I’ve been spending a lot more time asking questions and listening to the struggles of creators, makers & small business owners when it comes to social media marketing. I’ve felt compelled to start addressing some of the most common struggles here on my blog in hopes that they offer some inspiration and guidance while also serving as a remember that you are NOT alone in your struggles! My first few blog posts on these topics have included social media photography tips for creatives & makers, 6 steps to a quick Instagram audit to increase engagement and a hashtag “guide” for crocheters & makers. Be sure to drop me a comment if there are topics you’d like to hear more about!
For this post I’ll be talking about the connections you form on social media with customers, clients and followers and ways to foster and strengthen these relationships! Authenticity has become quite the buzzword on social media and for good reason: people don’t come to social media to buy products- they come to learn, be inspired and connect with others. When they feel a connection with a brand they are more likely to follow, engage and then potentially make a purchase or utilize a service offered by that business. If the connection continues to grow and thrive, they are more likely to become loyal customers. So, how do we create this connection? How do we present ourselves and our brand authentically?
My advice is 2-fold & fairly simple:
- KNOW who your ideal client is and speak directly to them.
- Offer something of value to your followers (something that’s worth stopping their scroll for!)
Sounds simple right? Notice I said simple, not EASY… Like it or not, your brand = YOU and if you’re the one posting to social media on behalf of your business, it’s up to you to get to know WHO it is you’re talking to/marketing to and connect with them. How do you connect with your friends & family in real life? Is it by trying to convince them that they should purchase a new product from you? Or reminding them that they NEED to book a session with you ASAP? Or whipping out your phone to show them your newest product that they NEED to buy? DOUBTFUL. Instead, you ask questions, deepen your understanding of that person, have conversations, relate to them and show empathy and motivate & assure them when they’re struggling, stressed or feeling down. If you KNOW who your client is and you understand them on a deeper level, you can find ways to relate to and connect with them through your posts.
Quick note before we get any further: Please don’t assume that using a warm, welcoming, approachable (human!) tone will make you sound unprofessional. On the contrary, it can single-handedly allow you to connect with your followers in a very real way. If all you do is “sell”, post random quotes, or “insert generic captions here”, you aren’t giving people anything to connect TO. I get it, you’re busy and posting stuff like this makes it easier… remember, I said my advice was simple… not easy.
Getting to Know Your Ideal Client
Dig into your analytics. The quickest way to get a general idea of your audience on social media is to check your insights. Your insights allow you to see a breakdown of the location, age range, and gender of your followers as well as when they are most active on Instagram. This is not enough to really get to know your customers and audience but it is a start. If you know that your followers are 89% women from their late 20’s to early 40’s who are most active between 12 pm & 6 pm, I know that I should be posting in the afternoon and knowing that I am talking to women who are in my own age range. There are still a lot of questions left unanswered though… do they have kids? do they work full time? what do they do for fun? what brings them joy? what do they worry about? are they following you because they like your products or for other reasons, like business or photography/aesthetic inspiration?
NOTE: you cannot check your insights/analytics if you are still set to a personal account on Instagram. Analytics are only available to business accounts but the good news is, it is easy to switch! On the IG app, click on the three bars at the top right of your screen and then choose settings at the very bottom. You will then want to clock “account” and then at the bottom you will see options (in blue) including “switch to a business account”! Click this option and off you go!
Beyond the Insights: Learning to Connect. If you’ve already put in some ground work to understand your ideal client and your broader audience on social media, you can really do some meaningful work here. By knowing who your ideal client is: what makes them tick, what they enjoy, what keeps them up at night, what they worry about and struggle with, etc.- you can relate to them, speak to them directly and connect with them on a deeper level. It took me quite a while to really begin doing research on this myself. Looking back, I believe I drug my feet because I didn’t realize how important it was to my business to do so and I also felt like I didn’t have enough customers/clients/followers to bother with it. If this is you, don’t hold yourself back! Even if you only have 50 followers and a few sales under your belt, get to know your audience and your clients! Reach out to them, ask them questions and connect with them! The good news is, if you only have a few 100 followers on social media, it will be much more feasible to go through these profiles over the span of few weeks to do some research (aka snooping!). Scroll their feeds and see what makes them tick, see what they are talking about and what they are posting. This will help you when crafting your posts and speaking directly to these followers! Maybe you realize that many of them are outdoorsy people with children. Even if you aren’t outdoorsy (and even if you don’t have kids!) you can speak to these people! Instead of making your next post about a new product, consider using it as an opportunity to ask your audience if they will be getting outside this weekend, or what fun activities they have planned for their kids in the coming days!
