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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.

Add More Hours to Your Day with Effective Social Media Management

So remember in my earlier post on Social Media Scheduling Tools when I said we spend nearly 4 hours on social media every day? As in, nearly 25% of our waking hours??

Holy crap, that’s 4 hours you could be spending working on crafting your latest design and growing your business.

But the truth is, you need social media marketing to grow your business.

And to do it right, you have to be aware of these 12 parts identified by BufferSocial:

The Twelve Tasks of Social Media Management

  1. Curating
  2. Crafting
  3. Posting
  4. Scheduling
  5. Measuring
  6. Analyzing
  7. Responding
  8. Listening
  9. Engaging
  10. Helping
  11. Planning
  12. Experimenting

We can’t even count everything we need to do on our own two hands. Even with the right time saving tools, you need to find a focal point to get the job done.

So to help you focus, here are three 30-minute routines for accomplishing every phase of social media marketing, thanks to BufferSocial.

Click Here to Download Your 3 Free Social Media Routines

Focus #1: Content

This takes care of your curating, crafting, posting and scheduling. Find the content you want to share and create interesting posts in 30 minutes.

The 30-minute Content Routine:

  •   5 minutes collecting potential content (blog posts, articles, images, etc)
  •   15 minutes reading that content
  •   10 minutes composing and scheduling

Ready? GO!

Save Time Finding Content: The RSS Hack

RSS feeds like Nuzzel and Swayy collate stories that your social media connections are sharing. There are also apps like Feedly combine all your favorite blogs into a highlight reel for quick browsing of new updates.

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Now all the relevant content that you would be sharing is all organized in one nice neat package for exploring.

How to Choose the Right Content (in 15 mins)

Now, you’ve got 15 minutes to read like the wind. The idea here isn’t to read every piece word for word – but enough that you know the content is of good quality and is something your audience will get value out of.

Open separate tabs for the content you want to read, and go one piece at a time.

When reading ask yourself:

  • Is this something my audience would stop to read?
  • Would my audience like this image?
  • Is this relevant to my biz and/or audience?

If your answer is ever “no” to any of these questions, MOVE ON. The key to making the most out of your 15 minutes (and making them long enough to get your reading done), is not wasting your time on content that’s irrelevant.

When in doubt – let it gooooooo!

Tip: If you find yourself stopping to read a blog post ‘cause you think it’s super interesting, but doesn’t necessarily relate to your audience, just make a folder and collect the things you want to read later!

The Best Way to Share Content

When you find a piece of content that you want to share, add it to your Buffer (or whichever scheduling tool you use).

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If the post or article has a good title or copy, don’t mess with it. If it’s just “mehh” then change it up so it grabs the attention of your audience.

Include any links, copy, or photos with your post (depending on the platform you are using, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). and you’re good to go. Now leave it up to your social media scheduling tools to automatically send out your content, and relax – ‘cause your 30 mins are over!

Focus #2: Growth

This includes the measuring, analyzing, planning and experimenting zones of your social media managing. The idea: find out what’s working for your accounts, and repeat it.

The 30-minute Growth Routine:

  •      15 minutes analyzing stats
  •      5 minutes planning experiments
  •      10 minutes experimenting

Some social media scheduling tools include analytics, but just about every platform has built in analytics (for FREE – woohoo!) that make it super easy to track the data you’ll need for growth.

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Twitter: Twitter Analytics

Pinterest: Pinterest Analytics

Facebook: Facebook Insights

Instagram: Iconosquare

Take a look at your top performing content. Make note of:

  •      Types of posts that did well (photos, links, status updates?)
  •      What time they were posted
  •      Common words/content
  •      How did the popular post look?

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(AHEM, hint: Focus on your engagement rates (clicks divided by views) rather than totals – they’re more accurate.)

Now it’s time to plan an experiment. Find common points in all your popular posts. Things like:

Did that status update right before lunch break do well? Great, maybe play around with more status updates, or focus on that timeslot right around lunch hour.

Make changes to your future posting schedules, and Bingo!

