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Aug
29

Social Networking for Crafters and Handmade Artisans

Social Networking for Crafters and Handmade Artisans

For those unfamiliar with Facebook and Twitter, Facebook is a social networking website where users can add people as friends, send messages, and update about their lives. Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging website that allows users to post and read messages (tweets) of up to 140 characters. Facebook has more than 500 million active users, with 50 percent of those users logging on to the site in any given day. Twitter now has over 100 million users and is adding over 300,000 per day.  Most social networking sites don’t get as much buzz or traffic as these two giants, but they are still viable options for those who want to expand their social networking.

Social networking sites provide structure to online interaction, communication, and discussion. Social networking sites can be very different from Facebook and Twitter. We will look at a variety of sites that can be used to help build your social media optimization, and discuss how to best utilize social media.

Social Networking Apart from Facebook and Twitter:

Here is a list of social networking sites that are tailored to more specific interests, groups and demographics.

Raverly – Ravelry is a free site for knitters and crocheters. It functions as an organizational tool for a variety of fiber arts including knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving. Members share projects, ideas, and their collection of yarn, fiber, and tools via various components. As of September 2010, Ravelry had over 850,000 members worldwide.

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Craft Buddy – CraftBuddy has a gallery for posting pictures of items for sale by CraftBuddy Artists & Crafters that are available in their own web sites, Etsy Shops, ArtFire Studios, SilkFair, Ebay or elsewhere. To post in the Gallery, you must be an active member of CraftBuddy.

Ning – Ning is the third largest service available behind Facebook and Twitter. It is actually hundreds of individual social networking sites created by individuals to create very targeted communities.

CafeMom – CafeMom is a boutique network of sites that reaches moms and parents and offers moms Conversation, Advice, Friendship, and Entertainment. Moms connect on shared interests, passions, challenges, and local geography and have created tens of thousands groups on every topic.

Craftster – Craftster is an online community where people share hip, off-beat, crafty DIY (do it yourself) projects. The term “Craftster” means “crafty hipster” and is also meant to be an homage to the pioneer peer-to-peer sites Napster and Friendster.

Get Crafty – Getcrafty is “home of the craftistas,” a huge site with forums, crafting advice, photos of projects, blogs, and discussions about domestic bliss, feminism, food and drink, books, you name it.

Okay, I’ve signed up. Now what?

Whether you are using social networking purely to be social, or if you want to promote your business, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Just signing up, returning once a month and forgetting about your account won’t do much to advance either end. You have to be active to make an impact and establish yourself. That does not mean visiting the site every hour on the hour, but try for at least every couple of days (if not more!).

You can also branch out into other interest you have, like Bottletalk, a network for wine lovers, or Shelfari for book-lovers. If you are a crafter that wants to build a following and then monetize it, be sure to build relationships first. You can also build up a reputation on forums in marketplace sites, like ArtFire.com to become better-known and trusted.

Lily Evans is a free lance writer focused on sharing valuable information and articles.

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