When my sister invited me to the Glossrags co-working day sponsored by 202 Creates I scrolled through the schedule, saw Tamon as a speaker, and signed up. I was familiar with Creative Theory Agency (check out their Thrive magazine) and curious about what one of their co-founders would have to say. Also, I wanted to support 202 Creates and their efforts to cultivate creativity in DC.
I arrived a little late because I had a dentist appointment (side note, out-of-pocket price for a cleaning at my dentist is $120, and she plays craft videos from youtube on a screen that hangs on the wall). Luckily, my sister snagged a sandwich for me. Thanks Taylor Gourmet! We were able to hop into a session on storytelling by Michell C Clark.
First, we went around the circle and introduced ourselves. I love hearing what other people in the district are doing and what other creators are creating. For example, check out Moody on soundcloud -- he's producing cinematic hip hop. Or Danie, a local lifestyle blogger who just graduated. After introductions, we talked about how we tell our own stories and stay authentic when sharing ourselves via social media.
This made me think a lot about how I share posts via cocktails+craft handles and what it means now that I am doing this full time. Eek! I realized I need to be putting more of myself behind the lens and sharing more about what I'm working on between workshops. I have recently realized how incredibly white the craft industry is, through both first-hand experience and competitor research, and I have this new motivation to be recognized as a Chicana (woman of Mexican descent) in the field of creativity, cocktail-making, and crafting, and hopefully adding more cultural history and developing community in the process.
Most social media tips we talked about were things I already knew, but it was nice to have some motivation to actually practice what I preach. I find it's super easy to give friends advice about their businesses and social media strategies, but hard to do it myself!
Here are some tips I liked:
- Be vulnerable and honest, without being unbelievably positive all the time. Life sucks sometimes and that's ok to share.
- Use specific content for specific mediums. What works on Twitter probably won't work on Instagram, so plan accordingly.
- Quality over quantity! This is so obvious, but easily forgotten. It is even more important now with the way algorithms work on Instagram, which prioritizes posts people engage more over posts with less engagement.
- Focus. You simply can't be everywhere, so choosing a social media channel that works for you and connects with your audience is key to actually growing your audience and getting more customers/clients/whatever you are looking for.
The second session we went to was by Tamon George, co-founder of Creative Theory, on creating your value proposition. I've done a ton of branding sessions before, intentionally as brand manager at 2U and unintentionally when helping start-up Betabrand, so it was fun to do it for my own brand, especially with the help of my sister! We're about to do a relaunch of cocktails+craft, so it was a great time to think about what makes us unique and what problems we are solving.
Some questions that helped me craft a value proposition and brand promise:
- Why does your company exist?
- Why do people hire you?
- What is your currency (what do you trade for money)? Is it your social following? Your portfolio? Your intellectual influence? Your community, culture, or creativity?
- How are you different from similar offerings?
- What is your creative value?
After the session, we took a group photo. We barely all fit in the frame. It's nice to know I'm not alone in trying to make a living doing something I love. We might not all succeed, but those who put in the work and keep going despite setbacks and slow starts will be most likely to make it. Having a whole series of speakers who've shown just that was super inspiring.
My favorite part of the day was hanging out with my sister and meeting some new folks in DC.
There's a lot going on here, it just takes a little bit of digging! If you're new to the area, check out our dc guide to drinking and crafting.