Wednesday 6 August 2014

7 Social Media Tips for Makers

As I mentioned last month, I was included in a piece in last month's Craftseller magazine about social media. I got a bit carried away and sent lots of tips (turns out I type too much just like I sometimes talk too much!) and in the end, thanks to a mix-up, none of them got published. So, I thought I'd share them with you guys today.

This is in no way an exhaustive list of tips - and I am by no means an expert in This Sort of Thing - but I hope you'll find some of them helpful!
My Facebook Page

1. Make connections.

Remember the all important "social" in "social media" - reply to people when they message you or comment on your photos or Pins, and take time to comment on what others are sharing. One of the very best things about making and selling handmade stuff is being part of a fantastic, friendly creative community. Take part!

As well as being fun, making connections with your fellow makers and bloggers can help your business in all sorts of unexpected ways (networking, baby).

2. Work out what works.

Don't worry, you don't have to join all the different social media sites and update them all constantly. Instead, find out what works for you - what you enjoy doing, what kind of posts and photos people are responding to, and what's driving the most traffic to your shop. But be patient, you're not suddenly going to get a gazillion followers overnight and sell stuff instantly just because you Tweeted about it.

3. Think about your photos. 

If you're using Pinterest, portrait images work better than landscape ones so remember to take a couple in addition to the sizes that suit your shop, etc. Images can often end up getting re-Pinned and even blogged without your link attached, so think about adding your shop or blog name and/or url to the pictures you share to help people find their way back to your corner of the internet.

4. Always be professional!

Don't discuss difficult customers (this is such a turn-off for prospective customers) or bitch about your fellow makers (they probably know how to Google themselves).

You don't need to be a personality-free robot (who would follow one of those?) but think about your audience and target customer and what's appropriate (or not!) to share with them. Should you swear? Talk about politics? Discuss your kid's potty training? The answers to these questions will be different for everyone, but think before you Tweet.

5. Don't just sell, sell, sell.

Obviously you want people to visit your shop and buy things, but no-one is going to follow you if all you do is post links to your Etsy shop or photos of your products. Chat to people, and share interesting things. Link to things that you like and things you think your followers will be interested in.

I link to my newest blog post or tutorials, and mention new products and special offers, etc but I also share products by my fellow makers, interesting craft-themed articles, fun tutorials, great blog posts by the people I follow, etc.

6. Don't spam people with automated tweets.

Make sure that if you've connected your social media accounts and/or your shop to each other that you've un-ticked any settings that auto-post when you update. Getting 20 Tweets in a row from someone because they've just added a batch of listings to their Etsy shop or been Pinning lots of things on Pinterest is super annoying. Oh and if you do set up auto-posting from one account to another, check your feed to make sure the links work!

7. Making first, sharing second.  

Social media is great but remember that there's no point spending hours driving people to your shop unless there's something awesome waiting for them. Put your smartphone down or turn off your laptop and go make some great stuff!

Got any social media tips of your own to share? Leave a comment! :)

P.S. Wanna connect with me on social media? You'll find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


Anonymous said...

Different people like different things. For instance I always read your blog but it wouldn't have occurred to me to look on facebook, twitter or google+(whatever that even is, but I added to your number of views anyway). I like to have some words to get stuck into and love to read craft blogs. Facebook is just so intrusive and unprivate as well as being badly organised and twitter is limited and again I just don't understand it and don't have a smart phone. I just wonder who is going to read it when you don't know anyone who uses facebook or twitter - who are you promoting to? At least blogs can reach people who don't know of your existence. I do like pinterest though.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Yup, social media is definitely not for everyone! I find Facebook quite hard to get along with in my personal life, but I like sharing things on my business page and connecting with people there. And I discover so many interesting things through people sharing links on Twitter.

In recent years comments have declined on a lot of blogs (in part because it's apparently very tricky to comment when reading on a smart phone) as the conversation has moved to social media. I would miss being able to connect with my readers!

Some people find my social media pages via the links on my blog but most people find me through their own networks, I think! The social aspect of it plays a big part - just like you might find new people to follow on Pinterest by seeing one of their Pins or new blogs to read when they're mentioned by your fave bloggers :)

Anonymous said...

What stops me commenting on Facebook though, or liking a page is that everyone will know. Won't they? Or are there privacy settings for that. I don't understand it enough to find that out. Sometimes I want to click the like button but I did it once and everyone can see it on my page. It's about diet and I just don't want everyone to see it. I'm a compartmentalised person and so I don't want everyone knowing everything that I am interested in. Therefore even when occasionally I look at a Facebook page, I feel totally unable to contribute. You are supposed to know automatically how it all works but I just don't and find it really very intimidating. I need an idiot guide. They keep updating things too so buying one wouldn't probably work.

If you are a person like me, you just don't have networks to utilise. Like who would read my tweets, or see my Facebook page when I have no friends there. Sad but true. So I don't know how people make it work unless they are already pretty busy there. I know you are right about blogs but that makes me sad. I hope they don't disappear as they are far more involving than anything else. I buy books from bloggers and visit their shops because I get to know and like the person and their work and want to support them. Facebook etc. is very cold in comparison.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Ah, it is always so nice to hear from someone who enjoys blogs and supports the bloggers they love! Social media can be fun, but if it's not for you then definitely just stick to reading the blogs you like :)