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.

Week 8: Part 1

Out of the top 8 visual social media platforms, I like Instagram then best for my line of business. I am selling hand knit beanies and eventually I will incorporate other items. Instagram’s setup acts as a showcase gallery for my products. It also allows for one link, so I placed my website there for people to shop. I utilize the hashtags and I am still learning about my target audience. Once I figure out the best time and days of the week to post, I will set a schedule for myself.
Facebook comes in handy because of the large number of users. It is also necessary to have Facebook business page if you would like to convert to an Instagram for Business account. Facebook has the same capability to showcase my products, but it is also easy to share other forms of content like text, links, and videos. I am new to the Facebook “Pages” feature but so far, it is very user friendly and simple.
I do not have a Pinterest business account but I have been on the website. I believe it is best to use that website for inspiration. From what I hear, that is the main reason people use it. It is pretty saturated with people that like DIY and make things themselves. It would be good for someone who sells knitting patterns and supplies. Twitter is a great platform for networking. I do not have an account but I know that the users are very engaged there and using hashtags will allow you to be discovered in the same way you can on Instagram.
I don’t use Tumblr, Google+, or YouTube. I could probably benefit from the use of YouTube as a central place to keep any videos I may create for my business. The videos would also be posted on each platform that I use.
Ultimately, visual networking is a major necessity for my brand. People want to see products “in the wild” being worn and used. I am able to share photos and encourage my target market to click the shopping link. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Week 7: Part 2

I managed to schedule 3 posts on my Facebook page. I was unable to locate the activity log as described in the assignment. It may be because I am logged in on my wife's account and she has another page. On the bright side, I was able to get a print screen of my upcoming posts. Each one is scheduled to post in the evening. I believe that most of my customers and potential customers will be online in the evening and they will possibly be browsing the net. Each post also has a photo attached, but they are all very different.

The first post, scheduled for tomorrow evening is a picture of myself, in my "Super Scarf" announcing the arrival of spring. I realize that many people are still experiencing harsh cold weather, so I ask what people are doing to keep warm. I think this will engage my potential customers as we can chat about their common practices for staying warm when it's cold outside.

The second post, scheduled for Thursday evening is a picture I took of the beanies I have lined up for a photo shoot. My photographer will be coming Thursday to pick them up and I should have photos to post within a few days. I let people know that they will soon be able to see the beanies being worn. I know that this helps some people when deciding to buy something. I hope to build anticipation for the arrival of my professional photos.

The third and final scheduled post will publish on Friday evening. This post is a professional model wearing my Chunky Knit Beanie in a color that I no longer have at the moment. I mention that I am considering restocking the grey, and ask what everyone thinks about that. I want to gauge the reactions and see if people would like to get a grey beanie just like the model is wearing.

I am still new at this business but I have hopes that these posts will encourage people to interact with me so I can see what kind of audience I am reaching.