Social media is increasingly important if you want your work to reach as many people as possible. So we’ve put together a social media crash course, focusing on a different channel in each post, with tips from makers who really know what they’re talking about. We’ve already tackled Instagram and Pinterest and this time we’re looking at Facebook. Guiding us through the secrets of Facebook is Anna Day whose business page has been instrumental in the huge success of Buttonsy. Her Facebook page draws legions of fans every day and has helped her sell over 1,200 items on Folksy in just six months, rising to be one of our best-selling shops. Over to Anna…
Facebook! As I write, it has nearly 1.3 billion users. I bet all your friends are on it. Your parents may have opened an account (nothing makes you watch your language like knowing your mum will see it). It isn’t just for keeping in touch with friends from school and being reminded of people’s birthdays anymore – it’s also a brilliant way of building and running a business. I have a confession: before using it professionally, I didn’t use Facebook… I still barely use my personal page. But I love using it for the business and it’s had a huge impact on its growth.
To be successful takes time and involves a lot of work
We’re often asked how we built our page. I really wish it was easy, but it took lots and lots and lots of work; lots of very late nights and lots of meals standing up, especially in the early days. We still spend at least four hours a day maintaining our page: posting updates, answering questions, replying to comments and visiting other businesses. But, really, how many people can legitimately say they have to look at pretty things as part of their job?
As your page grows, it takes even more work, but it’s important not to let this aspect of it slide. It lets people know you value their time and their attention, and it encourages people to interact with you more. The thing is, see, interaction is more important that your Likes counter.
Consider your content
Facebook is a social network, not just a selling platform, so it’s a great place to let people know more of the behind-the-scenes stuff. The people who follow our page know about me and Hubby. They know I’m obsessed with dandelions and Haribo, and that Hubby is chilled out and thoughtful; they’ve heard our bad jokes and they’ve seen works in progress. Building relationships is more important than putting on the hard sell because, with so much choice out there, people are more likely to buy from a small business they like. Let people know who you are and people will find you… what’s more, they’ll stick around. Facebook allows you to become your own USP!
Keep it positive
We decided early on that our page would be a happy place and I think that’s become a part of our brand. Like most people, we’ve experienced bullying and copying and all sorts of horrid stuff, but we don’t take it to our business page. Once you start down that road, it’s a slippery slope and it will change how you use your page, and how others perceive it. People who visit crafty pages on Facebook have things going on in their lives too – try to see your page as escapism for them, rather than a sounding board or soapbox for you. One of my favourite pages is Innocent –the bods that make the smoothies. If you visit their page, you want to scroll through months’ worth of posts because they’re so fun! Jokes, photos, funny-shaped fruits… and now when I see their drinks in shops, it makes me smile. A Facebook page ought to be a bit of a wonderland that makes you want to spend time there.
How often should you post?
To keep people interested, and keep them coming back, it helps to vary your content – think of it like a buffet or tapas where you want to try a little bit of EVERYTHING! A few posts a day is ideal: enough that your page doesn’t look barren, but not so many that you’re monopolising newsfeeds. If you know you won’t be able to post for a wee while, it’s really worth scheduling some posts. I try not to depend too much on scheduled posts, mind, because you can’t respond to people’s comments straight away.
Which types of posts work best?
It’s a bit of a dark art knowing what posts will reach the most people. As a rule of thumb, plain text updates have the highest reach; photos are the second most reachy; sharing other pages’ photos will reach fewer people still; and links that go to an outside website will reach almost no-one (you can ninja your way around that by popping the link the first comment). It’s really worth keeping an eye on your Insights, though, to see which posts are most successful.
I think a lot of us just want to make pretty things and think all the techy-businessy stuff is yuckety. But it’s worth casting your pretty peepers at it once in a while so you can shape your FB page into something lively and bright and full of lovely things to look at and nibble on. To that end, we try not to repeat our content. Only a percentage of your followers will see any given post, but if that percentage are seeing the same posts and photos again and again, it makes your page look tired. Being crafty is synonymous with being creative, and creative people don’t need to show the same stuff again and again because their mind, and hands, have already skittered on to one of the next eleventy-million things they’re itching to make.
Share the things you really like
Sharing the work of others is a big part of having a Facebook business. Being generous with your shares a) says a lot about you as a person and a business; b) encourages relationships with other businesses; and c) introduces the lovely people who like your page to a designer they may never have seen before and may fall a bit in love with. You might be asked to swap shares. That’s not something we do. We have never done a “share for share” as we strongly believe in growing our page naturally. We want the people who Like our page to actually like our page. They are the people who will comment, interact and ultimately buy your things.
To advertise or not to advertise?
You can pay to advertise your page on Facebook, but I’ve yet to encounter someone who saw any benefit from doing so. We’ve found that we are the best way to advertise our page – we have a vested interest in it! Your designs, hard work and effort will speak for themselves. Don’t forget, every time someone comments on your wall or shares your updates, your reach grows exponentially – that’s the way to go when it comes to building your following. I would also encourage you to let your followers know they can tick a box to make sure they get a notification every time you post.
Be original – don’t copy content or designs
This may just be specific to us, but from my personal and business page, I don’t follow other jewellery pages. It’s for my own peace of mind more than anything. I don’t want to see what other jewellery pages are making because it won’t help us in any way. If I see someone making someone similar, it will upset me; if I see someone making something I wish we’d made, it will upset me. I don’t want to be inspired by other designers, and I’m more interested in making things we’ve imagined than things that are “on trend”. That’s really a personal choice, but it’s really been beneficial to us.
Don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket
Social networks change endlessly, so try not to get too comfortable there. Use it to drive traffic to your online shops and bricks-and-mortar stockists because if anything were to happen, your business won’t fall apart (think MySpace – it was huge, now it’s obsolete). You can add links to your website and other selling platforms in the Biography section of your main Facebook page.
The rewards from working at Facebook can be huge…
We’re still finding that balance between being huggable and friendly, and being a viable business – they don’t need to be mutually exclusive and Facebook is wonderful for learning where that line actually is. It isn’t easy building a successful page – it takes a lot of work. But it can potentially introduce you to millions of people you would never have met without it. With the advent of sites like Pinterest and Instagram, social networking has become a lot more evenly spaced, but, pitfalls notwithstanding, Facebook is absolutely my favourite place to network for the business and it has played an enormous part in its growing at the rate it has.