Social Media

How to Build a Community (& Increase Sales!) With a Facebook Group

You probably belong to at least one Facebook group, right? They’re a great gathering place for people to discuss and engage with each other over a shared topic. There’s a Facebook group for everything these days it seems.

There’s political groups, mom groups, yardsale groups, crafters groups, business groups, and the list goes on and on.

But have you ever thought about starting a Facebook group specifically for your business? If you haven’t, then you really should consider it. This could be a great component to your social media strategy.

This can be a great way to connect with your audience, grow your brand, extend your community and in the long run, help increase your sales!

They do take a lot of time and attention and aren’t for the faint of heart, but if set up and managed correctly, can be so worth it!

How to Build a Community (& Increase Sales!) With a Facebook Group-Handmade Journey.com

Why should I start a Facebook group when I already have a business page?

Facebook groups are different from your business page, in one key area. They promote interaction and engagement with other members, not just with you!

Obviously, you want to show up and post and chat with your members as often as possible, but promoting a sense of community is what a Facebook group’s ultimate goal is.

Here are a few angles you can take when starting your own group.

1. Exclusive VIP Treatment. Everyone loves feeling like they are part of an exclusive crowd. Starting a Facebook group specifically for customers that have bought from you in the past, or are part of your email list could be a great place to start.

When you run a sale or come out with a new product, share it in your Facebook group first and stress that they’re getting first dibs on that new product.

2. Current Happenings in Your Niche–Using your Facebook group to discuss the latest news, updates, and changes in your niche is another great way to utilize your group.

You could make your Facebook group a place to discuss the latest trends in jewelry with the customers who have bought your earrings. Or how about a mom’s group to discuss their toddlers’ antics for customers who have bought your baby hair bows? The possibilities in this area are truly endless!

3. Communicate With Brand Ambassadors–If you are a business that has a few brand ambassadors, and want a place to gather your team together, this would be the perfect place to do that!

Your brand reps can come together and collaborate on ideas, social media hashtags, or just to simply talk about your awesome products with each other. This would also be a great place to have some loyal fans available for product testing if you needed a warm test audience.

Okay, I’m ready to start a group, but how do I get people to join?

The biggest struggle we face when starting a new Facebook group is how to let people know it’s there. You can’t have an active, engaged community if you only have two members.

Ideas on how to grow your group could include:

  • Add an invitation to join your Facebook group in your email signature. Just add a link at the bottom and a call to action.
  • On all your pages where you’re linking to Facebook (Your Etsy store, Website, etc) add the link to join your Facebook group instead of directing people to your business page.
  • Link your business page and your Facebook group, and use the CTA (Call to Action) button on your business page to send people to your group.
  • Make a fun Facebook cover photo that highlights your brand and encourages people to come to check out your group.
  • Join other Facebook groups that allow self-promotions and use these groups to bring people to yours. (Be very careful to read the rules of these groups to make sure that this is something that’s allowed!)

I’ve got some people in my group, now what?

Another challenge faced by Facebook group owners is how to get your members to engage with each other. This can be tricky because no one likes to be the first to comment on a post.

Some fun ideas you could use to get the ball rolling could be:

  • Use polls/challenges/contests to get your members engaged and excited. Consider giving away a shop credit, or an E-Gift card as prizes to the winners. (everyone loves Target!)
  • Ask fun questions and require replies to be a GIF or picture, people love answering questions in quirky unique ways.
  • Make sure you’re commenting and posting the most so that people can get to know you and feel more comfortable participating.
  • Give everyone an opportunity to share wins, making sure to encourage and celebrate with them!

The unfortunate truth is that a regular post on your business page is a fleeting thing. We can post something today and only a handful of our fans or customers will see it, thanks to algorithms and time of day.

And then a few days later you can post an update, and an entirely new group of people will see the update without ever having seen the first post.

There’s a real disconnect from one post to the next. Within a Facebook group, however, this isn’t as much of an issue. This fact makes it easier to connect with other people, and have real connections form between you and your audience.

