Back on November 7th, I sat on a panel of 6 people talking about social media and brand marketing to my fellow vendor/market/creatives/small business peers. To say I was nervous is a huge understatement because I was alongside other entrepreneurs with much larger followings than us, much more experience than us, and a background/education to back it all up. But, ya know what? it didn't matter, I was the person on that panel that is just like you, side hustling it while trying to balance all the things.
I learned so much that night and felt truly inspired and empowered that
a. what I'm doing is working, and that's being authentically myself.
and b. I got validation that I didn't know I was looking for, that I do have a handle on social media, even when it feels like I don't.
I wanted to write this post as a follow up to a few of the keynotes I took away from the workshop, in hopes that it helps you guys, my peers, that much more.
Biggest Most Important Tip:
Just keep trying! You may not be posting that Instagram post at the ideal time in order to get the most views and engagement, but you need to keep posting. Even if it's only when you can make it work for you. People will see it eventually, and your tribe will find you. Also, keep taking photos. You may notice that over time your photos begin to evolve and look better and better. Practice makes perfect, and natural light makes a world of difference.
Utilize Insta Stories on Instagram. Use it as your behind the scenes, or sharing more of an explanation of what you've posted on your feed, and share posts that you've been tagged in by your customers or other businesses. If you're not comfortable speaking directly to the camera, that's ok! use photos/videos and text to explain what's going on, or videos with you talking, but showing what you're working on, rather than yourself. I recommend still adding text to a few of the slides.
Sign up for all free social media platforms, ie. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok. Even if you don't plan on using it right away, or it's not a platform you want to focus on, sign up and get your business name handle before it's too late and you have to use a version of it because someone else has signed up using it. And a lot of the apps are synced together, so you can post on one app and then share it to others simultaneously.
You can always delete it later if its the newest platform and it ends up being a fad. Experiment and figure out which platform works best for you, and I mean both technologically, visually, and from a sales perspective, for what your product or service is. You probably want to spend most of your time on an app that's helping bring in sales, rather than one that doesn't.
Working/Collaborating with Influencer/Bloggers Tip:
It may take time to find someone that aligns with you and/or your brand. But once you do, you've gained their following which equals more eyes on your product/service. Think of the ideal customers for your business, if you make crochet teddy bears than perhaps a Mommy Blogger with little kids is the right person to reach out too. Also, utilizing people local to you is the best first step. Once you are at a point of building things bigger within your business, then try expanding your reach outside of your local community/city.
Don't be afraid of "Cold Calling"! Well, in this day and age, it's more like "Cold Emailing". A tip given to me was reaching out via email as opposed to a direct message on Instagram, as it may get lost amongst the masses, and it helps set a more professional tone. If you can't find their email address on their website or profile pages on social media, then it is appropriate to send a direct message via Instagram introducing yourself, and asking what the best way is to get in touch with them, ie. their email.
Well, if you've made it this far you're my hero. There's a lot to be said on social media and how to utilize it, and at the workshop, we really only scratched the surface. I'm not claiming that I'm an expert, I've had successes and a ton of failures. However, I'm confident in my passion and my small business and want to share that with the world. There's no perfect method to utilize social media, we are all different people and have different perspectives, so as long as it feels good to you, do that.
Big thanks to Dan of the Home Grown Market who organized and hosted this super cool workshop, and for bringing in an underdog like me to participate and put in my two cents. Also, Dan is offering One on Ones and further chats for a small fee if you want to learn more.
If anyone has questions, or wants to discuss things further with me, I'm happy to answer and chat. Dm me on Instagram @elizabethovintage or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.