Focus #3: Community

Your community focus includes responding, listening, helping and engaging. And really, that’s what social media is all about! Here’s your 30-minute plan:

The 30-minute Community Routine:

  •      10 minutes checking your mentions and notifications
  •      15 minutes responding to questions
  •      5 minutes free browsing time

Now, if you’re crafty and already set up IFTTT to put all your notifications in one place, these first 15 minutes are a breeze. Take the time to sift through all your interactions and make notes of VIPs (important peeps in your industry or audience).

Find out who is talking about you so you can interact with them. Mention is a great app for finding where your brand name appeared across the internet and putting it all in one place. Plus, it integrates with Buffer so you can schedule responses to go out at the best times.

Now you get 10 minutes to answer questions, respond to those @-mentions and reply to comments. You know best how to speak with your customers and discuss your industry, so I’ll leave that part up to you.

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But wait, an extra five minutes to spare? Take this time to breath, relax, and indulge in one of those bookmarked posts you saved from earlier. Browse through your feeds, followers’ pages, favorite blogs, and industry communities to leave some comments and feedback of your own.

Which Part Should You Focus on Now?

The answer to that question depends on what stage of your entrepreneur’s journey you’re in – but honestly, you really need to focus on all three.

No matter where you are in your business right now, there are a few “for sures”.

  1. You need social media marketing
  2. Social media marketing can suck a lot of time out of your day
  3. But it doesn’t have to!

If you use these three 30 minute routines for your social media you will save hours and actually get more done through the power of focus.

Try them out and let me know how they work for you in the comments!

rachelwashi

Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the online store platform that actually helps you succeed.

Click here to get her creative marketing tips for entrepreneurs free, every week!

12 Social Media Management Apps to Save You Hours Every Day

Right now you’ve got a pile of to-do lists that get longer instead of shorter as the day goes on, emails filling up your inbox, and your next creative project still marinating in your brain just itching to be completed, am I right?

Then you’ve got all your different social media sites that you’ve been told are totally crucial to stay on top of if you want to market your business right.

And yes, social media marketing is crucial, and you do need to stay on top of it. But social media management can be a full-time job in and of itself.

As it is, we spend an average of 3.6 hours a day on social media! That’s over 10 hours a week juggling Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+…

That’s 10 hours you could be using to come up with your next awesome handmade masterpiece!

So stop interrupting your day and wasting more time posting on social media. You don’t have to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram all day long to get the awesome results of all-day engagement. The answer is social media managing tools!

If you can’t spare a few minutes to read the descriptions of each tool right now, click the button under here to instantly download your Free Social Media Management App Resource Guide.

Click Here to Instantly Download Your Free Social Media Scheduling Guide

The 12 awesome tools explained below make it easy to gather all your content and schedule it up for days, or weeks at a time – and let your social media work for you.

Tools for Managing Facebook AND Twitter Accounts Like a Boss:

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Buffer

Buffer helps you set that sweet spot posting schedule between silence and oversaturating your followers’ feeds. Set up a scheduling pattern you want to follow, and let Buffer do all the work of posting. Whenever you find post-able content, Buffer will automatically set the post for the next available time slot. Updates can be posted on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

Buffer is totally free for one Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account and up to ten posts scheduled at a time. The Pro plan for $10 a month lets you include up to six social media accounts and 50 scheduled updates, while Premium offers unlimited accounts and updates for $99 a month.

Hootsuite

This popular social media tool manages your updates across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace, and Foursquare accounts with easy-to-use scheduling tools. Plus, Hootsuite incorporates an RSS feed, so you can update your accounts with your own articles and posts from other blogs.

Use Hootsuite for free with up to five social media accounts. Upgrade to the Pro plan for $5.99 a month to incorporate unlimited social media profiles, RSS feeds and more.

IFTTT

“IF This, THEN That.” Set up recipes linked to all your social media profiles that give you alerts when specific things happen. This helps you organize what social media interactions you see and de-clutters your inboxes.

