Hello everyone! This week I’ve had the pleasure of talking to the folks behind the ever-popular #CraftHour community to hear about how it all began and what their plans are for 2016. Read on for insights, tips and how you can get involved…
When did you start #CraftHour and where did the idea come from?
#CraftHour is about to celebrate its 2nd birthday! We ran our first Twitter event at the end of January 2014, and it was an instant hit! The first of our regular Facebook games followed soon after, along with our Pinterest sharing boards & Etsy team which provide even more social ways for crafters to connect and get their work seen by a wider audience. We’re utterly bowled over by the enthusiasm with which the creatives & customers engage with our community and how quickly the Craft Hour crowd continues to grow!
There is a real boom in interest for genuine handmade products. Increasingly, customers are appreciating the care & character that goes into a crafter’s work, and digital technologies are allowing more to crafters turn their handmade hobby into a thriving business. Our goal with #CraftHour is to help handmade crafters claim their place in new and exciting era for handmade!
There are some great online shops & services available to help crafters sell their goods, but utilising social media to connect with people is a hurdle that many find difficult to overcome. We would see friends opening online shops full of gorgeous handmade products, but being disheartened because nobody seemed to be buying their work. The customers are out there, but they couldn’t connect with them.
We wanted to create an event and community that would bring crafters together and provide a platform for them to promote their work with confidence! For many of our contributors, it is their first foray into the promotion of their work on Twitter and Facebook, and we love that Craft Hour is not just a great introduction to social marketing, but a jumping off point to learn from each other about further great ways to connect with shoppers.
Tell us a bit about the weekly events on Craft Hour
#CraftHour happens on Twitter every Sunday evening at 7pm-8pm UK time. It’s the perfect place for crafters to meet and share their latest creations with the world, to inspire & be inspired by the amazing work on show. Getting involved is simple – just include the hashtag “#CraftHour” in all your tweets during the hour and click on the hashtag to see what other people are saying.
In addition to #CraftHour there is something new to join in with every day from 8am UK time on our Facebook page: facebook.com/CraftHour. Some of these events happen weekly too, while other days have surprise events to keep it a bit more lively! One of our regular weekly events is the ever popular #TreasuryTuesday, which is an opportunity for Etsy shop owners to create treasuries featuring other artists, and be featured in return – a welcome midweek boost to the traffic to their Etsy shop.
We try to offer a range of different events every week, so that people who take part regularly have the opportunity to share work, or boost pages across as many different platforms as possible.
Which event is your favourite and why?
We enjoy all of the events we run for different reasons, and love the variation in pace & types of interaction that they inspire, but Sunday’s #CraftHour is always a real highlight to our week! #CraftHour is a really busy and lively event, with people joining in from all over the globe. It’s like a weekly international exhibition, jam-packed with hundreds of crafters, customers, bloggers & businesses tweeting, retweeting, chatting, buying & selling. #CraftHour frequently trends in the top ten UK hashtags on Sundays, so turning up and tweeting your work is a brilliant way to get it seen by a massive audience!
How do you select the Crafter of the Week out of so many talented people?
We want you to have the choice of whether or not you might be featured as our Crafter of the Week in a particular week (you might be away that week and being chosen would be a bad time for you) so we only select from those that enter. To enter you need to comment on our previous week’s schedule on our Facebook page (facebook.com/CraftHour), retweet it on Twitter (twitter.com/Craft_Hour), or share it on Instagram. The schedule usually goes live on Sunday afternoon.
Most weeks we use a random selection process (names in a hat). Occasionally however, a particular name stands out to us as someone who has been really supportive that week – either enthusiastically taking part or going out of their way to do something kind for another crafter. In that case we automatically let them have our Crafter of the Week spot, because we like to recognise those that help to foster the friendly attitude that our community has such a great reputation for.
We get to feature about 50 crafters per year so those who enter regularly will get selected eventually, and bear in mind that we put your name in the hat for every type of entry you do (i.e. once for a comment on the Facebook schedule, once for a retweet, once for sharing it, etc).
What’s the best thing about running the Craft Hour community?
