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great set of suggestions May 13, 2011

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Everyone won’t have the same routine. How could they? The point of this is that your social media routine should revolve around your life, not take it over. But, there are a few key things for everyone to consider in creating their own routine. 
Work on Content During Your Down Time
We know everyone on ArtFire has what seems like a million different things going on at the same time. Sometimes it can be tough to recognize those down moments where you can pop into Facebook or Twitter, or even write a blog post. But maybe your down time is when you sit down to drink your cup of coffee in the morning… or maybe it’s when you switch projects you’re working on. 
Try and Make a Schedule, and Stick to It
Take a look at your week and try and figure out extra time you can fit in to write content, blog content in particular. One suggestion that a lot of people take to heart is to sit down on a Sunday night and just try and write a blog post. By writing it ahead of time you can schedule it to post later, when more people are likely to see the post and your tweets/status updates announcing your post. 
Promote Your Content Across Other Platforms
If you write a blog post, it is 100% in your best interest to let your followers on sites like Twitter and Facebook know that you have a new post! This is a great way to start to get traffic going to your blog. If you use Postling you can write your blog post. Then, once you hit publish, we’ll ask you to create an update for Facebook and Twitter, and allow you to easily drop in a link to your blog post. 
Another great option is to include highlights from your social media content in your email newsletter if you have one. If you don’t have an email newsletter don’t worry about it, but if you do be sure to let those people know you’re on social networks. You can promote both your blog content or even just your presence on the sites. 
Respond to Comments in a Timely Manner
As a good, general rule of thumb, you should respond to your @ replies on Twitter and comments on Facebook in 24 hours. This may seem crazy but I’m telling you… sign up for Postling! Want to know why? When you hook up your social media accounts to Postling, we’ll pull all of the comments you get on every social network you’re on into one place. Then, if you want to respond to all of the comments at a certain time you can log in to Postling and just go down the list. All you have to do is type your response and hit reply, we’ll be sure to send it off to the right social network for you. It honestly couldn’t be any easier. 
Keep Track of How You’re Doing
Set a small amount of time aside each week to check out your reputation management tools. If you aren’t using Postling Tracking, which will keep you updated every day, then be sure to check in with your Google Analytics, Twitter Search results, Twitter Counter stats, and the other tools we’ve introduced you to during Social Media Boot Camp. If you aim to check up on all of these tools at once you’ll get into a great routine of just popping in to see what’s new and getting it done quickly. Try and keep the same order with how you check things and you’ll get into a great pattern. 

If you find that your level of engagement or traffic go up or down in a particular week, take note of what you posted that week. Don’t just accept that you either did really well or didn’t have a great week, try and understand what it is you were posting and how people reacted to that content as a direct result.

Top 5 Twitter Tips for Stress-Free Tweeting May 13, 2011

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Top 5 Twitter Tips for Stress-Free Tweeting

saltcityspiceStory by saltcityspice

Published on May 12, 2011 in Seller Handbook

Photo by peterharren

There are a few tricks I’ve learned to make Twitter not only useful, but actually fun. I promise you, it is possible to @ and # without the stressful @&#$%! 

1. Use a third party service to tweet.
Personally I love Hootsuite — I can check in and quickly see my Twitter feed, @ mentions, sent tweets, and direct messages at a glance, as opposed to the Twitter web version where you have to click on a few different tabs to see this same information. Hootsuite also makes retweeting, shortening links, and adding images super easy and you can even set up streams that filter tweets using specific search terms, hashtags, etc. Tweetdeck is another option with similar features. Don’t try to use the Twitter website exclusively unless you’re a glutton for punishment. 

2. Register with Klout, then stop worrying about your score.
As described by their website, a Klout score is the “measurement of your overall online influence.” Most social media experts will tell you that your Klout score isn’t really an indicator of anything other than how much time you spend on Twitter. They’re right — it’s a general indicator that will fluctuate so feel free to explore different ways to make Twitter work for you without paying close attention to your actual number. Need more incentive to stop caring? The only person with a Klout score of 100 is Justin Bieber, so unless you have an awesome hairstyle and are geared toward taking the 10-14 year old crowd by storm, you can blissfully stop trying to measure up to a teen heartthrob. 

3. Join a tweetchat.
Shy about meeting new people or don’t know what to tweet? Join a focused conversation! A tweetchat is when a group of people get together to discuss a topic and include a specific hashtag in all of their tweets so other participants can filter messages and respond. I’ve met some amazing people through a few of my favorite tweet-ups, including the weekly Oh My! Handmade and Crafterminds chats.

