Life is Better Shared: Focused Creative Community

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Business Skills, Education, Networking

Artists often have amazing ideas and ambition, full to the brim with plans for success, but they don’t always know how to channel that into achieving real results.

During the pandemic a lot of artists feel like they have come to a dead end, ideas dried up and no concept of what and when things might happen again, it’s easy for every day to feel like Groundhog Day.

Enter Tom Elliott with the Focused Creative.

As a freelancer himself with many years of experience in the Arts Industry, Tom quickly came to the conclusion that he needed to become business savvy.

After trying every different method under the sun, and spending a small fortune, he eventually designed his own method which is the driving force behind his online arts community.

The Focused Creative is a membership-based community encouraging creatives to come together and share their skills. It aims to enhance individual productivity by bringing people together in a supportive environment.

The main aim is to help artists find clarity and focus in planning, goal setting and understanding which tasks will drive future ambitions. It also assists members in gaining confidence alongside other people who are in the same boat, aiding you to battle any doubts or imposter syndrome you might feel when launching your career.

He believes in teaching creatives to take ownership of their career and have or create something of their own. It leads participants to define themselves as their own brand, setting themselves apart from others to create a unique, individual selling point.

There are weekly check-ins where the team work together to share what they have been up to and make a plan for the week ahead. This ensures a level of accountability for you to get work done. Not only are you responsible to yourself but now there are others backing you, who have helped you formulate a strategy.

The membership also includes quarterly Masterclasses with industry professionals to improve skills in all elements of business and creative practice. Also, coming soon will be your very own 90-day planner so you can plan for your future.

If you don’t think you have the time, then think again. It only requires 90 minutes of your week! By prioritising the right tasks you’re more likely to get the right results and introduce a sense of rhythm to your work.

And Tom is offering all of this for the bargain price of £19 per month! That’s less than a gym membership which, if you’re anything like me, you’re realistically never gonna use. Plus if you dedicate time to the community and yourself you should find an excellent return on your investment!

Tom has an amazing life philosophy:

Live Well, Dream Big, Laugh Often and encourage others to do the same.

Pretty inspirational right?

He spreads this philosophy through his own work as a comedy magician, the Focused Creative Community, and running a Variety Night in his hometown of Doncaster, all of which share the objectives to boost well-being and create a sense of belonging in anyone who may come across him and his work.

He has some great branding and marketing techniques we could all learn from too. Particular highlights include:

  • The tongue in cheek comedy elements strung throughout his entire website
  • The great injection of his personality found in all his online content
  • The ingenious method of getting visitors to sign up to his mailing list by offering instructions to a magic trick you can do yourself
  • His expansive coverage of all things social media

There are loads of ways you can get in touch with Tom too. Just click the links below to learn more:

 

 

Are there ways you could introduce community groups or shared learning into your company to help fellows in the creative industries? Or have you done so already? I’d love to hear about it so hit me up in the comments below.

APP OF THE MONTH: Mention

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Marketing, Social Media
Name Mention
Product Description Make sure you hear every conversation happening about you and your brand online in real-time!
Availability Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Key Features The easy way to manage your presence online with loads of handy settings and features including:

·       Creating alerts for your company and brand or your competitors so you can see who’s been talking about you, when and what they’ve been saying.

·       Filtering the most relevant internet mentions so you don’t have to.

·       Pulling your mentions from millions of different sources.

·       Anti-noise management. I LOVE this! Don’t get a bazillion unnecessary notifications, just get the essential info you ask for!

·       Connecting your social media accounts to quickly react to your mentions

·       Sharing your mentions with other members of your team

·       Viewing your stats and analytics to rate your online performance and see areas you can improve

Prices and Plans You will probably manage with the free plan! But they offer paid options for bigger companies from £25.49 per month.
Biggest Pro All your mentions in one place rather than some through Google, some through email and some through Hootsuite.
Biggest Con The reports section can be a little glitchy, but they constantly update it and listen to customer feedback.

Altogether Mention is a convenient and time-saving little app!

Bad Day Good Story: The Job Interview, Part 2

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Bad Day Good Story, Comedy, Entertainment

“I picked up an issue of Cosmopolitan the other day that had tips for job interviews, because I was like, ‘I need to get better at interviews.’ The article was basically about how to get someone not to hate you in 20 minutes. Every single thing they told you not to do, I was like, ‘I do that every day.’” – Jennifer Lawrence

 

Not read The Job Interview, Part 1? Click here.

The panel was made up of three women all of whom limply shook my hands before inviting me to sit down.

For the sake of this article, I will be referring to them as Angela, Bella and Caren to protect their identities (but is mainly because I don’t remember, nor do I care).

Angela was fixated on her mobile.  “Just to let you know I take notes on my phone, so don’t worry!  I’m sending texts throughout your interview” she explained.

I thought ‘Great Angela, why can’t you just make notes on pen and paper like everyone else in the world!’  I said, “You can’t fool me, I know you’re catching Pokémon”

Dead silence.

