DIY Valentine Inspiration

As a single gal I hated Valentine's Day, I think most people do.  But my sister would always give me a little treat.  When I lived a few doors down from her in Portland, I would find a Valentine's treat left outside my door.  It was always a surprise and always brought a smile to my face.   Valentine's Day doesn't just have to be about the romance.  And now that I have a little baby girl it's fun to create little valentine treats for her.

I was perusing around on Pinterest and found some great DIY Valentines you can make for a loved one in your life, and may be one for yourself too.  You do love your self right?

Click on each caption below the picture to take you to Pinterest and follow the link for instructions.  Do you make anything special for Valentine's Day? I would love to see it if you do.

I hope you found some inspiration! Have a crafty day!

Tracey 

http://traceytoole.blogspot.com/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/traceytoole

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Social Media- We Can't Marry it and We Can't Kill it

Where I came  up with that title.....  social media, we need it, and it can be frustrating. As independent designers we have to market ourselves.  On top of creating our product, designing it, making it, making hangtags, building websites, photographing, posting on etsy, selling in markets, the list goes on... we need to advertise it and build our community.  People are not only interested in our product but how is it made, who makes it and where does it come from.

This past Monday I went to a seminar at the Etsy offices being given by Rekha Krishnamurthi.

Rekha is an EtsyNY Team member and designs and makes products for her line called DivineNY.  Her craft is screen printing and block printing, and she specializes in housewares.

Find this runner in Rekha's  Etsy shop .

Find this runner in Rekha's Etsy shop.

Rekha spoke about brand building thru social media.  Her main theme is to allocate 2 hours a week for social media.  The way I feel about social media is that it can be fun, overwhelming and powerful.  I struggle with it and then when I talk to others I find I know more than I think.  So I guess you can categorize me as somewhere in the middle.

I do feel that any company or personality needs to be on social media today.  People want to know what you are about. So how do we achieve it successfully.

A few points:

  1. approach how to develop your goals, objectives and strategy
  2. timing- when is your audience online? do you sell to America or Europe, young hipsters or a more corporate crowd who is probably online during lunch or on their way home from work
  3. what platform do you want to use? facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr, google plus, pinterest
  4. what do you talk about? talk about what you are working on, what is inspirational to you, other artists you follow
  5. should you buy those ads on facebook? what's the budget to spend? Try $5.00 and see if it works.

So many platforms right?!  I am on all of them.  My tumblr went away and instagram I just started but I try to stay strong with my blog, facebook, twitter and pinterest.  And it can be frustrating building a following.  Sometimes I feel like I am spreading myself too thin or noone reads my posts.   My team consists of me, my 3 cats and now my 5 month old daughter....What to do!

Oliver, one of my cats, at wor

Oliver, one of my cats, at wor

Pinterest does double duty.  While I am finding inspiration other people also see the inspiration I am posting.

Rekha even said it took a few years for her to get a following.  So don't give up.  What are your frustrations? Do you have tips that seem to work for your brand?

Post your facebook, twitter or pinterest link here and I will follow!

Have a crafty week!

Tracey Toole

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/traceytoole
  • http://traceytoole.blogspot.com/
  • https://www.facebook.com/TraceyTooleDesigns?ref=hl
  • https://twitter.com/traceytoole

Pinteresting

As many of you I frequently turn to Pinterest to find inspiration for new projects. The Etsy New York team has a beautiful collection of boards that is carefully curated by Martin of Adornments NYC. Here are some of the things he has put together for us:

Looking to get organized? Organize your sewing bobbins on a magnetic strip. Use CD spindles to store your ribbons.

Seeking some balance? Become inspired by the soothing shapes of the Geometric collection.

Hungry? Try the avocado lime salmon or the baked parmesan zucchini.

Currently we are maintaining 54 boards with lots of interesting ideas and beautiful images. So on your next creative break stop by and share some ideas with us in the wonderful world of Pinterest.

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Social Media Traffic 101

Ana Hoffman at TrafficGenerationCafe.com is one of the most knowledgeable people I've come across on the web when it comes to promoting yourself through social media, and all of the info on her site is free!

Here's just one article that I've found incredibly helpful...

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Social media has been called a lot of things:

  • the best thing since sliced bread;
  • productivity killer;
  • the next marketing wonder.

Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter what YOU think about social media. If your audience and your competitors are there, you don’t really have much of a choice, do you? Social media is to your website as breathing is to living. Period.

A few quick tips before we dive into the mysteries of driving traffic from social media:

Start with one platform

Social media is the great example of Pareto principal  at work (roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes). My best advice is not to spread yourself too thin.

  • Find the one social media platform that YOUR target audience seems to favor and stick with it.
  • Learn the ins and outs of it.
  • Master all the nuances of traffic generation.
  • Figure out how to put most of it on autopilot.
  • Move on to the next one.

