Is social media the secret to online sales? Marta Michaud gives us advice on how to get started using these valuable resources.
Hi. My name is Marta Michaud. My Etsy shop is called MySoulRepair. I have been a talent manager and a star-maker for 30 years and it has been a wonderful journey. Why do I bring this up? Because I have been making a HUGE transition to be a shop keeper on Etsy; like many of my Etsy peers that have left impressive career jobs, so am I. I decided to reclaim myself and make myself the star & the winner this time -instead of another person.
That said, my goal is to do this as a winning profitable business, not a hobby. I want to start the discussion about how we as Etsy Sellers can utilize social media to promote our shops. We need to make our shops more visible (if not household names), increase our sales (like talent bookings) and therefore make more money with raving fans. Not so different than star-making! 🙂
Why it is Important to Keep Up with Changes
Maybe you are starting to see my approach. I think I can best explore this by using comparisons in the field which I am considered an expert in marketing – to illustrate just how much the market has and is changing. This is especially true in retail where customers are moving from brick and mortar storefronts to shopping online. When I first started as a talent agent, a courier used to bring us “breakdowns” of projects that were casting each morning in the wee hours. We would rush to read, manually pull label and package our actors’ submissions.
Our messengers would pick up these packages each day and then drive all over Los Angeles to deliver them not later than 3 p.m. If we were late, our clients simply would miss out. Casting Director (CD) assistants would then open all of the incoming envelopes from the representatives and sort them into bins assigned to each character. Only a handful of actors’ submissions were chosen to be called for an audition. This entire process is now done online, often even the audition itself. It’s hard to believe that at one time, not long ago, how tedious, costly and time consuming the whole process was.
The Positive Results
I was lucky that when changes started to become available. I had a young man, Delancey, working in my office, who took the initiative to scan our hundreds of clients photos. He uploads all of our clients’ photos and resumes into the digital system before anyone was even really using it. By the time digital submissions became the norm, we were way ahead of the pack. We were established on the new platform with television shows and production companies. Other companies that didn’t see the change coming or simply ignored it, were struggling to catch up and missing out on sales. The representatives that did not embrace the technological changes were eventually just left behind.
Jumping into the Deep End
So, I’m going to give it my best shot to convince you, especially those reluctant to use social media, of its importance and to help reassure you that there are ways to make it work for you within your comfort zone. You might be surprised to discover just what it is or isn’t. I sure was! Diving into social media is not all that different from the first dive into a cold swimming pool. Granted not everyone wants to jump from the high dive (nor do they have to).
Once in the water, even if you waded into the shallow end, most of us enjoy swimming or splashing around. Not all of us want to do swan dives or wear bikinis! We’re all already working in cyberspace so it stands to make sense that our billboards and advertisements need to be placed on the information highway too, not on route 66!
Getting Comfortable in the Water
I feel that many of us avoided or still do avoid social media because as creative people we feel it represents an element of conformity and most definitely an element of invasion of our privacy. Or maybe we just think it’s tacky. Some of us, like me, even work at home because we enjoy the anti-social aspect of doing just this. We also tend to be sensitive and are modest and less likely to brag about anything we do or are. Our very nature as artists or collectors is nurturing. Most of us were raised to be humble, not brag and to behave with dignity, and we have seen a lot of outrageous distasteful behavior on social media & that is a turn-off.
The nice thing about social media is we can control our content & our brand. I want to help explore how WE can comfortably use the selling tools of social media in the most productive and meaningful way.
Down to the Nitty Gritty of Social Media
The most popular, visible social media vehicles are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr & Pinterest. Google Plus is closing this month. That said, Google is still one of, if not your most powerful & important online presence, and this is why clear titles and tags are so important. These other social media sites also increase your Google presence and help to put your shop in front of more buyers. Think of each social media post that you do as an advertisement. Best yet, you can do this for FREE.
I do most of my Etsy work right from my iPhone smart phone. I have each of these social media company’s APPS downloaded to my phone and I have approved the access to my camera. iPhone cameras (most smartphones) have digital cameras of higher quality than most of the older expensive digital cameras and you do not need to study computer science to operate them anymore! Additionally, once you have signed up for each of the above social media accounts you can link them to your Etsy account. From your PC or laptop, you can click on the marketing tab, select social media and you can shoot your most recent listings to all of your social media accounts at once!