Shit.  Off to a fine start Ruth!  Well, if they don’t appreciate your incredibly witty and current joke (it was 2016 after all) you’ll just have to win them over with your adorable banter.

I had been asked to plan a 10-minute presentation about a specific spoken word artist and what digital media platforms I would use to promote them.  This took me around 5 hours of my life.  I worked hard on it, and I was psyched!  It would be bloody brilliant.  It had to be.  I had cue cards!

“Apologies” Bella piped up.  “We’re running a bit late.”  Again, no shit!  “So, that 10-minute presentation we asked you to prepare, we’ll be cutting you off at 5 minutes.”

What. The. Fuck.

I came all the way from Birmingham to give you this sodding presentation and now you tell me you don’t even care what I have to say.  Being my stubborn and competitive self, I decided to interpret this as a challenge.  I rummaged for my cue cards and took a deep breath: On your marks, get set, GO!

I was off.  Galloping through the gates at a million miles per hour.  1 cue card down… 2… 3, 4, 5… smashing both my presentation and the world record for the fastest speed anyone has ever spoken!  I slam the cards on the table and consulted the wall clock.  30 seconds to spare.  Game, set and match!  “Was that fast enough?” I asked, rhetorically of course.  I knew it was.  In your face bitches!  I am the winner! VICTORIOUS!

Dead Silence again.

OK, there was a chance I had lost track of why I was doing this.

“Right, well,” said Caren, smiling with her mouth but pure disdain in her eyes. “Let’s move onto some questions about you.”

Yep, clearly CRUSHED it!

But she didn’t ask me any questions you’d expect to hear at a job interview, the generic but suspected ‘Why did you apply for this position?’ or ‘What’s your biggest weakness?’ No, there was none of that fluff!  Instead, it was a round of quick-fire yes or no questions.

I felt like I was in the big black chair in the Mastermind, the moving lights had circled round the studio and landed upon me. A bead of sweat pooled on my forehead and the camera began to zoom in.

“Can you use a computer?”

“Yes.”

“Can you use Word?”

“Yes.”

“Can you work Excel?”

“Yes.”

“Powerpoint? Outlook? Publisher?”

“Yes, yes and yes.” Although I feel like if you could use computers, Caren, you maybe would have put that all under the banner of Microsoft Office.

“Windows? Macs?”

“Yep and yep.”

“The Internet?”

“Er, yes?”

“Facebook?”

“Yep.”

“Twitter?”

“Yarp.”

“Instagram?”

“Yeash.”

I thought ‘I wouldn’t have actually been able to apply for this job without many of these skills Caren… and to be fair, all social media platforms are pretty fucking similar…’ but instead, I just creatively reimagined ways to say yes.

“Yeppers…Yepster…Yeperoonie…Yah…aye…yes I surely canly do!” BLAH BLAH BLAH.

At the end of her checklist she glanced up at me, a worrying glint in her eye, saying “And, finally Ruth, Can you explain to me why you’ve been out of work for the last 5 years?”

Dead Silence… from me this time.

But after a far too long pause I managed to muster up the following extremely eloquent and intelligent response:

“Er, I haven’t?”

“Well,” Caren continued, “there’s no evidence of any work here on your CV.”

“How strange.”

I’m not gonna lie, this had thrown me through a loop. I mean, why had they even offered me an interview if they thought I had never worked in my life?!

“Could I take a look at that copy?”

Unimpressed, Caren palms it over.

I analyse my CV carefully before looking back to Angela, Bella and Caren in turn.

“Um…”

Beat.

“Have any of you thought to turn it over?”

I couldn’t believe it! I had travelled for hours, spent the best part of a day devising a presentation and waited for even longer and they hadn’t even bothered to turn over a sodding piece of paper?!

They all burst into laughter. I joined in, though I was crying on the inside.

And so, the interview was drawing to a conclusion.

“Now, are there any questions you have for us before we end?”

I had a list; I always have a list.

“Do you have any tablets or company phones to test the mobile capabilities of your site because at the moment it isn’t auto responsive?”

Having quickly scanned the equipment when I was trapped in the office and accessed that most of the hardware seemed to predate the Commodore 64 I can’t say I was hugely surprised by the answer.

“No.”

Great.

“We are however in the process of launching a 5-year plan to make our website mobile-friendly.”

5 years?

5 YEARS?

What are you doing every day Caren!? Step One, turn on the computer, Step Two, wipe brow, well that seems like plenty of work for today.

And actually, more to the point, in 5 years your mobile-friendly website will be out of date. In 5 years, we’ll probably be viewing websites through high tech contact lenses! (Or they’ll be a pandemic which will stunt the economic growth of the world and put you, Caren, out of a job.)

“Well, thanks for your time,” I said standing up and rolling my eyes as loudly as possible. “Looking forward to hearing from you.”

And with that, I spun on my heel and walked out the door.

* * *

Now I know what you must be thinking. ‘You bought The Girl on a Train, where does this come into play?’

