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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Bargain Week

This week I have decided to run a 'bargain week' theme on my Fabulous Online Craft Fairs facebook page.  This means i will be sharing lots of 1p and 99p auction items each day as well as posting info about which pages are holding sales and offers etc.  Just as an extra little bonus for all the page followers I am also sharing some little tips on boosting your income: 

At the minute there are 8 1p and 10 99p auctions listed on the website which are all due to finish shortly, so if you are quick you might just grab a mega bargain:

Bargains are always worth checking out aren't they? So pop over and have a look :) 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Whats New?

As usual the world of Craft Fair Central has been moving at a mighty pace and despite my best intentions of blogging all the news as it happens i just haven't had a chance!! So here is a quick update :)

Site Stats

We now have 104 registered users and 26 active shops on the selling section of the website! Todays total number of items listed is 329 :)

There have been 6 items sold and a whopping 2029 visits to the sellers shop section in the past week!!!!

Whew! How fab is that?

New Features

Over the past few weeks i have been working hard on increasing that magic number of visitors to the site and  have introduced a range of features/events to help do this.  So far this month i have:

Introduced a new monthly 1p auction.  There are some brilliant items listed in this section already and i know there are more to be added as well.  I am sure this will prove extremely popular with buyers and sellers alike!

A few days ago I added a Halloween Themed Fair Section  - there are some spookily fab items listed in there already :) and at the same time i added a Christmas Themed Fair Section as well.  To list in either of these sections is just 10p per item - considering there are pages on Facebook charging £1+ for just a couple of items without any of the added benefits we can offer this is another bargain offer from Craft Fair Central.


As most of you know already i do a lot of promotion of products on the website and this month has been no exception.  I have added most of the listed items to folders on the Fabulous Online Craft Fairs Facebook Page and i continue to add them with their full links so people can buy direct from the page now as well.  I have also started a weekly craft fair on this page every Saturday, and now have just added a themed product share option as well :)

I have opened a couple of new groups on facebook too:

Simply Fabulous Crafts Group which is only for buying and selling items from the website.  I am working on adding all the items to this group at the minute, but everyone can also add their own items of course :)

Fabulous Online Craft Fairs - We Work for Your Business Group which is for members of the website and is aimed at helping each other with issues, ideas and sharing general useful info.  In this group we have started a promotion pool for example where we all help to promote each others businesses :)

I also share all the items to Twitter, Pinterest and now to Flickr when i can squeeze in the time :)

More Exciting Developments

We currently have 2 new Artist Show Case Pages  under development, which should be ready to go live very shortly :)

We also have a new Featured Websites Section  where we are proud to have added our great craft buddies and partners in cyberspace The Handcrafters Emporium!

The Tutorials Section has seen a few new additions (though i do have more to add yet as soon as i can), and we have made a start on adding links to our new Patterns Section as well!

Just a few things have been happening then as you can see LOL!!!!! The website and all the social media groups are growing daily and i am just delighted to be able to see it all blossoming so well! My health continues to be a challenge to me, but being involved in all of this is definitely giving me a new lease of life! What is yet to come is a mystery to me as well as all the members and followers, but no doubt it will be fun :)

Thanks to all of you, for your support, encouragement and indeed with putting up with my creative chaos ;)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Beginners Guide to Facebook Insights

If you have been following this blog recently you will know that i have been using facebook insights to monitor and improve the level and type of activity on my business page.  

As a result i have managed to change my stats from this one which was taken a week ago today:

To this for today: 

To find out how i have improved my page stats you will need to read over the past few posts, todays blog is about learning how to read these stats and understanding what they mean for your page. 

Firstly to access these details simply go to the top of your page where you see the small graph and click on the 'see all' link.  You will then be taken to the overview page and these numbers will be at the top.

I would just like to point out there are many more figures and details that you can access here to provide a fuller picture of what is happening - for today though i am only looking at these basic figures and a few additional ones.  I will be going into these in more depth in a later post.

First there is the Total Likes figure - most of us are very familiar with this figure (many to the point of obsession i have to say).  It is the most basic of all the figures and is simply the number of people who are currently following your page.  It is important to know that this figure can go down as well as up, and this is NOT because of a facebook glitch.  It is actually because of people removing their like from your page.  

