Frankenstein, mermaid, snake, dinosaur, leaves…which is the right green for the job? When it comes to green face paint there are so many different shades and it’s essential to get it right, after all no one wants a shimmery mint Hulk.
Here’s a guide to the best greens for the most popular on-the-job faces;
Mermaid – this is all about the shine so go for pearly bases like Superstar. ‘Green Shimmer’ is lovely or for a darker sea shade choose ‘Peacock Shimmer’. Add wispy seaweed details with a strong, matt green (Chameleon Clover is great) and a pink tip liner brush. If you want to add extra sparkle, TFPS bio-glitter in Spring Green is really pretty.
Frankenstein and the Hulk demand a good mid green – a personal favourite is FPA Mid Green, this is also vegan and cruelty-free so ticks all the boxes for me and many of my clients.
You can experiment a bit more with whole face snake designs; it’s fun to use yellowy-green one strokes like TAG Leaf Yellow, add a shiny green such as FPA Metallix Light Green then layer scales with turquoise – Superstar do amazing creamy ones.
For seasonal Holly I love the one stroke I make from DFX white and Party Explosion Dark Green – two colours is all you need as they blend as you stroke your brush to give three lovely shades. Just slice up your cakes and use an old one stroke case or lid. A little goes a long way and you’ll make lots of one strokes from just two pots of colour.
Joni Nettleship x
Can you believe it is almost 2019? I am really excited for this New Year and what it will bring for me, my family and my business. It has been a tough year for me, for a number of reasons, but 2019 already has lots of things to look forward to, including an awards ceremony in March, and some training with the amazing Annie Reynolds, in July.
I have been thinking this week about New Year’s resolutions for the business, and one of the things I am determined to do this year is manage my accounts better. I am notoriously bad at completing my accounts on a monthly basis, and instead I find myself every year, spending hours upon hours sat at my desk surrounded by a years’ worth of invoices, bank statements, receipts and the like. It’s not fun, and it comes at what is already a ridiculously busy time of year for us. 2019 is going to be the year that I break this bad habit. I am going to complete my accounts at the end of each month. Not only will this mean that I don’t have the December stress fest, and will also help me to know on a monthly basis where I stand in terms of profitability.
Here are a few hints and tips about managing your business finances.
Disclaimer – I am NOT an accountant or financial advisor, so please do your own research and take advice before making any financial decision.
Do I need to be registered with HMRC?
YES! Working without paying the appropriate tax is illegal, and can get you into serious bother and hefty fines if you are caught. If you are working on a self-employed basis, then you need to register with HMRC and complete a tax return at the end of each tax year. Each tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April the following year. You then have until the following January to submit your tax return. Also, if you don’t also work on a PAYE basis elsewhere you will need to think about your National Insurance contributions, as failing to keep these up to date can / will have a detrimental impact on your future pension entitlement.
Do I need an accountant?
No. It is totally possible to complete your own tax return, but it can be daunting. There are often local classes / sessions available to get you started so it worth checking with local adult learning centres/ colleges. There is also a lot of information online and it is definitely worth familiarising yourself with the basics. Now that I’m a few years in, I sit somewhere in the middle by doing all of my own accounts, but having them checked and submitted by my accountant. This keeps the cost down, keeps my eye on the ball so to speak, while also ensuring that it is all completed properly and on time.
What information do I need?
You should be keeping a comprehensive note of all income and outgoings associated with your business. This includes income from any job you carry out, any private booking, and any products sold. You will also need to keep a record of any purchase made in relation to your face painting work. This will include the obvious things like products and kit that you buy, but can also include mileage accrued travelling to and from gigs, and, depending on your circumstances, can often include a proportion of some household bills such as phone, internet, electric and heat etc. These costs will vary according to how you operate so please take advice from your accountant on what you can include.
Should I have a business bank account?