Well folks, if ever a book has a more depressing opening of hundred pages of soul-destroying sadness I am yet to read it.

If you haven’t read it, in a nutshell, two women have given up on life and are sleeping or drinking the pain away.

Now I’m assured it picks up. Its twists and turns are (allegedly) enough to keep any reader hooked. I wouldn’t know, I have never finished it.

Because those hundred pages…

Whilst sitting on a train wanting to give up on life and sleep or drink my pain away, it wasn’t exactly the escapist thriller I was hoping for.

Oh well, at least it wasn’t raining.

40 Social Media Networks You’ve Probably Never Heard of: An A-Z Part Two

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Marketing, Social Media

And now for M-Z!

Not seen L-M? Click here to 40 Social Media Networks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of: An A-Z Part One

22. Meetup

A social network comprising of online groups that host in-person and online events. Whatever your interest from book groups to bodybuilding and everything in between you’re bound to find your tribe on here. There are creative industry lovers all across Meetup so it can be a great way to network, make new friends and spread the word of your company!

23. Moodle

The world’s leading learning management platform led by its community. With learning at its heart and supported by over 80 service companies it’s a free open source software that is always kept up to date, multilingual and used by some of the leading educational establishments worldwide including the London School of Economics and the University of New York.

24. Neopets

Ok, so this may have made it to the list for purely sentimental reasons, but I spent a lot of time on this site in my youth and I was delighted to find that it still existed! Plus Neopets are so frigging cute and if you don’t have any pets of your own then this is the perfect pet platform for you! Play games, raise pets and explore new worlds, whatever your age!

25. NewsGrounds

An online entertainment site packed to the brim with user-generated content and including games, artwork, films and audio. In its heyday, Time Magazine rated it in the Top 50 Best Ever Websites. All submissions undergo a Judgement where they are rated by other users to decide whether they are “saved” (added to the database) or “blammed” (deleted forever!) A great network for game designers, animators, artists and musicians alike.

26. NextDoor

This platform has got massive over the last few years, presumably because the only thing we’ve been able to do is spy on the neighbours and dob them into the wider community, but if you have a local, location-based target market, you can find them on here! NextDoor is a hyper-local social network for neighbourhoods to discuss things that may be of importance to those who live nearby.

27. Ning

Can’t find a social media network that is exactly to your liking or that perfectly caters to your audience. Well then, why not simply make your own? Create online communities with people who have dedicated their lives to all things Social Media! You can even introduce ways to monetise your social network and you get to decide exactly how it functions.

28. PostCrossing 

This is such a beautiful community project. It reminds me of Postsecret back in the early days of the internet. In a nutshell, it’s a service that allows you to send and receive real postcards from all over the world. All you have to do is simply request an address, send a postcard, then sit back and wait to receive yours. Perfect when travel is restricted for a way to see a bit more of the world and feel a little less lonely.

29. PuttyLike

Are you a multipotentialite? What’s that? It’s a person with multiple passions who don’t want to be just one thing. I suspect this defines most people who work in the creative industries so why not join a network of like-minded individuals who are trying to map out their own adventure and create their own rules for how life should be led. Take the quiz now to see if you’re a multipotentialite and join this community of remarkable people. Want to learn more?! Then watch the awesome TED Talk from Emilie Wapnick.

30. Ravelry

A social media network for the craft community and one of our previous App of the Months here at The Arts Business. However you use your yarn, be it knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving or dyeing, you’re bound to find kindred, crafty spirits on this site. Keep track of all your projects and find new ones in the same place with thousands of forums filled with other Ravelers with any interest you could possibly think of.

31. ReverbNation

This social media network has been specifically designed for the Independent Music Industry. Whether you’re a musician, producer or venue this is the place to come for conversation and collaboration. They have exclusive opportunities available only to members and a dedicated team that listens to and curates all content on the site. It is designed to get you more fans, more gigs and more money! So what are you waiting for?!

32. Splice

Another music-based social media site but with a few unique features. It’s a sharing platform filled with a sample library and audio plugins available on a subscription basis. It also includes specialist software, available online and offline, which perfectly visualises your compositions, with automated cloud backup to enable collaboration on projects. It’s on a mission to change the way people make music, so if you want to keep up, get involved.

33. Stage32

An educational website from the US designed specifically for those who work in theatre, TV and film. With 500,000 users, Stage32 is a great source for networking. It has a Facebook-style wall system and news feed as well as lounges for salon discussions, online courses, a daily blog, film screenings and has even recently introduced script services for budding playwrights and screenwriters alike.

34. TakingITGlobal

Taking IT Global (TIG) has been specifically established for young people to teach them about, help them engage with and eventually take care of global challenges. Whether they want to make a positive change in their local community or worldwide TIG aims to create opportunities for like-minded youth groups to participate in programmes using technology and thousands of educators to take these causes to classrooms internationally.

