Thanks to Juliet Macleod, at The Cloud Pottery who exhibited with NEOS in 2017 for these helpful instructions on using Facebook. Though it’s written specifically for potters it might prove useful to other artists with a quick swap-out of the hashtag. #NEOS2018
Setting up online can be daunting, but it is often simpler than you might think. You do not need to share any words or images if you don’t feel like it, however, there are many advantages to having some kind of online presence as a potter. To start with you will be joining a huge community that can offer inspiration, advice, and support. Life as a potter can often be solitary and social media can help towards this. If you want to get more involved, using social media can increase your audience and presence. Potential customers, galleries, restaurants, and stylists often search for new and interesting work through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. These platforms are also a free way of advertising your upcoming exhibitions, shows, fairs etc.
Here are a few tips on getting started with Facebook. It is impossible to list everything here, but to be honest, Facebook.com offers a detailed help facility, which I recommend you read before and as you go along. I have purposefully used Facebook terminology throughout, and I apologise if this may seem confusing to the layman, but it will be easier for you to search for the correct terms in the Facebook Help Centre if you are not sure what they mean or need help with anything.
If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can create one in a few steps:
- Go to www.facebook.com
- If you see the signup form, fill out your name, email address or mobile phone number, password, date of birth and gender. If you don’t see the form, click Sign Up, then fill out the form.
- Click Sign Up.
- To finish creating your account, you’ll need to confirm your email or mobile phone number.
- If you already have a Facebook account, you can log into your account by entering your email or mobile number and password and clicking Log In.
Personal Accounts and Business Pages
You need to create a Personal Account to get started on Facebook. This then allows you to find Friends and Pages that you can then Like and Follow. It is advisable to create a Business Page if you want to keep your work and private posts separate. A Business Page appears more professional, as customers and galleries etc may not want to see your more personal posts (if you choose to post at all).
Profile Picture and Cover Photo
Both Personal Accounts and Business Pages have imagery at the top that pops up every time someone goes to your page. On your Personal Account your Profile Picture ideally would be your portrait to help people identify you, but it doesn’t have to be. The Cover Photo can be any image that you like as a background. The same applies for your Business Page. It might be a good idea to have your logo or a trademark pot as your Profile Picture, whereas the Cover Photo could be a shot of some work in progress in your studio. You can change these images whenever you want, so don’t panic if you are not happy with your first choices. As with all these tips, go to the Facebook Help Centre for step-by-step details of how to upload images.
Friending, Following, and Liking
Once you have started your account you can send friend requests to friends and family by searching for them (type their name in the search bar at the top of the Facebook page) and sending them a friend request. If they accept, you automatically follow that person, and they automatically follow you — which means that you may see each other’s posts in News Feed. If at any time you want to take a break from seeing posts from a particular Friend, you can go to their page, click on the Following button and select ‘Unfollow’. This means that you remain friends but you will no longer see their posts until you choose to follow them again.
If you’d like to see updates from people you find interesting but don’t know personally, like a journalist or celebrity, try Following them instead. Likewise, if there is a Business Page you would like to receive news and updates from (such as Scottish Potters Association) click Like and Follow on their page.
Privacy and Security
Security and privacy are very important online.
Other than for the purpose of registering it is advisable not to include too much information about yourself in your Profile. For example, you may want to list your birthday (so that your friends can send you messages on the day). However, avoid including your date of birth as this could be accessed by identity thieves. As I’ve mentioned previously you can change your Profile Information at any time, so don’t panic if you want to add or remove anything.
When you put up a post you can choose who you want to be able to see it. When you start writing in the Create a Post box a button will come up at the bottom, just to the left of the blue POST button. If you click on this it will come up with the question ‘Who should see this?’. You can choose your Audience from a drop-down list… for example, you might want a post on your Personal Account to only be seen by your Friends (people you have agreed to let follow you). However, it would make sense for your posts on your Business Page to be made Public, so that anyone searching around the web might find your pots. Just remember that this tool remembers the audience you shared with the last time you posted something and uses the same audience when you post again unless you change it… If you choose Public, your next post will also be Public, unless you change the settings.
Liking, Commenting and Sharing
When you are looking at Friend’s posts or Business Pages that you have chosen to Follow, and you like what you read or see, you can tell them by clicking on the Like button at the bottom right of the post. If you hover over this button before clicking it will give you a series of options ranging from a thumbs up, to an angry face depending on your thoughts. The next button to the right gives you the opportunity to Comment on the post. Here you can write anything you like for the author to read. The third button allows you to Share their post to either your own Personal Account or to your Business Page e.g. if a gallery that you follow mentions an exhibition that you are involved with, you might want to share this with your own followers. It is good etiquette to ask before sharing personal posts though. With any of these, the original author will be notified of your interaction with their post.
After you have shared a post it is possible to alter the text if you notice you have made a mistake. In the top right-hand corner, there is a little grey arrow pointing down. If you click on this a drop-down menu will appear, and one of the choices available will be ‘Edit Post’. If you click on this you will then be allowed to amend any errors before clicking on the Save button. The same applies to any comments you might make on other people’s posts.
When you put up a post on your business page you may want to add Hashtags at the end of your text if your post is public. These hashtags (#) allow people searching Facebook for certain things to find your posts. For example, if you put up a lovely image of a new pot you might want to use something like #pottery #ceramics #stoneware #clay #handmade. It is important that there is no space between the # and the word. On most computers to type the #, you need to click on both the Alt key and the number 3 at the same time. When someone looking for #pottery types this in the Search bar at the top of the Facebook page a series of posts will then come up for them to look at with that hashtag, firstly from friends and business pages they have liked, but then any public posts with the same hashtag.
Don’t forget to add #scottishpotters to any posts you might want us to find and share!
I hope this gives you a small insight into using Facebook. Please do not be put off with any of the jargon – it really is much simpler than it first appears. With a little practice using social media can be straightforward and a fantastic resource.