workspaces, home studios, work in progress, maker portraits, etc to target your ideal audience, and bingo! 

Other examples of incorporating trends:

  • Use popular themes for your packaging, e.g. street art, patterned plants, herringbone tile patterns on gift wrap and tags.
  • Start Pinterest boards with your own curated collections of the trending items and ideas.
  • Write a DIY tutorial blog post with instructions on how to make something related to a trending style.
  • Write a blog post featuring your favourite trend. (Then pin that to Pinterest!)
  • Start a project of documenting one of the trends e.g. 'colourful doors' and post a series on your blog and social media.

Bear in mind that the insights are from Pinterest, so we shouldn't make the assumption that these will be trends across all platforms and audiences. The data these trends are based on is analysed from search and save patterns of Pinterest users/shoppers so may not representatively reflect what a Facebook user is interested in, for example.

Are you thinking of incorporating future trends into your business strategy? Or is this something you already do? How is it working out for you? We'd love to know!

Start As You Mean To Go On - New Year Pep Talk For Small Business Owners!

Digibloom new year pep talk for small business owners


Here's my personal small business new year's mantra: "ASBO".
Thankfully nowt to do with an anti-social behaviour order.

Achieve more with planning
Stay healthy by switching off
Be more productive with time
Organise like a fiend.

Here are some more of my tips for starting 2017 as you mean to go on:

  1. Plan a (healthy) daily routine
    Plan your days in advance, ensuring to begin in the morning as you mean for the day to go on. Get up and dressed, have breakfast, prepare for the working day as if you are going to work (because you are, even if it's in your home!)

    Have regular breaks, perhaps pop out for lunch to get some sunshine. End the working day at a reasonable time, switch your computer off and clear your workspace ready for the following day. Maybe even prepare meals one day for the rest of the week. Planning can help your productivity sooooaaaarrr!
     
  2. Create an inspiring workspace
    Whether you work from home, an office, studio, library or cafe, try to create a working sanctuary. If you are easily distracted by other people in the room, invest in noise-cancelling headphones. If you waste time searching for your tools, have them organised in a storage system.

    Have your computer-based work organised into a filing system, not a bunch of files scattered all over your desktop. Guilty! Surround yourself with inspiring imagery such as artwork and photos. If you work from home, try to use a separate area from where you sleep and eat. Keep your space tidy and inviting so that you feel like working.
     
  3. Know when to unplug
    As a small business owner, it's so easy to fall into working long hours as there is always so much to do, it never stops! However - you need to protect your health and wellbeing by finding your work/life balance.

    If you rarely unwind, your spring will be so wound up that you pop! Please don't pop. Take the breaks you deserve, get outside and away from your screen, and when you unplug, really unplug! Don't think about or talk about work until the next day. Easier said than done, I know! But I have personally experienced ill health in the past due to always being 'switched on', and it can negatively impact your business. Not worth it.
     
  4. Socialise
    Talk to like-minded thinkers, whether going for a coffee, chatting on the phone, or meeting for an exhibition. Inspirational people, discussions, and places will surely aid ideas and motivation. Sometimes you can't just rely on the cat. I said sometimes!

    Do you have any tips towards a healthy and happy work/life balance?Share with us in the comments below!

Small Business Spotlight Interview: Tim Easley

Tim Easley Small Business Spotlight with Digibloom

IN THE SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: TIM EASLEY - talented FREELANCE ILLUSTRATOR BASED IN LONDON, DISCUSSES HIS GRAPHIC DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION BRAND

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Tim and I'm a self taught designer, illustrator and photographer from London. The technical word for what I do is Designustratographer. Although don't look for that in the dictionary because it's too futuristic to be in there yet.

Tim Easley graphic designer and illustrator - interview with Digibloom

Describe your business

I attempt to arrange things nicely on pages, doodle stuff for people, and use a camera to steal people's souls. In return people give me money, which I mainly use to buy pizza. My business is unique because I made up my own job title to make sure nobody else is one.

A photo posted by Tim Easley (@timeasley) on

What inspires you?

I'm mostly inspired by Oprah, motivational quotes on posters in offices, Morris dancers, tinted windows on cars, and people who say they work hard and play hard. These things inspire me not to be terrible.

Why did you decide to start a business?

