An Overview (Part One in a Five-Part Series)
This article is an overview of how to use social media to grow your jewelry business. Stay tuned for explanations about how to use each different social media channel specifically.
So you’ve got a great thing going with your jewelry business and you know that there just has to be a big market out there for all of your gorgeous beads and original designs but for some reason it’s just not growing as fast as you would have hoped. Yeah, you’ve got a solid online presence with your Etsy shop, Ebay store, Amazon Webstore – heck, anywhere they’ll let you peddle your wares. But there’s more to selling stuff on the Internet now than just taking fantastic pictures of your product, posting it somewhere and hoping for the best, isn’t there? There’s this whole other world out there at this point where people are sharing, liking, pinning, tweeting, hash-tagging, networking, +1-ing and all-around socializing about everything! And why shouldn’t it be your jewelry they’re all raving about?
Well, you’re right. They should be going gaga over you and your wares and, if they’re not yet, then there’s probably a lot you can do about that. From posting videos to posting bling, running a blog to running contests, going searching to going viral, leveraging social media can really boost your business. And while it may not seem like social media for business has been a thing for all that long, it might surprise you to know that it’s a lot like something which has been around for about as long as we humans have: gardening.
Probably sounds silly, I know, but hang with me for a moment because relating growing your jewelry business online, organically (see, just like gardening already!) to growing a garden could be a very easy way for you to look at improving the scope of your social media presence.
What’s it take to maintain a healthy garden? It really only requires five simple things. You need soil, water, sun, care and time. Easy, right? To complete the analogy, the soil will be the essential social media outlets you’ll use as your base, the water is your jewelry business itself, the sun comes in the form of the level of engagement you build while care and time kind of speak for themselves.
Let’s break it down even further.
In gardening, the soil has to be prepared. It has to be tilled, analyzed, built up. Luckily for us, this part’s already been done for us. Our social media soil is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn and blogging (along with various other incarnations of similar applications like Instagram). You just have to choose which ones to begin dropping your seeds in (and I’ll go ahead and tell you that I’m going to recommend you utilize the strengths all of them!) and start planting.
Just as it’s not going to go well if you throw seeds on the ground and hope for the best, it’ll take more than creating a few social media accounts to grow your business this way. Fortunately, your own jewelry business itself is the very water you’ll need to begin nourishing your new orchard of social media. Your content – from your products and designs to your prices and promotions, your photos and videos to your links and relationships – is going to be the lifeblood of any social presence you craft.
And craft it you will. The social media sun will rise and set on your ability to garner quality engagement from your friends and followers – your current (and potential!) customers. Plants won’t grow without just the right amount of sun. Similarly, it will be difficult to grow your business using social media without engaging with your customers in the right ways and at the right times. It won’t just be a one-way street, either. You’ll want and need people to shoot those delicious rays right back in your direction, shining a bright light on your profiles and, in turn, your business. Engagement is the Holy Grail of social media. It’s also part of why it’s fun. People are going to want to be a part of your jewelry business when they learn not just that your jewelry is great but that you and your jewelry business are great. Social media is a fantastic way to show that you’re friendly, knowledgeable and in love with beading and making jewelry. It can also be an eye into how fun it is to be a part of your jewelry business (a lot of people call this transparency and we’ll definitely hit more on that later).
One good thing about social media is that once this is done, the fun part can really begin because all you’ll need now is a little care and time. Care, in this case, comes in the form of your basic garden maintenance. True, you won’t exactly need a hoe and a water bucket, but you will need to keep up with regular and relevant posts. This won’t always come in the form of pictures or answering the age-old (or, like, 2005-old) question, “What’s on your mind?” It can be searching out and friending already-established “experts” in beading or jewelry-making. You might spend time chatting with friends in the jewelry business or, more importantly, customers.
Speaking of time, it will take that as well. Time to build friends and followers, time to grow the authority and respect in the crafting industry you’ll need to turn these precious icons and avatars into click-throughs and potential sales. The important thing to remember is you’re essentially cultivating relationships and building a positive online presence that will direct more and more attention to you and your jewelry business.
Now, if you’re thinking at this point, “That’s all well and good, Adam, but you haven’t actually told me specifically what the heck I should do,” not to worry. As you may have noticed at the top, this is the first in a series of blog posts (another magnificent form of social media!) that we’ll be hosting here at the ol’ Auntie’s Beads Blog. In the coming installments, I’ll go through most of the major social media outlets individually and tell you all about what they’re best at and how you can use them to your best advantage. The main reason for this is that each one offers their own particular brand of social engagement so it’s better to tackle them all one-by-one (or maybe two, we’ll see).
So here you have an overview of what it takes to grow your online garden – er, jewelry business – using social media. If you still don’t think it’s enough to get you planting just yet, stay tuned!