1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?
I'm Casey Starks, the designer, maker, and owner of Vitamini, a handmade business that specializes in fresh and clever gifts and paper goods. I'm also a diy and craft blogger at Vitamini Handmade. I started my small business in 2008, selling my hand screen printed valentine cards on Etsy on the side while I worked as a landscape architect during the day. It's almost 7 years later and Vitamini (both the brand and the blog) is now my full-time job.
2. Where can we find you on social media?
3. What is your favorite hashtag?
Besides the hashtag I use for my 5-month old dachshund puppy (#bacilovesyou) I like tagging my product photos and shop updates with #sfetsy. I love connecting with other members of the SFEtsy team on Instagram and searching around to see what other makers are up to.
4. Why do you use social media?
I use social media to connect my brand with customers, distribute product updates, and to help form relationships with other designers and makers. It's crazy how many people I've connected with online via social media that I would consider close friends. I love that! I don't know many people locally that are pursuing a similar career path, so it's great to feel like I have a network of like-minded individuals online that I can turn to for support.
5. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?
Most of my social media involvement happens through my iphone. I use the camera a ton, taking photos for Instagram and also taking process photos of new diy projects I'm working on, new product sketches that are in the works, or other random things that I think look cool. I use Afterlight and VSCOcam to edit photos from my iphone before uploading them to Instagram. When I'm sharing a new blog post on Facebook or Twitter, I use bitly to shorten urls and track pageviews.
6. What effect does social media have on your business?
Social media improves my sales, help to spread the work about my brand, and helps to share my craft and diy projects. It's really important!
7. How do you measure success on social media?
I feel successful on social media when I'm being myself online; when I'm sharing words and images that are true to my brand, my values, and my personality. It's easy to get caught-up worrying all about numbers and stats, but if your followers can't recognize your voice they most likely won't stick around long term.
8. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?
It's so difficult to keep up with everything online, especially when I'm juggling so many tasks off of the computer. Everything moves so quickly, and sometimes it can feel like opportunities are passing you by if you're not reading and responding to every tweet or Instagram comment.
9. What makes you follow another brand back?
I'll happy follow other brands that share thoughtful posts that show a creative process mixed with business updates and some personal stuff here and there. I like feeling like I'm getting to know a person, not just their business and their products.
10. Which brands have social media you admire?
Rachel (@thecraftedlife) on Instagram does a great job of combining behind-the-scenes images, finished shots, and other photos that show her personal tastes. You can get a great idea of who she is by just browsing through her feed. @geninne on Instagram posts stunning photos of her artistic work, landscapes, and architecture. Everything she posts is beautiful.
11. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?
Start slow, be genuine, make friends, and have fun!
Can't get enough of our interview series? Read our interview with Lisa Congdon about her own social media struggles and successes.