In 2012, Daily Clay, a mobile off-spring of Ceramics Arts Daily and produced by The American Ceramic Society, hit the iPhone mobile application market. I, like many other potters who use Ceramics Art Daily as a ceramic resource, were hopeful that the app would prove to be beneficial. The extensive website offers books, magazines, videos, educational, blogs and forums. Instead, the mobile app became a daily posting of a handmade piece of ceramic art. Although inspirational, it didn’t serve the same grandeur as the parent website. Daily Clay had a strong potential to be a useful tool integrating mobile ability and social media with the Ceramics Arts Daily website.
Increasingly, I find Instagram connecting potters with their audience and consumers. Instagram is a mobile-only network which means you create and publish from the mobile app only. You can view and a picture from a laptop or desktop but that is it. Instagram has gone to great lengths to offer the user high quality resolution ensuring the visual of ceramics pictures and videos are inviting. Instagram offers “filters, special effects, and editing tools” (daCunha, 2015). If you download InstaCollage, an app that compliments Instagram with special effect, layouts, and borders, you can create eye captivating pictures instantly as seen here:
It also offers easy “sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare” (Hemley, 2013). This allows a ceramic business owner to expand his or her audience in vast numbers from one mobile social media application.
The Instagram platform used hashtags from its first inception, known as the symbol”#”, to expound on the content of pictures and videos posted (Gonzalez, 2012). It is best for a potter to hashtag their pictures to identify the place it was taken, subject, and description. Some popular ceramic hashtags are #ceramics, #potter, #throwing, #stoneware, and #loveclay. #clay is the most tagged at 1,172,085 posts. If a potter was looking for inspiration from other fellow potters, they could search #cone6, a type of glazing firing range, and find 4,382 posts. If they wanted to find a ceramic supply brand from a picture posted and with a hashtag such as Amaco, they can use the spyglass on the bottom of the app. Once they find AmacoBrent, one of the largest ceramic supply company’s, they can click the name AmacoBrent which brings them to AmacoBrent’s Instagramer page. The potter can start following AmacoBrent as well as view pictures they have posted. On AmacoBrents Instagram page they cleverly posted their website www.amaco.com drawing the viewer to their shopping cart website as seen here:
Instagram helps businesses like a small ceramic studio like Extrudergirl or a large company like AmacoBrent. Gerry Moran suggests building a strong profile on Instagram as noted in detail below (Moran, 2013):
A well-developed profile becomes the foundation for Instagram as social media strategy. Posting pictures of handcrafted ceramic pieces or products a ceramic supply business is selling to potter allows the business to cultivate a following not just through Instagram but with the cross posting capability to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare. As a ceramic business builds their brand awareness, they can start following back their new audience. As posted pictures become visual commentaries with hashtags, a potter can create a theme or capitalize on current trends to complement his or her brand and increase credibility. They can engage viewers and consumers with consistent images and by leaving comments on follower’s postings. Developing a posting schedule will entice followers and inspire potential consumers. Over posting could cause followers to abandon your business. It is best to analyze how many posts, the kind of pictures, hashtags followers are relating to, and comments consumers are leaving. Iconosquare is a free tool to measure your Instagram success. It will give you a snap shot of the percentage of followers, lost followers, follow growth, likes, comments, and overall engagement (Lawrence, 2014).
Instagram is a visual experience for your followers, consumers, and perspective fans to learn, like, and buy into your business brand. Instagram will help promote your business, build a community around your photographed work and hashtags, generate leads and encourage conversation with your audience and consumers. I like to think, that with my Extrudergirl shop, once I get attention from my customers with a sponge holder photo on Instagram, I soak up my ceramic rewards.
Ceramic Arts Daily Home Page (n.d.). Ceramics Arts Daily. The American Ceramic Society. Retrieved from: http://ceramicartsdaily.org/
daCunha, M. (2015) 10 Instagram Marketing Tips to Make People Love Your Brand. Business 2 Community. Retrieved from: http://www.business2community.com/instagram/10-instagram-marketing-tips-make-people-love-brand-01115446
Gonzalez, P. (2012). How to Use Hash Tags on Instagram. Instagramers. Retrieved from: http://instagramers.com/destacados/how-to-use-hash-tags-on-instagram/
Hemley, D. (2013). 26 Mobile Apps to Improve Your Business and Networking. Social Media Examiner. Retrieved from: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/26-mobile-apps-to-improve-your-business-and-networking/
Lawrence, T.(2014). Instagram Analytics Website Review ~ Iconosquare.com (Statigram). Tyler Lawrence. Retrieved from: http://tylerlawrence.com/instagram-analytics-website-review-iconosquare-statigram/
Moran, G. (2013). How to Build the Perfect Instagram Profile Infographic. MarketingThink. Retrieved from: http://marketingthink.com/infographic-to-build-the-perfect-instagram-profile/