Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Blog Carnival - Using Social Media

It's time again for the Jewelry Artisans Community monthly blog carnival.  This month we're discussing using social media.

I don't use social media socially so when I hear the term, my thoughts turn to how to use social media to promote my fledgling jewelry business.  And, when I hear the word "promote" I can't help but cringe.  It brings to mind images of aggressive sales people who refuse to take "no" for an answer.  Spamming my friends isn't tops on my list of things to do.   Neither is spamming strangers.

Yet, we're told over and over that in order to be successful at selling online we have to use social media to promote our businesses.   Some people are naturals at self promotion; I'm not a member of that club. 

When I started selling online in 2010, I had a "build it and they will come" mentality.  I thought I could list my items, people would find them and buy my jewelry.  Sadly, that has not been the case.  The internet is huge and there are millions of people selling online.  In order to be successful, one has to get their name out there and make potential customers aware of their business.

One way to do this is through social media.   There are so many social media outlets available.  Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Wanelo, Instagram, Tmblr and Google+ are just a few that come to mind.  It's overwhelming to even decide where to start!   Deciding which ones to use is a job all of it's own.

Over the last couple of years, I have made half hearted attempts at social media.  I opened a Twitter account, began pinning at Pinterest, joined Wanelo and started a Facebook business page.  Last year, I began blogging on a blogger account (this one actually!).  Now and then I'd post something, but more often than not, after a little flurry of activity, I'd forget about my social media accounts and go back to what I love - creating and designing.

Not surprisingly, this approach didn't work.  In order for social media to be successful, one has to constantly post fresh content, follow others, engage their fans/followers and maintain an active presence.  I failed miserably at all of those things.

Just recently, discouraged by my lack of online sales success, I've decided to really and truly commit to using social media to get my shop noticed which will hopefully lead to sales eventually.   My first step was to re-examine my social media accounts and decide what I thought would work best for me.

Of all the things I've tried, there are three of them that I actually understand and enjoy to some extent and where I will concentrate my energies:  Pinterest, Facebook and my blog.  

Pinterest is wildly popular with people, so I plan to continue pinning my own work, but to also create additional boards that have nothing to do with my jewelry.  It is my hope that these other boards will reach people that the jewelry ones would not.  I will also make an effort to follow other pinners in an effort to increase the number who are following me.  Because this post is about using social media, here is a link to my Jewelry Art by Dawn Pinterest page

After almost a year of no activity, I started posting to my Jewelry Art by Dawn Facebook page a few weeks ago.  I'm trying to mix jewelry postings with other things that might interest others, such as photos of the twin fawns that were born in my yard a week ago.  I'd like it to be more than just one big page of advertisements of my jewelry listings and I hope the people who follow my page will like that approach.

To my surprise, I have found that I love blogging.  Many people have trouble coming up with topic ideas to write about, but that hasn't been a problem for me.  What I do need to do  is post to my blog on a more regular basis.  Again, it's all about fresh and new content.

It's too soon in this experiment to see results, but I hope that by consistently keeping these three accounts active and up to date, traffic will start to pick up in my etsy shop resulting in an increase in sales. I have seen quite a jump in traffic to my Facebook page in the last week and hope that is an indication that I'm on the right track.

Believe me, none of this comes easy for me.  In a way, this plan feels like a cold, calculated move to entice people into my shop so they'll buy things.  I suppose in one sense it is, because it's definitely a business strategy and I am trying to run a business.  But, I hope that when people look at my pins, check out my Facebook page or read my blog, they'll also feel like there's a personal touch and that I care about more than selling them something. 

All of this is a huge step for one who is too shy to hand out her business cards when someone compliments the jewelry she is wearing because she doesn't want to be pushy.  I swear it's hopeless, but I will try  - maybe it will become easier and feel more natural over time.  One can only hope.

To read what the other Jewelry Artisans Community June Blog Carnival participants have to say about social media, please click on the links below:


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day Four - Feelin' Frisky

Yesterday the fawns were four days old.  They must have felt like celebrating because they were full of themselves.  They've definitely got those legs under control now!

My apologies for the black bars - those are part of our deck railing and for the fawns being cut off in some of these photos, they are hard to keep up with when they get going!

No matter how many times I experience fawn season, I will never grow tired of watching the little ones and their antics.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fawn Season Has Arrived

Living in the mountains means sharing space with wildlife.  After all, they were here first.  I can't even begin to describe what a privilege it is to see deer meander through our yard on a daily basis, to spot a bear now and then and on very rare occasions to glimpse a mountain lion.

And, of course, there are the smaller creatures such as rabbits, skunks, racoons and squirrels who entertain us with their antics.  The squirrels are especially fun to watch.

But, nothing beats fawn season.  There is a doe who spends much of her time hanging around our house.  I've pretty much given up on my flower beds because she not only eats the flowers, but likes to lay in the moist soil.  It probably feels nice and cool on hot summer days.  When the apples are ripe, she leaves a few for us if we're lucky.  We noticed a few weeks ago that she was getting pretty big in the belly and suspected she was pregnant.

Think there might be something in there?

She's not telling.

The last couple of weeks, she's been exhibiting nesting behavior such as digging a hole under the motor home and spending hours under there.  Or, sometimes she spends her afternoons under the tractor.  Looking for a den, maybe?

Last night, right before dark, I looked out the kitchen window and there she was with a fawn that wasn't more than a few hours old.  It was too dark to take photos, but this morning, they were still here.

How sweet is this little guy?  Look at all those spots!


I didn't think it could get much better, but this afternoon while working in my studio I glanced out the window and saw mama with not one, but TWO little ones!

 I am officially on cuteness overload!

She must have had the other one hidden this morning.  Does will hide their twins in separate locations to improve their odds of survival.  A predator might find one, but probably won't find both.  These little ones are especially vulnerable for the next few days while they gain strength and get their legs under control. 

Please keep fingers crossed and think good thoughts or say a little prayer that they get through this next week.  If they can do that, they'll be well on their way towards growing up and having their own babies in a couple of years.

To be able to observe their first few days and weeks of life, I am happy to give up my flower beds!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

JAC May Challenge - Serenade of Spring

The May challenge for the members of the Jewelry Artisans Community was to use the painting "Serenade of Spring" by Maya Green as inspiration for their jewelry creations.

The participants in the challenge outdid themselves.  Words fail me, so I will let their fabulous  creations speak for themselves.

From Cat of Cat's Wire we had this stunning loomed bead pendant.  The addition of the fringe was a perfect finishing touch:

The Crafty Chimp made this wonderful cuff.  Caroline explained that the fringe reminded her of the red poppies in the painting and that the title made her think of spring colors:

Carina of Violetmoon's Corner said the painting reminded her of the wide open spaces from the television show, "Little House on the Prairie" which inspired her to use colors often associated with the American west to make this fantastic necklace:

For my own entry, I designed these leather hoops earrings using paper barrel beads I made from the pages of a catalog.  The colors reminded me of  "Serenade of Spring" and the vibrant the use of color.

And, while going through my small lamp work bead stash, I came across these square beads and immediately thought of the poppies in the painting.  Even though they are more orange than red, I think they represent the poppies really well:

Even though Michele from mcstoneworks was in the middle of a move, she took time out from her busy schedule to make this gorgeous pendant.  The colors of the metal were achieved by the use of dye oxides.

I think of all the challenges we've done at the Jewelry Artisans Community this was one of my favorites.  It's fascinating to see how different people were inspired by this wonderful painting and how they used that inspiration in their jewelry designs - I'm in awe!