Obviously if people are removing their like from your page this is an indication there is something going on they don't like - this is not necessarily a bad thing.  This just means your audience (people following your page) is becoming more targeted.  If there are a large number of 'unlikes' however, or a consistent pattern of this you may wish to look at your posting and promoting strategies.  

To help you monitor this you can click on the like tab at the top of your insights page:

On this page you will get more information about the people who have liked your page first - where they are from, male or female etc.  If you scroll down this page you will see another graph which provides details of 'unlikes' as well as where the likes came from: 

Fortunately the level of unlikes on my page is very low (as shown by the green line above), with the highest being just 4 on 31st August (if you move your mouse over the dots on the graph it will give you these details).  If i wanted to look into what might have caused these dislikes i can then go back to the overview page (use the tabs at the top of the page again), scroll down to look at the posts i made on that day and the few days before (remember your followers will only get the notifications from your page when they log in and this might not be everyday).  You will also have to do a bit of guessing about what the problem might have been - did you post a lot of times around that time? did you not post at all? did you 'like' a lot of pages which all showed in your newsfeed? did you post something that might have offended people? A regular pattern of unlikes after you post a certain type of post or after you have done a lot of 'liking' of other pages is probably an indicator this is where the problem lies - remember this is all guess work here, however it does give you something to experiment with - you can try posting a different way etc and monitor what happens to get a clearer picture of what is going on.

The next figure on the stats is friends of fans.  This figure provides you with a potential number of people who could be seeing your page updates via the newsfeed of those having liked your page.  These friends of fans will only see updates however if their friend is talking about your business page or interacting on it.  This is a very important factor to consider when looking at your own page strategy - if you have a lot of 'likes' but a low level of interaction you are missing out on this potential audience AND missing out on the whole marketing potential that facebook provides.  (I will be talking about this again in another blog post as it is a MAJOR part of what people seeking only 'likes' are missing out on).

To understand this potential and make the best use of it you need to understand the next 2 figures - The people talking about this and the weekly total reach.  BOTH of these figures are telling you if you are getting your message out to only the people who have liked your page, or if you are thinking about and achieving really getting your message out there.

The people talking about this figure tells you how many of your direct likers or followers are doing something which helps your message to get to their friends.  This includes: 
  • Liking your Page
  • Liking or commenting on a post of yours or sharing your Page post
  • Answering a question you’ve asked
  • Responding to your event
  • Mentioning your Page
  • Tagging your Page in a photo
  • Checking in or recommending your Place
Whenever someone does any of these things you should see it as them opening a door to their contacts.  This is because each time a follower of your page does one of the above this creates a story that will appear in their newsfeed and can be seen by their friends.  (As long as they haven't opted to hide these messages).

By taking any of the actions details in the list above the people who have liked your page are increasing the last figure - the weekly reach.  It is this last figure which tells you if you are making the best and most efficient use of facebook to market your business.  Basically if you are not paying attention to this figure you may be doing a lot of marketing and sharing etc, BUT you are wasting time and energy because your messages are often basically hitting a brick wall.  They are being halted by the people who have 'liked' your page in one way or another.

So let me go back to my page stats to help see what was going on: 

Last week: 

My page 'likes' went up by 3.31%

The Friends of Fans only went up by 2.95% meaning the people who were liking my page had less than the average number of friends.  If they had equal to average numbers the percentage increase of total likes and friends of fans would very similar.

The number of people talking about my page was up by 52.94% which in itself is actually a decent figure.  When i combine this with the reach figure however of -69.05% this tells me things like the people who have liked my page and talking about it are taking action to prevent my messages getting any access to their friends. 

Lets compare that with this weeks figures:

My total likes have increased by 4.6% - this is with LESS work from me i should say.  In general this is a little bit higher than last weeks number but not hugely so.  If i had the figures from the previous week i would know the exact number of page likes for each week - unfortunately i don't have that figure. 

The friends of Fans is up by 4.96% - this means the people liking my page have a higher than average number of friends (because the % is higher than the likes %)  Compare this with last week when they had less than average.

The number of people talking about my page is up by a huge 120.78% - this shows me the strategy i am using is engaging people AND when i read this along with the weekly reach total this shows my message is passing through the doors to get to a wider audience.  

