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How To Be Social Online

By February 28, 2015Blogging, Business, Life

How to be social online when you aren't naturally social with Hannah Reynolds of Pommel Lane on Whiskey and RedHow To Be Social Online

(When you aren’t naturally social)

Featuring Hannah Reynolds of Pommel Lane

Social Media is huge. The importance an active social presence has for a business today is equal to none. But what about those of us who aren’t naturally social? Hannah Reynolds of Pommel Lane shares with us her story and how she’s learned to put herself out there and get social online.

 

1. Hannah, please share with us a little about you, your story, and where Pommel Lane comes from.

I’m a hand-letterer and graphic designer based in Oklahoma City. My creative story has been a long time coming but it’s safe to say it started taking shape in 2011 when I started a blog as I relocated across the country.

Over the past 5 years I taught myself how to code, use photoshop, style photographs, design logos and blogs as well learning calligraphy and turning my love of lettering into a small business. Over the last year I really learned how to utilize social media marketing and community to expand my reach.

When it came time to name my business I chose Pommel Lane, after the street I grew up on. It is a reminder of both new beginnings as well as how my experiences shape my future.

2. Design is such a personal art, especially when you’re designing for someone else. How have you bridged the gap between keeping your work authentic and unique to your clients while doing business online? 

Oh man, I’ve got to be honest, I’m still struggling with this one. For me, it’s about relying on my gut while I’m designing. People have a tendency to ask for what they’ve seen before. Pulling part A from one example, part B from another and so on and so forth. Sometimes they don’t realize that it doesn’t work like that. I try to bring a bit of design education into my communication with clients so they know why I feel strongly against closely following an example. When they can give me the trust to create, beautiful things happen

3. What has been the toughest part about running a business online? How do you continuously stay engaged with your followers and past clients?

For me the hardest part is being constantly connected and that’s why I’m so excited to be talking about this subject. I’m a strong introvert and I’ve always struggled with prolonged exposure to large groups of people, repeated social outings and constant communication.

On one hand it makes working for myself a great fit but it’s harder to disconnect from the internet than it is at a 9-5 day job. I often find myself struggling with being on lots of platforms, especially ones that aren’t naturally suited to me. Believe it or not, I actually feel like I often fall short of my expectations of staying engaged with my community. I am so thankful that I have close friends in my creative circle who remind me that my over-critical lense isn’t what everyone else sees me through.

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As for practical tips, I use schedulers! Oh man do I use schedulers. Email schedulers, tweet schedulers, instagram schedulers. I’d probably use a Pinterest scheduler if not for the financial investment, that doesn’t make sense for my business yet. Planning ahead of time by putting little social blocks in my calendar or utilizing a scheduler allows me to be visible when my community is active without having to be in 5 places at once. I can then check in and interact when it fits my schedule.

4. Share with us a little about your personal creative process. How do you create a personal brand experience for your clients? 

My creative process almost always seems to start with pen and paper, well _____ and paper. Whether it’s watercolors, ink, pens or pencil, getting it out of my system and onto paper is where it begins. With my clients I lay out each of the steps in their package, a detailed timeline and make myself available for their questions along the way. For me it’s really about treating their brand like I would my own, giving it the time and focus it requires. 

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5. What is the number one way in which you give back and show your follower and client appreciation? 

I love doing giveaways, sending out snail mail, surprises and creating quality freebies like wallpapers and printables. They don’t seem like much and I don’t make a big fuss because these are things I’ve always done. For me though, the number one way is to show up and be active in the places they spend their time. This means commenting on their posts and pictures, sharing their content and sharing encouragement. I know this is a blogging 101 but to me, this is the best way to show my followers that they are valued and appreciated.

So, coming back to the big question for today, what advice do you have for other introvert entrepreneurs on how to be social online when you aren’t naturally social?

When it comes down to it, running a business these days almost requires you to be social. It’s not easy to do, it can be difficult to sustain and if done wrong you could end up alienating the people you want to attract. That doesn’t have to happen to you. There are ways to make it easier on your workload, your stress levels and those around you who don’t want to see your face buried in your phone or tablet 24/7.


Schedulers

Whether you use Buffer, Tweetdeck, Latergramme or all of the above, schedule it. It forces you to have a better business management system in place and allows you to actually LIVE the life you are blogging about. This also means scheduling 10-20 minutes to sit down and interact with people on social networks. Comment on followers feeds, respond to comments on yours, retweet items, etc. You get the idea. This isn’t new but it is profound.

Build something that people can find like mindedness with.

TwitterChats are HUGE right now! #fireworkpeople, #blisschat, #createlounge and #altchat to name a few. By all means participate but also don’t feel like that is the only way to create a community and grow your audience. Hosting a chat isn’t right for everyone, I know it’s not right for me these days. Who knows, that could change in the future.

If TwitterChats aren’t your thing, explore podcasts or a series on your blog. My version of this is called Silhouettes. It’s not traditional or the same as anything I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t draw lots of attention or trend but it’s my way of bringing people together. Silhouettes is an art project I started to help my lettering but it has also caught on and been featured on numerous other sites. It has also inspired beginners and seasoned letterers alike to create their own unique spin on the concept. It’s brought people together and brought them to Pommel Lane and the relationships I’ve built with these fans and artists are what is important. I found people who share a common ground with me, I just went about it in a different way.

Find Your Path. How To Be Social Online February Small Business Saturday | Julie Harris Design


Lastly, let yourself off the hook.

