Friday, July 30, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: How to Promote Your Business with a Facebook Fan Page

It's often suggested for artist entrepreneurs to set up a Facebook fan page, now generally known as business pages or "like" pages.  This is a great suggestion and social media can definitely be used to boost a business.  However, the next question for a lot of people is: "I've set up my page.  Now what do I do with it?"  If you've used Facebook prior to setting up your fan page, you're probably familiar with other brand pages.  Check out some of the more popular pages and then look back at your own.  You'll probably see a huge difference.  While you're probably not going to get hundreds of thousands of fans for your small business, you can move in the direction of some of the bigger names.  Here are my tips for increasing the popularity and success of your Facebook business page:

1. Design a Facebook landing page.  The landing page is what is going to entice people to click the like button at the top of their screen.  I designed mine using a free template and the FBML (Facebook markup language) application.  I got mine here but there are tons of other ones out there.  My landing page gives people a little information about my business, me as an artisan, and gives visitors access to my social networking links and newsletter signup.  You can see it here (if you're already a fan, just click the >> button on the tab bar and select "Home").  If you're not able to customize your own, another free way to have a great landing page is to put your shop as your landing page.  How to do that is in my next point.

2. Add a tab with your shop.  If you use Etsy or are a pro member on ArtFire, you've got access to applications that will put your shop right on your Facebook page.  If you don't already have a landing page, you can set your settings on your wall page to make the default landing page for non-fans to be the shop tab.

3. If you had a personal Facebook account before you set up a page, you probably have some people as your friends.  If you didn't, make some.  Use the email search feature to friend your email address book.  Join a couple of groups related to your interests or where you went to school and accept the friend requests of people you know and don't mind contacting you again.  Why?  The business pages have a feature called "Suggest to Friends."  Use that (once - do not spam them!) to get your friends to fan your page, even the ones that already know about your business.  While some of them may end up being your customers, they're not really the end goal.  What you want is for your friends to like and then suggest that their friends like your page.  If you're lucky, this will help your page go viral.

4. Now that you have some fans, the next step is posting content.  Ideal content will be interesting, informative, connect people with you and your brand, and make people want to comment. Some ideas for content are new or soon to be released items (in order to build anticipation and drive traffic to your shop), questions about what your fans are interested in, exclusive sales and promotions, and aspects of your craft that the general public might not know about.  If someone interacts with your post, acknowledge it.  Respond to all fan comments professionally and graciously.

5. Consider doing additional promotion to other sellers.  Etsy has a promotions forum.  
Participate in the threads that let you post your Facebook link.  Participate in Link Love in fan page discussion forums which will allow you to post your links.  Others will fan you.  The downside to Link Love is that some people will spam their links on your wall.  You can either delete these posts or do what I do and make them less obvious.  In the setting section on your wall, you can set the default view to be just posts from the page owner.  That way your fans just get your awesome content by default and not ads for other people's pages.  Why should you promote to other sellers at all?  Well sellers are also buyers.  In addition to that, the more fans you have the closer you are to getting your custom Facebook URL.

6. Set your custom Facebook URL.  Once you reach 25 fans (technically 24 as you can and should fan your own page), you'll be eligible for a custom URL.  Go to to set it up.  BE CAREFUL, SLOW DOWN, AND READ.  Do not get over excited.  When you go to that page, you'll see an option to set the username for your profile.  This is your personal profile NOT your business page.  The option for your business page is lower and smaller and specifically says "Set username for your pages."  That is the option you want to select and follow the instructions.  Be aware that if you screw this up and set the username for your profile instead, you will not be able to undo it.  So just pay attention.

7. So now you have great content, fans, and a custom URL.  If your page still isn't as popular as you'd like, it's probably time to advertise.  I'm not a fan of Facebook ads as I've managed to have them automatically extended to overcharge me every single time, but if you stay on top of them and cancel when you've spent what you want, you may find success with them.  They are targeted, so do some research on your target market before setting one up.  Another alternative I've used is a service like Fiverr.  Fiverr users sell services for $5 a piece.  I've purchased a couple of $5 gigs where my page was suggested to several thousand people.  My fans have doubled and now seem to be slowly but surely growing in number on their own.

