Friday, May 25, 2018

Week 17

This course was honestly just what I needed to push me to use social media more. I was rarely logging in before this semester, and when I did log in to Instagram or Facebook it was just to post and that's it. Now I log in a few times a week and I stay long enough to interact with people. I still don't really use twitter. I haven't gotten used to it yet. Even though it is user friendly, there are so many spam accounts it's hard to tell who's real.

I have not had a major impact on my business in terms of sales, but I do have a much larger following on my accounts. I know that it's a numbers game; the more people that see my stuff, the more likely I am to gain a customer. In terms of interaction, there has been a major change. I get messages and comments almost daily, even though I don't post that often. I'm brainstorming for some new content at the moment and I'm hoping to post 3-4 times per week to heighten my engagement.

My viewpoint of social media has changed a lot. I never knew how much work goes into being a blogger, or running a business that only sells online. There's a lot to consider like the proper tags to gain attention, the right time to post and the right content to post. I have seen very successful accounts with very little sales on Etsy (the shops show how many sales) and I think it's not because they aren't selling good stuff, they just aren't reaching their customers. I am in that boat. I am still working in my stock but by the time my season comes, I will have plenty to sell.

My understanding for how social media can be used to develop a business is that you have to put the work in. I noticed that a lot of people who have large amounts of followers and low amount of engagement are often that way because they bought followers. purchased followers are not worth it from what I see, because it's just fluff. They aren't engaged. A person with 100k followers should be getting more than 1k likes on their pictures or views on their videos. I know that low engagement can be the result of other things as well though. For my business, in order to fully develop it i have to post more about my process. From material selection, to work in progress posts and more. letting people see things being made will bring me more engagement.

I managed to find a local specialty yarn shop and they have some really unique selections. I also followed a lot of the big brand companies that I purchase supplies and tools from. When I make a post, I can tag them and possibly get featured. I'm looking forward to putting in the effort to make my business grow. By fall 2018 I should have a nice and established business.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Week 14

These are the promotions that I decided to create for my website. I included the "Shop Now" call to action buttons. My intent would be to drive traffic to my website and hopefully get some sales. These promotions are for Instagram and Facebook. I picked an up-close and bright image, to draw attention from people as they scroll along.

I manually selected my audience for the post boost. I chose United States, United Kingdom, and Canada for locations because they are where I get the most views in my Etsy shop. I picked ages 18 to 65+ because I often get a wide range of people visiting my page. My target audience is much more narrow, but I feel as though ads should cover a larger range of people in the case of reaching someone who may not have been previously considered to be a potential customer, and a chance to possibly expand the target audience.

I chose the interests shown in the screenshot below because people who are interested in those things are often the ones visiting my page. I see that my items have caught the attention of many "hipsters" and "millennials."
I plan to run some of these ads, but I want to make sure that I have plenty of stock when I start advertisement. I look forward to boosting my posts and hopefully getting some customers!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Week 11: Part 1

Because of online blogging, I initially felt like a newsletter for my business would be a little redundant, however, I do see some benefits. The knitting community doesn't necessarily strike me as "newsworthy" enough to have frequent news updates. For my personal business, most updates would be handled through blogging. If I were to send out newsletters it would be twice a year for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter fashion trend updates. My newsletter would contain the most prominent news about the the upcoming fashion seasons, as well as trend alerts, and trend forecasts. The newsletter would have a section that encourages readers to visit my blog for more frequent updates.
I feel that my customers would enjoy seeing this newsletter because it can inspire changes in their wardrobe and educate them on the materials I use. Honestly, after writing this blog post I am inspired to collaborate with my wife's business and create a combination newsletter for both of our target audiences. The news letter could also have a section titled "Did You Know?" and we can include a fun or interesting fact about knitting, textiles, or just a general fact that we think our target audience would appreciate. 
I looked over some competitors' newsletters and they consisted of mostly updates of the products they sell, upcoming giveaways and current sales on existing items. I wasn't interested in signing up for the ones I looked over, but I am open to signing up for a newsletter, especially if it can give me inspiration for my own newsletter and blog.

Week 10: Part 2

I believe my blog would do best with just three categories. Life, Work and Giving Back. These categories would give my target audience a well rounded glimpse of my life. They would get to see what I do daily to maintain success with my business and balance with my home and family life in the Life category. The Work category would have pictures and links to purchase products. This would give me an opportunity to give a backstory for each product's design process. Lastly, but not least, the Giving Back category would show details of how my family and I give back to the local community and my home country. This section would also contain images and backstories so that people can see what I am passionate about.

All of these categories would help my business grow and stand out because with so many other sources of knitwear, you get a unique experience with my company through my blog. My target audience could reach much more people because it's not just knitwear I'm selling, it's a lifestyle. I'm selling ethically-made, high-end, one-of-a-kind knits. My blog will allow people to feel connected to my process, therefore confirming the value of my products.

Blogs I commented on: Mark B., Maxim C., and Alexa K.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Week 10: Part 1

The lecture and textbook assignment really shed light on a subject that I have spent some time thinking about. Ever since beginning this blog for class, I wondered, "Should I start a personal/business blog?" After all, I am an unlikely person to be in the field that I just stepped foot in. I assume there aren't a lot of black male knitters, that hail from Jamaica. Where I'm from, there isn't a need for the skill of knitting (it's way too warm for wool). Also, it's most popular among women. I'm a married father of 3, and my life can get quite hectic. I'm also enlisted in the military! There is a lot about me that sets me apart. I feel that a business blog with an emphasis on my life as a business owner would be pretty appealing.

