Small businesses need to find ways to integrate their blog and social media sites, especially Twitter. This small business tip is especially important for solopreneurs and those who make handmade goods, because a large part of selling their products is, in fact, selling themselves and their story.
Take a Step Back – Look at the Big Picture Once in a While:
Small biz owners can get so caught up in the day to day biz operations we need to occasionally take a step back from our work, and from the lure of social media and blogging (or avoidance of same) and think a few things through. Take some time to really identify your ideal customers and clients, and your secondary groups. Think through their needs, interests, and WIFFM (What’s In It For Me). For more on this see my post: Social Media and blogging can turn cold calls into warm leads.
Do Your Customer Homework with Pew, Nielsen or Hubspot Demographics
Try not to make assumptions – don’t assume they aren’t on Facebook or Twitter. look up key terms to see who’s talking about them. Check the online demographics research from sites like Pew Online Research Center (example: 65% of online adults use social networking sites) or Nielsenwire (example: What Americans Do Online – Social Media, Blogs and game dominate). and Hubspot.com Example: 12 Mind-Blowing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know.
DIY Customer Research:
You might even create a free online survey of your own (you can use Survey Monkey or Zoomerang or do a Facebook or LinkedIn Poll), send it to your email list – you do have one don’t you? Or create an in-person/on paper survey if you have a bricks and mortar operation, or if you attend trade shows (or for the #handmade crowd, if you attend craft shows, or wholesale marketplaces).
- Ask your customers what they like about your product
- What makes yours unique, memorable, useful, fun etc.
- Ask what they would like to see more of, less of, new features, new styles or colors etc.
- Ask them if they use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and how often.
- Do they read newspapers, magazines, books, ebooks, on kindle or iPad?
- Ask if they research items to buy online.
- Ask what their hobbies are. You might find you have a lot of golfers who love your hand creme, so you could develop packaging that takes advantage of that, as an example.
Tie Your Research Back Into Your Blog and Twitter:
Like digging in the rich compost next spring, turn what you have learned into fuel for your blog and social media sites. What three to five topics interest your customers, one of them may be ways to use your products, or how your items are made, or gardening or in my case,my customers want to hear about PR, Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, blogging & small business.
My Ratio of Social Media Activity – 60:20:10:10 –
My rough ratio of social media activity is:
- Make 60% of your tweets, updates & convo about them – your customer’s or client’s interests, needs, WIFFM;
- 20% who you are – tell your story, your hobbies, make your brand human;
- 10% sales messages – Twitter connections often come to you after a while – w/o your pitching them…if they like what they see. But don’t be afraid to remind them that you are in the business occasionally. be clever about it too.
- & at least 10% fun or randomness. At one point I followed 1 random person a day, some of them turned into customer, friends and sources of good info.
With social media, as in any networking event, you never know if that one random person you strike up a conversation with, turns into your next big referral. It’s kind of like a highball drink over ice – 60 % is the ice cubes, 20 % is the tasty beverage, 10% is the lemon or lime twist, and 10 percent is when you put it altogether and share it with someone else. Yeah…kinda like that. And if you notice the image above – each drink is made a bit differently, my ideal ratio might not be your (or your customer’s)…cup of tea!
This is just a guide and it is roughly what I try to follow, or suggest for others to try if you are not sure what direction to go on Twitter.
Tomorrow I’ll post a link to the transcript of #HandmadeChat, a conversation with a bunch of folks on Twitter (I was the guest/expert) where we talked in detail about this topic. Lots of good info there too.