35. TalentHouse

TalentHouse was predominantly founded to link artists with brands and agencies. They work with some of the biggest brands on the planet including companies like Adidas, Spotify, Microsoft, Intel, Warner Bros and Amazon Studios, setting up creative briefs for individual freelancers to contribute content to bringing career opportunities and setting them up with potential clients across over 150 industries worldwide.

36. The Student Room

“Used by 70% of students” … gotta love an ambiguous statement like this… 70% of all students ever? Specifically, those in the UK? The year 7 class of Arden School and Language College? Regardless, this is definitely the UK’s leading social media network just for students. Whether you’re looking for lesson plans, peer support, tips for your uni application, careers advice, help with your student finance or even relationship and healthcare information as a student this is where you wanna be. (and allegedly where you’ll find 70% of all other students, everywhere!)

37. Twitch

Twitch is a live streaming social media network predominantly used by video gamers, as well as being the online broadcasting platform of Esports competitions. But its content is varying as it grows with categories comprising of Games, Music, Talk Shows, Sports, Travel & Outdoor, Just Chatting, Food & Drink, Art and Special Events. Everything on Twitch is live, all the time! Which is what sets it apart from other platforms with live video options.

38. Vero

Vero is one of the newest social media networks on our list and I reckon will be one to watch in the coming months. What sets it apart is that it is one of the only ad-free social media network out there, and it doesn’t allow data mining or algorithms. Designed especially for connection, not addiction, it has a chronological news feed, an audience selector so your profile privacy is in your own hands and vetted and trusted recommendations to follow. It’s still in its infancy so it’s got a few things to figure out but it is certainly worth a look in.

39. Vingle

An Interest Network where you can find people with the same hobbies and curiosities as you. Think back to a time where you wanted to share a joke about Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away but looked around the room and quickly deduced no one would get it. Well, you’ll find someone to share it with on Vingle. Head here to geek out and be yourself in a community of others that are bound to get you!

40. WattPad

Are you a budding storyteller or in love with reading? Then Wattpad is the social media platform you need to be on! It can be used to create your own work, with plenty of writing resources available, then build a global fanbase by publishing your work online. If your book gets star status it may even be selected to be made into a film by Wattpad Studios or published with Wattpad Books. They even have writing contests, award ceremonies and hand-picked reading lists to boost your work even further amongst their online community of more than 90 million.

And there you have it.

Do you visit any niche, creative social networks we haven’t listed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them.

As if by Magic, the Shopkeeper appeared: Goldmark Gallery

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art, Education, Marketing

There’s not success or failure…there’s just doing – Mike Goldmark

 

Deep in the idyllic countryside of the East Midlands in the small village of Uppingham lies an unassuming art merchant: Goldmark Gallery.

But this is not just your average gallery, it’s an art trading, ceramic selling, exhibition hosting, magazine publishing, television producing, gallery shop.

It’s a family run business, founded by Mike Goldmark, which had been going for over 40 years and now holds more than 50,000 items in stock ranging from the affordable to the pricey, but always of the highest quality.

Mike Goldmark started his working life as an employee for Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer learning the art of selling and the principles of business.

The key philosophy? Buy a product that people want and sell it for a profit, pretty simple right?

He moved onto working briefly in fast fashion but felt trends moved on too quickly. Although artistic merit can be found in fashion, he believes it is too fleeting to be widely appreciated as a true artform.

This led Mike to open his own shop. In the 70s, now knowledgeable in all things business, Mike began to trade in second-hand books. His store ran successfully until the rise of the internet when books could be sort out online for cheaper than he could afford to sell them.

In the meantime, however, his book sales’ success meant Mike was able to open a gallery in 1985 and, due to his extensive knowledge of books, in 1986 launched a publishing house. Knowing what type of books work and sell would have lent itself perfectly to this natural business expansion.

Since then, he has expanded his business to include prints and framing, a reference library, an artist programme, a music performance venue, film production and has introduced functional ceramics, all of which is curated with love, care and expertise.

He has spent years unteaching himself the traditional rules laid out to him by corporations, challenging himself into finding products that people don’t want and figuring out how to sell them anyway.

Take his unique method of ‘try before you buy’ ceramics, for example. Ceramics are made to be held so Mike tells his customers to pick ‘em up n’ chuck em’ round, rather than the traditional look but don’t touch method.

He takes artists under his wing like other galleries, however where others may have hundreds on their books, Goldmark Gallery has a small selection of potters, currently sitting at twelve. This ensures a higher quality of artists who have a higher level of attention paid to them by the gallery staff. The more time and effort put into each potter is beneficial for both parties as it creates a wider awareness and understanding of their work, leading to more sales.

Since the start of the pandemic, Goldmark Gallery has also been creating films about potters, artists and the gallery itself. It allows customers to see the gallery action from their homes and improve their understanding of the artwork but allows artists to remain focused on their creative flow and developmental work without distraction.

These films have a huge reach and are all free online. ‘Why no charge?’ I hear you ask. Simply, it’s great PR, and Mike has found the return on investment (ROI) makes it completely worth it.