8.  Remember the ultimate goal is to have the fan page growing on its own and driving traffic to your shop. It's not just about getting them to Facebook, it's about funneling them off too - or at least to the shop tab on your page.  Take only the suggestions here that you think will help you get to that goal.

Go ahead and put your Facebook fan page link in the comments so readers can fan you!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Plum Passion

Here is another of my Kaboodle styleboards featuring plum colors:

Plum Passion
Plum Passion by ellesbeads

As usual, this styleboard is both all-Etsy and was built around one of my own items.  The item I used this time was my Plum Czech Glass Beaded Cluster Ring:

Building these boards has been both a fun exploration into handmade and vintage items sold by other Etsy sellers, but it has also opened my eyes to the possibilities of my own products.  I like to make simple, elegant pieces and I love my bold, statement jewelry even more.  Building these styleboards around different pieces allows me to envision how the jewelry I make can actually be worn as a fashion accessory.  I challenge anyone to give it a go with one of your own items and see if you're not inspired!  (Remember per Kaboodle rules, you're not allowed to have more than one of your own items in a styleboard.)

Do you Kaboodle?  Add me as a friend!  And be sure to leave your own link in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weekly BEST: Unique Designs by Ms. P

Who is Ms. P?  She's Paula Marksman, a passionate designer and crafter from Northern California.  Her love of designing with color, texture, and fiber started at a very young age.  Ms. P used to rummage through her mother's sewing scraps to design clothes for her Barbie dolls and the passion grew from there.  Starting in her teens, she expanded her interests to include crocheting, knitting, beadwork, and jewelry making.  Ms. P is always working on new and different projects, including jewelry, gloves, hats, scarves, bags, and totes.  She has some of them for sale in her Etsy shop which you can check out below:

Find Ms. P around the web:

Be sure to visit her and show her shop some love!  And as always, feel free to discuss the shop in the comments.

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Friday, July 23, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Using Tumblr as a Marketing Tool for your Online Shop

Tumblr is a social media website that is sort of the middle ground between Twitter and a blog.  While it doesn't limit users to 140 characters of text or links, it's not really designed for a full blog post like this one.  Tumblr is for posting short paragraphs of text, quotes, chats, videos, links, or photos.  I started a Tumblr blog a couple of days ago to get a feel for it:

Here are some suggestions on how to use Tumblr to market your shop:

1. Customize your page to fit your brand.  Tumblr has both paid and free themes you can try until you find what fits best.  I decided to go with a simple theme and use my logo as my avatar.  If you're using Tumblr as your blog though, you might want to spring for something that reflects your shop more.

2. Be diverse and interesting.  Like Twitter, Tumblr is a microblogging platform.  You'll pull followers from more interest areas (and not be dismissed as a spammer) if you do more than just post links to items from your shop.  Try posting some of your favorite quotes, recipes, YouTube videos, or pictures of other people's items.  Make use of the tag feature so that people searching for a specific topic can find you.

3. Follow other people.  Comment on their posts and make use of the heart and reblog features to mark items as favorites and/or share them on your page.  Since Tumblr is a social media site, the Golden Rule of Social Media applies - you've got to listen to others and interact with them if you want them to listen to you.

4. Keep it fresh.  Tumblr has a scheduling feature that allows you to set items to post in the future.  Take advantage of this and spread out some of your posting to achieve maximum exposure without flooding your followers' dashboard feeds with post after post from you.

5. Utilize the directories.  You can either get yourself in the inspiration directory by asking your followers to support you or you can pay for inclusion in one of the other directories starting at $9 plus some unspecified eligibility requirements.  Don't feel like paying?  (Yeah, me neither.  I love free things.)  Then simply follow some of the people in directories that interest you.  It's a great way to target who you follow so that you make friends with similar interests and always find cool things to reblog.

As you can see, promoting with Tumblr isn't much different than promoting with any other social media tool - it just uses a different platform.  I highly recommend Tumblr for people who want to share text and media but don't want the rather daunting task of updating a regular blog.  If you already use both a blog and Twitter, it might not be the best investment of your time.  I don't discourage setting up an account though - it's good to have your name out there in as many places as possible and it's very easy to update a Tumblr blog.

