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Chris Campbell

Instagram or Facebook or ??? What?

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I have a question for the more tech savvy among us ...

I would like to run a short campaign asking people to take a selfie with my wares and post it ... but where to post them is the question.

I have a Facebook colored clay group, or could start a new page just for this ... have never used Instagram.

All opinions welcome.

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Pinterest has the longest lifespan of anything I have seen from my experience so far. I also head a few other people say the same on podcast and such. So if you're going to spend time doing it. I would do it on pinterest.  I have test tiles that I pinned several years ago that still bring traffic to my website.

Edited by Joseph F

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I deleted my previously posted comment because after reading through the thread I realized it didn't really address the business/sales context. I like Pinterest becasue it's fun and I like having my own little repository of images from so many ceramists around the world, but that does not mean anyone is selling anything or getting a good marketing result for the time investment.  I do wish we could just delete the post if we want to, rather than having an empty space hang around like a ghost.

Edited by LeeU
changed my mind

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11 hours ago, Chris Campbell said:

They all seem like huge time pits

Yes they are and I'm not sure they are worth the ROI.

Is there anybody here that can say they are earning a good return from these venues? If so it would be educational to hear from them.

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It’s hard to quantify, but I think social media can be effective when you are using it to support a real world operation. My use of facebook is geared towards driving people to my website, and to sign up for my mailing list. Website and mailing list are both proven effective tools, both designed to drive people to see me in person at a show, where the real action takes place. 

My use of instagram is mostly for fun, to keep up with the work of people I like. I wanted it to be useful like facebook, but it hasn’t worked that way. Oh well, it’s fun anyways. 

So if you see it as one piece of the whole operation, then it can help. Use it in conjunction with lots of pavement pounding. I think many new businesses make the mistake of viewing their social media presence as their whole operation. And those are the ones who are wasting their time for not much return. 

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6 minutes ago, GEP said:

Website and mailing list are both proven effective tools

Absolutely, although if done correctly, I feel snail mail works better than email if hitting a select target of known buyers of ceramic products.

6 minutes ago, GEP said:

I think many new businesses make the mistake of viewing their social media presence as their whole operation.

So true.

Based on your gross sales Mea and as a professional potter, what percentage do you think your sales derive from as a result of your work on social media?

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55 minutes ago, RonSa said:

Based on your gross sales Mea and as a professional potter, what percentage do you think your sales derive from as a result of your work on social media?

Again, it’s difficult to quantify, but I would estimate it’s less than 10%. I think more than 90% is from people who first become aware of me at a show. And lots of my in-person fans also become facebook followers, so there is some crossover, and facebook helps to reach more people with my show announcements, even if I first met them at a show. 

Still, even if it’s less than 10%, that’s a decent amount sales that is worth the amount of effort spent.

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I've been on Pinterest for a long time.  I don't use Pinterest to sell, but I'm not sure how you could value it's impact on your business.  I suspect it's probably better to use Pinterest to drive people to your website or online shop: pin from your website rather than upload, and see if people will click through.  Pinterest requires really great quality pics that you want people to share.  You need to update often so that your followers will see new things periodically.  It's kind of a rummage sale though, with most new pins getting very small re-pins. Really striking pieces get shared around over and over. Usually something about those pins makes them unique  - age, color, the underlying website content, or imagery.  

Most pieces I like still rarely get pinned more than a few hundred times.  Often less than 50 times.  This includes pots from Mea Rhee, Byron Temple, Jeff Campana, Kyle Carpenter, Matt Hylek, Sam Taylor, etc.  But, any one of these potters can have a pot pinned several hundred times as well.  And, it's happening mostly because other people promote them, not because they have a strong presence on Pinterest.  Jeff Campana has a board full of his work with less than  100 pins on any single pot.  But I've got a pin of a teacup he did I found on theclaystudio.org: 299 pins.   

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15 hours ago, Chris Campbell said:

Valid questions. I think I need to get a better understanding of these venues by using them for a bit ... I don’t seem to be able to understand them by reading about them. They all seem like huge time pits but I gotta get over that I guess.

This method will get you sucked down the rabbit hole that is the Internet.  I speak from personal experience. 

If reading about it isn't the best way for you to learn, take some kind of course through your local business association or chamber of commerce. There are loads of online courses, but they can vary pretty widely in quality and price. If you do go with an online one, see if you can find someone you know to give you a recommendation.

Social media platforms are tools, and like any tool, they have specific things they're good at, things they're kind of good at, and things they're useless for.  Sure, you can bang a nail into the wall with the back end of a wrench, but it's going to be annoying and less efficient than using a hammer.  

