We recently talked about how to utilize social media in a way that would be easy for you to control, as well as easy to write on a consistent basis, whether it be daily, weekly or even bi-weekly [Don’t End Up on Page 44 of a Web Search: Use Social Media for Online Dealers]. Today, I’m going to introduce you to another helpful social media possibility that can help increase traffic to your site: Blogging.
Blogging will enable you to meet new people who will quite possibly further your business skills, most certainly will have the same likes and dislikes as you, as well as start to bring in a broader base of clientele than what you are getting from your online mall store, or even your own corporate website. Blogging is also an important role in the functionality of your daily business, as your social interactions on the information highway.
I must admit, I do not blog on a daily basis. I wish I could, but my time constraints just simply do not allow me to be able to have the freedom to write as much as I would like to, and it is a promise to myself to attempt to work a bit harder on that aspect of my business in 2013. I believe we all, as we become more successful, have a moral obligation to ensure that our tips, thoughts and ideas are handed down to each other. In the long run, becoming a mentor to others will make you stronger in your business not weaker.
Getting back to blogging, I do at least hit the keys once or twice a month to make it relevant for what is happening during that month’s time. Whether it’s a slump in sales and handing some tried and true tips down to dealers or holiday entertaining coming upon us or simply giving some advice or tricks of the trade that have been fail-proof for me as my business has grown, I make that extra effort to connect each month with my readers, my colleagues and my friends. I try to let them know what I am up to and to give (hopefully) helpful hints on what they can be doing to have a successful blog. Think of blogging as a regular business diary with a fancy computer name. You are detailing in your electronic planner details of some of the most important moments that might happen in your business month’s time.
There are plenty of times I sit with writers’ block trying to figure out how to begin my first sentence. How many of you guys have heard me say I am banging my head against my screen at this moment and nothing is coming to my brain? My one suggestion—always give yourself a few days before you are going to write to attempting to get your arms around what your post will be about. Pick out at least two or three prevalent and attractive photographs to use in the blog to illustrate your point. I enjoy using Google’s Blogger as my blogging platform. I have used it for years and the simplicity of the program makes it effortlessly for anyone who is computer literate or non-literate to setup and use.
The best part about Blogger is that you already have a Facebook and Twitter account (remember from last month I told you to get that all set up). Once you set up your Blogger account—you can connect it with an app in Facebook called Networked Blogs that will allow you to enter your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest names and then when you publish an item on your blog, within minutes it will automatically send out an update to all your social media services for folks to read. Now, how easy is that?
Blogging lets people see the other side of you—the softer side, what’s going through your mind. I tell you straight: be yourself. Don’t ever tell someone something you cannot or never have done. Be honest, write about things you are really good at or about things you enjoy. If you are a dealer of pottery, perhaps you can have a pottery corner for people to ask you questions every month. See where I am going with this? So let’s just go over the social media steps you should have and are going to take:
1. Set up your Facebook account: You should have one for personal and one for your store. The business account should have all your prevalent contact information with a link to your store’s Internet site. Your personal one should list where you work, which is your store name and web address.
2. Set up your Twitter account: This gets linked into your Facebook account and you never need to log into Twitter again.
3. Create Facebook photo albums for the products you sell: Make the folders specific so that people are not confused. Include pricing details. Don’t confuse people with items that have been sold or are no longer available. I only put sold items up when I want to tell a funny story—perhaps you can use that in your blog!
4. Start engaging people in conversation: For example, upload some pictures and say something descriptive and witty. You need to be unique and set yourself apart from the other people competing for space and time in the social media circuit. It is a balance of sharing information about what you are selling. People pick up on it and will start talking with you. You will be surprised on how quickly people will catch on and start sharing your items, your stories, etc. The key is to be interesting, engaging, listen to what people ask and, most important, be consistent.
5. Create your Blogger account: Link it to the Facebook and Twitter accounts so it automatically feeds in and you don’t have to keep posting over and over; you will do that by using Networked Blogs.
I know you read about these steps in my previous article, but I felt it was important to now put a big bow on the finished product and tie all these loose ends together, culminating with the blog as the last component. Remember, it is OK to blog as little as once or twice a month. You don’t have to be a daily Chatty Cathy. However, it is not OK to keep people hanging and wondering if you are ever going to write again, therefore consistency is everything. If you are going to blog mid-month well, by gum, mid-month that is when your blog should go out.
In my next article, I’m going to talk about expanding your social media experience by using demonstration videos for certain items that we sell—yes, you can do this with, even vintage and antique items! It is actually a lot of fun, and could involve a whole skit with the family. People love to YouTube.
Community, involvement and commitment—repeat those three words to yourselves over and over. We now live in an e-commerce society and it is time for all of us to change with the times.
Laura Trueman is a dealer on the GoAntiques Mall Network, operating Truetiques, Inc. and RVT’s Primitives. You can also follow her on Twitter @rvt01 and Facebook. If you would like to be placed on the company’s vendor call list, contact Laura directly at email@example.com.
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