The one where I outlaw Instagram scissors, prohibit peony pictures and make flat lays illegal. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am investigating Instagram Stories.
Hello and welcome to episode 16 of the Creative Me podcast. In today’s episode we’ll be exploring Instagram Stories.
Earlier this month Instagram introduced a new feature called Stories.
A story is a series of snapshots from your day. You can share multiple photos and short videos and they appear together as a slideshow. You can add text over the top and emoji, you can also add your own doodles in different colours.
Your story does not appear in your Instagram feed and it disappears after 24 hours. You can see stories from people you follow in the bar above your feed. When there is something new to see there will be a colourful ring around their profile photo. Tap the photo to see the story. There are no public “likes” or comments but you can message the person a comment directly.
Your story mirrors your account’s privacy settings, although you can easily hide your story from certain people you follow if you choose to.
It sounds a lot like Snapchat, doesn’t it? Well it is. But there are some key differences.
First, consider the purpose of both platforms and the consequent demographic the attract.
Instagram users tend to share only their best photos. Their feed is carefully curated; especially if they are using Instagram as part of their business social media marketing plan.
Snapchat, however, is instant and unpolished. There is no permanent feed. Everything is temporary and a little bit goofy. You have the option of adding Snapchat Lenses to your snaps. For those who aren’t in the know this means you can do things like turn your selfie into a dog’s face sticking its tongue out. I think there’s also a rainbow vomit option…
As such, Snapchat seems to attract a younger age group. This is not to say that us thirty-somethings+ aren’t goofy. It’s just we’re old enough to reserve our goofiness for a more select audience.
I tried Snapchat and found it fun but not intuitive. Jo from the Shinybees podcast had to teach me how to use it! Now I’m pretty tech savvy, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around Snapchat. Apparently teenagers intuitively know what to do…
Instagram Stories have text overlay and drawing options but that’s it. The lack of lenses suggests to me that they know their audience well.
Whilst I am an Instagram girl, I sometimes get a bit sick of seeing everyone’s perfect lives there. A while back I dabbled in Instagram flat lays. Heck I even photographed some peonies. And I own two pairs of Instagram scissors. But it all felt a bit fake.
It was easy to populate my feed when I was knee deep in surface pattern design. I just shared all the pretty things.
Lately my feed has been very book and podcast focussed. I think the transition in my business has left me unsure about my Instagram identity.
Wearing a business hat, I know it’s important to curate what you share on social media and focus on things your prospective customers want to see. However, I am torn. I want my feed to be interesting, attractive and also about me. I think that’s where stories can come in handy. They allow a glimpse behind the scenes – the more human side of an Instagram feed.
And then there’s the exposure…
The main reason why I’ve forgotten to use Snapchat for the past month, and have been dabbling in Instagram Stories, is exposure. I already have a decent audience on Instagram so every story I share has the chance of being seen by lots of people. I’ve not exactly been proactive in developing my Snapchat following (ahem… I cannot event work out how many followers I have!)
It’s really important, if you use social media to promote your art or business, to experiment with different social media platforms. Never put your eggs all in one basket. However, it does feel like a lot of hard work to grow a following on Snapchat.
Instagram stories, just like Instagram posts, are public by default. That’s not how Snapchat works.
I’m unlikely to put the effort into Snapchat now. I just don’t have the time or inclination to put the effort into growing a following.
So Instagram is going to be my creative social media platform of choice. I am going to continue developing my new ‘presence’ and use Stories to share real life behind the scenes moments. I’m going to try and talk to the camera more…. gulp.
If you want to follow me on Instagram, here are the links you need:
martineeellis (my main feed – where my stories are)
martineart (my art feed – just arty stuff, not much interaction and no stories)
pennycavachon (my dog’s feed…!)
I’d be interested to hear your views on all this Instagram Stories versus Snapchat stuff. Feel free to reach out.
That’s all from me today – thanks for tuning in.
Welcome to episode 15 of the Creative Me podcast. Today’s episode is about how to stay motivated working from home.
