Today on Outright I’m pleased to share an interview with social media star Sarah Burns, who worked for a million dollar company for several years before (finally!) striking it out on her own with Tadah! Social Media. Today I asked Sarah to sit down with me and offer some tips to Etsy sellers for using social media – especially Pinterest – to boost their online business.
Justine (J): Tell me a little about yourself and how you got started in the social media world
I dove into social media when I started my blog four years ago as a way to connect with other small, mom-run businesses as I was in research and development mode with Tag a Towel. For the past three years I worked at a social media training company wearing many different hats including Director of Communications.
J: And what does Tadah Social Media offer?
S: Tadah is your place to get one on one attention to help you find and implement tools and tricks so you can work smarter when it comes to your social media marketing. I currently take on consulting clients as well as coaching clients. My favorite time spent is with a client on our breakthrough calls. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in one hour. They are always so energizing for myself and my clients.
We will soon be launching easy to understand and implement DIY kits or trainings for different aspects of social media.
J: Is social media something a product seller could use to their benefit?
S: Most definitely! Especially if you are a small business owner that needs to bootstrap and work smart. Social media can break down doors and put you right next to the customer, your next partner and even investors.
Best of all, there are so many amazing social media tools and apps that are there to help you do social media, it really makes marketing easier for the small business owner.
J: For Etsy sellers, it seems the vast majority are unsure how to use social media, let alone create a daily plan of action for their business.
a) Where do they start?
S: I would start with a self-hosted WordPress blog to create your welcome mat for potential customers. Even with an Etsy shop, get set up with a blog so that you can capture readers with an optin box so that you can send them news, updates and sales.
Having a blog is fantastic for SEO (search engine optimization) and will help you create a community that will support you.
b) What’s the absolute essential sites they should be using?
- WordPress.org or “self-hosted” wordpress: this is where you can create a site or blog that you own. You only pay a monthly hosting fee and you are able to update it as you please, which can save you a ton of money on a web master and puts you in control of your “home” online.
- Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook – to share your message & connect.
- Buffer to make sharing great articles (which show you as a leader in your space) easier.
- Hootsuite to schedule tweets and Facebook updates when you are launching a program or if you have something you regularly tweet about (ie if you host a twitter chat each week)
- I also love picmonkey.com for simple and easy graphic design needs
c) how do they approach each one strategically?
Consistency is key. If you have a blog, a Facebook Page, Twitter account and are on Pinterest, stay at the top of everyone’s mind by being active regularly.
Your audience will trust you and take the time to get to know you if they see a consistent pattern online. Interact with people, don’t just sell. Social media is for being social. Be brave and comment on a Twitter discussion. Ask question on your Facebook board to start discussion (and interact when people answer).
d) and what things should they absolutely never do?
Don’t be one-sided. Don’t only post status updates on Twitter. Instead reply back to people, retweet others and interact. Don’t be a walking billboard for your goods, let people get to know you. People buy from people, not billboards, on social media. So be you!
J: How important is goal setting for social media and how can an Etsy seller create their goals if they aren’t really sure what they want?
S: I think goal setting is a necessity for any small business owner. I know goal setting can be a bit overwhelming, but start big, with a pie in the sky idea or goal and then break it down into actionable bite size pieces. Make them small, small enough for you to actually do them. Once you’ve done one move on to the next step. One step at a time will get you to that pie in the sky.
J: Pinterest is getting a lot of buzz lately, both good and bad, how do you feel an Etsy seller should use the site for their business?
S: I think Pinterest is a great place to showcase your style and connect with people in a personal way. You can also use it to collaborate with other top people in your field by starting a board that they can all pin to. Pinterest is wonderful for research and development, too. You can spot trends and see what people are into so that you can create products that they will buy.
J: Are there ways a seller can automate some or all of their social media to lessen their daily workload?
S: Absolutely, I love the BufferApp which loads tweets and Facebook updates automatically for you at times when your audience is around to see them. There’s no scheduling, you just add updates to your queue and Buffer will send them out sporadically.
I also love NetworkedBlogs for sending your blog posts to Facebook automatically. It will also add a “blog” tab to your Facebook Page so your Facebook audience always stays up to date on your posts.
I share a lot of these and other tips to help you work smarter using social media on my free weekly Tadah newsletter.
J: What’s your favorite social media site right now and why?
S: Right now? I’d have to say Facebook. It wasn’t always that way, a couple years ago I would have said Twitter, hands down. And I still love to tweet but I’m in private Facebook business “Groups” so I find I’m there more often.
J: Do you use any social apps to help your business stay connected on the go?
S: Absolutely! I’m connected to the cloud via Google Apps. It’s a must-have for small businesses. It allows me to take my virtual office with me anywhere.
On my phone I love the Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram apps. I use the wordpress app to do photo blog posts while on the go.
J: When is it time for a business owner to think about hiring out their social media work?
S: As a business owner you have to think “what is my genius?” and “what do I like to do?” Usually they are one in the same. If social media takes you away from other things that bring in revenue, that you like to do, hire it out.
However, if you do hire out for social media make sure that the person you hire fully understand the voice of your company, rules of engagement and is up-to-date on all company goals and communication. This will allow them to take better care of your customers via social media and stay on target with your grand marketing plan.