How to Keep an Engaged Audience on Instagram

I hear these questions a lot these days; “How do I keep an engaged audience on Instagram?” or, “What do I post on Social Media?” or my favorite, “I keep posting pictures of my products, but I’m not getting any engagement!”

Do any of these statements sound like you?

When I first started on Instagram with my handmade business, I was in love. I made a plan to post my products 2-3 times a week and showcase different items and price ranges. How could this go wrong? I got my first few posts up and sat back to watch the thousands of followers I was sure would be interested just flock to my profile. 

It was a lesson learned after the first few posts garnered no engagement that maybe I was going about this the wrong way. Maybe posting nothing but my products wasn’t a way to get people engaged with my profile, so I changed my focus.

I stopped trying to sell to people on Instagram, and instead, I focused on connecting with them. 

How to keep an engaged audience on Instagram-Handmade Journey

Keeping an Engaged Audience on Instagram Means Stop Selling!

Let’s start with what you like to look at, and engage with on Instagram. When you open your app, are you going there with your wallet out thinking about making a purchase? Chances are you’re just going to unwind, relax and scroll through some entertaining or pretty pictures. 

That’s what your audience is doing too! They’re not thinking about buying something, they’re looking to be entertained. They are trying to connect with people, and build relationships with brands, companies and you! The real day-to-day down in the mud with your dogs and kids you!

It’s a known fact that people have to be exposed to your brand at least seven times before they’re ready to make a purchase. So why not use those times to show who you are, and why they should trust you enough to purchase your product or service? 

Any of the following ideas would make great things to talk about on your Instagram profile

1. Behind the Scenes, Everyone loves to go behind the scenes and get a real relatable view of what is going on in your world. Show them a package that you’re sending to the post office that day, or maybe you have a tiny human who needs to take a nap so you can get some work done. How to Keep an Engaged Audience on Instagram--Handmade Journey Show them the real parts of your life, and let them feel like they’ve been brought behind the proverbial curtain and granted exclusive access.

2. Your Why -Share your reason for your handmade business. Talk about your kids, your other half, or maybe you just don’t want to work for someone else anymore. Share these with your fans and create a conversation. 

3. Your Daily Routine– What is life like for a handmade seller? Maybe people don’t understand that you’re packaging orders while you’re at a soccer game with your kiddos. A ”day in the life” kind of post would be something really cool to share. 

4. Reviews from Customers-This can help build the know-like-and-trust factor that you’re always striving for. Post a couple of customer reviews and showcase how other people are in love with your products. 

5. Ask the Audience Give your audience a chance to be part of your creative process. Maybe you’re coming up with a new product and you can’t decide between two different fabrics. Post a picture with both of them and ask your audience to pick which one they like the best. 

6. Provide a Tip or Trick-Everyone loves a good life hack! Did you discover something that made your life easier? Share it with your fans! 

7. Inspiring Quotes or Funny Meme-There is no faster way to build an engaged audience on Instagram than to share a funny quote or a meme. People love a good chuckle! 

8. Talk About What You’re Reading or Watching– Did you just finish a great book? Or maybe you’re binge-watching a great new series on Netflix. Share these things for a quick way to build your engaged audience on Instagram! 

9. Mention Your Favorite Tools– Don’t reveal all the trade secrets, but if you just came across a new glue gun that doesn’t burn like the devil, the people have a right to know! 

10. Post a Reminder to Join Your Email List – Do you have a cool opt-in freebie? Maybe your fans don’t know about this. Let them know about it in a post.

11. Admit to Something That Didn’t Work or is Embarrassing-  You’re a relatable person, and people have embarrassing experiences! Showcasing how something went wrong, and how you fixed it, is a great way to build an engaged audience on Instagram. 

12. Show Your Product in Action A great way to build that know-like-trust factor is to showcase your product in use. 

13. Make a Hyperlapse Video of you Working- Maybe it’s not that interesting to you, but to others your creative process is amazing. I know I love watching hyper-lapse videos of people painting pictures, or doing lettering. They’re fascinating! 

14. Share a Blast from The Past- These are always fun to see! Whether it’s a celebrity, or just you from high school, nostalgia is a powerful tool. 

15. Hold a Hashtag Contest This one could be really fun! Post a picture of a new product, or a Pinterest fail of your own and have a contest to see who can come up with the funniest hashtag. The winner could win a shop credit, or a featured spot on your profile. 

 

These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. The thing to remember with keeping an engaged audience on Instagram is to try not to be too pushy. Remind them of your business casually, and use the rest of the time to just be real. 

Connect with them, show them your real self, and watch how quickly you gain a ton of loyal fans who might turn into repeat customers. 

