7 Social Media sites for your Yarn-y Business

Are you a designer? Maker of handmade items? A dyer?

If you’re a small yarn-y business, then a crucial part of your survival will depend on how well you relate and reach out to your customers. Whether you like it or not, this probably includes social media.

Of course, our time is limited… we can’t be on every social media site out there. In this blog post, I’ll give a brief review of 7 sites that you might want to consider putting your brand on. Hopefully, this little bit of advice will help you determine which sites are worth your energy.

Pay particular attention to the posting frequency and media suggestions for each social media site. If you take crummy pictures, don’t even think of Flickr. If you touch your computer once a day, then twitter might not be right for you.

The goal isn’t to be on as many sites as possible. The goal is to have a presence on a limited number of sites that allows you to fully engage with your customers.


Website: www.facebook.com

How someone follows you: A person ‘likes’ your page and becomes a ‘fan’.

Media: Updates can be anything from a sentence to a paragraph, including photos, videos and even photo albums.

Suggested Frequency: Multiple posts a week (I’ve read a post every 1.5 days is ideal).

Helpful tip: Keep your eye on the ‘Insights’ provided by facebook to see what type of media your audience best responds to. (Check out this series by Yarn Dealer for details)

The good news about facebook is that almost everyone is on it (even my mom!)… so chances are, your customers (and potential customers) are on there, too.

The bad news is that recent changes have limited the number of posts that are seen in the ‘News Feed’. Just as an example, I have 5500 fans on my page, but an average post is only seen by 1300 people. If lots of people ‘like’ your post, it will be seen my more people. You can also pay to ‘promote’ a post (i.e. pay facebook so that it’s seen by more people).

If you have a business, it’s important to have a ‘page’, and not have customers ‘friend’ you personally. Asking someone to ‘friend’ you as a way of following your business will discourage some customers. There’s also a limit to the number of friends you can have, so your account will get switched over if your audience grows big enough.


Website: www.flickr.com

How someone follows you: A person adds you as a ‘contact’.

Media: Photos, with comments.

Suggested Frequency: No limit, within reason.

Flickr began as a place to share photos, but has evolved into a photo conversation site. You can join groups (for example, I’m in an amigurumi group), where people share photos of a particular theme.

The huge advantage to Flickr is that it’s designed for those interested in photography. Not only does that encourage people to post/share high-quality photos, but many people also post details about how they photographed the item (ISO 400, f/5…). If you’re a budding photographer, it’s a great place to grab tips.

It’s not kosher on Flickr to explicitly advertise your items (such as to say, “this is my new pattern! Get it here!”). If someone is interested in something you’ve made, they would need to click around to your website and contact you.


Website: https://plus.google.com/

How someone follows you: A person adds you to their ‘circle’.

Media: Updates can be anything from a sentence to a paragraph, including photos and links.

Suggested Frequency: Less than twitter, more than facebook.

G+ is google’s competitor to facebook, designed to fill the niche between twitter (very short updates) and blogging (typically long, infrequent updates).

I’ll admit: I haven’t caught on to G+, so my advice is limited. It still doesn’t have as many users as facebook or twitter, so I find my circles redundant to those I have on other networks. Additionally, it doesn’t seem to be a place where customers go to interact with businesses. Yet. Maybe that will change.

Those who are fans of G+ like the features it provides (very easy to adjust the content that shows up in your feed), and the culture of mini-blogging that it encourages. It’s a place where long-ish status updates occur, and where discussions can take place.


Website: www.pinterest.com

How someone follows you: A person ‘follows’ either a particular board or all of your boards.

Media: Photos, with eventual links to the original post.

Suggested Frequency: No limit, within reason.

Pinterest is a visual domain, and is great for a business where information tends to be relayed in visual form. For example, if you are a knitwear designer, you might have a few knitting-related boards: one featuring fabulous clothes, one with great textured (knit) fabrics and another with knitting tutorials.

Once others find you and like you’re aesthetic, they’ll follow your boards. It’s completely kosher to ‘pin’ an item or two of your own, as long as it’s just one of many of other items you find beautiful.

The downside to Pinterest is that it takes effort (on the part of the user) to click through from the photo to the original page, so it takes a lot of pinning on Pinterest before those pins convert into sales/traffic to your site. That said, Pinterest is becoming a strong referrer of traffic for my blog.


Website: www.ravelry.com

How someone follows you: A person ‘friends’ you, or joins your group, if you have one.

Media: Projects (with photos) and forum posts.

Suggested Frequency: No limit, within reason.

Most of us knitters and crocheters are already on Ravelry for our own fun… but it’s also a great social media tool. First, folks can friend you, and they’ll get updates about what you’re knitting in their feed.

Second, you can start a Ravelry group that you can think of as similar to a facebook group. Members of the group can share projects, share blog posts and chat in forum threads.

I began my Ravelry group last spring, and was surprised by the level of camaraderie the group has developed. It’s become a place to share crochet tips, celebrate progress and also chat about everyday life. It’s so much fun!


Website: www.twitter.com

How someone follows you: A person ‘follows’ you.

Media: Short messages of 140 characters or less. Photos and links can be used (usually in combination with a link-shortening or photo-uploading site).

Suggested Frequency: It’s typical for an active twitter-user to send tweets multiple times per day. One tweet a day has a tendency to get ‘lost’.

Helpful tip: Using an application, such as TweetDeck or HootSuite, to manage your account will make it easy for you to upload photos, see who’s tweeting you and even schedule tweets.

You’re likely to make connections with not only fellow designers/artists on Twitter, but also develop a following among your customer base. For some people, it’s an alternate communication to email (example: “@freshstitches Do you have a recommendation for where to buy safety eyes?”), so replying to direct questions should be a priority.

It’s best for folks who don’t mind sharing small details (“only 5 more rows to go!”), although the conversation isn’t as ‘mindless’ as the 140 characters would lead you to believe.

As with all social media, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. If you begin a knitting-based account, but tweet endlessly about your bird-watching, you may find yourself losing some followers.


Website: www.youtube.com

How someone follows you: A person ‘subscribes’ to your stream.

Media: Videos.

Suggested Frequency: Ranging from occasional to frequent.

Do you make videos? Perhaps technique videos or tutorials? YouTube might be a place for you to develop a following.

YouTube is the destination site for videos, and so it’s the first place people visit when searching for a tutorial video. If a person likes your style, they’ll subscribe to your stream and will be notified every time you post a new video.

Feel free to insert your website in an overlay at the end of the video, so that people who want to follow-up with you know where to find you.

Which is right for you?

Which sites are you on now? Are you using them effectively?

Any advice to share? I’d love to hear about which sites you’re on, how easy you find it is to keep up with the site, and what works for you!

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