Hi, I’m Gina! I live in Virginia with my husband and two boys. I love football, running, spending time with my friends and family, all things math, and even more, teaching math. I’m also the Teacher-Author behind All Things Algebra on TpT. But to me, the first part matters most and it’s far more important to be known as “Gina, from All Things Algebra.”
When building your store and your brand, it’s best to center it around you as a person and a teacher. Consider these strategies to help stay true to yourself, build personal connections, and send the message to other teachers that you’re more than just a Seller/store on TpT:
- USE YOUR PHOTO — More than likely, your store logo will be the first impression teachers have of you when they visit your store. I prefer to use a picture of myself rather than a colorful store logo so that teachers see I am a person, just like them. I understand that anonymity is very important to some Sellers, so if this isn’t possible, no worries. There are many other ways to let you and your real self shine through!
- ANSWER Q&A’s — I like to think of my “Ask a Question” tab as the most important product in my store. Answering questions, helping teachers, and giving advice shows teachers that your store is more than the products it contains. I try to respond to questions within a day and most always answer them directly on TpT. If the question is specific to a certain teacher, I ask him or her to email me instead so we can discuss further. Remember that teachers will go into your Q&A section and read through questions asked by other teachers. Do not underestimate the impression it can leave!
- FOLLOW UP — I correspond with a lot of teachers through my Q&A, email, and social media. I’ve gotten to know many of them (and have learned about some of their teaching struggles, too). I occasionally send emails to follow up and see how they’re doing. They often share insight that I can use down the line to help teachers in similar situations. Following up simply shows that their struggles are important to you and that you care.
- ACCEPT CRITICISM — Admitting mistakes and accepting constructive feedback shows that you’re real and are someone that people can relate to. When other teachers read your response to feedback, you want to show that you’re a hard worker, here to help, and eager to continuously improve.
- PERSONALIZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE — I know we want to get our store names out there, but your social media presence should be more about you as a person and a teacher than as a Seller. Share classroom photos and personal photos, or use social media simply as a place to get to know other teachers. Try not to post too many links to products, giveaways, or other promotional events. Some people may disagree with me, but I that feel less is more. I try to limit my social media posts to sharing things that really speak to me. Everything I do has to feel real and genuine. It’s important to me that I build a following based on personal connections, even if it takes a bit longer!
- COLLABORATE WITH OTHER SELLERS — Teachers collaborate. It’s just what we do. It’s important to extend this to TpT as Sellers to show we are a community of people working together for a common good that extends beyond our individual stores. Think back to when you would see your teachers together outside of school — knowing they worked together outside of school made them that much more real!
- LOOK FOR NEW WAYS TO CONNECT WITH TEACHERS — My good friend Lindsay Perro and I started the Secondary Math Teacher Community group on Facebook as a place for teachers to come together, inspire, encourage, support, and learn from one another. This group is very special to Lindsay and me because we’re able to take off our Seller hats and be true to what we are: teachers.
By being a person first, your “brand” and “you” will eventually merge together. Building a store based on personal connections will make you stronger as both a teacher and a Seller, and you will gain the trust of other teachers. This trust is essential on TpT, as we know that there is much more going on here than teachers selling products. We are part of a much bigger picture!
Originally from Orchard Park, NY, Gina relocated to Virginia with her husband and two young boys. She’s taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Geometry to 8th graders for the past nine years and loves it! She says, “I’m slowly working on getting all my materials posted on TpT, but if there is anything that you need related to the Pre-Algebra or Algebra I curriculum, I likely have it. Don’t hesitate to contact me and ask!” (Follow Gina on Facebook for more great info and ideas!).