Facebook will require you to register personally first. You may; however, visit your privacy settings to determine who sees your account or postings. Once you have done this, you should go to the main menu and create a “page” for your Etsy shop business. For example, I am Marta Michaud and have created a page mysoulrepair.com (my Etsy pattern site). Now I can now ALSO link to Instagram with Facebook and Facebook with Instagram I then invited my Facebook friends to follow and see the postings on my business page and the public can stumble upon these postings as well.
On Facebook, you can also join groups- like our Vintage Jewelry Team page and other Etsy topic pages. Many pages allow you to post and discuss your vintage items that are for sale, get help identifying something or determining its value. You can also hear about live events or get a feel for what is trending.
On Instagram, you can register personally or as a business. I maintain both. Although I was camera shy at first, I have found that buyers often respond to feeling like they know a little about the person and their shop. Some shops post constantly on Instagram, I don’t, but I do mark the items that I have posted #sold once they have sold. I am pleasantly surprised by doing so to discover that, similar to old magazine ads, people seem to enjoy buying things they have seen publicized. Most of my Instagram posts sell over time. I can also be proactive and reshare to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumbler from each Instagram post when things are a bit slow. Are you starting to see how interconnected these sites all are? You can also see how well an item is received by how many “likes” it receives.
I have found twitter to be the best at driving customers into my shop quickly. I maintain 3 accounts on Twitter. My personal account, my MySoulRepair account and one for my bunny, moxie_wabbit. Bunny Moxie is our rescue bunny, who also sells critter jewelry online to help cover her expenses. We tweet each other and cross-promote, which you can also do with Etsy teammates and friends. I have these same accounts on Instagram as well to do the same.
When my husband and I watch TV or a movie, I sit and tweet items from my shop by going into the listings area of my Etsy dashboard and clicking on the share button on the item. I then check my dashboard from time to time and see the instant result of more views of my items! More views = more potential sales! You can also join teams that tweet each other’s things. I tried this but, honestly, that’s time-consuming and I don’t like having to commit to it. Being spontaneous keeps me feeling like I am having FUN! I also find Twitter to be the most international, and my foreign sales have increased since I began tweeting.
Pinterest is a social media account where you can create public (or private) digital scrapbooks of the things you like or are selling. This also feeds to Google…so someone who is looking for say a Trifari Horse Head Brooch might just find yours…my Pinterest account existed before I started doing this, so it’s in my name, but most use their shop name. I have sections for my shop items and all kinds of things from prom jewelry to sexy Marilyn Monroe pictures! Some people have impressive and well organized Pinterest boards. Mine is a bit all over the place- but I get lots of saves by others to their boards…so I am accomplishing my goal of being more visible without having to micromanage. I am a huge fan of the 80/20 principle.
Tumblr is a site that allows you to post items with tags and/or even create blogs if you enjoy writing. It’s an easy share from Instagram and from Etsy directly, so I figure, why not one more place that someone might see my item for sale since I do not have a brick & mortar store. I also follow a few threads that I find interesting like old movies and high fashion photography. I have registered as MySoulRepair which continues to put my brand name out there as well.
There is another new site gaining mojo as others have folded. There is a positive content thought leadership site called thenativeinfluence.com. It features you, your business and what you are up to. It also allows you to share this content with all of the above sites, and it will increase your positive Google presence. On this site, I tend to announce my sales and or post photos from shoots as well as, what inspired me and tie it all up in a bow. Here is a link to see my account.
The hardest part about social media is not the technology (it’s as easy as an ATM machine), it is simply deciding to jump in and have fun. I started by taking my first selfie and posting it…. It was sort of terrifying. I felt foolish, and it sort of is, LOL! But now I have lots and lots of them. My next adventure is going to be to start making YouTube videos for my shop. I want to talk about my favorite jewelry…but I am still a bit camera shy. Take.baby steps and before you know it you’ll be swimming backstroke all over the world wide web! Just remember you have to be fishing to catch the big fish!
Since I left my career as a talent manager for others and decided to make me the star of my efforts, my sales have doubled. Yours can too! The best thing about selling online is that there are billions of potential customers worldwide. Unlike one small store on a local Main street, the world marketplace is our Main Street.
The best part is you can do all of this right from the comfort of your own sofa! You might even get lucky like I have and make a few new friends along the way!
Check back April 23 for Marti’s second article on Social Media: “How to Ride the Wave of Artificial Intelligence”
To read more about the Vintage Jewelry Team click here.