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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.

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!

 

 

Helpful Approaches to Successful Marketing February 11, 2011

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Just because your competitor is doing something on the social web doesn’t mean that you need to do the same.

By blindly following your competitor’s path, you’re marketing scared and without purpose. Plus, it’s probable that your competitor’s initiatives won’t help you meet your goals at all.

While it’s essential that you monitor your competitor’s social media marketing activities, you should analyze them against your own goals before implementing any of them yourself.

10 Ways to use Social Marketing January 27, 2011

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Here’s an excellent article on how a startup company can use social media marketing.

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5297/10-ways-a-start-up-can-use-social-media-to-market-itself.aspx

What are you waiting for?  Let us get to work for you now!

How much is being spent on social media marketing? January 23, 2011

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Ever wonder how much was being spent on social media marketing in 2010? Or maybe which social sites the money was going to? Check out the Social Media Marketing by the Numbers infographic to answer these questions and more.

social media marketing hubspot

Thanks to CreditLoan for creating this infographic.

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/8594/Social-Media-Marketing-By-The-Numbers-Infographic.aspx#ixzz1BYTrL5uQ