The different social media platforms all have different average users, so knowing who you want to talk to and why is pretty important. It's like any other marketing campaign: you have to put good quality information (or content) you're sharing in front of the right people for it to be effective. If your desired audience isn't on a particular platform, you'll waste time and energy by posting there.  

You said you want people to share a selfie with your work: why? Are you looking to grow your audience/customer base in advance of a sale of your work or a class you're offering? Is it a year-end thank you thing? Are you looking for more exposure to a particular market? Or are you looking to tell some kind of story about yourself and your work?

If you can answer the "who do I want to see this" question first, the "where to put this" question gets a lot easier to answer. (And I write a shorter novel on where to go from there.)

Edited by Callie Beller Diesel
Added last bit in the brackets

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4 hours ago, GEP said:

Again, it’s difficult to quantify, but I would estimate it’s less than 10%.

Thank you Mea.

I've heard this from many types of business owners and this seems to be common thinking.  IMO if you can't quantify the results and can only estimate the return is less than 10% I would posit its not even that high and not working as well as you think.

I've heard too owners say that their social media is driving people to their website only to close shop for lack of sales. I would also posit that these folks were so fixated on getting pinned or liked that they forget to take care of the other 90% that is/was working.

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half. " ~John Wanamaker

 

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what would you consider good traffic to your website? How many visits /month is good? 

I was getting 5000/ month, now it is down to 3-4,000. I want to set up a shop on it as it is currently how -to pages. That will have to come next year.

Marcia

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46 minutes ago, Marcia Selsor said:

How many visits /month is good? 

I don’t think there’s a one size fits all answer to this. It’s not the number of people who visit, it’s the level of interest of the visitors you attract, and the reason why they visited your site.

I get between 1500 and 2500 per month. Most of them visit in order to read blog posts, and enough of those visitors are using the site to find my shows. I don’t think it’s enough for a meaningful online sales operation. 

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17 hours ago, RonSa said:

IMO if you can't quantify the results and can only estimate the return is less than 10% I would posit its not even that high and not working as well as you think.

You could very well be right. But with the lack of quantification there’s also no reason to stop, if I’m not sinking too much time and energy. There’s a difference between using social media as a tool to communicate, and using it because you value the likes. If you’re doing the former, then it’s very useful. Yes, some people get sucked into the latter, but not everyone. (Those who get sucked into the latter are probably not cut out for self-employment anyways.)

The pottery customer population are very active social media users, especially facebook. I think it pays to have at least a basic facebook presence. Potters like @Mark C. don’t need to because he built up a strong customer base before the social media age. But those who are starting out now should learn how to use these free forms of outreach. 

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A large percentage of visits to your web pages are from search engine bots.

On my biggest website with slightly over 92,000 page view last month 34% came from search engine bots.

On my smallest website with slightly over 1,500 page view last month 36% came from search engine bots.

So bot traffic seems pretty consistent, at least for me.

3 minutes ago, GEP said:

You could very well be right. But with the lack of quantification there’s also no reason to stop, if I’m not sinking too much time and energy.

Agreed for the most part. My thinking is this if you are getting a 10% return from social media then 10% of your time is way to much time supporting that venue. That time would be better spent making one's 90% even stronger.

FWIW I do not use any social media on any of my 9 sites because I just don't have the time to spend.

 

 

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@RonSa I didn’t say I was spending 10% of my time on social media. Agree that’s way too much time to spend on that! I make a handful of facebook posts per month. I make an instagram post on most of the days I work in the studio, but like I said I view instagram as fun, not work. 

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i have no internet presence.  after reading the post about pinterest by lee, i tried looking for my name there.  found 2 pictures, one from the shenandoah potters guild and one by a member of that group.  the odd thing is that the first one was put there by a customer and is an old one.   i like looking at other people's things on pinterest but have no idea how to put things there.  as in all the modern technology, there seems to be no way to learn.  the only class i took in how to use a computer went on and on about spreadsheets and keeping your financial records online.  something i will NEVER do.

 

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20 minutes ago, RonSa said:

FWIW I do not use any social media on any of my 9 sites because I just don't have the time to spend.

If these sites are unrelated to handmade pottery businesses, is it relevant to this discussion? It might be a completely different type of audience. 

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49 minutes ago, GEP said:

is it relevant to this discussion

Absolutely

To think one world is different than the rest is very narrow point of view. If a person would be inclined to do a little research or listen to another point of view they might be surprised at what they might learn from different sources.

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But it can’t be known if its relevant if you provide so little information. You might know it’s relevant, but the rest of us scattered across the internet have no way of knowing. If you want, you can provide more information about these other sites so we can see the relevance. Though I understand that anonymity is important to some (and it’s not a bad idea on the internet), so I’m not trying to pry private information from you. Just trying to explain why a lack of information makes for a non-relevant comment. 