If you are a limited company then you must have a business account in the name of your business, but if you are self-employed then it is not compulsory. It can make life at tax return time a lot easier though, as all of your work related transactions are in one place. I find that it is also helpful in terms of being able to more clearly understand your work related income and outgoings. It also looks more professional when clients are issuing direct payments, and means that if for any reason, HMRC decide to audit you, they don’t need to see that you ate Mc Donald’s 3 times in one week and spent your last £20 on gin.
In short, Tax doesn’t need to be scary. It is always better to be registered and above board, and you never know, you might find yourself being owed a nice little rebate meaning you can stock up on those new rainbow cakes you spotted on The Face Painting Shop’s website!
I Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas break, and enjoy the rest!
Some useful links
Candle Design Step by Step
Hi Guys! I hope you are all well and enjoying the festive season! It’s been a bit crazy here at Kate’s Faces HQ with all the Christmas parties, school nativities, corporate events, charity do’s and then the usual Birthday parties to squeeze in between!
If like me you’ve painted a thousand reindeers, three million snowmen and five hundred Santa’s and you fancy a little something different to offer your clients you’ll hopefully enjoy this quick and easy candle design. You can use any colour one stroke for the candles (I used purple to symbolise an advent wreath) and obviously change up the colours completely should you wish. The lovely Tracy Keers from The Face Painting Shop made up this fancy graphic showing the main products and brushes I used to create the design, but there are a couple of extras, links to which can be found underneath this blog. I hope you find this breakdown of this design helpful – please do let me know if there are any other designs that you may like to see live tutorials of, or step-by-steps. And I’d love to see your interpretations of this so do pop them up on to The Face Painting Shop’s Facebook Page!
Paint three different height candles in the centre of the forehead (things look good in 3’s or 5’s!) – using any one stroke you wish but using one with a light edge and a dark edge will help create the depth and shadow you want for these candles.
Using Tag Leaf and your #Pinktip ¾ Angle Brush, add holly leaves and fir branches around the candles and the eyes.
Add swirls and holly berries as you like in the gorgeous new colour ‘Valentine’ from Superstar.
Add your flames, and then highlight the leaves and the candles (I like my TFPS liner brush for highlighting). Add some starbursts to make it look ‘twinkly’! Paint the lips red.
Glitter!! I used chunky glitter in champagne from TFPS which is the perfect light, shimmery gold for so many designs and finished this design off beautifully. I used Ben Nye Glitter Glue to adhere it to the skin.
And here is the finished look! When I actually painted my beautiful model Phoebe, I felt it needed something a little extra so I added some Proline Dupe Pigment in Copperline – I put this on dry using my small #pinktip blender brush and it makes THE MOST gorgeous eyeshadow. You can also use these wet for linework, or for face or body painting – when used wet they are like liquid metal.
10 Reasons You Need a Practice Board in Your Kit
Hello everyone! I hope you are all well and super busy over this festive period. Is it just me or are you 10x busier than you were for Halloween? It’s crazy! Not that I’m complaining, it’s all good.
I’m sure we are all making our festive wish lists too, and with that in mind I thought I’d write this blog. It’s been something I have been thinking of doing for a while so here it is.
If you are familiar with my work, you are probably aware that I love and use my Sally-Ann Lynch Training Tried and Tested Boards very regularly.
Personally I own a few:
A2 Black Professional Face Painter
A2 6X Child Face
A3 Bump Board
A3 Male Torso
A3 Clear Plain
And if that wasn’t enough, I am hoping to get a couple of A4 plain boards to make practice whilst travelling super convenient.
You are probably wondering why I have so many and why I think they are a great item to own. So I’ve put together 10 reasons why I think you would benefit from having one or more than one, in your kit.
MY TOP 10 REASONS TO ADD A SALLY-ANN LYNCH TTT BOARD TO YOUR KIT
They are easy to use – making practice time quick and easily accessible. No bribing your kids to let you use their face or squeezing designs onto your forearm!
Very easy to clean – no staining! If you are like me, I am more likely to practice if it isn’t going to take me 30 mins to clean something! These boards clean up in less than a minute with just soap and warm water.
