TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 9 Social Media

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com.  

If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!


Then, be sure to check out:
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 3 Shop Profiles Bios and Photos
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 4 Make Listings Tempting
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 5 About Pages

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 6 Shop Policies
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 7 Communication
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 8 Shipping and Packaging
Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here. 

There are many topics we could delve into, but we're going to jump straight to Social Media today. Last week was Social Media week in Toronto. On Friday the Toronto Etsy Street Team held an informal Social Media Summit and potluck! We're keen to share some of the great tips and tricks team members shared. It was great to see some of our Bootcamp participants in person.

You'll recall that in Class 4 Make Listings Tempting, we talked about the most important ways you can enhance your listings to make them tempting and encourage sales were presentation (read: top-notch photos) and making sure potential buyers can find the listings. The main trick to being found on Etsy is to use all the tools they provide to your best advantage (including your Listing Titles, Tags, Categories, and Descriptions). An important extra tool in today's world, is of course, social media, which you can use to funnel traffic onto your Etsy shop.

There's a large assortment of social media tools, each of which take time - time you could be using to make more listings, run your business or generally enjoy your life. So, while these tools can noticeably increase traffic (which should lead to increased sales), you do want to make sure whichever tools you use work for you, not the other way around (you don't want to be working for them). One of the cues for which social media can have an impact on your Etsy shop's traffic, profile and sales is the built-in tools Etsy provides. Etsy is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. There are simple buttons to share any listing on Facebook (both profiles or fanpages), Twitter and Pinterest because these sites do direct a lot of traffic to Etsy. So, we'll start there. The general philosophy of how to use these tools to the best advantage for your shop can be applied for other types of social media too.

Now, we should define a few things here. When we talk about promoting things through social media, we don't mean shouting 'BUY MY PRODUCT!' What promoting your new small business using social media should be about is providing information about what you sell and make, making it easy for people to find, engage with and share this information, and connecting with people who may become fans and customers.

It seems like everyone, their great-uncle Harold and even their dog Fluffy are on Facebook these days. Here in Canada, more than half the population is logging in at least monthly, and we have 14 million users daily. On a per capita basis, Facebook is even more popular in Canada than it is in the US!

For Newbies outside of Canada, Facebook may be more or less popular in your country, but since the majority of  Etsy buyers are in North America, this can be a useful tool regardless of where you are.

Etsy users can interact with Facebook in a number of ways. Each and every listing has a 'Like' button, so you can spread your love of an Etsy listing, directly to your FB feed. You can promote your shop and your listings using your FB profile - or better yet, your fanpage. You can connect your shop to your FB profile or fanpage, to let people follow you on FB and to post new listings directly to your page.

Next, the fanpage.  While you may wish to talk about your shop on your own personal profile, now that you're a business owner, an effective way to use FB for your business is to create a fanpage. Big brands all have FB fanpages, but artists, artisans, and small businesses have them too. Etsy has a useful tutorial for how to set-up your fanpage here.  Want an example of how you can use a fanpage for your Etsy shop? Newbie seller limberlina has a Facebook fanpage linked to their shop with a clear brand message. Both their cover photo and their profile photo tell you their name and some of what their shop is all about (things like paper goods and DIY craft kits). They do post listings, but also photos of their craft show displays and articles from their blog. They've not only connected their shop to their FB fanpage, they have also integrated their Instagram with the FB fanpage.

Tip: How do you generate all this contect for all these social media, without letting it take over your life? Interconnect your various media. An article you write for a blog can make an interesting FB post. Photos posted to flickr, pinterest or instagram can likewise be cross-posted to FB. When it comes to trying to boost the profile of your Etsy shop be sure that your do connect your shop with FB page.

So, how do you use your fanpage, and not just post all your new listings? Check out this Etsy article about what to post and how. Try chatting with people. In Class 5 About Pages we covered the importance of sharing your process; you can do this on your fanpage too. Ask for feedback  - it can be useful and get people talking. Include information on things which might relate to your own knowledge and interests, especially if that relates to the sorts of things found in your Etsy shop. Be consistent, without overwhelming people and chose a reasonable posting frequency which works for you and your fans. Unlike twitter, on FB, that's probably not more than once a day (and can be less). Be friendly, and yourself!