Drop a comment below and tell me which of these ideas above were your favorite? Or maybe you have your own great idea about something to post? Leave it in a comment below and share it with everyone! 

3 Must-Haves for Your Instagram Profile

Do you love Instagram as much as I do? It’s such a fun place to scroll through and unwind after a busy day. I know I love to go look through the Instagram profiles (and mostly IG stories if I’m being honest!) of all the amazing people I follow. I love reading about their lives and seeing the new products they have out.

If you’re a handmade seller, you probably are already on Instagram for your business. If you’re like I was when I started, you’re probably struggling to get your Instagram profile seen. You are posting consistently, but you’re not getting very much engagement. Does this sound like you?

Well, in this article I’ve got some essential things that I think you need to have in your Instagram profile to get the engagement that you want in order for potential customers to click through and see your content.

3 Must-Haves for your Instagram Profile--Handmade Journey

How to Get Your Instagram Profile Seen

#1. Clear, Descriptive Bio

Your bio is the first thing that people see when they look at your Instagram profile. People are coming here to check you out and figure out if you’re someone they feel like following. Something about your posts brought them to your profile. Whether it’s to find out more by clicking on a link, to see what you make, or just curiosity.

Optimize your Instagram Profile

This is your chance to make a good first impression. So make sure you have a friendly smiling picture of yourself, and a clear description of your product or service. Use a couple of good hashtags in your description as well. This will make it easier for people to find your profile when they’re searching hashtags.

#2. Hashtags

Hashtags are the lifeblood of your Instagram profile. This is what Instagram algorithms are using to help people find a specific post or topic. A well-researched hashtag can mean the difference between your post being seen by thousands, or dozens.

You can use up to thirty hashtags per post. Whether to use all of them is very controversial, however, I think you should go ahead and add as many relevant hashtags that you can find for your product and niche.

Search for hashtags that are relevant to your brand, your product, and your post. You can either add them into the post caption or below that in the first comment. (I prefer the first comment, it looks less spammy!)

#3. Call to Action

As human beings, we don’t necessarily do something unless we’re told to do it. A call to action simply means you’re asking someone to do something. So this can be as simple as asking a question or directing them to a blog article.

Having a call to action in your Instagram profile is a great way for people to see more of your brand and to connect with you in other ways than through Instagram itself. You can put a link to your Etsy shop, your blog, your standalone website, or have them sign up for your email list.

Whichever path is right for your business, make sure that the call to action is short, makes sense, and sets you up to connect with that customer outside of your Instagram profile.

**Bonus Tip: Make sure your posts are consistent in color, and style. Using different fonts for your quote posts can be fun, but take away from the overall look and feel you’re trying to build for your brand. Use the same colors, fonts, and tone in all your posts to build an overarching cohesive brand on your Instagram profile.

Optimize your Instagram Profile

Having your profile optimized for visitors is really easy when you break it down. I know it can seem overwhelming, but just take it one tiny step at a time. Start with filling in your description. Make it short and clear about who you are and what you do. Then move on to hashtags and a call to action, and you’ll set yourself up for visitors in no time.

Do you need an example of an Instagram profile that has been optimized? I’d love to have you check out the Handmade Journey Instagram page to see what I’m talking about!

Just click here to head straight over there!

3 Keys to a Profitable Pinterest Strategy

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know how much I adore Pinterest. It’s my happy place, where I go to look at pretty things & find amazing advice.

I also think it’s a great place to be for your handmade biz. Because it’s such a visual medium, and our handmade products are gorgeous, the two fit together like peanut butter and jelly.

So where do you even begin to start when creating your Pinterest account for your handmade biz? It’s overwhelming to be sure, but I also think that if you break it down into small chunks, it will be so much easier!

I’m going to share with you, my top three keys to a successful, profitable Pinterest strategy and where I think you need to focus the most attention when creating content. So let’s dive in!

A Profitable Pinterest Strategy

3 Keys to a Profitable Pinterest Strategy-Handmade Journey.com

#1. Keywords

You hear this all the time, right? “Use some good keywords” “Keywords are key to great SEO!” “Have great keywords and you’ll make millions!” (Okay maybe not that last one, but you get the picture)

While that sounds intimidating, it’s actually very simple. You’re just using words that your audience will be using to find your products. For example, imagine you’re searching for a coffee lovers sign to hang in your kitchen.

What words would you use to search for that on Etsy or Google? Something like “Coffee Lover Wood Sign” I’d imagine, right? That is your keyword phrase, and those are the keywords that you want to include in your pin descriptions on Pinterest.

A profitable Pinterest strategy begins with good SEO and you can’t make that happen without some great keywords that describe your products.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself for Good Keywords Could Be:

  • What color is it?
  • How is it used?
  • What’s the shape?
  • How tall is it?
  • What occasions would you be using this with?
  • Is it a good gift?
  • Who will be using this product?

