Sunday, December 7, 2008

Self Promotion And Social Networking

I have a no soliciting sign on my door. Lots and lots of sales people tend to ignore it and ring the bell anyway. It never occurs to them that maybe there is a larger reason behind that sign than just not wanting to buy something. I am a day sleeper. So nothing annoys me more than having a pushy sales person at my door who not only ignored my sign but also woke me up. Do you think that results in them getting a sale? No. Never.

I view my computer screen the same as my door. If I wouldn't let a person into my house through my front door for any variety of reasons why would I let them into my house through my screen?

As I have mentioned before I have my things for sale on my website, Dawanda, Etsy and Lollishops. People talk a great deal about promoting their shops on these sites. They want to know how other people do it. I read these a lot. I have even tried a few of them with little or no results. I also see them saying they promote their shops to their friends and families. Really? No REALLY? I have mentioned these sites as a whole to my friends and family and told them what to expect from other sellers by looking at them, but I don't promote my own shop to them. They already know what I do for a living. I don't know about you, but if my Mother wants something I made I give it to her. She is my Mother for crying out loud! The same with my friends, if they insist on paying anyway...I certainly don't send them to an online shop so they can go through the entire check out process, pay for shipping and I can give Paypal a cut. If they did that to me I would find that really strange and think long and hard about their friendship.

Many people don't think the site is responsible for promoting us, I don't see why not...I am giving them a cut of my sales or a listing fee. They have just as much obligation to promote me as I do them. They are making money every time I promote in the simple fact that a new customer will most likely be a return customer because they aren't going to just stop at looking at my shop in most cases. They are going to look at lots of shops and items for sale and probably in the end they are going to buy something else on top of that initial purchase.

So what about the rest of the world at large? What is the right way to promote to them? We have Twitter and our blogs and all sorts of places to network. But imagine if you will for a insurance salesman in your neighborhood. If he rang your doorbell every day or even several times a day to try to sell you some insurance would you appreciate that? Would you just finally cave in and buy something? And if you actually did, what if he kept coming back day after day to try to sell you more?

Where did we get the idea that non stop hammering was the way to make a sale? I suppose in some instances it works. But I don't think I would sleep very well knowing that is how I run my business. Coincidentally since I have stopped almost all self promotion the past few days I made a sale last night...go figure!

I suppose my perspective might be a little different since I did shows and sold to shops and advertised for 25 years before moving my business to the net. I was used to the regular sort of selling where I make the effort to show up and the customer makes the effort to come and see me. It was mutual agreement.

I saw a video the other day of a man talking about social networking. He said he expects to make 0 dollars from Twitter. He views Twitter as a party where he meets people. Once he gets to know them he invites them to his blog which he equates to his house. In his house he has personal things and also things that reflect what he does for a living. By getting to know people and make friends they find out what he does and they are more likely to mention it to someone else even if they are never going to make a purchase. I thought this was brilliant. It's the way I like to do it. I post pics of what I have just completed because I like to look at pics of other people's stuff and I think many of them do too. I also think it's a good way to keep a back up record of what I have made and when. I post a link to where they can find it and I have links on the sidebar to where I sell my works. If you want to go look you can. If you don' pressure. I clearly want to support these selling venues because if I didn't I wouldn't have shops in them. But ultimately I am in business for myself because I want to make sales for myself. I do occasionally post a link on Twitter, but I would rather just chat with people a bit on there than post link after link after link. That gets old real fast.

I find in the long run I have made more friends and more sales in the end by doing it that way. Maybe that's why they call it SOCIAL networking and not SALES networking?


scribbler said...

Well stated. As I said when this was discussed at Lollishops (my alter ego Whimsy and Stitches), I am all for accidental marketing; the aggressive guerilla tactics many practice leave a very bitter taste with me.

Kelly said...

Thank you very much. I just remove everyone who wants me for nothing more than a potential customer on social networking sites. The hard sell has always been lost on me.

Dan said...

I actually don't social network with any of my family and friends online--we have a "real time" relations and we would rather pick up the phone and chat rather than email one another.
That being said, my social networking is mainly with strangers. We found each other because we share a common interest--selling our creations online. I think my online buddies would find it odd if suddenly, I stopped talking about what we have in common and started talking about potential Not-So-Common interests.
It's not a hard sell--my artistic community signed up to hear me talk business.
Just my .02

Dan said...

That was me posting under my hubby's name--oops!
~Sadie Lou

She'sSewPretty said...

I am visiting via the Lollishop forum. I love what you wrote here. I hate "selling" myself on my blog. I do like to show my creations to my blog friends because I know they "get me".

Kelly said...

Sadie my Mother doesn't have a computer. I talk to her on the phone every day. My Mother In Law sends me lots of e-mail though. I would never add her to my mailing list though, that would be odd to me. You're in a little different position as opposed to being a single seller.

Thank you Sew Pretty!

TinyBear said...

So well said Kelly.
I totally agree with you.
Great post.
hugs, Tina

maria i lavis said...

Here here! Ra ra RA on that one! I'm so on the same wavelength.

Longfellow said...

I agree with the majority of things you have to say, and I love your blog. One thing I have started to do is find myself on Twitter less and less with the people I followed as part of the initial enthusiasm for Twitter as a marketing tool because I, too, don't like being hammered all day long on my computer with ads. I resent people that just used a social networking site as a broadcasting network.

I no longer try and push sales like that. If people like me they might visit my page, otherwise, no problem!

As for my mother she insists on supporting my online efforts and refuses free (but she is good with trades!) because she is another artist and believes in getting proper exchange for her time. She wants the same for me.

CLKcreative said...

Thank you for posting this. I blogged about this very issue yesterday. I'm perfectly fine with Tweeps posting items for sale... occasionally.

Nyblaque said...

you see ..that's why I love reading your blog tell it like it is! this is a great post. I hope folks click on the link you's definitely good food for thought! thanks for sharing it with us:-)


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