Do you have expertise to share with the industry? Want to contribute on a regular basis? Perhaps you should be publishing a blog of your own here. To apply for a blogging account, contact us. If you've got something worthwhile to offer, we want to offer the place for it!
Remember the Social in Social Media
I write and talk a lot about social media and one of the things I hear frequently is the comment "I tried social media and didn't get anywhere with it. I don't think Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest (insert name of favorite social media site here) works for businesses". Ineveitably, when I take a look at the profile of the business in question, what I find is a profile that focuses solely on selling. There's no communication, there's no effort to interact, there's really nothing but a constant barrage of messages screaming "buy my stuff" as loudly as possible. When I see a profile like that, it quickly becomes clear why that business wasn't having much success on social media. There's a reason the first word in the phrase social media is "social".
When a company starts out using any social media platform, they're probably setting up a profile and devoting the time because they want to generate additional profit for the business. I'm not going to say that's not a worthwhile goal, a business that isn't generating profit is a business that won't be a business for long. The problem, at least when it comes to social media, occurs when everything about the profile becomes geared toward that one goal. People get sold to in a thousand different ways every day. Selling to someone isn't hard, it's getting them to buy that's the trick. Luckily, through the proper use of social media, it's a trick most businesses can perform.
The thing to remember about social media is that it's not about selling, it's about building community. Think of it as the backyard fence, or the water cooler in an office, it's a place for people to connect and communicate. For businesses, it is a place to present products and sales messages, but only as part of a larger strategy. The overall strategy should be one that works to build trust and to make the company part of the community. Doing this is certainly harder than simply screaming "I have stuff to sell", but the rewards, and the sales, will likely be worth the effort.
If you've been working with social media and haven't had much success, the first thing to look at is what you're posting. If you see a lot of sales messages and not much else in your feed, you've probably figured out why your social media plan isn't working for you. The good news is that you can change things up at any point. You can try some new things like:
- Sharing stories about the day to day activities of your business
- Asking customers to share stories about items you made that were particularly meaningful or well done
- Giving a glimpse behind the curtain and allowing customers to see a small part of how your shop is run
- Talking about new products or new techniques that you want to offer
- Sharing small personal details - you have a pet, what the weather is like today, what you had for a mid-morning snack
- Sharing pictures of projects that you're particularly proud of, or which you were nervous to attempt but which turned out well
- Educating customers by explaining things like what makes good art, or how the sublimation process works. You don't have to give away secrets, but educated customers are generally better customers.
The goal is never to give away trade secrets or your competitive advantage, it's simply to humanize your business and build trust with current customers and protential customers. Research has shown that people are more likely to buy from companies that they trust, and social media is one way to build that trust. Facebook and Twitter and all the rest aren't selling tools, they're image building tools. Remember that, and you'll find that your social media profiles will change and so will the response that they get.
*All ideas expressed in this post are the exclusively those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the policies or opinions of Decorated Apparel Magazine. The author represents that he or she is exclusively responsible for the content contained, and that he or she is the owner of any intellectual property used or expressed, and has the right to publish any statements or images contained herein. All content is offered 'as-is' and Decorated Apparel Magazine does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any statements contained in this or any other post. Your use of any advice or statements of fact or opinion offered are completely at your own risk.