Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Making Sales with Facebook and Flickr

Isn't it great when things just happen unexpectedly in your favor? That's exactly what Janice Cusano (that's her on the right), recently experienced. This former professor, who left academia last year to pursue her passion for designing jewelry, ended up selling one of her pieces on none other than Facebook, the subject of my past few posts (I swear guys, I'm not getting a penny from them! I wish!). Her story had a few good tidbits, so I thought I'd share the serendipitous series of events that led to the sale.

A couple of weeks ago, Janice was looking to revamp the photos on her site (see it on Etsy). Her friend Kathleen offered to take new pictures for her, which she then posted on her Flickr account because it was easier than sending them by email (the files were pretty big). She also placed one of the pictures on her Facebook page, (the turquoise and coral piece on the left).

Later that same night, an old friend of Kathleen's from college (who wouldn't have been in contact with her if she hadn't found her on Facebook) saw the necklace and sent her a message saying she'd love to buy it, so Kathleen sent her the link to Janice's Etsy shop, and bingo--she made a sale (she bought the earrings below on the right).

Janice also noticed that there were 48 page views of the photo within an hour of Kathleen posting it on Flickr and Facebook. Pretty good exposure!

The funny thing is, Janice doesn't even have a Facebook page for herself (but thank God her friends do!). Because of her former life as a professor, Janice has had a long-standing bias against Facebook. When the site first started out it was only open to students, so there was a stigma attached to it for those in the academic field. Last year when she was still in her teaching position she did a search and found only one other professor that had a public Facebook page. In her profession, Facebook was a non-no because that's where all the students are, and "poking" wasn't exactly conducive to a professional relationship. Plus Janice likes to keep her personal life separate from her students (now former). However, she's slowly warming up to the idea, as more professionals join every day. She also sees how traffic has increased on her Etsy site because of Flickr and Facebook. (On Etsy you can check to see how many people are viewing each page and where they come from).

Janice finds other benefits from online social networks. "Not only has (Flickr) distributed my work far and wide, I have been able to build community in more specific ways that I hadn't by blog hopping. For example, I am a color fiend and symbols are important in my work. I joined the group 'Blue and Green' and met some incredibly like-minded artists who I connect with on many levels. I actually connected with one contact I had met at a show last September! Every time this happens, I feel a little less out in the cold."

That chance encounter online gave Janice the inspiration for a series of posts related to large jewelry on her Goddess Findings blog. The picture of her contact on Flickr showed her wearing a chunky necklace that Janice liked, so when she reached out to say "hi" she also complimented her on it and asked her to submit a photo and talk about what that piece means to her.

Janice adds that artists can put pictures of their studios, their work-in-progress or things that inspire them, which gives buyers a better sense of who they are. "On Esty you see what they have for sale, but the visual images on Flickr are stronger", she says. By showing people another facet of your life, you create more of a connection.

How are you using new media in your business? Please share your story with us!


Laura said...

I've had the same wariness of Facebook, I've associated it more with college students and less with business networking. However, I've slowly been coming around and this interview might be just the thing to move me over a little faster. The turquoise and coral piece is stunning!

Alex Liu said...

This is cool. I'm still not familiar on using facebook as a marketing tool. But facebook has been a trend for a while and many of my friends are talking about it recently. Pretty cool if I can make use of it!

Alex Liu
How To Become A Millionaire

lesleyanne said...

fabulous post Carmina! this is all so true. i've been spending a lot of my spare time promoting myself, by changing my blog name ( to match my company, by starting a flickr account, and a facebook account!! i don't have any fabulous stories like this one to tell yet, but i hope to soon!

love her shop, thank you for featuring it!! i will definitely check it out. her jewelry is beautiful.