Note: Annabelle Short, a seamstress, social media fanatic and a blogger. Check out Wunderlabel Italy to see some of her blogs.
If video content is king, then live video is queen. Emerge from the crowd of rambling vloggers and prominent figures by going live with these five easy-to-implement strategies for your craft business.
Hold Live Craft Auctions
Grab a few of your bestselling items—or even pieces that do not typically sell as well—and hold a live auction.
You’ll want to announce the auction ahead of time by creating an event or posting a preview of the items that will be up for bidding.
During the auction, feature each piece one at a time, highlighting its attributes and demonstrating its uses. Offer a starting bid and tell viewers to comment with their bid amount.
Heads-up: Sometimes, there is a lag in comments on live videos, so there may be times when you call an item sold, only to find that comments were lagging and someone else had bid higher. In this case, don’t sweat it; sell the item to the person you called it sold to.
Pro tip: Have an assistant on location and off-screen with you acting as auctioneer, monitoring bids and other comments, and calling out and driving bids.
This leaves you free to just focus on the items themselves and engage with your audience, keeping your auctions running smooth and professional.
Share Quick Updates with Your Customers
People on Facebook spend three times as much time watching live videos than they do pre-recorded videos, and video in general generates more audience participation.
This means that your plain old text-based updates aren’t garnering that much attention.
Go live to share important updates like:
- keeping your customers in the loop on what you’re working on
- a sale or promotion that you’re having
- and other exciting things you think they would like to know.
Heads-up: It is easy to get off track, so before you go live, jot down three topics that you want to cover. Also, make sure you don’t abuse this power by broadcasting every single update; save it for the most important announcements.
Pro tip: Get a tripod that you can mount your iPhone or iPad on, keeping your hands free and your videos professional.
Do Live Tutorials and Crafting Demonstrations
Though it might take a bit of planning ahead, a live demonstration for your favorite technique or craft is a super fun way to draw in business. This gives you a chance to show off your knowledge and skill, as well as interact with your customers.
For example, if you sell gift baskets, you can do a demonstration for creating the perfect arrangement. If you sell hand printed T-shirts, you can give your customers a behind-the-scenes look on how you print your various designs. The options are endless.
This is another situation where you will definitely want to take advantage of a tripod and a willing assistant. Not only will it keep your hands free, but you’ll steer clear of that amateur close-up when you turn the feed on and off.
Heads-up: Currently, Instagram does not allow you to post broadcasts once they’ve ended. Twitter’s Periscope saves broadcasts for 24 hours after they air; you’ll need to download them manually if you want to save them. Facebook, however, allows you to post each broadcast immediately after you finish.
Pro tip: Have a “finished” product ready and on hand for each step of your tutorial, saving you time and keeping the pressure off while you’re teaching.
Host a Giveaway
If you’ve got a new product coming out or a very popular product, host a live giveaway.
This works similarly to the auction, but instead of asking viewers to bid, you require them to do something in order to enter.
Entry requirements can be as simple as sharing the broadcast or signing up for your email list. Just make sure that you’re respecting each social media platform’s terms of service; for example, Facebook doesn’t allow you to require people to like a page in order to enter a giveaway.
Heads-up: Research shipping costs ahead of time and be clear about who can enter. There’s nothing more embarrassing or bank-breaking than realizing that you didn’t specify U.S. residents only and now have to ship to an overseas winner—which can get very expensive, especially if your giveaway item is heavy or large.
Pro tip: Make sure that you state both in your live video and in the description, that the social media platform you’re using is not affiliated with or responsible for your giveaway, removing their company from any liability.
Hang Out with Your Customers
One of the most rewarding ways to use live video is to simply hang out with your customers. Scheduling regular events where you sit back and chat with your audience gives you an easy way to stay in touch with them — and makes them feel like a real part of your tribe.
You can make these events as casual or formal as you’d like, taking questions both ahead of time or during the broadcast, or even announcing a theme for each live video.
Heads-up: If you go live last-minute or if you don’t have a huge following yet, you may end up with only a handful of viewers—or even none at all. Don’t let this discourage you! Get on with the show as best you can. If your viewers are shy, entice them into commenting with questions about their day or interests.
Pro tip: Keep question and answer sessions brief—up to a half hour maximum — and try not to ramble when answering live questions. If you receive questions beforehand, jot down some notes for yourself so that you stay on topic.
Interview with an expert
Plan and promote a live interview with any expert.
It does not have to be a well-known artist; just someone who knows what they are doing. This will also increase networking opportunities.
As with the question and answer session previously discussed, also make sure to include your audience by inviting them to send questions for the interview. This is part of promotion by creating interest in the event. Consider making this a repeat event with different experts.
Heads-up: Create an interview questionnaire beforehand so that your guest can prepare ahead. You can even have a practice session before hand to eliminate awkward and possibly humiliating topics popping up.
Pro tip: Decide beforehand how much promotion of the other party you will allow, and be careful to balance the value added by such a feature. A good rule of promotion is by adding a link to this person’s website in the comment section and allow one reference to that. The rest of the content should be focused on the topic, not on promotion.
By making live video a consistent feature on social media you will generate and audience that will come to expect it. Plan and schedule all aspects of this by yourself or train an assistant. Much of the content scheduling basics apply to scheduling live sessions on social media.
Live video gives crafty entrepreneurs a fun way to interact with customers and grow their business by creating awareness. Let people know who you are, what you do and focus on giving them ideas that will encourage their creativity. The sky is the limit here, so get creative and remember to have fun with it!