IN MY OPINION,
Things have changed over the years, and social media is one of them. Social media now is one of the main ways to get your name out there and get yourself known. I am constantly on social media, I belong to quite a few embroidery groups, and I see time and time again, daily, the same mistakes made over and over again.
If you want to start a business, or if you want to get your business moving along, here are a few helpful tips to keep things going. I will try not to rant too much!
The first one is a biggie, and I have encountered it many times – personally as well, and it always makes me laugh. Yes, I laugh at the way people behave because it is not professional. That is the BIGGEST thing to remember, ACT PROFESSIONAL AT ALL TIMES IN ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU DO. If you say something derogatory or mean or anything else, people will remember your name, but not in a good way. Children act like this – negative attention is still attention – but that will not get you the attention that you want for your business. Seriously – stop being rude, stop being mean, stop picking fights. You have the right to your opinion, and you may feel like your criticism of someone’s work is helpful, but really it isn’t. It is better to simply walk away from it. If someone in a group is posting a picture of their “newbie” work, why would you not be positive? why would posting a response “you need to do more work on this, it is not good enough” help them out any? Being positive is the most help you can give them. If they are asking “what did I do wrong?” then you can point out some helpful hints in a positive way. Be helpful, not negative. That is a great place to start.
Acting professionally in EVERY post in EVERY group on EVERY forum (including facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc) is the only way to go. Some people think they can get away from this and there is no connection. I beg to differ, there is a big connection. You can open up facebook and type in a name, and you can see every post that person has made! And if someone is being mean or negative to other people, are you really going to buy their designs? NO. You will move on to someone that deserves the sale, right? Well, think of that when you are posting, that thousands of people can see you, listen to you and decide in an instant if they are going to purchase anything from you. If they don’t like you, they will not buy anything.
For clarity, posting a customer’s personalized item, or conversation in a closed group is absolutely NOT PROFESSIONAL. I have seen in more than one group, someone posts a screenshot of the conversation that they had with a particularly difficult customer. Really? It is pretty darn easy for that customer to find out about that – and wow, talk about embarrassing! Do you really want to “shame” your customer or potential customer in a group? What do you think the people in the group think of your actions? Do you expect to get more business this way? A closed group doesn’t mean that people can’t see your posts, all they have to do is join the group! They will see it, and you will have lost a customer for sure, but many customers! When they tell everyone they know, or in other groups, you have lost all of that word of mouth customers, too.
Posting your work is kind of a gray area: if you do something for a customer, and then make a “show off” post in a group, is it right? I don’t think so – if you really must post your customer’s design or child’s name publicly in a group, I think you should take a few moments to ask permission and keep everything at a professional level.
Remember that everything that you write is PUBLIC, even in closed groups. Everything public can be shared or have a screenshot made in about 2 seconds, and then posted elsewhere. Each and every time you post on Facebook, it is a PUBLIC post and can be used against you at any time. Did you know that generally Facebook posts can be submitted in court? Think of that next time you call someone out or post something that you should not post. Same goes for posting other people’s pictures – I see that all of the time – they post a picture of the finished product and ask questions about how it was done. My mind screams COPY – you want to copy someone’s work, do you? I think you should learn how to do your own…when people start copying your work, you will have something to say about it, I am sure. So stopy trying to copy!
Picking fights, or entering into fights on facebook. Oh my! I see this all the time. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, of course, but getting into a heated discussion on copyright issues is not going to help you further your business.
PICTURES: Selling embroidery designs takes a ton of time. If you are lazy, you are not going to make sales. And by lazy, I mean not taking the time to make great professional pictures of your work! Why would you ever post the digital image of your design? We all know that the stitched out design, on pretty material, with an interesting background with a watermark is going to take you way further than a screenshot of your work. Take the time to do professional pictures, with a good camera, great lighting, and beautiful embroidery. We take quite a bit of time outside, or in the inside studio to make our pictures look professional – we use 4 lights, a nice camera and props too!
