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Why Follow for Follow is so bad for your handmade business - and what to do instead!

Why Follow for Follow is so bad for your handmade business - and what to do instead!

In this podcast episode, we’re sharing with you a tip about your small business that you *really* need to know. We know it can be challenging to motivate yourself or figure out what to do when your business isn’t as busy as you want and you’re slow on sales, and it’s hard not to feel discouraged when it’s really quiet in your shop.


You can listen to the episode here, or keep reading below!


Okay, let's get to it:

Why Follow for Follow is so bad for your handmade business - and what to do instead!

Usually when sales are slow, many of us think, oh if I can just get a little boost of shares, likes, and favorites, that will help me grow. And, when that happens organically, it does help you. If your mom or your best friend shares your handmade business and you get new followers because they found you that way and love your work, or maybe they even buy something, that’s totally awesome.

But many handmade business owners fall into the trap of getting hearts/follows/shares in a non-organic way by doing follow for follow or favorite threads with other Etsy sellers or small businesses. And, even though it seems like a great idea, it’s actually harmful to your shop.
Getting favorites and hearts from other Etsy sellers in a Facebook group will not help you get more sales.

Doing follow for follow on Instagram with other Etsy sellers in a facebook group or instagram pod will not help you get more sales.


So --- let’s talk about why this method doesn’t work for sustainable business growth.


Okay, first let’s talk about favorites on the Etsy platform.


When people go and favorite a bunch of your items all the time or favorite you shop, but never buy them, it sends a signal to Etsy’s algorithm that basically says,

“Hey, this product is appealing to shoppers but there’s something about it that’s causing them not to buy it.”


Then, Etsy’s robot tries to fix the situation for the customer (not for you!!!) and it does two things:

  1. It shows other similar items from competitors in order to try and get a sale

  2. It ranks your product LOWER in the search results because there’s basically a red flag on it




It also lowers your conversion rate for your store overall if you have a bunch of other Etsy sellers go click on your links and look at your items, but they’re not planning to buy anything. So, this is really the opposite of what you want. You want people who look at your items to be people who actually intend to buy your products, right?


Alright, pretty much the same thing goes for the instagram.


If you do follow for follow on Instagram with competitors and other Etsy sellers, you are basically telling instagram "hmmm, the kind of person who would be interested in following my account is other business owners."


Quick disclaimer: if this IS your target customer, great, that’s good for you. But for most of you, other Etsy sellers are not our Dream Customer. So, stop doing follow for follow because it’s not organic traffic and it will not lead to organic business growth, which is what you want.


OKAY, what do to instead of follow for follow:

✨So, instead of asking for favorites and views that drive your conversion rates down, first ask for shares of your links on social media. Ask your friends, family, and even fellow Etsy sellers to share if they want to. Then, anyone who actually loves your product can click over themselves and it’s authentic and genuine.

✨The next thing you can do is to actually ask for the sale! Get on social media and talk about what your product’s features are or who it would make a good gift for. Focus on why it’s a good product to buy for your specific Dream Customer.


✨The third thing you should do instead of spending time on follow for follow with other Etsy sellers is to GO follow your dream customers on Instagram.


Go find them by thinking about what they would like. What are their hobbies or interests? Would your dream customer follow mom bloggers or fashion influencers? Is your Dream Customer using the hashtag #handmadestickers? Probably not, but they might be using the hashtag #gooutside on their hiking pictures on instagram and they do put stickers on their water bottles. Think about what kinds of hobbies and activties your Dream Customer is actively doing and how your product would tie into that.

So, what we’re suggesting you do is shift your efforts to being and thinking like your customer to get them to follow you, not just fellow biz owners or your friends and family. And, if you can do this, you will begin to build a bigger audience and get more sales in your online store. And that’s what we all want, right?

We hope you've found these tips helpful! Ready for the next step in your handmade biz?? Try showing off your products and making videos with our mini course, The Creative Reel!


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