Facebook as a Promotional Tool

As we all know, just making a great product doesn’t get it sold – you need to market it.  And sure, we have an advantage being on Etsy where buyers come to and can find us.   However, that often is not enough.  To really be successful, we often need to market ourselves outside of Etsy and there are various social media venues in which to do so.  Today, I’ll be discussing how to market your shop using one such venue: Facebook.

Now most of the tips listed below will be suggestions as to different ways to promote yourself using Facebook – however, you may not feel comfortable with all suggestions so make the determination as to what level of self-promotion you’re comfortable with.  Some sellers feel shy and “spammy” promoting their shops while others believe that if you are serious about your business, you need to put yourself out there, however shameless it is.  Only you can determine what matches your style and business needs.

With that said, most of the information below will be in reference to Facebook fan pages – where you create a tandem page to your personal profile and post information separate from your personal page.  Most people agree that this is the best way to keep your business life separate from your personal life.  Desiree of ArtZebo shares this sentiment regarding her ArtZebo Creations fan page.  “I do not want to spam my friends and family constantly so I try to keep my personal profile separate as much as possible,” she says.

Benefits:

Facebook fan pages are a tool in which you can let friends, families and perfect strangers know what you’re up to.  In addition to keeping your business and personal life separate, and – depending on your privacy controls – a fan page can allow others who may not know you as a “friend” view your fan page and “like” it versus a personal page which most people require an approved invite (once again, this depends on your privacy settings).

From ArtZebo

“I have gotten two big custom orders so far through my ArtZebo Creations fan page and I have gotten several questions from people asking if I can make custom fragrances.  I think that it is working out.  It is slow to get it going but I think it is worth it!” says Desiree from ArtZebo.

People don’t even need to be registered with Facebook to find your fan page should you keep it open access  – they can find your page by way of a search engine or link and your fan page does not need to be linked to your personal profile in anyway allowing you anonymity.  Certainly, there can be some cons to that as well, so privacy will be discussed later.

Another benefit to having a fan page is that you can find applications that will allow you to create a “My Etsy” tab on your profile page which will create a mini Etsy window for “fans” to see what’s in your shop.  If they click on the link, it takes them directly to your Etsy shop.  There are all sorts of other applications you can add to your tabs to add value and information to your fan page; it’s just a matter of finding them and installing what you’d like to utilize.

How to use:

First you’ll need to set up your own fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

Once you get your fan page set up, you’ll need to get fans.  Most people choose to invite friends and family from their personal page.  There is a “Suggest to Friends” button that allows you to invite all your friends from your personal profile or you can be selective about who you invite.  Some believe that this is sticky territory, while others believe that you have to start somewhere and and your own friends and family members are most likely to advocate for you.  Once an invite is sent, people have the option to “like” it or “ignore” it putting them in the position to choose if they want to support your page or not.  It’s important to not take this personal – not all people will want to be involved in your business and that’s okay – don’t take it as a reflection on you or your work.

Some Etsy sellers recommend advertising your fan page on your personal page sparingly since some people just ignore page suggestions or don’t see them (as they do not come in email format but are rather listed on their profile page for them to find and click on).

If you’d rather not cross-promote between your personal and fan pages, another tactic is to “like” your own page.  Then, anytime you post on your fan page it will show up on your personal profile news feed allowing your friends who maybe haven’t joined see what you’re up to.

From ArtZebo

Once you have 25 fans, you are eligible to create your own address URL.  That is, instead of a page address with dozens of randomized letters and numbers, you can have an address that looks like:  www.facebook.com/yourshopname.  Personalizing your fan page URL looks neater, makes it easy for you and fans to remember and also looks much more professional on your promotional materials.

To create your own address URL, go to: www.facebook.com/username.  It’s very important that you go through the steps slowly and read everything over to ensure that you do not name your personal profile with the name you wanted to go to your fan page.  You should decide on a couple names in case your first choice is already taken.  My understanding is that you cannot change the spelling of your name once you’ve created your fan page, so choose wisely and proof it before confirming!

If you accidentally change your personal profile username instead of your fan page username, you can change it back only once (refer to the Etsy forums for specific directions on how to change this as many people have made this mistake).

If you would like a visual tutorial on how to set-up your personal URL for your Facebook fan page, click here.

Tips on using your fan page for promotion:

Let me start off by telling you how not to use your fan page: that is, posting only what you make and nothing else.  This will surely get you “hidden” on most people’s news feed which is exactly what you don’t want.  It’s all about appropriate, timely information that will reel in fans yet keep people from feeling spammed.  Says Karen of ecokaren, “Personally, I de-friend those who only lists what they sell and what they sold and relisted. Those are pure advertisements to me.”