Automate it

As we mentioned in Class 7 Communication you can automatically tell buyers how to find your FB page, by including it in the information they receive with their receipt. You can also append a link to every email you send as part of your signature. You can connect your shop to your FB fanpage so that every time you make a new listing you'll be prompted to post it to your page. Also, new fans of your Etsy shop can 'like' your page directly from your Etsy shop's front page. If you're just starting out you can use FB's 'invite your friends' tools to get a few 'likes' right away.

Tip: Don't get sucked into the FB vortex or spend all your time on it and remember, not all numbers are equally importance. Having 10 devoted fans is better than 100 disinterested ones! Having 100 people interested in what you sell is better than 1000 who may have 'liked' your page, but don't watch your feed and have little sense of what you do. The numbers which are important to your business are those which measure whether any tool, like FB is directing buyers your way. Use Shop Stats to trace where your traffic is coming from (and stay tuned... we will cover Shop Stats in a future class)!

Tip: You can also use your fanpage to let your fans shop directly from your Etsy shop! In fact, there's a whole collection of 3rd party apps to choose from in Etsy's App Gallery. We'll be covering 3rd party apps in a future class too! For now, suffice it to say, that if you search for Facebook Apps in Etsy's App Gallery you can find several which will embed a functioning Etsy shop in your fanpage - often for FREE and generally with simple instructions for installation.

An example of a Newbie seller with an embedded Etsy shop on their FB fanpage is Slothmoth and Zing.

Tip: You can use hashtags to make FB page listings searchable, like #handmade, #art, or #vintage as appropriate. Hashtags in general are a useful way of making many different social media searchable (including twitter, pinterest, and instagram), but do be aware of hashtag etiquette: don't overdo it, make sure they are actually honest and pertinent, try searching the hashtags to make sure they are pertinent to other people (sometimes you can make up your own, but they might not serve much purpose if it would never occur to anyone else to use them).

Check out the Toronto Etsy Street Team Facebook Page here.


Much of the advice above also holds for everyone's favorite 140-character sharing tool, twitter but each social media tool as its own style. Promoting on twitter is still about sharing and connecting with people, rather than simply shouting 'Buy my stuff!' Like FB, twitter can be integrated into your shop so that fans can follow you right from your Etsy shop front page.  Also, you can tweet any listing at any time, with handy built-in links. You should tweet more things than new listings, as explained above (including for instance, your process, your interests, interesting links, re-tweeting relavant things, photos and more). Most users are following very large numbers of people and only really see recent tweets whenever they happen to look. So, it's okay to post more frequently, and you might find a scheduling tool a great help.

Tip: Never flood your feed with many many posts all at once. If you decide to tweet every listing in your shop within 1 minute, don't be surprised if people unfollow you. People want an interesting mix in their twitter (or Pinterest!) feed, and dumping many posts at once can be perceived as rude, as if you were dominating a conversation, refusing to listed to anyone else. This is easy to avoid by using a scheduling tool.

Newbie seller Maybe By Catalfo has a great example of  integrating a twitter feed with an Etsy shop. 
Often Newbie sellers use the default settings, which is okay when you are first starting out. But, it's a good idea to be consistent in your branding and to customize all your sites. Maybe By Catalfo's background and avatar state their name and logo and are consistent with their shop. They have a succinct little by-line: "Canadiana fashion label designing dresses. Custom orders welcome" with the web address of their site. Their photos show not only their products, but Tim Gunn (with a funny pro-marriage equality sign), expressing how they feel and a love of fashion. Remember: your interests and things tangentially related to what you do also make great content. 

If you follow the Toronto Etsy Street Team, for instance, you'll see we post about our own events, our own blog posts, but also things which are relevant to our fans and members, like stuff about Etsy, Toronto, calls for artists and vendors, sales on supplies, art, craft or vintage shows, our members' events, and life in the city. We also just chat with our tweeps (our twitter people, our followers). We always try to acknowledge any mentions or retweets. We try to answer and questions. We follow a lot of people who follow us (while avoiding those who may simply be fancy spammers). We focus on groups of people who we are really interested in, like our members, by creating lists (so we can filter our feed to just read updates from members, for instance).

