Periscope for Makers + Handmade Business : A Roundup of Top Tips




Periscope for Makers + Handmade Business -

So, while I was prepping for my sabbatical/overseas, this new thing has taken the social media world by storm. What new thing, I hear you ask?

Why, Periscope, of course.

If you don’t know what Periscope is: it’s basically a way to live-stream video to your followers. And, kinda like snap-chat, your videos are only viewable for 24 hours after your ‘scope’ (there’s already a verb!!). You can save them, but not on the app itself. Your followers get a notification when you start a scope, and can then watch and interact with you live.

I know, I know, ANOTHER social media app – argh!

BUT. This one has the potential to be really, really awesome for makers and creatives. Why? Because it allows you to give people an insight into your studio in real-time.

I’m only getting started with it myself (I’m @JessVanDen if you’d like to follow me!) so I’ve been doing some research to see how others are using it.

As I haven’t got enough experience with it to give you my own thoughts and feedback, I decided the best thing to do would be to give you a little round-up of the best resources I’ve found so far.


So, if you’re intrigued by the possibilities, check out these links:

  1. Getting Started with Periscope – c|net
  2. 25 Things Makers can do on Periscope – Academy of Handmade
  3. What is Periscope and Why you Should use it for your Creative Business – Creative Hive
  4. How to Use Periscope Like a Boss – Little Farm Media
  5. 5 Steps to Getting Started on Periscope – Blacksburg Belle
  6. 20 Unmissable Tips for Using Periscope for Business – Get Response


Those are the best resources I’ve found so far – I’ll update this post as I find more!

Are you on Periscope? Does it sound like something you’d like to try?

I love talking about my work and handmade biz in general (cough, podcast, cough) so I think it’s something I’ll be getting into.

Make sure to follow me (@JessVanDen) to get a peek inside my jewellery studio, and for some creative biz advice, too. I’m already dreaming up weekly scopes I can run for you guys!

And if you’re on there, make sure to leave your handle in the comments below, so we can build up a community of #Thrivers on there!


[22] Social Media: How to Spend Less Time and Gain Better Results

The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 22

Are you finding that there are increasingly more ways to interact with your customers through Social Media channels – but you just don’t have the time to use them all?

While I firmly believe you should ‘own’ your business name on all the possible types of social media, you will only find time to be truly effective on one or two at a time (especially if you’re a solopreneur).

You can take one piece of content across multi-platforms – but you’ll probably find that you won’t be able to be active and engaged on all of them. And that is OKAY.

You need to give yourself permission to not be everywhere; to not be available across all Social Media at all times.

So, with that undersanding, I ask you: are you focussing of the right social media?

And are you using them strategically?


Give yourself permission

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Claim your business name on all social media so nobody else can do it and you own it.
  • Chances are you’re not going to be able to be interactive and active on all those social media.
  • The rest can either be linked or just sit there until you find time or want to switch platforms.
  • You can never keep up with absolutely everything.
  • You might not be active but try to have the same branding.
  • Update your links and bio plus your avatar so that everything looks the same and professional across the platforms.
  • “Make it easy for people to find where you are and where you’re active.”
  • Focus on one or two of your core Social Media and see what you enjoy and what you find easy to do.
  • What do your customer resonate with?
  • Where are your customers hanging out?
  • When you find them, that’s where you should be putting your effort.
  • “Give your account a couple of months – it will take time.”
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin. Instead, grow followers on one platform and focus your attention to find traction.
  • Set yourself goals with your time on Social Media.
  • “There should be a purpose to what you’re trying to do over and above just making more sales.”
  • Make goals that are ‘smart’ (specific, measurable, relevant, achievable and time bound).
  • Make stretch goals that are just a little bit beyond what you think is reasonably achievable.
  • Set yourself a schedule with specific goals for each day.
  • Do Social Media in ‘dead time’ like when you’re waiting in line or sitting on the bus.
  • Make sure you’re posting when you think your customers will be looking.
  • Stick to your schedule by putting an alarm on your phone through your calendar.
  • APP: Cal (syncs with Google Calendar).
  • If you thrive on spontaneity, make a selection or niches of topics which you choose from when you post.
  • Sit down once a week and plan out your Social Strategy out for the following week.
  • “If you have Facebook, you can upload and schedule this for the entire week and you don’t need to remember to do it each day.”
  • Now all you have to do is stick to it and commit to it.
  • Marketing is a constant experiment.
  • You will never have it all figured out and there will always be new challenges and things to try.
  • By setting goals, you will stop yourself falling into a huge trap of just wasting time on Social Media.


