Wednesday, April 7, 2010
As some of you may know, I was recently a guest on Jane Haskell's Doing Business radio show (WERU 89.9FM Blue Hill, Maine). The topic was using social media in business. You can hear the radio show by clicking on the Doing Business link.
Jane provided me with some questions ahead of time. Here are some highlights.
How would you rate yourself in the use of social media one year to six months ago to now?
One year to six months ago, I was using blogspot, Flickr and various chatrooms inconsistently and not very cohesively. Now, I'm involved with Blogspot, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Etsy chatrooms and forums. I'm trying to be more deliberate in my approach and develop common themes among the social media tools I'm using.
Why do you feel your business needs social media?
It's where the conversations are happening. More people are online and using social media. If I want to connect with people--friends, family, customers, potential customers--I need to spend at least some of my time online.
What makes it so now compared to one year ago?
My perspective is changing about the usefulness of social media. I'm interested in the "social" part of social media. To me, it means developing a language, a way of communicating online that invites conversation. For example, I could post something that says "Here is what I made today." By changing the wording, slightly, I can invite people to participate with the posting instead of just reading it (or clicking away from it): "I've been working on this new project, what do you think?" Posts that elicit a variety of interactions help me learn what my readers are thinking.
How does social media help with your business?
I'm not sure if there is a direct correlation with my posts and sales. It's difficult to measure. However, I do think people are interested in learning about the person behind my business. Using social media is a way for me to share my personality: what inspires me, where I get my ideas, what challenges and rewards I face.
How do you integrate social media into your business plan?
Social media is an extension of my online business and presence. It takes some planning. Some questions I ask are "What social media sites are best for me and my business?" "What social media tools are my customers using?" "What information will I post?" "What format will I use? (photos, tweets, blog posts, etc.?) "How will I know this is working for me?" "What criteria will I use to measure my progress?"
Why would you want to post material about your business and have people discuss it?
The biggest thing for me is showing people there is a human being behind my business. I like to share my experiences, insights and opinions and allow people to see some of what makes me tick. I'm a bit of a home body, so having an online presence also allows accessibility and visibility to areas of the world I would not otherwise tap into. I think whether I am online or off, people are discussing my business in one way or another. Having a presence online also means I am participating in the conversation. I learn a lot about people and the changes that are occurring in art and business--particularly in the area of microenterprise. I like being part of the conversation.
These are just some of the questions and answers I prepared for the radio show. There are a lot of good tips from the other guests on the show as well, so I hope you'll take a listen. Please let me know if this was helpful and/or if you have further comments or questions about social media.