guest post by Sarah Stearns of Makery
Bonnie Raitt was a social media guru before sites like Twitter and Facebook even existed. Yes — in addition to her Grammy Award-winning singing career, Ms. Raitt succeeded in building her fan base by giving her listeners something to talk about. (Go ahead — play the song in the background while you read this post!)
Some people say that social media is a revolution, or “a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.” And that is true, I suppose. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have their own lingo, their own culture, and a bit of a learning curve.
But that doesn’t mean social media has to be difficult. Instead, I say that engaging in social media is as simple as having a conversation. It’s just that this conversation — this social media conversation — happens online.
Would it surprise you to hear that I think you are social media expert, too? You have what it takes to build a buzz and get your community talking. How? Just give ‘em something to talk about.
In fact, you are engaging in social media right now. You are listening to me, and pretty soon, you’ll tell me your point of view in the comments. It’s a conversation. A dialogue. And that’s what makes social media so great.
If you can make small talk, then you can succeed in social media.
“People are talkin’, talkin’ bout people.”
Person-to-person conversation is the heart and soul of social media. Websites like Facebook and (my personal favorite) Twitter provide exciting ways for users to connect with new (and long lost) friends, potential collaborators, and other handmade-enthusiasts.
For me, social media is a quick and easy way to chat with a vibrant community of smart, friendly, crafty folks all over the globe. What’s more, the internet enables me to find that special group of people who “get” me, who are more than happy to share their ideas with me, and who want to support my creative growth.
I’d bet that you, in reading Scoutie Girl, have stumbled upon a similar community of inspiring, encouraging souls.
Some of the things I love most about Twitter are the one-on-one conversations I have with friends — and the group chats I have with the larger community. For example, @SisterDiane (Diane Gilleland) and @penquintrax (Barbara Forbes-Lyons) host a monthly “craft social” on Twitter, where crafty folks go to talk about their current project and meet new people.
Online collaboration via social media also encourages us to stay connected — when in “real life” we can stagnate, isolated in our cubicles or quiet studios.
“A little mystery to figure out.”
Ready to step up to the social media microphone, but not sure what to say?
The good news is that the informality of social media is a great ice breaker, and it encourages folks to let their guard down a little. My number one tip: just be yourself.
You don’t need to feel shy. Remember: your Twitter followers and Facebook friends signed up to hear from you for a reason! They are truly interested in hearing what you have to say.
Your creative voice has caught their attention — and they are interested in learning more about you and your latest crafty projects. So here is your “Social Media Permission Slip.” Please tell us your passions, your inspirations, your struggles, your joys. Tell us what you are creating in the studio. Most of all, tell us your story.
“Now that we know it, let’s really show it, Darlin”
Not sure what to say? Well, first think about what your followers want to hear. Sort of like small talk.
1. Listen, first. Discover your follower’s interests by reading what they have to say. You might inspiration in their blog posts and their tweets. If they inspire you, let them know.
2. Send someone a useful comment. When you pay attention to what your followers are saying, you’ll discover ways that you can help them out. Share your knowledge!
3. Post a link or two to blog posts you’ve written. I’d bet your Twitter followers would love to know about new projects going on in your life.
4. Post a link to interesting and entertaining things you’ve found on the web. People love — and trust — the recommendations of a friend.
Sarah Stearns is a social media and marketing consultant who works with small businesses to build their brand, engage their customers, and increase their bottom line. She is a life-long creator who is passionate about encouraging small business success stories within the Handmade Community. As an independent business owner herself, she understands just what it takes to make it as a creative entrepreneur.