If you do join a chat and don’t want to fill up your Twitter stream with your chat tweets, make sure you’re replying to another tweetchat participant for every tweet (and don’t forget to use the hashtag so other chatters can see your comment!).  To follow the conversation, set up a stream using the chat hashtag in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck or check out Tweetchat.com

4. Talk @, not “at” — avoid spammers and spamming.
Before joining, my biggest misconception about Twitter was that it was a bunch of people broadcasting their messages non-stop. Who wants to be subjected to an endless stream of promotions? Are you a spammer? Stop — this means an end to constantly asking people to like you on Facebook, look at your latest shop listing, or check out every treasury you make. A good rule of thumb is to start or join a conversation for at least 80% of your tweets (do what you will with the remainder). On the same note, avoid the spammers at all costs — I’m talking to you serial link droppers, auto-DMers, and overzealous promobots! Once you start @ing people instead of talking at them, you can really start to branch out and use the site for its intended purpose which is networking with others and making connections. Twitter isn’t meant to be a soliloquy. 

5. Check your ego at the door.
When someone doesn’t immediately follow you back, it’s easy to feel offended. But don’t feel bad! People use Twitter for different purposes or infrequently review new followers. If it’s someone you really want to get to know, strike up a conversation with them. It doesn’t always have to be an “I follow you, you have to follow me too” type of thing for you to gain something out of it. Follow people you find interesting or helpful and maybe they’ll reciprocate, maybe they won’t. On a similar note, it’s also okay to unfollow someone who no longer fits with your ideal Twitter stream of consciousness. Remember that these are people you’re inviting into your world and it doesn’t always have to be a wide-open, two-way street.

Those are my Twitter favorites, what are yours? Leave a comment, or feel free to tweet me @saltcityspice.

About the author: I’m Katrina and I’ve spent lots of time living and cooking in apartments with small kitchens — when I finally moved into my own house a few years ago I wanted the kitchen to be mine in every way right down to the spice rack, and the idea for my Etsy shop was born. I enjoy cooking, traveling, wine-tasting, working on home improvement projects, and writing. I’m a terrible gardener.

Originally published on the Salt City Spice blog

You can follow @Etsy on Twitter and search #EtsyTips for short and sweet advice. 

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Etsy Success April 16, 2011

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photo by PhotoGrunt
Join us for an interactive workshop exploring how to fuel your creative business using the challenges of modern DIY entrepreneurship. Instead of focusing on the difficulties of building a business, find out how to tap into your DIY ethic to create exciting ideas and opportunities for your business. Read about how to attend online, or in person on the Etsy Blog

 

 
photo by ATeaLeaf
 
Free and open to the public on April 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. PT. Find out more on the Etsy Blog

 

 
photo by OptimisticArt
I’ve scoured the small business blogosphere to find these five must-read posts:
Find out what other two blog posts I recommend in this team thread. 
 
xo,

Using Social Media to Market Your Business April 16, 2011

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How to Effectively Use Social Media to Market Your Business: Sister Diane’s I Heart Art Workshop

SisterDianeStory by SisterDianePublished on May 20, 2010 in Seller Handbook

Photo by castastone

 

If you want to use social media tools like blogs, Twitter, or Facebook to market your business, read on — Diane Gilleland (sometimes known as Sister Diane) considers these outlets to be the key to success. This post is distilled from a workshop she presented recently for the I Heart Art program in Portland, OR. If you want to learn more about social media and how it works, you can also listen to Diane’s podcast on the subject.

follow_mouse_click.jpg

Friending and Following are just mouse-clicks.
We’d all love to believe that every single person who subscribes to our blog, follows our tweets, or becomes a fan of our Facebook page is listening hungrily to everything we have to say about our product.

But in fact, every one of these people is struggling to keep up with all the other blogs, Twitter pals, and Facebook updates they follow. We live in a perpetually overloaded world.

People can friend or follow you anytime, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re actually paying any attention to you. If you want real attention in the social media space, you have to earn it. That takes some effort — and a different way of looking at marketing.

Using Twitter Made Easy April 16, 2011

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Twitter is easy! Easier to set up, easier to tweet, and easier to come up with things to say… especially since you only have 140 characters to do so! Today’s post is going to get you setup on Twitter. 

So why should you be on Twitter? Well, Twitter is an absolutely essential tool in your social media arsenal for communicating and interacting with your customers. It’s less formal than Facebook and is really your chance to create a voice for your brand (which is your ArtFire shop). Twitter serves as an amazing customer service tool, a way for you to really connect with your followers, and can even serve as a sales tool!

 

What is Twitter?

 

Twitter is a social media network that millions of people are on. It’s a short-form of communication.