Download/Listen to this Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

Making Brand Reps Work for Your Business


Making Brand Reps Work for Your Business (1)


Browse Instagram and you will see handmade brands posting gorgeous photographs of their products in action. Small children going about their daily activities dressed in adorable hand sewn outfits, dreamy nurseries full of one of a kind décor and toys.

Where do these brands get such a variety of styled and perfect images?

They may have a brand rep.

Put simply, a brand representative or ambassador is someone with brilliant styling and photography skills that can help you promote your products via social media.

Here are 5 ways that members of our group, Handmade Cooperative, are successfully making brand reps work for them.


  1. Select a brand rep with a love and passion for your label.

There are different methods for hunting out a brand rep.

Some businesses will directly approach a repeat customer, whilst others will run a search for entrants via social media.

Whichever method you choose, it’s important to select someone who genuinely likes and supports your label. This will make the relationship much more natural.

Rachel of Puddle Ducklings (image below) says “You definitely do not want someone who’s Instagram feed is full of competition entries and no personality”.



Visit the social media feed of prospective reps to get a feel for whether they truly love handmade and genuinely interact with your business, or are just looking for free products.

Rachel conducted her search by watching the way they conducted themselves with other people and brands and chose her reps based on their online personality, generosity and loyalty to handmade.


  1. Select a brand rep that takes awesome quality images.

In the online world, clear, crisp photographs are essential.

You are looking for a brand rep who takes stunning natural pictures, not in a studio, and whose styling fits with your brand aesthetic.

Karyn of KBS Designs recently ran a brand rep search via Instagram.

She visited the social media feed of prospectives over a period of time and “made sure that they were similar to the styling KBS Designs was already using” as well as looking at “who the reps followers were and what sort of interaction was evident on her posts”.


  1. Don’t stress too much about the numbers.

Although having a popular feed is a good thing, thousands of followers doesn’t necessarily equate to a better brand rep.

Jodie from Twinkle Star (image below) says that, “It may be tempting to choose someone who has lots of followers, but I have learned that choosing an existing customer is much more effective as their support and promotion will come naturally.”



As well as being a social media beacon, your brand rep should represent your business in public, demonstrating your products to their friends and family in “real life”.

Jodie says to, “look for someone who genuinely loves what you do. If they already love your product, they will be excited to post about it and post regularly.”


  1. Be clear about what you want.

Providing photographs is great, but a brand rep can be so much more to you in the course of your journey.

A brand rep can help to build your brand via a number of different methods, so make it clear what you expect them to do for you.

  • Do you want them to test products?
  • Are you expecting a certain number of photos per week?
  • Would you like them to search hashtags and make comments about your label on social media?
  • Are you hoping for someone who will promote your sales and new releases?

Write up a contract for each brand rep and make sure that you include your expectations and a clear time frame for the role.


  1. Be upfront about the reward.

Your brand rep is going to be doing a lot of work for you, so make sure that you reward them.

At the very least, your rep will need to receive free products to style and photograph.

You may also wish to offer them discounts when shopping at your business, or family and friends discounts. Don’t forget to give them a whole lot of love too.

Engaging a brand rep can be a solid way to bring your business to the next level. Over to you – have you engaged a brand rep?

What tips and tricks would you recommend?


Brand Your Craft Banner Wide Final

Want more help to craft a compelling brand that connects with your Ideal Customer, and helps them fall in love with your business?

Enrol in our self-study eCourse, Brand Your Craft – available now!

Click here to find out more.

Five Ways to Build your Creative Business on Instagram



Five ways to build your Creative

Instagram is a must for creative businesses.

The ability to connect with followers using images and videos works so well for those in the creative industries – so if you’re not part of Instagram you’re not only missing out on potential customers – but also a lot of marketing fun too!

