5 Ways to Kick Start Your Social Media Strategy

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve heard how important I think it is to be on social media. I also think you need to focus your attention and time on one or two platforms to avoid overwhelm. The questions I get asked a lot are “Which Ones Should I Join?” and “What Should I Post?”

The simplest answer that I can give to that is to say, it depends. I know that seems unhelpful, but stay with me! It really depends on your preferences, your audience, your product, and a myriad of other factors. Some people love Twitter, while others adore Pinterest,  and still others love Facebook.

Below I’ve compiled five things I think are very important to keep in mind when getting started with social media. Let’s dive in!

Social Media Strategy

1. Choose Your Platforms

These are my top picks for places to start out on social media for your biz. These may not work for you, or you may already be on them. But these are the three that I have seen handmade sellers get the most success from.

Pinterest

As handmade sellers, we are visual creatures. Pinterest is sometimes referred to as a social media platform, but it’s really just a visual search engine.

The reason I love it is because it requires minimal input, and gives a lot of results. Someone pins your pin, and two others re-pin it, and then five people re-pin those two pins, and it just keeps growing.

Pretty soon you’ve got a ton of eyes coming to your products and your shop, for very little effort. This is the top site I recommend you start with in your social media strategy.

Instagram

I love Instagram! It’s got the visual of Pinterest, and the community of Facebook all rolled into one easy app. Posting your products and behind the scenes pictures here is so simple, and it’s a great way to connect to your audience.

Plus, you can use the Stories feature to become even more creative in what you share, and how you relate to your followers. It’s easy to create a business profile here, so I recommend you click on over and get started.

Facebook

This is probably the top site for every business to have a presence on. It’s true that most people when researching a company head to Facebook first, before ever venturing onto their website. Having a business profile set up on Facebook is a great way to connect to your audience.

Your content here can be fairly similar to your content on Instagram. (if you have a presence on both platforms) Just make sure you’re formatting it correctly so the links are clickable, and you’re removing any mention of Instagram specific actions. (Check out my stories, click the link in the bio, etc)

*Whatever route you decide to go, make sure you are completely nailing one platform before trying to add another one into the mix.

2. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

Setting goals is a big thing for me. You don’t know how far you are capable of going if you don’t have a vision of where you want to end up. But they can be a double edged sword. If set improperly or unrealistically, goals can make you very discouraged. That’s why it’s important to set smart goals. They should be:

  • Specific- Get as granular and detailed as possible. An overarching goal of “I want to get 100 followers” is great, but drill down even further if you can. Like “I want to get 50 engaged followers every month”. The difference is setting you in a very specific and focused direction, making it easier to achieve this goal.
  • Measurable– How do you know if you’ve achieved your goal, if there’s no way to measure it?
  • Attainable– This needs to be a realistic goal. Something that you have a chance of completing. Otherwise you will get discouraged and give up because you’ve deemed it as something that’s “impossible”.
  • Relevant– This can’t be overstated. The goal needs to relate somehow to what you’re trying to do. So setting a goal to mow the lawn is great, but how does that get you closer to your 50 engaged followers?
  • Time-bound- Don’t panic! A time clock is only there for you to help you stay on track. No one is going to dock you 50 brownie points for not getting there soon enough. This is just so you can re-evaluate at the end of your time limit and see where you are, and where you might need to tweak your ideas.

3. Check Out Other Accounts

What accounts and creators do you follow on social media? Why do you follow them? What is it about their presence that makes you want to keep seeing their content? Is it their pictures, their personality, their color choices?

If you’re stuck for ideas on what to post, or how to format your own feed, check out your competition. Don’t copy what they’re doing (That’s a no-no!) but do look at what it is about their profile that draws you, and figure out how you can put your own spin on it. Maybe you can format your posts similarly, or use similar wording.  Or maybe they posted a cool behind the scenes photo and you could take a similar photo.  All of these things you can use as inspiration when creating your own social media accounts. (Or sprucing up existing ones!)

4. Optimize Your Profile

Whatever platform you decide to start out on, you need to make sure your profile looks as good as it can possibly be. Your profile in many cases, is the first impression a potential fan will get of your business. If you don’t have a picture, or an “about me” section filled out, the person reading could get turned off, and click somewhere else.

Make sure you have a professional, friendly photo of yourself, a short bio about who you are and why you do what you do, and any other related content filled out. People love to know who you are, they are after all, buying from a handmade seller instead of Walmart, add those personal touches to your profiles and give your audience a sense of who you are. This will help build that know, like, and trust factor.

