Since there are lot of words here that have no relevant pictures, I’ll share some photos of one of my other recent finishes which I made for another Facebook Showcase, but I think it’s now cancelled. I made the quilt following an idea from Cynthia at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework who runs monthly scrap projects. In my scraps I found a bunch of blues, and fishy novelty prints. I made the top prior to the showcase, but when I found a showcase with an Under the Sea theme I finished it up!
Over the last couple of months, as I’ve started trying to sell my quilts on etsy, I’ve been trying to market them and get word out via Facebook. I have a few thoughts and have noticed things about how FB marketing works (it’s so weird!) and thought I’d start writing some thing down to share my experience. For the most part I’m not selling directly via Facebook; I put things in my etsy store and then advertise them on FB in various promo groups. The only ‘direct to facebook’ sales I’m attempting are on Showcases, which are basically online markets (which I’ll post more about later as I’m still working on that…). If no sales are made, it’s still a bit of exposure. No FB sales = I’ll pop them on etsy.
I’m doing this, because despite getting a number of search hits in my etsy stats, as I do not live in the US the majority of etsy users would have to pay for international shipping, or if I reduce the advertised shipping price I’d have to raise prices of the quilts to offset the higher shipping costs… which then means those who live closer would pay more… it’s tricky. As someone who always has to pay international shipping for most online purchases, I know it’s not cheap, so even if someone is interested in my quilt enough to buy it, I’m sure the postage rates scare potential buyers off since there are thousands of other quilts out there to look at that would be cheaper (postage wise). So, the best way to market it is to do it locally and the easiest way seems to be via the Facebook community. There is an Australian etsy-based site (Made It) but the last time I used it, it had very little traffic (not just for personal items, but the whole site in regards to new uploads).
Marketing and keeping up with the Facebook pages is taking up more time than actual blogging which is hard because sewing and blogging are what I do for fun, and trying to sell quilts isn’t a main “business objective” ; it’s just something I’d like to do to help sustain my hobby! It’s also hard for me, because I’m not much of a facebook fan (I’m tempted to actually delete my personal page which I might do soon). I would immediately move my quilting stuff elsewhere if there was another place I could promote in like this to leave FB in the dust. It’s too much of a time suck so I’m trying to spend as little time as necessary on the site.
One of the better Facebook promotion sites I’ve found is Hike Those Likes. They have multiple versions for different countries if you search. As well as running different promotional activities through the week (quiz nights, free for all sharing, support of small pages) they also provide a lot of info on how to best moderate and promote your page which has been useful since I don’t spend that much time on Facebook to know this myself. The Australian page pushes that you should only like a page if you really like it as empty likes don’t generate sales and empty likers usually will leave a page which reflects poorly in a page’s stats which reduces their reachability (posts will show up in less feeds). How people are with ‘likes’ seems to be quite a regional thing though, as I’ve seen discussions where people in different countries prefer page likes. I’m not a fan of the like for like mentality (which also goes for blogs, instagram etc) so the non-pushing of likes is okay with me.* From what I can tell, when this group was made, “likes” played a bigger part in promotion on Facebook, so their name is a little outdated. With all of FB’s changes, liking pages and posts helps but isn’t one of the main factors anymore (that’s what the paid advertising is for… :/).
* I’m not going to automatically follow your business just because you like mine, most especially when your business is unrelated to mine! I know that sounds unfair because people are making the effort to like my page but just because you like Star Trek as well as quilts, doesn’t mean I like the Star Trek too. If I were a Star Trek fan, maybe I would be interested in your collectable figurines, but I’m not, so why would I like your page when you’re selling items I actually have no interest in? I do understand that you want to put yourself out there and and advertise to a broader audience but I’ll follow you if you have something I like or I’m interested in or if I have a personal interest vested into you/your work (smarter marketing).
Instead of liking, you’re advised to “interact” instead because people will remember you and want to buy from you and because I don’t even like using Facebook to begin with, it’s hard for me to want to sit there and trawl through random pages to find a business to talk to. Spelling. Grammar. Netspeak. It can be terrible on Facebook. I see listings that are “4 sale 2day” or am asked to “cum c my pg” or “I’VE JUST ADDED NU THINGZ 2 MY ALBUM PLZ LOOK” . My brain hurts from trying to figure out how to type all of that, let alone read it. I’ve seen a number of market-place groups that are even named that way, so it’s not just people trying to directly sell items.
As simply just liking doesn’t play a big part on Facebook as it apparently used to do, I’m noticing there now tends to be “empty comments” to replace the “empty likes”. Things like “wow” or “good job” and “great”. They help in the way they push promotion (or “the reach”) to other pages because adding comments generates more promotion for the posts to show up in multiple feeds of other users (like when your friend comments on a three year old funny picture that then sits at the top of your feed amongst new posts) but it becomes obvious that people aren’t actually reading your posts or looking at your picture, they’re just writing words and I almost find this disheartening; like I’m talking to people who are there but they’re too busy doing something else (ever tried talking to someone who was busy playing a game on their phone instead so they’re only half listening and aren’t invested in what you’re saying, if they’re even listening at all? Or when you talk to your husband and he just says “uh huh.. hmm mm sure” at random intervals ;) ). As an example, I once shared a post to promote someone else’s event and received a comment saying “good job”. Uh? It’s not my job? It’s not about me?! It’s like they’ve just assumed I made whatever was in the picture and didn’t read the words attached.
I do understand that if commenting promotes better than liking, then saying “wow” is no different from simply pressing a button that means “I like this” but it seems pointless when there is no engagement or interest. It seems like a similar problem we face on blogs when you receive (or leave) a comment just saying “nice quilt!”. The comment itself is appreciated but it doesn’t really create a dialogue. I think you can still make empty comments but they can also be relevant. When an event is posted.. how about commenting “fun” or something like that?! Come to think of it, I think I did actually receive one on that event that was “can’t wait” which ended up still bugging me since it was a random person and not anyone involved with my fb/blog/quilting community so… why can’t you wait, random person?
All of that said, because of my own feelings towards Facebook, I know I don’t comment and engage much over there as I should with others (pressing the like button is so easy and to be honest I think I prefer someone just pressing “like” than having an uninterested party say “wow”). I’ve been having a hard enough time keeping up with all the blogs I follow so not sure how to work more FB time in there too!
Pattern: based on “Scrap-A-Palooza” Bricks from Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Name: Under the Sea
Size: approx 30″x 33″
Fabric: misc – had no selvedges on the scraps (known: Kate Spain’s Cuzco, Michael Miller prints, Heather Ross Lightning, Bugs and Other Mysteries, Carnaby Street from Pat Bravo, Outfoxed from Lizzy House)
Thread: Aurifil grey