Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Facebook Tips: Fan Pages and Fanning

LOVE Big Cocktail Ring by Recreational Art


I have a Facebook Fan Page for my business.  Many of the shops on Etsy and Artfire have Fan Pages too.  We all help each other out and support each other by fanning other Fan Pages and returning the favor to those who fan us.

When you fan someone you do so from your profile page and not your Fan Page.  Why is this tidbit of information important?  Because sometimes it is easy to figure out which fan page belongs to which profile.   In my case, my business name includes my first name.  But sometimes it is difficult to put profile and Fan Page together.  I want to do the right thing.  I want to fan back, but I can't find your business name anywhere.

Purple Grapes Earrings by PurpleMoonDesigns

I like to make sure that I have fanned all my fans and I have a few tips to make "fanning" easier and friendlier.

First, make sure that you include a link to your business and/or Fan page on your profile page.  It is good, passive advertising.  And it helps when I am trying to figure out who you are and what business name you use.

Second, talk to me when you fan me.  I don't need your life story but a simple "I fanned you" along with a link to your Fan Page will suffice.  If I don't want your link on my Fan page, I can remove it.

Third, most Fan pages are taking part in the Link Love discussions.  Leave all of your links in one post in my discussion.  But don't be rude and leave your links if you are not a Fan. 

Beaded Bead Necklace  by cisraydesigns
Fourth, don't fan me if you intend to unfan me next week or month.  If you don't want to see my posts either don't fan me in the first place or "hide" my posts.

If you are fanning other business Fan Pages and you are not being "fanned" in return, make sure that everyone knows what name your Fan Page is using.

I thank Recreational Art, Cisray Designs and Purple Moon Designs for the use of their pictures.  Please visit their shops using the links I have provided.

**Remember that I use pictures from my followers shops in my blog posts.  If you do NOT want your pictures used, please let me know.** Click here to read more!

Wine and Roses Treasury by Corkycrafts

Every once in a while you view a Treasury that stays in your mind all day.  That's what happened when I viewed this Wine and Roses Treasury by Corkycrafts.

Corkycrafts is a team mate on the Etsy Texas Crafters.  If you are are wine connoisseur or like wine you need to visit her shop, corkycrafts on Etsy,  She makes some truly amazing wreaths and other pieces using wine corks.

I asked her what was the inspiration for this Treasury.  It seems that there was a Wine and Roses Treasury earlier in the month and since she usually has wine as a theme someone thought it was her Treasury.  That one wasn't hers but it only took a little suggestion for this one to be born.  Thank you Corky, I truly enjoyed this Treasury.


This Star wreath is my favorite.  The Texas Star always reminds me of home.


Like all Texans Corky is a generous person.  I am a displaced Texan living in Nevada right now.  She heard me grumbling in our forum about how much I miss the spring in Texas.  I especially miss seeing the bluebonnets along the roadside.  That's all it took.  I found out this morning that my own package of bluebonnet seed is on the way to this poor, homesick Texan. Click here to read more!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Heroes

I met my step-son, Ken, when he was about 20 years old.  He and I became good friends.  I have always known him to be honorable, fiercely loyal and protective.

He is currently in the Army and just returned from Afghanistan.  He was involved in an "incident" where his armored vehicle was blown up by a mine.  His father and I have seen the pictures.  There is no way that anyone could have survived that.

He did and so did 3 others.  He woke up after the blast and when he realized what had happened, he became instantly alert.  He managed to get himself out of the vehicle.  Then he did what was necessary to help his buddies out.  He sustained burns when he reached in to pull them out.

When my husband was finally able to speak to him after the incident, he asked "Son, what were you thinking?  You were injured and should have taken care of yourself."

Ken answered the only way he could, truthfully.  "Dad, those guys with me were just kids, even injured I knew that if I didn't do anything they would not have survived".

He is my hero. Click here to read more!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Purple Day

Cassidy
I would like to share a story with you today.  This story takes place 2 years ago and is about a young girl named Cassidy.  Cassidy, who was 9 years old at the time, has epilepsy.  But she is not the type of girl to let that get her down. 

Cassidy wanted everybody to know that she has epilepsy and that it was OK to talk about epilepsy.  She wanted to explain to people that epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide.  That is more people than MS, MD, Parkinson's Disease and Cerebral palsy combined.  Cassidy wanted everyone to know the truth about epilepsy and dispel some of the myths. 