 

What is a tweet?

 

A tweet is what you send out on Twitter. Just like Facebook has “status updates”, tweets serve the same purpose. However, it’s really important to note that tweets have a 140 character limit!

 

Why do they limit the character count?

 

Twitter was created as a means of communicating information, but not too much information. Capping the number of characters per tweet ensures that Twitter has a certain uniformity and avoid total information overload!

 

What does “follow” mean?

 

To follow someone on Twitter means that their tweets will show up in your Twitter stream. The Twitter stream will show up when you log into your account, and will show the tweets of the people you follow in reverse chronological order (the newest tweets at the top). When you go to anyone’s Twitter page there will be a “follow” button.

 

What is with people using the @ symbol?

 

In Twitter, the @ symbol is how you communicate with other users. This is called “@ replying”someone on Twitter. By adding the @symbol before any Twitter username the tweetwill show up in their account. People are pretty unlikely to see your tweets ifyou don’t have that @ symbol before their username. 

 

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Now, let’s get you on Twitter! From the Twitter homepage you’re going to click “Sign Up”. Twitter is going to ask you for your full name. Your username is what people are going to know you by on Twitter. As laid out in the registration process by Twitter, your username will be part ofyour URL.

 

Next, select the password and email address you want to associate with the account. I’d recommend using the email address you use for your business and leaving the first box checked (saying allow people to find you by your email address). Now, why would you want this? Say your customers search Twitter for email addresses they know. They’ll see your Twitter account and are more likely to follow you. After all, you want as many people following your Twitter account as possible! Lastly, accept the terms of service and select “Create my account”.

 

After you create your account, Twitter prompts you to select the topics you’re interested in. For most of you the natural choice is going to be in the art/design realm. By selecting an area of interest, Twitter will give you suggestions of people to follow. I’d recommend following some big brands to start off with… maybe a famous museum or a designer you’re fond of? You certainly don’t have to follow anyone, but Twitter is very much a give-and-take community. Follow people, they may follow you back. I’d definitely suggest following a few people to start off with.

 

Once you’ve done this, hit the “Next Step” button. Twitter allows you to see if any of your email contacts are on Twitter. Simply click the type of email service you use and sign in to your account. Don’t worry, Twitter isn’t taking your password… you just simply need to allow access. Once your address book loads you can check off which contacts on Twitter that you’d like to follow. You can always skip this step if you want, but I highly recommend completing it.

 

Now you should complete your Twitter profile. You can do so here. From here you can upload a photo (probably your shop logo), enter your location (if you want), link out to your online shop, and write a short bio. Keep it simple, but give people a sense of just what it is that you do. See those tabs at the top? You can also set up different settings for your phone, change the design of your Twitter page, and change your notification settings (how often you receive emails regarding activity on your account). Be sure to look through all the options and make your profile as complete as possible and that it fits all of your needs.

 

To get back to your Twitter stream/homepage you can click “Home” at the top or the Twitter logo. Now, why don’t you send out your first tweet? Keep it simple like you did on Facebook at first, maybe mention thatyou’re just getting started.

 

Below are a few great resources that we think are really worth your time, including beginner’s guides and tips/tools:

 

Effectively Use Social Media Marketing March 7, 2011

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For creative people to effectively learn to use social media to market their work as a business is one the most important aspects to living the dream of a successful artist. 

Every artist, at one time or another, has the romantic and imagined vision of Van Gogh slaving away passionately in his room and in the fields creating works of art one after another, after another. Truth is, even Vincent Van Gogh, as well as his brother who was a gallery owner, tried to sell his work everyday.  It just wasn’t the right time for people to understand what they were looking at.

Today, arts and crafts enthusiasts are more informed, tasteful, and eager for new and different kinds of work from artists all over the world.  With the help of Facebook and other social media forums an artist can easily present their work and themselves to the world, but it takes the “know how” and willingness to market your work. It’s part of the job if you want to live the way you could, making a living as an artist who sells their work as a living.

For those of you unable to perform the tasks that a social media campaign requireds; whether it be time to execute the tasks or time to learn the social marketing tactics and media sites functionality, Social Market Now and Etsy Allies are you business allies who can put your brand on the map for all eyes to see it.

Ready for more visits to your site and more sales? We’re you solution to an effective social marketing campaign and/or a maximized Etsy store showcasing your brand to new and existing customers.

Visit this link for helpful advice and tips to getting your art selling today – http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/how-to-effectively-use-social-media-to-market-your-business–8391/

Social Media Marketing for Bead Stores and Lampwork Artists February 25, 2011

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Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I’d like to introduce Social Market Now to our beading and beadmaking community.