There is SO much choice – So whether you want to practice face designs, body designs or just go free flow, there is something for everyone.
They look incredibly professional on the job to display your designs. I find them especially helpful for displaying special theme requests, when I may not have them in my back catalogue of pictures or word boards.
They are so versatile; I find the multi face boards especially versatile. I use them for displaying designs at parties, practicing one design over and over again, displaying Step By Step designs and trialling different placements of the same design. I’m sure there are even more ways to use just this one style of board, but I haven’t thought of it yet!
One size does not fit all! And that’s another great thing about these boards; they come in all different sizes, so there is sure to be one to fit your needs. Also, as well as different sizes, they come in a choice of Landscape or Portrait.
The Baby Bump Board! This board alone is a must if you are planning to start painting baby bumps. It provides a perfect template to plan and practice your design. It also provides what I think to be a very professional tool that you can use to show the ‘mum to be’ the design they will have, ensuring they know exactly what to expect and they can point out and make any personal changes. Every mum I have painted, have all commented on how fab my board is. Its things like this that all add to the service the client receives and helps cement in their mind how organised and professional you are.
They make creating new designs easy, especially for working out placement and what looks good. Not forgetting, helping you to work out in which order you are best to paint each element of your new design.
Make a mistake? Just wipe it off!
Last but not least, They are Purpose Built. Made by Face Painters for Face Painters!
And there we have it, if you were in any doubt about getting a Sally-Ann Lynch Board, then I hope you found this Top 10 helpful and has made your decision easier. If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments below or follow me on my other social network platforms and ask me there:
YouTube: Search ‘Jane Harding’
MERRY EVERYTHING & HAPPY ALWAYS!
Snow Globe Belly Art Step by Step
How are we halfway through December already?! I had something completely different planned for this post, but then they new Practice Board arrived and I needed to try it out! I have already said how much I love the Training Tried and Tested boards, and over the summer I started doing my first belly paints, and have wanted to add the Mother to Be board to my collection ever since, and now I have! I did a couple of pumpkin bellies in the run up to halloween, and I have been dying to do a snow globe for the festive season!
I started off by blocking in the tutu and the tree. I used Tag ‘Snake’ one stroke for the tree and Nats Gold Edition ‘Red Fox’ for the tutu, it’s the perfect colour for a Sugar Plum Fairy! For the Tree Trunk I double dipped Superstar Shock complexion and Global Rose Brown on The Face Painting Shop 1 inch Short Angled brush, which I also used for the tree and the tutu
Next I placed my snow globe background colours, Cameleon ‘Victorious’ and Global ‘Pearl Baby Blue) with Tag ‘Pearl White’ in the middle, and also painted in the snow globe base, using Global Rose Brown, Superstar Shock complexion and DFX white. I then outlined everything with DFX black, using TFPS round 6 brush.
Once the background colours were dry, I painted in the legs, chest, head and arms of my Sugar Plum Fairy, using Superstar Shock Complexion. For the hair I mixed Superstar yellow, Superstar Glitter Gold and Superstar Shock complexion together, before using Superstar Rose Gold for the ballet shoes. I then used the TFPS Rounded Flora no 1 brush to outline her and the tree, adding a small line for her eye, and then using a tiny bit of Global Pearl Merlot for her lips.
As I like to work one section at a time, I wanted to finish the details on my sugar plum fairy before moving on to anything else, but you don’t necessarily have to do it at this point. I used DFX black and DFX white for outlining and detailing both on my tutu and on the Christmas tree trunk to add extra before using Superstar Glitter Gold to create the Star at the top of the tree.
Before moving on to the finishing touches, I added my baubles, using Cameleon Victoriuos, Supertasr Plum and Superstar Glitter Gold, and outlining them in DFX Black
To finish everything off, I first highlighted all the baubles and the star before just going crazy with snow. I normally use a toothbrush for this kind of thing, but I wanted bigger dots than you would get with a toothbrush, so I used my TFPS round no 6 brush and DFX white to create the snow, and then the highlights both on the globe and on the base. Because I had already used DFX white for snow, I wanted to add something on top of the snow globe highlights to make sure it was brighter than the snow, so I topped it off with Tag Pearl White for a slightly shimmery effect.
