I am so thrilled to write this blog post dedicated to the new e-book called, The Handmade Loves’ Guide to Instagram Success: How to Build an Audience and Make Sales, written by our founder Emily Strom! As an artist and small business owner, I have similar concerns and questions as many of the makers in this community. And like many of you, I use Instagram as my main source of marketing. I LOVE Instagram! I Love taking pictures of my products, staging the perfect photo, and editing the color just right. I love creative writing and coming up with silly captions and picking the perfect emojis to go along with it. But after all that fun stuff is done, it’s time for the marketing and hashtagging. If I am honest, marketing, in general, seems extremely inauthentic to me. That is why this e-book is SO helpful. It gives marketing advice that does not seem pandering or cheesy. I am going to list a few of my favorite takeaways from the book that got me motivated to make some marketing changes in my business. Hopefully, they click with you, too!
DON’T STUNT GROWTH
In the e-book, Emily talks about the importance of picking a business name that can grow as your business does. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into one thing. When I was coming up with Karing Vibes, I was initially thinking about naming my business Karing Babes. I was only doing onesies at that time, so I thought it worked. After a few days of mulling it over, I wanted something with the initials K.V. – as those are my initials and how I sign my paintings. I thought it would tie in well. That’s when I came up with Karing Vibes. In hindsight, that was a really great decision because I offer other non-baby related items, and I want to keep growing. This is a great piece of advice for anyone just starting out, or if you have thought about changing up your name.
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
Another piece of advice Emily shares it how to keep your audience engaged. She says, “To spike engagement and interactivity, ask a question in a caption. For example, you can take a flat lay image of several of your products and ask which one your audience likes best. Or, try asking them mid-project what color or what design you should use.” I love this idea because it’s genuine and fun. Small business owners love getting ideas and feedback from customers, so this is a perfect way to get it! And it’s keeping you engaged with your fan base. I will for sure have to try this with my paintings.
DON’T GO OVERBOARD
Emily is speaking of hashtags here. Em says that when marketing your products, you should use 8 or fewer hashtags. I only recently began embracing the hashtag. To me, it felt like I was desperately seeking “likes” and that felt yucky to me. But hashtags are a super important tool to get your product seen by people outside of your fan base. What feels best for me is to hashtag in the comment section with a series of colons in front (::::::: #HandmadeLoves #Maker). In this way, I can write a fun caption without bombarding the readers with a bunch of hashtags. Adding a comment with colons in front keeps my hashtags from showing up in my comment section and keeps my post and feed looking clean while getting all the benefits of hashtags. You can even use up to 30 hashtags and no one will have to read them!
Emily cites in her book that some of the best times to post are after work hours—specifically after 4 PM. She says you will have to find what works best for you, but I have found this to be accurate for my posts. I have found that posting after 8 PM generates the most likes and views on my page. The difference between posting during the day and posting in the evening can be up to 50 likes! I never would have discovered this if I hadn’t tried out different times. Emily supplies a sheet in the e-book where you can keep track of your posting times and likes, so you can figure out that sweet spot for you. She also gives you a list of analytic tools, which will keep track for you and make your life even easier!
These were just a few examples of marketing strategies that resonated with me. Best of all, there are tons of other strategies in the e-book! Emily really breaks it down for you and shows you ways to market products that are really authentic to makers. I know that’s why I enjoyed the book so much! I can’t wait for you to give it a read. And let us know how you are utilizing the strategies! We would love to hear from you.
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