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1 hour ago, oldlady said:

i have no internet presence.  after reading the post about pinterest by lee, i tried looking for my name there.  found 2 pictures, one from the shenandoah potters guild and one by a member of that group.  the odd thing is that the first one was put there by a customer and is an old one.   i like looking at other people's things on pinterest but have no idea how to put things there.  as in all the modern technology, there seems to be no way to learn.  the only class i took in how to use a computer went on and on about spreadsheets and keeping your financial records online.  something i will NEVER do.

 

Here is what I would suggest.

Pick one site, be it facebook instagram or pinterest. and spend 10 to 15 minutes per day there.

First learn to like a post once, you figured that out move on to following a person.  Then figure out how to leave a comment on another person's feed. After you have these three things down work on learning how to starting your own thread and finally learn how to add a picture. After the month is over you'll have the start of feeling comfortable with what you are doing.

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I have an instagram and I don't use it much right now, mostly because I haven't been in the studio a lot(school and holidays). However, for the amount of effort it takes to make a single post a day and the number of followers you get from it, it definitely seems worth the trouble. It takes me about 5 minutes to post a picture and write a paragraph description, sometimes I write more sometimes less. I have made 99 posts and I have 253 followers, nothing crazy like some of the people on there. However, when I had my Etsy shop link as the link in my profile, I was able to check my Etsy and see the number of people coming to my shop from instagram.  When I put up my Etsy shop again for about two weeks before I took it all down, I sold 3 pots in about a week. This was with only 8 pots listed total on my shop. Anyone who knows etsy knows that a shop with very little pots rarely gets sales, unless you are wildly popular(something I am not). So I have to attribute those sales to a few things one of them being instagram. 

Here is my take on it:

Takes 5 minutes average to post a day, that's 2.5 hours a month, 30 hours a year. If you make a post a day and gain 1.5 followers a post over the year, that adds up to 547 followers a year. I would say it will probably be much higher than that if you're putting any effort into it at all. So worst case you spend 5 minutes a day to gain 547 followers who directly see what you post every day, and this cost you nothing dollar wise and very little time wise.

Following the 2% rule, if you have your website or shop in your profile or make it where somehow your followers can find what your making to buy it, that should lead to around 11 sales a year. Say if you sell a mug for 35 dollars(reasonable price), that's $383 a year from 5 minutes of your time a day, or roughly 12 dollars an hour for those 5 minutes a day. This could be used for element repair, equipment, etc. Now say we take more reasonable numbers and say you gain 1000 followers a year, which is close to what I am gaining per post. That is 20 sales a year at $35 a mug that's $23 an hour for that 5 minutes a day, on your phone clicking a few buttons. Of course, this example is saying that you sell things online so that people can click your profile and instantly buy what you posted about.

I can't comment on the long-term effect of instagram, but I follow several potters that sale directly on instagram and their shops sell out instantly. You see them make an announcement and within 10 minutes the entire shop will be sold out. So saying social media isn't worth the time is probably incorrect. The way social media isn't worth the time is if it is distracting you from doing deep work and getting things done. This is a whole nother topic to be discussed. It is like email, it takes away from your ability to get things done by focusing. If you're checking your instagram 10x a day then yea, I would say stay away from it. I was checking mine once a day, maybe twice if I had a direct message from someone or someone commented on a post. 

If your going to do instagram you might as well setup an IFTTT(if this then that) account and post to pinterest and whatever else you want at the same time. This way you cover all the avenues. I might not be as indepth as if you only spent all your time on pinterest, but throwing a large net can lead to small sale increases as well.

@GiselleNo5 should be able to tell us more, but I guess she is busy with holidays. She has a large instagram following and I think it has done her well if I recall our discussions about it correctly. She has 13.4k followers! :ph34r:

Edited by Joseph F
fixing stuff

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I think having a basic web site is good-Mine is free and keeping costs low is also a key point..

I had a customer tell me yesterday that his wife needed a soup mug to match her 2 others-he said He checked my web site and came right down to my sale and bought one..

I spend almost zero time on my web site-I just keep the info current-I add more content over time but keep the show info up to date.

I ship out more work that I would like via UPS so online  sales has zero interest for me.If you are starting out then gaining traction in the web world would be a good idea. Just keep it to small amounts of time .

My wife posted a photo go my xmas booth on Facebook-two people told me about that-they where not customers.Not sure if it turned into any sales as I have had a booth in this location now for 38 years the two weeks before xmas-The town has my signs up and I have a local add in newspaper -its a photo of my sign in same colors.

I suggest spending time making a quality production as thats what will help you the most.

One needs to choose these days on online or hit the streets business plans_I'm on the streets but thats my path since 1976 and online was a pipe dream.

If you choose online you still need to make the items and practice your craft.

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