Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! Featured Post by Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod

Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! By: Diane Gilleland

spun around

Spun Around | the trial | Flickr Creative Commons

Hear that rumbling sound – the one getting closer by the minute? Yup, it’s the holiday season. Guess we better crank up our marketing efforts. So let’s start a blog, and sign up for Twitter, and make that Facebook page. NOW what do we do?

Wait – let’s back up for a moment. Actually, right now – heading into the holiday season – is the wrong time to start social media marketing.

Blogging, Twitter, and Facebook are a lot like gardens. You can’t plant seeds and then pick tomatoes five minutes later. Instead, you plant those seeds and spend months tending them. Social media marketing works the same way. You have to put in the months to build your online community, forge friendships with people, and earn their trust. Then you can market.

But don’t despair! If you new to social media tools, you can still use them in creative ways to spread the word about your product this holiday season.

add your comment-premasagar

Add your comment |  Premasagar | Flickr Creative Commons

First, find blogs where you can respond to others

If you haven’t had time to build your own online community, then now is the time to participate well in other people’s online communities.

Your brand-new blog might be fairly invisible to the blogosphere. But that’s okay – lots and lots of other people have blogs. Make a practice of leaving comments on a few other people’s blogs every day, and you’ll be able to subtly spread the word about yours.

Now, this is an idea that’s all too easy to misuse, so let’s be clear: I am not talking about leaving spammy comments that say, “Hey, great post! Come look at my shop [link].” Comments like that won’t get you noticed, they’ll get you disliked.

Instead, look for blog posts about subjects related to your product. Leave substantive comments that are related to the post. Don’t directly mention your online store. When you fill out any comment form, you’ll put in the URL for your online store, and that will create a link to your name.

If your comment is thoughtful and interesting, the blogger will click that link. So will some of that blogger’s readers. And they’ll see your website through more interested eyes, because your first contact with them was a genuine conversation – not a blank-faced marketing message. It’s a backdoor method, to be sure, but effective. We all love the people who notice us, so by noticing others, you become interesting to them.

facebook twitter

Then, carry the idea to Facebook and Twitter

The same idea works on Facebook, by the way. If you don’t have many friends there, try joining some public groups (or becoming a fan of some pages) and then participating in conversations regularly. Again, leave thoughtful responses when people share things. Try to participate in conversations that are related to your business. And make sure your Facebook profile page has a nice, prominent link to your online store.

On Twitter, you can use Twitter Search to find people posting about subjects related to your product, and then you can join in these discussions. This is best done subtly – after all, you don’t want to look like an online stalker! But on any given day, there are so many conversations taking place on Twitter, and so many people asking questions and sharing ideas, you’ll find places to join in appropriately. Again, the key is being on-topic and making sure your responses have substance. …But before you dive into a program of responding, there’s one key concept to understand:

crafting

Your community and your market are different groups

It can be very tempting, when you’re in these social media spaces, to focus on people who are just like you. And this leads to awesome friendships, but it may not get a lot of marketing done during the holiday season. Here’s what I mean by that: let’s say you make amazing crocheted pot holders, and you want to sell them. Who’s a better customer for you: someone who also crochets (and could make their own pot holders), or someone who loves to cook (and needs pot holders, but can’t make them)?

If you’re embarking on a program of social media responding for the holidays, you’ll want to keep your efforts focused on people who’d actually be likely to need what you sell. So think about what kinds of online communities might find your product compelling. If you make pendants based on classic 8-bit video game graphics, then you’ll want to look for gamers. If you sew bibs and burp cloths, then look for new parents.

Tools like Google Blog Search and IceRocket can help you find blogging communities. You can use Twibes and WeFollow to find interest-based communities on Twitter. And on Facebook, try doing some searches for Groups and Pages And when you’re on a fan page, see if it has any “Favorite Pages” listed in its sidebar.

