All right—let’s dive in!
We’re going to look at the what*, why, and when of three areas of Facebook designed to help grow your handmade business this month.
*definitions (the what) are provided by Facebook
1 - FACEBOOK: PAGES
Pages are for brands, businesses, organizations and public figures to create a presence on Facebook. Think of a page as a profile, but for an organization rather than a person. Anyone with a Facebook account can create a Page or help manage one, if they've been given a role on the Page like admin or editor. People who like a Page and their friends can get updates in News Feed.
- Why: Most importantly, a Page is the foundation for everything else. Without a Page, your business cannot run ads and will have a lackluster Groups presence. A Business Page can increase brand awareness, provide space to share stories, give you a platform to create events, and allow you to take your business Live on Facebook.
- When: A Business Page is powerful, but is our least favorite tool because of the Facebook Algorithm. Now, before we go knocking the algorithm too much, we actually think it’s a valuable thing. Imagine all 1.8 billion Facebook users saw everything which was ever posted to Facebook—yikes! Instead, what the algorithm does (or is designed to do) is show your posts to the most relevant audience. In other words, Facebook is working it’s tail off to show your posts only to those who are most likely to take action. This is a good thing—although it does limit the reach of your Page. So when should you post to your Business Page? Regularly. Just don’t overdo it. Once a day would be great—but 3-4 times weekly is perfect.
Quick Tip: Go Live on Facebook once/week on your Page.
Facebook loves Facebook Live. In other words, the algorithm will reward you!
2 - FACEBOOK: GROUPS
- What: Groups provide a space to communicate about shared interests with certain people. You can create a group for anything — your family reunion, your after-work sports team, your book club — and customize the group's privacy settings depending on who you want to be able to join and see the group.
- Why: Groups are the best place to create a tribe of specific people. They have advanced settings beyond what Pages allow, can be invite only, and have much stronger notifications. The best part, Groups skyrocket to the top (well, at least close to the top) of the algorithm. Have you noticed the Groups you are a part of landing in your feed more often than the Pages? That’s intentional. Facebook knows if you’ve subscribed to a Group, you’re more interested than if subscribed just to a Page. So why should a handmade business have a group? The list is endless but here are a few examples: to create a tribe of people you want to teach how to make your products, to share exclusive discounts, or to network with other makers in the same market as you.
- When: Regularly. Notice a theme? If your handmade business is on social media—use it regularly! We suggest being more active in your Group(s) than on your Page. Make sure not to use a Group as a megaphone but instead as a conversation. When you post comment, etc. imagine you’re sitting around a table with a group of friends. Groups are another great place to go Live. The added bonus—the only people who see it are members of your Group (if your privacy settings are set to closed). For many, a Group is a more relaxed place where going Live isn’t quite as intimidating.
- Tip: Only create a Group if you have a specific reason to do so, have an audience you can invite join in, and plan to be active in it (both with posts and comments) regularly. Groups on Facebook are just like friend groups in real life. If you ignore them, they’ll ignore you.
Take all your thoughts over to the Facebook Community!
3 - FACEBOOK: ADS
Facebook Ads are a huge topic—much bigger than what we’ll be covering this month. However, we believe it's extremely important that you at least have a basic idea of when and how to use Facebook Ads.
- What: Facebook ads are paid messages from businesses that are written in their voice and help reach the people who matter most to them. Advertisers create campaigns that have specific goals, which are called advertising objectives, and they create ads within those campaigns to help them reach those objectives. For example, a business may create a campaign because they want to get more people to visit their website. When they create ads within that campaign, they’ll choose images, text and an audience that they think will help them get that increase in visitors.
- Why: A common misconception with Facebook Ads (especially for handmade businesses) is that they must direct people to purchase a product. Although this isn’t a bad reason to use ads, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ads can also help you grow your Page, Groups, or email lists. They can provide coupons, direct traffic to your Etsy Store, or even to your brick and mortar location.
- When: The "when" depends on your objective. Are you trying to grow your following with ads? If so, you’d want to consider running an ad without an end date. Trying to sell a product at a discount? Set a more limited period of time for your ad.
- Tip: Think back to November-December of 2016. How many physical ads that came to your mailbox did you throw away without even looking at? Likely, a lot! The same holds true for digital ads. In high ad seasons (Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc.) ads are much more prevalent online and, in turn, are much easier to ignore. Consider running an ad during an off season to grab a larger audience.
DO WHAT THE EXPERTS DO!
"Failing to plan is planning to fail." - Benjamin Franklin
The quickest way to kill your Facebook engagement is to fly by the seat of your pants. It’ll be hard—even impossible to keep up. Instead, create a schedule for your Facebook Page and Group that looks 1-4 weeks in advance—minimum. Go as far as planning your text and pictures for each post. To make this easier, consider using a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Later. Many of these tools have a free (or very cheap) version. All include great calendaring tools and analytics to help grow your business through Facebook. Trust us, it’s well worth it!
Here’s a quick, 1 week, mock schedule you could consider for your Business Page and Group. For the sake of this example, imagine your Group was a place where you shared behind the scenes looks to your fans of how your baby blankets are made.
- Page: New product post
- Group: Behind the scenes pic of new product in the making
- Page: Deal of the week
- Group: x
- Page: Live Video showing your product in use
- Group: Ask a question: “What’s your favorite type of stitching and why?"
- Page: x
- Group: Live Video showing 3 different types of stitching and how to do each.
- Page: Customer pic with attached “Thank You!”
- Group: x
- Page: x
- Group: x
- Page: Last chance for deal post
- Group: Help us create our newest product post. “If you could add one product to our line of baby blankets, what would it be and why?”
This month's membership is covering all the in's and outs of Facebook Business. Watch this video below to learn the basics to setting up your first Facebook Ad.
This is a section for those of you who just can't get enough :) If you are just starting out your handmade business and just seeing all these links overwhelm you, here is your permission to scroll right on past these links (make sure to keep scrolling, there's important info at the bottom!)
But, if you are a researcher at heart and want to know all the best info out there --- Check out these awesome resources! And, as you are learning, please don't hesitate to reach out via the Facebook Community with any questions or thoughts!
After you've checked out the resources, don't just sit around! One of the greatest value of your membership is our HLH Monthly Facebook Community. If you haven't already, make sure that you join the private, FREE, HLH Monthly Facebook Community! We will be going deeper, hosting live Q+As, posting additional resources, posing challenges, and even giving away some awesome handmade stuff from time to time!