So... the real point of this blog post to give you a tip about Facebook and Twitter. Lots of small businesses are focusing on social media to get their message out - it's a hugely powerful tool and it's free! You can reach millions of people via what is called "viral marketing". What is that I hear you say? Basically, it's marketing through networks. Let me give you a scenario - before I started Soaperstar I knew that I had to get a presence online and build up interest for the product and company before I could start selling.. otherwise who will buy something they don't know exists? Ok. So what did I do? I set up a blog firstly (you're reading it!) that just told of what I was doing - plain and simple English, just to say "hey folks, this is my stuff and this is what I'm working on now". Then I decided to set up a Facebook Fan Page. Lots of people already have personal pages on Facebook but you can also set up a business page too to promote your products to your network... who are they? Your friends and family that you've sent a link to and said "come and join us on our new business page".
Ok, so now my friends and family have joined but I'm not going to take over the soaping universe through them am I? Well, yes in a way. You ask your friends and family to send an invite to your Facebook Fan Page to their friends and family. So .. how you've reached two layers of people. Then on your Facebook Page, say to everyone please feel free to invite your network to join.. so now how many people can you reach? Plenty! Loads more than the number of people you ever know. They invite their network, who invites their network, who invites their network.. see how it works? Ok, not everyone is going to be interested or join or even click the link - but imagine if even 10% do!
I've just done a forum post on some tips arising from the use of Facebook and Twitter and thought I'd do a blog post on it also; it may be of some interest to people so I thought I'd share it.
Vanity URL's with Facebook: When you've built up at least 25 fans, you can change your facebook fan page to what they call a "Vanity URL". When you first create your Facebook fan page, pretty much just a string of letters and numbers and long and not very attractive. To make it more like your own site link, that contains the name of your company this is what you should do:
Click http://facebook.com/username. At the bottom of the page, you'll see a link called "set a username for your pages". Click on it and then you'll see a drop down - click on this and you should see your "business fan page". At that point, you should put in the name of your company/fan page, ie Soaperstar. Word of warning, at this stage you have to make committment to using that name - you can't go back and change it later so make sure you've clicked the right thing!!!
After doing all this, you'll have a nice simple Facebook Fan Page address ... example http://www.facebook.com/soaperstar - instead of a mass of jumbled up letters and numbers after the dot com. This is handy to quote on your business cards, the end of your emails, on Twitter, your blog, the end of forum signatures etc.
Twitter and how to manage your messages: If you're using Twitter regularly, download Tweetdeck, click http://www.tweetdeck.com; it's free and it manages the process far easier. You can set up columns for your friends or for specific people you want to keep a track on. If you want to use hastags (which are used for subjects of interest to people - if lots of people use it for the same subject, it's called trending) then add the hashtags #soap and/or #handmade to your Tweet. Then people can search for all the #soap tweets if they want. Also it makes it a more trending topic.
I hope this information proves useful to someone - I am a big fan of social media and I think, for small businesses who don't have marketing budgets the size of the big guys (or any marketing budget at all!), then the social media route is so important to check out. Don't underestimate the power of a network!!!