With her husband Chip, Michele Davidson runs a vintage jewelry shop on Etsy. They live in a small rural town in North Carolina, close to family, and are surrounded by pets. They have a black lab who sits in Michele's lap while she works, and a five foot long iguana, who usually stays in the bathroom. Michele stays at home - she has fibromyalgia and is limited activity-wise. Chip works at the local post office, which is quite convenient for mailing packages.
How long have you been selling on Etsy?
We opened our shop near the end of November of 2012. We have been selling vintage jewelry - primarily fashion (also called costume) jewelry.
How did your business evolve over time?
We began very small. We opened with around 20 items. We just kept adding. I learned everything that I could read about vintage jewelry, and Chip studied online trends - what is popular with collectors, what sells well.
I work on my laptop wherever I can settle in with my heating pad. (Etsy is fabulous for those of us who are limited to our home as a workplace.) I clean jewelry, clean up photos on my computer, research as needed and write up descriptions. I also do the social networking, and Chip sometimes helps me complete the evening's treasury or shop promotions.
Chip is the buyer, and he takes the photographs most of the time.
After we had been on Etsy for a few months, we joined a team that was very active and helpful. It was a big source of knowledge and support.
When did you start with social media?
I started a Twitter account in March (2013).
I published to my Pinterest boards, and added a business Facebook page soon after I started my shop. Neither of them were as easy to grow as Twitter.
What social media networks are you using?
I post to Pinterest, Facebook, and RebelMouse, but use Twitter far more actively.
Which is the most important to you and why?
Twitter is my most important social medium. It was easiest to grow, and it gets the fastest results, as well as the most results.
How did you build your twitter following (over 2600 followers)?
I began by following others on my Etsy team. I moved on to following anybody that would follow me. I learned to gain followers by retweeting, and I also learned that it was as important to keep followers as to gain them.
I have a successful Twitter friend who suggested that I follow some of her followers. That was the turning point for me. I found some great followers, and really met some good Twitter friends! That is the key with Twitter - find a way to make friends out of followers. There are lots of strategies for doing so, but that is the bottom line.
I am on an Etsy team that uses Etsy treasuries and Twitter to promote our shops. It has been a super way to make Twitter friends, and to use Twitter more effectively. I could talk a lot about the team - the leaders are astute with regards to priorities, and have kept it basic. I am referring to the leaders who formed the group…I am a team leader on the group now, also, but the captain and leader who formed the group are really helpful. The other team members are sweet and smart, and work hard for their shops and for our team.
How does EtsyFu fit in your social media strategy?
I was so pleased to find EtsyFu! I am delighted to let EtsyFu tweet items from my shop. It not only saves me time, it also tweets them around the clock, so I get exposure to the side of the world that wakes while I sleep. We began getting international sales almost immediately after I started using it.
Additionally, I do not have to schedule tweets, nor do I have to worry about shop items that have sold being accidentally tweeted before I could remove them from a tweet schedule. EtsyFu takes care of all of that for me!
What advice would you give to new Etsy users who feel lost regarding promotion and marketing?
Try Twitter, and give it time - you need an adequate following to measure the results. Find followers with interests that match your shop items.
Find a mentor who has a large following, and who will take the time to help you.
Once you have a following of several hundred (which takes far less time than you might expect), try EtsyFu's free month. They don't take a credit card number, and they won't charge your Etsy account without your authorization, so there is no pressure. We loved it, and love EtsyFu!
Stick with what you love, in your shop, and in your ultimate choice of promotion media. I happen to love using Twitter, and it shows. You will only stick with what you love.
If you find that Etsy treasuries and Twitter are your thing, you might also be interested in our team!