Getting your brand recognized...
There are several ways to get your name out there into cyberspace. You've got Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Hometalk, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and many more. Then there's other options like blogs, business websites, email lists, YouTube, etc.
It is suggested you pick just three and focus on growing your following. Otherwise you will spread yourself too thin and never be able to maintain consistency.
First things first - Name, logo, color scheme...
Being Recognized as a Reputable Business
Your name and logo matter. If you have a professional sounding business name and professional looking logo, often people will assume you are a reputable business because you took the time to create a decent logo. A professional look will garner trust. Do these brands/logos look familiar? Companies spend millions every year on brand recognition.
You can see some of my logos with my brands above. I have kept with a similar theme for most of them - the theme of black and red for all but my mom blog logo. There is a reason for this. I want my brand to be recognizable, hence all of my company logos are similar in design. My mom blog, the exception, needed to be different since it is different from my business ventures.
When choosing a name, be sure to consider what you business is about. Catchy or cute names are nice, but if people can't tell what your business from your name, you are starting two steps back.
- My very first venture, Mom of Many was my mom blog that encouraged moms with lots of kids and/or special needs kids.
- Then Love My DIY Home was next. I did some research on the three main words, Love, DIY and Home and found they were very popular in my niche but no one had anything like it.
- Next came our leather holster business which was named after my son-in-law and husband, Adam and Mark (Adark) and then just added "holsters."
- Our facebook group, Furniture Flipping Forum, was obviously named to draw in those who flipped furniture and the forum was added to encourage those who were interested to come participate.
- Since FFF took off, the next step was to name my membership site designed to help flippers, and it needed to be closely related to the forum.
- So, Furniture Flipping Blueprint was the next logical step. And as you can see, I kept the design of the logo consistent with the forum.
- The Red Shed, my online FB furniture store came about because my main color was red and I wanted to use those in my store name, tying it into all my other furniture ventures. Besides, I wanted to paint our little shed out back my business color - a bright deep red.
Since I had so many furniture business ventures that were all tied up together, I decided to start a website where you could find all my furniture related stuff, for the most part, in one place. I did end up adding some of my family oriented off shoots, well, because I can. The site has evolved over the past year, and will probably continue to change, but the main function is to pull it all together. Your business will also grow and change, but from the onset, try to keep the theme, design and colors somewhat consistent so you are recognizable once you start putting yourself out there. You might only stick with one business, one name, and one logo. But you never know...
My main site is now ValFrania.com because I want my name to become the focus of my branding, with all the others taking a back seat. Sort of a "Here I am and this is what I do" kind of branding.
Let's Talk Social Media
I am by no means an expert on social media, but I can give you some pointers on a few of the ones I use.
Pinterest is becoming the number one research spot for ideas, which makes it a good resource for furniture design inspiration. Joining group boards is a good way to showcase your projects if you are wanting exposure to your brand and/or blog/website. Let me know if you'd like to be added as a collaborator to my 7 furniture by color boards. You could also create your own group board and invite others to pin.
It's easy to get lost in the sea of pins, so you need to make your pins interesting and fairly large.
- Long pins are more readily seen. I format mine 450 x 1260 usually with a before and after, website address and a title. You have about a millisecond to grab attention so make it a good pin.
- Be sure to add a good description with a few hash tags so your pin is searchable. Link the pin to your blog or business page.
- You can use apps like BoardBooster to automatically re-pin and get your stuff out in front of people on a daily basis.
- If you want to build your following, be sure to follow others.
- If you blog, you can use the Pin It button in your posts to make it easy for readers to pin your photos.
You can easily find out what's being pinned from a website by using the URL http://www.pinterest.com/source/websitedomainname.com/. Just replace "websitedomainname" with the website domain and you will be able to see the latest pins being shared.
To set up a business account with Pinterest go here.
I use Hometalk to get some exposure to my brand and to get traffic to my DIY website, LoveMyDIYHome.com. To the right you can see that I'm close to a million views on Hometalk for my pot rack post. I'm also in their blogger program where we select three links to our blog and Hometalk will link to them in their newsletters occasionally. They also feature our projects on their Facebook page. On a good day, when they've sent out my link in a newsletter, I'll get about 8,000 visitors to my website.