Keep these in mind when coming up with keywords to use in your pin descriptions!

#2. Consistency

This seems pretty self-explanatory, but cannot be stressed enough. Pinterest loves accounts that are consistently using their platform. They give top ranking in their algorithms to the accounts that are producing high quality, consistent content.

To maintain a profitable Pinterest strategy you will need to have consistent content circulating on Pinterest. While you can do this manually, there are a ton of scheduling tools out there that you can utilize to help free up some time.

I recommend Tailwind to get started. If you’re not familiar with this awesome scheduling tool, check out this blog post where I go more in depth about the power of this program, and what it can do for your biz.

Making sure you’re consistently using Pinterest will get your pins out in front of other eyes, different accounts, and can explode your traffic to your shop or website with very minimal effort.

#3. Group Boards

Group boards on Pinterest are key to expanding your reach and influence. These little secret weapons are very underrated, and not talked about very often, so if you haven’t heard about them don’t worry, I’m about to!

Group boards are just what the title suggests. They are boards on Pinterest that have more than one contributor. Someone starts a board (let’s say for coffee lovers!) and invites two or three friends to pin to it as well.

Those friends can then invite other friends, and so on and so forth. (Depending on the rules set up by the board creator.) Joining a group board is one of the best ways I know of to get your products in front of new eyes, and introduced into a new niche as well.

Maybe you haven’t thought about a certain angle for your products, but a pinner on your group board sees your awesome stuff, and pins to her board. This is not necessarily your target market, but they are fresh eyes that might just click over to your shop.

 

*Sneak Peek- You can tell if you’re looking at a group board by the number of contributors it shows in the top right-hand corner of the board. (Check out the graphic below).

3 Keys to a Profitable Pinterest Strategy-Handmade Journey.com

 

Coming up with your profitable Pinterest strategy won’t be too difficult if you can just start small and do a little bit every day.

Just make sure you’re always adding keywords to the descriptions of your pins, pin consistently, and join some group boards, and your profile will be getting tons of traffic in no time flat!

Have you put your business up on Pinterest yet? What areas have you struggled with while using it for business? Let’s talk about it below, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions!

Automate Your Pinterest Marketing Using Tailwind

Did you know that 71% of all small businesses don’t use Pinterest? Yeah neither did I. That statistic is shocking! Pinterest is one of the fastest growing platforms out in cyberspace these days. Which makes being on there for your business a must. Make sure to keep reading to find out how to automate Pinterest for your Etsy biz!

Automate your Pinterest with Tailwind

As a small business owner, I understand the struggle of trying to do all the things. You have everything on your shoulders, from creating your products to doing the SEO for your listings, taking pictures, and being on social media. The thought of having yet another thing to do just seems like one more thing that sucks away your time.

Princess Bride

Being on Pinterest seems overwhelming for sure. But I’m here to tell you there’s a way to get this strategy working for you with minimal effort. The secret to having this amazing tool work for you? Tailwind. Below I’ve laid out some steps to take to get your Pinterest strategy moving on autopilot. (So you can go back to doing all the things!)

Start by having a solid Pinterest account

Create 7-10 boards with topics that are in your niche, and full of great content. Make sure the boards reach out to an audience that is a little larger than your niche. That way you can get in front of as many eyes as possible. If you need some help on setting up your Pinterest profile to make sure it’s as good as it can get, check out this article.

Use Tailwind to Start Scheduling

Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduling tool that makes your life so much easier. Just like you do with your Instagram and Facebook posts, this tool allows you to schedule a month’s worth of pins, in under an hour. Go searching on Pinterest for great content that will fit into your niche and brand, and add those pins to Tailwind.

Tailwind is incredibly handy because it can scan your Pinterest account and find the best times to pin things to your boards based on past interactions. So for example, a sample schedule of when to pin things might look like this:

Tailwind Scheduling Peek

Notice how each day has times scheduled out, with extra time built in for you to add your own time slots. The best part about this is that you don’t have to spend all day pinning images to Pinterest manually. Tailwind will take the pins you give it, and hum quietly in the background while you get to work on other things.

Join a Tailwind Tribe

Another powerful tool that you can use inside Tailwind is called a Tribe. Tribes are basically a community of other like-minded pinners that are all sharing their content. The idea is that you share their pin to a board, and they’ll share yours.

You can join a few different tribes to get more exposure and get in front of different audiences. It’s also a great way to add pins to your pinning schedule to go out onto your boards! A little peek into a tribe might look something like this:

Join a Tribe on Tailwind

There’s a ton of great pins available in each tribe that you can use to fill out your boards. And because rising tides lift all ships, the more you pin other’s stuff, the more they’ll pin yours! It’s truly a win/win! (If you’d like to get started with a Tribe, and don’t know which one to join, check out the Handmade Journey Tribe by clicking here: ) You’ll also get a 30-day free trial to check out all Tailwind has to offer, how cool is that?

