Help me do social media right for my handmade jewelry?
July 13, 2017 6:00 AM   Subscribe

I have been almost solely relying on internal traffic for my Etsy store but I now have a new standalone website and need to drive traffic to it.

I am not good at/comfortable with social media and other tech stuff. Doing it takes time away from other essential tasks like crafting/listing/photoshoots etc. I have no assistants and have to do everything myself.

Which social media platforms should I concentrate on? How much time do people in similar situations spend on social media per day/week, how often do you post and how do you set up a schedule to make sure everything is updated regularly? I would like to get maximum bang for the time/effort spent and ideally keep things to a minimum because I would rather be crafting.

I'm afraid I don't make enough to have an advertising budget for things like Google AdWords but any tips that don't involve expenditure are welcome.
posted by whitelotus to Work & Money (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to put a link to the site in your Metafilter profile. It's not "social media", but people will look, and it may help with your question here also.
posted by amtho at 6:48 AM on July 13, 2017

To start simply, I'd focus on building an Instagram following. You can easily link these to twitter and facebook accounts too. That way, the main part of doing social media is taking pictures of your work and tagging it with a few typical hashtags. Every so often, you might want to run a contest or something to get more people to share and follow.
posted by advicepig at 6:51 AM on July 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

I know you said above that AdWords is out of your price range, but Google has a small business program where you can set up an Ad Words account and they'll give you some free credit to try and make it work for you. It's essentially free money and a chance to experiment with few consequences. I recall the dashboard giving a lot of control over when to cut out ads so that you aren't left with a big bill.

On edit: Urg. Looks like the program I linked requires $25 up front. It might be worth calling the 1-800 number to see if the free credit program is still around. Some friends used it to help set up online ads for a local Yoga studio.
posted by Alison at 8:24 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Friends who craft say social media is a dead-end for sales unless you're buying ads. The main problem is that your true friends tire of the craft-sales postings. Instagram is kind of okay but you have to babysit it and nurture it all the time — like, a dozen times a day, every day, with no days off. Instagram is also a gaping maw that must be filled with photos, which are themselves so time-consuming to do well.

All this is to say: are you *sure* you can't afford like $100 a month for Facebook ads? Because that is what I would do. Facebook ads do work, especially if your photos are great, you have lots of different ones, you don't lard your text with hashtags (which mostly do not work for sales), and you write superb copy.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:31 AM on July 13, 2017

I have a small, handmade hair accessory business. I also have an Etsy account and use their Pattern website platform for my website. I use Instagram to sell items, promote my website, offer discounts, etc. It's worked out great for me. I started out by following as many people as I could find that I thought would like my products and started getting followers that way. I will also go through occasionally and comment on peoples posts, just to have some sort of interaction with them. You really don't have to spend a ton of time on IG to get some decent business. If you want to discuss further or want some tips/tricks, feel free to memail me!
posted by TurquoiseZebra at 9:26 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you're already doing photoshoots for the listings on your website, Instagram is a no-brainer. Posting photos of happy customers wearing your products is great in addition to product shots, and easy enough if you have an account and ask your customers to tag you if they post any photos.

Agreed that the other option is Facebook, but putting some $ in for paid ads. If that's not worth it for you, it's not worth it, but there's not much point of putting a lot of effort into FB just for organic reach. You can set up a business page and cross post whatever you're doing on Instagram and that would probably be enough effort there unless you have the money for ads.
posted by misskaz at 9:45 AM on July 13, 2017

What types of courses/resources have you been using to learn about marketing your business? The marketing aspect of your business unfortunately takes a huge amount of effort to see returns. I generally follow the advice of Tara Swiger, April Bowles-Olin, and Mayi Carles for all things crafty-business related. They all have blog posts that walk through a lot of marketing stuff, and to go into more detail, their online courses or membership programs cover a lot of these nuts and bolts of where to focus your efforts. (I've taken courses from all three of these ladies, and they really do provide tons of insight.) There isn't really a magic formula of where you should be marketing... it all depends on where your ideal customers hang out.
posted by watch out for turtles at 10:04 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Forgot to mention - Etsy has an option to advertise/promote your items. I've used that and it has REALLY paid off for me!
posted by TurquoiseZebra at 10:08 AM on July 13, 2017

