I was puttering strategically networking around Twitter last week when my favorite podcaster, Sister Diane, offered up a chance to review her e-book: Social Media for your Crafty Business. I’ve learned over the past year that many of you are curious about social media and how to go beyond just putting your toe in the water. I knew this resource would be a perfect launch-point for a discussion on social media, particularly for those working to build a business in designing digital products or in scrap-for-hire.
Social Media for your Crafty Business
This e-book, offered at $24.95, seeks to:
- Explain in simple terms how social media works, where its pitfalls are, and how to avoid them.
- Explain how to use the two most important elements of effective social media: value and engagement.
- Offer lots of concrete suggestions for ways you can inject your craft business into the social media space without annoying people.
- Help with managing your time and tracking your results.
Right off the bat, I’m impressed that Diane emphasizes the element of trust and in fact, really bases the whole book on building it for yourself and your brand. This brought an immediate degree of credibility to the advice.
Unfortunately, with these tools you can also quickly annoy people.Â Annoyed people will ignore you, and tell their friends to ignore you. So you have to tread carefully in the social media space.
Diane states up front that while social media also refers to blogs and social bookmarking, this book is about social networking and in particular, Facebook and Twitter. I was disappointed though, to read she really has given up on Facebook. I appreciate the honestly, but personally disagree.
There is a very large potential customer base within Facebook that is somewhat less techno savvy than those on Twitter. They are as a whole, older than Twitter users, and therefore have more disposable income to support small businesses. I think this is especially true for the scrapbooking industry.
Understanding Social Media
Moving on, I loved how Diane gave a good amount of page time to defining the purpose behind social media as a tool for business. However, I cannot underscore enough that her tips are relevant for anyone engaging in this sphere.
You form genuine relationships with [people]. You listen to what they have to say.Â You give them value without asking for anything in return.
This selflessness, this offering of relevance and value is what Chris Brogan is a genius at and others aspire to. Diane offers specific suggestions on what it means to get it right and how to avoid getting it dreadfully wrong.
The trust you build with people will naturally lead them to your business over time.
Friends & Followers: The book delves quite a bit into the sticky issue of other people’s motivations in using social media. Diane correctly points out that there are many that will pretend to be your friend, but really just want to sell you something. For this reason, it is important to be discriminate in your own friending.
What to Say: I hear questions on this subject more often than not when discussing social media with someone new. People just don’t know what they are supposed to say. Diane offers many great illustrations of effective uses of Twitter and Facebook updates for building our personal profile.
Branding: Though this term is not mentioned specifically, Diane does a great job of explaining how social media users can create a consistent, positive image within the sphere. Building on the concept of value, she offers tips for helping your creativity shine.
Using Social Media
The second half of the book goes into many details that help you build an effective social media presence. Diane offers specific examples and offers answers to many common questions, like how often to post. The section on special tools, like Facebook Fan Pages and hashtags, is essential reading.
I particularly enjoyed the advice on effective time management when using social media. Diane admits early on that these tools take time and commitment, but here offers ways to moderate the burden. The most important point she offers is worth repeating:
Donâ€™t try to read it all – youâ€™ll go mad!
Social media, Twitter especially, is an free-flowing stream of thoughts and ideas. Jump in where you are, listen and engage, then get out. Use tools and strategies, like those offered in this section, to find the information you really want.
A Note to Scrappers: I want to emphasize again that this information has a lot of relevance for scrappers. As craft product consumers, you have great opportunities to connect with brands you love. You also hold an ever-increasing amount of power in the social sphere. Understanding the basics will help prepare you to offer value to the community as well as to distinguish true friends.
Buy the E-Book
Anyone new to social media or looking to delve deeper will appreciate this thoughtful review of the basics. Even seasoned pros will find useful nuggets of wisdom, particularly in measuring results, as well as find value in the reminders about trust-building. Digital scrapbooking designers can immediately benefit from the depth and breadth of a book tailored to the unique needs of creative businesses.
How are you using social media to build personal or business relationships? Are there any areas you’re curious about?