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How do small creative businesses benefit from making use of social networks?

Abstract

Although there are concerns that premeditated and calculated authenticity on social media can cause creative small business to lose their connection with community, self-branding can also strengthen community ties and brand loyalty with customers. This paper seeks to explore how creative businesses are able to succeed by utilising social networks and marketing techniques to make their businesses more publicly visible. These include the use of virtual studios for connection and collaboration with other creatives, self-branding and marketing though Instagram and Pinterest, as well as the utilisation of blogs to reach out to people both within the industry and out of it. The key idea behind the success of this three-way methodology is that small businesses benefit by giving a relatable face to their product. Research indicates that authenticity directly correlates to success in the social media marketplace (Maguire, 2019, p. 15) and a creative business that is able to portray a real person living and working to create consumer able products is more likely to have customer support and longevity.

Introduction

Although there are concerns that premeditated and calculated authenticity on social media can cause creative small business to lose their connection with community, self-branding can also strengthen community ties and brand loyalty with customers.

 We live in an age of endless consumerism, where capitalism and mass advertising have been shown to reap huge financial benefits for big businesses. Trends are forecast, personal data is mined and celebrities and influencers dictate where and how we might choose to spend our money. But sift through the loudest and brashest of these businesses and sitting quietly, but comfortably, is the small creative business. It seems almost miraculous that our creative citizens; the artists, writers, potters, woodworkers etc., are able to exist at all, let alone thrive. But thrive they do, and a lot of their success can be attributed to the use of the Internet (Monahan, Shah, & Mattare, 2011, p.122) and the practice of social media networks such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

These networks have the ability to amplify the ‘word of mouth’ small business strategies of old (Goodman,2012, p. 20). This paper seeks to explore how creative businesses are able to succeed against the odds by utilising the various affordances of specific social networks to make their businesses more publicly visible. These include the use of virtual studios for connection, self-branding and marketing though Instagram and Pinterest, as well as the prolific diary entry/behind the scenes utilization of blogs to reach out to people both within the industry and out of it. The key idea behind the success of this three-way methodology is that small businesses benefit by giving a relatable face to their product. Research indicates that authenticity directly correlates to success in the social media marketplace (Maguire, 2019, p. 15) and a creative business that is able to portray a real person living and working to create consumer able products is more likely to have customer support and longevity.

Connection and Creativity

Social networks have the ability to connect creatives across the world through virtual studios, encouraging collaboration and customer visibility across various spectrums. Creative workplaces vary from company to company, person to person. Where some might encourage large groups of people all working on one project, others might have individuals working on separate ideas, but in a communal space, whilst yet another workplace might be relatively isolated with one person being the sole provider of creative output (Budge, 2013, p. 15-16). According to Henry James in his study of the writer Nathanial Hawthorne, the creative development of someone can be extraordinarily stunted by the stereotypical notion of an ‘artists isolation’ (Budge, 2013, p. 15). This suggests that connection, either collaboratively or communally, can greatly benefit creative practices and inspiration. Physical limitations in regards to studio spaces, distance, communication difficulties etc. have all become a thing of the past (Johnston, 2013, p. 20). Fast developments made with new technologies have enabled the creation of virtual communities that take place across various social networks (Budge, 2013, p. 16).

Different platforms offer different means of connection dependent on their unique affordances, hence why the virtual studio encompasses a range of them. A virtual studio is a broad term used to describe the practice of creatives in regards to interactive technology and individual studio practices, often within many different social media networks (Budge, 2013, p. 16).

Blogs

Blogs are an important aspect of the virtual studio, they can become more than just a portfolio of work for the creative business with the affordance of comments, liking, and the ability to share links to individual posts or pieces of work (Davis & Chouinard, 2017, p. 1), they become more like an online social contact list for both other creatives as well as the potential client or customer (Papacharissi, 2007, p. 21). Blogs allow for new ways of interaction, communicating a dichotomous menagerie of both individual creative documentations, as well as communication with customers and peers. It can also be used as a way of promoting both your own business as well as those of others, creating motivation and inspiration, as well as ‘enabling a sense of community, a sharing of creative practice and support for the creative work of others to develop and flourish’ through the use of longer, more detailed posts (Budge, 2013, p. 18).

