Do you want to craft an authentic social media presence but feel unsure how to?
Fiona Pullen, founder of one of the UK’s top sewing websites: The Sewing Directory and author of ‘Making and Marketing a Successful Art and Craft Business‘ talks you through her recommendations for honing a winning social media strategy.
Social Media – What to post about?
We all know that using social media can help grow our business. But we’re also told we shouldn’t just talk about our products all the time – so what should you post about? Below I give you a few ideas of other kinds of non-sales posts you could use to engage your audience and help grow your social profiles.
If you make lampshades why not share details of some great lamp stands your potential customer could buy to fit perfectly with your handmade lampshade. Include special offers/sales that you spot, styles that work well with your designs etc or share tutorials for making your own lamps like the ones you can make from old bottles. If your audience are seeking to improve their home décor think about other products they might be interested in, like cushions, furniture, artwork for the walls etc. Suggest items that complement your own products and then you can squeeze a little subtle self-promotion in there too 😉 eg. Wouldn’t this cushion go perfectly with my woodland lampshade?
Tips and How to Guides
People often appreciate useful advice. You want to make sure that your posts give some kind of benefit to your reader, that they can learn from your content and will want to come back for more. Try to get into the heads of your potential customer and think about what kind of articles they want to read and what tips could prove useful to them. You can experiment by posting on a range of topics that you think might be of interest and then measure which get the most engagement to help influence your future posts.
Show who is behind the business
People love to know who they are doing business with, maybe profile your company owners and staff (if you have staff) on your blog, share pictures of them at shows or in the shop on Facebook. Let people know about the history of the company, celebrate milestones with them and make them feel a part of your business. Show them some pictures of you making your products. It is a lot easier to relate to a person than to a faceless business.
Industry news & events
Keep an eye on key industry sites and magazines so you can share details of upcoming shows, new products and industry news with your followers. If people know you are a good source of information, they will keep coming back to you.
Your products and offers
Of course, it is expected that you will also talk about your products and offers, just be careful to keep a good balance between self-promotion, and useful info for them. Facebook or Instagram are ideal for sharing pictures of your new products, blogs give you a place to tell people what is coming soon or just in stock and tempting one liners on Twitter will get people clicking to see more eg. ‘Wow wait until you see what just arrived today…’
You want aim for a ratio of around 1 in 5 – so 1 update promoting your business per 5 updates in total.
Don’t forget when promoting your own products to tell people why they need them. What benefit does it bring them, how will it improve their lives? Will it make their house look amazing? Is it unique and stylish? Will it be a talking point admired by visitors? Make them want to buy.
It’s nice to promote complimentary businesses to yours through your social media, and often they will return the favour therefore getting both of you new fans and hopefully new customers. For example, you could promote some of your favourite handmade businesses to help your audience discover other products they might love. Make sure you tag them when mentioning then so they know you’ve done it, then hopefully they might promote you back sometime.
Social media is all about being social, think about what you would discuss with someone you just met in real life – the weather, what was on TV last night, what is in the news etc. Personally, I think business accounts/blogs should be kept mainly to business but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a little bit of general chit chat, and ironically those kinds of posts tend to have a good response rate too!
Hopefully the above will give you a few ideas about what content you could use for your updates. In time you will find what works best for you. Keep an eye on your stats – follower numbers, views per post on Facebook, Twitter interactions and retweets, page hits on your blog and whether your web stats increase following your social media posts to see what gives you the best result. It can vary from business to business and industry to industry so you need to monitor and see what pays off for you.
Don’t forget there’s no harm in taking a little look at what other people in your industry do on their social media and what kind of response rates they get. That will help you learn what is and isn’t popular with your potential audience. Don’t copy their posts, but learn what kind of posts lead to good interaction and lots of likes comments and shares and think about what you could do that is similar.
Fiona Pullen is the author of Making & Marketing a Successful Art & Crafts Business and the founder of The Sewing Directory.