There are a lot of Etsy Shop owners out there who, like many small businesses, see social media as “free advertising” for their business. They spend tremendous amounts of time and energy on this because they know that everyone is on social media and it doesn’t cost them anything. Well the first part of that sentence is true, everyone is on social these days. The latter portion is not, social is far from free.
To do social well and in a way that will actually drive traffic AND sales, you need to use the same marketing tool box that you would for any other marketing project – creation of customer profiles, targeting, segmentation, brand guidelines, and, most importantly, relationship building.
Here are 3 Do’s and Don’ts for Etsy Shops on Social Media.
Let’s start with what not to do.
Don’t just promote yourself and your shop.
It’s called social media for a reason. People on social hate nothing more than promotional accounts. A good strategy, instead, is 70/20/10, 70% of your posts are sharing other people’s content, 20% is sharing your own unique content (useful to your followers, not selling stuff!), and the final 10% is for the purely promotional posts like items, sales, and events.
Don’t use seller hashtags.
The number 1 mistake I see Etsy shop owners make on places like Twitter and Pinterest is that they have all these useless hashtags like #etsyshop #etsyfinds #etsyhandmade #etsygifts, etc. These are hashtags that sellers use, not customers. Instead, you need to use hashtags that your customers would use to find your products. This could be something like #luxuryhandbags or #digitalart.
In the same way, do not join #shoppershours or #etsysuccess Twitter Chats. These are a complete waste of time as, again, they are all sellers.
Don’t focus on vanity metrics.
I’ll speak with Etsy sellers on Twitter who have 100,000 posts and 40,000 followers, but are making mistakes #1 and #2 above. I’ll look at their shop and it has 34 sales even though they’ve been on Etsy and Twitter since 2014. So I’ll ask, “If you aren’t getting sales, why are you spending such a huge amount of time on social?” The response is always, “Because it drives a lot of traffic.”
Vanity metrics are things like web site visits or people who favorite your item on Etsy. Nothing matters if they don’t convert to sales. You are finding the wrong people or, very likely as well, social media bots are finding your profiles and clicking through them. If it doesn’t lead to sales, you need to change what you’re doing or drop the tactic completely and focus on something that does work, like updating your keywords.
So what should you do?
Do get to know your customers.
This is the number 1 piece of advice I can give you. Social media is all about relationships and sharing. Imagine if you saw a marketer standing on a street corner shouting about their new craft product they just made. Would you go over and buy it? Probably not. This is the equivalent of what I see most Etsy shop owners doing on social.
Now imagine that same person on the street corner didn’t try to sell you anything, but got to know you. Maybe you go out to coffee or lunch a few times. Eventually, the person mentions that she sells product X. Your response now is going to be very different.
Additionally, getting to know your customers means they will tell you what they like and don’t like. You can learn from them to make your product better. In addition, customers you have great relationships with will advocate for your products and recommend it to friends. That’s free advertising and word-of-mouth marketing from friends and family has, by far, the highest conversion rates!
Do have a strategy.
You don’t just want to post willy-nilly. Are you tying your posting to trending events or things like holidays? An obvious example is to promote your Christmas items during Christmas, but not during Easter in the spring.
Come up with campaigns where you offer discounts for specific periods of time or to certain customers.
Remember my 70/20/10 rule from above.
Do use data and analytics.
Data is your best friend. Look at your Twitter and Pinterest analytics. They will show you what posts/pins people are engaging with the most. This means you need to do more of that and less of what they’re not.
Look at things like timing. Do more people tend to interact at certain times? Start tailoring your posts to when your followers are most active.
Do the same with hashtags. Try similar posts using different hashtags and see if they get better results. All of this helps narrow down your audience so that you are finding buying customers, not just people who like to window shop online.
That’s it. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for your business that leads to large increases in revenue. But it’s not free marketing. It takes a lot of time to learn how to do well, build relationships, and manage content. In this sense, it’s not free, but an investment of time, which IS your most valuable resource.