Twitter

Twitter on the other hand acts as a form of microblogging on a much smaller and quicker scale, with feedback and interaction in the virtual world coming in thick and fast. Like the blog, Twitter allows the small business owner to document their creative process from start to finish through the use of text and images, however it allows for a quicker turnaround of information (Budge, 2013, p. 18) and a more responsive feeling of being ‘in studio’ with their followers. According to Budge, Twitter is useful as a way to seek feedback from others about her creative process, or related topics, without the need and time to publish and monitor and a full-length blog post (Budge, 2013, p. 18). Although its useful to link both the blog and Twitter feeds together to create more well-rounded engagement (Wright-Porto, 2011, p. 207). Twitter allows the creative business to give a sense of day by day life and offline tangibility to the product they are trying to sell, and business they are trying to market.

Instagram

Instagram is a vast and important tool for the creative business, not only does it contribute to the virtual studio experience and portfolio, but it’s affordances make it easy to create a sense of community around the business. In many cases Instagram can very quickly become the hub of almost all virtual traffic for the business (Alkhowaiter, 2016, p.59). The community scenario can also take place on Twitter to a certain extent, as both platforms utilise the hashtag tool which group similar content together enabling people to find accounts of interest simply and easily (Abrams, 2016, p. 2). How Instagram has become so useful to the small creative business lies with its interactive features. The invaluable ability to keep customers up to date with day to day occurrences including shopping information, sales etc., can be done through the stories feature which lasts for only 24 hours. This enables virtual potential consumers to feel included and knowledgeable about how the business is operating. The marketplace feature allows a business to feature its products and pricing within their Instagram account, without the user having to leave platform. This is an important feature as allows for the customer to browse for purchases without the need for a linked website, which for many small businesses is often too expensive to run and set up (Alkhowaiter, 2016, p.59), at least within its earlier days. Equally important are the location services which enable a user to find out where a physical business might be located (Alkhowaiter, 2016, p.59), as well as the tagging facility which helps spread and market products across the platform when a user tags the business on their own account for all their followers to see.

Self- branding

Self-branding can be a powerful way of creating a supportive community behind a small business. The use of social networks means that such communities can be spread out throughout the world, a virtual community if you will. However, when this virtual community invests in very real creative products or as Johnston put it ‘real word connections become offline ones, and vice versa’ (Johnston, 2013, p. 25), the evidence of such connection manifests in tangible monetary success. By creating the self as the face and story behind a brand, it becomes more personal, relatable and almost functions as a valued individual within a community.

Self- branding however is often unpaid labour that must function in order to market the brand and product itself. The technologically able creative must be constantly thinking and working towards marketing themselves as the face of their work, in this way it is often a consequence that the very existence of an individual becomes built around their work and creative output (Duffy, 2015, p. 3). According to Delanty, user-generated online content has transformed how modes of production and consumption function (Delanty, 2018, p. 203). Simple buying and selling based on need or want is no longer quite so simple and in today’s digital economy, the small creative business must pay attention as to how it markets itself.

The success of self-branding can be attributed towards the relatively new ‘attention economy’ where it is the goal is to make the objects of our attention ‘calculable, predictable and hence monetizable’ (Turner, 2018, p. 334). The attention of an audience is inescapable if marketing through social networks, however it is important to bear in mind that the audience is never a singular group of individuals omnipresent across platforms (Scolere, Pruchniewska & Duffy, 2018, p.5). It is truer to say that the demographic of each platform varies and as such, if attention is to be maintained, then a certain amount of variance within the brand must also take place (Scolere, Pruchniewska & Duffy, 2018, p.5).

Authenticity.

