Let's start a conversation...
2. I made some things this week that I have listed in my online shops....
Some observations from the week....
I wanted to share some of my thoughts on a few things with you. After a lot of thought on these topics, it's bubbling over and I have to get it out and the blog might be the best place to start a conversation.
Business practices lately have me really questioning the world of handmade. I am noticing that places to connect with virtual customers has a different feeling these days. Let me see how to say this. For example, Instagram. Once a place that was really just a fun place to follow favorite people, a place to favorite photos, is now a business venture. People use it to sell their things. Or de-stash their things. And I'm noticing there isn't really any etiquette. Ya know how back in the day, blogging was big in the handmade community? It was kind of a great etiquette to follow blogs that follow you. I still operate under that mind set and I guess things have changed along the way because people that use instagram as a way to connect with people don't follow that same etiquette. Just because you follow them, doesn't mean that they feel they need to follow you. This affects the camaraderie, don't you think?
Another example. Ravelry. I have friended folks I admire, other designers or podcasters, on Ravelry, and for the most part I have always been friended back.
Another way to communicate is via the forums and groups inside Ravelry. Most podcasters start up a podcast group in which they have threads opened up for each episode to encourage chatter...or have a separate thread for questions viewers might have for the host. I do see a lot more one on one communication here, but still have seen people admit that they don't respond as much as they should. Or that they can attest that they "read every comment" but might not be that great at responding.
Podcasts on Youtube. I have subscribed to many podcasters, but have not been followed back. Further, I have commented on podcasts I enjoy and have gotten very few responses back.
And further, I have mentioned podcasts on my podcast, as a way to pass on the love to people- sharing with them who I like to watch.
As I am watching my subscriptions, I notice people shouting out to other podcasters, or thanking them for mentions, and I think to myself....How do they know? I have yet to figure out a way to "tag" people in the descriptions of my youtube videos... I don't believe there is a way. So my next thought was, the people must reach out to them and let them know they mentioned them. in a private message. And so, I reach out and tell about 5-6 podcasters, hey- this week I mentioned you in my episode. Not in any expectation that they are required to mention me on theirs but following the whole mind set of nice etiquette figured I might get a mention or two. As you can probably guess, that was not the case. So now I feel a little stupid. Like maybe there is some unspoken thing about reaching out, maybe it was tacky. Maybe now I'm the laughing stock of that community because of this.
As for Facebook- ugh. that is kind of a passe now eh? Facebook has become a different kind of beast and I have seen people move away from this avenue to connect with customers because unless you're dishing out tons of cash for advertising, it gets a business owner no where.
I tend to follow a business page, but friending new people rarely happens anymore. Which leads me to the thought- where is the one on one communication happening these days? Because even instagram seems a little transparent.
So my question is.... If people are using these avenues to better their business, gain customers, and in reality form relationships with their followers, shouldn't they work harder at maintaining a strong level of camaraderie by keeping up on comments, responses, and good etiquette practices ? I mean that is what helps my business. But if I'm commenting and trying to open up lines of communication with someone I essentially might want to buy something from, and I don't get any response, that in turn can definitely have the opposite effect.
what do you think?
I'm right there with you! I sometimes scratch my head at this. My biggest concern is how to connect with people, but not fall in. Sometimes I go on Facebook just to check a message and then the next thing I know, hours have passed. And while I love people and connecting to others, my time these days seems ever fleeting. Kieu Pham Gray is working on a great crafting site called Ever Crafting and it will hopefully be a place that crafters can connect and communicate and create more connections.ReplyDelete
I look forward to learning more about Ever Crafting. do you have a link to share?Delete
I feel the same way. But one of the factors that may be going into all this - and perhaps I'm the only one who perceives it this way - is that all this social media stuff is getting overwhelming. It's overwhelming to keep posting and it's overwhelming to manage and it's overwhelming to respond to. There are so many avenues. I've sought out information online about how to manage social media effectively, and that just seems to complicate things further. Now Instagram is changing, and I wonder whether it's even worth messing with. I used to have my IG account linked to my FB business page, but now it's linked to my personal page and I've got to take several minutes to figure out how to correct it. Add to that: it's an election year, and there's so much offensive crap on FB that a lot of my friends aren't checking in as much as before. Oh, and there are changes coming up on Etsy that I've got to get ready for. I don't know if others feel the same way I do, but it seems like I spend 10% of my time creating and the other 90% in various administrative tasks. I know it can't be 100% creating - the job description necessarily includes bookkeeping and marketing. But daaaang!ReplyDelete
I have to agree with Jenny above...there is so much social media stuff going on its overwhelming and i think folks just cannot keep up with it all. My philosophy is to continue with the venues i can and not worry about the others too much. One person can only do so much. I follow back if someone follows me, always answer comments and questions, and will keep doing it even if others do not. Treat it the way your intuition tells you and forget about the rest.ReplyDelete
As a buyer primarily right now, I'll third what Jenny mentioned. I think between just feeling overwhelmed with so much social media and with the election year, a lot of people are trying to wean themselves a little bit (including myself). I still check in with people I like (and try to remember to keep "liking" something on their page so they show up in my notifications). I know I get sucked in a lot of days and so am not very productive creatively, so I'm trying hard not to go to go to the newsfeed on FB itself and just check notifications (still working on that, LOL).ReplyDelete
I'm not an Instagram-er so I can't speak to that but I've found on You Tube that it takes a loooonnnggg time for people to respond to comments and questions. I have to remember to check my messages on there more often because I always assume it will be a while (if ever).