Mike believes as a society we do our best to put education and selling into different categories. Of course, he isn’t arguing with every child’s right to free education, but he’s saying these shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. You should learn and be sold, kinda like a museum ending in a gift shop.

Additionally, Goldmark Gallery shares the work of artists, using art to maintain a sense of community, which is being lost through the rise of online media and, of course, the pandemic. He is proud of his town of Uppingham which maintains a mainly independent high street. This is thanks to Mike buying up property in the 80s and then renting it to independent shopkeepers.

Customer service remains at the heart of his work. He aims to make people feel welcome and settled in his space. From making customers a cup of coffee to enjoy as they looked for purchases to inviting them from lunch whilst they learn about the artwork around them and the team that’s made it all possible.

 

But despite all of these great business skills and money-making methods, for Mike it’s not about being rich and famous, it’s about working hard, and utilising any profit to provide gainful employment to as many people as possible which in turn supports all the other goals of the gallery: welcoming customers, building community and educating people.

 

If you want to learn more about Mike Goldmark and the team then head over to the Goldmark Gallery website or check out his interview on The Practical Creative Podcast

Has your business branched out in unique and creative ways? Tell us about them in the comments!

 

APP OF THE MONTH: Hashtag Expert

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Digital Marketing, Social Media
Name Hashtag Expert
Product Description Finds popular hashtags so you don’t have to! This app is bound to boost interaction across all your social media platforms!
Availability Available from the Apple App Store.
Key Features ·       Find hashtags for all the top social media apps including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.

·       Browse millions of trending hashtags in over 50 industry categories

·       See in-depth analytics to see exactly how well they work!

·       Get personalised hashtag suggestions based on your hashtag history

·       Add trendy and super cute captions to your posts!

·       Get all the best hints and tips about hashtags, the impact they can have on your posts and exactly how to use them!

Prices and Plans Completely Free to begin, but it will cost £2.99 per week/£7.99 per month/£33.99 per year for additional features.
Biggest Pro They provide you with loads of helpful information on hashtags and how to use them including their Four Rules of Hashtagging:

·       Rule #1 – Relevant – make sure you always match the hashtags with the content of your posts

·       Rule #2 – Diverse – make sure you choose hashtags that have a wide range of post counts

·       Rule #3 – Alive – make sure you choose hashtags that are alive, and still have lots of new posts being tagged with them

·       Rule #4 – Reachable – choose hashtags where the top posts have similar amounts of likes to your average likes

Biggest Con The constant pop-ups! Although I imagine if you pay for the products you don’t get these, they are running a business after all.

So, stop wasting time trying to think up 30 hashtags that won’t even work!

Try Hashtag Expert now!

Bad Day Good Story: The Job Interview, Part I

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Bad Day Good Story, Comedy, Entertainment

Death will be a great relief.  No more interviews” – Katharine Hepburn

It was a bright autumnal morning as readied myself to embark on the 11.12 to London.

* * *

I had already got off to a bad start by waking up late and rushing off leaving my entire life at home.  The essential item I had forgotten was a phone charger (for my 2-year-old Samsung Galaxy which, in its current battered and bruised state, had a battery life of around 10 minutes).  With no time to go home, I ran (by which I mean walked quickly-ish, quicker than my usual casual saunter anyway) to Sainsbury’s, and bought the world most overpriced charger.  On a whim, I also picked up The Girl on the Train to keep myself entertained on the journey.  I returned to the station and boarded the train.

* * *

I travelled the additional hour-long journey on the tube* to Deptford ready for my interview.

! SIDE RANT ALERT !

I bloody hate how long it takes to get anywhere in London.  Everyone raves about the public transport system, and I will admit that the buses and trains are very frequent, but they neglect to mention:

  • Whatever your vehicle choice it only travels at about 10 metres per hour;
  • There are strikes every other day which means everywhere you look closely resembles a cattle ranch, the population herded on and off buses and being housed in extremely close quarters;
  • Scheduled maintenance guarantees whatever tube line you want to travel on will be closed;
  • If you want to go south of the river swimming through the Thames and then hitchhiking to your destination via Guam will end up being much faster.

! SIDE RANT OVER !

Now no offence to the people of Deptford (says she as she is most likely about to cause great offence to the people of Deptford) but Deptford is not a great place… I did see evidence of one shady looking hipster café complete with mismatched furniture and Edison lightbulbs (very original) which implies it is up and coming, however in my opinion its only redeeming feature was a very large and well-stocked Poundland.  I believe this illustrates perfectly that it is in fact very much down and going. 

My Interview was at the Local Arts Centre with a Poetry and Spoken Word promotions company and on paper looked right up my street.  Their Mission? Evolve this area of the arts so it is more widely received throughout London and the UK and to rid people of their preconceptions that all poetry is wanky, pretentious and weird.  A brilliant concept.

