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Start Before You’re Ready // Social Media

Now you know some good reasons why you should start before you’re ready and Kerry gave you a breathing technique and an exercise to help you get in the zone to start before you’re ready! If you missed either of them, click here to check out my post and here to check out Kerry’s.

There are some key areas that I see makers avoid starting all the time. No judgement, I’ve been one of them! Starting something new, especially in your carefully created handmade biz, can be scary and super intimidating.

Avoiding trying new things in your business might feel nice for a while, but in the long run it could be the death of your business.

Over the next couple of months I’ll be diving deep into the 6 key areas that I see makers avoid the most.  I’m going to give you the support you need to start before you’re ready on the following topics:

–  Social Media

–  Building your own website

–  Starting a newsletter

–  Wholesale

–  Blogging

–  Hiring

Each of these areas will most likely force you out of your comfort zone in some way and into being more authentic and open in front of your audience. So, it’s no surprise that these 6 areas are some of the most commonly avoided by makers, this stuff can be scary!

Take a deep breath, I’m going to walk you through each one of these areas and tell you exactly how to start before you’re ready in each category.

Let’s jump in! Embrace the uncomfortableness of the unknown as we get started with the first topic I see makers avoid totally or avoid taking seriously: social media.  

On your long maker to-do list social media might be the farthest thing from your mind. Maybe you’re avoiding it completely or have a personal page that you randomly share your products on.

If you’re avoiding social media you could be missing a treasure trove of your ideal customers that are ready to buy.

Social media doesn’t have to be a chore, and you absolutely do not need to take on more than you can commit to.

Here are 4 steps to start before you’re ready with social media, you might be surprised how easy and fun it can be!  

Step 1: The snowball effect

Start with one social media platform. If you already have some, but aren’t really taking them seriously, pick one to focus on. Once you have one mastered and running like a well oiled machine, move onto the next one, and repeat with as many platforms as you’d like!

I know what you’re thinking…

“How do I know which social media platform is right for me to start with? “

Answer these questions to find out.

  • Where do your ideal customers hang out?
  • What social media platform do you enjoy the most?
  • What social media platform is easiest for you to commit to using on a regular basis?
  • What social media platform works best for your business budget right now?

The platform you answered the most questions with is your starting point. Don’t even worry about the others yet.

Step 2: Commit to a posting schedule

Repeat after me: I do not have to post on social media everyday unless I want to.

I talk to so many makers that say they can’t do social media because they don’t have time to do it everyday.

This is not a good excuse.

So, right here, right now, commit to a posting schedule that works for you. 3 posts per week is a good minimum to start.

  • 3 per week/ 12 monthly
  • 4 per week/ 16 monthly
  • 5 per week/ 20 monthly
  • 6 per week/ 24 monthly
  • Everyday/ 28-31 monthly

Step 3: Batch and schedule

The key to your time quandary: batching and scheduling. Schedule a couple hours a month to take all of your social media pictures for the month and schedule them out.

How much time do you spend a day thinking about all of the social media related things you should be doing. If you’re like me, WAY TOO MUCH. Haha! Batching and scheduling out my social media posts changed my world. It was one huge thing that was completely off my daily to-do list.

Some social media platforms allow you to schedule posts in advance for free, like Facebook and Twitter. Scheduling for Instagram and Pinterest isn’t built into their platforms so you’ll need to purchase a third party app.

Many of these scheduling apps are affordable and easy to use. Here’s a list of awesome scheduling programs to get you started:

Step 4: Prop bag

Your next question, “What do I take pictures of?”.

This is my favorite part about social media! Creating your prop bag is your opportunity to express your brand in another way outside of your products which is a great opportunity to be creative in another way, and it might even involve some tax write off shopping.

Side note: Make sure you’re crystal clear on your branding before committing to a crazy big prop arsenal.

With a prop bag in hand taking a pictures of your products, completed or in process, will be a breeze and on brand. At woo woo central, aka Zenned Out, our prop bag includes a multitude of crystals, smudge sticks, oracle cards, and minimal backgrounds. A good way to brainstorm good props for your brand is to ask yourself “What kind of products would your ideal customer have in their house as decoration?”.

Now you have all of the tools you need to seriously commit to one social media platform of your choice. My hope is that I’ve taken some of the guess work out of getting started with taking social media seriously and that you might even be a little bit excited about it!
Have a question? Let me know in the comments below! Already have a solid social media commitment? Comment below with your favorite tips for getting started.

6 Ways Pinterest Can Boost Your Handmade Business

Okay, pop quiz: Which social media platform has the most potential to boost your handmade business? Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? Something else?

Well, answers may vary, but my vote goes to . . . Pinterest! If you haven’t already set up a Pinterest business account for your handmade biz, you SHOULD!

Here are 6 reasons why:

6 Ways Pinterest Can Boost Your Handmade Business

#1 Pinterest allows you to show your products to more potential customers.

