by Barbara Bechtel
If you promote your work online as many of us do, then it's probably happened to you. You're getting new "likes", comments, and even sales (we all hope!) and then WHAM! No new likes, no comments, and sales flatline. It's sort of like when you go to a big party and you use the facilities and come out only to find everyone packing up to go home.
If you use Facebook, then you've likely read that recently it has changed the way people see "ads" posted by other sites. This has had many discussing how they can still drive sales to their sites and keep the love coming.
The most recent example that is affecting those who sell on other sites (like Etsy, etc.) is that when you "share" on Facebook the item you have for sale, either by using the button from your item or pasting the link directing into your Facebook status, is that the number of people that see that item will be greatly throttled.
Personally, I've never found that method to be particularly useful for Facebook anyhow, although I've long used it in addition to my other sharing. While I'm not an expert, I thought I would share some insights I've gained over the years that have helped me.
First and foremost, what you ALWAYS need to remember is that sites, whether they be social media (i.e. FB, Instagram) or selling sites (eBay, Etsy) are constantly changing the algorithms that affects what you see in your feed (in the instance of FB) or what you search for (sites like Etsy, eBay, or Pinterest that generate results based on what you search for).
That being said, if you sell or share in this way, you need to keep abreast of your numbers and when they start to fall, seemingly without any relation to what you've been doing, they may have changed their algorithms. It is not unlike a card game. They're not going to tell you what or why they have changed, you just notice that you're losing. Therefore, you have to change your strategy. Don't misunderstand me, they're not necessarily out to "defeat" you, but they are constantly grabbing information on statistics about what generates the most sales and what people are most searching for.
Here are some things to think about when trying to increase your numbers:
1) What you're posting. While it might be tempting to post 1000 pictures of your pet or your smoothie, a little goes a long way. The same goes for your work. If you post the same type of work a 1000 times, it becomes boring. If you've made the same ring in 10 variations, don't post 10 photos. Take one photo all together.
2) Describe your inspiration. It's tempting to be minimalist and say "new rings I made" but people want to know why you made it. Maybe it's a collection or piece based on your fascination with a new color or glaze, the weather, a poem, a trip you took. TELL people about it and how it inspired your new work.
3) Show pieces in progress. People are fascinated by the process and the story. Show your sketches, show the process from raw clay to finished bead, show metal while you're sawing or before it's soldered.
4) Time of day: What time do you post your photos? When do you get the most traffic? Schedule your posts at different or varying times and chart their popularity. Posts in your Facebook business page can be scheduled at different times of day. You may reach different people by trying out different times.
5) Challenge yourself visually. Most of us are not photographers by nature and it can be very easy to continue to use what has worked for us in the past. Put the jewelry on the same background and take the photos. With current technology, it is easier to take better and more interesting photos than it has been in the past. If you feel photography is not your forte, than enroll in a class or schedule yourself some time to play with different backgrounds and lighting. Study photographs of you admire and see what appeals to you that you could emulate in your own photos. Change up your photography by doing something different. Play with different backgrounds, get a friend to model (or model your own!) or take a trip to a park, beach, or new location and take some pictures.
6) Engage the audience you wish to have. If you make handmade jewelry to sell, then you need to finding the audience that likes to BUY handmade jewelry. You may be posting photos and getting likes but if few of those people are actually an audience that will purchase it, then all of that love isn't translating to much more than a pat on the back.
7) Paid ads. With the introduction of paid ads on many sites, it might be tempting to follow this route. However normally for small and niche businesses, this is not always effective. It is an option, that does bear research especially to get the word out locally. If you teach classes or do many shows, it may be an avenue to pursue. Check it out and start small to see if it may work for you.
I hope this helps you think about some of these things in new ways! If you have any advice or tips to share, I'd love to hear them in the comments below!