So, about business blogging. I feel that a business blog with human interest adds a personal touch that speaks more directly to the audience. When there is no human interest, a blog can feel like a pushy advertisement. Psychology has proven that people do not want to feel like they are being sold something. They want to feel like they have come to the decision to purchase something on their own. I agree with this. I really tune out direct sales, but I definitely have seen someone using something, and thought to myself "I could benefit from getting that too." I know that not every blog is selling something, but for the ones that are, the human interest and personal touch certainly can boost their reach.

Using myself and my business as an example, there are times when a personal touch is beneficial. Examples of this would be if I share a review from a customer, or share a picture of me wearing my own beanie. This could show someone an image they can relate to. I honestly cannot think of a time when my blog shouldn't have a personal touch. Because my business is small and it doesn't involve anyone other than my family, it is very personal. My blog would be a perfect mixture of personal and business posts.

After this blog assignment I am certain that I would like to start a blog for my business. I plan to use Tumblr as my platform and I will be using the tips from the lecture to keep up with blogging. I do have a lot on my plate already, but one more thing won't kill me!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Week 9

I began with searching for other knitters and yarn companies. The key search terms that produced some good accounts to follow were simply "knit" and "yarn." After that, I figured I would look for some people who are local regardless of if they knit or not. I did a search based on my location and followed a couple of people. I have to admit that coming from rarely using my Facebook page, and not being on any other platform, I am a little overwhelmed by all the networking! The lists feature on twitter is nice, I like to keep organized and now I feel like Instagram should have the same feature. It would be nice. I created a few lists; knitters and crocheters, fashion and trends, locals, and yarn companies. 

Managing so many social media accounts is certainly a balancing act. I feel as though twitter (as well as Instagram) will require quite of bit of work to gain exposure. I plan to spend a little time each day, liking and commenting on tweets in order to engage with people and get my name out there. I think that my customers most likely will see my tweets in the evenings, and on the weekend. I plan to make some more posts throughout the week and track which ones are most successful. I do have to keep in mind that hashtags, pictures, videos and the amount of text all play a factor in catching people's eyes as they scroll. I am on the fence about deciding to make my twitter slightly personal, like a glimpse of my life as a business owner or strictly business and sales posts. I'm hoping I can "crack the code" to successfully networking.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Week 8: Part 2

Visual social media will be the main way I engage with my target audience and generate sales. For my type of business, I rely on online sales. I have an Etsy shop, and in order to drive traffic there, I post images on social media. I do not have in-person sales often. I got my first sale recently and according to the stats provided by Etsy, my customer discovered me through Instagram. For this assignment, I found four businesses via Instagram.

The first business is Susan Knit. She sells beanies and scarves, in addition to patterns for those who know how to knit. She is on Instagram and she has 6,136 followers. Most of her posts have between 200 and 600 likes. However, she does have a couple of posts that received over 3,000 likes. Each post gets about 25-35 comments. Most of the comments are from people admiring the work she’s done. Susan posted one day ago and it appears to be that she posts every two days. Her Instagram links to her Etsy page. Etsy shows that she has made 81 sales, and the majority are pattern sales rather than physical products. Susan is interactive with her followers, even though she is only following 94 people. I think that her consistency is keeping her followers engaged. I believe that posting more often will improve my Instagram page.

The second business is Knitbrooks. Run by Kelly, Knitbrooks is a Canadian knitting and crochet design brand. Kelly is also a team member of “Our Maker Life,” a hub for knitting, crochet, and DIY inspiration. There are 47.1 thousand followers on her Instagram. Her last post was March 5th and the one before that was March 2nd. Each post gets about 1,200-1,700 likes and 40-80 comments. The comments are compliments and questions from people who are interested in either buying the item or the pattern. The link on her Instagram leads to a page that has links to her Etsy, Ravelry, events schedule and contact information. I visited her Etsy shop and she has made 829 sales. Most of her sales are also patterns. Honestly, this assignment has me wondering, should I jump on the pattern selling bandwagon? Not sure yet if I want my target audience to include other people that knit. But it seems as though it is inevitable. I noticed that when you post knitwear, you will attract other knitters comingled with potential customers. I am learning throughout this process of being a knitwear designer. Making and selling patterns may improve my reach and sales. It is something to consider.

The third business is Lunar Knits by Lori. I know that I have mentioned this business in a previous post. Her business is a mixture of knit and crochet. She makes all sorts of items. On Instagram she has 9,149 followers. Her posts get roughly 300 likes and less than 20 comments each. She last posted one day ago and it looks like she posts daily on Instagram. I visited her Etsy shop which was linked to her Instagram, and she has made 1,284 sales. Her sales are private, so I can’t see what she sold, but she has a pretty even balance of patterns and physical items for sale. She also sells accessories like stitch markers for people that knit and crochet. Lori also uses YouTube and she blogs. It seems as though Instagram is the main hub for her business’s social media. She shares bright and detailed pictures and writes quite a bit in the captions. That is something that I could improve upon in order to engage more people. Just like one of the articles mentioned, posts with more text can set you apart from others and they statistically get shared more often.

The fourth and final business is Knitting Ain’t Easy on Instagram. This page has a much smaller following than the others, only 587. Her posts get roughly 60 likes each and less than 20 comments on each post. Her last post was 7 hours ago and the one before that was yesterday. She has an Etsy and she has made 48 sales. I chose this account because she is one of the few that is not selling patterns. She is only selling physical items like myself. This is another account that posts often and has high engagement with followers. This is something that I plan to implement, hopefully I can make some great connections and also make some sales.