5. Know Your Audience

Make sure you know who your target audience is. It’s so important to have this as dialed in as you can because when you start posting you want to be talking directly to that person.

If you’re trying to attract everyone by “Not excluding” a certain portion of your audience, then no one is really going to hear your message. It’s going to look messy, unorganized, and like you’re just throwing stuff against the wall hoping it’ll stick. While that’s fine to do a little bit while you’re getting to know your audience, make sure you have at least a general idea of who you’re trying to target when posting on social media.

I hope that these five tips have given you some ideas on how to get started on social media. I know there’s a lot of information here, and my hope is that you will be able to take something away from this article and start applying it to your business.

Let me know in the comments below what you think of these tips for your social media strategy? Did I leave something out? What would you do to get started? Let’s talk about it below.

5 Email Ideas to Market Your Etsy Biz

So let’s say you read this blog article, and you have decided to set up your first email marketing campaign for your Etsy biz. Go you! You’ve set everything up inside Mailchimp, and you are super excited to get your email ready to go. You click “new post” and you stare at the computer screen blankly, trying to figure out what to send.

If you’re like me, then writers block is not a new experience. I completely get how overwhelming and frustrating the process of writing out a catchy email can be. That’s why I rounded up five great topic ideas you can use on your next email that should get those creative juices flowing.


If you’re struggling to come up with topics to write about, check these out!

1. Share a Behind-the-Scenes Look

People love to get the “inside scoop” on pretty much everything. To be part of an elite group or priviliged few is hard wired into our DNA. (Okay maybe not that extreme, but you get my point!) People are following you because they love buying from small businesses. They love the personal touches.

Showing people that you’re a real person, that you have a life outside of the perfect Instagram square picture, is a great way to connect with your fans. They will be pulled into your space, closer into your world, and really relate to whatever it is that you’ve decided to show.

A few ideas for these kinds of emails could include:
  • Pictures of you creating your products
  • Your messy kitchen full of dishes because you were too busy with your biz to clean up after dinner last night
  • Your kiddos playing in the sunshine
  • Orders packaged up and ready to go
  • You getting your hair done, grabbing your favorite drink, or watching a movie and talking about self care.

As long as these kinds of marketing emails have a small refernce to your biz, or your products, they can be a very effective tool to show people who you are, and build that know, like, and trust factor that you’re shooting for.

2. Create a Narrative (Tell a Story!)

You got into this handmade business for a reason. There was something that happened in your life (or maybe a string of somethings) that set you on the path towards your dreams.

What better way to let people into your business than to give them the story of how it happened? Talk about the thing that drives you the most, or maybe your favorite product to create. How did those early days of your business happen with your work/life balance? What sacrifices did you have to make to get where you are? All of these could be ideas that you share with your fans.

3. Start an Email Series

This idea could be a really cool way to take your story one step further. Everyone loves a cliff hanger, and want the story to find an ending. Take your super long story and break it up into several emails, spreading them out over a couple of weeks.

This will keep your readers engaged, and subtly but effectively, making them super happy when your emails pop up in their inbox. They will be anxious to hear from you, and won’t hesitate to click on through to read what you have to say.

4. Share Blog Recaps w/Snippets

Does your business have a blog attached to it? Is this something that you update frequently and have amazing content? (Well of course you do, you’re awesome!)

Then sharing an email with your fans whenever a new blog post is published would be a great idea to bring them in. Include some of your great topic sentences, or include a few of the pictures that you have on your post to get their interest piqued. Encourage them to click through to read the rest of the post by showing off some of your great ideas in the email.

5. Resource Roundup

If you’re a handmade seller then you know that your process is a closely guarded secret. What you can do is share some of the resources and tools that you incorporate in your business with your fans.

Are you a crocheter? Maybe you do a roundup of your favorite patterns or designers. Do you make beautiful cards and stationary and you love watching YouTube videos about them? How about jewelry makers? What techniques fascinate you, or are you thinking of breaking into a new style? Do a roundup of your favorite creators and share with your peeps!

You’re trying to give value in any way that you can, instead of constantly selling to them. Think about it. Do you open an email if all it contains is sales pitches all the time? Then why would your readers?

Whatever you decide to send them, keep these questions in mind as you’re writing:

  • How will an mail benefit your audience? (What value does it have?)
  • How will this email funnel people back to your shop, or social media?
  • How can you put your own spin on it?

I hope this list has helped jump start your creative process, and that you’re furiously making lists of things you can send out to your fans. Let me know in the comments what kinds of ideas you have come up with! I’d love to hear about them.

