03 March 2010

get noticed online

there are a lot of great social sites out there. which means not only tons of opportunities to plug your own blog but also your blooming business too. i asked these experts a couple questions concerning the social site scene. #1. what is your favorite way to promote your business? and/or #2. what is your favorite way to communicate online?

My personal blog is the best way for me to get feedback on what readers and potential customers are interested in. To promote new shop updates or new products, I use my blog, flickr and twitter to share images + text. I have found a combination of the three to be very successful.

I think hosting online giveaways at sites with readers made up of your target customer is also a really postive way to create awareness for your products and your shop. Even if the giveaway doesn't result in immediate sales, your shop may get bookmarked for future reference or your blog may gain new subscribers.

It is very important to stay active online. I recommend taking advantage of a few tools : (blog, twitter, facebook, etc) and using them fully. Don't over commit to too many forms of social media but be active on the ones that make the most sense for you, your brand and your business.

My favorite online medium is blogs. For sure. I like putting together posts - photos plus words - to tell stories or share projects. I like getting feedback through comments. I love reading blogs written by artists, friends and hilarious people.

But for me, another great way to share information and maintain friendships is through twitter. I have gotten to know some of my favorite bloggers and online friends better through the exchange of everyday information. It's an easy way to touch base and very simple to use. I also love twitter as a resource for keeping up with my "real life" friends that live on the west coast. Emails tell the important things, but it's the little details (like where a friend went for lunch or how a work project is going) that make me feel like I am staying a part of these friend's daily lives.
- elise blaha | enjoy design

Print press has always been the bane of my existence - it is great in terms of free PR and a great boost in sales but it inevitably always comes during the holidays - a time of year when I am just wanting to bake cookies & spend time with family! ;) Online reviews on well read blogs work in addition to word of mouth.
- jenny | LobotoMe.com

I like my blog and Twitter best, but for entirely different reasons. Design Crush allows me to share focused posts that are really true to the little space I've carved out. Twitter more so for little things I come across that really have no place on D.C. or that I wouldn't devote an entire post to. And of course, in both cases, I adore the interaction with others. I get so, so much out of the comments readers leave on my blog and from the bouncing back and forth of ideas on Twitter. Both make my day and my designs that much better.
- Kelly | Design Crush

it is very difficult being the artist AND the business woman at the same time. my forte is NOT selling myself. so at first i hired a rep whose job it was to get wholesale orders for me by doing gift shows throughout the country. but these days, via the internet, it is really easy to reach people worldwide. i think sites like ETSY make it VERY easy to showcase your work. having an online shop is key. also having a blog helps keep people interested and updated about your product. it's a good idea to start small and do local craft shows . this is a way to get feedback on your product and it starts the word-of-mouth buzz about your product which i think is very important.
- rae dunn

In addition to listing frequently on etsy, I participate in a few art shows each year to promote my work. The people in my community now know about my business, I have built a strong clientele through word of mouth. This has lead to boutiques carrying my prints, framed. But my favorite way to promote my business is through my blog! There is such a supportive, positive community of bloggers out there.
- karyn | den10studio

I am still in the beginning stages of establishing my photography business, so I am still developing ways to promote myself. I have made some contacts and hope to include postcards in new family envelopes that are given out at area hospitals when a baby is born. I also hope to have some business cards in an area boutique specializing in unique children's clothing. Before my computer died, I also started to set up an etsy shop specializing in photographs/prints and other photography related products and once this is established I plan to offer some giveaways and I plan to do some sponsorship on blogs, etc.
- melissa deakin photography

Right now I'm only using blogs and twitter. But I think that using every avenue that you can is a great idea. Marketing is changing. People fast forward commercials and automatically tune out all sorts of ads. You have to use what you can and think outside of the box.
- brittany | one charming party

I have not been shy about trying anything and everything to promote my business. This is my livelihood here! My own blog, facebook, local boutiques, networking in general, and even paid sponsorships on popular blogs have all made up the pieces of my marketing strategy. Though I have had some degree of success with all of these strategies, BY FAR my favorite way to promote my business goes hand-in-hand with one of my 3 tips for a successful business: GENEROSITY.

I launched my business last summer with a few giveaways (one of them right here with the lovely miss Marta) and I immediately became addicted to the buzz and energy it created. There’s something about “FREE” that gets women in particular all amped up, and if all of that hyperactivity is aimed toward my business… AWESOME! . I find that when I give away one item, the buzz created and the response I get more than makes up for the time and material I sacrificed initially. Whenever I question where my sales are going to come from next, I plan another give away and instantly have a new customer base.