It’s not perfect, if I were to do it again, I would use my airbrush for the highlights (although I’m not going to bring my airbrush on a job just for one thing!), and I would have thought about my sugar plum fairy placement, and being able to make her legs a bit longer because they are a little bit out of proportion, but that’s the great thing about having these boards, you get to make the mistakes at home so you don’t do it in a client situation!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post, I absolutely love doing belly paints, and would love to see any of your creations! Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have anything in particular you’d like me to cover
LONG WEEKENDS, AWARDS & MANAGING FAMILY LIFE
So this week has been pretty epic for me, for two reasons. Firstly, I had an amazing long weekend away with my favourite people, to my favourite place (Donegal, Ireland). I was ready for some serious destressing and it was so good to spend some quality time with my kids, my husband, my dad, and his partner. Secondly, it came as a complete shock to learn that I have been selected as a finalist in the UK wide Mums in Business Awards! This means the world to me, as I’m sure a lot of you know, balancing raising a family while growing a business isn’t easy. In a way, this nomination feels like recognition of both parenting and working! I have a 9 year old daughter, Ruby, and a 17 month old son, Jude, so life is busy! I am aware that lots of painters out there are also juggling a full time job, and you have my utmost admiration for that! Work life balance is hard. Jude is at the age where I take one step forward and three steps back in everything that I do, but I know it won’t be like this forever. He was a much longed for baby, and the process of getting him here wasn’t straightforward, and as he is my last baby, I am conscious of trying to spend every available moment of this precious stage just soaking up his awesomness. However, I still want to nurture and grow my business. At times I don’t get this right, and the balance swings too heavily to the family side, or the business side, and the other side misses out. But ......I am learning about boundaries and their importance in maintaining a healthy balance, and I have made some changes over the last year or so which have really made a difference.
Here are my top tips for creating and maintaining a healthy and happy family life / work balance.
1. CREATE FAMILY TIME
This seems obvious, but it actually took me quite a while to realise that I needed to do this. Sure, I’m around all day, I do both school runs and I don’t use any external childcare. I’m at home with my husband at least four evenings a week. This isn’t the same as ‘family time’ though. While I’m doing all of these things, I’m also responding to messages, booking in jobs, managing deposits and payments, creating and sending invoices, making balloons, and all of the other things that come with running a small business. My mind is often elsewhere and I’m usually doing 23 things at once. I am not fully present. The nature of our business means that our diaries fill up in an unstructured way, sometimes days in advance, sometimes months in advance, and it is so easy to find yourself in a position where you don’t have a weekend day off to spend with your family, for months on end. I now actively block out some days in the diary to spend quality, present time with my little unit.
2. INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
As I mentioned above, doing 23 things at once is often a slower and more complicated strategy than tackling things one at a time. I am working on becoming more efficient by examining what I need to achieve each week, and planning when I am going to do each thing. For example, I know that trying to use the laptop, paint, or cut vinyl personalisation for my balloon work, are virtually impossible to do while Jude is on the loose. These things are far too interesting for him, and he demands to be an active participant, and, as this makes it stressful for me, I now plan for those things to be done while he naps. This might seem obvious but for me, it has had a really positive impact, as I know exactly what I’m going to be doing for that little 90 min slot each day. I have everything that I need ready to go, and it’s amazing how productive I can be in such a short window of time. I have also dedicated Tuesdays as admin day. All outstanding quotes and invoices are sent on Tuesdays, so I no longer feel overwhelmed by trying to remember everything, and snatching five minutes here and there to try to do things. I leave a little early for the school run and use the time to respond to messages. Again, simply by creating a new habit or routine, you can earmark little bits of time to get things done in a more productive way.
