Why you might be losing followers on Instagram and How to find influencers for your business.

So here I am again, I’ve finally found a flow for my blog and I’ve decided to write more about the highs and lows of getting this business of mine off the ground, in the hope that it will help some of you in the same situation.

I’ve been doing pretty well with orders so far but a lot of them are from friends and family or friends of friends…

Which is great!! Don’t get me wrong, I love every person who contacts me and wants to order but there is nothing quite like making a sale from someone you do not know at all, you can’t beat that feeling that someone has found you, liked what you do and has ordered something from you.

That feeling when I had my first buy from a follower of my Facebook page was euphoric…

But they are not coming in thick and fast as I would like and my Instagram and Facebook accounts are only getting a few extra followers a week.

This is because I am struggling to figure out who to follow, how to find influencers that will be willing to help me (or have the money to pay them!) and where to post and share my blog.

It’s all a huge learning curve for me and in-between making a new piece of jewellery, answering enquires and sorting my accounts, I am also reading, reading and reading helpful blogs and tips on how to grow my business, joining valuable business facebook groups to help with networking and trying to ask the right questions! (Oh and writing a weekly blog! Ahhhhhhhhh)

All I can do here is tell you where I looked and explain what rules I am following, I can’t yet tell you if it has worked as I am writing this in the midst of trying to do it all.

Crazy I know.

But I hope to update you in the future to say yes!! Its working, keep going people, you will get to where you want to be!

So I have finally reached 115 followers this week on Instagram, But yesterday I was on 120…
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So why did I lose these followers, I haven’t done anything differently, my feed is looking pretty great (I think) and I am posting once a day.

So what is going on? You’ve got to love google and Pinterest for giving you the answers to this.

I googled why I might be losing followers and found that there are people who follow you so that you will click through to their page and follow them, once you do that, they unfollow you, or if you don’t follow them they unfollow you!!! Mean right?

It sucks but I am trying not to let it get to me. I am building my following slowly but surely and I think slow and steady wins the race. What I really need are genuine followers that like what I do and will eventually want to buy from me, so to follow for followers sake isn’t necessarily the best plan.

(A couple of good blogs that helped me with this are linked below at the end of this article.)

I am choosing carefully who I want to follow and hoping that they will like me enough to follow me back. It can be quite a difficult process but I believe in the long run it will be beneficial as I will gain genuine followers who like me.

So here is the next section… How to choice influencers and which groups to join on Facebook.

Now here I struggle, really struggle, I don’t want to be randomly joining everything and getting nowhere so I really need to think about who can help me and which Facebook groups might be the most beneficial for my business.

I’ve been reading a blog about how to find Instagram influencers (you’ll find the link below)

I don’t want to go for massive global influencers or even huge influencers in the UK as I only have a small home business, so I want to go for local and smaller “micro-influencers” who have a smaller following but their followers are loyal.

So that’s what I’m working on. I have joined this facebook group recently...

https://www.facebook.com/groups/productpreneur/

You have to answer a few questions to join but I have asked some questions today and they have been really really helpful.

I’ll be trying to implement the advice over the next few weeks and will let you know how I go.

My competition is still up and running on my website so do make sure you follow this link...http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/jewellery to look at my jewellery page and enter the competition. I will drawing the winner from all my Instagram followers.

The losing followers on instagram links are here...

http://thelittleplantation.co.uk/blog/why-am-i-losing-instagram-followers-the-instagram-series-part-2

https://alextooby.com/losing-instagram-followers/

How to find the right influencers link...

https://later.com/blog/how-to-find-instagram-influencers/

I highly recommend after reading this blog that you get their emailed /Instagram-Influencer-Marketing-Strategy-Guide, it has a good amount of really helpful information! And I’m not even being paid to say that, I just think it’s really useful and I hope you do to!

So this week, I’m going to start marketing on Pinterest and try to grow my Instagram followers.

How will you be spending your week?

How I make a custom made piece of jewellery.

So , as I told you last week I have had a couple of stalls this week. It’s been fun and interesting and has definitely taught me a few things along the way.

