You’ve probably heard it repeated again and again, “open a Facebook page, get yourself Twitter followers, start a Pinterest account…” But do you know what this really means? Social media promotion is a vital tool for any business today. And that’s how you need to think of yourself: as a business.
Social Media Promotion Intro: Why?
Social media promotion is all about creating relationships. Relating to your customers in the one-on-one manner that social media interaction provides creates a sense of loyalty. In addition, it will help with relevance in SEO, expanding your presence on the web. It is also a very inexpensive and often free way of advertising.
Social Media Promotion Step 1: Open Your Accounts
You might choose to start with one. You might choose to start with all. But remember: Each form is another chance to reach out. The more you reach out, the more popular your product can become. Make sure to keep the branding of your account in sync with the branding on your Etsy shop. That way, any time you post, even if it’s not directly related to your shop, you are reminding your followers about your shop.
I use the following accounts (you can take a moment to follow me so that you don’t miss new posts. If you drop me a word, I’ll follow you back!): Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Each one has unique features.
Social Media Promotion Step 2: Know Your Accounts
Learn how to manage each one. Instagram and Pinterest are more visual, and Facebook and Twitter are more interactive. Learn the features. Google how to use each to the fullest. Here are a few pointers on each:
Facebook: Who isn’t on Facebook? Since Facebook is so popular, and you can get apps to integrate your shop directly to your page it is definitely worth a go. Anyone who’s anything is on Facebook… Also, people – meaning potential customers – spend many hours a day on Facebook, and you should be where the party is!
Twitter: Twitter has the power to reach WAY beyond your followers with proper use of hashtags. Building up a huge following is also largely effective, as people skim through LOTS of tweets and are much more likely to see yours when they pass it. Remember: even if they don’t click, you are still reminding them about your product.
Pinterest: Pinterest is said to be one of the biggest sources of traffic for Etsy. When using it make sure it’s clear the item is for sale. Many people have re-pinned my products onto their ‘DIY’ boards, which may be upsetting, but I still go with Pinterest. People use it a lot for inspiration – for events, for fashion, for decor – so it’s worth pinning away! Your reach is also way beyond your followers. Followers will see your pins in their stream, but anyone else who “searches” can find you, so use as many relevant keywords as you can in your description.
Instagram: Instagram provides no or almost no traffic, but you can spread the word in an awesome visual way. You can put your Etsy shop link in your profile and when someone LOVES what you posted, direct them there. It’s also a great way to constantly remind people how awesome your items are, even if it doesn’t lead to immediate sales.
Social Media Promotion Step 3: Grow Your Accounts
- Etsy Integration: Integrate your Facebook and Twitter accounts with your Etsy shop, so anyone who visits and loves what you sell can follow you.
- Giveaways: Facebook used to allow contests to convince people to like your page, but as of November 5, 2014 you will no longer be allowed to do that. You can do that on other platforms as well, however make sure your prize is targeted to your target audience. If you offer an Amazon gift card, anyone will want to enter. While it may seem like you are getting more likes, these will not be relevant likes and your numbers will be deceiving. Instead, offer a credit to your Etsy shop (enough to buy at least one, if not a few, items). That will encourage people to check out your shop while entering. At the same time you will be reaching your target audience.
- Marketing: The best way to spread the word is by including your social channels in your marketing campaigns (business cards, ads, etc.) I plan to do a whole section on ways you can market your Etsy shop without investing much or breaking the bank, so stay tuned.
- Listing Description: Adding a “signature” to your posts on Etsy might seem like a good idea, however, make sure it does not get in the way of your SEO, which is a more effective way to use the listing descriptions.
- Viral Content: A great way to gain (and keep) followers is to supply useful and interesting content. This should be related to the audience you want, but should not be self-promotion. A good rule of thumb is to post 20% of your posts as self-promotions, and 80% interesting content to keep your readers involved. I’ve embedded an example of a post below. Since my blog is mainly targeted toward young moms who are often sleep deprived, I created the following item to share on my page:
Any time someone shares it with a friend, they will see my page and spread the word about it. Also, it encourages fans to interact which will make them keep on seeing the posts.
- Spread the word: Ask people you know to like, and ask them to share it with their friends. Use an email signature with the link to your shop AND social media accounts.
Social Media Promotion Step 4: Use your Accounts to Sell
In addition to what I’ve written under “know your accounts”, there are a few more steps you can take.
- Use visuals. How do you make sure your readers stop at your posts when scrolling through their feeds? The answer to that is mainly visual. The posts that catch their eye will be seen the most. This is easy when posting inspirational photos, or funny quotes. This is also built in naturally to Pinterest and Instagram. They key to doing this with an item for sale on Facebook and Twitter is to upload a photo of the item along with the link to the item. Compare this post:
With this one:
The second is much more likely to pull in readers. In addition, Facebook’s algorithm will show it to more people. This applies to twitter as well:
Rent Your College Textbook and Support Cleft Lip #Sponsored http://t.co/lFU9KQdXbC
— Menucha + M and C (@MenuchaJewelry) August 22, 2014
compared to this:
The Importance of Placing the Car Seat in the Center: My Story http://t.co/DRmdvagTPU #Parenting #CarseatSafety pic.twitter.com/lvGZ23ZtTT — Menucha + M and C (@MenuchaJewelry) August 22, 2014
Which do YOU think is more likely to stop a person? It’s not as easy as simply hitting the “tweet” button on your item page, but it’s much more likely to get around. (I did not get much interaction from the second post, but I got lots of traffic.
Another point to visuals is how compelling your photos are to begin with . You MUST have BEAUTIFUL photos in order to expect to sell. Read here to learn how to do this.
- Encourage interaction. Don’t be afraid to ASK your fans to do it! Ask a question and write: “Comment below”. Do a “share if…” post. Do a “Click like…” Write a compelling description for your post. An example: “Don’t you love crazy color combinations that work? Check out this one by clicking the link —–> https://www.etsy.com/listing/183238064/short-cluster-earrings-simple-bridesmaid?ref=shop_home_active_17 ” Even if they already can see it, they are much more likely to click than if you write “Colorful Crystal Earrings” because you led them on to believe that there’s something more to be seen.
You can read up more on this by googling “Call to action” and similar terms. I will include some more resources below.
- Use relevant hashtags. Someone asked me recently how effective hashtags are. The answer to that: it depends where. In Facebook and Pinterest they are less effective. They are rarely used in Facebook. In Pinterest, search results are determined by the whole descriptions, so you don’t need to hashtag keywords. Hashtags can lead people away from your posts. In Instagram and Twitter they are highly effective. Many people have found and retweeted my tweets because of general hashtags I’ve used. People also often search Instagram using hashtags.
- Keep sharing: Things have a short life on social media, but if it’s still on your site, you should keep sharing it. Make sure not to spam, and keep your proportions 20% self promotion and 80% interesting content so you keep your fans!
There is a lot more to marketing your Etsy products – I will talk more about this in a future installment so make sure you subscribe for updates.
Social Media Promotion Step 5: Research
Never stop learning! Things constantly change… Here are some links to some great resources to get you started:
- Postplanner Blog
- How Freelancers are Using Social Media for Real Results
- Free Services for Scheduling Tweets
- Kim Garst Blog
Search your questions on Google using key phrases. Good Luck! And of course, a word of motivation: