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Getting the most out of being on-line?

18 Apr

I’ve been thinking of this for a while now, with so many options to market yourself and communicate on-line, how do you know which to choose?  From having your own website, Facebook page, e-marketing, blogging, digging, tweeting, stumbling etc, how do you know which will work best for you and also how do you ever find the time to do them as well as craft?

It is a complete minefield and let’s face it, from a business point of view, we only attempt to do all these things so we can tell everyone about the products we make and hopefully encourage people to buy them!

Take myself for instance, I have 2 Facebook Business pages as well as my personal page, I have 3 Twitter Accounts, 2 Blogs, a Pinterest and Stumbleupon account, 2 Google email accounts, I have Google analytics, I’m registered  on Google+  and I am also registered to sell on both Folksy and Etsy and I like visiting their forums.

Wow, I’ve even shocked myself with all those, no wonder many get neglected!

My biggest problem is I don’t fully understand what some of them can do to help me promote my businesses, encourage sales and quite frankly make my presence felt on-line.  For The Crafty Network it’s not so bad as it’s all about promoting others, but when it comes to promoting my own products, I probably don’t use them as well or as often as I should!  I tend to concentrate mostly on Facebook and the Blogs and I rely entirely on Facebook posts being tweeted on Twitter, my Blog posts being publicised on Facebook and my Tweets appearing on the Blog (thank god for linking/connecting).  I only log on to Twitter, Pinterest and Stumbleupon, Folksy and Etsy when I have a spare minute, which isn’t often enough!  Also one of my goals for this year is to start a website for my own products but I’m not sure I will ever find the time to start it and more importantly keep it up to date.  So often I see websites which look very nice but you can tell they haven’t been updated in a long time, ie. some are still displaying happy new year messages!  Also, how do you keep it up there at the top of searches with Google etc, does that need more time?  There’s no point having a website if nobody sees it?

So am I missing something just by concentrating on Facebook and Blogging?  Should I be spending more time on Twitter, I hear many people rave about how it has created lots of sales, how?  Should I start my website and forget my Blog, or should I Blog more often and try to gain more subscribers and encourage more comments?  I read recently that successful Bloggers must post frequently and regularly and encourage dialogue with their readers to be successful.  Should I be joining in more on crafting and business forums, should I be constantly networking and promoting on Facebook, is this harder to do now with the new timeline or easier?   Do I stick to just one e-marketplace to sell my items or do I try many to see which works best for my products?  Running and marketing your own business is not easy, especially when you are also the designer and manufacturer of your own products!  There are only 24 hours in a day and you do need to sleep at some point.

I don’t think there are any easy solutions or set rules, I think it is trial and error, you do what you enjoy, feel comfortable with and have time to do, what might be successful for one, might not work for another.  However, I would be really interested to know what you think and I would love it if you could share with us what works best for you?  How do you market and promote your business on-line?  Have you discovered a magic formula?  Which gives you most Sales?

Or let me know if you are as equally confused as I am?  it would be great, if we could help each other.

For those who are not familiar with all the on-line sites, here is a list of the ones I know about, let me know if I have missed anything?

I’m looking forward to hearing your view and seeing your comments.

Thanks.

Linda x

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23 Comments

Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Discussions

 

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23 responses to “Getting the most out of being on-line?

  1. lizzierosejewellery

    April 19, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Hi Linda, I’m in exactly the same confused position as you at the moment and I don’t have half of the accounts that you do! I’m starting out with all this but have the disadvantage of not been very computer literate and am teaching myself (with help from library books) how to slowly but surely progress through the setting up and managing sites process.

    It is time consuming and the reality is I don’t want to spend half my days sat at my laptop but that’s what it is taking at the moment. I will be interested in hearing any other commenters on their experience.

    Thanks for making me feel that it’s not just me! Cath.

     
    • The Crafty Network

      April 19, 2012 at 8:14 am

      Hi, Thanks for your comments. It is a constant learning process for me too. At the beginning of last year, I had a tidy house, a cared for garden and cossetted family and I only used Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, I’d never tweeted in my life and I didn’t have a clue what stumbling or pinning was! Now my house is lucky if it gets hoovered once a week, my garden is looking a bit uncared for and the family have to fend for themselves quite a bit, all down to my ‘addiction’ to crafting and social networking.

      I have found forums very helpful with regards to finding out about things on-line as people share their knowledge and experiences. That’s one of the reasons why I started the TCN Blog to try to bring all that information together and hopefully help and encourage people to take advantage of all networking opportunities and promote their businesses and gain sales. I would love to know how other crafting people manage their time, so hopefully we can share their tips. Thanks. Linda x

       
      • lizzierosejewellery

        April 19, 2012 at 8:42 am

        I’m looking at my kitchen floor now, yet another day gone without cleaning! I feel quite bad about it but at least it’s allowing my teenage children to be a bit independent and actually ‘MAKE’ snacks for themselves sometimes!

