When we set our craft businesses up the first thing we are told to do is get networking. We need people to see our pages and to see our shops or we’re not going to make any sales fast are we?
When you set up your craft business at the beginning you’re full of enthusiasm and great ideas, but that a can completely fall around you when you see that you have 5 people who like your page (and one is your mum, another is yourself) and struggling to get views on Etsy. The enthusiasm wanes, you doubt yourself and fear of failure creeps in.
Perhaps that networking thingy is something you should do? Here’s some tips on how to approach it:
Networking – what to do and what not to do
DO – join the various craft business networking groups on Facebook.
Groups are a great way of finding out what works and what doesn’t in business. Networking isn’t just about getting people to like you, it’s about relationships and learning. And you never know you may find someone who has a complimentary product! Be open to learning and making connections.
I’m setting up my own Facebook group – you can see it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/craftsellerscafe/ and I hope to have it as a great place to network and learn the RIGHT way!
DON’T – participate in Like Ladders or ‘Like for Like’ posts
These are oh so tempting when you’re just starting out. You need and want some likes so that it makes your business look viable and this would be an oh so easy way to get them. If you must do it, then do it extremely sparingly and I’ll tell you why.
Business is about learning about and providing what your customers want. With each product you put out, with each post you write and with each attempt to promote it you will learn what your audience likes and doesn’t like. Hear crickets when you post? Perhaps you’re doing something wrong and it needs tweaking. Got loads of comments one day – you can learn from that and do it again.
If all your connections are from people who are really not that interested in what you’re doing how will you know whether you are doing it right or not?
If they are liking your images because they want you to like yours, how do you know if it needs improved?
If they like your shop to get a like back, how many likes are from people who came across you and love what you do?
Exactly. You don’t know. You can’t improve.
DO – find where your ideal customer hangs out and network there
If your ideal customer loves Pinterest then you need to go there and find her. If they are always on Instagram, that is where you should network. Provide value, connect, engage. If you have your shop listed in your FB profile (I spoke about how to do this last week), you have it linked in your other social media profiles then if someone is curious they will find you.
DON’T – just hang out with other crafters.
Unless they are the people who are your ideal customers (maybe you make crochet hook holders perhaps!) then you shouldn’t spend all your time with other crafters.
DO – limit your time spent on networking
Networking and getting your name out there is important. BUT, it shouldn’t take up your whole day. Set a time when you’ll check Facebook groups and social media. Do it AFTER you’ve finished all your important makes for the day. We all know how social media can suck us in!
DON’T – waste your day
You’re a crafter. Craft! Then you’ll have plenty to talk about on social media. There’s nothing interesting about someone who spent all day on Facebook 😉
DO – engage and be social
Sometimes it takes a while to get your voice, but you need to be brave and actually speak to people. If someone fitting your ideal customer profile likes your twitter profile, take a deep breath and say ‘hi!’. You don’t need to go all salesy and spammy, just say hi and thank them for following. And follow them back.
DON’T – just sit and watch everyone
Sitting and watching can be helpful to learn, but not for networking and not for getting new fans. Don’t just like people and then sit back and expect them to buy. You need to be proactive, helpful and above all give VALUE to people’s lives.
I hope you enjoyed this post on networking. It’s an important subject for sure. Have you any tips you’d like to share? Do come along to our Facebook group as well – click here