Little Squish has been in business for about 18 months now. I am absolutely not a business expert, but I’ve been asked lots of business-related questions via social media recently, so I thought it may be useful for me to share some tips and things I’ve learned along my journey. This is a four part weekly series, this week focusing on…
Getting Your Social Media Right
You’re all set up and have some fab photos, yes? So let’s move onto social media. Like it or not, businesses that want to be taken seriously need to have some sort of social media presence. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to take lots of effort and time, honestly!
I guess the first thing you need to think about is which platforms you want to use, there are quite a few out there. For this post, I’ll just focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as these are the ones I use. My first piece of advice, which I did not do myself and wish I had, is to set up your accounts with the same name. Sounds obvious, but it didn’t occur to me at the time. Of course, writing this post reminded me of this so now I’ve just changed my Facebook page to be the same as everything else (LittleSquishUK). Of course, this now means I’ve got to trawl through my blog and change all of my links, gah! So yeah, don’t do that, get everything set up as the same thing from the off!
I was going to write a whole big thing about Facebook here, but recently I went to the Facebook and Enterprise Nation ‘Boost Your Business’ tour and ended up writing a massive post about getting yourself noticed, so you may as well go and read that.
Aside from that, my biggest tips for using Facebook are to be friendly and chatty with your likers – if they comment then say something back to them. Get conversation going! Also, let people see a bit of your life without getting too personal. By that I mean share that you’re going out for the day somewhere, or that you’ve bought something awesome or a picture your kids have drawn for you – that’s nice and can get people chatting. On the other hand, I wouldn’t share stuff like arguments with people, complaints about other businesses and any personal problems. Who’d do that you might wonder, but believe me, I’ve seen it and nothing gets me clicking “unlike” quicker!
I’m amazed at how much I actually do like Twitter. I always swore I’d never bother with it, but now I’ve got four different accounts! It’s fantastic for connecting with people and I actually find it more useful for my business than Facebook. Here are my top ten tips for Twitter, in no particular order:
* Use hashtags to find people interested in what your business is about (in my case #sewing or #childrensclothes)
* Use the lists functions to organise people that you’re following; my lists include family and friends, sewing, parent bloggers, independent kids brands and press. I don’t actually follow everyone I’ve put into a list, and it helps me to see the tweets that I want to without endless scrolling.
* Be selective in your retweeting. Twitter is great for sharing stuff, but if that’s all you do you’ll look a bit spammy and annoying, so don’t overdo it!
* Consider having a personal account as well as a business account. I use my personal one for tweeting my friends, entering competitions and that kind of thing. Just stuff that my customers don’t necessarily want (or need) to see.
* Plan your tweets. I don’t do this as much as I should, but using something like Hoot Suite is great for planning your social media content (not just Twitter) and having things go out over a period of time rather than all in one go.
* Use photos. You make cool stuff right? Then show everyone and don’t be afraid to tweet photos to publications or celebrities you think may be interested. The worst they can do is ignore you.
* If you want everyone who follows you to see a tweet that you’re directing at someone then put a fullstop at the beginning, e.g. .@LittleSquishUK thanks for the t-shirt!
* Get involved in Twitter Hours relevant to what you do and where you are. They’re a great way to get noticed and connect with people. I get involved with #HandmadeHour, #BrumHour, #SutColHour and similar. Basically you’re just tweeting something about your business, like maybe a new product photos or a recent blog post, and adding that hashtag. Easy!
* Have a look for awards you can enter such as Jacqueline Gold’s Women on Wednesday. They’re a great way to get some recognition for what you’re doing and generate lots of interest in your business.
* Tweet regularly. It could take quite a while to start building up followers and get re-tweets etc., so just be prepared for that and keep tweeting regularly. Keep getting involved and it will pay off.
I’ve had an Instagram account since it’s been around, but I only actually started to use it a year ago. Which is crazy because Instagram is PERFECT for crafty businesses, but I just didn’t know what to do with it.
I do love Instagram and now I’ve gotten over my annoyance of using a million hashtags on each photo to get noticed, I find it really useful. I’ve connected with some fantastic creative people that have become friends, found some fab new blogs to follow and connected with lots of customers. One of my favourite things about Instagram is that you can post straight to Facebook and Twitter on it, so it’s the quickest way for me to post something to everyone who follows me. My Instagram account is a bt of a mix of business and personal stuff, like my Facebook page, but I think my advice with Facebook applies here too: don’t make it too personal!
You can show people the process behind what you do, videos of you making things, the finished items and all sorts in-between. I think when you do anything handmade, this kind of content is going to be the key to your success. I’m not saying give away all of you trade secrets, but I know I love seeing how things are made. Videos are definitely the way to go to get noticed and you don’t have to be a tech whizz to do them either. I’ve used an app called Splice to create two videos of me screen-printing, which was super-easy and I’ve also used the PartyParty app to turn my photos into super-quick videos too.
Hopefully those tips will be useful. When your social media empire is up and running, drop by and say hi, I’d love to follow you and see what you’re up to!