Firstly choose wisely as some stalls can be very expensive and not necessarily be the correct target audience.

Secondly, don’t have too high expectations, then you won’t be disappointed. I was so happy that I made 2 sales last week of ready made pieces and one order for a custom made piece.

Not much but it’s a great start. I’m getting myself out there.

The custom made piece is the most exciting because this lovely lady was local to me and she’d seen me and contacted me via Facebook. She then saw where and when my first stall would be and came down to see me.

It was lovely to have that support for my little business but also it meant that my idea of custom made pieces might actually work.

The board was out with a variety of stones laid out on it for her to choose from...

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and I had remembered a mirror so that she could get an idea of what the piece may look like.

She then looked through the Jewellery look book... 
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and pointed out the piece that she liked the idea of, this is the one she suggested...

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as she liked the beads and twists.

I also handed over samples of the wire so that she could decide on the colour that she wanted.

She chose Antique Bronze. 

The whole exchange took about 20 minutes which I loved as I felt that it showed I had time for her and made her feel like she wasn’t rushed and could take as long as she wanted.

It’s all about the experience.

I then went away with the stone and the information and begin to create the piece.

The thing with my jewellery is that it’s never the same twice. So I made this piece “in the style of” the piece she liked, but it was going to be unique to her.

I also decided to try a new weave which I really liked.

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Here are a few pictures of the process...

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The piece turned out beautifully. I made it that week so that the piece could then be picked up at my next stall the following Saturday.

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She was very happy, it went with her skin tone perfectly and it was my first piece sold to someone I didn’t know!

How exciting is that!??

So message me if you would like a custom made piece. Is there a special occasion coming up? Is there a special gift that you’d like to buy for a special person? You can contact me here...http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/contact

I have a lovely selection of stones that I am working on getting online and creating a gallery for you to look at but there are also readymade pieces that you can buy coming soon. 

My competition is still going, this week I have had 6 more followers but I would love to get to 150 followers and as soon as I do I will giving away a lovely small bead pendant. 
Like the one pictured below...
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It can be made to order with any coloured bead or wire, so get following and be in to win. Head over to my jewellery page to enter. http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/jewellery

Thanks for reading, catch you next week. 










How to overcome writers block.

I find it quite funny that I’m writing a blog about writers block because I have had writers block!

Why you have writers block in irrelevant, what you do about it is the key so a few articles that really helped me over the last few weeks are posted at the end of my blog and I hope they help you as they have helped me, after all, that it was I am trying to do here.

But here are my reasons, they may resonate with some of you…

I had so much going on last week that I’m afraid I didn’t upload a blog and I know that that is one of the cardinal sins of blogging!

I had my first ever stall on Saturday and I was working so hard towards making it look amazing and being prepared that the blog kind of didn’t materialise.

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What do you think? I think it looks rather fabulous considering I have never done this before, so the effort really paid off. (And believe me when I say I’m not great at self-praise!)

Although it looked great and really professional, unfortunately I think I picked the wrong venue as I really didn’t generate as much interest or sales as I would have liked!

I was also in a bit of a dilemma… after reading so many articles on what I could possibly write a blog about, I came across the information that I “should” be writing this blog about what I do and not just randomly picking topics to chat about.

One of the tricky things is knowing whether to just write a lifestyle blog about anything and everything that comes to mind or stick to my industry as an artist. I quite enjoy writing about random things and my dinner party blog got the most reads of any so far but I’m not a chef so is it worth blogging about food when I make jewellery and I paint murals?

I think so, if it helps people then I’m all for it. But apparently it’s just not what I SHOULD be doing!

And the question is… Does that really matter?

So with all this turmoil in my head, I had to think, do I write about the next piece of jewellery I’m making (well no, because then I am always self-promoting and not helping people and apparently that will make people run a mile)

Do I write a blog about how to make a certain piece of jewellery, like a how to? (I could but I already did that and I can’t simply do that every week)

More dinner party tips (no that will just get boring, wouldn’t it?)