In summary i may have increased the number of 'likes' on my page by roughly the same amount however there are very very different results.  Anyone who does not understand and make use of this information may be working hard on getting more page 'likes' which opens the door to 1 person seeing your message (and maybe more if you are lucky).  By looking at these figures however you KNOW what is happening and you can learn to work smart by making the most of the facebook platform.

I hope this post has made sense to you and has given you some food for thought.  It explains why i said i thought there was a problem with the action of hiking likes strategies (or more specifically there was a problem with the ones I was using).  You will only know if what you are doing is worthwhile or not by examining your own figures.  

As always i love to hear your comments - please do write them in the box below on this blog post so they can be read at a later date :) Do feel free to write questions as well if you need anything clarified and i will do my best to answer them.

If you have found this helpful you might also like to follow this blog by adding your email address in the box (top right side of this page) or by clicking on the follow tab. 

Happy Crafting......and Happy and effective Facebooking too ;) 

Friday, 31 August 2012

So much Better for Productivity

As most of you already know i have very recently changed my approach on facebook - I have spent some time researching the activity of hiking likes via networking pages and learning how to make the most of facebook page insights.  Its taken me a bit of time to do all this but it has proven to be time very well spent :) 

I have now stopped using any of the networking pages that focus on gaining page likes as i found them to be detrimental to my page visibility for several reasons as previously discussed.  I have also stopped visiting other peoples pages just to leave a 'like' with my page tagged.  I found i was spending quite a lot of time each day doing these things and really started to question the use of it when my page activity levels dropped considerably.

I have now changed my strategy completely and i am focussing on my own page and really thinking about what it is i am posting on there.  As you an see the impact on my page stats has been considerable:

I note specifically the huge jump in people talking about this stat - up by a whopping 71% and the reduction in the negative figure on the weekly total reach figure which was -69% on Monday of this week. This figure has gone up and done a bit this week but overall is going in the right direction which is great news :) 

The main difference i have noticed myself is my own levels of productivity and creativity on the page - I am coming up with all sorts of ideas to try and build up interaction on my own page rather than doing something that a) pulls my attention away from my page and onto networking pages, boosting only their page stats and b) has had a detrimental effect on my own stats.

I have been looking only at ways to increase what i would classify as quality interactions - not just people leaving links to their page in the hopes of getting more likes in other words. As a result i have created posts with the highest levels of virality ever on my page (which means other people are sharing my posts and updates) and I am still hitting reasonable engaging users figures on my page - not the highest levels i have to say, however this is without having to spend hours sharing and liking etc myself.  All of this means i have actually managed to do much more craftwise, more planning for my business, and things like organise and clear out my craft room which i have been wanting to do for months.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Some very interesting responses!

Well I have to say there have been some very interesting responses to my past few blog posts Is a Like Enough and An Explanation of the Problem with Hiked 'Likes'.....Its a shame they aren't all on the blog comments but to help facilitate a balanced view i will add a copy of them here (facebook is a public arena so copying the comments on here is allowed). 

These are the comments from The Fabulous Craft Fair Page

and these comments are from a group i belong to:

Personally i find these comments make some very good points and help to raise awareness of things to look out for and some actions that can be taken. I am currently looking into what steps we can take to improve page visibility and reach etc.

Interesting that the stats on my own page have changed over the past few days since i changed my own approach: 

First a reminder of yesterdays stats:

This was taken this morning: 

This was taken this evening:

As you can see the weekly total reach stat has changed dramatically and is very much improved since yesterday.  I have made some major changes in how i am interacting on my page and with other pages as well.  I have also not been involved in any hiking activities whatsoever.  

I will be continuing to monitor my page stats and activities for a few more days before i share additional information on what changes i have made as i want to make sure the improvement is a consistent one.  

I hope this post has given you some more food for thought - as always i am happy to receive any comments.

Monday, 27 August 2012

An Explanation of the Problem with Hiked 'Likes'

After my rather unexpected discovery of using 'like' ladders and hikes causing a reduction in the reach of my posts on facebook (see Previous Post - Is a Like Enough? for more details) I have been investigating why on earth this should be the case.  I should point out that i am no facebook expert, i have simply spent time looking into how it all works.

On closer inspection i have discovered a few different reasons why this may be the case:

1.  All of the people using 'like' ladders and hike pages are businesses.  Even though they may actually engage in the 'liking' the way they are supposed to - i.e. by returning 'likes' from a personal profile quite a few business people have a separate fb account they use for options such as liking ladders which do not have any connection to their friends or customers.  Many of them on inspection have NO friends associated with their 'liking account'.