It is very important to Cassidy that everyone know that people with epilepsy are ordinary people.  She also wanted other children like herself to know that they were not alone. 

March 26th - Purple Day
Cassidy was very motivated to make her wishes come true.  She decided that one way to get people talking was to ask everyone to wear purple on one special day of the year.  Purple Day was founded in 2008 by Cassidy with the support of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia. Epilepsy Awareness Month is celebrated in March in most of the world.  Here in the U. S. we celebrate it in November.

"Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26, people from around the globe are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy."

 A little bit more about Cassidy in her own words from the Purple Day website.
"Before I started Purple Day, I was afraid to tell people about my epilepsy because I thought they would make fun of me. After the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia did a presentation in my class, I started to talk with the other kids about my seizures. That is when I decided to become a spokesperson for kids with epilepsy."
I am asking everyone who reads this post to wear purple on Friday March 26th.  Do it for all 50 million people in the world who have epilepsy.  Do it for Cassidy.  Do it for me.
Click here to read more!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why Buy From Other Etsy Shops?

That's a good question, isn't it?   I mean, you are in business to make money.  Why would you want to spend it before you make it.  Chances are that you are not one of the shops that is making money hand over fist.  You could even be a new shop with no sales yet.  If your upbringing was anything like mine you are probably making sacrifices until your shop can pay for itself.


You can't afford to buy things right now, right?   Wrong!   

                                                You can't afford NOT to!

When you buy from another shop get more than just the product you purchased.


Counter top wine stopper holder by balsampondsdesign's


1) You have just made a connection for your network.  You have connected with 1 other shop owner.  That other shop owner has connections too.   People who look at the sales from the other shop will see your information.  This is how you start making connections.

2) You will get Feedback.  It won't be feedback about your product, but it will reflect on your business reputation.  The feedback you leave for your purchase will also let others know a little bit about your business practices.

3) You have learned several things.  You have learned the steps your buyers will be taking when they buy from your shop.   When you receive your purchase you will learn how that shop packages their sales.  You learn what it feels like to wait for your package. 

Floral Earrings in Lavender and Green by theearringboutique

4) You have created Goodwill.  Goodwill is defined as an intangible asset which provides a competitive advantage, such as a strong brand, reputation, or high employee morale.  Your business needs Goodwill to survive.

5) You have that wonderful item that you purchased.

When you consider the price you are paying for the item you purchase and then add in all the little extras that you gain, you got a real bargain.

I would love comments on this subject.  I know that there are many more advantages to purchasing form other shops.  I could not think of any disadvantages.

 Thank you to BalsamPondsDesigns and TheEarringBoutique for the use of your pictures.


***Remember that if you follow my blog and you do NOT want your pictures used in my blog posts, you need to let me know.  Otherwise all pictures from your Etsy shop are fair game.**** Click here to read more!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why I Did Not Follow You on Twitter

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First let me post a disclaimer:  I found a new way to search for pictures for my blog entries.  I now go to my followers Etsy or Artfire shops to find them.  The pictures in no way relate to the blog topic.  They are just pretty pictures.  If you don't want me to use your pictures just let me know.  Otherwise your shop is fair game.  I will notify you when I have used them. 
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Hearts of Blue Purskey by deancustomdesigns
A Twitter account  is a good promotional tool for your business.  It is quick and easy.  You only get 140 characters per tweet so you use just the words you need to say what you want to say.  You don't spend much time trying to use proper grammer.  The flow of your paragraphs is also not important because.....No Paragraphs.

It is easy to build a follower base and to follow others.  Twitter is not for everybody, I am still trying to decide if it is for me.

There are some people in the Twitterverse who follow anyone who has followed them and that is OK.  But the title of this feature is  "Why I Did Not Follow You on Twitter" because there are some of us who are a little on the, let me put it politely, OCD side.  I want to know who you are and why you are here if you are following me.  Then I will know whether of not I will follow back.

When I click to go to your page I don't care whether or not you have fancy graphics or a beautiful layout.  That's more for bloggers.  I am looking at the information that you share on your Home Page and in your tweets.  Here are some of the reasons that I don't follow you:

Ancient Princess Chandalier Earrings by heathershaven
1.  You don't have a bio.  why not?  Who are you? Why are you here?  Tell me something.  Anything.

2.  Your "website" is your Twitter Home page.  Maybe you misunderstood what to put here so there is a little leeway on this one.  I look a little closer to see if you have a webpage or business.