I work from home 2 days a week – 4 if you count weekends. At the moment I on summer break from my day job as a teacher so my routine has been disrupted and sometimes I’ve been less productive than I’d like.
I plan to write an in-depth blog post about this but to get my creative juices flowing; I thought chatting about it on the podcast would be a good plan. It means anyone listening can contribute to the post too. If you’d like to contact me with your suggestions, please feel free to do so.
In this episode, I’ll chat about three ways to stay motivated working from home. My aim for the blog post would be ten. Here goes:
Having some actual humans to talk to is essential. It’s easy to go a whole 8 hours with (in my case) only a dog and two cats to chat to. I’m a member of the Seanwes business community, and it means I have access to like-minded individuals, and I can chat to them anytime and get feedback on any business challenges I face.
If you’ve not got people who you can talk to about your business then just go outside. Go for a walk, pick up a paper, talk to people – it will improve your day!
Treat your day like a day in the office: get dressed; don’t work in your PJs no matter how tempting it is. I like to put a bit of makeup on. It’s not a vanity thing; it’s about routine. Take breaks – don’t do chores – you’re at work. If you must put a load of washing in then, do it on your lunch break. Yes, I said lunch break. Take one of those too.
It’s important you don’t work where you sleep if you can. Have a separate workspace.
Part of my working from home routine is to make a list of everything I plan to achieve over the next 8 hours or so in Workflowy (if you like Workflowy you’ll love this book). I also try and remove distractions. Freedom is my app of choice for internet blocking
Look after yourself. Drink water, take breaks, nap (yes nap if it works for you) and exercise. I walk the dog every day after lunch, and it really helps me stay focused and energised.
How do you stay motivated working from home? Please feel free to let me know by email email@example.com or on social media – you can find my links on martineellis.com. I’ve posted this question on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I’ve changed the format – what do you think?
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and that you’ll join me next week. Thanks for tuning in
The one where I explain my recent decision to move my website from Squarespace to Wordpress.
Welcome to episode 14 of the Creative Me podcast, thanks for tuning in. In this episode I will be talking about why I moved my website from Squarespace to WordPress. Several people have asked about it, so I thought I’d explain on the podcast.
Before I start, I have a quick book update for you. I have got to the stage in the book where I need to revisit my outline. The writing is flowing, things are going well, but I think I need to be writing in more detail. The book is aimed at people new to promoting their business online so detail is important.
Ever since I made the decision to niche down things seem to be falling into line. I have a new freelance client and things just feel right.
If you want to compare Squarespace to WordPress, check out this article: Squarespace v WordPress.
Squarespace is an “out of the box” website product but it enables you to create a sophisticated looking site.It is surprisingly easy to use, even for non-techies. The support is great. Hosting is included in your monthly fee.
Squarespace is worth every penny. It’s easy to maintain and you can make your website look great.
There are two different WordPress options, self-hosted (.org) or WordPress-hosted (.com). Below you will find links to both options, as well as a link to an article which explains the difference between the two. I am using a self-hosted installation of WordPress.
WordPress (self hosted)
WordPress.org is an open source platform. This means third parties have access to the code and can build themes and plugins (tools to extend the functionality of your website). This is, in the main, fabulous, as you can really customise your site. However, as themes and plugins are built by third parties, you could install something that breaks your site. You need to be sufficiently confident with technology to troubleshoot this. When I was last with WordPress, I was not particularly technical and it was all a little stressful. Now I am far more confident.
TSOhost is my website host. They are based in the UK and so far the support I have received has been excellent.
Another reason for moving from Squarespace to WordPress is I would like to offer online courses at some point and I want to do this on my own website rather than on someone else’s turf.
Here are the third party course platforms I mentioned in the episode:
The biggest reason for creating my platform on Worpdress is that I own everything. I am building my platform on my own turf.
Squarespace was a good start for me. You could do worse than starting there. Alternatively, consider starting with wordpress.com then migrate to wordpress.org.
If you want to chat more, email me firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media. Thanks for listening.
The one where I make some big, scary decisions about my business and share them with you, warts and all.
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My previous business: iMake
Please let me know your thoughts on the episode.