In the past few years, the online crafting community has expanded tenfold. With the success of sites like Etsy, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Instagram, Flickr, and with the popularity of blogging, arts and crafts is no longer just a summer camp activity—it’s a thriving, all inclusive economy.
With increased opportunities for exposure, simple web designs for commerce, and unlimited inspiration—small crafting businesses are springing up everywhere and they are succeeding. The crafting communities are supportive, encouraging, and loyal; the customers value the authenticity and unique nature of products that are handmade, original, and that cannot be reproduced or purchased at a chain retailer or department store.
When our economy took a dive, many people were laid off or lost hours at work—and many women, in particular, had to allocate new resources. Some that perhaps saw crafting and DIY projects as a hobby, were now utilizing their skills not only to create things instead of buying them, but also as viable side businesses. And as the trend grew, savvy entrepreneurs enhanced their businesses using social media.
On Pinterest, the “DIY and Crafts” category is one of its most widely used. And Etsy is designed exclusively for those who hand craft, sew, upholster, restore, paint, draw, crochet, and make jewelry. Instagram and Flickr offer artists the opportunity to show, and not just tell, people about their products. And now, with the new video plug-ins on Instagram, and apps like Vine, crafters can create promotional videos and engage with thousands of people, for free.
If you are just getting started with social media, there are dozens of avenues that you can use to propel your hobby into the realm of prosperous businesses. On Pinterest for example, creatives have a chance to engage in some fun marketing ideas. One way to use Pinterest as an indirect tool is to start a collection of your favorite things and incorporate some of your own items into “style guides” or seasonal “must haves.” For instance, if you create and sell jewelry, it would be helpful to include a collection of your pieces with handbags, shirts, and summer sandals to inspire people to buy.
You can share these collections via your social media networks and blogs. This method says, “Here’s how my items go with current fashion trends,” rather than “buy my necklace and earing set.”
Once you start selling your merchandise, you can invite customers to share photographs they’ve taken of themselves wearing or using your products and feature the photos in a contest. Offer the winner some free goodies, and it is guaranteed that person will not only return for more, but he or she will tell other people about your product and online site or shop.
Finally, with sites like Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc, you can utilize hashtags that will incorporate your photo or marketing phrase into a collection of other similar photos or phrases in the same category. Let’s say you’re selling hand sewn onesies for newborn babies, you can hashtag your product #babies #moms #parenting, and your product will show up any time another user searches in that category.
Social media sites provide extremely high conversion rates for small crafting businesses, and when you consider how simple they are to use—you’d have to be nuts not to put your marketing energy into developing a social presence.
By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing