I’ve been using social media (predominately Twitter & Facebook – and more recently Instagram & Pinterest) since 2008 to grow my business.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that without social media, there is no way I would have been able to make the leap from hobby to business, and now be living my dream of working for myself full-time from home.
Social media has allowed me to spend time – not money – marketing and building my business.
For those of us who are going it alone, saving money wherever we can is vital. We don’t have big advertising budgets. Heck, we might not have any advertising budget at all.
But you can’t create a successful business using a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. You have to market it. You have to get the word out. Repeatedly. Daily. With gusto!
Today, I want to share 10 quick tips on how to successfully use social media to market your creative online business. These are tried-and-true steps that have worked for me, and many other people.
1. Start with one and enjoy it
There are so many different social media out there. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you’re just starting out. Don’t try to do it all at once! Sign up to a number of different social media sites and try them out, and then focus on the one you enjoy the most to begin with. You can spend time building your community on the other ones down the track.
2. Be consistent
The point of social media is to build trust and relationships with your customers. Keeping that in mind, they’re going to get to know you a lot better if you’re a constant presence. For example, when my online friends think about buying some silver jewellery, I want them to think of me! We like buying from friends, and social media allows us to build friendships all over the world. But the internet is a fickle place, where you’re soon forgotten if you don’t stay in the game.
3. You can share your products… but in moderation
When they’re just starting out, a lot of people make the mistake of *just* sharing their products. I can tell you now, no-one is going to pay any attention, because no-one likes being ‘sold to’. Of course you can share your work, but it should be a small proportion of what you talk about. Be a real person, not a spam-bot.
4. Share other people’s work
One of the most wonderful things about the craft community is the support we give each other. Help your fellow crafters out! Share their work on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest… It’s a great way to build relationships with people, we’re all appreciative when someone shows an interest in our work. Can you see the common thread here? Yep, it’s all about the relationships.
5. Limit yourself
It is very, very easy to get sucked into the social media vortex. If you know you have work to do, but you keep getting distracted, use a timer and limit yourself. Or, set aside time twice a day to catch up. Don’t let it get in the way of doing your actual work!
6. Set up a schedule
This pairs up with number 5 – if you’re busy, spend a bit of time up-front to plan out your week, and the things you’d like to share on social media. That little bit of time spent planning will ensure you don’t forget to share important things with your followers.
7. Use Buffer
Another thing we sometimes tend to do is ‘flood’ our followers. We find ourselves with either a spare chunk of time, or we suddenly realise we need to share that new sale, and the giveaway on our blog, and a guest post… and we send it all out at once.
A good way to avoid doing this is to write down a schedule, as above, or use an app like Buffer. This allows you to plug in all of your tweets at once (or Facebook or G+ posts), while you think of them, and it does the job of sending them out throughout the day (and night, don’t forget, online business is a 24-hour world!) for you!
8. Don’t limit yourself to your niche
Don’t hesitate to build connections to people outside of your niche! Sure, for some of us, other crafters are our target market, but I’d reckon that for most of us our target market is much broader than that. The broader your network, the more chances you have to connect with people who will love (and want to buy) what we make.
9. Be yourself
The days of impersonal business are behind us – especially in the crafty scene. Let your personality shine through – don’t be afraid to talk about your life as well as your work. People want to connect with other people, not brands.
10. Have fun!
Social media is just that – a way for us to connect and be sociable! If you, like me, work from home, it can get a bit isolating.
Social media is a tool for business, sure, but it’s also a way for us to make friends, connect with colleagues, and just have a bit of fun!
While keeping in mind that everything you say reflects on your business, don’t be afraid to relax and enjoy connecting with other people. Your sanity will thank you.
Still struggling to get started with social media?
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