Like with FB, you can interconnect your various media with twitter. You'll find a link to our twitter feed on the sidebar of this blog and the feed is embedded in our FB page.

There are a number of 3rd party tools to simplify your use of twitter. I like HootSuite (but there are others) which lets me look at all sorts of different things on twitter on one simple dashboard - and perhaps most importantly for my sanity and time management, allows me to schedule tweets (or FB posts) in advance... so if I want to post a certain thing at various times (to catch different users), I can schedule a whole series of posts all at once. Remember if you do repeat the same information, change it up a little - use different words or highlight a different aspect so you don't bore those who happen to see things repeated. (HootSuite has both free accounts, which are sufficient for more individual's needs, even if you run a small business, and paid accounts.)

Do you have a favorite twitter tool? Let us know which and why in the comments below!

Pinterest bills itself the tool for collecting and organizing everything thing you love - but it's also another way to share photos and maybe even more importantly to the small business owner, links to items. Users 'pin' items they want to bookmark. A selected photo will show up in their feed (where their followers can see it, and re-pin it). They can organize the photos into various boards of their own creation. It's surprisingly addictive! It rapidly proved itself to be a major driver of traffic to Etsy and listings have a 'Pin it' button to make it easier to share on Pinterest. Some users were concerned about their intellectual property (their listing photos) being hosted elsewhere, but Pinterest has updated their policies about ownership of images and Etsy sellers will generally agree that this is a great way to bring buyers into your shop (without giving up any rights to your images).

You can join as an individual or a business. While they've worked to avoid letting the site devolve into a stream of advertising, you can use it to promote your Etsy shop, if you take the same definition of 'promoting' as we discussed above: sharing information and connecting with people. A useful tutorial for how you can use Pinterest to promote your products is here.

Newbie seller Slothmoth and Zing who make paper products for crafting and parties, stickers, plushies and crafting packs are using Pinterest to their advantage. They do post their own listings to an 'Our Etsy Shop' board, as well as their treasuries to another board, but they also gather other things which interest them, like Awesome DIY - because that's the sort of thing which would interest buyers of crafting packs too - and Sloths, because, well, based on their name, I'm going to assume they are sloth fans... and really, who isn't?

I use it for all of my image bookmarking; I pin images of my own artwork and Etsy items, I pin various types of art which inspires me, I have boards where I organize my ideas about future items I might make or future blog posts, I pin various types of DIY tutorials and ideas, I even pin things which might not be directly related to what I do (like ideas for how to make a tiny laundry room work) because it's useful for me. Even things that are tangential can express your aesthetic or be interesting to people. They also avoid the pitfall of appearing like a spammer who only posts their own things in order to sell them. You are also allowed to have private pinboards, so you can for instance pin gift ideas or store useful information which is not yet something you want to make public.

Another really useful tool are shared boards. You can set up a pinboard and invite multiple Pinterest users to pin to it. This is something we do as a the Toronto Etsy Street Team.

You can follow the Toronto Etsy Street Team on Pinterest.  If you look at our boards, you'll see we pin our members items, TEST ♥ Newbies finds, things about Toronto, handmade in general, Canadian handmade items, DIY tutorials, stuff for kids, supplies, vintage and other pertinent categories of items.

Last, but not least, we'd like to cover some of the social media built into Etsy itself!

Etsy's social media

Etsy has a number of built-in social media tools - many of which could warrant their own tutorials. Interacting with Etsy enthusiasts is a good way to develop a following and connect with buyers, so we found our discussion at the Toronto Etsy Street Team  informal Social Media Summit and potluck lead to a discussion of Etsy tools, and we think it would be useful to include some tips for Newbies here.

