Handmade In Keswick at Craftfest

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Craftjuice Tuesday

  Using Craftjuice to get found

As I've mentioned in past posts, I've been thinking a lot about how to get exposure for all the (139 at last count) small arts and crafts businesses using the September 2012 online Craftfest campaign to gain some customers.

Quite a few of the more active members have already started blogging about each other. More of that in another post I think.

There's also been talk of a repeat of the Twitter storm which sounded pretty successful in our June event, and ideas popping up for other promotions involving Facebook, Pinterest and some offline work.

My thoughts have turned to CraftJuice

So what is CraftJuice?

Craftfest is another portal for getting found on the internet.  Registered users load photos of their work, tag them, and with a link to shops, Craftfest stall, websites etc and 'wait' for others to vote for them, by clicking a blue upward pointing arrow.  What actually happens is that there are forum threads all over the internet inc on Craftjuice itself where people post and ask for votes.

  What are the votes for?

With 5 or more votes, your picture can make it to the Homepage and be Facebooked and Tweeted to their 1000s of Followers
The items with highest votes are also featured in the newsletter which goes out to 10s of 1000s round the world.
There's also the little bonus of Craftjuice Tuesday, where bloggers are encouraged to feature a few of their own fave items (either already popular or 'upcoming') under the Craftjuice Tuesday heading on erm a Tuesday, in return for the site promoting the blog page.

  Here is my Craftjuice Tuesday selection


http://www.craftjuice.com/story.php?title=hexagon-flask-bright-green-and-grey-pattern-6-oz-by-jforms-1


http://www.craftjuice.com/story.php?title=lichen-handmade-wool-felt-wall-art-or-wall-hanging-by-mbarts

 

http://www.craftjuice.com/story.php?title=lindisfarne-gospels-kindle-sleeve-by-gelertdesign-on-etsy

 

 

Weather In Keswick

Regular readers might wonder why there's been no 'Weather In Keswick' recently.  I'm just gonna say that the least said about it at the moment, the better...



Sunday, 22 July 2012

Using StumbleUpon to increase exposure

 Get yourself seen

As we prepare for the next Craftfest, 1 - 8 September 2012, there's been a lot of discussion on the site about various social networking sites, and how they will work for us all promoting each others businesses.

A few people have asked about Stumbleupon, and as I was in the middle of writing one long convoluted response, I realised I would never cover it all in one forum post.

I am, by no means an expert, but this is what I have found out, from either experience or research.

 What is Stumbleupon?

Stumbleupon is one of the many sort of bookmarking sites, sometimes called Stumbling or SU, and often denoted by a simple blue Thumbs Up symbol.


Pages, pictures and videos can be Liked by giving them the SU Thumbs Up.


People stumble across your Likes, which can include your shop, your stall, and each one of your products, as well as your favourites on other people shops and pages.
 

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is a massive subject and the way Google, and other search engines find you, change all the time.  All I can say for sure is that one of my bangle pics made it to page 1 of Google not long after we had done Craftfest promotion work which included Stumbleupon.

Don't like Facebook or Twitter? 

If you're not keen on chatting with faceless stranger on the net,  then fear not, the interaction is simply that you are Liking something and others might Like it too.

What happens?

After joining up, you download the tool bar (sounds complicated for those of us who are technophobes at the best of times - but trust me, its easy)Then  and every time you see a page you like the look of you click the Thumbs Up button and it becomes one of your Likes.  You can Like your shop, your stall, each one of your products, as well as your favourites on other people shops/pages/videos etc etc).

Also on the toolbar is the Stumble button and thats how people stumble across your Likes - when you sign up, you specify a few interests, then when you're bored (it does happen to some people apparently), you click the Stumble button and it randomly takes you a page you might never have found otherwise.

You can also Thumbs Up those pages if you want, which helps the system show you things you're gonna like but also sort of increases the rating of the page you Liked, and so makes it more likely to be 'shown' to others.

 Expanding your network

People interested in the same things as you can be found by searching interests and tags, as well as comments on your favouritesThe search can be extended by looking at the network of the people you have found.

Disadvantages

The trick is to not just Like your own stuff - that could be classed as spamming - but to make sure you include a variety of Likes.

The other thing that some people are unsure about is whether this method of attracting visitors actually encourages them to stay and have a good look at your page.  All I can tell you is that my SU visitors have a 'bounce rate' of about 70% which isn't the best, but it is positive.

The only way you're going to know if SU will work for you is by trying it. 
  

Update

Since I wrote this blog, SU has added some new features.  Now I'm not up to speed with all of it really, but one thing I have noticed is that if you follow someone on SU who follows you, then that now opens up a method for sending/sharing your fave pages straight over to them.  This means a Page can gain a lot of SU Likes really quickly, which (presumably) means that SU is more likely 'show' it to people pressing that random Stumble button.


Did you like this post?
Please click here and give it a stumble like




Sunday, 15 July 2012

Buy A Castle

Traditional English Castle For Sale

Here it is!

 
Inspired by Lowther Castle, near Penrith, Cumbria and just listed in my Etsy shop

That's all there is for today.  Normal service will soon be resumed.


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Creative Thinking - don't get bogged down with negativity

Expand your thinking

Some of you will know that, in the past, I've led the Promotions Team on CRAFTfest, and there's been a lot of  discussion all the different ideas for promoting each event.

This got me thinking about how creativity and specifically how creative thinking works.

It reminded me of a story, told to me by a lady called Florence Madden, who runs various types of training courses in the area where I live.  I'm not sure that its a true story; whether she got it from someone who made it up; or whether she just got fed up with no one saying anything in her training sessions, and made it up herself.

Either way, its a good little tale and demonstrates perfectly (I think) how you can do clever stuff if you only allow yourself.

Here's the story:

A telephone company in the very north of Canada were having a lot of bother providing a continual service due to poor weather conditions.  The main problem was heavy snow weighing down and damaging the telephone lines.


It was costing plenty to keep making repairs and there was the problem that it was giving rubbish customer service as well.  So a solution was sought.

A meeting was held to try and bash out some ideas.  

The obvious idea was to try to keep the snow from building up to the point where it was damaging the lines.

Some bright spark suggested that they get the polar bears to do it.


Being a resourceful lot, this ridiculous idea was not rejected out of hand.  They thought about how they could make it possible instead. 

Some one suggested that they put something on top of the telephone poles that the bears would want, meaning that the poles would be wobbled and the snow would be knocked off before it got too thick.

What could they use? The smell of something edible would attract the bears.  Fish would be good, but something that wouldn't fall off the pole would be better.


It was decided that they would try honey (known for the fact that...um...polar bears love it -??!?).  It would last a while and stick as well - they just had to get it there.

Perhaps they could drop it from a helicopter?  Pretty small target though, the top of a telephone pole!  A skilled pilot could manage that if the copter was low enough.  

The only problem with that would be that the rotor blades would blow the honey off...

...would blow the honey off...

...would blow the snow off..

So now when the snow gets a bit heavy, a helicopter flies out low over the lines to blow it off before it gets too bad.


The Moral Of The Story

 There always is one isn't there - a moral.
Think positive, and keep exploring all the options until you get to a solution - its out there - you've just not let yourself consider it.



Weather in Keswick

The rest of the UK seems to have been up to their Wellington boots in flood water, but here in the northern Lake District, we've been enjoying shorts and T shirt weather, with temperatures in the high 20s.  Mind you, as I write this, the temperature has suddenly dropped to about 16°C, and its looking a bit dark... 


CRAFTfest

I am taking part in Craftfestin order to expand the visibility of my resin bangles and statement jewellery from my  WowThankYouEtsy and Folksy shops.