STIR-IT-UP - Vol.4

What's in a Hashtag?
Regina Garay 

Much has been said about hashtags – the short links starting with the pound sign # - and they are an integral way to communication on social media. The hashtag turns ordinary words into searchable terms and allows one to customize shares for our individual brands. It also allows one to share projects and creative works to a particular company or group of individuals. 

There are several types of hashtags, including branded hashtags (meaning, your own brand or those of others, be it their brand name, tagline, product name, or even an event), community hashtags (think of these as groups with a common interest, such as #ihavethisthingfloors or #photooftheday), niche hashtags (a narrow scope of interest with engaged users, such as #decorativepainting) and general hashtags (i.e, #diy, #birthday, #happy, and #furniture).  

How are hashtags supported in each social site? Let’s take a look.

Facebook added hashtag support in 2013 and although searchable, there are times that the search can yield incomplete results. Through various tests, Facebook has been shown to penalize shares with more than two hashtags in their algorithm, so if using them, use them with focus and very sparingly. 

Twitter was the first site in which hashtags were used to categorize tweets. This was in 2007 and now, they are used for trending topics and have search filters for each hashtag, including separating shares from all of the Twitterverse to merely those you follow. Hashtags are also the basis for successful Twitter Chats. Now that you can tweet using 280 characters, there is more space for hashtags, too, though try to avoid using too many as your tweet will look spammy.

In October, Pinterest added the capability to add and search hashtags on their feed. Please note that hashtags in account descriptions, board titles, board descriptions or profile names are not clickable at this moment – only the hashtags in the actual pin description have that designation. Of course, use the hashtags sparingly as too many of them may negatively impact your ranking. Pinterest has also said that hashtag searches are serving up fresh pins so spending time updating old pins might not be worth the effort, however, if you do repin an old share, that would be a great time to add hashtags.

Instagram is arguably the best social platform for hashtags. In fact, posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than a post without and there are reports that posts with 11+ hashtags do best. With a limit of 30 hashtags per post, however, your focus should be targeted and not look like spam. A rule of thumb is to temper using the more general hashtags such as #art or #beauty. The reason is that the hashtag is so saturated that the chance of a new fan catching your particular share is incredibly slim. Stick to those that are more targeted to your audience without the millions of shares. This is the perfect time to add the branded hashtag of a company whom you’d like to share your project with. Hashtags are also prevalent on InstaStories so be sure to use them there as well.

How do you find the best hashtags for you? Research! Engage with your followers and see what type of hashtags they are using. Chances are, you are interested in the same subjects. Take a look at your competitors to see what they are posting as well. Review the shares of industry leaders and look at using some of their shared hashtags. You can also find related hashtags to your favorites by using the dropdown menu on Instagram as you type a hashtag – very useful! I always like to give back as well. If I use a particular hashtag, I will engage with a few users whose shares I like in that hashtag, too. One final note – be sure to create and use hashtags for your own brand as well!

I hope you had a few more insights into hashtags for social media. My best recommendations? #HaveFun, #JustDoIt and continue to learn by doing! 

Vella Venetian Plaster Expands Product Line
by Clay Calloway 

Hello IDAL, we’re back! After taking a break from the IDAL conventions for a couple of years, we were proud to be a Platinum sponsor at the 2017 convention. It was great to see some familiar faces and make some new friends as well. We are always impressed with the talent exhibited by the IDAL members and love getting our products in your hands and on your clothes! We pride ourselves on staying on the cutting edge of new technology in the decorative finish market. Those of you that were at the convention, got a glimpse of most of those new products. For those of you unable to attend, we would like to give you a brief synopsis of some of what we have to offer.

Of course, our flagship products Vella Premium plaster and Liscio Ultra Sheen plaster were on display. These products offer an Old World Tuscan finish or a contemporary more marble like finish respectively. The application process is 3 steps: a base coat, a topcoat and sealing with wax. We offer 3 colors of wax: clear, walnut or mahogany and 9 different metallics that can be added to the wax.

New to the line up are our Victory Stone and Victory Polish marmorrino interior products. Both of these products have aggregate in them and can produce a variety of finishes from a “travertine like” matte finish to a shiny “stone like” look. Also a three-step process: base coat, topcoat and a sealer. You can use our waxes to seal it or we have also developed a liquid sealer that can be rolled on which makes it really simple!