Do you have Tumblr blog?  Know any good tips for using Tumblr?  Post your blog link and/or your tip in the comments!

Until next time,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Azure Dreams

Here's another one of my Kaboodle Styleboards, this time featuring items in shades of blue:

Azure Dreams
Azure Dreams by ellesbeads

All of these items are from Etsy.  Be sure to click on the Styleboard so you can visit the different shop owners.  Items are often not still available because they were added to the Kaboodle search months prior, but have no fear - the earrings I based this collection around are still currently for sale in my shop!

Be sure to friend me if you're on Kaboodle and let me know what you think of this Styleboard in the comments!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Ocean Dreams

I've got the summer blues!  It's unbearably hot outside and I'm still not 100% used to not having a break during the summer, even though I've been out of college for a couple of years.  I long to spend my summer days lounging on the beach!  Since that's not going to happen, I decided to make a treasury in the spirit of all things oceanic:

Please do the creators of these lovely items a favor and comment on the treasury.  If you have the time, please also click on all of the images in the treasury.  This will help increase its "hotness" - the strange method Etsy uses to default rank treasuries.

Have you curated a treasury or been selected for one recently?  Put a link to it in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekly BEST: Conduit Press

Conduit Press is a shop on Etsy featuring fabulous upcycled vintage notebooks, handmade leather journals, handbound albums, baby books, hollowed book safes and more.  The owner resides in Indiana and you can see her work in FARMbloomington, Barefoot Kids, and Homespun: Modern Handmade if you're local.  There's something in her Etsy shop for everyone!  I personally don't use many leather items (with the one exception of shoes) but the book safes and eco-friendly journals are right up my alley!  Check out my favorites:

Be sure to check out her shop as she has a much larger selection of items than what I was able to show in this post.  Connect with Conduit Press online at the following places:


What's your opinion on this shop?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Mosquito Coast

One of my most unique pieces of jewelry has been featured in a rather different summer treasury entitled Mosquito Coast.  It features - you guessed it - mosquito-themed items.  Check it out:

This treasury was curated by Etsy shop owner MamiMadeIt, an Austrian seamstress specializing in toys, bags, and accessories.  Check out her shop and her blog.

The item of mine she selected for this treasury is my pair of beaded obsidian mosquito earrings:

Black Mosquitos - Funky Beaded Obsidian Fashion Chandelier Earrings

These statement earrings are truly one of a kind.  As they are quite bold, they definitely aren't for everyone.  I'm thrilled that they finally found their way into a treasury!

Have you made or been featured in a treasury lately?  Post a link in the comments!

Until next time,

Friday, July 16, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: 7 Easy Steps for Getting Local Traffic to Your Business Website

One of the tried and true ways to get traffic to your online shop is to tap into the resources of your local community.  Here is some advice on how to best utilize what's right outside your door:

1. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce for networking opportunities.  They can let you know about local resources specifically for small businesses.  Also, be sure to get information on how to legally operate your business in your state.

2. Do you sell on an e-commerce site?  Check to see if they have teams.  My local Etsy team has been a valuable resource for finding craft fairs, networking, and getting information on how to promote my business.  If there is no team in your area yet, start one!

3. Advertise locally.  Leave your business cards at businesses that may have the same target market as you.  For example, if you're marketing to fashion-forward young adults, you may want to leave your cards at a nail shop or salon.  Put up flyers or business cards on community boards in places like libraries, coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores.

4. Add your business to the local Google and Yahoo business directories.  You don't need to have a B&M to put your website in the directory and your website information shows up front and center when doing a search.

5. Make sure to include your location when setting up your online shop.  Etsy has a Shop Local feature where people can search for a specific location for shops.  There is also an outside feature at where people can search for specific products in their local areas.  Having your location listed is crucial for people to find you.

6. Participate in craft fairs or vintage shows to increase your exposure to the local community.  You're at an advantage when you have a website because you're not limited to just the people who purchase from your booth that day, but you also reach those who aren't ready to buy yet but who will purchase from you online later.  Make sure to bring business cards with your information and let people know if you do custom orders.

