A quick update on my quest for the 100th sale - mission accomplished! I want to acknowledge several peeps who, in my first 3 months as an Etsy seller, have offered me incredible advice and encouragement, without which I certainly would not have had the confidence or know-how to sell a single thing in that big scary crafty megamart I've come to love:
Jen of Funky Chic Boutique - local Etsy buddy and very first heart
Laurie of Stories and Divinations
Vanessa of Flourish Boutique - my first brick & mortar gig!
Laurie of ouou
Hilary of Hilary Hitchcock Photography
Annie of Annie Howes Keepsakes
Those fabulous FAMs - the best street team EVER!
Recently I've been asked several times about the benefits of joining a street team as a new seller. As a member of six street teams myself, I'm forever singing the praises of the Etsy street team concept. Aside from being a great way to form new friendships with others who have similar interests, these groups can be incredibly helpful for growing your business if you use your membership to its fullest potential. Granted, street team memberships come with their fair share of "strings" - their own social networking sites, message boards, participation requirements, and massive quantities of email to keep up with. But, with so many Etsy shops out there, there is no better way to get noticed than to team up with a successful, energetic, talented group of like-minded folks, all dedicated to increasing their visibility via the power of partnerships and cross-promotion.
To help ease potential fears of all the "moving parts" associated with street team membership, and to help you focus your efforts as you join a new group, I offer the following mini-tutorial on how to jump into and get active with your teams:
1. Familiarize yourself with and set up a profile on each of the team's online "places" - ning, flickr, proboards, myspace... wherever your particular group may "meet."
2. Show off your personality and your fabulous wares. Most street teams have "meeting places" that allow you to share pictures, create a personalized page or signature, or to set up a blog. These are all great ways to be noticed by your fellow team members and to direct a little friendly traffic to your shop. Remember that, in addition to wanting cool and creative friends, all of us craftophile types like to buy from people we know and like, so putting your best face forward is always a smart idea.
3. Start interacting. A great way to strike up a virtual conversation is to add someone as a friend or contact within your group (in the case of a social networking site or flickr). That gives you a chance to say "hi" and let somebody know you noticed them. You may just get a comment on your page or a heart for your shop, and you'll start to recognize your new friends' avatars on discussion boards and forums.
4. Get INVOLVED. Not only should you participate in any and all promotions your team might be working on (to the extent that it's humanly possible, of course), you should take an active role by offering input, helping to set up the promotion and getting the word out. A street team is only as successful as its members are active, and what better way to show your commitment to the success of the group than being a cheerleader for your team's activities.
5. Save the drama for your mama. Seriously, it's a street team, not high school. Should you get the sense that a particular discussion topic might be getting heated, stear clear. If you find that the team's becoming divided or that new members are being ignored (or, worse, criticized), simply find another team (there are 250+ to choose from). This crafting thing's supposed to be fun, right? And working for yourself means that you have the power to create a drama- and politics-free environment in which to create and sell your treasures. Don't settle for any less - it's your business, after all.