After taking a month off for Christmas, I wasn’t sure how to jumpstart my business again in the new year. I’d had an idea to do a benefit sale in January in honor of my nephew’s birthday, and realized the timing would be perfect to help me build some momentum as well. Though all the proceeds from that sale went to Autism Speaks (over $1300 in 3 days), that decision to give generated so much business and created more opportunities than anything I’d ever done. That, and it changed my life. Opening my heart and asking others to do the same for a cause I believed in was a miracle for my life and my business.
- jessica | allora handmade

Blog for sure. Though twitter is a close second.
I love the constant conversation that goes on, on twitter.
- melissa | isly

Spend too much time promoting and you leave little time to produce great content, yet spending too little time marketing great content may leave you with little recognition. Fine line, no? I am definitely still working on this subject. Here are a few things I have done to help The Mother Huddle blog:

* Link with well known blogs that share the same niche, they will notice.
* Create a specific series or event that will draw the attention of like minded bloggers.
* Give them something to talk about. Something good.

I think first and foremost focus on great content, then focus on ways to promote it. If you spend to much time marketing your blog it leaves little time to create content people are willing to notice and share.
- destri | the mother huddle

I've found blogging to be a great way to connect with a market that appreciates what I do. I don't Tweet because I'm never doing anything that interesting. I've never advertised because I've always carried a full work load, but it's on the discussion board at the moment as I take a look at redefining my direction for 2010.
- kal | love life

I loved facebook before facebook was cool. And I still love it, but I make only the rare appearance. I like to do only what I can do well and with consistency. And for me right now that is a blog and a flickr group.
- amber | givers log

there are so many options, it sounds like all of these ladies have discovered what social websites work for their situations. i currently don't tweet or facebook and (surprisingly) don't feel completely in the dark yet. blogging is my one and only for now. tune in tomorrow for some really great time management tips. talk about the art of juggling.


Katherine said...

The hardest thing for me by far is getting people to just look at my blog. I've tried flickr, twitter, facebook, commenting, linking, and it still often feels like I'm writing for an audience of three or four (who just happen to be close friends or family). How do you make those difficult initial contacts that will get people to actually notice?

~Kristina said...

I've noticed that as my commentatorship on other blogs increases so does the traffic to my blog. :)
I'm absolutely enjoying this workshop, Marta! Thank you.

Miranda said...

I'm so intrigued by how many of these girls Twitter! I have an account that I never use and I'm okay with that right now. But I always try to keep myself open to the possibility of using it someday.

Chelsea said...

I agree that being active on other people's blogs seems to help bring in more traffic to my own blog--even though I am just getting started!

I love Twitter as well--it's so much fun to see what interests people or what they have to say outside their blog.

Anonymous said...

Twitter helps quite a bit especially if your blog is set to automatically tweet about your newest post.

Also, the more I get out there an comment on the blogs of others the more traffic and comments I get. I really need to work on bringing out the lurkers since on some days my blog is getting A LOT of hits but virtually no comments.

That being said, traffic is still patchy and like Katherine in comment #1 I am trying to figure out how to get people to notice, visit, and comment on my blog.

Bea said...

ooohh I can't wait for the time management tips! I need them... NOW. (hahaha get it?)

Unknown said...

Great advise. I love the advise about leaving comments they are so important.

Monica said...

comments make me happy. i love to read other's comments as well. i just started a blog this year so i am soaking up all this information.

thanks marta!

Fruitful Fusion said...

Another great post!

fairlytypical, that's an interesting question: How do you get blurkers to comment? I'd love to find that out!

Ann Marie said...

I am new here.. and LOVE your post about blooging and Jealousy. Could I link to it? I think it's too well written and fabulous to not share.
Let me know.. Thanks! ~ Ann

Oh and PS: You are a great writer!
I am a follower!

Cabinessa said...

I feel like I'm breaking some sort of tragic law because I don't Tweet. When I admit to other bloggers that I'm not on Twitter, they. just. stare.

I can totally see the appeal, the fun, for others. Maybe someday I'll change my mind. But, for now, Twitter just isn't me.

Jennifer said...

This is a great series, Marta. Thanks so much. I don't tweet yet and I rarely use my facebook. But I'm intrigued by formspring... (thank you for introducing me to it) so I'll leave that as a question mark for now.

As for getting readers to comment, I find that ending a post with a question often stirs up a flurry of responses. What do you think?
(see -- made you want to comment, right?)

Dani said...

I love all your great advice! I am just starting out my blog and it is so great to hear these great ideas from those of you who have beautiful and successful blogs!