3.  Most of your tweets are about the guy you met and went home with the other night or about how drunk you are going to get or how many times you can drop the F-bomb.  I don't care.  Unless there is a really good reason (like you and Billy Joel are drop by for dinner friends) I don't need to sift through your trash.



Wrist Cuff Hand Embroidery Wisteria Cottage by Waterrose
There are a couple of things that just about guarantee that I WILL follow you no matter what:

1.  Your website or bio refer to your Etsy (Artfire, etc) shop. 

2.  Your website or bio refer to Awareness.  You have a genuine cause that you actively tweet about.

Please understand that I am not suggesting these guidelines to anyone.  These are my guidelines.  I consider myself "new" to Twitter.  Maybe my guidelines will change in a month.  Maybe I won't be tweeting in a month.

I am open to debate on any of these guidelines.  Tell me why they are right or wrong.  Your comment will be published whether you agree with me or not.  The only way your comment won't be published is if you don't want it published.

Thank-you  deancustomdesigns, heathershaven and waterrose.  I used your pictures.  Please visit their shops by clicking on the shop name or view the item listing by clicking on the item name below the picture. Click here to read more!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award









I would like to thank lisajhoney's Sweet things for nominating me for this award.  Check out her handmade felt foods.  They are scrumptious.





This is a fun little award, but its comes with some rules:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you.

2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog.

3. Link the person who nominated you.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.

5. Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers'

6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.



Ok So now I need to tell you

7 Things About Me That You May Not Know:

1. I always wanted to learn American Sign Language.  I started taking courses last fall but my knee surgery prevented me from completing the semester.

2. I took ballet and tap during most of my youth and acted in my High School plays.  I am a great actress.  A few months ago I was joking with a friend about my acting capabilities and "acted" as if I were upset about it.  She really thought I was upset and started consoling me.

3. I am an avid reader.  My Mother owned a used bookstore which I inherited.  I had to close it when hubby and I moved across the state of Texas.

4. I collect shot glasses.  I have over 150 from all over the world.

5. When I grow up I want to be 5 feet tall.

6. I love to take things apart and put them back together.  I just have to understand how and why everything works.

7. I have difficulty thinking of things that others might not know about me because I tell everybody everything.

Now for the 7 lucky people I nominate

These are the first 7 chix on my bloglist

1.  Artisan Originals

2.  Baily Belle Creations

3.  Dean Designs

4.  Glitz Glitter

5.  Heather Kent Art

6.  Sew Sweet Stitches

7.  Tilley Jewels Click here to read more!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tutorial Series: How to Prepare Your Item for Treasuries #3

Treasuries are a huge promotional tool for Etsians.  There are some shops whose items are featured all the time.  Some shops never have items in a Treasury.  If you are part of the second group, do you know why?  And do you want to know how to become a member of the first group?

Peacock Pride Stick by ajbcreations
This series of articles started as a tutorial type blog post but there is just too much information for a blog post.  Each post in the series will discuss tips that will raise the odds of your item being included in a Treasury.  Most of these tips will also help you make sales because buyers are looking at the same things that a Treasury curator looks at.  I will be using "Awareness" as my theme for examples, but you can substitute any theme that your items fit in and follow the tips using that theme.

Pictures

 Pictures may be the one thing that prevents most items from being included in Treasuries.  Your pictures can also determine whether or not customers even consider buying your item.  I know that getting good pictures of your items is not easy.  I have jewelry in one shop and beads in the other.  Neither one is easy to photograph.

Easter Candy Pinks Birdnest by Star Creations
My awareness treasuries are not as dependent on the quality of the photograph as most treasuries tend to be.  The nature of a Treasury requires the curator to find the most beautiful items with the best photographs to include.  A customer will not usually give your item a closer look if the first picture they see doesn't catch their eye.

I am not a photography expert.  If you look at my pictures that fact is obvious.  You will not get information on how to photograph your items here.  These are general guidelines for what your pictures should look like.




1.  You can upload 5 pictures.  Include pictures from different angles.  You need to provide the customer with as much information about the item as possible through your pictures.

2.  The item should be identifiable.  There are many items that have not been included in my awareness treasuries for this reason alone.  An Awareness Ribbon is easily identifiable.  It looks pretty much like view 1 of this picture.  I have seen pictures of awareness ribbons that look like view 2.  Why would a customer who is looking for an Awareness Ribbon buy an X?