The latest addition to our line is Vella Fino, a 100% acrylic plaster that can be used on the interior and the exterior of a home. You can even put this product inside the shower! Although Vella Fino does not require a sealer we do recommend that it be sealed when it will be exposed to weather or consistently getting wet. We offer an excellent sealer that can also be tinted to give the finish more mottling.

The application of all of the products mentioned above is obviously a little different. However, any of them can be applied to a Level 3 drywall or painted walls that have orange peel or knock down textures without priming  or skim coating. You will also find that they are the most economically priced products in their respective markets! 

If all of this sounds too good to be true, then we have hit the mark! Please visit our website for more details, pictures or to order samples of these products. You can also have any Sherwin Williams in the country order and tint our products for you. If they are not familiar with Vella, please have them call our office and we will get them set up. We are also working with your IDAL chapters to do product demonstrations and “play days”. If you have an interest in that, please have the appropriate person call us for scheduling. That’s all for now but we look forward to seeing you soon at a Chapter near you!!!

Best wishes from Dan, Clay, Brett, Nick and the rest of the Vella crew!

Office: (714) 279-1042

New Years Resolutions for a Decorative Artist
by Aaron Wade Bailey

Let me begin by saying I don't normally make resolutions for the new year. It's not that I don't think I need to improve, it's that there are so many things I should work on I make resolutions constantly. For example, I resolve to drink less wine and clean the kitchen more often...and just about every weekend I fail miserably.

But I'm not here to reveal all of my personality flaws, because we don't have that kind of time. So, for this month's article I'd like to share some of the things I'd like to change about the decorative artist side of me, and I have a hunch there are some of you out there who may identify with a few of them.

1) I want to get better at posting and promoting on social media. I am really bad at this, and I have many obstacles to overcome. First, I'm an idiot, and sometimes I simply forget to take pictures, so there's nothing to show. But most of the time, I just don't think my work is impressive enough to share with people, which brings me to my next resolution...

2) I need to be a little more confident and worry a little less about what other people think.This one is self-explanatory, and one I'm sure many other artists wish they could improve upon as well.

3) I want to keep trying new things. I love getting asked to do unique projects for clients. This year Bailey Decorative Artists got asked to do a monstrous graffiti mural, which was our first foray into graffiti art. It was a bit daunting at first, but I loved the design process and it was probably the most fun I've ever had on a job. I also plan on bringing many of the techniques I used into my own personal art. Which reminds me...

4) I want to make more time for my personal art. Over the years I have entered a number of art shows, and have managed to even sell a few pieces. I've found this to be almost more rewarding than completing a decorative art project for a client, because even if I'm designing something, clients usually have a pretty good idea of what they want before they contact us. But my personal art is just that. It's my choice of medium and subject matter, and to find out someone is willing to spend good money to own something I created out of nothing is pretty gratifying. I want to feel that way more often, which leads me to...

5) I need to stop and appreciate my wins. Too often I find myself thinking about the things I could have done better yesterday, or worrying about the things I need to accomplish tomorrow. I need to remember to stop, or at least slow down at times, and reflect on the fact I have it pretty good. I need to be grateful that, after enjoying a long, rewarding career in entertainment, I've made a successful transition to being a full-time artist. But I can't spend too much time patting myself on the back. I need to keep moving forward and...

6) Stop talking about that one project I want to do and just do it already. I've been working on an idea for a video series that would utilize my experience in entertainment, and combine it with my new career. There are tons of shows out there about renovating, but not any (to my knowledge) about decorative art. My series would bring the tips, tricks, and products I use to people who can't afford to pay someone to transform a room, but can afford some paint and plaster.  My point is, I'm sure a lot of you have a pet project that has been simmering for a long time.  Maybe this year is the year?

7) I want to try to get better every day. It's kind of a sports clich√©, and you hear it all the time in interviews with athletes, but it is a real thing. It's what elite people in all fields—not just sports—generally do, and I'm going to try to do that, too. So, even if I fail and drink some wine on the weekend with my beautiful wife instead of cleaning the kitchen, I need to at least try to get better. Like, maybe I'll clean the kitchen...while also drinking wine with my beautiful wife. It probably makes doing the dishes a lot more fun anyway.  But seriously...

Don't stop grinding out there.  This is our year.

415 S. Sharon Amity Rd, Suite B
Charlotte, NC  28211
Phone: (407) 618-3272

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