Christmas Candle | keibr | Flickr Creative Commons

Less is definitely more

Keep in mind, though, that the holidays are a noisy time, and everyone is inundated with marketing messages. When you’re responding to people online, your best bet is always quality over quantity. In the cacophony of the holiday season, true conversation will stand out. (That’s a short paragraph about a great big idea. If you’re unfamiliar with “engagement marketing,” then you might also find this video useful, along with part one of this series on  Craftzine and part three on the Etsy Storque.) And then, right after the holidays, you can begin building your own social media community, so you’ll be ready for next year’s holiday season.

~Diane Gilleland

About the Author:

Handmade Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Stay tuned for much more from “Sister Diane” in the weeks to come!

Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,
  • http://www.artfire.com/users/OldWorldPrimitives Old World Primitives

    Great advice – especially “your community and your market are different groups.” It took me awhile to come to that same conclusion as a social media newbie, and having the proper focus is key at this time of year.

  • http://www.handmadespark.com Amber Jordan

    Diane, these are all great points! I completely agree with your last statement that less is more..focusing on quality over quantity. The general “I love this post” and here are my ten links type of comment is a pet peeve of mine as well. I love your points in the video as well about social media as a conversation….a genuine conversation. So many miss this very simple key to building a community. Don’t talk AT me..talk TO me!

  • http://eightymillion.etsy.com Jennifer Schulting

    Hi Diane and welcome to Handmade Spark.

    I’m addicted to blogs! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in reading them that I tend to forget my little shop and need to get back on track. But yes, they are a great way to meet people and perhaps a potential customer that may spread the word about your product.

    Good comparison regarding the pot holders. Clear and to the point.

    Thanks for your post and helpful links that I will definitely check out.

  • Maybrady

    Some excellent advice in here! Definitely no room for “last minute panic” when it comes to end-of-year… off to update my blog comments :) Thanks for the great article!

  • http://jorpins.tumblr.com/ ejorpin

    This is such a great post – thank you so much for ‘guesting’ on Handmade SPark Sister Diane! So much great advice, for newbies and old hands alike.

    I started my blog a few months ago and I set myself a goal to comment on at least two other blogs each day. And by comment I don’t mean ‘great post!’, I mean offering an opinion, sharing a story, giving some support – it’s been a slow and steady way to build interest (the key word there is SLOW!) and it’s also been a great way to stumble upon a bunch of creative projects that I’ve gotten involved in.

    I think your garden analogy is completely spot on – if you take the time to nurture your on-line communities you’ll eventually reap rewards (and you’ll have a ton of fun along the way!). Patience is key, as well as maybe re-thinking your definition of ‘success’ – it’s not always about page views and ‘likes’ and shop hearts and all the other stats we are inundated with…

  • http://twitter.com/HoIJewelry Lindsay Wisecup

    Another helpful post. There are many useful applications out there to help “organize” our social media networking time. I’m constantly trying to find more ways to make this part of my business/job easier and I really appreciate the links to Twibes and Wefollow. I will definitely check them out.

  • Kim Berger

    Thank you! Practical points that we seem to forget in the busy world of day job-work, household duties and etsy shop! I enjoy blogs very much and try to hit a few every few days. Most offer interesting info that can be used. Also the facebook & twitter links work great from my experience….tHANKS!

  • Billie Bags Etc @ Floorartetc

    This is great advice. I am still a newbie with blogging and facebook etc. Finding time to do it all is a challenge, but something I’m working on.

    Thank you for taking the time to help me make my business successful.

    Billie

  • Anonymous

    Amen, Amber! There’s just so much noise in the social media spaces, it’s amazing how powerful whispering to one person at a time has become!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for the nice welcome, Jennifer! You are so right – it’s always a balancing act, trying to maintain so many labor-intensive fronts at once.

  • Jonscreations

    This is such a great article. Since I work full time I really haven’t had the time to build up my own online community so your advice on how to participate with others is very useful to me. Thank you. I will surly take your advise!

  • Anonymous

    You’re doing a great thing by setting commenting goals, ejorpin! I do that too – I make sure to comment on a minimum of one blog, every single day. (And more if I can, but some days don’t allow it.) This simple practice really has grown my readership over time, and maybe more importantly, connected me to so many wonderful people and opportunities.