This then brings into question the concept of authenticity, if the branding of the business must morph to fit within the audience of each platform, how then can it present itself as a cohesive, personal and relational business worth supporting and having a community? If the small business is busy marketing itself in accordance to modern marketing strategies in order to grow its digital reputation with credibility and status to sell its products, does it lose its authenticity, as well as the intimacy of knowing who is creating these products? It has to be said that self- branding, although effective for the small business, is a form of ‘calculated authenticity’ (Scolere, Pruchniewska & Duffy, 2018, p.7). According to Pooley, creatives who used Instagram to market their products had created a curated and polished version of themselves that had the feel of authenticity, but was more truthfully a professional façade employed according to their audiences’ considerations (Pooley, 2010, p.79). However, I see this form of digital self-branding practice as not the negative it might be painted as, but merely akin to the professionalism that is indeed expected, when a customer walks through the door of a physical business and is greeted by a member of staff. The virtual marketplace is still new territory and the self- brand cannot hope to ever be both wholly authentic whilst also professional across all platforms (Scolere, Pruchniewska & Duffy, 2018, p.7). If we consider that authenticity celebrates the individual motivations behind a business or brand then surely it stands to reason that we accept how a small business attempts to put their best foot, or face as it were, forward in order to market its products. 

Conclusion.

Conclusively, the small business has never had more opportunity to flourish with the continuous evolution and reliance on social networks and communities. Social networks such as Instagram and Twitter bring like-minded people together. Creatives and their associated small business are able to interact, collaborate and communicate. They find inspiration and creative motivation across these platforms and join together in blogs to discuss topics, interests and their own elements of work. Innovation, entrepreneurship and artistic endeavours all function better within a socially active group, and Web 2.0 has opened the doors to virtual communities. These platforms are not just for the creatives themselves however, over time they have become important marketing tools enabling the function of small businesses to flourish both internationally, and within their local spheres, as they learn to utilise platform affordances and self-branding techniques.

References

Abrams, R. (2016, Jun 19). Instagram success for small business. Courier Post. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/docview/1797788693?accountid=10382

Alkhowaiter, W. (2016) The Power of Instagram in Building Small Businesses. In Y. Dwivedi (ed), Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (59-64). Retrieved from https://link-springer-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-45234-0_6#citeas

Budge, K. (2013). Virtual Studio Practices: Visual Artists, Social Media and Creativity. Journal of Science and Technology of The Arts5(1), 15-23. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d62d/bb6acce85920f23d2d3cee8156f90f2a7e94.pdf

Davis, J., & Chouinard, J. (2016). Theorizing Affordances: From Request to Refuse. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 36(4), p. 241-248. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317633347_Theorizing_Affordances_From_Request_to_Refuse

Duffy, B. E., & Hund, E. (2015). “Having it All” on Social Media: Entrepreneurial Femininity and Self-Branding Among Fashion Bloggers. Social Media and Society 1(2), 1-11. Retrieved from https://journals-sagepub-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/doi/full/10.1177/2056305115604337

Goodman, G. F. (2012). Engagement Marketing: How small business wins in a socially connected world. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/curtin/reader.action?docID=821799&ppg=207

Maguire, E. (2019). Constructing the “Instagirl,” Deconstructing the Self-Brand: Amalia Ulman’s Instagram Hoax. The European Journal of Life Writing, (8), 12-21. Retrieved from https://ejlw.eu/article/view/35546/33120

Monahan, M., Shah, A., & Mattare, M. (2011). The road ahead: Micro enterprise perspectives on success and challenge factors. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 12(4), 113-125. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/docview/885150637?accountid=10382

Johnston, A. (2013). Community and Social Media. In Hunsinger, J., & Senft, T. M. (Eds.), The Social Media Handbook, (p.18-29).Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/curtin/reader.action?docID=1524159&ppg=27

Papacharissi, Z. (2007). Audience as media producers: Content analysis of 260 blogs. In M, Tremayne (Ed.), Blogging, Citizenship, and the Future of Media, (p. 21- 38). Retrieved from https://zizi.people.uic.edu/Site/Research_files/TremayneChapterBlogs.pdf

Pooley, J. (2010). The consuming self. In Aronczyk, M., Powers, D. (Eds.), Blowing up the brand: Critical perspectives on promotional culture (pp. 71–87). Retrieved from https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=sFIko-CwZAsC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&ots=IgVLLVm7yu&sig=jDByxTWMiLjZVnTq2hIo2EGHX_M&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Scolere, L., Pruchniewska, U., & Duffy, B. (2018). Constructing the Platform- Specific Self- Brand: The Labour of Social Media Promotion. Social Media and Society, 4(3), 1-11. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2056305118784768#articleCitationDownloadContainer

