Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why You Should Be Using Social Media

The New Year is all about roundups, 10 best lists, and predicting trends. I’ve been reading a lot of these articles lately, but one in particular stood out to me. Part of it was timing, just having lead my second Social Media for Artists workshop, but also because I often forget, being so immersed in social media, that still not everyone is using it. And by everyone I mean businesses.

The article... 30 Social Media Predictions From 30 Social Media Pros. A lot of interesting takes on what the year ahead has in store. But what stood out to me most was the general notion that social media will finally come into it’s own. Predictions #3 - Social media will become mainstream and #6 - Social media will no longer be something the “cool kids” are doing, said it best. What I find surprising is that not everyone is using this tool to its utmost value already.

I teach about its accessibility, about its over all value, and about its power to build loyalty and trust with customers. All of this for free and just a little investment of time. So I ask again, why isn’t everyone using it?

These predictions gave an idea of what the answer might be. The majority of businesses still aren’t sure what they should be doing and if it’s worth it. So I want to try to convince you it is worth it and also convince you that the sooner you jump in the more established you’ll be when the rest catch on. It’s still possible to use social media as a leg up over your competitors.

So back to the convincing part, I promise not to go overboard, but here’s just a few things that might sway you.

1) Your target market is somewhere online, you just need to find them.

2) Engaging in the right conversations is much more effective than traditional marketing. If you become a part of the conversation your target market is having, you build a relationship, you become a friend.

3) Some of your competition is using social media, but there’s a good chance they’re not doing it well.

4) Social media is the way your customers are communicating. You need to be using the tools that they are and be present in the conversations they have.

5) Using social media with a plan can save you both time and money. Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr are free and have millions of users you can tap into.

6) Social media allows you to gain insight into your industry, your competition, and your customers. This allows you to respond quickly to needs and problems.

7) Social media broadens your reach with less effort. I repeat millions of users, not to mention the ability to find target markets you may not have thought of.

8) Social media allows you to create relationships, which lead to loyal customers. Wouldn’t you rather buy from or recommend someone you’ve had a conversation with, even if it was only online?

So I urge you, get into the conversation, make it a part of your marketing strategy and use it to the best of its ability. If you need a little help getting started we have a great workbook you can go through at your own pace.

I’d love to hear what successes you’ve already had with social media.

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

the biggest challenge i've had so far using social media is the time involved -- part of it is i get sucked in myself (could be more disciplined in that time on facebook! LOL!) part of it is the learning curve (have the hang of FB pretty much, still trying to figure out what Twitter is all about, almost entirely mystified by Flickr except as a place to store my own pics). But most of it is that whenever I contemplate using social media effectively, it seems to me that it will be a HUGE amount of time involved just to stay current and genuinely involved in all those conversations! I'd rather be making stuff with that time than talking about it, ya know?

Lightbox SF said...

This is definitely a struggle. And it is so easy to get sucked in. That's why I also advocate creating both a strategic plan and a schedule. If you go into Facebook or Twitter with a mission, searching for a keyword or finding new people to follow and only give yourself an half hour, you can still accomplish something and not waste your time.

This is a great idea for a future post. How to get in, get it done, and get out.

Thanks Jen!

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

how to get in, get it done, and get out -- I would LOVE those sorts of tips! looking forward to it!

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