Decadence Chocolate Cherry Bracelet by Artisan Originals




3.  If more than 50% of the picture is the background you need to crop that picture until you see more of the item than the background.  It is called background for a reason.  If you need to show perspective or size, you can include 1 picture of the item that is more background but only include 1.

4.  Use a good photo editor and play with all the settings to see which combination gives you the best result.  I have used the tools in a different order to get pictures that are different. Try cropping before you adjust the color and try doing it in the opposite order.  You will be surprised at the difference the order that you apply the tools can make in some pictures.

Now that you have a few guidelines, answer this question:  Do you ever shop in your Etsy shop?  Why not?   Try viewing the items as a potential buyer and you may find out why you have not sold that item that you thought was going to be hot.  If you work in a retail store, you are always making sure that your products look their best to the potential buyer.  That is even more important in an online shop.  Your customer can't examine the products in an online store like they can in person.  They depend on your photographs to see what the item looks like,  so your pictures better be good.


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As an afterthought did you notice anything wrong with one of the pictures in this post?  I didn't until  ajbcreations contacted me.  She missed the date stamp on her photograph when she was listing the item and I didn't even see it when I was looking for pictures to include. 

tip # 5.  Look for the little things that normally get overlooked that can affect the quality of your pictures.

Thank-you  to ajbcreations, Artisan Originals and Star Creations for allowing me to use their pictures.  Please click on the picture links to view that item or on the name here to view the shop. Click here to read more!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Friday's Cat Antics




Larry and I have 2 cats that share our apartment. Spaz and Smokie are sisters. Spaz is the older of the two sisters. She was 1 litter before Smokie. And she comes by her name honestly. I don't remember what we originally named her, but it didn't fit her personality as well as "Spastic" does. We just call her "Spaz".

We lived in a trailer with his then 16-year-old son when Spaz was young. Trailers are designed lengthwise so that you could walk in a basically straight line from one end to the other. You may have to move a few feet to one side or the other between rooms. We used the master bedroom which was at one end of the trailer and Larry Jr used the room at the opposite end. The master bathroom was at the end of the trailer and it had a large garden tub. Walking from one end of the trailer to the other, you would start in the master bath, go thru the master bedroom, down a short hall, move about 4 feet to the right and go thru the kitchen, thru the living room, down the hall and Larry Jr's doorway was at the end of the hall.

We would be relaxing, watching TV in bed and Spaz would come streaking in from the kitchen. She would cross over the foot of the bed and go into the bathroom where she would do a couple of laps in the tub. When she left the bathroom she didn't have enough speed to cross on the bed so she just ran out of the bedroom and thru the kitchen, thru the living room, down the hall and then we would hear a loud thump before she headed back. She would do this 3 or 4 times and then sit down as if nothing had happened.

We always wondered what the thump was but couldn't figure it out. Until one day when Larry Jr saw her as she came down the hall. She would start banking up the wall about 2 feet from his door and run across the door, making a thump, then bank down to the floor and keep going. I guess she realized that she would lose more speed if she just turned around. As it was, she barely slowed down at the end of the hall.

Of course when we figured it out and she heard us laughing at her, she quit doing it (at least when we were home).

I already know next weeks story. So check back next Friday to find out what Smokie has done.
Click here to read more!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tutorial Series How to Prepare Your Item for Treasuries #2

Chainmaille Choker in Copper Brutal Ribbon by Stygian Chains
Treasuries are a huge promotional tool for Etsians.  There are some shops whose items are featured all the time.  Some shops never have items in a Treasury.  If you are part of the second group, do you know why?  And do you want to know how to become a member of the first group?

This series of articles started as a tutorial type blog post but there is just too much information for a blog post.  Each post in the series will discuss tips that will raise the odds of your item being included in a Treasury.  Most of these tips will also help you make sales because buyers are looking at the same things that a Treasury curator looks at.  I will be using "Awareness" as my theme for examples, but you can substitute any theme that your items fit in and follow the tips using that theme.

Tags: part 2

Everyone has different ideas about how to tag your items in regards to color.  Some say you should stick to the basics, green, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, black, white and brown.  Others say that you need to be more specific because it helps if you are in a smaller group.

Golden Bracelet with Rainbow Flash by 88Links
I think you should split the difference.  You should use that general tag but whenever possible you should qualify it.  If your item is violet why not tag it as violet and purple.  That way you will show up in both searches and both tags are true.  If I am looking for an item somewhere in the purple range for my Treasury, I am going to use purple as a search term.  The computer looks for purple as a tag.  Your item is tagged violet.  The computer does not know that violet is a purple, it only knows that the first letters are not the same.  To it that means your item is not purple and will not be included in my results.