3. LEARN HOW TO SAY NO
When you are self-employed, or running a new / small business is it desperately tempting to take every single job that comes your way. In a lot of ways, it makes sense. We work on word of mouth referrals a lot, so obviously the more work you do, the more referrals come your way. There has to be a limit to this though. Sometimes it’s that one extra gig that pushes you over the edge into being over tired, stressed, and generally fed up. Don’t be afraid to say no to some jobs if they are going to upset your work life balance. There is more to life that making as much money as you can. I’m learning that this doesn’t only apply to work, and learning to say no to any commitment that doesn’t add value to your life or bring you joy is a big step but one that you won’t regret.
4. ORGANISATION ROCKS!
This is relatively new to me. I read the Marie Kondo Book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ last year, and it really changed my outlook on life. Not only have I massively decluttered and organised the house, but it has also spilled over into other aspects of life. I meal plan, I run a family calendar to keep track of everyone’s activities. I organise uniforms and school bags the night before. I use a ‘to do list’ app to keep me on track, and I have generally streamlined most aspects of life. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of days where the house is a tip and we have McDonalds for dinner, but because we have a system in place now, and so much less junk, the house is much easier to tidy after a busy day of ‘familyness’, and I feel much more in control of everyday life.
5. ME TIME!
It’s the old saying ‘you are no good to anyone if you aren’t good to yourself’. Being a working (self-employed) mum and wife is hard work. It takes its toll and makes its mark on you. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to become over-tired and run down. This is when you find yourself in a rut - of house work, motherhood and work with no respite. This one is tricky for me at the moment as having a one year old is full on full time, but I live for my Tuesday night bath. Everyone knows that interruptions are only permitted if the house is on fire or someone requires an ambulance! It’s my time to relax, look after myself, and have some head space. Some of my best thinking happens in the bath too, and I always feel 100% better afterwards.
I know that we are fast approaching the silly season and my own diary is absolutely jam packed, so I don’t always practice what I preach, but even little tweaks can make a real difference. Why not make a new year’s resolution to schedule regular family time to make memories and have fun with the ones you love? I promise you will never regret it!
How to Maximise Profit at a Pay Per Face Event!
I like a good, busy PPF event occasionally. I did plenty of dismal ones when I first started out, might have even cried a bit on the way home after not even making the price of stall fee back. It’s always best to have guaranteed income and be paid your hourly rate but for some events that isn’t an option available. When contacting events always offer hourly first, it’s in all our interest if events willing to pay hourly stay that way. And offering PPF when the event already has a paid painter is bad form. Undercutting benefits none of us. But, with the perfect event I can make over my hourly rate, so I'm passing on to you some of what I’ve learned.
The Type of Event
In order to have a steady/crazy queue of customers waiting to be painted, the event itself has to be well advertised. Search for the event on face-book, look at the numbers of interest people from previous years. If the event is not established then I pass. Even if you’re a new painter and need the practice, you need the event to have people actually there. Look out for banners and posters too. Always ask about duplicate stalls, you don’t want to be splitting your potential clients. When asked to provide a raffle prize just say you offer a service not a product.
Location is important. You need an abundance of kids so school fete’s and fairs are great. Schools are generally more worried about being sued these days so it’s less likely the school will loose their pupils to do the face-painting with some tubes of Smiffys and no hygiene protocol. Community events can be good earners too.
This might just be my experience but Craft and Church fairs can be attended by a more elderly crowd so baring the odd grandchild or up-for-it Nana, your pool of customers is too small to be worth the while.
The perfect stall fee is ZERO. No risk to you and the event see you as a draw.
The next best deal is a percentage of your takings. It requires some trust between you and the event coordinator, so be upfront about how much float you’re starting with and count takings together at the end of the event. Do not go higher than 20%. I might give a charity 20% if it was a worthwhile cause.
Contrary to thinking too low a stall fee is a bad sign. You turn up and the stall holders are the only people there. That tiny stall fee wasn’t put into advertising. The other end of the market is festivals who can charge over a thousand for a weekend and some have no problem having many glitter/face-painting stalls. Even with inflated per face charge you’d have trouble making back that fee. Some painters say that it’s better to attend and work on the fly, but you didn’t hear that from me as it’s probably illegal.