Turner, B. (2018). Review: Claudio Celis Bueno, The Attention Economy: Labour, Time and Power in Cognitive Capitalism. Theory, Culture & Society35(7–8), 331–337. Retrieved from https://journals-sagepub-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/doi/full/10.1177/0263276418799880

Wright-Porto H. (2011). Creative Blogging. Retrieved from https://link-springer-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/book/10.1007/978-1-4302-3429-6#toc

16 replies on “How do small creative businesses benefit from making use of social networks?”

Hey Jessica! Loved reading your paper, it was so insightful and interesting, and in a way also similar to mine in regards to the power of social media platforms in advertising.

I definitely agree with what you mentioned at the beginning about concerns of losing the sense of community as a result of the online shift, especially when we consider how past generations would have considered the term “community”. Of course in this day and age it’s certainly not the idea of communities disappearing, however reshaping them based on the trends of society, which is the world become more online based.

The term you were using, “virtual studio”, I’m assuming this refers to platforms such as Instagram having sort of a photo gallery or “studio” for the public to browse? Might be a silly question but I’d not heard of it until now and if that’s the case, I love it! Just thought I’d check!

In regards to authenticity within the brand, I agree that is one of the most vital aspects in order for customers to form trust, however one thing I noticed you didn’t mention was the social media influencer movement. I wasn’t sure if maybe it didn’t occur to you or perhaps it was just due to the word limit, but I thought I’d just mention it here in case since I feel this is a huge aspect in the success rates of brands showing authenticity! Their customers (or potential customers) are able to see a real person who they may already know and trust, having a genuine experience with the product/service, and base their opinion of the brand via this. They can also help massively with the community formation due to their already large communities.

It’s definitely a tough gig with the authenticity side of things with a business; wanting to come across as you said polished and professional in alignment with the audience interests, however not wanting to hide or provide a “fake” persona. Need to find a happy medium! I definitely struggle with this on my socials, not that I’m a business, but trying to provide an authentic view of my chill, fun loving self, but also sound professional in order to grow and hopefully create a successful brand of myself one day haha!

Are you currently a business or hoping to create one in the future Jess? You definitely sound like you’re on the right path if so!

All the best with everything, if you fancy reading my post which is on a similar topic, feel free to follow the link I’ll provide 🙂

http://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020OUA/2020/04/27/the-rising-role-of-social-media-communities-in-successful-word-of-mouth-advertising/

Mel

Hey Jessica,
Do you have a background in marketing/want to get into marketing?
I did a free Fundamentals of Digital Marketing with Google Garage awhile back, and it was mainly geared towards small businesses (possibly to teach clueless owners). Personally, I would be surprised if a small business was critiqued for using social media versus not, as I believe that all businesses should have social media to engage with customers. As a consumer, I’m 95% more likely to use businesses with good social media. The more visually appealing the site and social media, the more popular they are (which you touch on in with the “relatable face” paragraph).
It would have been interesting if you had discussed how businesses need to evaluate what social media they choose to use to connect with their desired audience (eg craft shop would use Etsy, and a local gym most likely wouldn’t use Pinterest).
I definitely agree with your Instagram being the creative hub statement!
Did you come across any critiques of Etsy in your research?

Anne-Marie

Hi Jessica,

Your title of the paper is eye-catchy, motivating the reader to indulge more as social media and business growth are intertwined in a correlation-like structure. Social networks present a framework through which small businesses flourish by creating connections and collaborations with other creatives, self-branding in social sites like Instagram and blogging to attract a bigger market. I agree with the statement that “mass advertising has been shown to reap huge financial benefits for big businesses” because it is through advertising that the population learns about products. In addition, social media sites are important elements of expanding the market base for small businesses to include writers and artists. It is through social media that one can publicly introduce their products to the people of different regional alignments, which can, in turn, increase the customer base.

If I may say, the article concentrates too much on social media models of expanding the customer base without exploring the marketing strategies utilised to capture the attention of potential customers. You can also consider including evidence-based data about the population segment that accesses the information on networking sites. Most important is the empirical data on the percentage growth of the small business after using social media.