I hated where I was working, and couldn't find another job, so I decided to go freelance and survive on dust and grass rather than get a regular wage. I never looked back, mainly because I was too weak from the dust and grass to turn my head.

A photo posted by Tim Easley (@timeasley) on

Has the direction of your business changed over time?

Definitely. It was going down for quite a long time, then up, then kind of level for a bit, then down a bit, then up again. Hopefully it keeps going up because that's the direction I like the best. Oh wait, I get you. Yes I think I've become slightly more specialised as I've been going, concentrating on things I find more interesting rather than projects just to pay the bills, which is a lot more rewarding. Mentally and financially.

A photo posted by Tim Easley (@timeasley) on

A video posted by Tim Easley (@timeasley) on

What challenges have you faced as a small business owner?

Admin. Admin. Admin. I hate admin. It's the worst. The only good thing about working for someone else is that they do most of the admin. It's just so boring, especially when you're doing something creative. It sucks all of the creativity out of you and spits it into an Excel spreadsheet where you watch it die a slow and painful death.

A photo posted by Tim Easley (@timeasley) on

A photo posted by Tim Easley (@timeasley) on

What's the most rewarding aspect to running your own business?

Definitely the fact that I can work in my pants. I mean you can't generally do that if you work in an office. That and the fact that I do what I want, when I want. It's a lot more work than a 9-5 but if there's something I want to do one day, I can just take a day off and catch up later. It's very flexible. Just like me in my pants.

A photo posted by Tim Easley (@timeasley) on

What advice would you give to new businesses that are just starting out?

Make a plan and try to stick to it. It's sometimes tempting to change your plan slightly and compromise when you're not making as much money as you want, but in the end sticking to what you know you want to do is the best way. If you were just in this for the money, you probably wouldn't be in it, so keep that in mind!

What's next for your business?

Every year or so I look at how things are going and try make sure I'm still pointing in the right direction, as well as set myself new targets and clear out old work so everything feels fresh. I'm just gonna keep going where I'm going and cross my fingers! Also I might invest in an underground lair with some kind of flying boat with lasers on it. But don't tell anyone.

Learn more about Tim Easley and connect with the man himself online using these links:

Website: timeasley.com

Twitter: @timeasley

Instagram: @timeasley

Facebook: @iamtimeasley

Behance: be.net/timeasley

Small Business How To: Twitter For Beginners, Tutorial 2

How to use Twitter for your small business - beginners tutorial

TUTORIAL 2: HOW TO USE TWITTER FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS, FROM HASHTAGS TO POSTING TWEETS & other tips

Need to create your Twitter account? That's covered in the previous Tutorial 1 here!

First up, a few key Twitter terms:

  • Tweet: a Twitter post. If you tweeted, you posted something on Twitter.
  • Retweeting: a "retweet" (or "RT" for short) means sharing someone's Twitter post.
  • DM: direct message (also known as private message). "DM me your email address!" = "send me your email address in a private message."
  • Hashtag: the # symbol before a word in your tweet (explained in detail later.)
  • @mention or @username: mentioning other users in your tweet using @ before their Twitter username. This is explained later in more detail.
  • Trending topic: when a LOT of people mention particular words/phrases those words become a trending topic i.e. popular topic.
  • Follow: subscribe to an account to see their posts in your newsfeed.

Here's a screenshot of my Twitter profile as it currently stands. Yours should look something like this once your account is set up. It should display your header image, profile image, bio blurb, location, and website url.

Familiarising yourself with Twitter - beginners guide

I've numbered the most important functions of Twitter you need to know at this stage. Familiarise yourself by clicking around on your own Twitter account.

  1. Click 'home' to access your Twitter feed. You'll see tweets from all the people you follow, posts that they've retweeted, and occasionally a 'promoted post' from a company that has paid to show you their tweet.
  2. When a little number pops up where it says 'notifications', click on it to see what the notification is. Usually it will be another person favouriting, retweeting, or replying to your post, or a new follower (yippee!).
  3. This is your private message inbox. You will receive a notification on this tab when you receive a new private message. 
  4. Use the Twitter search bar to find topics of interest, hashtags, people you'd like to follow, etc.
  5. When you click on the tiny icon of your profile image, a drop-down list appears. Here you can opt to view your own profile, view your 'lists' (don't worry about those for now), check/change your settings, and log out of Twitter.
  6. Post your tweets using the 'tweet' button (more details in the next section below).
  7. Your exceptionally well crafted bio lives here!
  8. See which accounts you are following.
  9. Who is following you? Exciting!
  10. This is where your tweets appear.
  11. Click the 'edit profile' button to change your header image, profile image, username, bio text, location, website, and colour theme.