    And also, your efforts are putting positive energy into the community, which makes the whole thing better. So thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Glad the links were useful, Lindsay. If you haven’t already, you might also want to check out HootSuite (http://www.hootsuite.com), which has a lot of time-saving stuff. You can pre-schedule your updates, and update both Twitter and Facebook from one place. You can also access stats to see how many people are clicking on the links you share. And you can import your Twitter Lists, so you can organize the tweets you read by themes if you like.

  • Anonymous

    My goodness! Thank you so much for the warm welcome, everyone! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. And I’m sending everyone lots of Holiday Season Mojo… :-)

  • Thecolledges

    Great post, great suggestions, thank you so much!!

  • http://twitter.com/hideaheart MCatherine Lunsford

    Want to lend my voice to the Handmade Spark WELCOMING CHORUS. So appreciate the many great tips in this article, many of which I have ‘stumbled upon’ over the past year. And now I see there are a wee bit more I can incorporate. Dashing!

  • Hottinroofneworleans

    Thank you, Diane! I’ve read many items on social marketing and networking but I particularly appreciated your suggestions on how to use these tools without becoming bothersome. Through the on-going process of network development, I’ve encountered many people who do just as you say “Hello, my name is ______. Click this link”. I don’t want to be that person! And I agree, networking is a process that takes time. Thanks again for the insight.

  • http://www.mypurejoy.blospot.com Littlelordmars

    Such great advice! Thanks, I’m a newbie trying to build my network. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/meatbagz kate and mackenzie

    Wow, what a great post! We’ve been facebooking and tweeting for awhile, and we just started a blog…but there are lots of tips we hadn’t thought trying of yet. Thanks for helping us expand our online repertoire, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  • http://www.craftypod.com/2010/11/02/what-if-youre-getting-started-with-all-this-online-marketing-stuff-too-late/ What if you’re getting started with all this online marketing stuff too late?

    [...] The nice folks at Handamde Spark just published a new piece I wrote, called Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! [...]

  • http://twitter.com/PrairieWindDsgn Misti Krause

    This is great advice and an awesome reminder! I try to check myself before posting by asking, would I say this in person. There’s nothing worse than your friend continually asking you to host that tupperware party – after a while you begin avoiding them – be careful you are not driving your online friends away!

  • Anonymous

    That’s a good point, Misti – even though we’re online, those old face-to-face rules of courtesy apply!

  • http://blog.lisakretchman.com Lisa Kretchman

    Thanks for the words of advice – it’s a little scary to think that this is November and the holidays are coming fast! But yes, it’s the long-term results that matter.

    -Lisa

  • Robin Wood

    Great post Diane, it is always a difficult balance to strike between friendly networking and marketing and I think you get it perfect here.

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/social-marketing-video-for-handmade-businesses-sister-diane/ Social Marketing Video for Handmade Businesses: Sister Diane | Handmade Spark

    [...] Quick the Holidays are Coming and I Have to Start Marketing Online [...]

  • http://kimannaprints.blogspot.com Kathy

    Thankyou for your advice for marketing online. I am new to Etsy and marketing online. I have taken your comments onboard and will make a comment on a blog each day.

  • http://createdbykaty.blogspot.com Katy Lunsford

    Thank you for this great info, I am printing it out to study and put in place. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Katy Lunsford

  • http://twitter.com/UpliftSingDream ChariT on etsy

    Wow Diane! Thanks so much for this post! I have a new business on etsy selling jewelry and I really need tips like this! Thanks again! Be blessed!

    Chari

    http://www.charitsinspirationalcreations.blogspot.com

  • bunny8bling

    Thank you – have been getting a bit lost recently and question just what I am doing!! Cheers for clarifying, will start looking for people who NEED my product. xx bunny xx

  • Archaicparadise

    Thank you~ I really need some guidance on how to go about networking my shop. It seems so overwhelming at time! I keep telling myself “Rome was not built in a day!”