- Gaining traffic and exposure for our brand
- Hometalk is working on a way for those who are willing to teach to make money in a Hometalk "market". They are still working out the kinks, but basically, those enrolled in the program will get paid for making home visits teaching their craft.
- There is also opportunity to do Hometalk lives.
- They have recently allowed us to use less copy and more links within the body of our post.
- SEO will direct searches to our post on Hometalk rather than our website post if they are similar, which they usually are since it's so much easier to just copy and paste rather than writing a whole new post about the same project we have on our blogs.
- Also, Hometalk is now posting links to the products we mention in our posts so THEY can make money on Amazon - and all too often the links are not the actual products we used, so it can be confusing to our readers.
Instagram is becoming more popular among artisans. It's been a place to display pretty pictures for our peers to see. "just post pretty pictures" was the rule. But I want to add a little bit of strategy to that rule.
- Photos need to be eye catching - bright and well staged if they are business related. Personal photos are good to connect with your audience, but make sure they are nicely done.
- Post a variety of different type of photos. People will just scroll by if all your photos are all alike.
- Be creative in your comments below the photos. Yes, hashtag brands and techniques, etc. but you can also add something cute like #iliketopaintinmyjammies.
- Follow others so they will follow you - shoot for 1000 followers.
- Seek out your local businesses in your niche and connect with them.
- If a follower comments, you can comment back to encourage interaction. Go take a look at their IG feed and comment on one of their posts.
- Look into doing stories - you have an opportunity to get a short glimpse of yourself in front of your followers.
To post an Instagram story, swipe right on your Instagram feed. You'll be in camera mode. Take a photo or video or upload a media taken in the last 24 hours. You can then add stickers including hashtags, draw, and/or add text.
Facebook has a lot of opportunities for you to get your brand out there. It's a great place to interact with fellow flippers and customers. But it also can be a very negative and frustrating experience. For some reason FB is a breeding ground for trolls.
FB Business/Store Pages:
- Keep it professional. Don't get involved in arguments. If you get a negative comment, either ignore or delete, but don't get pulled into a discussion that will reflect poorly on you or give the impression you are less than professional. You can block trolls.
- Some say post every day, others say not to because it's too much. Get to know your audience and meet their needs through positive and helpful posts.
- Work at presenting your business as a thriving, professional, successful business. Even if you are not there yet, say it enough, practice it enough and eventually you will believe it.
- A FB store can be the same as your business page or a separate just to post your pieces for sale.
- Put a price and description with well staged photos. Don't say "message me for a price" because most will just scroll on by.
- If someone messages you and says, "interested" don't take it as a promise to buy. It's discouraging, but if you view it as a possible sale, you will be disappointed 95% of the time.
- Always be gracious and polite no matter what - you are building a reputation.
- You can schedule posts - perhaps take one day to schedule the entire month if you share posts to add interest to your page. Some say only post your own stuff, others say to share lots of different types of related content.
- It's a good idea to join like minded groups to get your brand out there and to establish your credibility among fellow artisans. Be careful to always present yourself professionally even in this very casual scenario. Your reputation matters - be sure to guard it. The are great resources in every way. Be careful not to self promote where it is inappropriate. Many FB groups start threads for links to your business social media - get to know each group and be sure to follow their rules.
- You could also start your own group if the ones out there are not meeting your needs. But realize being an administrator of your own group will take a significant amount of your time.
FB BST Pages/Marketplace
- Buy Sell Trade groups are one option for advertising your pieces. But all too often buyers are looking for deals and are not looking to pay our prices. That's not to say we don't use them, but it's not a perfect option.
- Marketplace has become a tough place to consistently sell our wares - many are complaining of it not working and/or getting blocked for silly reasons. When listing on Marketplace, steer clear of words that may be flagged by FB's algorithm and get you blocked.
- Most recommend that you delete all listings and repost weekly, but not to re-post all of your pieces in one day - that type of activity will possibly flag you as a spammer. It's frustrating to try to operate within FB guidelines that are constantly changing, but it is a free platform, so we need to realize that we have no control over what they do or require, we can only try to fit within their guidelines.