Holidays?

Painting?

Movies?

Seriously what the hell do I write about? I have loads of random stuff I could waffle on all day about but will it have the desired effect and will it be interesting?

We all know why people do this don’t we? So why do you have to try and hide the fact that really, you would love for people to read your blog, leave a comment, start a discussion, be intrigued about who you are and what you do and actually have a little look around your website, send you an email or make an enquiry, just talk to you in general and if they don’t then isn’t it just a huge waste of time and energy?

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So I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, I got stuck, totally blocked, I spent so much time reading about marketing and blogging I couldn’t figure out the best way to market myself or blog.
One of the main things that is putting me off writing this blog is that since I didn’t post last week my bonce rate has gone from 86% to 45%!! Fantastic right? But then my actual audience has gone from 102 to 19!! 19...

So the great news is that people read my blog, but the bad news is that no one engages with it and they simply leave my website after reading it. If I don’t blog, more people land on my homepage, possibly look around but nowhere near as many.

So here I am, stuck, unsure what to blog about or even if I should keep on blogging at all.

I suppose this blog is turning into a bit of a “watch me as I try to make my business work” kind of blog, with all the mistakes and successes along the way and I hope it encourages people to keep trying, as I am, whatever stumbling blocks you come across.

So here I am again hoping that I have intrigued you enough to take a look at what I do. Perhaps learn a little bit about me, read another of my blogs or take a look at my jewellery. 

I am also going to be running a competition soon, my goal is to hit 150 followers on Instagram (I currently have 103!) so if you would like to win pop over to my Jewellery page here... http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/jewellery  to see what it's all about.

If you like what you are reading then please do comment below in the disqus box, as I will always get back to you. 

I hope I have given some helpful hints to keep you motivated as, through experience, I really do feel your pain!! We are all just trying to do our best.

Articles about overcoming writers block and what to blog about…

https://www.creative-copywriter.net/content-marketing/how-to-find-inspiration-for-your-blog-posts-38...

https://www.copyblogger.com/brainstorm-blog-topics/

https://www.blogtyrant.com/how-to-write-the-perfect-blog-post/

https://www.webhostingsecretrevealed.net/blog/blogging-tips/10-ways-to-overcome-writers-block-when-b...

Tips on setting up a craft stall

I have my very first stall coming up on 23rd June at Blue Coat School in Harborne. Then my second the next weekend on 30th June at Queen Alexandra College. (Both in Harborne, Birmingham if anyone is interested in coming along to see me.)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. It really is the ultimate test for you product. Will people buy it?

I thought a lot about what would draw me in to look at a stall and tried to apply that to my stall.

 My stall is a little bit different I hope.

Firstly I will have my jewellery for sale, I have tried to come up with some unique ways to display it as I would like my stall to stand out and for people to remember it.

My first unique selling point is that I display some of the jewellery I make in mini glass bottles. They look really interesting and I love that it is so different (I haven’t seen it anywhere else yet!!), I have kept this under wraps until now but as I am starting to sell more, I decided to show off this idea. I believe it creates a little art piece out of the jewellery so when you’re not wearing it, it can be displayed on your dresser. Let me know what you think? I’d love the feedback.

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I am also planning to display other items on a white metal bird cage. As all my jewellery is made from wire, they look quite interesting hanging from rods coming out of the bird cage. It also lifts the items up off the tables and creates another visual piece that will hopefully catch people’s eye and draw them in to look at my stall.

But the main unique feature that I haven’t seen before and decided I wanted to do right from the start is a board with the words “Pick a stone, choose the wire. I will do the rest” on it…

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I followed my branding with this and continued with the zentangles in black and white that I designed on my business cards and banner.

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Keeping on brand and making everything follow a set of colours or patterns really works to make you memorable. (I always take pictures of my jewellery on my beautiful dining table, so whenever a picture of my jewellery pops up on facebook or instagram people will know that it's by me. Look up Akers of Art on Instagram and follow me if you like what you see.)

