Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, StumbleUpon

Our Wednesday night girls met on Tuesday night this week.  We had a lovely time, as usual, and I came away rejuvenated.  Cajun Stitchery will be closed this Friday because I'm going to Mexico Beach with the girls for the weekend.  We'll reopen on Monday morning.  We have a friend who lives at Mexico Beach and has opened her home to all of us.  I think we all need this break.

Etsy remain my retail learning center.  I've been reading the forums and doing my best to follow instructions.  It seems the number 1 thing to selling on Etsy is good photography, and number 2 is constantly listing and relisting.  At least one new item a day should be listed but some of the more successful stores are listing 5 to 15 or so new items each day.  Wow!  That's a lot.  Especially when you have to make these things by hand.

That bring us to where is the line drawn between handmade and non-handmade.  I posed this question on a forum awhile back and it seems that if you purchase something "store bought" and do nothing to it, that is not handmade.  However, if you purchase something "store bought" and embellish it, in any way, that is handmade.  That's where the line is drawn.

Most of my items on Etsy are handmade from cutting out the fabric, sewing the item, and embellishing/embroidery.  However, using the guideline above, I was able to embroider the patriotic napkins and list them on Etsy.  Even though the napkins are "store bought" the embroidery makes them "handmade." 

I was pleasantly surprised, again, to be notified that the white patriotic napkins were chosen for an Etsy Treasury earlier this week.  It really was a beautiful treasury of red, white and blue and I was honored to be chosen as the first item in the treasury.  That brought some traffic to our store and some hearts but no sales.

The other thing is that when I first began working our Etsy store, there is a "share" button.  Clicked on the "share" button lists Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon.  I was already very familiar with Facebook and I could click on the Facebook icon and send a link to that item to my Facebook friends.  I joined Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumble and StumbleUpon to do the same thing.  Early on I realized that sending to Facebook maybe brought a visitor or two but not many.  But everytime I clicked on Twitter, the visitor numbers would increase by 15 or 20.  So, I Twittered often.  As time has gone by, I've figured somethings out.  You want to get traffic to your store.  You can have the best stuff in the world but if people don't see it, they don't buy it.  There are several ways to get traffic to your store.  Etsy has loads of traffic, but it also has loads of stores.  To get noticed on Etsy you need to list and re-list to keep your items popping up for all to see.  You can also join in the forum and other store owner will visit your shop and if they "favorite" your shop or item, then there is an icon on their shop favorites for you.  Also, by letting the users of Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon know your item is listed at your store and you send them a link, then potentially you can get more traffic.  Then there are the search engines.  Basically, you need to have a good presence on the internet.

So, I Facebooked and tweeted, kaboodled, tumbled and stumbled upon all day long for awhile, until finally it wasn't making any sense and I wasn't getting sales.  Then I was introduced to analytics.  These are programs that show how many visitors have visited your store, when, and how; where they came from and where they went.  Statistics.  It showed me that almost no traffic came directly from Etsy.  Our traffic came mostly from direct, Kaboodle or this blog.  I started looking into each of these sites and what they do, what is their purpose.  Kaboodle is simply a shopping site.  There is no need for me to constantly click on Kaboodle because I have an area on Kaboodle where my wears are located, once, and they stay there until I change or remove them.  Putting more of the same thing is too redundant.  So, I stopped clicking on Kaboodle all of the time and now just put my item on there once.  When it sells, I take it off of Kaboodle.  Turns out that the reason the visitor  numbers soar when I tweet but yet my analytics show Twitter visitors as virtually non-existent is because when I tweet the search engine bots visit.  I read someplace that if you tweet too many advertisements, Twitter will block you.  I think I have unwittingly done this.  Tumble is just another blog and StumbleUpon is similar to Kaboodle.

When I read enough articles and forums, I realized that no one wants to be bombarded with advertisements.  If I want to get visitors from these arenas, then I don't need to push my wares; I need to become friends and use the sites as intended.  They know I have an Etsy store by now.  I'll tweet or facebook my new items that I list but not often and I try to make sure that in between the advertisements, I put many personal comments.  I don't like hard core sales and assume no one else does, either.  So, I'm shifting gears and learning better techniques.  I'm a very gregarious person.  As one forum stated, you should sell yourself, become friends, and be kind, and let your items sell themselves.  There's a lot of wisdom in that.

C'est toute, mes amis.

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