We’re fortunate that we receive a lot of positive feedback from crafters who drop in to let us know that their tills have been ringing during our events and that their time spent engaging in our community pays off for their business. I do believe that creating a supportive community helps everyone to thrive, through the exchange of advice and motivation, but when crafters can feel the difference in their pocket too, then you can really say that you’re helping handmade to flourish.
Do you have any favourite craft blogs?
Most of all we love to read the blogs written by our crafty friends and members of our community as it helps us to have an insight into their routines, needs and business aspirations, to give us ideas for ways we can help support them. We frequently have a blogsharing event on our Facebook page, where crafty bloggers can leave their links to recent blog posts, discuss the art of blogging generally and inspire each other. These events are a great way for us to discover new blogs to read too, and we love to spend a long afternoon exploring the wonderful articles you write, and bookmark your blogs to return to again and again!
If you could give all the crafters out there one tip, what would it be?
Make sure all your sites are accurately linked up to one another! For example, if you have social media pages and an Etsy shop but they don’t all link to each other, then someone seeing your posts on Facebook won’t know where to buy your work. Similarly if someone sees your work on Etsy but isn’t ready to buy now they might look for a link to your profile on Instagram or Twitter (or whatever their social site of choice is), to follow you and buy later.
When we feature crafters we frequently search for them across multiple sites to tag them (so that customers know where to find the creators of the work we are showcasing), and it is remarkably common to find broken links or even no mention of their other social media sites, when they are actually active on there. Just a quick check of all your links every few weeks might stop you losing a sale!
What are your aims for Craft Hour in 2016? Any sneak peeks into new events?
While we have a lot of ideas for new games and events that we are considering introducing in 2016, for the time-being we haven’t highlighted any specifically that we will definitely push through in the coming months. We like to stay on our toes and listen to feedback from our community to tailor the events we offer to best serve the crafters that take part.
We’re playing things by ear for the start of 2016, building and improving on the existing popular events and testing out new ideas in between! I’d hate to be a let-down and not give you any insider scoop, so the sneakiest peek I can give you is that we feel we have outgrown our name so we’re going to be changing it this year! #CraftHour is perfect for our Twitter hour on Sunday night, and that will remain the same, but as our events happen all week long and the community is always open, we need a name that isn’t confined to just one hour anymore. Watch this space!
How can people new to Craft Hour get involved?
Everyone is welcome, and you can take part as little or as often as you like. There’s always something fun to do to promote your creations with Craft Hour! Here are a few to start you off:
If you like to hang out on Facebook, just head to facebook.com/crafthour and start taking part in whatever is happening (there’s something new to do every day from 8am UK time). Full instructions for each event are posted at the top of the page while the event is happening, so just follow the instructions and it should be quite easy to get stuck in. If you’re still not sure how to get involved or have any other questions about our events, you can send a direct message to the page and we will always be happy to help.
If Twitter is more your thing, don’t miss #CraftHour every Sunday at 7pm UK time, just turn up and tweet using the hashtag #CraftHour. Throughout the week you can use our hashtag #CraftBuzz for retweets from us too! Also, keep an eye out for our fast & fun #CraftFlash events (15 minutes of gift-related tweeting, usually centred around a particular occasion such as Valentine’s or Mother’s Day). Our full schedule of events can always be found pinned at the top on our profile: Twitter.com/Craft_Hour
You can also join in on Pinterest at pinterest.com/CraftHour where we have around 50 shared boards for you to take advantage of! To join these, check you’re following us, then have a look through our group boards, and decide which you’d like to be added to. You’re welcome to join as many or as few as you’d like, depending on which ones best suit your work. When you’re ready, just message us with a list of the boards you’d like to join and we will invite you to them.
Whenever you post your creative work on Instagram, use our hashtag #CraftBuzz – we regram crafty goodies throughout the week, so you could get featured by us on there too.
Etsy shop owners can join our friendly Etsy team, where we have fun games to promote your work and we sometimes post updates, news and exclusive opportunities for Craft Hour team members. It’s also a great place to ask for help and advice if you have questions about the ins and outs of running your crafty business, managing your Etsy shop, or taking part in any of our events. You can apply to join the team here: www.etsy.com/teams/20348/craft-hour-creatives
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