Today I’m welcoming Jack Teare to the blog. Jack has kindly provided us with a guest post aimed at solopreneurs making handmade gifts and products for sale through online markets. Whether you’re selling on Etsy, Depop, Shopify, Ebay, or other e-commerce marketplaces, we’ll be looking at how handmade businesses can use influencer marketing to boost brand awareness and sell more products. Over to Jack…
Many of us want to turn our side hustle – whether it’s creating art, making masks, or designing handmade crafts – into a full-time job, but we don’t always have the exposure for that. Enter the social influencer. These influential online celebrities are a brilliant marketing opportunity for handmade gifts and businesses, and we’re going to tell you why.
- Exploring the influencer platform
- Using influencer strategies and Upfluence to send gifts
- Add some insta-ready flair to your handmade items
Let’s discover just what an influencer is and see how they can help you grow…
Exploring the influencer platform
As a business, we earn organic online exposure through engagement, audience growth and positive interactions. For personal accounts, it’s the same thing, just with different motivations. When you’ve got those things down, you’re golden.
These days we’re seeing increasing numbers of social media users who have taken their accounts and fashioned a business and brand out of them – they’ve monetised their popularity and their engaging, curated content to become influencers and trend-setters.
Essentially, influencers are people who have:
- The power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience.
- A following in a distinct niche, with whom they actively engage. The size of the following depends on the size of their topic or niche.
Social media users listen to influencers, and their opinions influence buying decisions. Considering platforms such as Instagram have over 1 billion active users, that’s a lot of potential buyers.
Not everyone can become one though. Some influencer agencies have popped up claiming to put you in contact with big brands and help you become an influencer, but Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back recently debunked their legitimacy. And with the increased number of paid ads, consumer trust in influencers isn’t as high as it used to be. However, they’re still worthwhile and consumers have stated that they still listen to recommendations.
Using influencer strategies and Upfluence to send gifts
These influencers – the popular kids of social media – often create paid content at the request of brands for marketing purposes, but because of some dishonesty and deceptive posts by some users, they legally have to say when a post is an #ad.
It hasn’t stopped them posting though. When they’re asked, some influencers simply take more care to ensure the product is appropriate for their niche audience. Here are some tips for your influencer strategies to encourage reviews and collaborative posts:
- Gift them a sample. This is a great way to let them know about your brand, but it won’t ensure a post. And how do you send a gift to an influencer anyway?
- Pitch to each person. There are platforms such as Upfluence which hold a database of influencers you can pitch to, or you could contact them directly.
- Be an expert source. There are tools like HARO where you can find journalists and writers looking for experts on topics – you can volunteer and send them your product information.
Just remember to keep all your pitches, gifting and expert recommendations appropriate. Don’t send an artist your face cream, find an influencer or micro-influencer in your niche. Search things like, “what crafts are trending now” or “card makers on Instagram”.
You should also make sure to big up the benefits for them too. One off-topic or inappropriate post can cost them followers and fans, so be clear on why reviewing your product is a good idea and resource for them.
Don’t forget to make your intentions clear in your communications as well. If you are asking for a handmade jewellery review, say so in the subject line. And make sure all the information they need is in the email too – the benefits, the history, how you will send the product, etc.
And finally, don’t be afraid to chase them up, but steer clear of becoming a bother. Feel free to reword a pitch and resend with a “just in case you missed it” kind of message, but don’t pester.
Add some insta-ready flair to your handmade items
Instagram is a picture platform, so it’s all about the look and #nofilter feel. So, when you win a pitch and are prepping to send out your product, you’ve got to make it pretty.
Start by choosing the product you’re most confident in – your hero piece. This is the kind of product that keeps people coming back for more and one you know the influencer will find beneficial.
To make the packaging appealing and quality, use materials that are telling of your brand. If you make handmade Christmas decorations then use festive colours, shiny materials and even glitter if the occasion calls for it. Or if you make vintage-style chic jewellery, consider adding a personalised wax seal to close the package. Anything that will share your brand, ethos and handmade style.
One final thing – don’t be late. It’s just basic respect really, but send your package and information when you say you will so they have time to do what they need to.
Hopefully, these social influencers tips and influencer strategies ideas will help you on your way as you turn your handmade items side hustle into a successful money-maker. It won’t be an overnight success though, so be patient, be positive and be proud of the things you make. Before you know it (and with the help of a kindly influencer) your audience will be growing and your business will be booming.
Jack Teare has over a decade of experience writing about the digital marketing industry, and now heads up the content team at Affinity.
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