A few useful tips and links to help you maximise the effect of your time promoting online, so you can spend more time doing the fun stuff :)
Social Media Tools
Your Folksy RSS Shop Feed
To find your shops RSS feed click on the orange square just next to your shop avatar. Your browser will then open up your shop feed, you will see the address of your feed looks like this – http://www.folksy.com/shops/your-shop-name/rss
Use this feed to create automatic updates to social media everytime you list on Folksy.
If you want to save time we recommend using an application such as RSS Graffiti to enable a customisable update of your new listings to your fan page. If you haven’t started a fan page yet take a look at this article about promoting your shop on facebook for some help. Folksy already allows instant updating of your facebook profile during the listing process, but using a facebook application like RSS graffiti is a way of auto updating your fan page too. There are many more facebook ‘apps’ like this available but we have found it to be very reliable and it’s been confirmed as a finalist in the ‘Best social Media Service for Small Businesses’ Mashable 2010 awards – so it is definitely an app that’s here to stay.
It’s very simple to set up in a few clicks. Follow the online instructions from RSS Graffiti and remember to take full advantage of all the customisable options, such as a text intro to your auto updates. Just click on each of the tabs to customise the feed. This is important as you want to ensure that your automatic publishing looks as well thoughtout as possible, and not overly robotic and lazy with just a link. For a new listing we’d recommend you added text along the lines of ‘New in my Folksy Shop’ or ‘Just listed on Folksy’ or whatever suits your particular style of update, it should feel as if it is coming from you, the maker.
To save time and applications to administer, once you have your facebook page connected to your folksy feed, you can also set up facebook to auto update a twitter account. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/twitter/ and make sure you edit the settings, you can choose which sort of updates get posted.
If you don’t have a facebook account, or you think you may bombard your twitter with too many links then you can use an application called twitterfeed.com which is again very simple to set up with just a few clicks, once you have your folksy shop feed all of the applications that involve RSS are available!
Link your shop feed to your blog
WordPress, Blogger, Typepad – there are many platforms available. A blog is a useful way of adding extra personality to your products. Giving people the story of the designs, the designer and adding content to pique the interest of search engines as well as potential customers. There’s a lot of help on the internet for craft Bloggers – Craft Blog UK (written by me!) is a good place to get a few tips on the basics and also what makes interesting craft blog content.
Blogging updates about every listing will not be necessary if you use the sidebars of your blog to effectively advertise your products. Use your shop feed in a blogroll widget or in a slideshow widget, to let visitors to your blog see the items you have available for sale and what’s new. Both of these widgets are available with wordpress and blogger blogs (with wp you may need to search for a plugin). Visitors to your blog will be able to instantly click through to your new shop listings.
It’s a good idea to regularly check your google analytics to see the effects of your online promotion. If it’s not working you need to change the formula. Beware of becoming a spammer, posting nothing but advertising links violates the rules of many of these social network sites and may see your account suspended.
We’d love to hear your promotional tips, what works for you, both as a consumer and a shopkeeper? Leave a comment below and let us know…