Dash of Inspiration: Social Media and Me
This week’s post comes as a request from our GCU artist family with a request to share my thoughts on Social Media for Card Designers. PLEASE, when reading this post keep in mind that what is stated IS ONLY MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE and is in no way right for everyone – nor would everyone have the same results. I’ve been asked for my opinion and I’ll share it with anyone who wants to hear it.
The request: “I was wondering if you could do a Dash of Inspiration on the value of Linkedin, Pinterest and Facebook etc for card designers. For example, I know I spend a lot of time marketing on Pinterest but only ever got one seller commission. I’m sure I am not the only one who wonders if my efforts would be better placed elsewhere.”
So, let me begin by reminding everyone that seller commissions only come from new to GCU customers and that on Pinterest, your referral code needs to be added back in via the edit tool when the post is made. See below.
Though I have a profile on Linkedin, I don’t spend more than a few minutes every couple of minutes maintaining it unless something major changes in my business. Nor do I spend time posting to ‘my network’ my status of the moment. For me, Linkedin only brought job opportunities of which I have no interest as an artist who is financially self-sustaining. The other contact I get a lot of is from artists wanting to show their work in my gallery – which I haven’t done in ten years. So for me, Linkedin is only a place to be visually found and draw people to my website(s).
For the artist who works freelance in book illustration, custom portraits or any number of other creative positions – in addition to card designing at GCU – Linkedin would be high in ranking where you spend your time.
Pinterest is the only social media platform which I’ve found a direct correlation between posting and sales. If you spend fifteen to thirty minutes a week ‘interacting’ with Pinterest. Visit and follow what you like, post additional content that is not from your POD sites, but rather interesting in other ways which fit your boards, you’ll gain a wider selection of viewers and followers.
Here are some blog posts from the GCU Community Blog which may be worth a reread.
Business use of Facebook for the small entrepreneur such as ourselves has become a waste of time and effort for me personally. As soon as Facebook changed viewing algorithms, forcing the business page to PAY in order to get their posts seen, that page became only a place to hang my Salon Of Art hat, not a place to get referrals.
My findings …
- I networked like mad for a solid six solid months to bring my fanbase up to 600 real fans (refusing to buy fans just to get the numbers up). Results in sales, none.
- For three solid months last year, I created unique, interesting content complete with visual imagery. Some my own product advertising – not just sharing, but writing eye-catching material to accompany my product posts. I offered some sneak peeks at how I create my designs, some interesting content relating to tutorials, artist interviews, great finds for the designer, etc. This took a couple of hours every Sunday to put together scheduled posts of various content to post on Facebook TWICE DAILY, 7-DAYS a WEEK. I even played with varying the time of day they posted to see if those ‘prime posting hours’ really worked.
- Findings after 3-months of these postings – again, no change in viewing, no change in sales, no change in fanbase. The viewing audience still only reached up to 20 of those 665 fans. No sales or referrals registered from being directed from FB to my storefronts.
With all this said, let me share what I do know works for me.
- Every business should have a Linkedin profile, a Facebook business page, Pinterest boards under their business name. As well as Google Plus, Twitter, Wanelo, Tumbler, etc. Why? Because, whether you see direct referral sales from posts to these sites or not, you are making your business ‘a household name’. In order to sell, you have to be remembered. Businesses that are recognized from their branding will gain customers because when someone needs in our case a greeting card, they are likely to remember you, look for you and recognize your logo and/or name. When that search brings up social media sites and websites with your brand, people feel confident that you are a professional and will step inside your storefronts.
- DO NOT abuse social media with post after post after post of nothing more than clicking the ‘post it’ button on your products. This is considered spamming and the only thing you’ll get out of it is people unfollowing and unliking your pages.
- If you want referral income with your card sales, you need to have websites and/or blogs. Those are where the referral income comes from. You have to promote other artists cards in addition to your own. You have to write unique content, not just click a button and expect sales.
- You will also have success if you can find your niche and have a website which fits that niche. Mine is PAWSitivelyPETrageous.com – a place where “Pets Shop for Their People.” Animals are a huge part of my life and volunteer work, therefore this is an area I’m comfortable with and can write about to accompany the items I sell.
- Storefronts and websites can not be left untouched for more than a week. When they do they will begin to fall in the SEO chain of what comes up in searches. If you gain momentum, you have to maintain it.
- Have a home base. My home site is the SalonOfArt.com (yes, I own the domain, yet have the .weebly after it simply because if I remove that, many external links will be broken). On SalonOfArt.com I have links to my Greeting Cards – this page brings in referral sales, both my own card sales and referrals of people who find other artist’s cards on the site when they click through.
Bottom line? You need to spend the time to understand if your time is being well spent. Also keep in mind that this is my full-time job. Creating, managing, marketing, all these hats are what I do week in and week out; and because of that I make a living. For those of you who can’t make this your full-time job and/or don’t wish to spend that much time each week, you have to choose wisely.
So until next week … Learn … Create … Inspire and SELL!