However, the overall paper is well presented, highlighting the various social media platforms utilised to market business ventures. For example, you have cited blogs, Instagram, and Twitter.

Great job!

Kind Regards,
Cynthia

Hi Jessica,

Your article is very well written. A pleasure to read. I’m glad to read that the commercial side of creative life can prosper in the online world. And I was intrigued by your Henry James comment that the notion of an isolated artist can in fact be detrimental to artistic development. Connection between writers, artists and other creatives has always seemed a vital part of the creative process. Their talents develop and amplify by being in proximity to one another and learning from and influencing one another. Expanding on this a little bit, doesn’t this suggest that the creative industries will suffer as they shift online, even if the artists involved in these enterprises are connected to one another via social media? I worry that even though artists may be able to prosper commerically in this new digital environment, perhaps the quality of the artistic output itself might decline if artists aren’t connected with one another face-to-face, and aren’t inclined to interact and and sound off one another in a connected, thickly-bonded real-world environment. To my mind, the online component is very important in building up a viable income for creatives, but we will all suffer if the online landscape replaces the old model of artistic community. That being said, ideas are vitual and abstract. The creative process lives in the mind. Theoretically, this should be wholly transferable to the online world.

One other concern I have is that any creative process often involves failure. What happens when self-branding doesn’t work? Artists and writers fail, like everyone else, but hopefully get better as they learn from their mistakes. This is true of all enterprise, commercial and artistic. But if that failure is captured online, it will be very painful for the creative person behind it. Nobody likes to fail, and I imagine that no-one wants to see their failure broadcast across the internet. I always feel a little surge of sadness walking past an empty restaurant, for example, seeing the waiters and owners standing there with no customers to attend to. There’s a lot of luck and desparation in business. If small creative businesses need to display themselves across social media channels to drum up business, but then the business doesn’t come, it’s like the whole world is walking past an empty restaurant, and the owners are standing there, lonely and broke.

Hi Jessica,
Excellent paper. I like your choice of topic, and I thought you structured the essay well.
I imagine it to be very difficult to draw boundaries between personal and professional life when trying to run a small creative business. A social media strategy is a whole other job and perhaps something that business owners figure out along the way with what works and what doesn’t for the different platforms they use to engage with customers and build a community. In your research, did you notice a difference in the types of self-branding that business perform?
Well done again!
Charlotte

Hi Jessica, great paper. I definitely feel like with how we curate our identities everyday that authenticity is a lie we tell ourselves. I don’t talk to my parents the same way I talk to my friends, my co-worked, my customers, or people on the street, and that’s not inauthentic that is just me showing one part of my authentic self. As you say, a certain professionalism is expected during business exchanges, and yet I feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I still crave something that feels authentic during these times. For example, right now lots of businesses are putting out messages about how “we’re all in this together”, they’re being professional and yet I desire to see a business talk to me in a way that feels genuine. On reflection I think it’s because business will say that their customers are family, but they won’t talk to you in that way. How can we reconcile that innate desire for authenticity we all see to have with the reality that we curate our identities and also require this curation for professionalism? – James

Hi James,

You hit the nail on the head there with your last comment! I think that the idea of a brand or business requiring a sense of authenticity is still a relatively new concept in many ways, and with any new territory there is of course a period of uncertainty. I believe many brands and businesses, regardless of size, are grappling with this uncertainty. I almost feel like being a small business gives you a head start with trying to address where exactly the line between authenticity and professionalism lies. If you consider that traditionally, big business and brands used to rely mainly on magazine/newspaper and modelled advertising with an expected level of coolness between customer and retailer, where the brand was a name and nothing more, the idea that now a face and a persoanlity is what sells products is hard to swallow. I suppose that is why we have seen a rise in influencer culture, if a brand can pay someone with a social media following to talk about their product, then they can create a sense of authticity and give people a personality to associate with them, without the managers or other higher ups having to dedicate themselves to being the behind the scenes authetic ‘face’ of the company as it were.
Small brands however, and definitely the more creative ones such as artists etc, may literally embody their business. They themselves are the business, and as such can market a an authentic face for people to engage with more easily without the need for influencers, because there is no other option.
An interesting topic to debate for sure James! Thank you for your thought provoing comment!
Jessica

