Like many Etsians, you could be a little apprehensive as you decide which social networks to use.
"There are so many social networks out there that sometimes it can be overwhelming. I wasn't on any social media until I joined Etsy." Amy DeLong from amydscrochet;
And no matter which social network(s) you use, you won't see results over night.
"I'm turning more to social media now which takes a sustained effort (like everything) to build views." Maggie Della Rocca from Nostalgicats
So, how do you get started?
Personal vs. Business PagesBefore you set up any social networking accounts, you need to decide if you will use your own personal accounts or accounts that represent your brand. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
"When promoting others, I would like to mention that all of my social media accounts are also my personal accounts, so I have people who know me or are family members following. For this reason, I'm pretty careful about what I promote from other etsy sellers when sharing promotions, and try to choose items that I know my friends would like and appreciate seeing, or items they know I would like and "makes sense" for me to pin them. I have a fear of being too "spammy" and totally losing the interest of the audience I'm trying to promote to." Gerilyn from FourHappyFaces
Things to consider: By using your personal accounts, you may already have a large following, but they may not be potential customers. But, if you start accounts that represent your brand it will take time to grow your networks.
Once you decide how you would like to promote your shop, it's time to choose one or more social networks.
Facebook, Twitter and Google+These are the big three sites for social networking.
Facebook is currently undergoing changes that are causing a lot of frustration for small business owners. As you may have heard, their new format limits the frequency your posts are shared with your followers and which followers they are shared with. The reasoning is to force businesses to pay to promote their posts. If you already have a large Facebook following and/or are willing to pay for people to see your posts, that's great. If you are just getting started with Facebook and are on a budget, you may want to choose other options.
Twitter is very popular and fairly easy to use, but you only get 140 characters (less if you include a picture) to promote your items, so it's critical to use relevant tags. Many of the participants in the discussion thread about social networking also voiced concerns that people don't go to Twitter to shop.
Google+ is a relative newcomer to the social networking scene, but is gaining popularity. One nice feature about Google+ is that you can join "communities." Joining a relevant community and sharing items from your shop may be a way to reach potential customers.
We get most of our bang for the buck from Pinterest. Our stats consistently show hits from our pins. Interesting to note one of our boards, "Etsy Finds" where we post most of the items from fellow teammies via threads and promotions, has a big following- even though the post are quite eclectic." Patricia and Rebecca from northandsouthshabby
Store WootStore Woot is not exactly a social network, but rather an app that helps promote your Etsy items on Pinterest.
"Last month I read about an app called "Store Woot" and I decided to give it a try. It's an app that helps you gather pins, re-pins and likes on Pinterest. They have a huge network of pinners, and when you sign up for promotion with them you can choose which item(s) you want to promote and they will send it through their network for pinning and repinning.
I have notice a serious increase on the number of views via Pinterest on my shop, but no sales so far... If you want to give it a shot, here's a invitation : storewoot.com/invite/hanjinaty/#.U2Gv8VWSzGA. With that invite you can promote one item for free. Afterwards, if you want to promote more items, you have to buy credits. That's what I did and so far it's been helping me out!" Natalie from HanjiNaty
TumblrTumblr is another way to share text, photos, links, quotes...
"I like Tumblr as it it's easy to set up and they have a wide variety of pretty layouts to reflect your shop image." Victoria A from TwigAndPetals
WaneloWanelo can be used not only to promote items from your shop, but also share stories, perhaps about new items or sales you are conducting.
"I just discovered Wanelo (want-need-love). It's like Pinterest, but it's only for shopping. It's free to open an account and I'm hoping that it will be an easy and effective way to promote my shop. I already set up boards with all the items from my Etsy shop and they are beginning to be followed." Ellen from thechillydog
BlogsMany Etsian start their own blogs to promote their shops.
"I have started and deserted many blogs for different purposes so I am determined to make a go of this one. My commitment is two posts a week. One of those posts is a Friday feature where I simply post an item from my favorite list and talk about what I like about it. Then I post something of my own that might be similar.
My other posts are simply about selling Vintage items on Etsy and *bay. I write about what trends I see or problems I have or whatever... The main thing to build a blog following is consistency. Right now I have maybe one follower and I gained her by posting a picture of her item. So I hope by promoting other sellers, that will build my followers bit by bit." Maggie Della Rocca from Nostalgicats
Instead of starting your own blog, which can be a serious time commitment, you may consider finding other bloggers who are willing to help you promote your shop. Many bloggers are happy to share interviews about shop owners.
"I'm looking for people to add to my "Featured Etsy Shops" section of my blog. Your shop has to be handmade or vintage items, zzzonkowl.blogspot.com" Dorothy from ZzzonkOwl
Also, some blogs provide link parties where you can add links to items in your Etsy shop.
"My personal favorite link-up for Etsians (although I am a little biased) is Crafty Saturday Show and Sell. It is hosted by three SPS Team bloggers - The Chilly Dog, Serendipitini and Zzzonkowl. You can add new links from Friday through Monday each week at any one of these three sites and they will be visible on all three. This is a free way for Etsians to promote their items and reach a new audience" Ellen from thechillydog
Build ConnectionsIt's called social networking for a reason. On any of these platforms you need to take the time to connect with others and create valuable content that your followers will enjoy.
"I promote my shop mainly by sharing recently listed Etsy items and uploading photos of works in progress, but I find it very difficult to engage my followers. I don't want to be the kind of person who is constantly pushing products at people, so I also post funny pictures, quotes, design ideas, treasuries, and links to other people's shops. I want to share a bit of myself in with my products so my followers will feel more connected to me." Sarah Jordan from JewelryBySarahJordan
And of course there's the philosophy of "what goes around, comes around." If you spend a little bit of time promoting others, they will likely do the same for you.
Follow-Up With Your CustomersFinally, to see which social networks are working for you, check your Etsy stats to see where your customers are coming from. Also, don't be afraid to simply ask your buyers how they discovered your shop.
"I use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Wanelo, and StumbleUpon. I don't use all of them all the time because there isn't enough time in the day to do that... I will add though that now after every sale I ask the buyer how she found my shop..." Barbara Woolmington from BabywearbyBabs
In ConclusionYou can find SPS Team pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Wanelo.
Finally, thank you to all of the people who contributed to the team discussion about social networking. Here's a list of participants so you can see how they utilize their social networks.
Sarah Jordan from JewelryBySarahJordan
jewelrybysarahjordan.com, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest
Meirah Brezner from Homeforglasslovers
Natalie from HanjiNaty
hanjinaty.com, Wanelo, Pinterest, Facebook
Maggie Della Rocca from Nostalgicats
nostalgicats.wordpress.com, Twitter, Pinterest, Wanelo
Amy DeLong from amydscrochet
Google+, Twitter, Pinterest
Victoria A from TwigAndPetals
Barbara Woolmington from BabywearbyBabs
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Wanelo
Gerilyn from FourHappyFaces
Pinterest, Twitter, Wanelo
Dorothy from ZzzonkOwl
zzzonkowl.blogspot.com, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+
Ellen from thechillydog
thechillydog.com, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Wanelo
If you would like to share your teammate tips for a future blog post, join a current SPS Blog discussion. If you have an idea for a new topic, convo me at thechillydog.
PRESENTED TO YOU BY OUR LEADER :
My name is Ellen and I LOVE to design and create things. I find it deeply satisfying to start with nothing more than an idea and finish with a tangible, beautiful, functional piece of work. I enjoy learning new techniques that I can incorporate into my creations. I practice a variety of different art forms, but find I always have at least one knit, crochet or sewing project in progress.