This is a series that discusses some common topics we hear a lot when doing business on Etsy. And when I say “discusses” I mean “sit quietly won’t you, while I gob on for a bit.”
Today’s Topic: Hearts, what are they good for?
“To hide the key to your heart is to risk forgetting where you placed it.”
“For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.”
“You change your life by changing your heart.”
Do you know what all of these quotes have in common? That’s right, they are all responsible for give me the diabeetus. Mr Brimley, I’ll take those oats!
Ha ha. But seriously, from the amount of press that hearts get in the Etsy forums*, you would think that half of the sellers on Etsy do nothing but sit quietly in front of their computers, obsessively refreshing the “who’s hearted you” screen, while the other half are busy wielding their hearts like medeival maces, crushing the souls of sellers like so much old kleenex.
But what do these hearts really mean? How are we all using them?
Let’s start with someone like me – you know, cold as ice and willing to sacrifice your love. (Or at least that’s what Lou Gramm kept saying to me. Shut up and stop weeping, you soft tit. I won’t finance your comeback tour!)
I am pretty hard with the hearts. I use them as a way of holding on to items that I am thinking of buying, or sellers I am thinking of buying from. Nothing else, really. I don’t heart people I see in the forums and like (or even love). I don’t heart out of politeness or because someone has hearted me. I realise some use them as a way of marking people they like – I’m counting on my memory for that, but to each their own.
What about you? Are you a chummy hearter? A serial hearter? A reciprocal hearter?
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what sort of hearter you are, but it does matter what you think those hearts are doing for you.
Are they projecting sales? Are they responsible for sales? Are they indicators of your shop’s health? I woudl say that in a small way, sure they are. But it’s a small way.
Why small? Well, not to sound smug about it and there’s no chance I’m not going to, if everyone hearted the way I do, they would probably be a better projection of possible sales, or the health of your shop in terms of possible or present or past buyers.
But because so much emphasis is placed by so many here on GIMME GIMME GIMMMAH MAH HEARTS!! for no reason other than some odd validation that someone out there somewhere likes you (or felt pressured enough by etsy societal politeness to give you that heart) they have often have little value left, outside of, well, outside of just being there.
Once you get into a spiral of serial hearting for no purpose other than to have the hearts, then to what end are you collecting them? What do they tell you?
We’ve all seen it – etsians showing up in the forums begging for the hearts (and hey, we’ve probably all been there at one time or another, hearts or whathaveyou). And then they begin fretting about them – someone took a heart away from me…WHY? What did I do to be spurned so??
Look, hearts are like romantic partners. Sometimes they stick around forever, and sometimes they just stick you. And then they are gone, leaving nothing but rumpled sheets, a fuzzy tongue, and crumpled note that looks like he was maybe going to leave his number but no, no…he scratched it out.
So the long and the short of it is don’t sweat the hearts. They’re great to have, lovely to give -and we all have our reasons for using them – but they are not the end of the world here.
Ask around some of the old school sellers. Many will tell you that there is no clear relationship between hearts and sales, hearts and shop health or hearts and you, Etsy Shop Keeper and All Round Good Person. You were awesome before those hearts showed up, and you’ll still be awesome if someone takes one away.
They like you. They really really like you.
So calm down, delete the post you were starting, begging for 3 more hearts, and focus instead on your shop and your products. Don’t they deserve a little love too? Hm? Little heart for the products? Little bit? Yeaaaa.
Final Note: I have heard rumors of sellers using hearts as some sort of weird give-and-take promotional tool. I’ll cover that in a later discussion about marketing your self effectively vs. spreading it around randomly like a $3 hooker with attention deficit issues.
* Hearts, for those not of Etsy, are a way of favouriting items or sellers at Etsy.com, you r place for all things handmade, vintage and supply.