Tweet Like a Bird

Lately I’ve been reading about using social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Twitter to market my jewelry business. I’m reading articles, blogs, guides, and I’ve joined social networking teams on Etsy. I’m trying to learn everything I can to improve my bottom line and to increase my sales. Social networking is suggested as a way to do that.

Most recently my focus has been Twitter.

How to Tweet

I like to tweet. It’s quick and you don’t have to write a lot. In fact, Twitter limits the length of a tweet. For any Twitter newbies reading this, you have only 140 characters. That includes every letter, space, dash, period, parenthesis, and so on. And, if you are going to include a link to your shop, you need to have 22 characters left over for the URL, no matter how long or short it is.

What Should I Tweet?

Deciding what to tweet shouldn’t be difficult. Of course I’ll tweet about my product. But if every tweet I post is a link to my shop, I won’t keep many followers. And if I post lots of tweets everyday with links to my products, I am spamming. No one likes a spammer.

So, I’m tweeting links to my products sparingly. One in every three or four tweets posted is a good guide.

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What about those other two or three tweets? Think: information, interesting facts, links, and responses to those who follow you.

Respond to Followers

When someone new follows me, I send them a message. It’s easy enough to visit their Twitter page and write a message there. Sometimes I will send a message to multiple followers at the same time.  I use the @ sign before each user name to let everyone know that the tweet is especially for them. I also sometimes thank followers for retweeting my posts. And I always reply when a follower makes a comment on my post.

Information, Interesting Facts, and Links

I choose the information based on my business and my focus. I post about making jewelry, jewelry materials, gemstone meanings and healing properties, yoga, and meditation. Other topics I write about are building a handcrafting business, care and handling of jewelry, how to buy jewelry, and anything else I can think of that relates to my shop and the items I create to sell.

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Personally Speaking

Sometimes I get a bit personal, but not too personal. Maybe a tweet about a place I visited (with a photo of course) or a great recipe I found. I post links to my blog posts. I might also link to information provided by my sons. For example, as soon as I get it, I’ll be posting the link to my son’s presentation at a recent TedX talk.

Targeted Tweeting

When you are a Twitter newbie, you don’t have any followers. You post to an audience of zero. Well, maybe three or four if you coerced your spouse and children to follow you. But don’t ask them what they think of your tweets. They are not your target audience.

You can begin building your followers by emailing everyone you know announcing your new endeavor. Include every customer on your mailing list. Include your friends and other family members. Ask them to follow you. Some won’t but some will. Don’t badger them. Just ask once. Some of these new followers will retweet your posts and their followers might like what you offer.

Use keywords and hastags (for example: #MothersDay) to draw attention of users who are searching Twitter for information on a topic. Some of them will choose to follow you, or at least click on your link.

Also

Include a link to Twitter from your website or Etsy shop. Add Twitter to your business cards: Twitter.com/jularee.

Still Learning

I’m learning more about Twitter everyday. Maybe you have a tip for me. Please add it in the comments.

As I see it, Twitter is one of the many ways I can get my business name out there… and maybe increase my sales.

Here’s hoping.

Follow me on Twitter @jularee.

 

 

 

 

Tweeting Frenzy

Earlier this week I joined the Etsy Meet N Tweet team. It has been interesting, to say the least.

First I followed all members of the team on Twitter, as required. Then the members started following me back. As I am grateful for new Twitter followers, I have been thanking them… one at a time… all 278 of them. (I just looked and the number of members is up to 314)

Before joining Etsy Meet N Tweet, I had acquired 328 Twitter followers over the course of about 18 months. I did it all on my own. I guess the people followed me because they liked my tweets. I think that’s a good thing.

Now, in a matter of a few days, I am up to 488 followers and it’s growing by the hour. Obviously not all of the team members have followed me, yet, but if they all do, I will have more than doubled my followers within a couple of weeks.

The purpose of this team is to increase everyone’s presence on Twitter by tweeting, retweeting, and favoriting each other’s tweets. This is supposed to give your business more exposure and more importantly, sales. It’s a major undertaking. There are a couple of apps that make it more automatic, but if you want to have some control over what is tweeted, it’s a fairly time consuming task.

All team members are supposed to be following the tweeting rule of thirds, with only one third as links to the products in our Etsy stores. One third should be informational links and one third responses and questions for your followers.

The links to products are easy as long as you aren’t spamming with a gazillion of them. The retweeting is done automatically with an app – I set limits on the number of tweets it can post in my name.

I’ve been posting information and informational links for at least six months. I think that’s why people have been following me. I respond to people who retweet and follow but I haven’t yet found the types of questions that followers will feel compelled to answer. I’m working on it.

Meanwhile, I’m tweeting a bit more that I have in the past.  I hope that the informational links I’m providing are interesting to my followers. Especially the people who chose to follow me before I joined this team and increased the number of my tweets. I hope they stick around.

As I work on writing compelling questions, please follow my progress on Twitter. 

What do you think about this type of increase in followers? Do you consider it worthwhile or just an artificial jump in numbers that won’t do a thing for my business or my Etsy shop?

 

 

Tips for Minimizing Your Risk When Shopping for Jewelry Online

Someone once told me, “Know your jewelry or know your jeweler.” This advice can be applied to any vendor, from box stores with machine-made products to a one-person handcrafted jewelry shop that sells online or at craft fairs.

If you are ordering from an unknown website or an unfamiliar Etsy shop you take on a certain amount of risk. Minimize your risk by doing your homework.