I've come to the realization for myself that I will probably not have a big presence online once I start selling things and will probably stick with local avenues. I have ADHD and the whole idea of managing online social media avenues feels really overwhelming. I don't know how you all do it!
I agree with you, Jenny and Susan. I just recently started using more social media to sell my goods, I was a marketing manager for a fairly large company but failed to use much social media for my own wares, my mistake, I think I was just tired of it all. I'm new to actually "using" IG but I feel the same as you Lorelei, what is the etiquette? How does it work? Also I used to find the practice of sharing the same post on different sites tedious, because I tend to follow the same people, but now that I use it I understand, you want to share your best picture of your work and it's much easier to post it once. It's very difficult to keep up with all of the changes on etsy, IG, FB, having a website of my own, there's so much to do and learn, it's overwhelming! Rant over. Thank you very much for starting the conversation, I don't feel so alone now! JerylReplyDelete
Good food for thought Lorelei - I think it's really hard to get the attention of bigger name podcaster/bloggers because time is short and they are overwhelmed with emails/requests. I think the best thing is what you are doing - but without expectation. Reaching out by email is great, but it may take several times before they respond or give you that shout out. Also connecting on several levels of those influencers is a good idea, leave comments, like photos, share with them - it's about building a relationship. But if you've reached out several times without any reply, move on to someone more receptive. Keep being persistent and offering things of value for the community. As far as Instagram, I think it takes more than following, I found If I like a few photos, follow and leave a comment I'm more likely to get a follow back. Instagram is different though because they are only going to follow you back if they are interested in your feed. For me, I find that my favorite place to connect to people has been my FB group that I made for my Humblebeads customers. Julie of Uglibeads is a great example of someone who uses a group to really connect with her peeps. I think taking a step back to make sure I'm being a better blogger is something I'm going to work on too. Not only writing, but connecting with other bloggers again. Comments are so rare these days, I guess we should be the change we want to see!!!ReplyDelete
I had no idea anyone else ever worried about comments or not knowing what to do etc. I think everyone else is an expert! I am coming at it from a little different perspective because I'm just a buyer, but I do have a blog to show what I make. When I started it a few years ago (I'm a late adopter of social media) I thought I wouldn't have any followers, so I'm very pleased with my level of visits and comments now. I worried about whether to answer comments on the blog, because I didn't want to seem unfriendly, but I only do if I really have something to say because that's just how I am in life too. I don't expect people to follow me if I follow them, and I don't necessarily follow someone who follows me. Just if I really enjoy their posts because there is so much! I didn't really know that etiquette. My favorite ways to connect are Facebook (and I actually do buy a lot on FB and from seeing things on FB) and blogs, but I can see things are changing and people are moving away, at least from blogs. I'll probably be late adopting whatever the next thing is too. But I agree with Heather - do what you enjoy but without expectation. I was able to enjoy social media once I stopped being worried and just did what felt ok to me. I figure I'm nice and mean well, so if anyone takes me the wrong way, I can't help it. That's how I know you haven't committed some terrible faux pas or anything. I love your podcast and blog. I bet over time if you keep doing shoutouts you'll get some mentions too.ReplyDelete
It's tough... I personally find it all very overwhelming and so therefore only do two things Facebook and Etsy and I suppose a third if you count Pinterest. I have a Facebook page (both personal and business) as I never wanted to mix the two, however those lines have been blurred. Secondly I manage my shops on Etsy. After a year long attempt to market directly from my own website I went back to Etsy and am glad I did for the ease of listing, selling, and the communication. Time spent on these various venues is time spent away from creating or marketing what I sell. It's probably telling my age, but I find it difficult to spend so much time in so many different arenas. Yes, Facebook has changed and it is harder and harder to reach out not only to people on your business page, but to your personal contacts as well. Not to mention Pinterest which I used to enjoy so much, but now it seems every pin is a link to an ad. I suppose that's what we get for 'free'. We are covered up as a society with information and over load.ReplyDelete
There's no doubt that it's hard to make a living in 'handmade'. I think most makers through out the years have done it for hobby, for loved ones, and for the enjoyment of creating. Is there a market for handmade, yes, and it's not large, but it is made even more difficult by people who undervalue their work. I agree with Ann in that Heather's comment is spot on with respect to expectations.
