Sunday, 20 March 2016

Using Social Media For Your Business - Facebook

Hello again. if you've been following this business tips course from the beginning then by now you have learnt how to register your business name, register for tax, price your handmade goods and set up your accounts records, so now let's talk about social media.
These days social media is a big part of running a business and if you don't have a presence with the most popular ones then you are definitely missing a trick. There are lots of technical things to do with algorithms and post reach and many professional people that can help and explain all that, but for now we are going to concentrate on the simpler side of things. The truth is that I understand how some of it works but frankly much of it is beyond me. I do however try to keep up as much as possible with the latest news and views of the professionals. The internet is full of useful information so spending some time every now and again doing a bit of research can often mean gaining a lot of free knowledge that will help you progress and improve both your business and your efficiency. Perhaps doing just that is how you found this blog in the first place.

Facebook is by far my preferred social media platform, one reason is that I can do so much all in the one place. The down side is that it can become addictive and before you know it you've spent the whole day chatting, or is that just me? Firstly you need to set up a page for your business, you will need to have a personal profile to do that but I would imagine that you probably have one already. If not don't worry just sign up, its free. When you are logged on just click the little downwards facing triangle on the right of the top blue bar and you will see the option to create a page. Choose local business and follow the instructions, it's very straight forward but as always if you need any help just give me a shout. You can leave a comment below or find me on Facebook just look for Downland Crafts in the search bar top left.

That brings me an important point, be sure to keep your name and your branding consistent throughout all your online accounts, that way it makes it much easier for your customers to find you, interact with you and ultimately buy from you. A common mistake I see often on Facebook is people setting up personal profiles in their business name. This is not a good idea. For one it is against Facebook rules to run a business from a profile and they will shut you down when they find you, it may take some time but I have seen it happen many times to crafting friends. Another reason is because unless you make all your posts public your customers would have to 'friend' you to see what you have to say and if they decide not to send you friend request then your posts will not appear in their timeline. Now you may be thinking 'well that sounds ok, I am happy to friend my customers', but the question should be are your customers happy to become friends with you? After all they don't know you and by having to send you a friend request means they are giving you access to all their posts and personal information. Would you do that with a shop you are thinking of buying from? I think the answer is probably no. It looks much more professional to create a business page that your customers can 'like'. This gives them access to your posts without having to share any of their private information with you except their name and anything else they have made public.

On your page you can also set opening hours, add a link to your website or other selling platform such as an Etsy shop, add your contact details and other information on your business including displaying your logo and photos of your products. Facebook are constantly updating and adding features and we will go into these tools in more detail in a later post. When used correctly I believe this is a valuable extension to your business and provides an excellent online platform for your customers to engage with you.

I could talk about Facebook for ages, I have many pages and groups that I admin myself and a couple of groups that I co-admin. Groups are a great source of information too, they help me keep up with the latest trends, what the customers like and don't like, plus there are lots of selling groups as well. I hope this has helped get you started and in the next instalment we'll talk about Twitter.
Until next time....happy crafting

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