It’s crazy to think I’m in my 7th year as a maker! I’ve devoted a lot of those 7 years to market analysis, social media experimentation & researching different methods of campaign building. While I can tell you what works for the accounts I manage (did you know I offer social media consulting/management? Sure do! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!), I’m also a huge consumer, and work to connect makers with consumers. Given my experience in the maker movement, I always try to wrap up my knowledge into some info packed blog posts to help other maker mamas get their footing & give them things to experiment with on their own journeys.
When you are running a successful social media campaign, it should be capable of doing these three things almost effortlessly, all of which result in higher sales conversions and consistent audience growth in my experience, as well as more opportunities for exposure, both locally and globally. Implementing some of the simple posting tricks below into your campaign is a definite way to increase interactions & pave your path to becoming established as a maker, which looks a little different for everyone.
So grab your favorite drink, curl up & evaluate your social media campaign – can it do all three of these things?
Painting a clear picture of what exactly it is that you do
This is the one I deem the most important, and while it seems like a no brainer, there has been a huge shift in how makers present their products, thanks to the brand rep movement. It makes it harder to distinguish artisans from wholesalers. So when I say your social media account needs to paint a clear picture of exactly what it is that you do, I don’t mean “I make monsters, so I should have a picture of monsters on my account and say I make monsters.” I mean, you should be showing very clearly how involved you are in the processes of your business. From sourcing materials to product creation to packing orders. This can be done many ways, from regularly posting WIP (works in progress) Insta posts to a blog post showing the steps of your process for products from time to time. It’s important to integrate those behind the scenes photos; while having a stylized feed of modeled product shots is great, it can alienate you from those grass roots connections that could lead to many, many sales & opportunities – from features in blogs, magazines, and other publications to vending and wholesale opportunities – even opportunities like being nominated as Best Indie Crafter of your region.
For a quick example: Back when I ran the Daft Crafts blog, I did hundreds of product & maker features- but if the social media accounts were just stylized images, I was uncertain if the products were actually handmade. So those makers were never featured, because I didn’t have the time to individually contact every person with a product that caught my eye to verify they were made from raw materials and not purchased wholesale & were just being resold (which is another concern with highly styled feeds, but that’s a post for another day), and so some makers missed out on the opportunity of being featured on my blog with over 10K page views a month. There are literally thousands of blogs like Daft Crafts out there – and odds are, if their editors can’t distinguish if your products are handmade very quickly upon glancing at your site or social media campaign, they won’t be selecting your wares for features any time soon. Transparency is crucial to success in the maker movement.
So post those WIP photos! Show off your work space! Snap a shot of you out in the wild, sourcing materials! Get someone to take pictures of you working that screen press or sewing machine! Hire a professional for a shoot if you want the images just right – but you need at least one behind the scenes image a week to be cropping up in your feeds to show consumers & publicists alike that your products are indeed made from hands and heart.
Not only do publishers love it, but consumers do, too! As a consumer, I personally don’t purchase from a shop if I can’t tell if their products are actually handmade and not drop shipped or purchased wholesale, and have had several discussions about this barrier between consumers & makers. Transparency completely eliminates this concern for consumers and handmade advocates.
From the maker standpoint, it’s very important for me to share my business processes. For every behind the scenes photo I post, I gain numerous new followers that day as well as see an influx in the likes and comments on photos both before and after the work in progress photo, as well as an increase in sales. I think it’s because it intrigues the audience – a lovely shot of something being made! What IS THAT?! So they click over to learn more. And isn’t the goal of social media that, to effortlessly create content that intrigues people about it to become a follower, then potentially a buyer, without having to give away product or spend time trying to make a sale? Showing the process of creation drives a genuine connection between you & your products, streamlining audience growth & widening your sales funnel.
I do want to address that I know it’s hard to let go of the Instagram mentality – that everything has to look the exact same, all your images should be similar – but really, you can build your branding into the process shots. It’s all about styling images, using key elements in your photos & having consistent lighting in your images. Baby Jives does an incredible job of maintaining her branding and stylized images even in WIP shots, as does Honey & The Hive, who also does a great job of sharing her family life and interests without straying from her brand, making her feel very authentic and personable.
I’m not saying every post should be some eloquently crafted conversation starter – but at least one a week should be.
With both Facebook & Instagram’s algorithms, posts with more authentic comments & likes (i.e., you aren’t link dropping or using comment pod groups) pushes your posts and account higher in the algorithm and gives you better visibility. Both services have ways to detect inauthentic comments – ones that come from a link, for instance, or if 50 people are all commenting on each other’s accounts, it’s apparent to the algorithm these are not authentic comments. The algorithms are set to measure comments from followers or people who find you through hashtags, and tracks how many people who scroll past your photo/posts in such ways actually stop to interact with it. Those authentic likes and comments are what you want.
So at least once a week, create something great to talk about. It doesn’t have to be deep, or meaningful, every time – but it does have to be something worth talking about, or people won’t. Simple as that. I have a post here with ten Facebook statuses to get people talking – use it for a jumping off point and go from there!
And once you get people excited about your social media campaign & get them talking, keep them talking. Reply to their comments, ask questions, tag people who can relate to their reply – make them feel valued, like their words matter. Because they do – they spent valuable seconds of their life, time they can’t get back, investing in your business. They matter. So show appreciation!
Audience members who feel valued & appreciated are more likely to purchase & be a repeat buyer. Even if it’s as simple as saying “Thank you! How was your weekend?” when they say your latest photo is awesome on Instagram. Invest in your audience. Make them feel connected. They will only leave so many comments without reply or acknowledgement before they click that unlike/unfollow button.
You want your social media campaign to feel like a place where people gather excitedly, happily, like an open studio night. Your social media campaign should be able to show people who you are, what you do, start conversations with them and keep those conversations going. Makers need to be as transparent as possible about their processes, to open themselves up to even more opportunities – maybe that’s their city’s indie craft niche, for instance, which can lead to newspaper or television features which leads to dozens of other opportunities, or maybe an invite to an exclusive maker’s group that is teeming with knowledge and support channels. There are so many benefits to sharing your processes with the world!
Embrace the maker movement & wear it proudly! Show the world the person, processes and personality behind the products, and you’ll feel a shift in how your audience responds to your content.