  • Kiwanya Hall

    Very informative…..I will be mindful of your suggestions. (Trust me, I needed this so much)

  • RoseInteriors.Etsy.com

    Thank you for such great tips. I am going to make a list of “my market”… I have been guilty of confusing it with my community. The blogging tools you mentioned will be very helpful.

  • Nina

    Thanks for the great advice and the Mojo…I love any kind of mojo :-). Hugs and warmest wishes.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/goodnorth Shelby

    OH my goodness. I needed this article. I just started my shop and before that social networking was uncomfortable for me and blogs were just something not on my radar. Now it’s like I am showing up for the final after missing class all year. This article took some of the intimidation away. Thanks.

  • http://www.veerle.net/holiday-season-marketing-how-to-engage-your-buyers.html Holiday Season Marketing: How to Engage Your Buyers | Creative Handmade Studio

    [...] The holiday season is not the best time to start using social media tools. You simply won’t have adequate time to build enough of a following to make your posts count. But if you’re new to blogging, Twitter, or Facebook, you can still make your product more visible by putting your energy into responding to other people. [...]

  • Donasorenson

    Thank you for the great info! I discovered this article just as I was about to engage in all the wrong marketing for my etsy shop. I started it in May ’08 and have only sold two items, but silly me, I thought that all I needed to do was to list my items, and Poof! —jewelry would sell. This online world is daunting.

  • Anonymous

    It’s true! In the early days of the web, we could “build it and they would come,” but now the online space is so crowded, the only way to be noticed is to participate. Good luck to you – and just keep plugging away. It will pay off!

  • http://www.GraceArtandDesigns.etsy.com Grace

    Thanks Diane for your great insight into marketing for the handmade community! We appreciate it.

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/week-7-etsy-success-holiday-boot-camp/ Week #7 Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp | Handmade Spark

    [...] of a (3 part series) by Sister Diane: Holiday Season Marketing How to Engage Your Buyers and Quick! The Holidays are Coming and I have to Start Marketing Online! and finally, Crafting Your Online [...]

  • http://gilstrapdesigns.etsy.com Debra

    This really great information about marketing online. This is something I’ve been needing to know more about.

    Thanks

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-working-and-playing-in-craft-with-alexa-westerfield/ Craftypod: Working and Playing in Craft, with Alexa Westerfield | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read: Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! Stay tuned for much more from “Sister Diane” in the weeks to come! Tagged as: alexa [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-the-basics-of-business-structures-with-bettie-newell/ CraftyPod: The Basics of Business Structures, with Bettie Newell | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! Stay tuned for much more from “Sister Diane” in the weeks to come! Tagged as: business tips, [...]

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.hoyt Lynn Hoyt

    I’m late in reading this but don’t see why the advice wouldn’t be good for any time!

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-why-should-you-plan-your-blog-posts-ahead/ CraftyPod: Why Should You Plan Your Blog Posts Ahead? | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! Stay tuned for much more from “Sister Diane” in the weeks to come! Tagged as: blogging, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/what-message-are-you-unconsciously-sending-on-twitter/ What message are you (unconsciously) sending on Twitter? | Handmade Spark