7. Throw a home or office party with your wares.  Invite friends, family, and coworkers and ask them to invite people they know.  Increasing your local customer base should always include informing the people you already know about your business - they'll be able to market you for free via word-of-mouth.

Leave your own tip for driving local traffic to your online shop in the comments!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Fuchsia Fashion

Now that I can make Styleboard collages on Kaboodle, my weekly treasures posts will include them as well.  Check out my latest compilation of items from Etsy.  Click on the picture to see the Styleboard on Kaboodle as well as see who the individual sellers are:

Fuchsia Fashion
Fuchsia Fashion by ellesbeads

I'm still finding it fun to build the collage around one of my funky jewelry pieces.  This time I used my funky fuchsia beaded ring:

Funky Fuchsia Beaded Adjustable Ring

Do you Kaboodle?  Leave a link to your brand or profile in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekly BEST: Cadiwompus

This week I'm featuring another young artist.  Cadiwompus is a thirteen-year old creative soul from Alabama who draws, paints, and sews.  Like me, she loves fabric, upcycling, and thrift store finds.  She's running her own Etsy shop and here is some of the work available for purchase:

Original drawing By CaDiWoMpUs

Big Bangle Bracelet Farmers Market Style

Tween Girl Bonnie

Take a Walk Around the Park Tank

Support this Etsy seller by checking out the listings above as well as her weblinks:

What's your favorite item from this shop?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Friday, July 9, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Kaboodle

So I've been curious about the site called Kaboodle for awhile, but didn't decide to take the plunge until this Storque article was published on Etsy.  To be honest, it's not the most intuitive site to use but it's got potential to be a promotional tool.  I'll go over some of the features that you can use for promotion:

1. Lists: When you sign up for a profile, you get several lists by default but you can delete them, add others, and customize them with any items you like.  Since people can search Kaboodle for items that interest them to feature in other parts of the site (you'll see what I mean later), it's a good idea to upload your own items into a list.  Kaboodle recommends you sort your items by theme to encourage friends to flip through your lists, but that's entirely up to you.  I decided to just put mine in a generic "My Creations" list so that it's not misleading.

You can also add other people's items to your lists.  As long as you have a web url, it can be added.  This site is not just for handmade items, but shops like Amazon, Target, and Victoria's Secret also have their brands represented.  However, Etsy and the handmade community have a reasonable presence and the operators of Kaboodle have expressed that they'd like to see our numbers grow - so spread the love!  Add your treasuries to Kaboodle using the promote links and add individual listings using the share button on the right sidebar of the listing page.

2. Styleboards: These are probably my favorite things on Kaboodle.  Styleboards are collages of items you either find on Kaboodle or upload to the site.  Much like treasuries, they aren't intended for self promotion but for showcasing style ideas pulled from the entire community.  Also like treasuries though, you are allowed to include one of your own items.  I've created two styleboards so far.  I picked a piece of interesting jewelry from my shop and searched for Etsy items already on Kaboodle that I think go well with the item.  Check them out:

Zesty Lemons
Zesty Lemons by ellesbeads

Cherry Red...
Cherry Red... by ellesbeads

It's a great way to both showcase other people's vintage and handmade items as well as show off how my funky jewelry can be worn with style.  Styleboards can be hearted, commented on, shared via Facebook/Twitter, and embedded in blogs.  The main styleboards page features popular collages by default and can be sorted to show the most recent first.

3. Friends and Groups: Like most social networking websites, Kaboodle offers the option to add people as friends and to join groups.  In your profile, you can add tags to describe yourself to allow people with similar interests to find you.  When viewing your profile, just click one of your tags to be taken to all the people who identify with that particular tag.  There's also an option for you to search your email contacts and Facebook friends for anyone you might know who already has an account.

Groups are just like they sound.  They allow you to network with large numbers of people at once - and there are tons of them.  I'll be honest and say they aren't easy to get to.  I had to search via Google to get to the groups page that didn't just have the featured groups listed:  Once you get to what should be the Groups landing page via the link I provided, you'll see categories that you can use to find interesting groups as well as a link to create your own.

Etsy Loves Kaboodle is the largest Etsy group on the site and is open for membership to any seller or buyer.  The group allows members to create new discussions as well as add their lists to the group for members to browse.

