Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Social Networking

First of all I want to tell you all that we are doin ok here.  The fire is still going, but we are hangin in.  No one has been hurt and no structures have been lost as of yet.  I have been posting updates to my Facebook page if anyone is interested in that.

Now on to the post...actually today I am going to repost a post I made 4 years ago because it still holds true.  There has been some discussion about using Facebook and Twitter for selling.  While there is nothing wrong with that, I do it too...I want you to keep in mind it's called social networking for a reason, so if you want to mix the two, I don't see a problem. Also keep in mind as you're reading we weren't using Facebook yet.  So here is the post I made 4 years ago:

"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 and Etsy. (I edited this because two of the sites are no longer around.)  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 moment...an 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. (This would also apply to Facebook now.)  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't...no 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?"

So back to the present, in conclusion here, I just want to remind you that Twitter, which I no longer use because it became nothing but endless links to people's Etsy shops and other venues, and Facebook were originally created as ways for people to socialize.  It's great that we can use them to show off what we do for a living.  But I don't think people should be using these for nothing but selling.  I know when I have a Facebook friend that does nothing but post links to things to buy...they are gone.  I unfriend them. I did the same thing for the brief period I used Twitter.  To see nothing but endless links to work is boring.  You don't have to spill your entire personal life onto the screen either, but mix it up a little on these sites.

I think it's really important to have a free standing professional presence elsewhere online where you do nothing else but sell your work.  From the other side of the fence, as a collector I have never purchased anything from Twitter or Facebook.  I like seeing what people make, but I don't want to send a message and hope I can buy that item if it's still available.  I want to go to a website that has a buy now button so I can just buy it and be done with it.


les Lily'z bears said...

I acord, nothing but business is boring and the mixture with a little life is happier and we learn to know each other really! My blog, my face book page is a reflection of what I am: a creator, but also a lover of life, people and nature! I put my favorites, my pains, my joys at last I try to bring life and color! kisses

Katy Cameron said...

Wise words as ever! I stopped using Facebook because it was taking me so long to wade through all the crap people were posting to get to relevant stuff! The same bear posted to about 20 groups - because even if you're not in the group you can see they posted it - argh! And then of course all the little jokes and photos of fluffy kittens, life is just too short...

Twitter on the other hand, I find useful for getting ideas and advice when I'm sewing at the weekend as I can get instantaneous feedback from friends around the world, but that's about all I use it for.

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