Posting Tweets: click the 'tweet' button:

How to send a tweet - tutorial for beginners

Type in the 'compose new tweet' box. Click 'tweet' to post it to your timeline. Yay, you tweeted!

Posting a tweet - Twitter tips for small business from Digibloom

Add images to a tweet: click the 'media' button: 

Adding media to a tweet.

Upload your image. You can upload up to four images per tweet. Click 'tweet'!

How to add images to a tweet.

Look at your tweet on your profile timeline. 

Anatomy of a tweet

Tweet pointers you need to know about:

  1. Click here to reply to a tweet.
  2. When someone retweets your post, a number will appear here to show how many times it's been retweeted (you can't retweet your own posts!) On other people's posts this is where you can retweet to share their post on your own timeline.
  3. See how many favourites your post earns. Click the heart on other people's posts to say you like their post.
  4. Did you post something silly? Fear not! This is where 'delete tweet' lives!

@Mentions: posting a tweet that includes an @username (e.g. mine is @thedigibloom) does 2 things:

  • It will notify the user you mentioned of your tweet. E.g. in the embedded tweet below, I've posted about an interview on my blog and included the @mention of interviewee @pluckddesigns which will alert her to the post.
  • My Twitter audience may seek to learn more about her by clicking through to her profile.

If you begin a tweet with a @username, it won't show up on your profile feed (unless your account is being viewed via mobile). This means you can reply to tweets without actually announcing them on your profile. It's useful if you e.g. want to thank someone for sharing your post, but don't want to fill your profile timeline with personal thank yous!

If you want to @mention someone or respond to a tweet so it shows on your profile, you can structure your post so the @username isn't the first word, or some people put a full stop before the @username. 

You can find all your tweets under the "tweets and replies" tab (see screenshot below).

Twitter for beginners with small businesses

Hashtags: hashtags turn any word into a searchable link. You can use a hashtag before a keyword in your tweet e.g. #painting. Clicking on #painting in your tweet will show all other tweets on Twitter with the same keyword #painting. The below example uses both #smallbusiness and #handmadehour. People searching for info or accounts about small business can do a twitter search for #smallbusiness and see all the tweets tagged with that keyword.

Twitter chats: you can use hashtags to track discussions and participate in scheduled tweet chats e.g. #handmadehour where people tweet about their handmade items and use #handmadehour so everyone following the tweet chat will see all the posts.

Now you are definitely ready to follow some people! Search for people you know, look at whom they are following to find more people to follow, look at your favourite websites and find their Twitter icon to follow them, and announce/link to your Twitter account via all your online websites/social media accounts!

Twitter tips: 

  • Goals: figure out what you want your Twitter account to do - build your brand's community? Increase sales? Spread awareness? Engage with organisations? Target your posts with your goals in mind e.g. who you direct your posts at, which hashtags you use, etc. 
  • Content: don't tweet all about yourself/your business. Twitter is for conversations, so be sure to listen, comment, favourite and retweet others, while talking about yourself/services/products 10%-20% of the time.
  • Frequency: don't tweet for the sake of it, but do try to tweet a few times per day. At the very least a few times per week. Twitter is an effective customer service tool, so it's good practice to be visibly active on there.
  • Content sharing: feel free to post content on Twitter that you've posted on Facebook or Instagram. Tweak the text so it fits into the 140 character limit of a tweet, it doesn't look good if you have content auto-posted from another platform! My biggest bugbear with social media is when people post directly from Instagram to Twitter and don't post the image along with it. Please, please don't do this! (Begging here!)
  • Timing: experiment and figure out when your target audience and/or followers are online most and tweet then. Bear in mind different time zones. I find that my UK audience tend to be online on week days in the early morning and late evening.

I hope my Twitter guide helps beginners to get started with tweeting. You're welcome to practice by tweeting me @thedigibloom (https://twitter.com/thedigibloom) or just stop by to say hello! Is there something you don't understand? Have I missed something? Feel free to comment below!

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