        I find I have to set myself time limits; an hour to check emails, then another for housework, then till the kids come home from school for jewellery, etc, this doesn’t always work and I seem to be always distracted by emails coming in or need to go out and buy something for dinner… if I could be more strict with myself that would help but it’s just not me!

         
      • The Crafty Network

        April 19, 2012 at 8:59 am

        I know the feeling! I’d much rather be making jewellery and on here than doing housework!

         
  2. lwcreations

    April 19, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Hi Linda,
    Thank you for this post as it tells me I am not alone in feeling like this. I have recently started a new wordpress blog but don’t seem to get many UK traffic. Have to say I am fairly new to selling my crafts online so maybe it is time and more networking needed from me but I do feel that it takes over from my crafting. I am on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Etsy, Folksy and Misi.co.uk. I will be doing a craft fair in May which I found out about on Facebook and I have made a few sales on Facebook so it does work, I just feel that I could be doing better especially when I see other pages and they have loads of orders and even waiting lists, which tells me there is more to do. I do question if I have time as I home educate my son and try and craft and network, honestly I don’t know how some people manage it all.

     
    • The Crafty Network

      April 19, 2012 at 7:54 am

      Hi, thanks for your comment. It does seem to be a fine balancing act between managing all your on-line commitments, your home life and doing what it’s all about, the crafting and selling. It is so easy to neglect one at the expense of the other! I am jealous too of all those businesses who seem to effortlessly get lots of orders, I want to know their secret! Linda x

       
  3. Scavenger Annie

    April 19, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Yes I’m with you on that one Linda! Facebook is my main way of promoting all things Scavenger Annie & has got me the most biz. I Twitter & recently set up a personal Twitter so I can keep the SA one as “shop tweets”. I have 2 blogs, a Blogger one & one on my website, but both have been neglected due to me being busy stitchin’! Naughty Scavenger! FB is quick & easy to upload pics to & get feedback on items asap. One of my aims for this year is to sort out my social media presence & spend more time on one blog & my website, making FB & Twitter an info service with updates, exclusive news, etc. Fitting that all in with the “other job” & very important yummy mummy duties, well, that’s a blog post or two in itself hehe! x

     
    • The Crafty Network

      April 19, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Hi, Thanks for your comments. It’s so easy to get bogged down with the ‘virtual’ paperwork and networking that sometimes there is no time left for crafting. I find it very difficult as it is, keeping my other business Blog and Facebook page Synchronised, especially with items for sale/sold, that’s why I haven’t started a website yet, as I know I will struggle to keep it up to date. I never realised when I started crafting how much time is needed to keep it all together but being a yummy mummy is much more important. Linda x

       
  4. lizzierosejewellery

    April 19, 2012 at 8:59 am

    By the way Linda, can I get myself onto your Craft Directory please? What do I need to do? Thanks, Cath.

     
    • The Crafty Network

      April 19, 2012 at 9:22 am

      If you just comment with all your details and links under the directories you would like to be added to, I will do the rest. Thanks. Linda x

       
  5. The Sparkly Fairy (Emma)

    April 19, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Great article – lately I seem to spend more time online than actually crafting!

     
  6. Diane

    April 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Grrrrr, I tried to ‘like’ this post but because I can’t remember my password for WordPress, it won’t let me. This is exactly the sort of issue you’re talking about.
    Also, on F/b you’ve said how disappointed you were with the lack of response to the Wednesday mini-challenge and immediately loads of ladies said that they hadn’t even seen the post and that they would’ve entered if they’d seen it.
    Since I’m busy trying to decide what craft to focus on for a business, part of my thoughts have been about this exact issue. I find that I feel myself inadequate because I don’t know what half of them are or what they’re for. At the moment, my opinion is that you select one site which you want to focus on and really push for that. Being sole owners of our businesses (I’m using the Royal ‘we’ as such there, as I don’t have a going concern, yet) we can’t possibly push three or more websites without at least one of them being out of date. There’s nothing more infuriating than looking at a site, finding something you want to buy and then finding out that they don’t make them anymore.
    I am doing some research at the moment into a couple of sites I’m keen on and that involves seeing if anyone else on that site does what I’m possibly thinking of doing and if so, how much they’re charging for the goods and postage etc etc
    It’s not in the amount of sites you join but in the quality of the one/few you do sign up to. That’s always up for review though if you find your efforts failing. A successful business should always be up for review,/improvement, so I’ve heard 🙂