To have a really successful PPF gig, you need to be FAST and GOOD. No more than four minutes total turnaround per design is a good limit. That’s asking which design, taking the money, getting seated, the painting and sending them on their way. To me, a quick design means I don’t pick up the same brush more than once, every brush swap is more seconds on your design.
So you should have a repertoire of under four minute designs on display. I love my 8 mask Sally Anne Lynch board in a poster A2 a-frame. Eight designs I can confidently bang out in a display really stops the umming and erring when the client gets their turn, plus I don’t want to be googling Five Nights at Freddie’s characters when theres a queue of twelve people forming. You can just say “These are the designs I’m doing today”, and being able to diplomatically say NO will stead you well in face-painting and in life. The more people you paint the more money you make so save the super elaborate designs for parties. One strokes and stencils are life-savers. Chunky Festival Glitter is also super quick when applied over Global gel.
On the Day
Hello again everyone, how are you all doing? Just a quick one from me today! I don’t know about you, but it’s already looking like my December is going to be busier than myOctober! Today I wanted to share a quick set by step for my penguin crown. It’s so simple but I really love this design!
Sally-Ann Lynch 4 face A2 board
DFX Captain Obvious
The Face Painting Shop Base Brush
Mehron Prisma Cake, Shadow
The Face Painting Shop Short Angled 3/4 inch Brush
Nat Davies Gold Edition Blue Wren
The Face Painting Shop Round No: 6
The Face Painting Shop Rounded Flora No: 1
Superstar Glitter Gold
Please let me know if you have any questions, any other designs you’d like to see or any topics you’d like me to write about. If you give this a go I would absolutely love to see it too!
The Need for Speed
When I first started out face painting, I sought out advice from a very experienced painter in my area, whom is now a great friend. Amongst all of the wonderful advice she gave me, I remember she told me that I should eventually be able to paint around 15 faces an hour. At the time, I was averaging about 15 minutes a face! So was quite overwhelmed
at the thought of being able to paint that quickly, and to a good standard. This week’s blog is about how I built up to that number and my top tips for increasing your speed.
Starting off Small
I ditched my book of designs as I knew that by continually looking at something for reference was slowing me down – this was a big step and pretty scary!! But it gives you lots of freedom too – your client doesn’t know what you are supposed to be painting (eliminating the ‘you’ve missed that bit, I want that bit’), you can vary the design as you like, keeping it really simple if you have a long queue or adding in my detail and embellishments if you wish. My first step was to memorise, REALLY memorise 6 popular designs, and really try and nail those designs. I think I chose a butterfly, tiger, spiderman, flowers, Captain America and a princess crown (If I was learning now I’d almost definitely replace one of those with a unicorn!). I painted my Sally Ann Lynch Tried and Tested board with these six designs and took it to parties, ppf jobs and practiced and practiced. Naturally I got quicker and quicker at these designs.
Build Up Your Repertoire
As my confidence grew I began to add in extra designs – so I’d practice at home the basic steps to creating a design, and then add it to my board. And over time, I added more and more, mixing up the design boards completely, taking multiple boards with me, even bravely taking requests for things I’d never painted before and using my imagination for how they’d look on the face – something I never thought I’d be able to do!
Now I generally don’t use a board to display designs on, unless I’m working at a themed event and have been asked to specially design one – I LOVE working a themed event, and the challenge of thinking up new ideas, and painting something other than unicorns and superheros! However- I still revert to my 6- face choice board if I know I really have some numbers to get through. Last weekend I had a 2 hour party with 45 children to paint, one of the parents managing my queue and a very knackered Kate by the end of it!
Utilise Your Time-Saving Tools
We are lucky to have SUCH amazing products available to us now, splitcakes, one strokes, stencils, all of which make our jobs so much quicker. I utilise these as much as I can on busy jobs to help me to be quick. I love to blend out a face and spend time on a design but there is a time and a place!
