Thursday, 12 December 2013

How can social media help my business?

The focus this time is social media.  I must admit that I’ve been having a difficult time participating because…well…to be frank, I do not work on a whole lot of different social media platforms.  I am actually learning that there are quite a few social media platforms that I know little to nothing about. Sure I’ve heard them mentioned around but I just shrugged it off as “just another time killer” and while they very well may be time killers, if used efficiently they can all increase your exposure and in relation your sales and profit.

I guess it all boils down to the type of exposure you want, your target audience, and how much you want to sell. For a hand-crafting industry, there definitely is such a thing as too many sells. Too many sells would be when you are getting more demand than your single pair of hands and limited time can keep up with.  So, which social media platform is the best for your business? Really, that is up to you. But here is some information to at least get you started.
Pick one or two and learn them as you can. Once you “master” these (perhaps I should say “are comfortable utilizing”) try adding others. It is your business and there is no right or wrong way to run it.

Blogging is fun, free, easy, but accessing the right target might be more complicated.  It is also much more difficult to sell you wares directly through blogging.  Although it is possible to do so, blogging is mostly used as a way to brand your company and logo.  It is an excellent way to add personalization to your business, and let people know that you are a person and not just some other company.

Facebook might be the most widely used and well-known.  It reaches a very wide audience from teens to adults of all ages.  However one might find it complicated as it is constantly changing: the way to use it, the guidelines of acceptable usage, methods of downloading, even computer requirements.  I think that *something* is changed on facebook every six weeks.  But it is free, reaches a lot of different audiences, and you can sell directly on it, as well as work on your branding and add a personalized “voice” to your product.

Twitter is a platform that I am not as familiar with.  Someone else has said that twitter is where you share you as a person more than your product as unique.  The best way to utilize twitter is to post lots of little snidbits throughout a single day.  I look at twitter as a boost to any other social media platform that you may use.  Use it in conjuncture with your blog, or with facebook.  Utilize links.  Twitter is also a free platform, but it also reaches a much more narrow audience that may or may not be within your target.  Depends on what sort of crafts you are selling, and who you want to sell these crafts to.

Linkedin is one of those platforms that I’ve heard mentioned around but never really took the time to figure out what it was and what to do with it. This can be an excellent way to utilize and expand professional contacts and manage opportunities.  You can also use it to extend your professionalism of expertise.  People can ask you questions or you can ask other people questions about your crafting and ability to create or sell.

Pinterest can be an amazing tool for boosting your interweb exposure and professionalism of expertise.  There are so many different ways that you could use pinterest to increase your business, brand, and craft-selling.  Pin your blog posts, pin tutorials, pin ideas, pin your products.  You can even sell your craft wares directly from your pinterest profile!  And again, it is free to join and use.  This platform also targets a more narrow audience, but perhaps one that could benefit your craft.  While pinterest is mostly a place for diy crafters and people looking for ideas to use for themselves, it definitely can be utilized to boost your own crafting business.

Youtube might be one of the most visited platforms of social media out there.  People love to watch videos!  This is yet another great place to increase your exposure as an expertise in your area.  Talk about your products, advertise your crafting, offer tutorials, patterns, show how you are different from all of the other craft sellers in the world!  As a bonus, your videos can be monetized to bring in a little extra income!

Google+ is another social media platform that I am apart of, but know very little about.  Apparently, Google+ is similar to facebook in that you can post status updates, but it is a bit different in little ways.  You can use it to maximize SEO (which is super important to any online presence), and it is more efficient to share who you are and what you do.  The site claims that because it is still a new platform it will be easier to become a great name here.  However, it also seems that a majority of the users here are male…so if that’s your target audience, then awesome!

Quora, A Valuable Resource for Photographers (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)
Quora is a questions and answers sort of platform.  From where I am sitting, growing up in the 90′s, I imagine it is somewhat like  Ask questions about selling crafts, about making your craft, about becoming better at your job, or answer those questions and become known as an expert (which will increase sales)!

I almost forgot Stumble Upon!  I think this site is just fun and a great way to find motivation when your muse is on vacation or something.  It’s also a great place to go when you want to connect with other crafty people!  Just hit the STUMBLE button and someone’s blog comes up by random.  It’s cool.
I have no doubt that there are tons of other social networking sites that I am overlooking, the lists could go on and on forever.  As the internet is expending and more and more people are discovering these sites and the wonderful and easy ability to work online (selling crafts is but one in a million opportunities), there will be a growing amount of networks to choose from. 

(Family bugs blogging)


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