FAQ: Why Social Media?

This year has certainly been the Year of Social Media. Suddenly you can't turn around without somebody mentioning Facebook or Twitter. As sites like these continue to blend the lines between friends and businesses, information and speculation, it leaves many small businesses wondering, "do I need to get involved?".

It's especially difficult because small biz owners are already so busy! We run our sites, manage our orders, write in our blogs (remember them?). The first question to ask yourself is, do you have time for the upkeep additional outlets would require? They only work as long as you can feed the beast. Luckily, there are a few tricks to make this part easier, but it still requires time... keep reading!

What are the benefits of having a Facebook page and Twitter account? Here we go:

There are millions of people using Facebook these days to interact with friends (and let's be honest, it's great virtual people-watching). It makes sense to put your product/brand where the people are! In addition, you get "free" promotion by taking advantage of the Kevin Bacon effect -- when you build your pages you can populate it with your friends and current contacts. Any action they take on your page is pushed out to the News Feeds, where *their* friends, who may not know your company, can see it!

I recommend making an official business (or "Fan") page for your business. That way you can keep your personal stuff personal (but realize customers may find you there, as well) and business just business. If you stay disciplined, you can absolutely keep the two separate, and Facebook provides permissions tools to help you manage those accounts.

With Facebook, you have a platform for people to become "fans" of your work and interact with you directly. The interface is probably something they use already (unlike blogs), so it's easy and spontaneous for them to reach you. Give your fans insights into your daily work life, plus don't forget to try special offers/coupons just for fans!

Twitter: Twitter is a strange place. It's like an ongoing stream of information, and your customers can "follow" this stream of updates from you. In many ways the content is similar to Facebook -- give followers a peek into your everyday business life. It is also a platform to instantly communicate to your followers -- they will most likely only see the message if they are online at that moment. Keeping this in mind, play with Twitter to do "of the minute" promotions and contests.

It can be difficult to keep up with all of these outlets in addition to running the business. However, there are tools to help you connect your blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts so one update can appear in all places.

You can follow Peggy Li Creations Handmade Jewelry on Twitter.

and on Peggy Li Creations on Facebook!

Have other thoughts on Social Media? Post a comment here!

Good luck,


Juanita said...

Great advice. It's all so difficult to figure out. One of the main reasons we chose to pursue this new social media was to reach out to our customers, who are younger, don't read beading magazines, and are not our older, more established jewelry designers. We figured this type of social media might extend out to those Etsy jewelry designers who are very internet-focused.