     
    • The Crafty Network

      April 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      To be honest Diane, I am feeling a bit fed up of the lack of response to my posts etc. I had hoped the mini challenge would be a different way of offering people an opportunity to show off their items, I do it for no other reason than to try and help promote people on a regular basis. I do post messages about it from Monday and I try to share the post throughout the day in case people have missed it, so I don’t why my posts are missed, I just wonder if it is the new timeline to blame? Even more dissapointing was how difficult it was to get people to like or comment on the 3000 LIKER Competition. I only asked for 300 people to comment, but I only got 192 entries and I ended up giving most people 2 entries with their personal and business pages! I didn’t know it would be so hard to give £15 away! I was going to do some things in May to celebrate TCN being 1 year old, but I don’t think I am going to bother now. 😦

       
  7. Diane

    April 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Just remembered, as an aside, that Folksy site have changed things – you do NOT need to register with them to buy, which means that it’s so much easier for customers to get hold of crafty goodiness 🙂

     
  8. fiddlyfingers

    April 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    A really good post and one I have been struggling with for a while now. Like you Linda, I only started fb to keep in touch with family and friends and now find I have a blog and am on Twitter. I’m not sure whether I should have a separate fb page for my crafting? Do more people see this than my blog, can I sell things through a fb page? I did set up one at one point but cancelled it as I wasn’t sure what to put on it? Help!!! (please!)

     
    • The Crafty Network

      April 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      Hi, It is surprising how things escalate! lol. The way I see it, a Facebook business page compliments other things, it allows you to tell people what you are doing in more detail than Twitter and interact with potential customers, you can post photo albums of items you have for sale or sold, it will link in to Twitter and your Blog and you can sell things through it. BUT, you have to work at it, it won’t get noticed unless you network (visit other business or networking pages). A word of warning though, don’t get carried away with the number of likes you get, what’s more important is the people who interact with you on your page. Funny, I started with a Facebook page, then progressed to Twitter and the Blog, I have sold quite a few things through Facebook, but nothing through my Blog. Linda x

       
  9. fiddlyfingers

    April 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Thank you for your help Linda, I may look into this again.

     
  10. Judi

    April 20, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Thank goodness I’m not the only one thinking about all of this. I don’t want to spend crafting time on the laptop, but I do understand that it is necessary to promote oneself. The success of the internet is it’s own worst enemy I think because there are now so many sites to be on that it all takes time to keep it all updated. I don’t know whether to go full on with just a couple or dabble in lots! I was hoping for an answer in this post and it’s comments but it seems we are all in the same boat. Decisions, decisions.

    Please could you put me on your Craft Directory List Linda. My blog is http://judiknitsandsews.blogspot.co.uk/ I mainly knit and sew, but have been known to bead, embroider, crochet, bake, and dye. So your handmade fabric,felt and yarn category would be the one to be in. I have run workshops in sock knitting and would like to do more of this, not just socks but other things as I am a qualified teacher and recently retired from the classroom, hurray!
    Judi

     
    • The Crafty Network

      April 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Judi, Thanks for your note, just a quick reply, I will upload your details to the directory on Monday if that is OK, I have a busy weekend ahead away from the computer.

      With regards to dabbling on the net, I would suggest doing it gradually, that’s what I’ve been doing. I first started with Facebook, progressed to Twitter and then to a Blog and as they all link to each other, it works well for me. If you are looking at e-marketing sites to sell your items, again I would say, try one first, see how it goes, if after a couple of months you have no sales, then consider trying a different site. It is very much trial and error, I know people who have listed items on Folksy and sold nothing, but when they tried Etsy they started getting a regular flow of orders. It also depends what you make and sell, if it is a flooded market ie. jewellery for instance) you really have to work hard on your photographs to make your items stand out from the rest, it also helps if you make something that is unique. Also you must remember to PROMOTE, PROMOTE & PROMOTE, you won’t be successful unless you tell people about your items.

      Hope that helps a little bit.

      Linda x

       
      • Judi

        April 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

        Thank you Linda, I have been concentrating on my blog and want to progress to sales so I will think carefully about folksy and etsy and try to keep it simple to start with.
        Judi

         
  11. Yowe

    April 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Great article, Linda. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could come up with the ideal solution to this juggling act we all try to do with our time! I’m surprised you are able to find time to blog at all with all you are doing… it’s something I’m very wary about taking on. I don’t even have a Twitter account yet, though I definitely feel I should. I guess I have shied away from it, as I don’t know exactly what’s involved. However, I already spend so much time on my website, Facebook page and e-mails that my crafting suffers. Fortunately, impending craft fairs do dictate a change in priorites and today I actually managed to make a few things… hence this little internet browse!

     
    • The Crafty Network

      April 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      I hope someone does one day, imagine 1 click on a central dashboard and your Facebook page, website, on-line shop, twitter etc all get updated at the same time. No more struggling to keep everything up to date! Lx

       

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