Hi Jessica,
A very thoughtful and well put together paper. I found your work particularly interesting as my partner owns a small business and utilises multiple social networking platforms to promote her business and interact with the community. It has certainly been the case that her business’ social networking platforms are the modern day and amplification of word of mouth as you have said. I would say 80% of her regular clients are in one way or another referenced via another. Posting to Instagram at least once a day, being a short-interaction service, is easy on both parties as it does not take significant time to post or interact with. Yet this keeps the business relevant and on the mind of those who are followers.
I find that Twitter and Instagram in particular, can be so refreshingly raw in the content that is posted. Almost in a behind the scenes kind of way, particularly with Instagram stories, as they only last 24 hours and are not expected to be anything more than a timely update.
I am curious if you came across any relevant statistics regarding customer interaction on these sites such as how feedback has improved the business or products mid process, new customers via these platforms and the ‘virtual word-of-mouth’, as well as sales performance with and without Instagram story promotion.
Thank you for your insightful paper Jessica, it was a pleasure!
Mike

Hi Mike,

I love getting replies from people who have a lived expereince of the topics that this paper adressed. Fascinating to hear how much of her customer base comes via social network channels, all of my research said as much, but its always nice to know that what you have theorised about has a connection off screen as it were. I find Instagram stories to be a wonderful behind the scenes too for small businesses and I agree that the immediacy of them makes them feel more candid and authentic, than perhaps a calculated blog post. I wonder which is more effective? The thought out and meta data inundated post or the brief and almost absent minded snap? Research for another day perhaps, where I might also look into your question regarding customer interaction statistics! Thanks for all your feedback!

Jessica

Hi Jessica!

I really liked your paper, I found it very engaging and informative. And I think it’s wonderful to hear that these small creative businesses are not only able to stand out, but also able to reap the rewards and revenue offered to them through the use of social networks. It’s truly amazing the marketing and opportunities for influence that are provided by social networking platforms today.
You touched upon this sense of ‘calculated authenticity’ of brands and individuals, and I largely agree with your point that that it isn’t necessarily negative. It’s about professionalism. I also like the fact that you equated it to walking into a shop and receiving a greeting from the staff. It’s doubtful those staff members are behaving that exact same way, and exhibiting all the traits of professionalism, patience, customer service, etc. in their everyday lives. Does that mean they’re less authentic in their promotion or when acting as the face of a business? I personally don’t think so–we have somewhat different version of ourselves we display in the different facets of our lives, and I think this is simply, as you said, a matter of putting one’s best foot forward.
Really good read, Jessica! Thank you for that.

Kind regards,

Vanessa

P.S. Very much appreciate your use of subheadings as it really helped guidepost through your paper and argument! 😊

Hi Vanessa,

I’m glad you enjoyed the use of subheadings! I agree with you that they make academic papers far easier to read and help the argument to not get lost among screeds of wordy text!
I was thrilled you found the notion of ‘calculated authenticity’ as interesting as I do, it was definitly what captured my interest most during the research I undertook. The idea of professionalism within the digital marketplace is a largely new and unexplored concept, and I find it fascinating to see first hand how both big and small businesses/brands attempt to navigate what can often be tricky territory! Your comment about how we might show different aspects of ourselves depending on the situation makes me think about how difficult it must be to both create, and stick to, boundaries between work and personal life. Especially within a creative sphere as even without a digitial medium in play, they are often interlinked. An interesting topic indeed and one I am sure we will both be interested to watch unfold in the coming years.

Jessica

Hi Jessica,
Thank you for writing your conference paper on this topic. It was well written, easy to read and very interesting.
As a previous Manager in the Retail industry one of my responsibilities was to build sales through strategic local area marketing. That was almost 15 years ago just before Facebook really took off. If I had access to the social networks and blogs available today it would have made marketing the business more effective. As the internet is 24/7 and essentially borderless it would have allowed me to reach far more people quicker, at any time of the day or night.
The ability for consumers to access small businesses and creatives via blogging and social media websites and apps have certainly contributed to increased sales, customer bases and brand awareness.

