When we first launched Anou, we did what pretty much everyone does: set up a Facebook page. We primarily focus on Facebook because we believe it is one of the most effective mediums to tell our story and define what it is that Anou does (shameless plug: like our Facebook page!).
We also thought that it would be a primary driver of traffic and sales to our site. Well, we were wrong. It actually has a minimal effect on traffic and sales on our site. In February, Facebook only accounted for 7% of all traffic to Anou’s online store and directly contributed to none of its sales.
Yet we’ve continued to invest time into Facebook because it has evolved into an unexpectedly powerful tool for building the artisan community in Morocco. Our posts regularly feature photos and small stories about what Anou’s artisans and artisan leaders are up to. And as a result, artisans are eager to be featured and Anou’s artisan leadership gains credibility when they’re tagged into photos of a recent training they implemented — even though all the posts have been written in English.
The problem is that this powerful tool reaches a small fraction of artisans on Anou because the vast majority of artisans don’t have consistent access to internet, much less a Facebook account. Also, the Facebook page is managed by myself, not the artisans. As we look to improve artisan engagement on Anou, we thought why not take what makes Facebook a powerful tool and apply it to a medium that all artisans on Anou can access and manage?
As a result, we came up with the idea of developing the first edition of Anou’s monthly
newsletter made for and by artisans. This past weekend, artisans Rabha and Latifa spent a day working with Anou’s other artisan leaders to develop the content for the newsletter. The content they developed reflects what makes Facebook such a great tool all while providing artisans with much needed information and resources to grow their businesses. The seven page newsletter includes the following content presented on simple photocopied pages:
1 – Winner of the photo of the month (voted by Anou’s artisan leadership).
2 – Winner of the product of the month (voted by Anou’s artisan leadership).
3 – The top three most visited products on Anou’s online store.
4 – An overview the number of visitors on Anou during the past month.
5 – An review of February’s important events, such as Brahim and Younis’ participation in the New Work Lab’s Pitch Lab.
6 – A small editorial discussing the benefits of buying a smart phone and how to get in touch with Anou’s artisan team to buy one.
The contents are basic, but powerful. And most importantly, keeping in line with Anou’s vision, it was entirely made by the artisans who will benefit from it. After the newsletter was finalized, Rabha and Latifa printed copies of the newsletter and sent them out to each artisan, association and cooperative on Anou.
Immediately after the newsletters were sent, Anou artisans already began sending in ideas of topics they wanted to write and discuss in the next newsletter. The newsletter has an immense amount of potential and we’re excited to see where Anou’s artisan leadership develops it.
We’re kicking ourselves that it has taken us this long to develop this idea. We tend to forget that even though Anou heavily focuses on solving the greatest challenges artisans face via technology, the most effective solutions are the ones that involve no technology at all!