We’ve all heard (and maybe made) jokes about social media and its merits when seemingly every other Twitter update is a ponderous existential query directed at no-one in particular or a riveting update on what’s for lunch. Hop on Instagram and you will have an excellent idea of your friends’ dietary habits (put the camera down, your food is getting cold!). Facebook has replaced your need to attend high school reunions, right?
Now your connections, your networks, your opportunities to share are endless as more of us cart around smartphones ready to broadcast at the swipe of a finger. Not everyone has an enthusiasm for sharing the details of their lives. But for those who embrace social media, there’s a real opportunity to build stronger relationships — be it with a friend, someone you may not otherwise know except through their digital self, or with a service or brand you care about.
For our purposes here, we’ll take a look at how indie pattern designers and crafty business-folk can use social media to build relationships that matter. Between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and bevvy of other social platforms, you may be wondering where to get started, First, ask yourself: Do you know your purpose? Do you know your audience? Who is it you’re trying to build relationships with? This week we’ll look at Facebook, with Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram to come over the next few weeks here on the Bluprint blog.
There are a few questions we’ll consider with each social platform we talk about. They are:
• Should I be on Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram?
• What’s my audience?
• What are my goals?
• How can I promote myself?
Should I be on Facebook?
The short answer: Yes. Facebook competes with Google to be the top driver of traffic on the web, and despite concerns about privacy, you do have a lot of control over what gets shared with whom on Facebook. But your personal Facebook account side, what you really want to consider is starting a Facebook Page. This will allow you direct fans to a presence that you can control more closely and separate from your personal Facebook use. Creating a page will allow you to begin growing a fan base you can share regular content with. What should you share? Be genuine and stay focused. Share what’s relevant to your craft, business, industry, or bits of daily inspiration. A mix of useful or interesting content you find around the web on blogs, social networks like Pinterest, your own blogs posts, Pins or other web gems are all excellent fodder for your new audience. Share photos, post your latest Bluprint patterns, projects and more. Ask your fans questions, ask them for feedback — you should be enjoying a two-way conversation with your fans.
What’s my audience?
Nicely, Facebook gives you quite a bit of (anonymous, aggregated) information about people who Like your Facebook Page, called Page Insights. This is very helpful for learning who is interacting with your page, where they’re from, how old they are, who all is talking about your Page, and much more. It’s a great way to learn who your audience truly looks like.
What are my goals?
All social media is a two-way conversation. You’re not going to have engaged fans if you’re just a broadcaster. In this way, Facebook Pages are an excellent place to start a conversation. “What are you working on this weekend?” is a simple question to start interacting with your fans and learning what they’re like, what they do, etc. When you post links you find, or if your promoting links to your blog, other social media presences, or Bluprint class, always think about how you can do so in a way that starts a conversation. For example: Post a photo of your own weekend craft project, with a caption of what you’re working on, or ask fans what they think of your latest blog post, pin, Bluprint pattern, or whatever you’re sharing today.
How can I promote myself?
You can post as little or as often as you’d like to Facebook. Just keep in mind that more than 4 updates a day to a Facebook Page may start to annoy more casual fans and followers. You can share photos, links, post Polls if you have a question for your fans, or just share a status update. A mix of all post types is best, as different fans will be more likely to interact with different types of posts. Encouraging your fans to “Like” or “Comment” is perfectly acceptable, and in fact hugely helpful for reaching more fans with each post. Be sure to consider when you’re posting to Facebook. Most people are checking in the morning, mid-afternoon and evening, so those are ideal times to post your Page updates.
For help getting started with Facebook Pages, click here.
Be sure to stay tuned for more social media tips for promoting yourself as an indie pattern designer or crafty businessperson. Next time, we’ll dive into Pinterest.