I signed in on time at the reception and went to chill in the café.  After 15 minutes I was approached by the recruitment officer who informed me they were running late (No shit) and invited me to wait in the office.  I thought ‘Nope, I am quite happy sitting here where you can’t see me checking social media on my laptop.  I would therefore not like to walk into your office where all your staff can stare at me making me feel excruciatingly awkward thank you very much, but not wanting to reveal the sarcastic cynicism that is my personality I said “Ooo yes, that sounds great!”

I took a seat and scanned the offices, a typical arts hub with ratty pictures of success stories on the walls, old furniture including a couple of bean bags to add the air of chill and funk and lots of hustle and bustle.  I opted for a chair, sat and picked up a leaflet from the coffee table and pretended to read (to look all profesh and deeply interesting) whilst subtly rotating my head so my ear was pointing in the direction of the raucous laughter in the corner. 

Man, I would be a great spy!

Unfortunately, what my sneakiness revealed was not some delightful anecdote about a poet they were with the other day. Alas, No. These middle-aged women were hysterically divulging their individual, very personal, Tinder Dates.  Now, I’m no prude, I love a funny tinder story as much as the next person, but in the pub or on lunch or in the office when you don’t have complete outsiders and potential employees coming in and out all day.  I turned back to my leaflet, now actively trying to read its incredibly dull content.  Anything to attempt to erase the all too graphic images of these strangers and their explicit sex lives that now seem to be burnt on the surface of my mind’s eye.

Finally, the recruitment officer called my name.  They were ready for me.  I was marched down a corridor to a small meeting room.  The door opened.

And so began the worst job interview of my life.

TO BE CONTINUED…

40 Social Media Networks You’ve Probably Never Heard of: An A-Z Part One

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Marketing, Networking, Social Media

Find a niche social media network that fits you could be great marketing for your arts business.

Starting with A-L

Read M-Z in Part Two

  1. about.me

Billed as a simple yet professional profile to showcase who you are and what you do, about.me is basically an easy way to create a website for your business. Initially free and only $6.58 a month to connect your own domain it’s one of the cheapest options out there, but you are limited to one page (also known as a landing page) which sums up you and your business.  It is insanely easy to set up and the free version is great if you’re a recent graduate or just starting out and want a little online presence.

 

  1. Anobii

An International Social Media Platform for people who love reading. Does exactly what it says on the tin, whether you’re into fiction or non-fiction and whatever the genre you’re bound to find your next read on here. You will also be able to find the right community to interact with! So, if you’ve written a book which has been published, or you are thinking about writing and want to check if there’s a market for it this is the network of groups, discussions and blogs for you to be a part of!

 

  1. beBee

Share your personal brand with employers and professionals. It will help your business grow and allow you to network within your industry. In the UK it is primarily used as a job search site which you can limit by location and find freelance positions or jobs which can be done remotely (or from home). The perfect network for finding work in the pandemic.

 

  1. Behance

Also our App of the Month for April 2021 Behance is a social network set up by Adobe as a place where you can showcase your work in an online portfolio as well as find some new, hand-picked inspiration for whatever your next project might be.

 

  1. Blind

This company is genius and I really hope it grows to be an important resource in the corporate world. Blind is community of over 3.5 million users who are there to share advice, discover information about taking steps in their chosen profession and provide honest feedback on their workplaces, whether dishing the dirt or singing the praises. It’s mission is to break down barriers within the business industry to enable people to make a real change where it is needed and make informed decisions on their career path.

 

  1. Blogger

Have you ever wanted to start a blog? Well with blogger you’ll find that it is super easy! Find a community filled with millions of people with different hobbies and interests to match yours. With free domain names, loads of templates to choose from and built in analytics so you can get to know your audience this is the perfect platform to kick start your creative business. As you start building your following you can even add Google AdSense into your blog so you can start to earn money from your hard work.

 

  1. Care2

This is the world’s largest community for good. With over 45 million users it is the perfect place to build online petitions, whatever the cause. Anyone can start a petition, share petitions to help them gain momentum and sign up for updates on causes they’re interested in! Current Arts, Media and Culture petitions include things from changing the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous People Day to co-naming West 8th Street in New York to Jimi Hendrix Way. As you can see it allows a wide scope for people to make a change. They also have important partnerships with companies like Amnesty International to ensure your petition gets seen by the right people.

8. Clubhouse

This new social network is so exclusive you have to be invited by a current user.  Experimenting with the current rise in the popularity of audio-based content (like podcasts and radio plays) this platform is all about dropping in on other peoples conversations. Audiences can listen live to interviews, discussions and general chit-chats! The difference to platforms like Twitch is that these aren’t saved and stored to listen to later, you have to be there or you’ll miss out on the fun!

9. Connected Heroes

connected heroes

A relatively new social network that aims to bring together entrepreneurs from all over the world to create a positive change in the business world. Entrepreneurship can be lonely so it’s important to remember that we can ask for help from others who have been there and done that! In return, we can provide our own knowledge and expertise to those who need it and this is the perfect platform to do it all from.

