These days the actual crafting and product creation is only a very small piece of running a small business. A lot of hard work has to go into self-promotion as well. Facebook can be a great tool for this if used the right way. Here’s some ideas to get you thinking about how best to use Facebook Pages to your advantage.
1. Don’t spam or ‘hard sell’
Promote yourself but don’t go overboard and flood everyone’s newsfeed. Schedule posts using Facebook’s simple scheduling tools, or other useful tools like Buffer (which allows you to pre-write posts and then release them to staggered schedule) . Post at the best time of day to reach your target audience, then you won’t need to spam them! Invite people and friends to like your page, but if they don’t accept don’t immediately invite them again… give it a bit of time for your page to take off!
2. Write in your own voice
People like you and your craft, just talk naturally about your business, show some progress shots, talk about what’s involved and what you’ve been doing. Keep it professional, but not in an alienating manner. Be warm, ask your likers questions and engage them by gently requesting feedback on posts. Don’t get too far off topic with positive affirmations and pictures of kittens or children holding hands with cute captions underneath! Every now and then is okay, but if people like your page they primarily want to see your work, not reposting of Anne Geddes’ (or whoever else’s) work! ;-)
3. Post regularly and answer any questions promptly
This seems like a simple one, but it’s something that a lot of people neglect… if you’re going to go to the trouble of having a page, then make sure you maintain it. Out of date information is so frustrating for prospective customers. Not updating the page makes you look neglectful of your business. If there’s going to be a hiatus in posting then explain it – say you’ll be off line for a couple of days and what you’ll be doing, so fans know when to check in on your page again. Also, having a Facebook page means you invite comments and questions. Make sure you respond to, or at the very least acknowledge, interaction. If people ask questions on your page and you don’t get back to them they’re going to lose interest pretty quickly.
4. Be interesting and engaging
Try and make your posts engaging. Be a bit funny, point out something interesting about your work, make the item newsworthy. Look at how many people find different types of your posts engaging. If people are clearly finding a certain type of post particularly engaging or unengaging, adapt your posting habits accordingly. Let people win stuff or have input into one of your creative endeavours (ask people to comment with style advice and then show a finished product featuring the advice you took). Run a competition, everyone like the chance to snag free stuff. Make sure you carefully adhere to Facebook’s
guidelines for running a promotion though!
The best posts that create connections have a call to action element. This means you should ask or encourage the reader to do something, for example “Like if you…” “Share if you…” “Click ‘Like’ if you agree!” Always try to add a call to action in your posts – watch how the response type differs.
Images are also a great way to engage. Try images with interactivity: – images work – but images with interactivity are superb! Ask for an opinion such as “which four of these products describes your personality best?” and use pictures numbered one to four. These type of posts are great for getting responses, and written replies trump ‘likes’ in terms of feed interest and brand loyalty.
5. Double check your post before posting
Make sure your posts make sense, have no spelling errors and are to the point. If you get the point of your post across succinctly then in the feed preview people will immediately be able to see what you’re talking about and are more likely to click to read if it’s of interest. You can ‘attach’ a weblink instead of pasting a long url in the text of your post, this looks more polished below your post if you can make use of this function.
6. Use Apps for interest but not to excess
There are lots of great Apps you can use to link to or enhance your Facebook Page. Don’t go crazy using unrated apps but you can definitely experiment with blog or newsletter buttons, Etsy Mini tabs and other things. A few Apps even have “like gates”, which require a viewer to like the Page before accessing some Page information. Read a bit more on “like gates” with Pagemodo here.
7. ‘Like’ other pages using your page
Admire someone else’s work and want to form a Facebook relationship with them? Comment using your page! Don’t go overboard or ask them to go and check out all your work etc, etc. Just say ‘hi’ mentioning or using your page. Same with potential stockist pages – touch base and let them know of your existence using your page. Comment from time to time on other Page’s posts to stay in touch, but make it genuine… a smart businessperson can see ‘fishing’ a mile off! Also share work you admire, but again, keep it to complementary occasional posting, don’t just make your feed nothing but reposts.
8. Learn to understand Facebook Insights
Facebook explains most of how to do this here, so I won’t put it all into my own words… suffice to say that Facebook provides a heap of stats about who likes your Page and how they interact with it. Make that work for you!
9. Use platforms you’re already established on to promote your Facebook page
Add a Facebook button to your website or blog or drop a mention on twitter. If you have a good following in one place, use that to promote yourself elsewhere. You can easily link your Instagram to Facebook, which might lead your Instagram followers to check you out on Facebook, or vice versa. Don’t
get lazy though and use one platform to update all of them. If you’re just going to have a twitter account that constantly says “so-and-so posted a photo to facebook” (which is what can happen when you post an uncaptioned photo to a facebook page which automatically updates a Twitter account), your going to
start annoying your Twitter followers. Be sure to alternate your updating so all of the platforms you choose to operate appear maintained!
10. Don’t get discouraged by ‘drop offs’
Remember that losing non-interested parties off is an integral part of business. You only want to keep people who respond to how you run things and how you want to run things, so you are building brand loyalty with the valuable time you spend on social networking and truly interested parties are the ones you want to keep interested!
Starting and keeping up a Facebook Page can be a bit daunting, but hopefully with some of these guidelines you can make a go of things! Don’t be afraid to ask friends and colleagues their overall impression of your page. Sometimes a layperson’s eye can spot something that you (deeply absorbed in your Etsy business) might be missing! And don’t forget, Facebook rules and feed algorithms (the maths behind what posts get kept in your likers feeds) are forever changing so find a have a google for a good source to keep up with the changes. That way you won’t break any rules, and you can make the most of your time on social media! There are many, many guides to how to make Facebook work for your small business, these are just a few ideas, please feel free to share more links and ideas in the comments area below this post.
Best of luck with your Facebook Page!
Words by Kate from ceramic snippets, with help from Cynthia from Shiny Rabbit and Davina
from Fluid Ink… come and say hi to us on Facebook!