Top 3 Reasons Your Etsy Biz Needs an Email List

And Why You Should Start One ASAP

Are you ready to take your Etsy biz to the next level? Have you ever struggled with slow sales? Did you just come out with a new product line, and are at a loss for how to promote it? Then this blog post is definitely for you. If you’re in this for the long haul, and not just the short term ride, then you’re going to want an email list. And here’s why.

Creating an Email List for Etsy Biz
Starting an email list now can help you down the road! Read below to find out more

1. It’s a Free Form of Marketing

I hear this question a lot, “But Jami, what if I’m not ready to start sending emails right away?” Or, “I don’t know what to send out!” Go ahead and start the list, and begin collecting emails from people anyway. That way when you’re ready to send your first email, you have an engaged audience. Done is better than perfect, and trying to get your ducks in a row before you send out that first email will cause you to stall out, and you won’t ever get started.

A good place to start with creating your email list is with a service called Mailchimp. Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, and you really can’t beat free!

2. Because you own it!

I’m a huge fan of social media. Instagram in particular. But the problem with using these for your marketing platform, is that anything could happen to them. They could shut down tomorrow, and you’d lose your audience. You are not guaranteed a spot on their site indefinitely, and then you’d really be out of luck.

But with an email list, these people are yours forever (unless they unsubscribe) and you are able to market to them anytime you want. Your email list subscribers are there for the duration and that’s what you want!

3. Everyone on Your List is a Fan

It’s tough to get people onto an email list these days because there’s so much spam out there. Everyone and their dog is trying to send us an email and it can get overwhelming. So if someone opts in to yours, it means they’re a true fan!

They’ll be honestly interested in what you have to offer. Some might follow you on social media, or comment on posts, or share a pin now and then, but that doesn’t make them a true fan. Opting in to your email list means they are really invested. These people are ready to see what you have to say, and you can market to in their inbox. This way, you have a better chance of getting them to know, like and trust you.

*Bonus Tip: Add the link to sign up for your email list to the bottom of every product description in your shop! Also add it to your shop announcement at the top!*

These tips are just three reasons why I believe it’s so important to start an email list for your biz right away! It can take some time to get people onto your list, and you definitley have to apply patience. However done correctly and given enough time, an email list can be such a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

 

5 Ways to Up-Level Your Pinterest Profile

Taking the time to perfect your Pinterest profile is crucial to becoming profitable with Pinterest.  You want people to find you on Pinterest, to understand what your business is all about, and ultimately visit your website or join your email list.  Read on to learn 5 ways to uplevel your Pinterest profile.
Taking the time to perfect your Pinterest profile is crucial to becoming profitable with Pinterest.  You want people to find you on Pinterest, to understand what your business is all about, and ultimately visit your website or join your email list.  Read on to learn 5 ways to uplevel your Pinterest profile.

#1 Make the most of the Business Name field in your Pinterest profile

The Business Name field inside your Pinterest profile can hold up to 30 characters.  Most people just put their short and sweet name here but I recommend making the most of it by including a little bit about what you do as well.  This is helpful because your account will appear in the Pinterest search if anyone uses the words you’ve added to your business name when searching Pinterest.  This can help you gain highly targeted followers.
In the photo below you’ll see I have close to 100 characters.  Since this screenshot was taken you can no longer make your title larger than 30 characters.  Still try to use as much of the space as you can and fit in a keyword or two if space allows.

#2 Add a professional photo or a logo as your Pinterest profile photo

I see lots of people adding snapshots of themselves or a photo of the product they sell as their profile photo on Pinterest.  These types of photos don’t help put your best foot forward though.  Instead I recommend a professional photo of your smiling face which helps people connect with your or I recommend adding your logo.

Going with one of these options will help show that you’re a professional business on Pinterest and will help give you a better level of expertise.  If you go with your logo make sure the look and color are similar to everywhere else your brand is represented online.  This will help build brand recognition as people find you across social media and your website.

#3 Add your website URL to your Pinterest profile

This one seems like a no-brainer but I often see people forget to add their website to their profile.  Make sure people have a way to find out more about you.  If you haven’t yet, make sure to purchase your custom URL and use that like I’ve done in the Handmade Journey profile with handmadejourney.com.

A custom URL helps brand your business and looks more professional than say an Etsy URL or a wordpress.com URL.  You can redirect the custom URL wherever you like.  Just make sure you’re sending people to your main online presence.