How to figure out which one to start with

1.   Use your Google Analytics (GA) data

If you are already driving social media traffic large enough to analyze some stats, then start here.

  • Go to your GA dashboard and look up your referral traffic.
  • See which social media platform drives the most traffic AND converts the best.
  • Focus on that one.

2.   Use your competitor’s data

If you are brand new to social media or even blogging in general, then see where your competitors get most of their traffic from. That should be a good indicator of where your potential readers might be hanging out. The easiest way of collecting this type of data is through Alexa.com.

Just search for any competitor’s site and go under “Clickstream” to see where their social media traffic comes from.

While there are scads of social media traffic sources, I have outlined some of the big dogs for you.

Twitter

Facebook

How to Get the Facebook Crowd to Like You More

Google Plus

Google Plus Bite-Sized Tutorial for the Busy Marketer

Pinterest

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Thanks, Ana! That's certainly enough to get us started!

Until next time! Mary Ann

Pinterest: Three Tips for Going Viral


With Pinterest now being the fourth largest social networking site, it’s no secret that everyone loves it, and if you’re an Etsy merchant, you’re most likely using it to promote your wares, hoping for those cherished “pins” and “likes” that might make your item go viral.

Instead of just crossing your fingers and wishing for that to happen, Susan Newman of Susan Newman Design, Inc., says there are some key actions one can take to help that along.

Susan Newman
Introduce yourself by re-pinning the items of others. Undoubtedly, you’re regularly pinning your own items to your boards, but sometimes merchants can make the mistake of posting only their items and not photos that express their other interests.

Why is re-pinning so crucial? For one thing, by creating boards that express your other interests, you’re creating a larger and more interesting picture of yourself. But more important, when you re-pin something, the original pinner gets an email notice that you’ve re-pinned their item, and that can stoke some interest in who you are.

“Pinterest is the ultimate social visualization site,” says Newman. “There’s not a lot of commenting going on; it’s just eye candy to look at. So a great way to get someone to notice you, to introduce yourself to a potential customer, is to re-pin their item. Yes, you can follow their boards, but that’s really not the same as friending someone on Facebook. Even commenting on their pin might not get you much attention. The way to draw them in, to get them to come to look at YOUR boards, is to re-pin their items. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to someone you might never meet on any other social networking site.”

Include a price and a description for your pin. The Etsy discussion boards are rife with debates as to whether to post a price on a pin or not, but Newman says it’s better to err on the side of doing it than not. Why?

For one thing, a pin with a price gets the item into Pinterest’s gift section, and making sales is the whole point of pinning the item in the first place. While some may consider posting a price as tacky, Newman says that just too many shoppers are on Pinterest looking for gift items. Not pricing your pins is missing too big of an opportunity, particularly since Pinterest allows shoppers to search by price, too.

“Even if you change the price down the line,” says Newman, “you probably won’t be changing it that much, so you can always honor the previous price if someone has a gripe. You want the sale, right?

Newman also says that a common search practice lately on Pinterest is the use of hashtags, which merchants should absolutely include in their descriptions. In the same way one includes hashtags in a tweet on Twitter, it should also become standard practice to use one or two with your pin on Pinterest.

“Add descriptions to your boards, as well,” she says. “Too many Pinterest users are forgetting to add descriptions and hashtags to their boards, which is a great oversight, as shoppers are also searching the boards for items they’d like to buy. If you have ten items on a board, and there’s no description for it, it will be completely missed in a search.

“It’s okay for your board to have a funky name,” she adds. “Just be sure the description is good.”

Create boards that are relevant to what you do.  Obviously, Etsy merchants are posting their own items, but another way to make contacts is too pin items related to what you do. For example, if you make baby clothes, you could devote a board to baby photography, or vintage dolls.

“By doing this, you’re bringing in people who are like-minded, who might appreciate what you have to sell,” Newman says. “Artists, for example, could create boards devoted to things that give them inspiration, like food or distant places. The more you open up your boards, the more people you’ll bring in who will be eager to learn more about you.

“It’s all about humanizing yourself,” she adds. “You can’t expect everyone to follow you just because they’re your friend or they love what you do. If your intention is to make sales, then the more you reveal about yourself, the more visibility you will get.”

She notes that when someone re-pins something, not only does the item appear on the main page, but also the name of the person who re-pinned it.

“Sometimes I go to Pinterest with no intention of doing any promotion for myself,” Newman says. “I’ll just spend an hour re-pinning and liking what other people are doing. I’m there just to share the love, but even that gets me on the main board. You don’t always have to be pinning your own stuff in order to be visible.”

Until next time!

Mary Ann

"Frida" Watercolor Print
The shop: maryannfarley