4. Blogazine: This unique feature is one I haven't tried yet.  Apparently you can host your own style blog right on the site.  You can post about fashion, decor, beauty, and other style items and recent posts may show on the Blogazine homepage.  If you already have a blog like me, another one may be too much to keep up with.  What I do recommend is checking out some of the posts, making comments, and interacting with other users just like you would here on Blogger.  That should get people clicking through to your profile and then looking at your lists and items.  Click on the image below for an example of a Blogazine:

5. Brands: Brands have their own homepages with special features.  If you have a website with your products, and you upload one or more of them to Kaboodle, a brand page is automatically (well, it takes a day) created for you which you can claim.  They want you to use an email address from your domain, which I haven't set up so I'm not sure if I'll be able to claim my own brand. Once you upload at least one of your products, you can go here to claim your brand: (replace with the URL for your website).  There are also several buttons you can add to your product listings that will allow your visitors to quickly add your items to their Kaboodle lists.

Okay, so for the downsides of Kaboodle: It's not the most intuitive site I've ever used.  Getting to the main groups hub is challenging, and when you're creating a styleboard you can't favorite products or click through to get full information (like the whole title).  It's also not just for handmade, so your products have some competition to actually be seen.  And I actually see this as an upside, but there is a limit to how much self-promotion you can do - no sending private messages to your friends about sales or spamming your links in the comments.  It's a great tool, but read the Terms of Use before starting so you don't step on any toes.

So, do you Kaboodle?  Add me as a friend!  Don't forget to put the link to your Kaboodle profile in the comments as well.

Until next time,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Red, White, and Queer

Independence Day may be over in the United States for 2010, but it hasn't been forgotten by those on Etsy.  There was a huge outcry over the seeming lack of Front Page treasuries celebrating the holiday, so many people decided to create and promote their own treasuries to celebrate - some were even curated by sellers from other countries who wanted to show their support.  To see the treasury I created, check out my July 4th post.

BunnyKissd, a Queer Etsy Street Team member and jewelry artist, took it upon herself to come up with a queer patriotic treasury featuring team members' red, white, and blue work:

The item she selected of mine for inclusion in the treasury is my Cherry Red Czech Glass Chain Necklace:

Cherry Red Czech Fire Polished Glass Chain Necklace

Be sure to check out the entire treasury and give our team a little support by clicking on the items and then leaving a comment at the bottom.

Do you have a treasury that you've recently created or in which you've been featured?  Leave a link in the comments!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weekly Treasures: 24 Karat Gold and Queer Team Challenge

I've been included in a beautiful golden orange, citrus-themed treasury this week entitled 24 Karat Gold:

This treasury was created by the Etsians Birch + Bird, vintage sellers with a treasure trove of home interior items in their shop.  Their description of the theme of this treasury put a smile on my face:

The item of mine these ladies included in their treasury was the Orange Glass Seed Bead bangle bracelet I created for the June Queer Etsy Street Team challenge.  As I mentioned last month, we are systematically going through the colors of the rainbow and doing a piece per month in a specific color.  Here's a close up on my June bracelet:

Orange Glass Seed Bead Wrap Around Bracelet

Orange Glass Seed Bead Wrap Around Bracelet $15.00

To see all of the Queer Team challenge items for June, please visit the blog entry here.  For some reason, a challenge treasury has not been created this month, but when one is made (even if I have to do it myself) I will update this post with the gallery!

Have you been in or created a treasury lately?  Leave your link in the comments!

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weekly BEST: Shop Sealed with a Kiss

The Texan artist I'm featuring this week comes from a crafty family, with her sister, grandmother, father, and mother all having their own shops on Etsy.  Zoe of Shop Sealed with a Kiss specializes in colorful, chunky jewelry and embellished head gear.  Here are some items from her shop:

Sassy Children's Pink Crocheted Headband With Purple Jewel Flower

Trendy Chunky Multi Colored Necklace Leopard, Gold, Brown

Adorable Girl's Black, White and Pink Polka Dot Felt Flower Clip With Tulle

Visit Zoe on the web here:

Discuss this shop in the comments.

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.