This is a key fob I made for a friend of mine – the item is completely finished, neat and clean, cut out carefully and most importantly in focus, with the focal point on the embroidery. The background is some roses for props that I bought at a craft store. This is the style that you want. Add a watermark, and now you have a professional presentation for your beautiful embroidery!
Excessive use of hashtags: please stop using so many hashtags when you post your work, or anything, especially in groups. While you may think that using #Hatchembroidery or #machine embroidery will work and get you business, it will not. Someone using # HatchEmbroidery is looking for Hatch embroidery software, not the work you did in embroidery. They may look at your work, but they will not buy it. Using #machineembroidery will get you zero too. Why? BECAUSE EVERYONE USES IT and there will be thousands upon thousands of pictures with that hashtag. Do some research, find one or two hashtags that will work – and do some research in how to use hashtags properly – it will take you further in the long run.
Spamming. Oh yes, this one. I see it all the time too. If you do a pretty design, take some good pictures, and then proceed to post it in every single embroidery group that you are in, you are spamming. Not officially spamming, but spamming still. You must realize that most of the same people are in the same groups – Hatch Facts people are also in machine embroidery groups, and quilting groups, machine specific groups…. And then they see your stuff posted again and again and again all over the place – they will get annoyed. I would also suggest that posting your work daily is also spamming. If you MUST post a design daily, then post it in one group, then your next design in another group. Posting your designs daily in 20 groups is not going to get your name out there. Please stop. Show off your work a little bit, but stop with the overkill.
Trying to add your business name in your profile, or tag, or anything. Well, that is against the rules, too. You can’t have your profile name with the name of your business. Facebook doesn’t like that. If you have a facebook page for your business, that is the way to go – however, tagging your business facebook page in all of your posts is not. And believe it or not, it makes you look bad. And people don’t like it. Joining a group with your facebook business page, or making posts with that page is not professional either. If you are doing this, again you are spamming people with your business name, and frankly, you are trying to hard. Rome was not built in a day, right? Neither is your business. It is going to take years of hard work to make any money, so don’t start the long journey by spamming potential customers. Have some confidence, hold your head up high and trust that your professional level work will carry you the distance!
Back to the professional level idea, and here are some more suggestions for you every single time you post. Spelling and grammar count. Oh, yes it does. If you don’t spell things correctly on your posts or use the correct grammar on any post, then customers are going to think that you will make those mistakes in your work. Please know the difference between “your” and “you’re” and use them correctly! I have seen people posting their work with grammar errors!! This will not get you any business either! Be careful and check your work, and check every single post.
I have had occasion as a blogger and business person as well as doing the classes, that people lash out because they are not getting their way on something, or they simply disagree with what I am saying. It is OK to disagree with me publicly – but you must agree to disagree. Let me explain. If I say something is one way, and you think it is another – that’s great, and we can have a healthy and happy professional conversation post about it. If you disagree and keep insisting that you are right and I am wrong, and it starts getting nasty – you are only hurting yourself. If you try and take your opinion to another group and bad mouth someone in another group – and keep going and going – your business is pretty much over. Nobody is going to deal with you, because wow, you don’t want to disagree, right? I see people making posts and calling other people names, and basically slandering their business for one reason or another. Don’t be that person writing the post – it will ruin you in the end.
In summary: if you want to further your business on social networking - BE PROFESSIONAL AT ALL TIMES, IN ALL GROUPS, ON YOUR PERSONAL TIMELINE AND EVERY SINGLE INTERACTION YOU MAKE. STOP SPAMMING WITH POSTS AND HASHTAGS. TREAT EVERYONE AT A PROFESSIONAL LEVEL, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Take the time to do things right – like pictures, posts and anything else you do.
If all else fails, you have a “magic button” on your mouse to SCROLL ON. Most of the time, that is the best solution. If you don’t like it, scroll on by and leave it alone.
Until next time