Social media features, my Etsy experience
Exactly a year ago Etsy published a blog post titled 'A Day in the Life of CreativeIngrid' and I thought that this happy event was a good opportunity to share a little bit about the process of being featured on Etsy.
Social media features
The very first time I got a feature was through BuzzFeed in 2016 and from one day to the next my little floral watercolour was everywhere: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, without me having to do anything. I always mention this in my interviews as this was the key moment I realised the power of social media and decided to pursue this avenue to build my business.
Once in a while these kind of features happen, sometimes by surprise and other times I receive an email asking for my prior permission or even a contract or agreement to sign.
Something important to mention: I have never paid for these features. Legit accounts don’t ask for payment, so be careful if an account approaches you and wants to charge you. I have seen this being discussed on Facebook forums, apparently it is quite common on Instagram.
|In my kitchen.||Walking my neighbourhood.|
|Life in the studio.||With my husband in our favourite pub.|
About my Etsy experience
One morning I received an email from Etsy asking for my permission to use one of my moons on the post 'Obsessing Over: the Solar Eclipse' with one of my favourite themes: the moon!
Days later a second email followed asking me if I would be interested in being part of the Etsy blog where they talk about the life of artists that sell on Etsy. I said yes without hesitation and full of excitement, so we arranged a Skype call where I answered lots of questions, but I didn’t hear back from her for a while and I started to think that maybe I was not a good fit for what they were after.
Months later during my holidays in Mexico I received a very exciting email telling me that they were considering me for a special post about 'all things woman-made’ celebrating 'International Women's Day'. I replied to a questionnaire, sent some photos and I got a yes, you will be featured! And ‘ohh, by the way, are you still interested in that post we talked about a while ago?’
What!? I was already over the moon, but yes, of course it was a huge YES!
So I prepared a script for what a day in my life looks like and weeks later they introduced me via email to Inna Kostukovsky, the photographer they had chosen to work with me. And again, the wait… in case you did not know, I live in London and the chances of getting decent light can sometimes be very small. So three or four months later, the good weather finally arrived and we found a beautiful sunny day to meet at my home studio.
I do not like being photographed, so this was definitely a big challenge for me, but Inna was wonderful to work with and gave me lots of tips of how to look natural. We followed my list: meditation, coffee, painting, admin tasks, yoga break, etc… a long day!
I also took Inna to my favourite places: garden, lunch in my favourite place on Golborne Road, supplies shopping at Cass Art in High Street Kensington and finally a drink with my husband in my local pub. By the end of the day I was ok with the camera pointing at me, I felt like a celebrity (that no one knew!)
Weeks later Inna sent me a link with the photos and more weeks later Valerie sent the draft of the post called: 'A Day in the Life of CreativeIngrid', ohh happy post!
|'Silver Moon', featured on Etsy blog.|
And then what?
As exciting as it is to be featured, the important part comes after. Every time has been different for me. The 2016 BuzzFeed experience basically put my Instagram account on the map and helped boost my social media presence.
Etsy is no exception, but each time the impact is different. Being on the ‘Editors picks’ results in a boost of sales, and this is the same with features. Instagram posts can bring more followers, but not necessarily more sales.
But I always try to look beyond the number of sales, I am talking about the exposure the different experiences bring. Don’t get me wrong, every time the ‘cha-ching’ sounds I make a happy dance, I still love it! And yes, of course artists want to sell, if not why do we have a shop, right?
I sometimes receive messages from art directors or companies looking for talent. Their requests can go from art collaboration, articles, interviews to things not related with my art at all! But thanks to these diverse opportunities my business has grown and diversified. Here are some examples:
- Calls to attend castings… one was for a shampoo commercial!
- Art collaboration with a local brewery
- A feature on Countryside magazine
- A gallery in California offering their space
- Harrods workshop for their employees (I did this one!)
- The BBC recently used my art in one of their programmes called DIY SOS
- I was invited to participate to an interior design challenge for The Sunday Times, it was so much fun!
What to do?
- Work hard and be patient. Note that from the time I received Etsy’s offer to the actual feature took more than a year. I do want to tell you the full story of my Etsy shop so you can understand the need for patience, but this will come in another post to make it easier to digest.
- Be prepared. When I was told that they were considering me for the Woman’s Day feature I was asked to answer a questionnaire and send a head shot within 24hrs. Though I was travelling in Mexico I luckily always have my iPad on me and photos on the cloud.
- Have your shop spot on. Good quality photos are key, do some research on SEO to improve your chances of being found and build a cohesive look… brand yourself!
- Be there. Check and answer your messages as soon as you can, you never know who is trying to get in touch. Plus this is also an important part of a good customer service.
- Be ready when it happens. When BuzzFeed featured me I was super ready for it. My Etsy shop was up and running, I had a website and I was working on my social media. This was the reason that I was able to monetise that boost, but also to show everyone what I had to offer.