#4 Tell customers how you can help them in the description

When you go to write your description make sure you tell your customer how your business will benefit them in the first part.  Whether you sell a product or a service you are helping people. But you’ve gotta be really concise because you can only fit 160 characters in the description.

Tell people who you help and what you help them with.  For my Handmade Journey description I say “Helping Etsy sellers turn their craftiness into sales”.  It tells people really quickly who I help and what I can help them with.

#5 Add a link to a freebie in the description

In the second part of your description you want to include a freebie to try to get people who see your profile onto your mailing list.  I include a little bit about what the freebie is and a link to the freebie.  The link won’t be clickable so I try to make it as short as possible.  You can use bit.ly if needed to help make the link shorter.  In my Handmade Journey profile I’m giving my followers a PDF guide but you can get creative here.

Some examples of what you can create as a freebie are printables, checklists, discount coupon codes, how-to guides, free gifts with purchase, etc.  The ultimate goal is to get people off of Pinterest and onto your email list so you can market to them in the future so definitely don’t skip this step.

HANDMADE JOURNEY ACADEMY – EXTRA

Access your full “Profitable Pinning” course in the Handmade Journey Academy.

You’ll learn strategies for growing a following, creating tall pins, writing pin descriptions to get you found in the search results, joining group boards, and automating your entire strategy for sales on auto-pilot.

Not an Academy Member? Click here to learn more

5 Easy Ways to Create Video for Your Handmade Business

Creating video for your handmade business can seem super scary. The first time I made a video, my hands got all sweaty and I had to do probably 100 takes before I felt it was worthy of being shared.

But as I mentioned in my last blog post 5 Ways To Use Live Video To Grow Your Handmade Business, using video for your handmade business is going to be an important part of your social media strategy in 2018. Read on to learn 5 easy ways to use video (that aren’t super scary)!

Creating video for your handmade business is a great way to your handmade products in front of more people and beat the Facebook and Instagram algorithms because they prefer video.

#1 Hyperlapse Videos

I love watching Instagram videos where someone speeds up their production process. Did you know those videos are really easy to do? With your cell phone, a tripod, and a nifty app called Hyperlapse- you can take videos as you are creating products and with the Hyperlapse app (iTunes), speed them up and post them not only on Instagram but Facebook as well!  And you don’t have to show your face or speak so it’s a low anxiety way to get started with video.

If you’re on Android a good alternative is your phone’s native hyperlapse feature (if you have a newer Samsung) or the Microsoft Hyperlapse app (Android).

If you are worried about showing too much of your process, that’s okay. You can record yourself packaging orders or even just record a small part of the process. You don’t have to give away any secrets. Keep these short and show just enough to draw people into the video.

#2 Show Off Your Products

Do you make something using glitter, or a material that is really hard to catch its true beauty in photos? A video is a great way to show the details that photography is hard to capture. Again- you can accomplish this with your phone, and an app called Boomerang (iTunes or Android). Boomerang is an app from Instagram that takes a burst of photos or a video and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward.

Lets say you make decals with glitter vinyl- you could record a short video of you turning that decals different direction in the light to catch the reflection of the glitter. Bommerang will than speed that up into a short video that plays backwards and forwards. There are all kinds of fun ways you can use it to show off your products!

#3 Show Off Your Workspace

I know, I know… you’re likely thinking “But my workspace doesn’t look like it came out of an IKEA catalog! I work at my dining room table”. That’s okay! People love to know the person or place behind a product. You don’t have to show off all of your workspace either.

Don’t want to hear yourself on video? You don’t need to say anything if you don’t want to. Just pan around your space and post!

Side note- did you know you can turn the sound off videos on Instagram? So don’t worry if your dog is barking in the background, or your toddler comes running in while you are recording it- you can still post it, and just turn off the sound.

#4 Collage of Your Products

This tip doesn’t even require you to take a video at all! All you need is photos of your products and any collage video app. My go to app is FilmoraGo (iTunes or Android). I just upload photos of my items, add some cool effects, some music if I’d like and I have a professional looking video of my items I can post.

These types of videos are great to do for holidays and special occassions- so create different collage videos that showcase your seasonal products together.

#5 Introduce Yourself

I am pushing my Handmade Journey Academy members this year to really take a step outside of their comfort zone. Putting yourself in front of the camera may be really far outside of yours. As I said- it was really scary at first for me, and sometimes still is! But again, all you need is your phone and a tripod.

I challenge you to record a quick 30 second video introducing yourself to your audience. Share a little bit about yourself and why you started the handmade journey that you’re on. You’ll be surprised at how much your audience loves connecting with you in this way.

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