I try to remind myself not to be a perfectionist if I’ve got a long line or a very busy party, and I think this is really important if you do want to build up your speed. I don’t mean that you should completely compromise on quality, as it would be soul-destroying to turn out work that you hate – but to try and find a happy medium. Focus on high-impact designs that are simple and quick. You have to remember that members of the public are going to be impressed with your skills even if you don’t add on those five starbursts, and the shading, and the liquid bling etc etc.
So to recap:
TOP TIPS FOR INCREASING YOUR SPEED
Use a display board so children can choose their design ahead of time
If you’re a beginning start with a small selection of designs and memorise them
Use one strokes/stencils/splitcakes to get more ‘bang for your buck’
Keep the designs simple, bright and high-impact
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear any comments or tips you have on this subject. Next week I’m going to starting CHRISTMAS designs woohoo! Using some gorgeous, glitzy products from The Face Painting Shop.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear any comments or tips you have on this subject. Next week I’m going to starting CHRISTMAS designs woohoo! Using some gorgeous, glitzy products from The Face Painting Shop.
Let’s talk about instagram, part 2
In part 1 I covered the basics of Instagram and getting started with it. In this post, part 2, I’m going to talk about the business tools, how to make the most of them, and some of the extra features.
How to make your profile a business profile
There are so many benefits of turning your profile into a business profile! It makes it easier for people to get in contact with you, you can promote your posts, and you can get insights and analytics to help show you how your posts are performing, and give you information about your audience. There are a couple of requirements to have a business profile. 1) You have to have 100 followers, and 2) you have to have a Facebook page. This is because Instagram is owned by Facebook, and it uses the information from your Facebook page to fill out your business details for your Instagram page. It then also connects your payment details so that if you choose to promote one of your posts, it already has everything it needs.
So, how do you do it? Go to your profile, and there will be the 3 line menu button in the top right corner. Click that and it opens a small menu, and right at the bottom is a ‘Settings’ button. Open that and it takes you to a really long menu. Scroll down until you get to the ‘Business Settings' section and you should have the option right there.
Insights and Analytics and how to use them
The insights page is split into 3 sections. Activity, Content and Audience. The ‘Activity’ tab shows you a week on week report based on profile visits, website clicks, reach and impressions. It also shows a graph to say which days of the previous week had the most actions taken on your posts.
If you go into the content tab and select ‘see all’ You can see all of your posts ranked by engagement they have received, how many likes, comments, profile clicks, emails, website clicks etc etc your posts have generated. You can also select the time frame that it takes into consideration.
The audience tab shows you a range of graphs including the locations your audience is from, the age range of your audience, the gender of your audience, and at what times or days your followers are most active.
That’s a very brief explanation of the insights page, but there are so many useful things to take from that information, and can really help you to see if you are getting the most from your posts.
Promoting your posts
This is basically a social media ‘advert’. You can pay as little as £3 to ‘boost’ your post, and you can customise your target audience. You can even save this target audience to use again in future promoted posts. This is such a great tool because you might want to change your target audience depending on your ad, wether you are promoting maternity art, a glitter bar for a wedding or face painting for a children’s party. You can then also tweak these settings depending on if the ad is getting you the results you wanted or not. You also then receive insights as to how much of your engagement has been generated by the promotion vs the organic reach (people who would have seen and interacted with your post without the paid promotion). Just be careful when you are choosing a post to promote though. I have had a promotion cancelled in the past because there was too much text on the image itself, and photo’s with lots of text or ‘clutter’ don’t perform as well on social media as ‘clean’ images. This is something instagram automatically did rather than me choosing to end the promotion, so just keep that in mind!