If you haven’t read this article from the Pinterest blog, you should. According to a recent survey conducted by Millward Brown Digital, 93% of the survey participants stated that they use Pinterest to scope out products to buy. And 87% said that they purchased a product, thanks to Pinterest. That’s some powerful statistics right there, folks!

Pin your products to Pinterest directly from your Etsy shop by using the “Pin it” button, or pin product photos that appear on your business blog. Choose photos that show your product “in use”: display your product with minimal props to show the size of the product and possible ways to use it.

#2 Pinterest helps you show other products that complement your product(s).

Here’s a fun idea. Create a Pinterest board for each of your products (or product categories). Pin images to that board that coordinate with your product(s). Think of colors, patterns, themes, etc. that complement it. Name your boards “What to Wear with _____ (your product).” Mood boards and/or color scheme boards are fun ways to showcase your product(s) as well. This technique can help customers imagine themselves using your products and could potentially increase sales.

This type of board would be great for including upselling images, too. See this post for additional information about the upselling technique.

Polyvore is another fun tool that allows you to create product collages.

#3 Pinterest enables you to answer your customers’ questions or solve a problem that they have.

An easy way to do this is to add some text on top of a product photo. For example, if you sell handmade scarves, you could create a Pinterest-friendly image that includes your product photo with the words “5 Amazingly-Easy Ways to Tie a Scarf” on top of the image. When the Pinterest user clicks on your image to read how to tie a scarf, they will see your scarves and perhaps make a purchase (now or in the future).

The key to this technique is to link the person to your blog, where you have step-by-step images of the scarf-tying process and then a link to purchase your scarves online. If your Pinterest image just links to your online shop and not the 5-step tutorial, people who clicked the image will not receive what you promised. And believe me, unhappy people don’t make good customers.

Tip: Use a tool like Canva or even PicMonkey to add text to a photo.

#4 Pinterest provides links to tutorials and tips for great product photography.

We all know how important great product photography is for a handmade business, right? Create a secret board and pin articles to read now or later. Search for pins about:

#5 Pinterest helps you find creative, new packaging ideas.

Handmade sellers are (or should be) always looking for creative, memorable ways to package their products. Pinterest is filled with great ideas for beautiful packaging. Create a secret board and pin to your heart’s content! Visit the board again later when you need some packaging inspiration. Possible ideas to search for are as follows:

  • items to include with your product in your shipping box (tissue paper, filler material, etc.)
  • creative labels for the outside of the box
  • pretty thank-you notes to include

#6 Pinterest inspires you to create new product designs.

Handmade sellers are always looking for ways to keep up with current trends, patterns, colors, etc. for future product lines. Pinterest is a great research tool that can help you with that! Keep your inspiration board secret if you’d like, and fill it up with images that might be potential design ideas for later.

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How else have you used Pinterest for your business? We’d love to hear any strategies you’d like to share! I hope you’ll try some of the techniques mentioned in this post, and see how Pinterest can boost your handmade business!

Juliebio

Julie Corbett – On The Dot Creations

On the Dot Creations features handmade creations and shares biz tips with those who sell them. Check out Julie’s free video series3 Reasons Your Product Photography Might Be Turning Customers Away, or her brand new online workshopDIY Product Photography.

Pinterest Savvy Giveaway!

A couple of weeks ago, Melissa Taylor shared her new book Pinterest Savvy with us and now she is giving away a copy to one lucky reader! Melissa feels like there is so much potential on Pinterest for Etsy sellers in particular and we agree! The book is perfect for the Pinterest novice and also the frequent pinner. I learned a lot of great ideas and she even has free worksheets to go with each chapter!

 

 

What You’ll Learn from Pinterest Savvy

  • How to attract more followers & increase brand awareness
  • How to achieve marketing and sales goals
  • Business-specific strategies
  • Success stories & tactics
  • Secrets from top Pinners

Pinterest Savvy: How I Got 1 Million+ Followers (Strategies, Plans, and Tips, to Grow Your Business with Pinterest gives you solutions whether or not you’re a first-time user or a business looking to use Pinterest for sales and marketing.

Pinterest Savvy shows you best practices for how to achieve business success on Pinterest starting with the basics of building your profile and boards to more advanced strategies of attracting thousands of followers with business-specific tactics.

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All you have to do to enter is share your Pinterest profile in the comments below. Don’t have one yet? Then share why you would like this book. The giveaway ends Monday, February 18th at 6pm PST. The winner will be announced on this post next Tuesday, the 19th and will also be contacted by email. 

*Congratulations to Catherine Shields for winning a copy of Pinterest Savvy! We will shoot you an email in a little bit. Thank you so much to Melissa for sharing this book and for all of you that entered. The book is only $4.97 on Amazon so go get your copy if you did not win. Happy pinning!

