18 Oct Try a New Platform, Reach a New Audience
So many social media channels, so little time to figure out where you should be to promote your craft business and find your customers. In this post, we’ll examine the relevance of some platforms you may not have considered and some new features that you may not be using yet on familiar platforms.
Chances are good that you and your business already have a presence on Facebook. You may be using Facebook Ads in addition to having a page for your business where you can share content and interact with your customers. Since most crafters purchase supplies and craft-related products based on appearance, your business most likely also has a presence on Instagram and Pinterest, the most visually-driven social media platforms (See our previous posts on Instagram Power-Up and Optimizing Pinterest for Business, if you need to get started).
Where are the Customers You Want to Reach?
As you consider expanding your social media presence on to new platforms, it’s important to think about your target customers and which platforms they use. That’s where you want to be, but there’s nothing wrong with taking your time to explore and evaluate a platform before you commit to establishing and maintaining a presence there. For example, 18 months ago, Periscope looked like it was going to be the next big thing to share live video of events as they unfolded. Twitter bought Periscope in June 2016, but Facebook met the challenge with Facebook Live and while Periscope still has its users, it’s not a platform the crafting community uses regularly.
Snapchat, however, is proving its staying power. If you’re over 35, you probably think of Snapchat as the way teenagers think they can get away with sexting, but there’s much more to it than that. The real genius of Snapchat is that it is playful and creative, and in that way, it engages its users (primarily 18-34 year olds) more thoroughly than other platforms (41% of that age group on any given day in the US, with more than 150 million daily users overall, but its highest growth rate is among users over age 25).
How? Snapchat entertains its users by allowing them to play with their pictures, adding filters, marking them up and offering fun options like Face Swap and sharing them with their friends. That they disappear quickly means that users are constantly engaged in creating and sharing new content.
The ability to mark up pictures, add text, frames, and other embellishments, is part of a trend toward “augmented reality” in the social media landscape. Photos and videos may document an event, but editing them and adding to them lets the user create a unique story that their friends can enjoy, too. Instagram Stories, which we will look at below, also includes tools for augmenting original photos and videos. But first, let’s look at Snapchat as a possible marketing tool.
Suggestions for Using Snapchat to Market Your Business
There are many different ways you can harness the power of Snapchat to increase brand awareness at little or no cost. Once you’ve joined the platform and made your audience aware of your SnapCode on all your other media channels, have fun with it.
* Use that 10-second video to tell a story about your products and announce a flash sale, giving your followers a code to use on your website. Create a series of snaps over the course of a day that contain the code.
* Create a giveaway contest for your followers for the best snap that features your product.
* Cross-collaborate with industry influencers. You’re a yarn dyer? Let your favorite designer take over your Snapchat account for three days and show your followers how your yarn works in her designs, then return the favor. You post the content on your favorite designer’s account and reach all of her followers, too.
These ideas only work, however, if Snapchat is the platform of choice for the customers you want to reach. Its growth curve suggests that older consumers aren’t on it yet, but may get there soon. If the millennials are the customer segment you want to add, Snapchat is where they are engaged and where you need to extend your brand to meet them.
Matching Platform to Message and Audience
Much of the traffic on Twitter is breaking-event driven, making it easier for marketing messages to get lost there. While you can share images on Twitter, the 140-character limit is better used to direct people to content you’ve posted on other social media platforms (for example, cross-posing your Instagram photos using a service such as If This Then That). It is also worth noting that Twitter has become a preferred platform for customers to interact with a brand whenever they have an issue, so keeping up with your brand hashtags and mentions (#s and @s) on Twitter is an important part of customer service, if not selling your products.
In addition to Facebook, you want to engage your customers on Instagram and Pinterest. The image-centric nature of these channels are important for both B2B and B2C businesses, making them a good fit for products that appeal to customers by color, texture, and shape. In addition, both platforms skew heavily female, which is a major overlap for the craft and hobby industry.
Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook have all rolled out features that allow you to post live raw video to your followers, with which they can interact in real time. Facebook Live broadcasts video directly to your page for up to 90 minutes; you can edit or delete it later, just like any other post. Instagram Stories can be a slideshow or video, appearing as an option in a circle at the top of your followers’ Instagram feeds; access to an Instagram story is time-limited, usually 24 hours. Snapchat Stories remain up longer than a basic snap and are keyword searchable.
How can live video build excitement for your brand? You can pay for any of these options as an advertisement, but you can also use them as part of your business’ content marketing strategy. Think about a new product introduction, or showing your followers what really goes on at a trade show or marketplace event for their favorite craft. Even a brief technique video would be effective here – you can always edit the footage later to use in a more formal instructional video. You just want to make sure that your followers are aware that you’re going live or that you have a story to view so that your efforts aren’t wasted.
Should I Go There?
Whether you’re considering adding Snapchat to your social media portfolio, or taking advantage of the video features of platforms you already use, you can ease into it. Start by creating content for your business and see how your followers engage with it. It’s a low-risk way to gauge where your customers are and what kind of content connects with them.
Adding Instagram Stories or Facebook Live when you have a specific message may be a way to extend your reach. If you are seeking to reach millennials, adding Snapchat to your marketing efforts will help you find them, especially if you can work with an influencer in your product area who has the following you would like to reach.
Additionally, if you choose to add a platform, use your existing social media presence to invite customers to follow you there – there is often some overlap between channels. See what happens over the next few months, then expand your presence to paid advertising once you know your customers are responding to your free content. For example, your Instagram followers regularly interact with your posts, commenting on your content and reposting your giveaways. Invite that audience to follow you on Snapchat if they use it, and tweak your posts for the new platform. Add a filter to your photo, or ask your followers to add their doodles. When they share their version, you’ve reached all their followers, too. Among them are going to be the new customers who haven’t found you on other social media channels.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to continue using a platform if it’s not bringing you results – but don’t be afraid to try something new, especially if it introduces your brand to the customers you want to reach.
If you would like some guidance in utilizing social media to grow your craft business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the services we offer.