The Social Media Trap And The Trouble With Sales Platforms

I’ve noticed something wrong with my social media. And it’s a trap many of us who are trading, fall into.

The thing is, your social media is there to advertise you, to get your name out there and ultimately to sell your product and keep you in business. But who’s following you? Most of my social media is followed by fellow creatives, people who will probably never buy my products. They have other ways to get what I am offering for free, or don’t have the funds to pay at my prices.

Hits on Instagram are, I have noticed, largely from other businesses trying to cash in on my follower lists or advertise their own businesses by following me in the expectation I will follow back. But I don’t see many genuine customers on Instagram or Twitter, I see fellow artists who are as broke as I am trying to push their own brands. But all they’re doing is following the same people as me, and they are not buyers.I would rather have 50 followers who were active buyers/bloggers interacting with my stuff and buying it than 4000 empty follows from companies who don’t even look at my page. It’s about quality not quantity.

As a result I spend a chunk of my time blocking bad followers – mostly companies selling followers or completely irrelevant companies.

As the main point of my social media right now is pushing my Etsy shop, as that’s where all my stock lives, it’s pretty pointless advertising it on social media. So many of us fall into the trap of believing we have to advertise our shops outside of Etsy. But the customers are already there (over 21 million, against 1.5 million sellers), so why do you need to promote your shop outside of it?

If customers aren’t seeing you on Etsy you’re doing something wrong. Usually it comes down to your tags and descriptions. Look at your traffic sources. How are site users finding you? Ideally Etsy, the Etsy App and Direct Traffic should be top of your sources list. Hopefully your social media is out there somewhere. Embarrassingly my WordPress doesn’t feature anywhere on my traffic sources. Oops.

Unfortunately there’s a lot of concern amongst Etsy sellers about the fixing of search results and the general manipulation of the site. So you might never meet your sales targets. And that’s the risk when you sell through a hosted site.

Even so, I am constantly reading up on how to improve my shops SEO. The best advice on how to sell on Etsy comes from sellers using the forums to offer their experiences and advising new shops on how to get seen. Some of the best advice I read was on one of these forum threads:

‘Here’s what I tell new sellers: adjust your thinking. It’s not about getting your SHOP noticed; it’s about getting your ITEMS FOUND. No one’s looking for a jewelry shop—they’re looking for specific items.’

And that’s all down to the hashtags. But which ones work? Adjusting them and seeing your stats change is a valuable tool. But there are also sites like this which help do it for you. Every time you want to tag something, stick it in the search box and find out if it’s worth including. Think like a buyer, not a seller. The best way to see this at work is to go to your shop stats and find your lowest viewed item, Now relook at your tags. Save, and see what happens.

It’s the same with Instagram. Find sites that show you the hit rate for individual words and phrases. It’s pointless putting a word in that only 20% of users try.

But the fact of the matter is that selling on Etsy is far from a full time income. Yes, some are doing it, but it’s not common. These stories seem to be far more in keeping with what I’ve seen and the cheaper and smaller the item, the far more you’re likely to sell. So is unique, more expensive fashion a good bet? Well someone’s doing it.

To see where I’m at with Etsy drop into my shop here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/falcieridesigns

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