Hi Kylie,

Thank you for reading my article and for such interesting feedback. I enjoyed reading your perspective from a real life marketing stand point, as a lot of my paper was based on my own experiences and theoretical reaearch. Good to see that it had some relevance beyond an academic standpoint! It certainly is incredible to witness the difference in marketing strategies over the last 15 years, it makes me wonder what progressions the next 15 years will make.

Jessica

Hi Jessica,

Great read on your article. Small Businesses promoting their Business with Social media as one of the many tools for promotion is definitely becoming a status quo these days. Social media advertising, websites, or online advertising has been a platform that is here to stay and will only evolve and become more engaging with people making Social media and other digital platforms part of the their daily lives. The entrepreneurship and creative aspects of the Business will use Social Media platform and other digital assets as a way for promoting their work / masterpiece or advertising their products. Instagram and Twitter has definitely flourished for Small Business by affording their ability to have a global reach and to achieve the same capacity as other multinationals organisations just minus the purchasing power i would say.

Thanks Jessica and a great read.

Hi Kim,

Thanks for reading my article and for leaving such kind feedback. You definitley got the gist of what I was trying to convey and I agree with what you said in regards to how social media use has given small businesses the ability to reach more global audiences/customers. Definety a lot of pros in how the internet has allowed entrepreneurial creatives to flourish!

Jessica

Hi Jessica,

I loved reading your paper, especially as I have a couple of small businesses and am always interested to learn more about how I can utilise social media to enhance my brand and online presence. I really like how you broke up the paragraphs to focus on different platforms.

Here are some of my thoughts/questions –

1. “It seems almost miraculous that our creative citizens; the artists, writers, potters, woodworkers etc., are able to exist at all, let alone thrive. But thrive they do, and a lot of their success can be attributed to the use of the Internet (Monahan, Shah, & Mattare, 2011, p.122) and the practice of social media networks such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
– I can definitely attest to this. I know for a fact that I’d be lost without social media for my business as my business revolves around it.

2. “It can also be used as a way of promoting both your own business as well as those of others, creating motivation and inspiration, as well as ‘enabling a sense of community, a sharing of creative practice and support for the creative work of others to develop and flourish’ through the use of longer, more detailed posts (Budge, 2013, p. 18).”
– How important do you think the utilisation of blogs are for a creative business? I’ve always considered creating a blog that relates to my business but am unsure whether it would be worthwhile for the amount of time I’d need to spend on it.

3. “According to Budge, Twitter is useful as a way to seek feedback from others about her creative process, or related topics, without the need and time to publish and monitor and a full-length blog post (Budge, 2013, p. 18).”
– This is very true, perhaps Twitter is something I should look into more for my business and also to follow more business owners to gain an insight into their creative processes. Do you use Twitter for business purposes or just for fun?

4. “In many cases Instagram can very quickly become the hub of almost all virtual traffic for the business (Alkhowaiter, 2016, p.59).”
– I agree with this. Instagram alone has been a massive help for me and others I know in business. Did you also consider Facebook for business? I love the capabilities that Facebook pages have for business. I find that the reach can be similar to Instagram, especially in the way that you can invite someone to like your page.

5. “The technologically able creative must be constantly thinking and working towards marketing themselves as the face of their work, in this way it is often a consequence that the very existence of an individual becomes built around their work and creative output (Duffy, 2015, p. 3).”
– I like how you said ‘the technologically able creative’ as there are not always people that are technologically advanced enough to utilise these features. Although ‘constantly thinking and working towards marketing [oneself] can also be a long and time-consuming task for even the most technologically savvy people.

6. “According to Pooley, creatives who used Instagram to market their products had created a curated and polished version of themselves that had the feel of authenticity, but was more truthfully a professional façade employed according to their audiences’ considerations (Pooley, 2010, p.79).”
– Do you think this is a positive thing as people are trying to uphold a professional image? Or do you think they should be showing a more authentic side, even when sharing on a business SNS?

Thanks again for an interesting read, I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of the things I’ve pointed out!

Talk soon, Emily

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