The reverse is also true.  Your item is tagged purple.  I am looking for something violet for my Treasury.  I use the search term violet.  Once again the computer does not know about the relationship between purple and violet.  It just knows that the letters do not match and I don't use your item in my Treasury.

If you tagged the same item as violet and purple, both true, you would have had two opportunities to be in a Treasury.


Tags: part 3

There are 14 tags available.  If I laid 14 perfectly good lottery tickets on a table and said "Take as many as you want.  If you don't use them, they will not be used."  Are you seriously going to tell me that you will take 2 or 3 and let the rest get tossed in the trash.  That is what you do each time you use less than 14 tags.  The additional tags that you do not use may be the tags that I use to search for items for my next Treasury.

Funny White Braided Leather Bracelets by Laura Bijoux
I admit that I don't use all 14 all of the time.  Sometimes I am listing something quickly and can't think of all the tags I could use.  I promise myself that I will go back and correct the tags.  And I will, someday.  In the meantime, someone who is looking for my item can't find it because I didn't use all my tags.

I think the next topic will be pictures.  If you have questions feel free to ask them in the comments.  I moderate comments so if you don't want your comment published just tell me.

I want to thank Stygian Chains, 88 Links and LauraBijoux for answering my plea on twitter so quickly. Click here to read more!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tutorial: How to Prepare Your Item For Treasuries

Treasuries are a huge promotional tool for Etsians.  There are some shops whose items are featured all the time.  Some shops never have items in a Treasury.  If you are part of the second group, do you know why?  And do you want to know how to become a member of the first group?

Up In the Clouds Earrings By Baily Belle Creations

This series of articles started as a tutorial type blog post but there is just too much information fo a blog post.  Each post in the series will discuss tips that will raise the odds of your item being included in a Treasury.  Most of these tips will also help you make sales because buyers are looking at the same things that a Treasury curator looks at.  I will be using "Awareness" as my theme for examples, but you can substitute any theme that your items fit in and follow the tips using that theme.


Tags Part 1
I make at least 2 Awareness Treasuries a week.  That is over 100 Treasuries a year.  I average about 10 a month.  That means that I need 160 items each month for my Treasuries.  I know there are many Awareness items out there but I don't have time to look through over 5,600,000 items on Etsy to find your item.  So how do I narrow the search to a more acceptable number? TAGS!

One of the most important tips is tagging your items well.  When I narrow the search with the tag "Awareness" will your item be included?  If not, you will probably never be in an Awareness Treasury.  That tag is the most important tag for the Awareness Ribbon items.  That is the tag buyers use when looking for something to purchase and when someone, like me, is looking for items to fill a Treasury. The tag "Ribbon" can encompass items that have nothing to do with Awareness.  So it is not an effective search tag for these purposes.



Purple Pow Wow Bow by Fruit of the Bloom

You need to identify the most important tag that specifically fits your item.  I am not talking about "jewelry" or "bracelet".  Those tags are a given.  All bracelets fit in those tags.  Is there a special category or use that describes your item.  How can it be used as a general tag?









Cobalt and Copper Necklace and Earrings by Artisan Originals

Is your item tagged using the most applicable tags?  There are around 5,500 items tagged with "Awareness".  Sometimes I am looking for a more specific theme.  Under the category Awareness the themes are generally cause or color oriented.  You need to have some of those tags as well.  What are the themes that could apply to your item?  You need to identify them and make sure that you tag for them.

When you tag your items remember to use tags that potential buyers and Treasury curators will be using when they search for your item.  Use a good mix of general and specific tags.

The next topic I will address within the subject of tags is "Colors". Click here to read more!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

February Highlights

I am going to move all my bragging on myself to one posting at the end of each month.  So Here is my brag sheet for February .I know that this list is incomplete.
  
If I forgot to mention something, please remind me so that I can add it to my highlights and please accept my apologies.  This is when I like to bring up the fact that my epilepsy affects my memory.  That sounds better than saying that I am getting older.  Sounds more official, don't ya think?

I entered a Trivia contest on Hippies Creations Blog and won my choice of Lotions from Hippie's Bath and Body Shop.  I chose the Almond lotion.  I love the way it works on my hands.  I live in the desert and you can imagine how difficult it is to keep your skin moisturized.  Click here to read more!

Friday, March 5, 2010