This then means that you, if you are using your actual account, are giving these businesses free access to your newsfeed and helping them to gain reach while you are oblivious to the fact that your access to other people is actually halted.

2.  Similarly, as business owners themselves many of the people using ladders have discovered how to use the privacy controls on their own newsfeeds to prevent your updates showing in their newsfeeds.  Again, as above if you are not doing this the balance is completely in their favour.

3.  When your newsfeed is taken up with lots of business updates that your friends are simply not interested in they get fed up looking at it and don't access it anymore.  As far as i can tell the reach statistic is affected by the number of people actually engaging with a newsfeed in some way - commenting, liking etc.  if they stop looking then the level of interaction will go down! 

4.  Although people may join in with the 'like ladders' at the time they may clear these likes again just afterwards - if you have ever watched your like number go down this is probably the reason - it is NOT a fb glitch.  This is perhaps one of the main reasons for your reach to suddenly drop - if people remove the 'like' from your page you will see a drastic reduction in your reach statistics because they have just removed your access to however many friends they have.  

5.  The final reason i have discovered for this drop in activity is because people, once again getting fed up with all the status updates of business pages find out that they can hide pages updates.  Here is a quote from a business strategy page i came across in my investigations: "When you network a lot for your business you can often end up with a newsfeed full of posts by pages and your friends get missed. This usually leads to people hiding the pages and pages not being seen - in effect making tagging lists/ladders/marches pointless".

My conclusion therefore has to be one of questioning this so called 'networking' and asking myself is all that time spent on doing something productive for my business or was the time investigating it time better spent? 

Now you have a better understanding of what is going on you can take appropriate action to ACTUALLY grow your business rather than waste precious time on these activities.  Next time i will look at some of the positive steps you can take to achieve your business goals! 

As always comments are very welcome - using the comment box below will mean they do not get lost and i can respond to them.  

If you don't want to miss out on updates why not sign up for an email subscription using the box at the top right of this post :) 

Is a Like Enough?

Like many other businesses I tend to spend some considerable time on facebook - Its a great place for promoting and networking after all so I would be foolish not to use it.  One thing i have noticed however is the quest to increase the number of 'likes' on business pages.  There are whole groups of people who either spend their days seeking 'likes' or who have set up so called networking pages to allow other people to get more 'likes'.  

So what is this all about? Obviously people liking your business page is a good thing - it means they are happy to connect with you and get your updates appearing in their newsfeed.  So getting page likes is a way to help get your information out to more people right? 

Just in case you don't know how the like button works here is a quick explanation:

Whenever you 'like' a page it opens a gateway so that information about that page appears in your newsfeed.  Friends of yours will then be able to see this as well because they can see your newsfeed. If they see something interesting chances are they will 'like' it and then their friends will be able to see updates as well! And so it goes on, opening gateways to more and more people.

So its no wonder all these networking pages are so busy - everyone wants more likes for their page, and the reason they want it to be from your personal page is so your friends will see it.  The theory is a good one from a business perspective, in reality though does this actually work? 

I started wondering about this when I began getting involved in all these ladders and hike those like type activities and being one for paying attention to what happened i noticed that the activity on my business page actually went down: 

As you can see the number of 'likes' has gone up, the number of friends of fans has gone up and the number of people talking about it have all gone up - the weekly total reach however has decreased by a whopping 69%!!!

Why is this important? 

As shown here the weekly total reach is the number of people who have seen any content associated with my page - so LESS people are seeing anything i post!!!! 

To see the impact of any actions you take on facebook you should check your stats before your campaign then check it daily to see the impact it has (click on your insights button at the top of your page to see the stats).  You can also see the type of posts that are actually engaging people with your page.

For the next week i am going to concentrate on my posts and avoid the ladders and hike pages and see what happens to my stats then - I will of course share my findings with you all for that as well :) 

Why not join me in checking your stats and see what happens? if you want to add details of your stats for today in the comments on this blog (not on facebook cos they will get lost!) and we can all check what happens daily for the next week :) It will be an interesting experiment! 

Don't forget you can now subscribe to this blog by email - just add your address in the box at the top right of this post :)