Planning for Facebook
By: Rossi Ignatova – SilverSense (www.silversense.biz)
How to post a steady stream of exciting and engaging status updates without running out of things to say. Organise the different flows of information about your handmade business in a logical and easy to handle way.
We all know that maintaining a lively and exciting Facebook page is a great marketing tool for your handmade craft business. So, you create your page, spread the word about it, attract your first likers and then you post your first status updates. It all goes great for a few weeks – you post excitedly about handmade creations, craft fairs you will be at and blogs you have discovered, but then you hit the proverbial runner’s wall.
First, it feels like you have ran out of things to say. All status messages you come up with appear to be like an endless repeat of things you have already said. Then, you feel completely drained and the question ‘What to post about? What to post about?’ doesn’t cease to swirl around your mind. So, you spend a long time simply staring at the computer screen and slowly but surely updating your Facebook wall becomes yet another tedious task. You would rather postpone it or even forget about it than do it every day.
It doesn’t need to be this way. With a little effort and some forward planning, you can easily produce a steady and fresh stream of status updates which will keep your likers coming back for more. To achieve this, you need to think about information in a new way. Instead of coming up with each status update as and when, try to define categories which cover the different aspects of your handmade business and the different types of knowledge that you as a crafter and a business person possess. Give each category a name and quickly jot down the topics relevant to it.
This is similar to the approach used by newspaper editors. Every day they need to fill in the blank pages of their paper with exciting and attention-catching news. Instead of rummaging around for the first piece of newsworthy information they can find, they divide the pages of the newspaper according to pre-defined categories (politics, business, finances, you get the gist) and then divide each page in subtopics pertaining to the main category of the page. This creates an organised and logical informational stream, which stimulates readership and makes writing efforts more targeted and focused.
So, what can you do to emulate the same approach? Start thinking about your business, your creative process and your customer services practices. Also, consider your personality, your emotions and your social traits. Write down little notes about all these and try to organise them in logical and clear categories. It may be difficult at the start, but give yourself some time and the right categories will soon crystalise. For example, thinking about my business (www.silversense.biz) and my personality, the categories I have defined are: Affirmation, Knowledge, Emotion, Invitation, Promotion, Seasonal and Visualise. I will show you now what each of these stands for and consequently the different status updates that can be easily created based on them.
You provide the best level of customer service – you post orders promptly, reply to enquiries in a matter of hours and deal with clients in a friendly and courteous way. Well, let your likers know about it! Some of them may have already bought from you, but others may still be holding back even though they quite like what you make. Re-assure them! A status update along the lines of ‘Just packing orders received today. You know, I always post orders within 24 hours of receipt, so that the client doesn’t have to wait.’ is a powerful message affirming your business practices and potentially helping you win new custom. So, every now and then, consider posting a status update affirming the values of your business:
- how quickly you respond to enquiries,
- how you pack orders (maybe you enclose a free sample pack or wrap each item in a free gift box),
- are you available for custom orders,
- do you have an incentives structure in place,
- what is your turnaround time,
- you can also mention any professional memberships that you have.
You know your product inside and out – the materials it is made of, the techniques you used in it, the creative process from the design to the actual making stage. Talk about them. Let your likers know about the quality of the materials used (be it beads, fabric, paper or metal), the different tools you employ, how you learnt and developed the techniques that make your pieces so unique. A status message along the lines of: ‘Have spent the morning polishing my handmade sterling silver charms. It is a long process consisting of several steps, but it is so worth it when you see the mirror shine of the finished charm’ involves your likers in your creative process and gives them a tantalizing glimpse into your life as a crafter and an artisan. So, go ahead and share the knowledge. Some of the topics you can cover under this category are:
- perceived properties of the materials you use (gemstones’ lore for example will provide you with abundant and exciting tidbits to post about),
- techniques you have mastered,
- quality of the materials you use (for example, are your creations nickel- and lead-free and why this is so important),
- tools you have just bought or have used for a long time,
- how you achieve different finishes and effects,
- how to take care of the finished items so as to enjoy them a long time,
- how-to videos and tutorials you have made yourself,
- links to useful resources you have found online.
Emotions and feelings are an intrinsic part of a crafter’s life. You create something new, you savour every stage of the creative process and invest your heart and soul into the finished piece. Communicate this to your likers. Use powerful and engaging language. Show them your creative emotions, the human behind the piece. A status message along the lines of ‘Just finished a bespoke piece of jewellery for a beautiful bride. It is a wonderful feeling that my creation will be a part of her special day’ elevates the emotive status of your work. It makes it personal and recognisable. So, don’t forget to express yourself. Some of the topics you can cover under this category are:
- how you feel about your craft,
- the feelings the design and making processes leave you with,
- how you feel when you see people wear and use your creations,
- the warm words of thanks a client has shared with you,
- the positive feedback you have received,
- the feeling that fills you up when you walk into your studio every day,
- your sources of inspiration,
- the emotive powers of handmade pieces given as presents or bought for oneself,
- how you keep your creative juices flowing.
In the second part of ‘Planning for Facebook’ we will explore four more categories of information: Invitation, Promotion, Seasonal and Visualize
Rossi combines her love for crafts, jewellery and beads with her interests in languages and communication. She runs SilverSense (www.silversense.biz) – a dynamic jewelry making supplies company providing you with gorgeous gemstones, freshwater pearls and Czech glass beads. Please connect with SilverSense on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SilverSenseLondon), Twitter (@silversense1) and on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/100194574406489853972/posts).