How To Use Pinterest To Drive Traffic To Your Etsy Shop

Peach and Mint Heart Cupcake Toppers from Kiwi Tini Creations

The first time I saw Pinterest, I thought it must have been designed with Etsy users in mind. The site even describes itself as “a place to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.” What could be better? With the right skills you can harness the visual power of this new network to drive traffic to your Etsy store.

Pinterest is the perfect place to share your beautiful creations, connect with customers and find inspiration.

If you’re just stretching your social media wings, your first step is to get an invite to Pinterest. While you can sign up for one through Pinterest itself, it’s much faster to be invited by someone already using the site. Ask your friends, family or your fellow Etsians through one of the forums.

Once you’re set-up, it’s time to start pinning (sharing images) and building boards (curating collections of related images. You can share your Etsy product photos, but it’s important to remember that Pinterest is a place to highlight beauty, but not a space for shameless self-promotion.

Peach Amazonite Earrings from Bella Anela Jewelry

The best way to use the site is to find ways to highlight what you have to offer without advertising. Here are some ideas:

Teach:

Use a pinboard to share a project your followers can make themselves. Post an image at each stage of the project, with a quick description of what readers need to do. Invite followers to share their results on Pinterest.

Sneak peak:

Preview your new and in-progress works by posting them to your Pinterest before they’re Etsy-ready. Once the project is up on your Etsy site, don’t forget to link your Pinterest board to it so interested users can purchase the product they’ve watched grow.

Connect:

Invite followers into your studio to see where the magic happens. Use photos and captions to host a virtual tour through your creative space. Ask a friend to take photos or video of you working to really invite your followers in. Again, don’t forget to link these pins back to your store and specific products.

Peach Bow Ear Cuff from Of Lovely Things

Pinterest and Etsy work so well together because they’re both built on eye-catching visuals. You can your Etsy photos on your Pinterest, but get creative by adding some different angles and framing or show your product in action on a model. (Hint: Your friend and family will work for handmade goods.)

Your Pinterest followers want to get to know you, so in addition to posting your work, share your hobbies, interests and activities through images and video. Create a board that shares the covers of your favorite books or albums, or your favorite quotes, to share a little bit of yourself with your followers. Get creative, and look to the Pinterest community for ideas.

Now that you’ve got a few boards, you need followers. Start close to home by inviting your biggest fans, your friends and family, to share your boards with their social networks.

Harness the power of your existing social networks by sharing your pins on Facebook and Twitter, and inviting your followers to connect on Pinterest. Share your Pinterest URL with your e-newletter list and past customers, and ask them to share it too.

Roam If You Want To print from Jump Off The Page

Etsy (and other Etsians) can help you make the most of Pinterest by expanding your network.

Team up with other Etsians to share your wares and find new followers. Gather a likeminded group of handcrafters through the forums, or contact artists you admire individually. Share each other’s products on your Pinterest boards to find new customers and make new connections. I can’t say it enough, don’t forget those all important links to help make it easy for Pinterest users to buy your products.

Etsy itself is lending a hand to help make your Pinterest experience successful. In January, Etsy added a Pin-It button to the social media options on your listings. Your fans can share your products with one click that will automatically fill-in the item name and price and let then add a note about why they love it.

Mint Peach Geometric Necklace from Alina and T

In addition to using Pinterest to promote your Etsy shop, use it for you. Browse the boards of your favorite Etsy users, and draw inspiration from the wider Pinterest community. Share your expertise, pin and comment on the boards of others to forge new connections and find new customers. When your Pinterest followers get to know the person behind the products, they won’t be able to resist checking out your site.

If you want to really take your business to the next level with Pinterest, check out the Pinterest Advantage course and free webinar at http://www.pinterestadvantage.com. Great for beginners, intermediate and advanced Pinterest users, this course will give you over 200 board ideas, marketing tips to drive more traffic to your Etsy shop from Pinterest and strategies you can implement right away to sell more on Etsy through Pinterest. Sign up now at http://www.PinterestAdvantage.com.

 

Andreea Ayers —Launch Grow Joy

Andreea Ayers is a serial entrepreneur who has started and sold two businesses. She currently blogs at Launch Grow Joy about marketing, social media, wholesale, publicity and Pinterest. She is the author of Pinterst Advantage, a book (and now online course!) about using Pinterest to get more traffic to your site, get more leads, clients and customers. When she is not blogging, Andreea spends time with her three kids and husband and enjoys everything that Boulder, CO has to offer.

 

Link Love

Love Poster by Field Trip   

Happy Friday! Just wanted to share a couple of links you might be interested in for some weekend reading. Also, we have some new contributors and features that we will be introducing in March so stay tuned!

If You Really Must Use Pinterest To Market Your Business – Here’s How To Do It on The Academy Blog

Increase Your Productivity With High Leverage Tasks on Meagan Visser

Pugly Pixel – amazing blog I discovered this week with tons of tutorials and downloads to help you pretty your blog and photos

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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