Loops Are a Good Thing

One other super handy feature of Tailwind is the Smart Loop function. The smart loop will take the pins that you upload, and send them to as many boards as you want, spaced out evenly.

Smart Loops on Tailwind

So let’s say that you’ve joined five group boards on Pinterest. Smart Loop can be set up to take your pins, and add them to those five group boards over a set period of time. It will loop those pins to the boards on schedule, and evenly so that you’re not breaking any board rules, but you’re still getting your content into the mix.

These are just a few of the many benefits that Tailwind has to offer. This tool is so powerful that I can’t recommend using it enough. It will make your social media life easier, and you can still grow a sizeable and engaged audience on Pinterest, with minimal time and effort.

If you’re ready to try Tailwind, click here to get a free month and join our exclusive Tailwind tribe!

Have you tried Tailwind for your handmade biz yet? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

 

6 Reasons Why Your Etsy Products Should Be on Pinterest

So we’ve started talking about why it’s important to be on social media. And in this post, I gave you some tips on how to kick off your social media strategy. Well today I’m going to go a little more in depth into one my my favorite social media platforms of all time. Pinterest!

Pinterest is classified as a social media platform, but honestly it’s just a visual search engine. It’s like Google with magazine cutouts. Pinterest is a fun place to kick back and brainstorm ideas, to get a feel for new products, and trends, and I personally use it to unwind when I just want to zone out. It’s seriously really fun!

The benefits of using Pinterest in your Etsy biz cannot be overstated. I also could go on and on (and on and on and on…) about why I love it. But I’m going to try to whittle it down to my top six reasons why I think it’s a good idea to use Pinterest in your marketing strategy.

Etsy Products on Pinterest

1. Increased Brand Awareness

As a small business owner you know the struggle all too well of competing with the “big guys”. You say something like “Target” or “JcPenny” and everyone knows what you’re talking about. As a small business owner you don’t have that name recognition for your biz.

While Pinterest isn’t the “be-all/end-all” to get your brand noticed, it can seriously make a dent in that for you. The more you use it, the more the pins start to get out there, and the more eyeballs are on your brand.

2. Additional Traffic to Your Shop

The more you use Pinterest, the more potential you have for additional traffic. This traffic could lead to increased sales, which is kind of the point, right? Everyone on Pinterest is searching for something, and when they find a pin they like, it gets pinned. Then someone else pins that pin, and two more pin it, and on it goes.

Eventually someone will click on that pin because they adore what they see and cannot live without it. (Obviously, because you have the cutest stuff!) If only two or three people out of 100 click through to your shop, and they turn into sales, I’d call that a success!

3. Pinterest Ties in With All Your Social Media

What’s the big deal about this? The big deal is that if someone sees an image that you’ve posted on Instagram and wants to save it for later for reference, Pinterest is a great way to do that! They even have a browser extension that you can install to pin images directly from the webpage that you’re viewing. (Which is super cool!)

Pinterest Chrome Extension

This makes it so much easier for people who love your content to click and save to their boards right away. Once they do that, #2 comes into play, and that’s what we want!

4. Staying on Trend is So Easy!

One of the easiest and fastest ways to stay on trend these days is to check out what people on Pinterest are pinning. I love following people that inspire me, and seeing what kinds of things they’re pinning. This gives me a great idea of what kinds of things are trending.

I’ve also found this to be a great way to come up with new product ideas for my own business. I can best serve my audience when I know what it is that they’re looking for, and Pinterest affords me this opportunity.

5. Cross-Promote Your Business Locally

Pinterest Place Pins are a special type of pins that allow certain pins to have metadata included such as location, and phone number. If you do in person sales, or even doing a craft fair or event, these kinds of pins could come in super handy!

Get your pins out there circulating a few weeks before your event, and watch as the traffic to your shop comes in. (It might even be a good way to promote the show or shop for other vendors!)

6. Investing in Pinterest Pays Off Long-Term:

Your pins on Pinterest last forever. And as a result of that, your quality content has a longer shelf life than any other social media add or boost. Feeds drive other digital channels, which means recency reigns supreme.

Since discovery and search are what Pinterest is made of, content has evergreen value. So when you create high quality, relevant Pins and optimize your Etsy shop or standalone website, you’ll see results.

I hope this has gotten you super excited about bringing Pinterest into your business life. Creating pins for your products, and surfing through other people’s beautiful products and services are one of the perks of all the computer work that goes along with running a business!

 Have you joined Pinterest yet? Why or why not? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

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