Once you’ve got your account set up in Instagram, then the next thing that you’ll want to know is how to get more followers.

More followers means more people seeing your posts, finding out about your business, and potentially purchasing your products or services.

Here are our top 5 ways to build your creative business on Instagram:


1. Pimp your Bio

Getting people to your Instagram account is the first step.

Of course, when they do come to your account it’s important that they understand what you do immediately.

Writing your bio in Instagram is what you do when you first sign up. However, you may have noticed that other accounts have a bio that has been formatted with line breaks.

To keep up with the pros on Instagram you should write your bio in the Notes app* and copy and paste it into Instagram. Use emojis to add more flair but remember that you’ve only got 150 characters to play with.

(*Required for iPhone only. Android phones have formatting available when writing within Instagram.)

Here’s a great example of a bio:

Example of a Good Bio

And this one is not so great:

Example of a bad bioSync with all your marketing materialsSync with all your marketing materials


2. Sync with all your marketing materials

If you’re on Instagram, then you need to tell everyone that you’re there!

Cross-promote your Instagram account across all your marketing platforms by adding in an Instagram feed plugin on your website, a custom tab on Facebook, and links from your other social media profiles.

Include a link to Instagram in your email signature and at the end of your e-newsletters.

You can even embed Instagram posts onto your website or blog by using Instagram on your desktop computer to get the embed code.

If you sell a physical product, include a postcard or flyer telling people that you’re on Instagram and ask them to join you there.

For printed materials, don’t rely just on an Instagram icon; you need to include your actual Instagram username.

3. Use relevant hashtags

Hastags gather together similar posts in a collective group.

By adding hashtags to your posts they have the ability to be seen by more than just your followers.

Hashtags serve to connect your account with people that are interested in your creative business. Therefore the hashtags that you use should relate to your business and what you do.

The questions below are a quick way to start thinking about which hashtags you should use on your Instagram posts.

Which tribe does your product connect with?

For example: entrepreneurs, hipsters, fashionistas, mums, makers, artists, creatives

Give your business a broad brush stroke, in one word describe what you do…

For example: craft, macramé, jewellery, print, design, cross stitch

Which category does your product or service come under?

For example: Handmade, fabric, homewares, interior design

Where are you located?

Tip: For a lot of businesses starting out on Instagram connecting with the local community is a great way to build your following. This can also be good to use if you’re selling at a local market or event.

Now… Write down the variations!

By only using one hashtag to describe what you do you are missing out on marketing to a broader reach of customers. Once you’ve written down your answers above, take a moment to come up with variations on the same theme. For inspiration, check out ( to search by which hashtags you want to use.

Remember people still need to be able to read your comments, so make sure that hashtags don’t take over!

Here’s how to play the hashtag game right:


Example of good hashtags

And here’s an example of less effective hashtagging:

Example of Bad hashtags

4. Post interesting content

Interesting photos and videos are what make Instagram such a great social media platform!

While you may sell only one product, it’s important to show this off in a variety of ways so that people are continually interested in your posts. This also serves you when people come to your account so that they’ll choose to follow you as well.

It’s easy to create compelling content by placing products on interesting backgrounds, using off-centre points of interest and perspectives. 



Add yourself or other people into the photos for even more engagement.

In contrast to Pinterest (where users prefer images without people) photos with faces receive more interaction on Instagram. Put yourself in the picture and see the results!



5. Collaborate with other accounts

Collaborations involve working with other Instagrammers or businesses to build your following.

Collaborate with other accounts for competitions and photo shoots to cross-promote each other.

Collaborations can also involve tagging locations and other users so that they receive a notification and will potentially repost your image as well.


Instagram is a great platform to work with other businesses that you know and ones that you don’t.

Use Instagram as a research tool to find other collaborators and reach out to them. If you’re contacting another account to collaborate with, work out exactly how you want to work with them beforehand and know what you can offer them in return.



 So get your creative self out there and go share your unique story with the Instagrammers of the world!


P.S. Jess here. Are you a member of the Thriver Circle – my online community for makers? I have a 45 minute video workshop about Instagram where I teach you a range of strategies to grow your following, your community, and give you advice on how to make your feed look superb. If you’re not a member, you can join right now for just $15.