From the outside looking in I think you have done great.
Pinterest just bums me out now. I used to love it so much but a lot of the content is clickbait for an ad like you mentioned.Delete
I think everyone who's commented has it spot on! I think you just keep doing what feels right for you, but without expectation. You don't know what schedules folks at the other end of your comments and likes are working on, and so id say try not to take it personally when people don't respond in a way in which they would in a perfect world. It's hard and overwhelming to juggle all the different social media outlets we are made to feel we should be interacting with all the time. If it feels right and organic to comment/shout out/like then do it, but without expectation, and then you won't feel let down!ReplyDelete
I agree completely! I think the commenters so far are really spot on. I'll quote Rebecca here because I can see her comment best while I type; "I think you just keep doing what feels right for you without expectation."ReplyDelete
I've been a long time follower of yours but have yet to be able to catch up with what I assume are exemplary podcasts. You make me want to knit even though I'm pretty sure from my brief foray into crochet that I'm probably rubbish at it. I find on twitter that I'm just trying to get out there without anything to sell. I get so many people basically trying to sell me things on twitter and instagram and they never do comment back! We're not even talking profiles with a ton of comments already either, because I totally get that. Sometimes there just isn't enough time.
I think in twitter's case, with the advent of favoriting a tweet that instead of people following you when you say something awesome, or retweeting what you've said, they just favorite and move on. In this way, people do not gain a follower base and frankly, that may be what's causing some of the social media overload!
This is all very timely discussion for me. I just recently cancelled my Indiemade subscription because I sold nothing on it, nada. Unfortunately I just had my earring cards redone to include my new domain name, which now no longer has anything on it! So now I need to figure out how to build a very basic website just to redirect traffic back to Etsy which is where I have decided to stay for now. It's just easier there. And good grief, yes, I feel like it's so overwhelming to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. But I feel like I have to in order to boost my sales. It all just makes my head swim...ReplyDelete
First a note about how every good site ends up turning into a site for corporate ads: we live in capitalistic society. That means wherever people gather, ads will soon start popping up. That will probably never change. Those companies are having the same problem you are having trying to keep up with all the social media and reach their customers.ReplyDelete
I agree with many commenters above. You will make yourself crazy trying to keep up with it all. Just do what you want to do with no expectations in return. Only follow those you truly find interesting and if what you do is interesting enough to other people, they will follow you. There's little point in being followed by people who are only half-heartedly interested in what you're doing.
As for interaction, I don't expect anyone to answer me or respond to my comment unless I ask a specific question. I actually find it more annoying when a blog/Facebook owner feels compelled to respond to every post or comment that others make. It just adds more to the string that I'm trying to read through (and sometimes I feel like people use it as a way to artificially boost the number of comments on a certain item.) I comment because I want to let that person know I like something they made or said, but they don't need to comment back; I am okay with one-way social media communication 95% of the time.
I was doing a little research on marketing for creatives and I stumbled upon this website and article. I thought that you may find it interesting. I know as just a buyer of hand-made items, my routine is to keep up with your instagram and facebook pages and then I routinely visit your Indie made shop. I have been thinking that I wonder if there would be a need for the creatives out there for someone to do their social media for them. Postings, putting things up for sale, researching, etc. Specifically a company that only did social media for artists, creatives, etc. Just a thought.ReplyDelete