My guess is Instagram tags are a way to get random people to stumble upon your stuff. It's a very popular network, and sometimes people do check tags and locations and browse strangers' photos. Conventionally, I think that Facebook is the best way to drive traffic to a website -- the problem is that there is so much noise on it these days and the algorithm makes it harder, and in your situation, I don't know how well it'd work. Twitter has a small audience, but it's less filtered and doctored up the way Facebook is. I would have all three of them and you can use an app to post your photos to all three. My guess is Instagram is the best way to get people and then Facebook might be where people go for more info, like a back-up to your website.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:23 AM on July 13, 2017

not read other replies, going on my own behaviour: make sure you have a memorable name with no numbers, and call your Etsy store that and keep it with a few items (if that's affordable - i don't know if they charge a monthly fee) or maybe ebay, and people might look you up, because that's what i do: if the name is something like lovegreenbaby, i just buy on ebay, but if it's Goldstone Books (that's an actual one) i think, sounds like an independent shop, can i buy from them independently? and google them. Can't always, since the last UK recession most small businesses have stopped selling independently or closed (eg fairtrade nearly everything except the very largest two or three have gone under). That's just me though
posted by maiamaia at 12:18 PM on July 13, 2017

also a facebook page, posting nice pictures, not too often (i've unsubscribed from many good things that just dominated my feed ruining it) and not too infrequently can really help to make people aware of you, especially your friends might 'like' it and if the photos are cute they'll 'like' them and that'll put you higher there and friends of friends might see them. Also it's good for posting when you're shut and open again eg on holiday. But do they charge for business rates?
I did buy a tshirt from argentina with a linoprint on it from a guy who posted the picture in Linocut Friends (one of my favourite facebook groups for reliable beauty of pictures and frequency of posts) (i don't linocut, i just saw the pic shared on a friend's wall - but i use laptop not mobile, doesn't work on mobile) and i liked it so much. But only once
posted by maiamaia at 12:23 PM on July 13, 2017

Building a social media following from the ground up is hard. I know you said it's not really in your budget, but if you can even spare $100-$200 right out of the gate to share a special offer ("use this code on the website to save 10% on your first order!" "follow us on Instagram for a chance to win [cool prize X]!"), that would probably give you a nice starter bump in followers, which tends to beget more followers.

Like others have said, Instagram is a natural fit here. I normally advocate for picking just one service at a time and not signing up for another until you feel comfortable and confident on one, but because Facebook owns Instagram, any ads you may ultimately pay for on Facebook could also be boosted on Instagram, so you'd get a little more bang for your buck if you were to pick up and do both.

On both Instagram and Facebook, honestly, you could probably get away with posting once a day. Certainly feel free to post more often if you have the content for it, but if you post too much, you could run low on content and tire your audience, and if you post too little, you might not get the organic reach you want.

If you're not already using it, signing up for something like Hootsuite might make your life easier. You can pick a day of the week to just write, research, and assemble all of your posts for the week and then schedule them for the times you want. Facebook will just post directly without any additional work on your part, but for Instagram, you'll have to manually complete the process on your phone (add filter, paste caption, send). Do a search of "best times to post to social media" to get an idea of when it might be optimal to schedule your posts.

Finally, follow a TON of other crafty folks on social media, especially if they have a lot of followers. Like and comment on their pictures and posts. Not only is this a good way to get more followers (many will follow you back) but their followers will also see WHITELOTUSJEWELRY and might follow you just on the basis of that. Plus your account will be grouped together with these other craft accounts and may pop up as a recommended follow for other users.

MeMail me if you want to chat more--social media is literally my day job, haha.
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:41 AM on July 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also: Pinterest. There is a lot of potential there, especially with the new tools, where people can just click through on like a "buy now" link and be directly at your site. This may be something to look into down the road a little ways once you've got a groove going with Instagram, but in the mean time, taking a little extra time to make sure that your new non-Etsy website is optimized for sharing on Pinterest (good image description metadata, a "pin it" button script built into the code, etc.) is probably worth the effort.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:01 AM on July 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you for all your replies. I'll try out Instagram and Pinterest. helloimjennsco, thanks for the hootsuite rec, I may try out the free plan and see how it works.

I don't know why I have such a mental block when it comes to scary tech stuff, it seems that deep down I'm convinced I'll make mistakes and won't do it right so I avoid instead of possibly facing failure. I have to keep telling myself that it's better to cast out some lures even if I don't seem to catch any fish rather than not fishing at all and worrying about my technique (no fish guaranteed).
posted by whitelotus at 8:36 PM on July 14, 2017

Social media is super useful, but it takes a lot of time and effort to build a following. If time is of the essence, I would focus on getting your name out into the jewelry community first. So look for other small handmade jewelry businesses that you can find online and work together on something, whether that's content or mentioning each other in a blog post or something similar. Btw, if you're not blogging or creating content, you should really think about doing it because it really helps provide value for the community and gets the attention of potential customers
posted by infortunity at 1:47 PM on July 26, 2017

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