It’s incredibly important to have interactive content up on your page that will engage your fans and get them to participate.  If they “like” it or comment themselves, it will show up on their news feed and their friends will see it.  This could be enough to pique the interest of a new fan who then clicks over to your page.  That’s often how you get new fans.

From ecokaren

And while it’s okay to post what you’re working on and what new items you’ve listed once in a while, you should also consider conversation pieces, such as, “what do you think” to an article or you can post quizzes, upcoming events, Q & A’s, facts about your business/industry, information about the handmade or green movement or even something quirky that will encourage them to engage and want to come back often for more.  “Try to be funny and lighthearted but don’t be too sarcastic as some of those do not come through as you intended. Your tone does not always come through correctly when you have limited space,” says Karen of ecokaren.  “Also, read before submit and correct grammar and spelling.”

Some other tips on getting more fans or involvement on your fan page include:

  • Cross-promoting on your blog by putting a Facebook badge or link that will bring people over to your fan page
  • Include your fan page URL on your promotional materials – business cards, thank you cards, on your Etsy shop announcement/profile, ACEOs/ATCs – if you use them – samples, etc.
  • Offer discounts on your fan page that are specific to only your Facebook fans only; this could translate readers into buyers and also get the word out to potential new fans

It’s important to note that unlike your personal profile, you won’t be notified when someone has posted something on your fan page wall (if you allow this in your privacy settings) unless you check your own page.  As such, you’ll want to make sure you check your own page regularly to ensure that you haven’t missed an opportunity to answer a question or respond to a post in a timely manner.  However, if you “like” your own posts on your page, you will be notified of any follow-ups to that specific post (which is especially helpful if someone comments on something you’ve posted days/weeks ago; you may never see that comment since it could be down at the bottom or several pages back on your wall).  By liking your comment, you can see latecomers to the discussion.

Like any social media venue, regular maintenance and follow-up is key as is sharing the love with other fan pages.  “Just like blogs, you have to leave comments and posts on others’ walls..for them to reciprocate,” says Karen of ecokaren.  “I also remove those who don’t converse with me. It’s a two way street and if they don’t respond to my posts, obviously, I’m invisible; why would I want to be their friend?” she adds.

Some sellers will use “Link Love” to amass followers.  Basically, you find participating fan pages, “like” a bunch of them and they in turn like you.  This often brings your numbers of fans to a new level.  However, it can be impersonal and take away from the aspect of engaging your fans.  Some like this, others do not; it really is a matter of personal opinion and what meshes with your style of promotion.

From ecokaren

Excercise caution:

As with any business decision, you need to exercise caution with regards to privacy, legality and ethics.  With regards to privacy, you need to make the determination whether you want your page open for anyone to find or limited to those you invite.  Also, you’ll need to determine whether you’ll allow any fan to post a comment on your page (and then deal with any consequences associated with their content) or keep it to just your posts.   With regards to legality, it’s important for you to know the do’s and don’ts of Facebook.  Recently Facebook changed the rules on giveaways/contests which are no longer allowed (so if that is something you enjoy participating in, you’ll need to find another venue in which to promote).  With regards to ethics, you need to keep in mind that promoting your shop in a way that doesn’t alienate friends/families/fan is a fine line.  Spamming folks all day long or only with your new items is rarely appreciated and more likely to be disdained.

Also try to be cognizant of too much “Etsy speak” without explaining it.  Though many of us live and breathe by our Etsy shops, many people are still unfamiliar with Etsy and may need explanations of what Etsy is and to what you are referring to.

Final Thoughts

Once again, promotion of your shop and the manner in which you do it is a personal decision.  There is not necessarily a right or wrong way, just what feels right for you and your business.  Likewise, as with most things – you get out of it what you put into it, so setting up a fan page and not managing it or keeping it entertaining/informative won’t do you much good.

“Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are great for getting to know people and meet new people. I’ve sold items to people I met through Twitter and Facebook from having ‘conversations’. It’s work, yes, because you have to ‘socialize’, ergo, ‘Social’ Media,” adds Karen of ecokaren.

Keep in mind that our team has its own Facebook page, a page that you’ll surely want to like!  Check it out at: www.facebook.com/ecoetsy

Also as a reminder to team members:  you can find and add other member’s fan pages by going to the directory in the EcoEtsy Yahoo Group Database.  Don’t forget to add your fan page as well!

This post was written by

Greenearthgoodies – who has written posts on Eco Etsy.

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Comments

  1. Really enjoying the business articles! Thanks for the hints and tips!