The Website

Scan the website. It doesn’t matter if it is simple or complicated. It should be organized, attractive, and informative.

The About Page and Profile

Read the “About” page. Look for the profile of the shop owner. Has the owner answered the questions of how the items are made and who designs and makes them? How much experience does the maker have and why did the he/she choose  jewelry (or other craft)?

Are the items handmade by one person or by a team? How long has the shop been in business? Is there a physical shop?

The Items

Look for detailed descriptions with measurements and clear photos.

Keywords

Check for keywords to describe the quality of the metals such as “silver plated” or “sterling silver”. Silver plating wears off quickly and should be inexpensive. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver. It might tarnish but it will never wear off. Know the difference between gold plated, gold filled, and carat gold.

Beads

If there are beads the description should include information about them. They could be natural gemstones, synthetic stones, glass, crystal, resin, plastic, wood, or many other materials.

Measurements

Measurements of the jewelry items should include the size of any beads or gemstones. Take out a ruler and mark the sizes on a piece of paper (or draw the item) for an accurate idea of the size of the item. Measure a necklace or pair of earrings in your jewelry collection to compare sizes. Bracelets are a bit more challenging. A chain bracelet or a bracelet with small beads can be sized by their total length. However, if the bracelet contains large or chunky beads, you will need a longer length than usual.

Photos

The photos should be clear and show different views of the item. In an ideal world the jewelry would be shown on a model, but many small businesses can’t afford to pay models. Is the item in the photo the actual item you will receive or a sample? That should be clearly stated.

Shipping and Packaging

Shipping information is also important. If the items are custom or made-to-order it might take one, two, or more weeks before the item is shipped. Add on the actual shipping time and you could be ordering jewelry for an event that will be over before you receive it.

How will your jewelry be packaged for shipping? Jewelry boxes inside bubble wrap envelopes seem to be the usual and most economical for small items.

Is the shipping included in the price of your item? If the shop says, “Free Shipping”, the shipping costs are usually included in the price. I personally would rather pay shipping separately.

Returns

Check the return policy. It is fairly standard for businesses to require that you ship the item back at your cost if you have changed your mind or ordered the wrong item/size. However, if the item arrived broken, is not what you ordered, or there’s some other shop error, the business might reimburse the shipping as well as the cost of the item.

Customer Service

Customer service contact information should be listed on the website. At the very least, it should have an email address and general physical location (city, state, country). Don’t expect a telephone number from a small handmade jewelry or craft shop.

Finally…Take a Chance

Be cautious and thorough, but by all means purchase from new shops. Give them a chance to prove themselves to you. Who knows… maybe the shop will become famous and you can say you found them first!

Do you have an experience or tips to share? Leave a comment.

I sell my jewelry online through Etsy so most of my advice and tips are based on that experience.)

Selling Off-Line: Consignment

Last year, fate sent me a consignment opportunity. I wasn’t looking for it. In fact, I hadn’t considered consignment at all. However, it has turned out to be a very good thing. (Thank you, Fate.) Here’s how it happened.

My friend, Leann, and I attended a workshop at a new wellness center in Medford.  After the  session, we wandered into the gift shop. While chatting with a few of the workshop attendees, Leann mentioned that I make gemstone jewelry. (Thank you, Leann.)

Two of the women seemed to be very interested and asked a few questions. It turned out that, unbeknownst to us, we were talking to Susan and Maryann, the owners of the center. I don’t remember their exact words, but it went something like this.

“You  make gemstone jewelry? And you’re local? Why don’t we know about you?”

Susan and Maryann asked me to bring in some of my jewelry for them to see. They told me that they like to feature local artists in their gift shop.

It took some time for me to get it together enough to return to NJ Balance Wellness Center with my jewelry. I guess I was nervous about it. Or maybe it was because it takes me forever to do anything. (Hello, I’m Rita and I’m a procrastinator.)

I finally met with them and I explained my process and focus. They looked, listened, and tried on a few pieces. Then Susan and Maryann said wanted to sell my jewelry in their gift shop.

I was excited but I remained calm. I didn’t scream, dance, say, “Yay!” or anything like that. Well, maybe in my head I was doing all of those things. After limited sales on Etsy, it was nice that someone liked my stuff.

Again, it took me awhile to get the items tagged, listed, and into the wellness center’s gift shop because I am the ultimate procrastinator (trying to fix that this year, but that’s another post). I found out that they had only opened their gift shop about a month prior to the workshop that I had attended. So here I was… getting in on the “ground floor” so to speak. Nice.

In June I spent a couple of hours on weekend in the center’s gift shop for a “meet the artist” event. Only about ten people walked into the gift shop that weekend, but I sold three pieces. It was wonderful!

Since that time the gift shop has grown…more shoppers, more items, and increased sales. Regarding Jularee, I am in the process of changing my logo and attaching new hangtags to the bracelets and necklaces. The tags will list a few of the metaphysical properties of the gemstones.

Several pair of my angel earrings sold before the holidays along with other pieces. “Yay!”

Angel Earrings

Angel Earrings

I researched consignment and read the horror stories. Thank goodness it has not been my experience. Consignment with the wellness center has been both positive and profitable  for me. I think it has been good for them, too.

Tomorrow, unless the pending snowstorm prevents it,  I intend to take new pieces to the center.

I hope Susan and Maryann like them.

Rose Quartz earrings

Rose Quartz Earwire Drops