I will then have my boxes of stones laid out on the board, so people can pick their favourite and have a totally bespoke piece of jewellery made to order. What do you think? Is this something you’d be interested in when browsing?

I have been working really hard towards my stall and how I want to portray myself and my brand.

I used vistaprint to order some banners, firstly one with my logo and contact info on and secondly with pictures of the murals I do so that people can enquire about those when looking at my stall.

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I have a jewellery look book to give customers an idea of what they can order and also and ABC alphabet board with all sorts of different lettering for when someone would like a name plate. They can look at the board or the book full of lettering to make choices on how they want the name plate to look. Again, all in black and white, using the same fonts and patterns to make them easily recognisable. 

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The thing with my work is that it is all made to the customer’s specifications so it makes them totally bespoke. I hope that this has an appeal to people as they are not just buying something mass produced.

I have tried to think of all the things that I will need but I suppose until I actually do the first stall I won’t know if I have forgotten anything.

Here’s a list of what I think I will need:

  • Black Gazebo (often places supply the table but not the gazebo)
  • Sandbags (to hold the gazebo in place)
  • Table cloth (also in Black)
  • Banners (following my brand)
  • Business Cards
  • Card Reader (I decided to get this as not everyone carries much cash around with them so to be able to take payments via card is much easier, I could lose sales if I don’t. I chose SumUp for mine as there is no monthly fee, only a small percentage of the transaction as and when you use it)
  • Display items – bird cage, glass bottles and all the other items mentioned above
  • Bum Bag and £20 in change for any cash transaction (I decided a bum bag was much safer than a cash box)
  • Cooler bag with lunch and water (I will be on my own and very unlikely to be able to leave my stall at all)
  • Jewellery making tool box (I thought I could make things whilst the stall is quiet, show people how it’s done and how I create my pieces)
  • Order books (As a lot of my work is made to order I need a good place to record all orders and enquiries)
  • Bags, boxes and bubble wrap (glass bottles are easily breakable)
  • String and scissors (to tie up my banners)
  • Lots of pens!! (I wouldn’t want to miss out on an order because of a pen malfunction)

And there we go. Have I forgotten anything? As I said, I guess I will only know once I get there.

I will definitely be taking a picture of the whole set up once I get there. It will be interesting to look back on my first stall and see how things have evolved in the future.

If anyone has any tips from their own experience please do comment below. I’d be grateful and I’m sure others will benefit from any pointers.

All of the items above are for sale so please do contact me here... http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/contact if you are interested in purchasing one of these or a made to order piece of jewellery. Special offer for this week only, quote offer3 in your message to me to receive 15% off.  

5 tips to help you throw an epic dinner party

So as promised last week… 5 tips to help you throw an epic dinner party.

I’m not saying I am an expert but I can say that every dinner party I have thrown so far has been a great success.

      1. It’s all in the planning…

My beautiful Mumma enjoyed the 5 course meal I did for last year’s birthday so much, that she requested a repeat this year! (Thanks Mum – Not too much work and preparation to make it just as successful! Lol)

I spent at least 2 weeks before hand planning the meal I wanted to create, I pinned everything onto a board on Pinterest, (you can check out my board for some ideas of what to cook for dinner parties here…https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rachie155/dinner-party-ideas/ ) and then I methodically went through the recipes, checking times and what needed to be cooked when, some things even needed to be cooked and cooled the day before.

It really helps to be organised like this so you don’t get any nasty surprises later.

I then wrote out the shopping list course by course, again so I didn’t miss anything and then double checked quantities.

I am a big fan of writing lists.

     2. Give yourself time…

This applies to time for shopping, time for organising and time on the actual day.

The dinner party was on Saturday so I planned a whole afternoon to shop on the Thursday, knowing that I wouldn’t get everything done if I left it too late.

I ended up going to the local butchers for meat, Aldi for most of the other items but also Waitrose for random things like Tahini and vanilla paste. That was a mission and took me almost 3 hours! Ahhhhhhhhh.