You are one person (I’m assuming you solopreneur, you! If you have a robot, or team well, kuddos! Let’s be friends and share!!) the world won’t stop spinning if you don’t show up on twitter one day. The world also won’t stop spinning if life happens, as it always does, and keeps you more focused on the now than the future or the digital. Social relationships happen both online and offline. Don’t let either side rule you. Those who truly support your business, your passions and your overall mental well-being will understand that you can’t be everywhere at once. It’s about dividing your time and showing up regularly.

Be honest. Set expectations for yourself and do better than me, try to make them realistic ones! Oh yea… and give yourself a break. There’s a really good chance the internet will be there when you wake up and all your friends will be happy to see you.

 


Hannah is an absolute sweetheart. She is such a genuine individual with such a wonderful sense of humor. Her posts are always so relatable and full of hilarious life moments. When you connect with Hannah, you feel like you’re connecting with an old friend you’ve known forever. She may not be as active as a number of other online businesses out there, but when she has something to say, it’s always worth listening to.

I encourage everyone to reach out to her on Twitter or Pinterest, and if you are in need of some gorgeous images to refresh your Instagram feed, Hannah is a must follow!

What has been your favorite part of Hannah’s story? I know she is not alone in her struggles with being constantly social online. What are some of your social strategies that you use to keep engaged online? I know we would both love to hear from you in the comments, and please feel free to ask Hannah any other questions you might have that I didn’t already ask here today.

 

Sincerely,

Julie & Steve signature.

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10 Comments

  • Marianne says:

    Great interview! I love that you’re so social on social media even though you consider yourself an introvert.

    I think being active and finding your own or creating your own community online is integral to our growth as bloggers, so I love your advice, Hannah!

    And we do have to go easy on ourselves. It’s hard to keep up with everyone but we all appreciate any connection at all so even just a little bit can go a long way.

    • Julie Harris says:

      That was my favorite part of Hannah’s advice, to “let yourself off the hook” you are only one person and can only do so much. “The world won’t stop spinning if life happens, as it always does…” and boy does it! We as creatives want to do so much that we often overwhelm ourselves with too much on our plates, but gaining the confidence and acceptance that it’s ok if we didn’t get that post finished today, or it’s ok if we went on a Twitter hiatus for 24 hours, flexibility is crucial in creative success. Just always make sure that when you share, you share something worth sharing. I love what you just said, “even just a little bit can go a long way.”

    • Hannah says:

      Marianne!!! You are so sweet, thank you! I swear I fell like the absolute worst at social media sometimes but I know it’s all a balance. You are so very right, finding my tribe who doesn’t mind my bits and pieces style on social media has been so integral in my own growth! I’m so glad it was insightful and helpful! 🙂

      xoxohannah

  • Hannah says:

    This post came out so good! You took my words and made it look like I’m smart! lol 😉 Thank you so much for having me! It was an absolute blast putting myself into this mindset and really thinking about being social. It’s hard and sometimes hearing about someone else’s viewpoint on the struggles is helpful. I know it usually is for me!

    p.s. I’m in love with your blog design. I don’t know if I’m oblivious or if you recently changed it so please forgive me. BUT I DIE! <3

    xoxohannah

    • Julie Harris says:

      Haha you make me laugh! You are SO smart, that’s why I wanted to feature you to begin with, plus I know you say you struggle to constantly socialize online, but you share some of my all time favorite posts. Especially on Twitter. Your comments about life always make me crack up (mostly the ones relating to your crazy dog)

      I so agree! I learn best from watching others who have come before me. Seeing other brilliant successful designers out there doing so well and yet still dealing with the same struggles as me is really inspiring. Let’s me know I’m not alone.

      I don’t know if you got a chance to read my guest post over on Marianne’s Design Your Own {Lovely} Blog, but THE DAY BEFORE my biz launch my site crashed. I was able to get one up in time for my launch but then I spent the rest of January taking on a whole new theme and redesign. I’m so happy you like it! I constantly mess with little things here and there, but for the most part, I think I’m finally finished! (Hallelujah choir singing!)

      Thank you so much again my dear friend, for sharing your story with me and my amazing creative community today. I hope others are as inspired by you as I am.

      • Hannah says:

        That really just makes my whole month (and that’s saying something because it’s only the second! haha)

        I did read that! I guess I had just seen the previous version or something close to and then was on readers until recently. Anyway! You are a freaking rockstar because I WOULD HAVE DIED. DIED I TELL YOU. So glad you love it too 🙂

        Thank you again for having me, it was an absolute pleasure. I hope others realize how completely un-together I am because I’m just like them – figuring it out along the way! 🙂

        xoxohannah

  • […] How to be social online when you aren’t naturally social >>> […]

  • […] With the ever changing algorithms and new platforms popping up all the time, running a business and managing a successful social media presence can be overwhelming for a lot of us small business owners. Especially those whose comfort level engaging online isn’t very high. (Psst! If that last comment is you, then this post is too.) […]

  • This post is very helpful. I’m naturally an introvert myself and don’t keep up with social media like I should be. I do better with Instagram and Pinterest because both platforms involve engaging photos without my having to come up with something witty to say.

    • Julie Harris says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us Ellen. Even the most outgoing of us have trouble engaging online. That’s totally normal, but for those of us who are more naturally introverted, I think you are taking it in the best way. Finding places where you feel most confident in engaging online while still providing valuable content and information. Pinterest and Instagram are excellent places to meet new people and engage at the level in which you are most comfortable.

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