    [...] actually, it’s a bit late to start a Twitter marketing campaign for this year, but let’s set that aside for the moment. What amazes me is how many of these [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-why-your-story-is-everything-with-tara-gentile/ CraftyPod: Why Your Story is Everything, with Tara Gentile | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! Stay tuned for much more from “Sister Diane” in the weeks to come! Tagged as: business tips, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-professional-crafters-hobbyists-etsy-and-viable-businesses-with-megan-auman/ CraftyPod: Professional Crafters, Hobbyists, Etsy, and Viable Businesses, with Megan Auman | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: artists, crafters, craftypod, Etsy, For [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod/ CraftyPod: Craft & Graphic Design, with Patricia Zapata | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: craft, craft business, craftypod, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-creating-with-food-with-kathy-high/ CraftyPod: Creating With Food, with Kathy High | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: craftypod, creative food, edibles, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-crafting-with-your-kids-with-future-craft-collective/ CraftyPod: Crafting With Your Kids, with Future Craft Collective | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: children, craft projects, crafting, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypodcreative-commons-licensing-with-martin-ertl-and-kim-werker/ CraftyPod:Creative Commons Licensing, with Martin Ertl and Kim Werker | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: artists, crafters, craftypod, creative [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-2craftypodtaxes-for-your-crafty-business-with-hunter-coleman/ CraftyPod:Taxes for Your Crafty Business, with Hunter Coleman | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: accounting, craft business, craftypod, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypodengagement-marketing-for-your-crafty-business/ CraftyPod: Engagement Marketing for Your Crafty Business | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: business advice, craft business, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-keeping-up-with-the-crafty-internet-with-one-pretty-thing%e2%80%99s-rachel-klein/ Craftypod: Keeping Up with the Crafty Internet, with One Pretty Thing’s Rachel Klein | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: blog links, blogging, blogs, craft [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-crafty-retailing-the-brick-mortar-kind-with-pat-riesenburger/ Craftypod: Crafty Retailing (the brick & mortar kind), with Pat Riesenburger | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: brick and mortar, craft stores, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-branding-your-crafty-business-with-margot-potter/ Craftypod: Branding Your Crafty Business, with Margot Potter | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: brand identity, branding, building a [...]

  • http://www.anhartetsy.etsy.com Adrienne Hart

    LOL, this sounded just like me… I started a FB page and began a blog to increase traffic during the holiday season. I will definitely continue to tend to the seeds that I have planted in the hopes of having an excellent crop next year this time. Thanks for the super advice.

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-crafting-for-money-vs-passion-with-paul-overton-of-dudecraft/ Craftypod: Crafting for Money vs. Passion, with Paul Overton of Dudecraft | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: Blog Feature, craft business, crafting, [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-indie-crafters-and-the-craft-industry-with-mike-hartnett/ Craftypod: Indie Crafters and the Craft Industry, with Mike Hartnett | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here. Tagged as: CHA, craft and hobby association, craft [...]

  • http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/craftypod-all-about-decoupage/ Craftypod: All About Decoupage | Handmade Spark

    [...] Spark is proud to feature Diane Gilleland, the Social Media Maven behind Craftypod. Read:Quick! The holidays are coming and I have to start marketing online! More CraftyPods from Diane can be found here.  Standard Podcast: Play Now | Play in Popup [...]

  • http://filmspack.com/page/sitemap/ Movie catalog

    movie film – catalog. New DVD

  • http://www.hgtikfdsdfdfdf.net Shaun Prescott

    Well I sincerely liked studying it. This subject provided by you is very effective for proper planning.

  • Lisa

    Great article.  I have a Facebook page and a blog which I haven’t done much with.  Both have little following…I am reminding myself to start where I am…and your comment about tending the garden is a great reminder to maintain faith, be genuine and pursue one’s dreams and goals.  

    I will try the Twitter Search..I’m new to Twitter and don’t really understand how to utilize it..I never thought about doing searches on family and work balance, online marketing ideas..etc.  I know there are great sites and tools out there…
    Your site is quickly becoming one of my favorites!

    Thank you!  Lisa 

  • http://hideaheart.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/perking-for-the-holidays-redeux/ Perking for the Holidays Redeux | HideaHeart's Blog

    [...] of a (3 part series) by Sister Diane: Holiday Season Marketing How to Engage Your Buyers and Quick! The Holidays are Coming and I have to Start Marketing Online! and finally, Crafting Your Online [...]

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/umeone Linda Long

    Hi Diane, your article has given me that little nudge I needed to jump into the Blogging world! I have know idea what I’m doing but, I didn’t know anything about Etsy a few short years ago! Building a brand by going with the flow! Thank you for your insights!

  • http://2dpeacefulvalleyboutique9.blogspot.com Denise Hacker-Woody

    Thank you for the very useful information. You explain marketing in a way I can understand. I can also refer back to you for more information. Thanks!

blog comments powered by Disqus