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Jun 16, 2011

Utilizing Social Media for your Craft Business

Jun 16, 2011
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Social media has quickly changed the online community.  Within a few years, the way small businesses can market and promote themselves has greatly expanded via social media platforms that are fast becoming the way many get their news, upcoming event updates, sales and promotion information, and friend/family network updates.

Crafters can utilize these social networks to promote their products and share the stories of their craft process, hard work, and passion for what they do.  Here’s a list of the media that crafters are using to communicate and display work.

  

Blogs – hosted by Blogger.com, Wordpress.com, Typepad.com.  Blogs started out as a form of journaling and have exploded across the web.  Blogs offer a way to share detailed information on crafting processes and unlimited pictures within a post.


Facebook – A social media platform that started out as only being available to college students.  Now opened to the rest of the world, both personal and business Facebook pages offer updates with link sharing, picture and video uploads.


Twitter – Catering to the increasing short attention span of users, “Tweets” are limited to 140 characters to share information.  Micro-blogging.  Twitter offers an introductory "course" for those interested in using Twitter for business communications.  Look here for details on how to tweet for business, including building a following, and earning your customer's trust.


Flickr – A photo sharing site, hosted by Yahoo, is a great way to create a visual photo portfolio of your work.  A great way to network with other crafters.  Social groups are also created within flickr where people can join and work on projects together, or share projects made with certain themes, etc.


Pinterest – Currently an invite only site, pinterest is a place to collect photos of things that interest or inspire you.  A virtual "pinboard".  You can “pin” others’ photos you enjoy when surfing online, then be able to find the original source at a later time.  Photos are grouped into categories to organize your inspiration.


Tumblr – Similar concept to blogs but a simple and lightweight version.  Tumblr focuses on image content to inspire, but you can also send text, etc to your tumblelog.  This platform emphasizes that it is extremely easy to use.

Etsy – An online marketplace for crafters of handmade goods and vintage wares.  There are now over 800,000 merchants selling on etsy.  Crafters are able to set up an online “store front” to sell their crafts and crafting supplies.


Making them all work together..
There are sites which can help you connect several of the social media sites.  This will enable you to write a blog post, and automatically have Facebook and Twitter update direct followers to the new content on your blog.  NetworkedBlogs (for blog/facebook connection) and Hootsuite(social media dashboard connects facebook, twitter, blogs, linkedin, etc) are sites that perform this task for you.

Increase your contact with potential customers by letting the customers choose their favorite platform to follow you by always listing all your methods of contact in your signature.  i.e. list all forms of social media you actively participate in

EXAMPLE Signature

AnneMarie
Gen X Quilters
Patterns: Available @ Patternspot.com http://patternspot.com/users/71

You can also put all of your contact information into Google Profiles, and then when someone searches for your business, the above signature is provided, and customers have ways to contact you.

Are you using any of these social media platforms to build relationships and connect with potential customers for your business?

If not, try adding one application at a time, become comfortable with it before including another.  There is certainly a knack to communicating via each platform.  Hope this little review was helpful!

This information was compiled from notes I took when attending the Midwest Craft Caucus.  June 4, 2011.


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4 comments:

  1. Thanks for all of the info!

    I think Pinterest is great, and I wouldn't want anyone to be detered from using it by hearing that it's "invite only." I feel like that term is a little misleading, since you can request an invite by going to the website (just like you'd do if you were going to sign up), and they'll just go ahead and invite you, usually later that same day. It's not like you need to be part of the in-crowd to start using it!

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  2. Very interesting - thanks for sharing your notes with us.

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  3. Nice info, thanks. I just signed up for Hootsuite. No more updating all these different feeds manually.

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