Sunday, October 28, 2012

Social Media and the business world

I know that I talk more about what it is like to be in business and less about how I make soap. Perhaps one day, I will start talking about making soap, but honestly, during the times when I am on the computer, it's the business end of things that I am focusing on. I can hardly stop stirring to go update my blog! (oh what a soapy mess that would make!)

Because my website is hosted though Artfire, I have a unique opportunity to work with other small, handmade businesses.We share stories and suggestions. We ask questions and get professional opinions. We see, share, and buy each others products. Most of us have never met face to face, but we meet in website forums and get to know each other.

Social media. It is an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds.

When I was a young lass, I had a boyfriend who was a stand up comic. He still is. It used to drive me NUTS how he would make sure that comedy would come up in every conversation. He would trade passes for dinners, movie tickets, anything he could. In hindsight, this was awesome because we got to go out a lot more than we would have if he hadn't because we were young and our income was low. He became a master at promoting himself. There was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Wanelo, or any of the other multitudes of social media that there are today. This was more than 10 years ago. Not everyone had email, and very few people had a website. (I think I had one before he did!). Younger me hated all that networking even though I understood why he did it.

That man is a professional comic now. I follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I used to help moderate the forums on his website. I see him promoting himself still, using these wonderful tools to maintain his fan base and to keep himself and his wonderful girlfriend traveling around doing what they love.

And I do the same. But differently. Because I get to sit in my little cottage and snuggle my dog in between posts.

I'm not as focused on Social Media as my friend, but I still use it.  I cross promote with the other Artfire Artisans and they are likely to return the favor. I'm lucky. I don't have to talk up my soap to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that I meet (although I will mention it casually if the opportunity arises) because I can talk about myself on my blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. I can take pictures of what I am up to and post them to Instagram, using hash tags to attract new followers. I can choose where I will share them on Facebook, to keep my family from getting tired of looking at bars of soap that are welcomed by my Facebook followers. I can post my products on Wanelo and reach a worldwide audience. I can get to know what is trending on Pinterest (and keep track of all the awesome I find on the internet!) I use these tools (as well as the interactions I have with other Artisans both on Artfire and the other sites where I have become a community member) to allow the public to get to know me. They see my website and if they like me, want to go see what is going on. They follow me on Facebook and Twitter. They read my blog (HELLO!!) to see what I have to say.

Social media, I think, is stronger than the TV, and it's generally free. It allows the public to get to know business owners on a personal level. I'm talking to you, not some corporate spokesperson who is out of reach. In a way, it allows me to reach out and touch customers and potential customers in a way that I couldn't before. Not with the frequency with which I can do it now. My catalog came out once a year. It was fun mailing it off, but I reach far more people on Facebook than I ever did slowly trying to gather addresses to send to. And oh my goodness, I can do it from my phone.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the social media outlest I listed above, Please check them out. I have linked my accounts below and given a couple of examples on how I use the service. Follow me if you'd like.

Facebook (I update here most frequently because it's easy. Here is where I post successes and current projects.)
Twitter (Facebook updates directly to twitter so I don't use it directly as often)
Wanelo (Wanelo {WAnt NEed LOve} is a social media shopping place. You can go there and find things that people are buying or want to buy. I post my products there directly and other products that I love. Especially the handmade ones. It's hard for the little guys to get the attention that big guys get. Because we're little. and on tight budgets)
Pinterest (This one is a bit more of a personal filing system for me. I pin pretty soap, yarn, recipes, outfits, anything that catches my fancy on the web. I love Pinterest because I am constantly inspired by other people here and can get ideas that sprout new ones for me)
Instagram. This is a phone app. Now that I have a smart(er) phone, I can take pictures and upload them to various places. I love it. This allows me to capture pictures of my products, events, and other random things I find along the way. search for gracenmotion, which is my derby name. all my other monikers were taken. :(

I still use snail mail! If you would like to receive things in the mail from me, please email me your address at I promise that I will not sell your information and that I am far more likely to send cookies than to fill your mailbox with junk. My mailing list is a fun place to be for those who like to get mail.

No comments:

Post a Comment