Recently, a bead store owner and I were discussing the importance of using social media sites for bead stores in this competitive market and economy.  She had noticed a difference in the social media marketing for a few bead stores in the US, and as it turned out they were all clients of ours, located in Ohio and Illinois.  She and I talked a little about the difference our campaigns have made for their businesses in this age of “Web 2.0.”  Again and again I hear the same things: “I would like a quick redesign for my website, but just don’t have the time” or “I know I need to use the social marketing sites, but don’t know how and can’t set aside the hours in the day to even finish what I’ve already got!”

I am very involved in the national and worldwide beading community – I have taught beadweaving and lampworking for many years as well as selling on my own website, on Artfire, Etsy and Ebay.  I also taught website design on college level and generally a good and functional redesign costs no more than $150.  We have recently completed overhauls for sites in Missouri, New Mexico and in Oregon.  Both my contacts and experience have helped me greatly in providing successful social media marketing campaigns for my clients, conveying the points of interest from the client to the client’s customer community.

Look around our website.  At the bottom of the packages page is our Flexi-package.  Our bead store clients find this particular set-up to be beneficial and convenient to their individual budgets.  It’s basically a pick your own price bundle; together we decide what would benefit your business the most on a consistent basis so your store or website stays in view of a growing online customer community.  I’d love to talk to you about a few ideas regarding a social marketing campaign for your Bead Company that will save you time to run other aspects of your business.

We know your time is valuable and a bead store owner already has too much on their plate to keep up with social media trends.  We’d love to help and I look forward to talking with you.

Sincerely,

 

Hannah Rosner  & David Louis

socialmarketnow@hotmail.com

 

Increasing Traffic & Sales on Etsy February 24, 2011

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Online Selling – Etsy and Beyond                            – Lori Peterson

Lori Peterson of http://www.loribeads.com/ wrote this set of tips on how to sell on Etsy.

Picking a name

Try to pick something that will either identify YOU or what you are selling.  “Your Name Designs” is one that I recommend (i.e. Lori Peterson Designs).  It covers a broad range of products and services, should your focus change.  I chose Loribeads before I really thought about that.  Also, think about what website names are available.  Chances are if you want something like Lampwork.com or FusedGlass.com it is already taken.  Do your research before making a final decision on picking an etsy store name.

Policies & returns

I could load this section up with examples of what not to do.  Put enough info in the policies to inform and protect your interests but not so much that it puts buyers off of doing business with you.  Keep it simple, straightforward and above all else, shopper-friendly.  Don’t gouge customers with shipping charges.  If you want to make more money on the product, price it accordingly.  Returns policies should reassure customers that you want them to be happy with their purchase.  Try to keep that in mind.  Occasionally you will get a difficult customer, that’s just the way it is.  Try not to let those experiences form your policies.  This is my opinion only.

Logos and branding

Pick a look and create a logo, online banners, etc.  Etsy is a good place to look if you want someone to create all that for you.  Some website hosts will have templates you can use and customize.  Branding is so important that unless you are just dabbling in selling, spending time getting this right is really important.  Make sure your logo/banner says something about your aesthetic.

Announcements and artist intro

Here’s the place to announce your grand opening!  You can also announce sales, coupons, new products and even general chit-chat here.  Artist profile is the place for your artist statement, how you came to be an artist, stuff like that.  I don’t like to shop at a store when I don’t know their location so be sure to put where you are, too.

Photos, photos, photos

-lighting and cameras

Honestly, it’s more about the photographer than the camera.  Get a decent camera – no need to spend a bundle – most point and shoot cameras are fine for web photos.  I sell beads so I made sure the camera I picked had a macro setting.

-photo tents and lighting

Light diffusion is pretty important, especially when photographing glass.  I recommend getting some good, bright lights and a photo cube, sized for the product you intend to sell.  Ott lites are a good choice for lighting but other daylight bulbs will work just as well.  Most bad photos are bad because there wasn’t enough light.

-post production

Photoshop, Gimp, Paint Shop Pro, there are many different photo editing programs out there.  Some are free, some are really pricey.  I have tried them all and trust me when I say that none of them can turn a bad photo into a good one.  Pick one that works with your level of photo-editing interest.  Photoshop can be a resource hog on a slower computer and is very expensive and has a pretty big learning curve but it is the industry standard for photo editing so if you get stuck and need help, you’re likely to find someone online who will have an answer to your question.  The bare minimum you will need from a photo editing software is to be able to resize photos.  Out of the camera, they will likely be too big.  Etsy has a 1000×1000 pixel recommendation for your shop photos.

