If you’re running a craft business, one of the best ways to grow your customer base is to grow your social media followings.
But how exactly do you do that?
How do you take your Instagram following from 100 people — made up of a mixture of bots, your friends and family, and a load of other, more successful, craft accounts — to one in the thousands (hopefully even more!)?
We’ve compiled this guide to how to make the most out of social media, which will lead to increased orders and a bigger fan base for your craft business.
Let’s take it away…
- 1 Do I Need To Be On Social Media?
- 2 How Often Do I Need To Post To Build A Following?
- 3 General Tips For Maximizing Social Media Engagement
In a word: yes.
If you’re launching a craft business, a large proportion of your audience and fan base will be on social media — and they’ll expect to find you there.
If your business doesn’t have a social media presence, you’re going to be missing out on a huge opportunity.
People even buy products from their social media pages nowadays!
We know, we know, there are literally hundreds of different social networks these days and it can be tiring just thinking about creating accounts on each of them — let alone running them and building a following with them.
But the fact of the matter is that you’ll find your most loyal fans on social media.
The fans that will buy every one of your products.
It’s much easier to cultivate these fans on social media then funnel them through to your online shop than it is to cultivate them in person.
Don’t worry — there’s absolutely no need for you to be on every social media network out there, or even most of them.
In fact, we think that craft businesses like ours are best served by just three of the major networks:
These three networks are where most of your potential fans are spending their days.
All three of them are very well set up for aesthetic-based businesses like crafts and have large pools of people who are ready to buy whatever you’re putting out there.
We get a lot of people asking whether it’s worth creating a Twitter account for their craft businesses but truthfully we don’t think it’s a great use of your time. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all mostly image-focused which serve craft post very well, whereas Twitter is a text-based medium and doesn’t lend itself as well.
How Often Do I Need To Post To Build A Following?
We’re going to take each social media network one by one as they each require something a little different.
Remember though, the one principle that binds them all together is quality over quantity.
Building a following happens when you generate genuine engagement on your social media posts — sincere communication and feedback on individual posts from friends, fans and admirers of your work.
And the best way to do that? With quality, well thought out posts,
If you’re spamming each social media account with the same old posts day after day, you’re going to lose followers and certainly not attract any new ones, cutting your business off from a major source of income.
Your Facebook following will be best served by one quality post on your timeline every day.
It can be hard to generate lots of engagement on here as the network is set up so that Facebookers mostly see posts from their friends and family rather than business Facebook pages. This is to encourage you to buy ads and promote your posts instead.
Your posts have to really scream quality in order to get heard above all the noise.
Facebook is best for really showing your customers and fans your personality — so make sure that your posts on here reflect that.
If you and your business are funny, wild, creative, cute, whatever — make sure that you’re showing that side on Facebook. If you show what makes your business special, you’ll find fans will naturally flock towards your page and then eventually to your online shop.
One strategy that works well to maximize engagement on Facebook is to keep sharing different things in order to keep your page fresh and interesting.
You don’t want to keep promoting the same old links to your Etsy store as people will simply skip over it.
You could consider a posting schedule like this:
- Monday: Photo and post highlighting just one of your products. Explain how and why it was made and anything else interesting about it.
- Tuesday: Link out to a blog post on someone else’s website that might interest your followers too. Probably something in the crafting niche!
- Wednesday: Share a short teaser video introducing a new product that you’re launching soon. In the post, ask your followers to guess at what they think it might be.
- Thursday: Share a link to your favorite Pinterest board and ask your followers to start following you on there. This is a great way to growth hack your other social profiles.
- Friday: Link to an informational post on your website about your vinyl business — perhaps a tutorial.
- Saturday: Post a link to a free SVG file that your followers might enjoy — this could be on someone else’s website or even one you’re giving away yourself.
- Sunday: Share a link to your Etsy shop and ask your followers to suggest new ideas for products they might like to see there.
It’s much easier to build a following on Instagram than on Facebook, you’ll be pleased to hear!
This is why it’s the preferred social network of so many small crafts businesses.
There are actually two sides to Instagram: the standard photos that you can curate for your grid and the Instagram timeline and the Stories feature that you should use to show the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of your life and business.
It’s worth approaching these two sides slightly differently to get the most from Instagram.
Firstly, let’s look at posting to the main feed that end up populating your profile grid. These are photos that should be perfected and edited before you publish and provide real value to your followers.
Make sure that your aesthetic style is consistent throughout your Instagram feed — if you’re using a filter, use a similar one every time, for instance.
But just because your aesthetic is consistent, doesn’t mean that your content needs to be — make sure you mix it up all the time to keep your followers interested and engaged.
It’s also worth mixing it up with your captions as well. Generally speaking, short, witty slogans work best for likes, but longer captions that inform and ask questions of your followers generally do better with comments. Use both to get a good spread of likes and comments.
Ideally, you should be posting just one Instagram post per day or once every other day. Any more and it’s likely to get lost in the algorithm and any less risks your followers forgetting who you are.
Here are some top tips for manipulating your posts to maximize engagement:
- Always tag your location in posts — this will help you show up in the ‘Explore’ tab of people near you and can boost engagement by a whopping 79%!
- Include face photos where possible. Obviously, you’ll mostly want to be showing off your products, but try and include people in these photos too when you can. This can boost engagement by around 38%
- Like and leave comments on other accounts in the crafting industry, at least once per day. This is a great way to introduce your account to new followers — and even find some friends in the industry! Engagement generates engagement, so jump right in.
- Use long-tail hashtags where you can — like #vinylcrafts as well as just #crafts. These are more specific and don’t have as many searches per month, but you’ll find your true fans down in the nitty gritty.
- Reply to all comments and DMs (direct messages) that you receive on every post. Not only will that track as extra engagement with the Instagram algorithm, but it will win your followers’ respect and friendship.
