Soaking Up The Mobile Ceramic Rewards

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:

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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:

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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):

Perfect-Instagram-Profile1

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).

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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.

Resources:

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/

Ceramics and Social Media Applications

The ceramic industry includes a diverse group of potters similar to the social media landscape. Most common communication channels will consist of announcements, pictures of work or events, blogs, and videos. The traditional social media landscape comprises of Twitter and Facebook, but over the past two years there has been significant growth on Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+. Quite often potters will report they don’t own a computer and if they do own one they don’t have an email address, so social media escapes a large majority of the community. But for the potters involved in the social media channels, they are using these tools to show and tell their art as well as develop and discover their talent (Zimmerman, 2014).

The professional ceramicist can be found in museums, art centers and galleries noted in a recent industry poll from NCECA , known as the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (Bracker, 2015). This group of potters favors Facebook and Twitter. This gives them a strong platform for promoting their website and next gallery or museum showings.

There is the production potter, who produces their ware in volume, whom will post on Facebook especially directing fans to their website.  They can often be found on forums and online communities. They are contributing to the ceramic industry evolution with discussions on clay and ceramic issues, offering advice, writing reviews of ceramic products and sharing global ceramic industry news. The production potter would be the known as the Critics on the Social Technographics Ladder (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

The studio potter is not production but more serious than a hobbyist by making a full time living selling their work. They are the Creators on the Social Technographics Ladder making the most contribution to the social media landscape. They will use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to push the consumer to their studio. These social media networks are free and can draw a good amount of interaction. The studio potter might post a promotion on Twitter or Facebook giving away a new ceramic mug like Joel of Cherrico Pottery to engage and invite the consumer to “Like” their page, build their brand, and follow their studio (Birkholz, 2015). The studio potter can be found on YouTube demonstrating, teaching and engaging other potters, artistic students, and viewers such as Master Potter Bill Van Gilder.

The hobby potter or leisure clay artist, one who works with clay for enjoyment, occasionally sells their work on a smaller scale like Etsy or local event. They can be found on Pinterest pinning works of the professional or average potters. Since they are not as involved on social media for promotion of their goods, they would be considered the joiners or spectators of the Social Technographics Ladder. As joiners they are interested in visiting the social networks for inspiration, Facebook pages of ceramic vendors like Stone Leaf Pottery to learn about products, and following their favorite ceramic groups like Amaco’s Potters Choice Exchange for tips and techniques (Sophia, 2015). As a spectator they are more likely to be involved in watching videos of ceramic demonstrations, read blogs from the studio potters, and being influenced by reviews by the professional ceramicist or average potters.

clay-social-media-icons

Social Media networks offer potters a vast level of publicity, the widening of consumer target market, and a growth in social interaction for and among the ceramic professionals, studio potters and leisure clay artists. By expanding their social media landscape from the more traditional sites such as Twitter and Facebook, they can amplify their exposure with Instagram and Google+. Not only do social media networks increase the potter’s audience, it offers the building of ceramic communities. Potter Adam Field used Instagram effectively to pull in consumers and widen his audience by creating a scavenger hunt involving ceramic objects. The idea behind the scavenger hunt was “to create a groundswell of community that would encourage sharing information, techniques, and inspiration”  (Johnson, 2014). As more potters become comfortable with the new form of marketing, social media can help them get their name and products out there at a very minimal cost.

Resources:

Birkholz, J. (2015). Cosmic Mug Giveaway, Laughing Squid Feature, And Mainstream Art Ambitions. Cherrico Pottery. Retrieved from: http://www.cherricopottery.com/category/social-media/

Bracker, C. (2015). Who Are We? NCECA. Retrieved from: http://blog.nceca.net/inside-nceca-vol-i-issue-13

Johnson, G. (2014). Hide-N-Seekah!Using Social Medial for a Pottery Scavenger Hunt. Ceramics Arts Daily. Retrieved from: http://ceramicartsdaily.org/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/hide-n-seekah-using-social-media-for-a-pottery-scavenger-hunt/

Li, C.  & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Social Media Page. (2015). Facebook’s Potters Choice Exchange. Stone Leaf Pottery. Retrieved from: http://stoneleafpottery.com/category/social-media/

Zimmerman, C. (2014). How Artists Can Use Social Media to Discover and Promote Their Voice. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carlota-zimmerman/how-artists-can-use-socia_b_4756824.html