Let me give you an example. My audience is mostly women in their late 20’s-early 40’s. It’s a mix of:
- Small creative business owners: including lots of fellow crocheters who are following me for inspiration, ideas and patterns as well as other creatives, makers & artists with different specialties.
- A mix of work from home, stay at home and working mothers as well as women (married and unmarried) without children.
- Cat lovers of all kinds
- Quite a few local followers: customers/attendees of art/craft shows and fellow Atlanta artists and Makers.
Realizing that my base was so broad felt daunting at first, how do I speak to all of them and offer everyone something of value? Then I realized it actually makes my job easier. By creating a few key categories, I can curate each post to alternate speaking to each of these audiences while maintaining the foundation of joy, positivity and inspiration that is my brand voice. By having 3-4 categories of post “types” to alternate between, I ensure that I’m not leaving anyone out!
Using Categories to Create Connections
By creating 3-5 categories for your posts will not only help you stay on track with your marketing, it will make posting and planning ahead much easier. If you have never had a social media posting plan in the past, now is a great time to try it out. By creating categories, you can easily plan out a few weeks of posts in advance easily (even if the actual photo and copy of the post changes)! My categories are created with my audience in mind and include:
These posts could include finished product photos of cat cozies, cat hats, cat keychains, cat mom gift sets or they could be photos of me working on these items to show my process and workspace! It could also mean using User Generated Content (UGC) – this would include photos that my customers have posted to social media and tagged me in that I’m able to then re-post. Be sure to ask permission when posting client’s images, not only is is polite, it also gives you a reason to reach out and ask how they are doing and thank them again for their support!
To relate to my crochet buddies on Instagram I will often post about new patterns, new projects in the works, photos of WIP’s (Work in Progress), and tools of the trade photos like my favorite crochet hooks and yarn to use in my projects! I also find that posting images of branding and packaging does well will fellow crafters since everyone is looking for inspiration on ways to package and market their products!
Social Media & #Makerlife Posts.
These posts are more general and speak to a broader audience of creatives and makers. Whether I’m talking about a new blog posts with tips on marketing for small businesses or just sharing what I am working on with my own marketing, branding, and creative journey; these posts are used to connect with other makers and a chance to ask them to engage by commenting with their own current projects, creations, tips, recommendations, etc.! this has been more difficult but it’s blogs like these, that speak to a wider audience of creatives, that I began writing and sharing for this section of my audience! I wanted to offer something of value to people who may never purchase a crochet pattern (or any of my goods) but follow me because I’m a fellow artist/maker! I wanted to make sure that they are also getting something of value by following my feed and have a reason to interact and engage with my posts!
Knitwear Product Posts.
I like to throw in photos of my chunky crocheted products here and there but not to directly sell my products. The captions are usually questions, updates and things I am working on or to share a new blog post like this! It is still advertising what I create but instead of selling I am using it as a chance to connect in a different way! Behind the scenes videos and photos of me working also appeal to these customers as they can see how the products are made! Call to actions on these posts may include using the link in my bio to shop online or to check out a new post on my blog.
PRO TIP: No matter what I am posting I always try to have some kind of Call To Action (CTA); this could mean asking my audience to post something in the comments, answer a question, or to use the link in my bio to check out a new blog post, product or pattern! Either way, you are giving your followers a reason to stop scrolling and do something that engages with you, your Instagram feed, blog, website or online store!
The great news?? In just 4 posts a week, I can easily speak to my entire audience! By learning to focus on connecting and speaking directly to your clients (rather than on selling to them), you’ll finally be able to start creating that authentic connection with your followers!!
Until next time, stay safe and healthy! x The Pink Sheep x