Descriptions / Categories / Tags

-take a look at similar items for keyword/tag/category help

I know this seems like cheating.  But, really, it is the easiest way to make sure you get tags that make sense for your product.  Take a look at a few different products before you pick tags, though.  Some people use tags inappropriately.  Make sure the tags you pick actually make sense for the product you’re selling.  If they don’t, someone might report you and your item may be removed.

-dimensions, materials used, facts

Make sure you give all the pertinent information for the product.  It may seem obvious to you that the item you are selling is teeny-tiny because it’s in front of you.  When you look at macro photos of the item, it may seem MUCH larger.  Let the customer know what to expect so they aren’t surprised when they receive the item.  Same goes for materials used.  If you used sterling silver, let them know.  If you used base metal containing nickel, let them know.  Nothing worse than wearing something that gives you an unexpected rash!

-inspiration and artist stuff

Some artists like to include a story, like how the item was conceived, inspired or stumbled upon during the creative process.  Customers like to catch a glimpse of the artist’s soul.  Remember, you’re selling yourself as much as you’re selling the item!

Listing Strategies

-list a few items a day rather than all at once

The default search result for Etsy is newest first so you probably want to be on the first or second page when someone searches for an item like yours.  If you list frequently, the chances are better you will be easy to find and be seen by more people.  Also, keep in mind that the more items you list, the more items you will sell, generally speaking.  If you only have a couple things in your store and never update it, you won’t be as successful a seller as someone who keeps their store fresh and fully stocked with exciting new items.

-list and promote, list and promote, list and promote

Etsy makes it really easy to promote your items now.  One button push and you can publish your item to your Facebook page!  Same goes for Twitter, too.  You can also send out newsletters to your customer list to let them know when you have new items and sales.

After the sale…

-feedback

If you want feedback (and you do) you need to leave feedback for your buyers.  Thank them for their quick payment or for supporting your art.

-tracking sales/ customer base/ follow up

Keep a list of customers and get a mailing list going.  Make sure you check with them before adding them to the list.  No one wants spam.  There are a lot of free and paid opt-in mailing list generators you can use that will add a form to your website.  Some of those are Bravenet, Constant Comment, Vertical Response.

-packing and shipping

Pack your items securely so that they will arrive at their destination in once piece.  Make sure you include a hand-written thank you on the receipt or even on the back of a business card.  You can personalize your packages by adding special touches like gift boxes, pretty tissue paper or whatever makes you happy and furthers your brand image.  Get creative!  Oh and don’t forget to ship promptly!

Advertising and Promotion

Paid and Targeted

There are tons of advertising opportunities for artists out there but you have to look for them.  If you want to pay for advertising you can sign up for Google Adwords or buy an ad in a magazine that targets your audience.  I like advertising on forums I actively participate in.  It is pretty reasonably priced and super targeted.    It pays to do some online research to see where your customers are gathering.

Blogs / Facebook / Twitter

A blog or posting to Facebook or Twitter is a great way to talk about your creative process, promote your items and let customers know about your latest creations.  If you’re not a good writer, just post photos and links!



Our “Pick Your Own Price” Flexi-Package February 22, 2011

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It’s that easy! 

Pick the price you want to pay and we will work with you to develop the marketing campaign that fits your needs.

Let’s face it, some weeks are busier than others.  Pick the price that fits you budget and let’s talk about what kind of social marketing campaign sounds right for your business.

We will review your options and plan your campaign with you around a customized template that will provide consistent and timely marketing for your business and brand so that existing customers stay informed of your business’ new and exciting product and service updates, as well as concentrating on growing a larger customer community for your brand.

Ready for more traffic to your site, a larger community of loyal customers, and increased sales?

We are your business allies and social media experts working personally (B2B) with you to get your business where eyes will see it, taking your business to the customers. 

Your customers are waiting to discover you.  Are you ready for more business for your business?

Every minute counts.  Social Market Now!

 

 

What is keeping your business down? February 17, 2011

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Here’s a really great article we found on Etsy.

It’s time to get rid of the junk that is keeping your business down, and time to start growing your business! Crissy Herron, of IndieBizChicks.com, has put together a mini-workbook to help you start getting rid of the riff raff: How to De-Clutter Your Biz. If you dig this, sign up for her free six week workshop that will help you learn how to prioritize, focus and create new goals for long-term success.

http://www.etsy.com/storque/media/bunker/2011/02/5-Steps-To-De-Clutter-Your-Biz-Etsy.pdf

She has some really great advice here.

Now what?

You’ve followed some of her advice, but that whole thing about website and blog makeovers, social media marketing and dealing with mailing lists?  Who has time for that?

Well, we do!  Call us today.