Is there anybody there?!

Having a Facebook page can sometimes make you feel like you’re talking to yourself.  You may have 1,000 people that “like” your page but it’s likely only 10% of these people will see any one of your posts. 

So what to do? 

You want the secret? 

Ah sorry, the truth is there is no secret, it’s like dieting, only hard work gets results (unfortunately), there’s no quick fix. Yup it’s all trial and error but if you are struggling to be seen here’s a few things to consider….. 

 ➊ Adding photos to every one of your posts is an excellent way to grab attention as people scroll through their text filled newsfeed. People are much more likely to take note and interact with your page by liking or commenting and that will also increase your “reach” making you pop up in other peoples newsfeeds. 
➋ Understanding your audience is a key thing to getting your posts seen. Try posting at different times of the day, thinking about who your customers are and what they are likely to be doing. If your customers are yummy mummies, posting at 2pm as they enjoy a cuppa before the school run might be your prime audience. 

I’ve researched the optimum number a posts a day and it seems two posts a day a few hours apart tends to get people “seen” by more customers. It’s worth a go! 

➌ Sponsoring posts – hmm. Pressing that dreaded button always happens in a moment of weakness for me. This is when you pay Facebook (from £3 per day) to show people your posts. Often people that do like your page and would quite like to see what you are up to anyway. 

There is much controversy surrounding the unfairness of this and my friends have agreed when I said that boosting posts seems to do very little (though can increase your “reach” for subsequent posts strangely). 

One of my super wise, talented friends suggested a preferable system to me one day that I think is genius! If Facebook introduced a monthly subscription for a page and do away with the guesswork and sponsoring posts I think most people would sign up. Make it happen Facebook! 

➍ Get by with a little help from your friends. No man is an island and the truth is if you share a page and that page shares you, everyone is a winner! 

I do a weekly share session where I ask pages to share my page or a photo if they’d like to then ask them to comment on the post so that I can share them back. Some weeks there are lots of new page likers and other weeks not so many. The important bit is to keep plugging away and sharing each other. 

➎ Giveaways and competitions are an excellent way to grab attention, although I think people can get sick of seeing them so make sure the prizes are attractive. Be prepared to get new likers – but also lose likers after a winner is announced, a bit mean,I know, but it happens. 

➏ Making your posts interactive is also a good idea. Ask questions or get people’s opinions about new ideas you have. Finding out where your page likers are from is always nice. 

➐ Try to respond to as many comments as possible as it’s not only good manners, it gives people a real flavour of who you are and creates a rapour that you don’t get with “big” companies. 

➑ Use hashtags. Not many pages do this although it’s a really fast and effective way for people to find your page quickly. Use descriptive ones such as #handmade #nursery #giftideas in your posts where you can.

➒ use other social media too! Instagram is brilliant as its so visual and your photo can reach millions of people potentionally. There is also a function to add your Facebook page, Twitter account and other SN accounts so you can post to all of them at once! Yay!! 

➓ Try all these things, work out which works for you and what didn’t float your boat.

 The secret is to keep trying and be a shameless self-promoter. I use Twitter almost everyday and I still have almost zero idea what the hell I’m doing with @ signs and hashtags everywhere but the point is, I’m out there! You’ve nothing to lose so use all of the tools you can.

Love Ellie xx 

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Ellie’s Beautiful Mistakes…

…And the things I learnt the hard way.

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••• hello. I’ve been running my handmade home decor business for almost a year now and whilst I don’t pretend to know it all, the mistakes I’ve made in those first months have proved invaluable and they have helped me grow. Here’s the basic pitfalls that are easy to make and once you’ve made them are completely avoidable…

1/  Write it down! Write it all down! On anything, just make sure, for the love of  jimmeny, you write it down!

As I started out, I knew every customer I had, their children’s names and ages, what colours they preferred and found out lots about them as we chatted away.

However, a few customers soon became tens of customers, which became hundreds (possibly thousands now) and in that time it became an almost impossible task to try and remember who wanted what, when and in which colour… My mind quickly turned to mush and I HADN’T written anything down *gasp*

It was around this point I bought myself an order book – A notebook where I could scrawl down really basic notes of what I needed to do and often a few words that would jog my memory. A simple, really obvious thing to do, yet I was smug enough to think I “knew” my customers and I could rely on my brain. It’s a lovely sentiment, however, if you are serious about expanding and growing your business, realistically you can’t ever hope to know everyone personally, however much you’d like to. But that isn’t to say it isn’t worth noting down things to make your customer feel special and jog your memory as you chat away.

2/  The technical term is “networking” but what this really means is finding some lovely people doing a similar thing and supporting each other (and mainly having a good natter).  Important, not only for your sanity as this can be a lonely job, but to grow.

The main things to remember are not to give away the aspects of your products, designs or business that make you unique and special. We all try so hard to be original and stand out but you’ll find if you’re doing this right, you will swiftly see other people being “inspired” by your idea…. Hmmm

This is like taking a bullet the first time it happens and steam will blow from your ears, but you will find it will happen repeatedly and more blatant and from people you didn’t expect it from. The only real solution to this is to take it on the chin, try and see it as a compliment and know that you’re doing something right and let it push you further.

I readily told people apps I used on my photos, suppliers I used and even how I made certain products. If you are starting out, it will pay to realise those genuine people who chat to you because they care and those that would quite like to steal some of your sunshine then tread on your toes. (If you can do this, you’re way smarter than me, I still fall for it now)

3/  Prioritise! I once saw a quote that really struck a chord with me. It mentioned that each morning the world will take you by the hand and try to  drag you in 100 different directions. What you need to do is to take your hand back and decide your own direction and which things are really important.

I have two young children who are priority number one, Mr EBM is a close number 2 as he’s a grown up (technically) and Rosie the dog is next. As I open my eyes I know there are always 100+ things I SHOULD be doing.

The key to that magic work/life balance so talked about is realising the things that are important and things that don’t need your immediate attention. I sell felt mobiles and garlands to lovely people that have children themselves, thankfully this grants me some grace as they can understand what it’s like not having five minutes in a day to yourself.

With craft and handmade businesses we are lucky that nothing is urgent, we sell pretty things to make life a little lovelier and thankfully not live organs that someone’s life depends upon.

We make our own stress in life and working hard when you have the time and making the odd sacrifice is sufficient – your best is good enough and it’s never worth missing out on life’s precious moments for.

I have to say I still haven’t mastered this art either, in fact I still make all of the above mentioned mistakes, but being aware of them is meeting them halfway.  It’s amazing how your business will grow with your heart and soul poured into it but best of all, your customers can see that for themselves.

Mass production is fast and cheap and impersonal.  To build a handmade business  takes time, care and attention and that personal touch, which is what sets you aside from the rest, no one can imitate.

love ellie xXx

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