A Facebook group can, and definitely should be, a place where all different kinds of people come together to spend time sharing thoughts and ideas. People are joining Facebook groups because they’re a safe place to have real interactions and share parts of their lives.

By starting a Facebook group for your business, and making sure to engage with your members, you can promote your brand in a completely non-salesy fashion.

And hopefully, you’ll have a little fun while you’re at it!

If you would like to join a community of other like-minded handmade sellers in a Facebook group setting, I’d love for you to join us in the Handmade Journey Academy Facebook group!

This is a place where we answer questions, share wins, troubleshoot problems and have a lot of fun! All while we’re crushing our business goals. How cool is that?

What’s your take on starting a Facebook group for your business? Is it something you think would be a good fit?

Why or why not? Let’s talk about it below.

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3 Essentials for Engaging Instagram Captions

Let’s say you’ve read this blog article and you’ve figured out a strategy for what to post on Instagram. You’re fired up because you’ve got great content, you’ve got some topics to post about, and you’re a scheduling machine getting those posts ready to go. But what do you write about in your Instagram captions?

You sit down in front of your computer and go to write out the caption, and just stare blankly. You can’t seem to find any words to caption your photo, and worse yet, the things you do come up with don’t sound like you at all! 

Has this happened to you before? I’m going to assume that since you’re reading this article, this has happened at least once before. I know that sometimes I get stuck for the right words to describe my photos, so I wanted to share my top three tips for what to use in that Instagram caption! 

3 Essentials for Engaging Instagram Captions-Handmade Journey

What Do I Put in My Instagram Captions?

 

1. Write the Way You Talk

Write conversationally. This basically means that you need to take everything you ever learned in your high school English class, and toss it out the window. I don’t mean basic grammar and punctuation, but as far as being very formal in your delivery of an idea, scrap it! 

You’re going to want to write the way you speak. Write as though you’re talking to a friend. That person is right there in front of you, and you’re having a conversation. Do you get formal in your speech, or are you more relaxed and casual? That’s what you want to bring to your Instagram captions.

**Remember, your audience is buying from a small business because they are searching for a connection. They want to feel like they know you and know your story. So speak to them in a way that showcases your authentic self.**

 

2. Why So Serious? 

Instagram as a whole is very lighthearted. They are fun, carefree, and playful! (Emojis anyone?) When you’re writing your Instagram captions, try to merge what you’re saying and your brand into the overall theme and brand that Instagram is known for. 

Be lighthearted in your speech. Use emojis wherever you can for that jovial playful spirit. People are coming to Instagram to unwind and relax. Don’t get too serious on them all the time. 

Obviously, if your brand is a more subdued serious tone, then you’ll not want to go too overboard with this, but definitely throw in a couple of posts occasionally that are more geared towards the lighthearted theme of the platform. 

 

3. Direct Their Attention

Even though you’re not trying to sell to them in your posts, your Instagram caption should always include a call to action. Directing their attention to a blog post, or to your other social media platforms is a good idea to get them to interact with you and your brand outside of that one post. 

On the posts that you are promoting a product, you can direct the reader to the link to your shop, or you can send them to your blog after you’ve written an awesome new article. 

But one of the best ways to get those followers to engage with you is to simply ask a question to get them thinking. Ask something thought-provoking, or invite them to share a story with you that relates the topic you’ve just written about.

Whatever you do, make sure that you’re sharing a call to action in most of your Instagram captions to promote that engagement. 

 

*Bonus Tip* When in doubt, be brief. There’s nothing worse than a long-winded caption that makes your eyelids droop! When in doubt about your caption, the briefer the better! 

 

It’s really not too hard to come up with a great Instagram caption if you just break it down into a few chunks. Make sure you’re writing the way you’d speak to a friend, don’t take yourself so seriously, and remember a call to action. If you make sure to include these three elements in every post, you will be on the right path! 

 

What do you struggle with the most when coming up with an Instagram caption? Share with me in the comments! 

Do you want to see Instagram captions in real time? Come check out my Instagram account here:

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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!

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.