Friday I had to cook the risotto, it needed to be pre-made and cooled overnight in separate dishes because for the starter I was making Bombe Di Riso, which is a baked risotto, it’s delicious as it goes really crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle.

I also made a crème brûlée cheesecake. I have NEVER made a cheesecake before so this was a little bit of a crazy thing to take on but it was for my Mum’s birthday and she’s worth it. 

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(You do this stage of blow torching the sugar when serving the cheesecake not before! So much fun!)

The feedback was that it was the best cheesecake they’d ever had (that coming from an 82 year old who has tried a lot of cheesecake in his life time was a real compliment. https://thefoodcharlatan.com/creme-brulee-cheesecake-recipe/)

I then had to get ready for the 1930’s dinner party I mentioned in my last blog...

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It was such a fun night and I didn’t fall into bed until 12.30am!!

     3. Create an ambience…

So I peeled my eyes open to my 6 year old son at 6am on Saturday morning!! I do not recommend having a hangover as part of your planning for an epic dinner party.

But I had one none the less.

The planning continued and this time I needed to think about what kind of mood I wanted to create and how I wanted the table to look.

My dinner party was an intimate meal for 5 (single as ever here so 2 couples and me!)

So I cleaned the house and set the table like this…

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Last year’s table was a little different as I found time to make menu’s (I based each one on each guest’s favourite animal and it looked like this…

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This year I found these super cute mini easels in home bargains and used a white paint pen to write everyone’s names. 

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I used the simple rule of setting the table with the cutlery set out in order of use from the outside in. (I already knew this rule but here is a handy little guide that I found if you need it… http://emilypost.com/advice/table-setting-guides/)

I arranged the candles so that they didn’t block anyones view (you do not want harsh over head lights on for a dinner party) and organised a play list of Jazz music as my Mum and step dad love it and it is really lovely background music that isn’t intrusive when you want to talk.

     4. Be methodical

The planning was there for a reason. Use your plan and work through the list, ticking things off as you go, there is nothing quite like getting to an essential part of the cooking process and realising you have forgotten something incredibly important.

I had 4 courses to make so I really had to be organised. My guests commented on how calm I seemed, but that was purely because I had planned everything previously and simply had to methodically work through the list.

     5. Very simply… Don’t stress…

If you have followed the steps above then there should be no reason to panic, just work your way through things, plan your time and you will end up feeling relaxed and actually enjoy your own dinner party.

I had a lovely time, lots to drink and only had one minor blip when the beef wellington wasn’t cooked quite when I expected but I managed to get the whole meal out still hot and the beef was cooked to perfection! I laid the beef wellington on the table in the centre before I cut it open because firstly it creates a bit of drama and excitement and secondly I had written Happy Birthday in pastry!!! Just a little extra touch...

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Finally just remember that the people you invited are your friends, they are there to see you and enjoy the evening, they aren’t going to care if you burn the pastry or your soufflé sinks in the middle. In fact it’s something you can have a giggle over. Just enjoy it and you will end up with very happy guests.

My Menu

Canapés

Parmesan, Cheddar and Rosemary Cheese Twists with Chilli Pumpkin and Tahini Dip and Cream Cheese Garlic and Chive Dip.

Prosciutto, Basil, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella Skewers

Spanish Lemon Olive Oil Olives

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Starter

Ham, Pea and Pesto Bombe Di Riso with Rocket and Balsamic Drizzle

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Main

Beef Wellington with Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Baby Carrots, Bread and Herb Stuffed Mushrooms and Onion Gravy

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Dessert

Creme Brûlée Cheesecake

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On a final note...

As you know it was my mum’s birthday, I gave Mum a bracelet that I created and she was already wearing a pendant I had made for her for mother’s day. 
Here is the beautiful Birthday Girl...

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Please do take a look here... http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/jewellery at my Jewellery page. A number of items there are for a sale but I can also make a bespoke piece of jewellery to your requirements. I have my first stall coming up soon and any feed back would be much appreciated. So leave a comment on this blog, get a conversation started, message me here... http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/contact

I'd love to hear from you all.