I talked in part 1 about using hashtags, and making the most out of them, as well as supporting other face painters by engaging with their posts. Business hashtags are another great way of expanding your reach and supporting other local businesses who in turn might support you. Working with local businesses can be really beneficial to both parties, and social media can often be the first point of contact for this, you could discover loads of local businesses you didn’t even know existed! I know of a couple of hashtags around where I live. We have ‘#Sheffieldissuper’ (which started off as a twitter page, retweeting a lot of the content they were tagged in) and ‘#Southyorksbiz’ which literally reposts everything it has been hashtagged in, which has it’s pro’s and cons. It might take a little bit of time to find relevant local business tags, but once you have found them, they can be really beneficial!
Keeping your profile relevant to what you do
For me, this is a biggie. I have 4 separate instagram accounts. 4. I keep each area of my business separate, and then I have a personal account too because, as much as I love my dogs, and as much as I think they are the most gorgeous, idiotic, lovable creatures ever, my clients might not. Having a separate personal account also allows me to follow other accounts unrelated to work without my business newsfeeds getting clogged up with cakes, other people’s dogs, and pictures of forest floors and mountains. I’m not saying that if you are a face painter and a glitter tattoo artist that you necessarily need a separate account for each service, they are complimentary services that you would probably perform together at the same gig. For me though, if I have someone looking me up for face painting at a children’s birthday party, they’re probably not interested in the bridal hair and makeup I did the other day, and equally if I’m being considered for a fashion shoot or a film, they might be put off by the face painting. You also need to consider your marketing strategy, especially who your target market is, and if it is the same for each area of your business. That being said, there are a few people that actually do follow all 4 of my accounts (although these are mostly my family and close friends), as well as those who only want to see images from one of my accounts and that’s fine! It’s totally up to them.
Instagram stories is a relatively new feature, entirely stolen from snapchat, and is now also a feature on Facebook. It’s a another way to engage with your followers and increase your exposure. For me, it’s where I post more sort of behind the scenes stuff that I don’t want on my main profile. Live videos can be great for engaging with your audience, as is captioning and hash tagging your stories, which can also then include your story in the main story for that hashtag. To add to your story, go to your newsfeed (or your profile), and on your logo there will be a little + button which you need to click. From there you can decide wether you want to add a video, a boomerang or just a quick photo to your story.
User Generated content
Personally, I am rubbish at remembering to take photo’s while I’m on the job. It can be really hard, especially if it’s a busy event, to find the time, and to find the time when you have done a really good paint rather than when you’ve been stuck with a wriggler for the last 10 minutes! A really good way of generating photo’s of your work other than taking them yourself, is to encourage people who have been painted by you, or whose children have been painted by you to tag you in any pictures they post of it on Facebook or Instagram. These can then be re-shared to your profile, and you can tag the person who originally posted it, and thank them for it! As well as building your exposure, this is a good way of making sure you are totally, 100%, completely GDPR compliant.
Sometimes there might also be professional photographers at the events you are painting at. Photographers are your best friends! I have been sent some really lovely photos of my work from events where there has also been a photographer, and it’s also a great networking opportunity.
Taking into account your own social media habits
The last thing I want to talk about today is your own social media habits. What makes you want to interact with someone else’s post, what makes you want to unfollow someone? Think about this and then apply it to yourself. Imagine you are a potential client, and be really honest with yourself. Are you posting engaging content? Are you posting at a time that your target audience is going to be using instagram? Morning breaks, lunch breaks, and just after dinner (and by dinner I mean evening meal, NOT lunch!) are the times I have found most effective for me to post during the week.
And the other last thing is this. Just remember that in general, we only post what we want other people to see. People constantly say to me ‘Ooh Mazz, you look like you’re doing really well, you always look busy’. That’s because that’s what I want people to think. There are times where I am really busy, but equally there are times where I am sat at home wondering what I’m going to do with myself. We know social media is bad for our mental health for this reason, so remember to take everything you see online with a pinch of salt.
I hope you have found my instagram blog posts useful and that you have managed to take something away from them. I would love to know if you have tried anything I have talked about and hear if you have found it has changed anything for you! Please also let me know if you have anything in particular you want me to talk about in future posts!