10. Crunchy Roll

This is the world’s most popular Anime Network connecting fans of Anime and Manga across more than 200 countries. They provide unique content, events, products, games and Manga to their subscribers. It’s a nieche network but if this is where your artistry and expertise lie this is most definitely a platform you’ll want to be a part of.

 

11. DeviantArt

Created in 2000, with over 61 million users and 45 million unique monthly views DeviantArt is the must have social media network for artists and art enthusiasts. This platform allows you to share, exhibit and promote your work online, whatever your medium from comic to cosplay, sculpture to street art, traditional artforms to tutorials, and everything inbetween. The supportive, inclusive community on DeviantArt will allow you to grow and develop your work with like-minded individuals.

12. Ello

Known as The Creative Network, Ello showcases art, fashion, photography and web culture. What sets it apart from other platforms in this area is that they won’t sell your data and they never display adverts. They also have some awesome features including a blog with recent news and a discover section which is similar to Pinterest. There are offerings of creative briefs from companies which work almost like a competition-based system. You send in your design (at the moment to companies like #OnlyTogether and films including Space Jam and In The Heights are participating) which you will be paid for if it’s used in the final campaign. They also have a Giveaways section in which artists can give away pieces of artwork in a competition to encourage online interaction and user generated content.

13. Fandalism

Fandalism is a social networking site especially for musicians run by Philip Kaplan, a New York based Drummer. Reported to have 500,000 users, it’s simply a place to share your music and meet fellow musicians. They also run a business called Distrokid alongside; a paid service which will put your music into online stores and streaming sites including Spotify, Amazon, Tidal, TikTok and YouTube.

 

14. Fotki

Fotki is a photo sharing site (like Flickr and Tumblr) but what makes it different is pretty much that it’s been around the longest so it is bound to have a lot of users. Starting in 1998 and constantly evolving it has state of the art, super protected servers which store your images, basic editing software built in and the ability to buy prints of your photos along with every genre of photography you could ever imagine, but no porn (or at least no obvious porn)! So, that’s a win over Tumblr.

 

15. GoodReads

Another site for avid readers, GoodReads is now a recognisable brand in the UK as they frequently run award ceromonies and book recommendation campaigns. You can use it track what you’ve read, create a reading list, see what your friends are reading and read book reviews. It’s unique feature is its recommendation engine which analyses 20 billion data points giving you suggestions tailored to your literary tastes! Scary, but pretty amazing!

 

16. Hello Network

I’m not gonna lie, I have little idea what this social network does, but my god it is compelling in its ambiguity! I really think this is one to watch. It’s based on love and creating real connections from shared passions. It has a graphic novel in which adventurers explore a parallel universe (What’s not to love about that?!) but it also isn’t available in the UK… yet! It’s made by a load of old google engineers and I reckon it’s gonna be great so keep your eyes on this one!

17. Hive

Hive Social is pretty much an amalgamation of all the social media platforms you know and love with the best bits pick n mixed in to create a new uber network. Like Twitter, you can microblog, like Instagram you can upload snapshots, like Facebook you can share and repost stuff you’re interested in and for those of you who remember the good old days of MySpace and Bebo you can save your favourite music to your profile. And (for now at least) the feed is chronological instead of algorithm-based so your content is more likely to be seen and spread! It’s blowing up at the moment so definitely one to watch!

18. Kroogi

Kroogi is a Russian and English social networking company based in San Francisco (obviously…) which tranlates to ‘circles’.  It’s a site for creatives including musicians, painters, writers, videographers, photographers and other artists to showcase their work, but what gives this platform an edge? They run a ‘Pay what you want’ scheme in which you can pay artists directly for downloads they’ve created. Artists are also able to set a minimum contribution. It pretty much sits in the middle of free of charge sites and fixed price models in the image industry respecting both the rights of the creatives and consumers.

 

19. Library Thing

Yep, you guessed it, it’s yet another social network for book lovers! Catalogue your books and must reads alongside a community of like-minded people. Turn your catalogue of books into an online library or book store with Library Thing’s paid service Tiny Cat with prices ranging from absolutely free for personal libraries to $35 per month to list up to 20,000 items.

 

20. Likee

Pretty much TikTok but from what I can tell a lot more lapsed with its security. It’s target audience is over the age of 17 so it has more adult content than TikTok and it has an expansive selection of unique video effects. It also boasts an impressive 150 million users so someone must be using it. I would take a look but approach with caution. There is a lot of negative press about it kicking around the interweb!

 

21. Listography

I don’t know about you, but I bloody love a list! And this site is full of them! Lists about everything from Baby Names to Things to make you happy, you can store all your lists on here and hopefully spread a little happiness. They also offer a great range of Listography merch including list journals and even a board game!

Read M-Z in Part Two

Do you visit any niche, creative social networks we haven’t listed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them.

