For many of us our model horses are not just a wonderful hobby but also a source of income. Whether it's a full time business like Chestnut Ridge or just the odd custom sold here or there it's important to think about how we portray ourselves online and how that might affect future business or sales.
1. Have an uncoordinated online presence
Think about where people go to buy their model horses or to look at pictures nowadays. If you are selling any form of model horse or service really you need to be in two main places: Facebook & Instagram. Both have HUGE model horse followings and Facebook really is a must for any hobbyists looking to shift their wares nowadays. Unless you have a very successful and well known following already you are going to need to put the man hours in on social media.
As well as Facebook & Instagram think about setting up a Blog or website.
The key message though is to be consistent. If your brand is on a particular platform make sure it is updated regularly. Don't just set up an Instagram account and forget about it, a hardly used account with outdated information is worse than no account at all!
Think about other things as well such as your profile pictures, cover photos, colour choices and bio. Are they consistent across your brand? Do you want them to be different and if so why? Why are you choosing them? Do they get your message across?
2. Negative, negative, negative
DON'T MOAN! Life is pretty crappy, we know that, you don't need to remind everyone about it. Constant negative posts don't portray you or your brand in a good light.
Which leads onto another point...personal profiles. If you are using your personal Facebook profile to sell or advertise your business then you need to continue this into your personal profile. The moment you start doing this your personal profile is no longer personal. It needs to be on message just as your Facebook page does.
Which means thinking very carefully about everything you post. How do you want yourself to be seen online? How is this portraying your business? Why are you posting what your posting?
Remember your online persona doesn't need to reflect who you really are, only how you want the world to see you. Just as you may not go into work and admit that you have 500 Hello Kitties in a dark dungeon under your house (I don't just for clarification, they are in my lounge instead :p)
3. Blurry pictures
I am so guilty of this! But it is a really valid point. Make sure the images you use are clear and high quality, especially if you are using them to try and sell or advertise a product. Nobody is going to buy a model horse if they can't actually see it!
Mmm blurry ponies (I'm so bad for this)
4. Misleading message
If you are using things like hashtags or following trends then tread carefully. You want your message to be consistent.
For example, you post a lot about animal welfare one month, maybe a lot about becoming vegan etc etc? Maybe your a tack maker and looking at ways of making tack that is avoiding leather because of this? Would you then the next month post things about how to use leather or post an image portraying fox hunting? Probably not...
So don't do it! You don't need to follow every trend and fad. If it isn't in line with the kind of image you want to portray then don't do it. There's nothing wrong with that at all! It portrays a far more authentic message and helps keep your branding consistent.
5. Missing information
Make sure all your online profiles have important information.
Your contact details/link to a website are a must! After all you want people to actually buy your stuff don't you?
Also make sure when you post sales pieces you include the price, postage information and yep contact information. People don't want to hunt for the relevant information they need.
6. Feeling like a job....
It's so easy to tell when somebody is just posting for posting sake and yes we all do it. We know we have to post every day and so we just trot out the same old boring list based Blog posts....(4th wall in a Blog post that's a new one).
Anyway, the point is, ENJOY IT! Have a little bit of fun with what you are posting. Download a stop motion app and get your model horses to do a fashion show with the tack you make or post a picture of you accidentally dipping your brush in your coffee (we all do it). People will engage a lot more with your page and you'll actually enjoy what you are doing a lot more.
If you want to shove your mini whinnies in tubs of frozen yogurt then you go for it!!!
Finally it is worth just once a month going over all your online profiles/website and giving them a bit of a face lift. Think about what you could lose or what isn't working, streamline everything and make it look pretty and happy and sunny and full of potatoes. OK maybe not the potatoes but you know what I mean...