For example, you can choose “IF: A comment is left on my FB post, THEN: Send me a text“ or “IF: I’m tagged in a photo on Instagram, THEN: Add the URL to my Dropbox folder.”

IFTTT complements Hootsuite or Buffer to give you complete control of your social media.

Keep It Simple and Organized on Facebook

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Facebook offers a handy built-in feature for planning posts called the Facebook Scheduler.

The above tools are excellent for juggling multiple profiles at once, but there are benefits to logging directly into your Facebook account every once in a while.

Facebook incorporates EdgeRank software, meaning direct content is often prioritized in feeds over posts sent from third party apps (like Buffer or Hootsuite). Plus, Facebook users have the option to hide all content posted by third parties. Check out Econsultancy’s guide to EdgeRank if you want to learn more.

Facebook Scheduler avoids the snags of EdgeRank. This built-in feature is available for any post you prepare on Facebook – look for the little clock icon in the bottom left corner of the text box. Pick the date and time you want to post (you can even select past dates to pad an empty timeline!) View or edit your scheduled posts in your Activity Log.

Tools to Tidy Up Your Twitter Reach

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Tweepi

Tweepi is like a Twitter detox. Flush away unfollowers, cleanup inactives, reciprocate those who are following you, and even find new followers! It’s a great way to reorganize and drop off dead weight.

The Pro version lets you do bulk follow/unfollow actions up to 200 users at a time – this is the weapon of choice for a total Twitter account overhaul.

TweetDeck

This management tool was recently purchased by Twitter and allows filters on what matters (so you don’t let any crucial Tweets pass you by!). You can schedule upcoming tweets and remain up-to-date on notifications from fellow Tweeters. Use this program on your chrome browser or download the tool to your Windows or Mac desktop.

Become an Insta-Managing Guru – Three Helpful Instagram Tools

instagram double tap

Latergram.me

This is an easy-to-use tool that lets you schedule your upcoming posts for the ideal time. Upload photos from the web or your phone. Plus, you can edit and view your scheduled posts from the mobile app, or online, and get push notifications (alerts on your locked phone screen) once your scheduled posts go out. Nothin’ gets by you!

Takeoff

This app helps you schedule just like Latergram.me, but also claims to increase your comments and likes. TakeOff crunches numbers to suggest the best time to post and offers hashtag suggestions to reach new followers.

Schedule up to ten posts per day on one Instagram account with the free version.

Schedugram

Another scheduling tool for controlling upcoming posts on Instagram, you can edit images with filters and other Instagram features. You can also request an email confirmation once your scheduled posts go out.

Pin On Schedule with Pinterest Tools

MFblog_RichPins

Tailwind

Tailwind analyzes your Pinterest account and gives you a graph of your statistics right when you log in. Analyze the growth of your fans, followers and pins, audience engagement and find the best time to post your pins. Follow Pinterest clicks through to sales using Google Analytics and benchmark your performance against competitors. All your research is instantly done for you!

Viral Tag

A total time-saver for finding and posting visual content over Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Viral Tag lets you add a Bookmarklet to your browser – drag photos you may want to post into your Bookmarklet and come back to them to add captions, links and schedule a posting time. You can also enhance and edit images before posting.

Piqora

Piqora is a useful enterprise tool for both Pinterest and Instagram that lets you schedule upcoming posts as well as access analytics. Plus there’s the option to create promotions and sweepstakes schemes to grow your Pinterest following.

Doing More with Social Media in Less Time

With the help of these organizational tools, some useful analytics and a direct focus, you’ll start wondering when they added more hours in the day, and your social media profiles will never go empty.

So start experiment with these tools and the ones that work best with your social media profiles and level of engagement.

Are you using any social media scheduling tools right now? Which ones do you like the best?

rachelwashi

Rachel Daley – MadeFreshly

Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the online store platform that actually helps you succeed. Click here to get her creative marketing tips for entrepreneurs free, every week!