Now, when it comes to Instagram Stories, that’s a different matter entirely. These photos and videos are only visible to your followers for 24 hours and, as such, they’re generally much less filtered and don’t require any editing or extra work from you.
Stories are the opportunity for your followers to get to know you — the person behind your business — much better.
We’re all a sucker for ‘behind the scenes’ footage and this is an excellent opportunity to show off what happens in your daily life. There’s no real limit on how many stories you can post in a 24-hour period, but somewhere between 5 and 20 seems like the right spot.
Try and mix it up a little every day — this stuff doesn’t have to be worthy enough of a separate Instagram post, but at the same time, no one wants to see you eat the same banana smoothie morning after morning.
But really, you can include anything you like in your Stories — perhaps some video footage from a new part of town you explored that day, a photo of something crazy you spotted on your commute, some snaps of a nice dinner you treated yourself to.
You don’t need to do too much here — just a little something to show your followers what a day in your life looks like.
Here are some other ideas for maximizing your Story engagement:
- Host an AMA (‘Ask Me Anything’) around once a month on your Stories. This allows your followers to bombard you with questions and then you can answer as many as you like within that 24-hour period. It’s not only good for engagement, but also a good way to see what your potential customers are thinking and feeling
- Hold polls or request votes asking your followers to choose between two different options. You can do this as much as you want, as it’s much less time consuming than an AMA. This is a great market research tool for product development.
- Tag other businesses and users in your Stories if you’re doing something that’s relevant to them. For instance, if you’re making a recipe, tag the recipe creator! Or if you’re showing off a new outfit, tag the stores where you bought from. Some large accounts will even repost your Story (or Post) which will go a long way to building your community.
- Throw in some memes/pop culture Stories that link in some way to your brand. This is a good way to show off your fun side (and reduces the amount of personal stuff that you’ll need to post!)
- Include Story Highlights — this function allows you to save some of your Stories to the top of your profile, instead of them just sticking around for the usual 24 hours. This is a great way to present necessary information about you and your business — make sure that one of your Highlight reels is dedicated to your products.
Pinterest is the social network where crafters and bloggers like us see the biggest return on their time investment.
The Pinterest audience is predominantly female and, generally speaking, has the disposable income to spend on handmade goods like the products you’ll be making.
Even more so than Instagram, Pinterest is a network that thrives on aesthetics. If you create beautiful, optimized pins, you can be sure that users will start pinning your work to their own boards and will even click through to your store or website to buy.
Just like Facebook and Instagram, there’s no point in spamming Pinterest with low-quality posts.
Think in terms of delivering real value to your followers — and don’t only pin your own stuff, branch out and create your own boards and find other people’s work to follow as well.
Here’s what the best Pins look like on Instagram:
- 600 x 900 pixels is the optimal Pin size — or any image that conforms to a 2:3 ratio
- No hashtags in the description
- Long-tail keywords should be used in the description instead
- Make sure that every image you upload to your website and Etsy store has relevant alt text — if it’s a product picture of a Halloween t-shirt, for example, use “Halloween t-shirt for kids” in the alt text. Once you or someone else pins this image to Pinterest, the alt text will automatically boost the Pin’s visibility if someone searches for that long-tail keyword.
- Use the Showcase Feature to highlight your most popular pins from one of your boards at the top of your page
- Place your most popular board in the far left of the top row of your page — this will ensure that it’s the first thing that potential followers will see and they’ll be more likely to follow your entire page instead of just a singular board
- Collaborate with similar Pinterest users on group boards — this will open you up to getting new followers from new audiences
- Post at least once per day — if you can do more, that’s great, but commit to at least once per day
- Repin other people’s content — if you think it’s valuable content, then go ahead and pin it to your boards. This may encourage other people to start doing the same with your Pins as well.
- Go colorful — the most repinned images have multiple dominant colors and less than 30% background
- Unlike Instagram, pictures of faces don’t do so well on Pinterest. There’s no need for selfies!
- Reply to all comments and DMs in order to build relationships with your followers
- Apply for a business Pinterest account and start using rich pins — this allows you to create product Pins which highlight all the salient details of the product, including price, customization options and more
- Include calls-to-action (CTA) on your pins — like ‘Make Your Own T-Shirt’ or ‘Click Here for Free Download’. Users will automatically be drawn to the action and will follow its lead.
Keep Your Style Consistent
Fans want to be able to recognize your brand and business in any context that you show up in.
Make sure that you’re using the same name, logo and aesthetic across all your networks. Feel free to act creatively within those parameters, but ultimately you want to be recognizable no matter which network you’re on.
Quality Over Quantity
If you take away one thing from this article we hope it’s this principle: quality over quantity when it comes to social media posts.
One well thought-out and engaging post per day on social media is all you need to recruit new fans and keep old ones happy.
Some networks benefit from a little more than this — Instagram Stories in particular — but, generally speaking, if you’re low on time, it’s worth committing to just one post on each network per day.
Tiny spelling and grammar mistakes that you might not notice when you’re writing your social media posts will be immediately highlighted by your followers, which will take the focus away from what you’re actually saying.
Give yourself time to take a break between writing and proof-reading to make sure that you’ve got fresh eyes on it before you publish.
Even better, hire an editor to double check everything before you send it out into the world!
Are you considering launching a craft business?
Make sure you check out our comprehensive 130+ page guide ‘How To Launch A Successful Vinyl Cutting Business
It includes everything you need to know to launch your own vinyl cutting business and start making sales today
Find out what really works, and what doesn’t in 2019 — how can you come up with design ideas that your audience will love, and pay you for?
What tips and tricks do you have for maximizing social media engagement?
For more tips and ideas on making money from crafts, check out our Craft Business section.