Tori said...

Thanks so much for all the advice. I had temporarily been distracted form my blog and was considering to just give up, but this has inspired me to attempt it again. I especially love that some of the advice is from some of my favorite blogs.

ashley maureen said...

interesting to hear what works for some doesn't always work for others. just goes to show you have to be in tune with yourself!

Katrina said...

I broke up with Twitter a week or so ago...I just couldn't keep up like I wanted to. I adore Facebook. And...Formspring keeps popping up, so I guess I'll explore that! I don't mind try things...but I'm honest with myself when they don't work for me.

KjO said...

Should I be worried that I am the only guy commenting? What does that say about me? Ha ha. I think my wife is going to tease me a little bit when I tell her. Which she should.

Anyway, the twitter thing kind of boggles my mind. I just don't really get it. Oh breadcrumbs...I think I just became an old man by saying I don't get a new piece of technology. Hold on for a moment while I go have a mid life crisis.
Ok I am back. I think I am going to have to look into twitter, but I like that you don't twitter. I suppose it is all about being true to yourself.


Anonymous said...

I only started a blog two months ago, and I'm still befuddled by reasons behind its lows and peaks in hits (my peak so far has been 80 views one day! I still celebrate it :D). Commenting on other blogs definitely helps, but I think the most important thing is that your comment is actually interesting. I mean, I often leave comments such as "this is wonderful" but I think that you get really noticed when you actually relate something more than that (e.g. contribute a personal story that the post reminded you of, or a link to something related to what the post was talking about). I definitely also gave up on the idea of commenting JUST to get clicks on my blog - it just wastes my time and the space on the other blog. So I really comment only when I have something to say. I think it works well.


p.s. Also, what seems to help a bit too is being one of the first commentators on a new post, I get the feeling that people will usually click on the first few commentators to see who they are, but after more than 3 or 4 it gets tiring (at least this is how I read blogs!). Not much you can really do about this, you certainly shouldn't be hanging round your rss reader 24/7 just to catch those posts the second they come in, but if it happens by chance - it's a good thing, I think.

Cate Brickell said...

Thank you for this series - it's very interesting, even from a how-do-other-people-blog kind of perspective, not a "trying-to-build-a-business" point of view. (in fact, I think I have some blog envy happening!)

I'm curious to know about how statistics, especially blog "hits" affects other bloggers. I got rid of stat counters, because I was always checking them, but what do others do?

piccola samurai said...

This is definitely the best discussion for me in this workshop. I started my blog just a week ago so am now trying to get some readership but I'm not too stressed with stats. I decided to start commenting on the blogs I read everyday and I totally agree with Ivana, your comments should say something interesting. Even if I still sometimes write only "you look great" when I really think just that :-)
To get noticed you need to work hard and stay true to yourself. In my case, my mantra these days is slow and steady wins the race.

Amy said...

I just started a love affair with Twitter, still in the getting to know you phase but definitely falling for it.

I love comments on my blog, ending with a genuine question is always fun and usually generates discussion.

This workshop is SO GREAT! So fun to get into the minds of other bloggers. Thanks Marta!

Christine said...

i don't tweet or facebook either, but have wondered about setting up a facebook page for my little online shop... a fan page of sorts. has anyone out there had success with that sort of thing?

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Wow again. These posts are very helpful. Have had my blog and Etsy shop up for a month now and all this information is great. I haven't even explored Twitter or Facebook yet, can't decide on them, but you've all given me pause. What an encouraging and supportive place this blog world is! Thanks to everyone for sharing.

Tarsila Kr├╝se said...

Experts! Thank you for the TIPS!!!
I have a tweeter account but since I don't have a shop I haven't really used it for this purpose, just for the inspirational thoughts and what I'm doing kind of stuff... I am amazed on how people manage to tweet (I always forget it exists). Now, maybe I need to change that...

IngridGrace said...

Okay, all of these comments have made me guilty (in a good way.) I tend to lurk and enjoy the wonderful posts/comments here, but have never left one! This blogging workshop has inspired me to keep going on my newly hatched blog.


sunny said...

Love that you are staying true to yourself, Marta!

I have facebook (mostly for friends and the youth at church I work with but also some bloggers!) and Twitter. I have been amazed at how many bloggers keep up a steady flow of conversation on twitter...so now I'm going to jump in and join them. Here.....I......gooooo!

amy said...

Thank you for all the wonderful information. I too am guilty of reading tons of blogs and not commenting, yet not getting any comments on my own blog. I will start commenting way more often....I just have to balance the time management lol! I could read and comment for hours each and every day!

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