Breaking Bad: A Digital Addiction

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A recent study revealed that the average American checks their smart phone over 100 times a day.  While that number may seem shocking, if the pool was limited to entrepreneurs, I am sure that number would double or triple in size. Since launching my own business, my cell phone has become my lifeline. It is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at before going to bed. I check to see how many likes my last Instagram post received. A little ding and I swiftly pick up my phone to see who favorited my Etsy shop. I refresh my email what feels like every ten minutes to see if an order came in.

While staying on top of my business, analyzing what’s working and what’s not, is important, my attachment to my phone had started to become a problem.  Many conversations with my boyfriend or friends happened while also scrolling through my Twitter feed or updating Faceboo. My phone is prominently displayed on my jewelry bench, so I can see every notification and alert that comes in, sometimes stopping mid-creation to check it. Because I am so anxious to see how the business is doing, I have stopped immersing myself in the creative process and it has affected the authenticity of my relationships. Without these two key components, my business is a failure no matter how many times one of my pins has been re-pinned or how many comments a Facebook post receives.

In an attempt to get a handle on my addiction, last week I experimented with a week long digital detox. For practical reasons, because my business really is reliant on email, social media and websites, I began the detox at 7 pm every evening. I promised that I would not look at my phone, except if a call came in, and would not open the computer. While I was somewhat intimidated by this prospect, I also felt that for just a week this would be a no brainer. Day one, I didn’t even make it a half hour before checking my phone. Day two, I had to put it on silent so I wouldn’t be tempted by notifications. By day three, I had to physically put the phone away to resist the temptation.  Although each evening was filled with that physical itch to grab my phone, just to see what was going on, I slowly began to appreciate the freedom of putting the phone away. It was a pleasure to awake the following morning to discover what I missed the evening before. Moments of inspiration happened more often, where I would grab my little notebook to jot down a new marketing idea or a new design. I began to feel liberated from the pressure of having to see how my business was doing at all times. I felt more engaged in whatever I was doing, even if it was catching up on the latest shows with my boyfriend.

Now that I am back on the wagon, my phone has resumed its position on the coffee table next to my laptop. But the temptation to check it is reduced to maybe one or two times a night. I may now see an email roll in around 9 or 10 pm, but I don’t feel obligated to respond and I usually don’t until the following morning. I feel re-invigorated creatively. I feel less attached to the happenings to the digital world and more connected to what’s happening in real life, in that moment. While it may seem like a daunting challenge, I invite all small business owners to explore what happens when they put the phone and computer away, even if for just a moment.

mayabiowashi

Maya Ahluwalia – Crusoe Jewelry

Maya Ahluwalia is the designer behind Crusoe Jewelry, a fashion jewelry line inspired by nautical motifs, but interpreted into stylish designs. Crusoe Jewelry is created for the fashion-forward consumer with an appreciation for quality with an artisanal approach. Each design is hand-crafted in her Brooklyn-based studio.

In addition to creating Crusoe Jewelry, Maya is a marketing consultant with expertise in jewelry, fashion and luxury. Clients include Michael Aram Jewelry, Shawn Ames Fine Jewelry, Wells House Bed & Breakfast, and the LOU Lookbook App.

The Ultimate Guide (with tips & resources) to Boost Traffic and Get Customers

ultimate

Picture this. You have an incredible product that you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into for your consumers to enjoy.

You’ve taken your photos, edited your images, written a description and made a great logo. You’ve put in all the effort you need to create your store. You then launch your store and announce it to your hundred (or so) social media followers.

You then have a few sales here and there. You get some traffic – but you find yourself unable to make a real, genuine living off your business.

It can make us feel defeated – and to be perfectly honest, it happens to most of us.

How can you turn this around? How can you make consistent sales off your product? I’m here to show you how.

Research and know your target market

Your target market are the people who will be buying from you – so you will need to  know everything about them. Their age, income, gender and overall demographic. Research and get a solid understanding of your target. This will help build a foundation for proper and effective marketing.

Here’s an infographic that breaks it down the information you need to gather.

