Article provided by Clare Birkby, Neverland Creations
How’s your Facebook page going? What, you haven’t got one?? Or you have one, but you haven’t really done anything with it? For Neverland Creations at least, Facebook has been the number one marketing tool used so far. Set up in May 2011, by January 2012 Neverland’s page had amassed some 4600 likers, and regularly receives shout-outs from other business pages, charity pages and networking pages. Neverland’s founder, Clare Birkby, is overjoyed. “I set up Neverland Creations whilst on maternity leave with my eldest child and had a very basic website, but never really put much effort into it, so sales were obviously few and far between. I held stalls at summer fairs and schools but my products require planning so they didn’t do well there either”.
Following the birth of her daughter, Clare had a lightbulb moment. “I was packing away Hermione’s first set of clothes that she’d outgrown, and I couldn’t help thinking that some were just too gorgeous to be shoved in a cupboard. I’d seen a photo of a rabbit made from baby grows that my cousin had bought from a Facebook business, and decided to try my hand at a patchwork quilt. The My Patch was born”.
I’d had a group on Facebook, but discovered that I should have set it up as a business page. This took a short time to do, and after asking my friends to join, and finding some fantastic networking pages, I soon had 500 likers. A couple of competitions later I hit 2000, and since then it seems to be growing organically. The more photos I post, the more likers I get as clients like their own photos, then their friends see the photos on their newsfeeds.”
Each time Clare posts a new client photo, she usually receives at least two enquiries. And if she posts a status hinting that slots may be filling up soon for a particular deadline, such as Valentine’s Day or Father’s Day, she usually gets twice the number of enquiries as her advertised availability.
So what are Clare’s top tips for Facebooking?
- Post status updates and photos regularly. Every liker is a potential client and building up a rapport gives them a way in. In this economic climate people seem more willing to give their cash to “people” rather than the high street.
- Never ever ever be negative. Fallen out with a client? Found someone copying your ideas? Keep it off your wall!! Nothing turns a like into an unlike quicker than a complaining page owner. And certainly never be tempted to copy extracts of e-mail exchanges onto your wall!
- Find the networking pages. There are some fantastic ones out there if you know where to look. Search for terms such as “promote”, “network” and “handmade” and they’ll pop up. Don’t take over their walls though or they’ll quickly ban you! And if you participate in their networking events (termed “ladders”, “marches”, “cruises” to name a few), make sure you play fair and according to their rules.
- Reciprocate. Return a like. Return a shout-out. Return a purchase. Instigate a purchase! Clare often trades her own products for those of other pages, which in turn results in happy clients, returning clients, shoutouts from those clients and more.
- Support charity pages. Neverland’s products lend themselves to support pages for families suffering bereavement, and Clare regularly donates to a handful of charity pages, even if they’re not her “target market”.
- Most importantly, remain professional. Excellent customer service and communication with your likers and your clients will be rewarded with excellent feedback, repeat business and recommendations. Conversely, poor customer service will not only loose a client, you’ll likely lose their friends too.
So, what’s in store for Neverland Creations? There’s a new product in the pipeline, and companies that Clare has approached to help develop it have offered to sign confidentiality clauses which is very exciting! Clare also plans to open a gift shop in the next few years, and will be inviting fellow Facebook businesses to join her and contribute their handcrafted items to her portfolio. “It’s so exciting – it’s like a dream come true. My mum says I’m in my element – I was always making things as a child, and now I get to earn a living from them. My pieces mean so much to people, which is fantastically rewarding and humbling. And the added bonus is the number of friends that I’ve made since they’ve liked my page. There’s such a community atmosphere on Facebook, setting up the business page really was the best decision I made and has all but secured Neverland’s future”
A little more about Clare
“I started making jewellery as a hobby, which became a lifesaver when my son was born as it was a break from ‘mummyhood’ and something to do as he was such a good sleeper! It was a hobby that I made a little money from until my daughter was born. I changed the company name, improved the website and started my Facebook page and since then it has been better than I could have imagined! I pride myself on making sure that every client knows they are an individual, not just “another order”, and I get very emotionally involved in my work, especially the pieces for angel mummies and daddies. I have lots of ideas for the future, and my portfolio seems to be growing as quickly as my children! I’m now listed on www.wowthankyou.com and hoping to enter some awards this year. I’m very excited about the future of Neverland Creations and I’m really hoping that my early clients will be
saying “I remember when …” very soon!”
Find Neverland Creations on Facebook
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