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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.
Remember the old days when “social media” was updating our status on Facebook? Just a simple post to tell family and friends how we were feeling that day? The social media landscape has changed dramatically since then. Now, businesses rely on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and other platforms to communicate. Not only are we using these apps to build relationships, we’re actually selling handmade items on social media!
While I do believe the primary function of using social media for business is to build trust and create relationships with customers, I also think it’s completely possible to get sales through these platforms.
I wouldn’t count on the majority of your income to come from selling on Facebook or Instagram. But, you can certainly add these websites and apps to your marketing tool box.
Here are six tips for selling your handmade items on social media.
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.
You may have heard about the ABC’s of selling – “Always Be Closing”. But in social media, this approach will backfire on you!
A person walks into a store with the intention to buy. A person scrolls through Instagram or Facebook to be entertained, to pass the time, and sometimes they may be looking up a brand. But in 99% of cases, they are not logging on to social media with the intent to purchase something.
Businesses are best served by social media when they use it to build trust. (You can read more about using social media for business here.)
So when designing your posts, figure out how you can educate, entertain, and encourage your followers. Then, sprinkle in a few posts that mostly sell your handmade items. Even then, remember to speak to your customers’ pain points, and how your products can solve their problems.
By mixing in a variety of topics, you will have about 20% “buy my stuff” type of posts. Followers will not feel like they’re constantly being sold to. So, they may be more likely to purchase when you do ask for the sale.
It’s not as icky as it sounds! User Generated Content (UGC) is a terrific way to increase trust and sales.
Word of mouth advertising is one of the most effective forms of marketing. That is essentially what UGC is all about. People are much more likely to purchase something if they see reviews from actual customers.
When you sell one of your wonderful creations to someone, include a note asking them to post about their purchase. Don’t forget to ask them to tag your business when they do.
If a customer shares their purchase on social media, ask them if you can then re-share it with your followers. Most will happily say yes! You can use their content to post on your own social media. Voila! You’ll have a honest testimonial that will increase trust and may lead to more sales.
For many of us handmade sellers, we love making things, and we love when someone wants to own something we created. But we’re not so much in love with the “business” side of running a handmade business.
Branding is one of those “business-y” things that many of us struggle with. It feels a little “sleezy”, I think, when you hear the word BRANDING.
However, it’s a very important part of owning a business, and is one of the biggest missteps I see from handmade sellers who are moving on to selling handmade items on social media.
Take some time to think about your own social media use. I bet you’ll discover that you can recognize posts from your favorite brands, simply by the colors, styling or subject matter of a post. That, my friends, is branding!
It starts with your brand’s colors, fonts and logo. But it goes even further, to include the tone you use in your copy, and the kinds of images you display on your website and in social media.
The more developed and consistent your branding is, the easier it will be for people to recognize your business and what you sell.
So why is that important? It all goes back to trust, baby!
More trust = more sales
So take a look at all your social media and go through the following checklist to see if your branding is measuring up:
The overall strategy to selling your handmade products on social media is building a relationship and trust with followers that will ultimately lead to a sale.
And since we’re talking about social media, I felt I needed to remind you to be social! This means finding accounts to interact with, leaving comments, and responding to comments left on your posts.
You’d be surprised at how much customers appreciate a response to a comment. It’s a simple task that goes a long way.
On Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, you can find accounts that match your Perfect Customer profile, and engage with them when you feel like it fits.
Instagram itself has tips for selling on social media and they also recommend encouraging interaction by asking questions.
Using Instagram Stories is a great way to increase engagement. You can use stickers and polls to ask questions, or allow your followers to ask you questions, which you can answer in stories as well.
This is more of a technical tip, but make sure your shop is connected to Instagram and Facebook if you have the ability to do so.
If you have an Etsy shop, you can enable Facebook and Instagram shopping with a link to your Etsy shop.
Once you go through these steps, you can tag your products in both your Facebook and Instagram posts!
Honestly, the “trick” to selling handmade items on social media is not to make everything about you – and by you, I mean your business and your products. And at the same time, staying true to your brand.
It’s tricky, I know!
Learn as much as you can about your Perfect Customer, and create posts that speak to her interests.
Since she is your Perfect Customer, one of those interests will be your products, but she will have so many more. And it’s your job as a small business marketer to figure out what they are, and then use those interests to create content she will love.
One of the unique aspects of being a handmade seller is that your customers will want to know about you as a person, as much as they want to know about what you make.
I would highly suggest thinking of doing some posts about YOU. Here are some ideas:
Customers will truly love these little personal touches, and your trust factor will go through the roof!
Social media can be a useful tool that handmade business owners can use to increase our sales. It takes time to craft a marketing plan that both entices new followers as well as increases sales potential, but it can certainly be done.
If these are all the things you need help learning (and implementing) in your business, then the Get Online, Grow Online program might just be the thing you’ve been waiting for!
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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!