  • Etsy forums are where Etsians come together to chat, share information, ask questions and more. Much of the discussion has been segregated into various Etsy Teams pages, but the main Etsy forums are still the place to find Announcements from Etsy itself, Questions, general Discussion and to report Bugs. The forums are pretty straightforward to use, but you can find out more here and find the full forums guidelines here. As we pointed out in TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 3, every time you post in the forums, your shop profile picture, which is linked to your shop, appears. So, if you or your photo impresses your peers, you may find you get traffic from the forums! The flip-side, which we hope is obvious, is that undiplomatic or downright uncivil posts (which, like on every other corner of the internet, do sometimes occur) are unlikely to help you as a seller, and don't make people people look very professional.
  • Etsy Teams We may be biased, since we are a large, active team, but we think that Etsy Teams are a tremendous way for sellers, especially Newbie sellers, to learn about Etsy, network and find their niche! Everything you ever wanted to know about teams is right here. If you are a seller in Toronto, you can apply to join the Toronto Etsy Street Team via our forums by pressing the 'Apply to Team' button and answering the application form questions. You can find teams which relate to: your hometown or region, your medium (for all sorts of different handmade goods, as well as supplies and vintage items), and all sorts of other things like hobbies, interests, day jobs, you name it. Finding a tribe of like-minded sellers, or groups of people with experience to share can be a great boone. As with the general forums, every time you post to any team forum your profile photo and shop name and link appear, and you are linked as a member of a team. Often people are happier to buy from those they know, including those they know online via their teams, so participating in teams can also be a direct benefit to your business.
  • Your Feed and Favorites. Etsy lets you easily follow your favorite shops, see how others follow you, and follow how people are interacting with your shop (including adding your shop or your listings to their favorites and featuring your items in treasuries) through Your Activity Feed. Simply go to the top left of any page on Etsy and click on the circular icon for Your Activity Feed to see what's new with shops you have listed in your favorites, your followers and your shop. Your fellow Etsy sellers are also a good source of inspiration and spreading your love of Etsy items is likely to come back right to you, since people you favorite can check out your shop too. You can make organized lists of favorites; well curated lists can gain you many followers. Since your own listings appear in your feed, this can only help your shop!
  • Treasuries you make, or others make which include your listings are amongst the things which show up in your feed. These are collections of up to 16 curated items gathered by Etsy users, usually around a certain theme. This is another way of spreading the love, interacting with your fellow Etsians and possibly finding selected 'treasured' items appear on the front page. There are entire teams dedicated to making treasuries, and our own team has participated in Treasury Blitzes, where a group of participants agrees to make a certain number of treasuries featuring one another's items within a certain time frame. We've also featured team treasuries here on the blog (remember to tag TEST treasuries "Toronto team"). Instructions for making Treasuries appear here and the thousands of current treasuries ranked by relavancy are are here. If you want a treasury to have traction and gain attention, pay attention to the Trending Tags listed and Etsy Merchandizing posts on the blog. If you monitor your feed, you'll often find that treasuries are effective for directing Etsians to your shop and can even lead directly to sales. Many fellow sellers will return the favour of adding your items to their favorites and treasuries if you include their items in yours. Do be aware that not all Etsians appreciate convos about your treasuries, so don't overdo it. I make a habit of thanking anyone who includes my items in their treasuries, on the comments section (and replying to any convos). You can also add a treasury to your Pinterest by using Treasury Pin, add a link to your Facebook page or tweet about it. Edited January 2015: Etsy Pages are the way of the future, and treasuries are less important with the redesigned front page.
  • Etsy Pages are a new tool, like curated lists of favorites by invited brand influencers. In the future, Etsy with expand to wider participation (hopefully for teams!). You can follow Etsy Pages of brand you like, much like you can follow your favorite Etsians.
So do you have a favorite social media tool or tip? Do you find that people are finding your Etsy shop from your posts to social media? Which is your favorite? Which is the most useful? Let us know what you think! You can comment below or drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com

The Toronto Etsy Street Team loves Newbie shops! You can find some of our favorite listings from talented Newbie sellers, including those featured in this class in our new TEST ♥ Newbies section. Be sure to stop by often to see what's new in this evolving, curated treasury of amazing Newbie finds!

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