Additional resources for understanding your target market:

10 Questions to Ask Before Determining Your Target Market

How to Define a Target Market and Dominate Your Niche

Defining Your Audience

5 Social Media Tips for Finding and Engaging Your Target Audience: New Research

Once you know your target audience it will help give clarity to who you are seeking to attract.

Make sure your store has all the appropriate content to convert

Before you spend time, money and resources marketing your site, you want to first make sure your site has all the proper information and images needed to convert traffic into customers.

6 Ways to Build a Bridge between your Customers and your Brand

How to Create an Easy Return Policy

Why the Wrong Product Title Can Hurt Your Online Store’s Sales

The Perfect Product Description: Short-and-Sweet or Full of Details?

5-Step Formula for Writing Handmade Product Descriptions that Sell

The Secret To Writing Product Descriptions For Ecommerce Success

The 10-Minute Website Tune-Up

Offline Marketing

Get their email addresses and add them to your email newsletter. If you don’t currently have a newsletter tool,  Tinyletter is free and Mailchimp has a variety of plans.  Simply print out a few sheets of paper with a name and email column. If you want to get fancy, the mailchimp mobile app has a email opt in feature.

10 Guerrilla Marketing Ideas For Promoting Your Business

Five Offline Marketing Ideas to Help Get Your Business Noticed

Email Marketing

You want to funnel your audience into a newsletter to grab repeat business, fill out surveys, run contest and promotions.

Engage your customers with email marketing

Email Lists Made Easy

SEO Basics

SEO is time intensive and may not be the quickest solution to getting customers right way, but its still very beneficial to learn and have the basics down. Below are some resources to get familiar with SEO:

Google’s SEO Starter Guide

SEO Simply Put

Beginners Guide to SEO

How to Use the Google Keyword Planner to Find Keywords for SEO

Social Media

You want to stay active on all social media platforms and be sure to never go stale. Take the information you learned from researching your target market then create content and grow your following.

How To Use Pinterest To Drive Traffic To Your Etsy Shop

Organize Your Online Content with Pinterest

6 Secrets to Twitter Success for a Handmade Business

Facebook Marketing: 3 Business Pages that Get it Right

Using Social Media to Connect with Your Biggest Fans

5 Awesome Examples of Instagram Marketing From Real Brands

Instagram Instantaneously For Etsy Sellers

Drive Quality Traffic from Facebook to Your Etsy Shop

Twitter for ecommerce

Tips:

  • Find out who the influencers are in your industry and ask them to help you run a giveaway. The influencer benefits, because they get product to give to and engage their audience. You benefit by being able to gain some of their following. Be sure to ask them to tag/like your business page in order to enter the contest.

  • Run small affordable ad buys on Facebook and niche blogs. This will only work once you understand your target audience.

Joining the Conversation with your Ideal Customer using Facebook Ads

This is a lot of information; and sure, this may seem like a lot of work – but that time can be cut down drastically with applications like buffer and HootSuite.

Social media scheduling tools

Little known ways to track your tweets and posts

5 Social Media Monitoring Tools to Simplify Your Marketing

Run flash Sales and Promotions

Every now and then you will need to run sales and promotions to help boost your online  sales.  It is also a great way to get rid of inventory that has been sitting around for a while.

Boost Online Sales with Short-Term Promotions

Top 5 Tips For Running A Successful eCommerce Promotion Campaign

How To Do A Sale The Right Way

You may have now come to the conclusion that marketing is a little bit of everything. Although it might seem overwhelming right now, over time you will discover your strengths and what works best for your audience. For example, after a few months you may find out that Instagram and your newsletter generates the most sales – these will then be the platforms you will want to place your focus and energy on; however, be sure to not let the others go stale because people check out everything. A potential customer might think you went out of business if they check out your Facebook page and see that your last post was from 2 months ago.

What type of marketing have you tried to gain customers? Share by commenting below.

trin

Trin Salaloy – Made Freshly

Trin Salaloy is the co founder and creator of MadeFreshly – a simple to use online store creator.  He is a designer, entrepreneur and online marketing guru. He’s commented to making it easy for entrepreneurs to make beautiful websites.