A Children’s Book Adventure: Zog and the Quest for the Golden Star

Posted Leave a commentPosted in attractions, Entertainment, Events, Publicity

Finally, in a year of lockdown, the end seems in sight and on day one of the exit plan Step 43,865 Warwick Castle has opened its doors with an awesome event which centres around one of the bestselling books from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Zog, the story of a clumsy dragon who just wants to be top of the class at Dragon School.

Having had at least 3 months of being able to plan this event since a Merlin attraction was last open it did have a few too many glitches for my liking but it does have a fab layout with clever use of the outside area of the castle. (Especially when you are legally unable to go inside!)

Guests follow a map to different years of Dragon School where they complete challenges and collect stamps to earn their very own Golden Star to show their friends they’re the best in the class.

With 5 stops to attend in total there is some great inspiration for arts businesses up and down the country to create events suitable for all kinds of budgets to get the crowds back in when the world opens up:

  • The first year of dragon school is a simple photo stop where you can pose with Zog while you learn to fly! Not only is this perfectly situated at the entrance, but it is a exceptional way to immediately trigger some social media interaction. People love a photo op plus this can be a cheap and easy thing to set up! My advice? Make sure your social usernames and hashtags are made visible to encourage that user-generated content!
  • The second and third years see interactive floor buttons which triggered great special effects to teach Zog how to roar and breathe fire. Admittedly this is for a higher budget including effects to outdoor speakers, dry ice and water fountains but there are loads of easy and cheaper ideas to encourage interaction. You could use anything from simple tech like QR quotes to send you to videos, polls or pages of your website or some old school carpentry like lifting flaps and spinningwheels! Just make sure there’s some alcohol gel around for hands-on activities!
  • Dragons learn how to capture a princess in year four with two assault courses (one made accessible for wheelchair users) assembled from tree stumps and branches and painted in orange and blue on brand with the event. This is the perfect event for children (and childish adults) and a really clever use of natural, easy to source materials; an excellent idea for any budget!
  • In the final stop dragons learn to fight! A marked-out area with a couple of actors playing knights, including the legendary Sir Galahad teach you to battle. I’m not gonna lie, kids with fake swords can be pretty lethal and I’m really not sure how covid safe it is as social distancing seemed to go out the window, but it certainly created an amazing memory to take home! Also a sneaky way of upselling with a strategically placed merchandise hut containing both Zog memorabilia and an array of medieval weapons, shields and armour you could purchase to take into the training arena. Do you have places where you could add sales to your arts business?

Anything linked with a bestselling children’s book is bound to make tickets sell. It also immediately provides you with another marketing outlet and fanbase!

For some companies, I appreciated that the potential royalties for current books might make them inaccessible but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  Authors like David Walliams or Michael Morpurgo for example have worked with a wide array of theatre companies, from Heartbreak Productions, a small-scale outdoor theatre company to the Birmingham Stage Company which tours mid to large scale theatres and has been known to house venues of the West End, so they can be made available to a spread of different budgets.

It’s also worth thinking about popular works that are out of copyright.  Generally, these become free 70 years after the writer’s death. (There are exceptions like Peter Pan where the royalties were given to Great Ormond Street Hospital by J. M. Barrie so all copyright is received as a charitable donation.)

So, look back through history! Anything by William Shakespeare… that’s free. Jane Austin, the Brontës, Louisa May Alcott… free. Dickens, Conan-Doyle, H. G. Wells… you get the idea. It’s also worth checking out school curriculums, creating educational days out to attract parents and entertain children. Books like Animal Farm by George Orwell are just out of copyright and a popular choice for GSCE due to the fact that it’s short and engaging.

Do your research, reach out to schools or authors and agents, collaborate with other arts companies to pool your resources! It’s been a difficult year for arts companies worldwide and will need some serious innovative thinking to keep them afloat!

Has your company utilised children’s literature in events? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments.

APP OF THE MONTH: Behance

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Art, Promotion, Websites
Name Behance
Product Description Owned by Adobe, Behance is the world’s largest creative network for showcasing and discovering creative work.
Availability Available from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and through your browser.
Key Features ·       Look at projects from all over the creative industries including but not limited to:o   Graphic Design

o   Photography

o   Illustration

o   Interaction Design

o   Motion Graphics

o   Architecture

o   Product Design

o   Fashion

o   Advertising

o   Fine Arts

o   Crafts

o   Game Design

o   Sound

· Check out work curated and compiled by humans, not computers, and created by imaginative inventors who you can follow and interact with.

·       It’s used by some of the world’s leading creative companies to find new talent and advertise job opportunities throughout the industry.

·       Build mood boards of projects that inspire you while exploring the communities.

·       Watch artist and expert-led live streams to learn new crafts or the latest artistic techniques.

Prices and Plans Completely Free!
Biggest Pro The wide network of artists and companies who use this platform to find new talent!
Biggest Con It’s owned by Adobe so desperately makes me want to invest in every product they make so that I can make my own art!

I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t even heard of this platform until I discovered that many Fine Art Students from the Class of 2021 had profiles.

It is the perfect place to show off your work and get inspired!