Thursday, August 1, 2019

Make your shareable images work for you -- Facebook survey; Nyanzilla Sailor Cat pin

On July 24, 2019 I was randomly selected by Facebook to answer some survey questions. Most of it had to do with trust issues regarding the platform. But the question I really hope they read the answer to was this (I'm paraphrasing, but this was the gist of it):

What sorts of improvements would you like to see for Facebook?

Here was my answer:

"Thank you for asking for feedback. Social media thrives on image sharing. Much of this is work of photographers and indie artists. Their artWORK deserves credit and compensation. So many third parties are making money off the hard work of original content creators.. who deserve more than “likes” and shares.

Please look into ways to give content creators more credit and compensation for the eyes they keep on your service. For all the users who “like” a page and depend on accessing and enjoying daily content on it .... there is an under credited artist/content provider making that page possible. Facebook and others are profiting. If Facebook wants to be a leader in social change, taking care of the indie artists/content creators who have thousands of followers seems like a noble first step. Thank you."

Sure, I'm just one voice in the herd... but sometimes that can start the stampede. Be sure to look for opportunities to use your voice to speak up for indie artist IP (intellectual property) rights.


Until shared images link back to creators -- with credit and compensation for all those "likes" -- indie artists must find every way possible for the WORK they share to work for them. "Exposure" isn't enough. (uncredited image from Google Images)
When you photograph your merch, think about backgrounds, lighting, and ways to incorporate a narrative. Using additional props in the photo can spark curiosity. Get viewers wondering -- what's the story?? Get online followers/ Patreon patrons involved. Do surveys with them. Use hashtags. Put your name and contact info (website/store/social media contact) on the image. Use watermarks.

Brand any image you post that might be shared. Help people who "like" your work find their way back to you!!

Here's a fun example of a post about an indie artist's enamel pin. See all the extras the artist puts into the photo. Artist Kanae makes the pin really stand out by paying attention to details. Consider the color of the background and the type of fabric. Look how she added the little pearls of varying sizes, and even little stars.
All the extra characters in the design are additional marketing opportunities for this pin. The donut fish are a clever and fresh addition. There's a little shark and squid. The seabirds almost look like bats. The cat is costumed in a sailor suit and there's a little tug boat on the horizon.

Can't you imagine this pin in an assortment of gift shops??? Consider all the retail outlets that would connect with these images: beach town gift shop; boat shop; aquarium; pet store; children's book store YA section (it's a pin after all) .... the list goes on. When you're an indie artist yourself, always look for mom-and-pop small businesses that might want to carry your merch. They might not place huge orders, but they are looking for unique merch to help them stand out... and when you use them to sell your BRANDED merch, you are helping them and expanding your fan base.

Individual sales online are fine for brand building. Think ahead. Can you service wholesale contracts to small retail outlets? If they want to be the exclusive brick-and-mortar sources for the pin, do you have a contract ready to start that sort of negotiation? What terms do you need the retailer to meet to grant that sort of exclusive rights assignment?

Having a sales contract is a professional presentation. It helps you get professional courtesy and respect.

It's always better to be the one making the sales proposal and presenting the contract. Do you want to be negotiating for your rights, or having their assignments dictated to you??

When you are creating merchandise, think ahead about how you see it being marketed beyond your own website. Know what your terms, conditions, rates, policies and boundaries are. Planning ahead protects your valuable IP.

This is Kanae's write-up about her pin:
My Sailor Cat illustration from last summer is now a pin too! This little sailor always goes out to sea to catch his favorite treat- Donut Fishes! But he better catch them quick because the Kraken loves them too! Available online

#enamelpins #enamelpin #lapelpins #pincollector #pins #pinsofinstagram#pinstagram #pingame #pingamestrong #pincommumity #pin #sailor #cat#neko #ocean #kraken #donut #ship #boat #beach #summer #chibi #kawaii#kawaiigoods #munchkin #scottishfold #etsyseller #shopsmall#smallbusiness #nyanzillashop

Kanae also does a great job engaging customers via the "About" page on her website.

Let patrons know your story. Sharing your artistic "mission statement" isn't just a good business plan, it encourages patrons to invest in a small business they feel connected to.

Visit the Nyanzilla page for lots more examples of making the most of merch images.

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