As a business owner, it’s hard to see value in spending lots of time on social media. You can’t always draw a straight line from your post to new customers or sales. But if you stick with it and have a consistent strategy, social media can be invaluable as a marketing tool. Here are 5 ways that social media helped me with my small craft business:
Faking It Til You Make It
Being active on social media (in a strategic way) can make it seem like your business is doing much better than it actually is. If you are posting your content, posting other people’s content, and looking like you have a handle on managing your social media accounts, others will see that and become interested in what you’re doing. It’s the same reason retail stores hire people in chicken suits to spin a sign in front of their location – all of that activity gets attention. I can’t tell you how many emails I get that start out with “I saw you on social media…” – they leads to sales and income. Amy Cuddy’s TEDTalk about body language can apply to how you handle your business online. If you believe it, it will become.
Connect with Influencers
I have been able to connect with influencers in my niche and the industry at large through social media because it levels the playing field. You can interact with people you’re too scared to meet in real life, share articles from other influencers in your niche, and build friendships that lead to jobs, clients, and special orders later. I have built relationships on social media that have led to teaching gigs, offers for paid design work from people I’ve never met in real life, and features of my business and products on HUGE blogs run by people I am still too intimidated to talk to in real life. When others see who you associate with on social media, it give you clout and legitimacy.
Tip: Share your content on the Facebook Pages of companies whose products you used – they just might share your project!
Advertising for Free
We don’t have the advertising budget of a big companies. Okay, who are we kidding – in most cases, we don’t have an advertising budget at all! Social media is a free way to get the word out about your products and your brand. You can pay to promote your content on sites but you don’t have to. Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked has built her entire following on Instagram without investing one dollar in ads (as of her talk at this year’s SNAP! Conference). She’s built what is becoming a multi-million dollar brand by using Instagram as her main marketing tool. For free. As for me, I have built a following almost completely based on my social media strategy. I can advertise my business and its activities on social media for free, any day, any time, and reach thousands of people.
Building a Community Around Your Brand
The more you post, the more defined your brand becomes to those who follow you. You can look back at your past posts a get a good feel for what your aesthetic is, what you like, don’t like, and more. In addition, social media allows you to build a community of people who like the same things. That community will support you when you are down, inspire you, and guide you to the next step in your business. In addition, if you ever decide to write a book, license products or expanding beyond your Etsy shop or craft fair booth, having this following in place and engaged can be a HUGE selling point to potential companies and publishers. You can also ask your community about what they want to see from you in the future to help guide your new collections and products.
Need to make your rent? If you have built an engaged following on social media, you can do flash sales and other promotions that will bring in cash fast. I ran a 12 hour sale for my Etsy shop that I only shared on my Facebook Page and made over $1000 from that one sale.
The bottom line is to be strategic about how you use social media for your business. The customers, connections, and followers are there for the taking, but you have to invest the time and effort. It pays off in the end.
By: Jennifer Priest from Hydrangea Hippo