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Hi! I’m Lucy. Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
The task of starting an online business is daunting. Of course, there are a TON of hurdles to jump over – getting a website, how to accept payments, packaging and shipping, etc. I would bet your plans definitely include the possibility of using social media for marketing. Is social media for your craft business one of those challenges?
If it is, then I have some tips to help you clear those hurdles with ease.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
As a small business, you probably don’t have a huge marketing budget for advertising your creations. And with the amount of businesses that are in the world, just opening a website and waiting for people to find you is a recipe for zero sales and lots of sad days.
Luckily, we have a free resource for getting the word out about our craft businesses – social media!
Using apps such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter can introduce you and your businesses to thousands of potential new customers! Forbes.com has a great article on why social media is so important for small businesses.
Plus you can use social media to nurture and engage with the customers you already have.
Many people approach social media as a “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” sort of moment.
We’re busy people! So when we have a quick second, we grab a photo from our phone, drop it into Instagram or Facebook, and hit send.
The problem is that there’s no thought process involved when we post on the fly. And the result? A few likes, no clicks to your website, and you think social media doesn’t work for you.
Instead, I’d like you to try to approach your social media as you would your production schedule.
Take out your calendar, and think about a realistic posting schedule. For some, that’s once a week. For others, maybe Monday through Friday. Just think about how much time you want to spend on social media, and commit to being consistent.
Next, think about what’s coming up in the next month. Look at the month of May, for example: springtime, communions, confirmations, Mother’s Day, Teacher Appreciation, Memorial Day.
Make sure important dates are highlighted on your calendar. Now, think about your products and which ones may be appropriate for these days.
Think about how much time a person would need to order from you to get their items in time. If they’re ordering for Mother’s Day, you would need those orders by May 1st, let’s say, so you can ship them in time.
This means you would plan posts that would go live around May 1st, highlighting your products for Mother’s Day, and telling your followers to order by the 1st to get their gifts in time.
Now, do the same thing for the other dates in the month that may be important. If you sell home decor, for example, and you have summer decor items, when do you need orders so your customers can decorate for Memorial Day?
Once you’ve highlighted and indicated dates for holidays and other events, fill in ideas for the other days of the month that you want to post. Here’s an example of how a content calendar might look:
Your calendar can be two weeks out or two months – whatever works best for you. Just plan your content in advance, and you will see how much more organized and specific your posts will be.
There are a LOT of social media platforms, but you do NOT need to post to all of them! That is simply overwhelming and not necessary.
Hopefully by this point you have a pretty good idea of who your Perfect Customers are. If not, I would suggest getting this step done first.
Your customers are going to be in one or two places online. Choose these platforms and post there.
Personally, I think my customers use Facebook the most, followed by Instagram. So I post to these two platforms for my jewelry business Bel Monili.
But you may have a completely different customer who loves to be on TikTok, so you should focus on posting there instead.
Go where your customers are hanging out, and don’t worry about trying to post everywhere.
Think of your social media as an ice breaker. You are presenting yourself and your business to strangers, and they are checking you out to see if you pass the vibe check.
If they like what you have to say, they may follow you and start talking back! If you continue to post in a consistent way, they will come to trust you. That trust can grow to the point that they’ll check out what you have to offer, and will ultimately (hopefully) become a customer.
Notice I didn’t say, “post your products and ask people to buy them”. This just doesn’t work. People are tired of being sold to (I mean, I am too, so I get it).
They want to get to know you and your brand. The questions they have are: What do you stand for? Why do you do what you do? And…what is in it for them?
In my signature course Get Online, Grow Online, I talk about building content “pillars” of information that you share online. These are like categories, so your overall content is a well-rounded representation of who you are (as a person and as a business).
When you start using social media for marketing, you may expect to see thousands of new followers, hundreds of likes, and sales pouring in. Maybe you have more realistic goals. Either way, be prepared for things to go slower than you expect.
However, if you’re consistent and you set expectations, you will see progress and you will meet your goals.
Before you start working on your content, decide what you want to get out of the work you’re doing.
Of course we all want more sales! But remember, using social media for marketing is not a direct line to sales. It’s the appetizer to the main course.
Your goals may be easier to attain if you focus on expanding your follower base, getting more people to click through to your website, and looking at your reach and engagement.
Don’t forget to make your goals S.M.A.R.T. and give yourself enough time to reach them. I think quarterly goals for social media are perfect.
Your content pillars or buckets are the key to having a variety of ideas to pull from when you’re crafting your content calendar.
These buckets should align with your brand AND with your perfect customer’s interests.
Your products will be one of these buckets, of course. Maybe then you will have a bucket about gardening, one about family and one about a cause that’s close to your heart. These are just examples – yours will be different!
Once you figure out what themes and interests work for your brand and your customers, you can choose days on your calendar for each of these categories.
Maybe Monday and Wednesday you talk about your products, Tuesdays are gardening, Thursdays are family and Fridays are about your charity you love. Again, this is just an example, but you can see how having these buckets makes planning your calendar a lot easier.
The plus side of using social media for marketing is that it’s free! You can post as much as you want, and you don’t have to pay a penny.
The downside is that it takes time, both in terms of working on it, and the time it takes to see results.
As we discussed above, give enough time for results to come in. A quarterly review of your social media efforts is a good way to see what’s working and what needs improvement.
If you use a scheduling app like Later, you can look at the analytics the app provides to give you effective insights. You can see which posts got the best engagement and reach, and which ones fell flat.
One way to track how many clicks you got on links to your products is to use something like Linktree or Later’s Link In Bio. These types of apps can give you information on which links were the most popular.
Look at overall trends in your results. You should start to see which types of posts are working and which ones are not.
Use this information to work on your next few weeks in your content calendar, then rinse and repeat!
Reviewing your results and applying them to your work will make your posts more effective over time. Keep reviewing and revising your goals as well, and you will see positive results from your efforts!
Check out my course Clear Cut Content! I’ve created a proven system that can help you quickly and easily create irresistible content. Click or tap here to get more information on my self-paced course, Clear Cut Content.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!