Friday, April 2, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: How to Stay Sane, Promote, and Still Have Time for Crafting - Part 2

This week's post is the second in a three part series on balancing promoting and crafting without going bonkers.  I'm going to be talking about how I promote as someone with a full-time job and how I maximize my time.  I've listed some common methods of promotion and I'll briefly discuss what I do with each one:

Blog - My blog is my priority as far as social networking goes. I try to post once a week on a Sunday or Tuesday a feature about other artisans' products and why my readers should check them out. On Fridays I do a feature I call my Hotlist where I talk about different websites that may be of use to artisans or different tips that I've come across during the week that I think should be publicized. Then I usually have one or two blog posts in reserve for when I want to post something a little extra. These are tips about things like blogging or Twittering that are good regardless of the date they're posted and I can just hit the publish button anytime I need to beef up my blog for the week. I have it set up through TwitterFeed so that when I post a blog entry, it automatically posts to Twitter. I also have TweetMeme and Digg set up on each entry so that I can (or readers can) easily tweet and Digg my posts for more exposure. Writing is fun for me so this only takes up maybe a few hours per week.

Twitter - My second priority is Twitter as this is where the majority of my social networking views of my items come from. Etsy and ArtFire have RSS feeds, so I have TwitterFeed set up so that anytime I post a new listing, my followers get a Tweet about it. I also use HootSuite which is a Twitter application so that I can schedule important tweets in advance. For example, I’m in an ArtFire Guild which promotes shops with less than 10 sales. On Monday when the new shop is revealed, I set up tweets for the rest of the week about that shop. This way I can tweet without being next to the computer 24/7. I schedule tweets about my Follow Friday picks, my blog entries, and my craft shows. Then I have Twitter set up on my phone so that direct messages come to me as text messages and I can tweet easily or send direct messages right from the text message window. I space my tweets out evenly between random stuff I’m thinking about/doing, insightful or interesting tweets from others, other artisans' work, and my own self-promotion. Then I use MyTweeple once or twice a week to find out who is following me so I can follow them back. I also unfollow people who are not famous or major companies like Etsy who haven’t followed me back. So far I have over 700 followers. Twitter takes up a couple of hours per week, and it’s a ton of fun for me. Having things scheduled and automated takes the stress of promoting away so I can just enjoy talking to people.

Facebook - Facebook is something I don’t really enjoy but I use it somewhat anyway. I have my Etsy and ArtFire shops on my personal page and my Facebook Fan Page. I got enough people to join my fan page that I have a short URL now (after 25 fans, get this by going to If you’re stuck at 24 just fan yourself.) I have TwitterFeed set up so that when I list a new item on Etsy or ArtFire, it shows up on my Fan Page wall. I also take one day a week to check and see if my latest blog entries should be posted there for people to read.   If I have extra cash, I may consider doing a Facebook ad which drives significant traffic to my shop when I'm spending about $10/day.  Facebook takes me less than 1 hour per week since almost everything is automated.

Forums - I regularly post in the Etsy, ArtFire, and Zibbet forums for exposure.  When I have extra time, I also make a few posts at the Selling Lounge.  Promoting threads are good, where you can post your links or your recently added products.  Other good threads to look for are critique threads where people are asking for your constructive criticism.  I like to stick to threads that are positive for the most part, and make sure that when you're posting you're doing so in a way that won't come off whiny or juvenile.  Your posts are being read by fellow sellers, shoppers, and Google searchers - meaning that you can turn off potential customers if you're not careful with what you say.  If you don't want to be seen in a negative light, sticking to positive threads and giving constructive feedback to others can keep your credibility and likability at a maximum.

Nings - CafeHandmade, MixxMade, IndiePublic, etc. are all Ning networks.  Ning groups pretty much all have the same format so once you've learned one you will be able to navigate the others with minimal difficulty.  I do not make posting in these groups a priority, but they are a nice way to network with other people and get the word out about your latest blog posts, photos, events, and more.  If you find you like a Ning network and get traffic from it, focus on that as one of your priorities.  For more information on how to use Nings as promotional tools, check out my Hotlist post on IndiePublic.

Flickr - This is another low priority promotional tool for me.  I like to upload photos here so that I can list on the go whether or not I'm at my own computer.  I've also joined several groups and I post photos to each one whenever I think about it.  For more information about how you can use Flickr as a promotional tool, check out my Hotlist post from March.

Guilds/Teams - ArtFire calls them guilds, Etsy calls them teams, 1000Markets calls them markets.  Whatever they're called, they are all networking groups organized through venues.  These groups allow for members to network and promote one another individually and collectively.  I'm in the Shops with Less Than 10 Sales guild on ArtFire as well as the Queer Team and NC Triangle Street Team on Etsy.  I promote through the 10 Sales guild weekly as participation is a requirement.  The other guilds I have less structured participation in, but I do participate in making team treasuries, contributing to the Queer Team collective store for charity, and more.  I probably spend about an hour per week on all teams combined.

The key to this is finding what works for you and focusing on that.  You don't need to master Twitter and Flickr and Facebook and Teams and Nings etc. etc.  The best thing to do is to find a couple of these that you're really good at and put your energy into them.  My primary promotion is through this blog and Twitter, because I'm wonderfully opinionated (the nicest way I could think of to put it) and I enjoy writing.  Find out what you like to do and go from there.

Next week I'm going to reveal the so simple it's crazy tip on how to stay sane while promoting.  Be sure to follow the blog so you won't miss it!

Until next time,


Plantress said...

this is an excellent post. I need to print it out for twitter references. thank you plantress

Elle said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!