In this day and age of constant contact, fresh content and high visibility, the notion of not participating on social media is an odd idea for most small business owners. It is hard to believe that there are still some businesses that don’t have to do social media.
When we talk about social media our minds automatically spring to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and similar sites, however ‘media’ has been around for a very long time. When you think about it, newspapers were social media back in the days before television and radio were even invented, and before the written word and mass literacy, you could say that spreading the word my mouth through town criers, and speeches given at public meetings in the centre of town were the means of conveyance for news and information.
So even though a small business may not want or need to go down the social media path as we know it today, they will still need to use some sort of ‘media’ to get their name out there and their business recognised. Social media is not simply Facebook or Twitter, but a whole network of different media through which to communicate.
Social Media Or Social Selling?
Let’s look at an example of a small business owner who may not think they need to use social media. A bespoke jewellery designer and crafter working out of a workshop attached to a small shop in a busy town. He has a visible shop front, so his business has a solid presence. He works in the shop, so he is instantly contactable and available to interested buyers. He displays his completed work in his shop window, so his work is on display to the general public and priced accordingly.
Why would he need to spend his precious time building and maintaining a website or even a Facebook page? Surely his time is better spent on creating his products to sell.
He may believe he would have enough passing trade to be able to sell all his pieces, but of all the passing trade walking by his shop, how many of them will actually be interested in his work? How many passers by actually have the time to stop and look in his shop window? Although he may not want to venture into the world of Facebook, he may find that social selling platforms are a better fit for his business – social selling sites like Etsy, Folksy, NotOnTheHighStreet, and eBay.
Social selling sites are a great idea for the small artisan crafts person or artist, and using these sites are a simple way of expanding your shop window to those buyers who are actually looking for your type of work. If you also want to expand your doorstep reach to get people over the threshold, even setting up the simplest of websites that contains your address and contact details will be useful because you can list it on Google My Business to get your shop on to your local interest sites.
Building A List
Email communication and lists are something that we have always treated differently to what we would normally class as social media, but is it really that different? It is still a channel of communication that goes to our interested followers, so the lines are a bit blurred in my opinion.
Owning a list of email contacts is a very useful thing for a small, niche business. You have a valuable list of people that you know are interested in your work, have probably already purchased some of your work, and are interested in either finding out more about your work or want to be notified when you make something new.
Alerting your email list of a brand new piece, or about a new range you are about to produce, will generate a lot more business than simply putting your new pieces in your shop window. But to successfully build your list, you should really be able to capture emails via a website, or at the very least through a button on your Facebook page.
When I hear local business owners say, OK, but my business is way too niche to fit in there, I have to ask: Is it? Is it really? Because I cannot think of a single business that wouldn’t benefit from using social media or social selling. You use one to promote the other, so why wouldn’t you want to make use of these valuable selling tools?
Take our jewellery designer for example, if he didn’t want to spend time cultivating his social media accounts, much preferring to put his time and energy into making jewellery instead, then why not set up a camera to capture him at work? He can demonstrate his skill and talk about his passion to the camera, and then upload his video to YouTube. Add a link back to his simple website with his contact details and a link to join his email list, and boom! A fresh lead of fans interested in his work on his email list ready and waiting to sell to.
So even if you think it would be a waste of your time and energy to get into social media marketing, there is always a chance to develop a niche following for your work. If you are too pressed for time to dedicate your attention to building your sites, then talk to us to find out how we can help you. After all, what do you have to lose?