Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Using Twitter to Best Business Advantage, Part 2: Show me the money??

Okay, so a couple blogs ago, I outlined some Twitter basics I’ve identified in my short time on the Tweets, and that’s all well and good.  But if you’re a crafter/seller/artisan, I’m sure the #1 question on your mind is:  So does Twitter actually bring sales??

Well, Twitter does bring views to my individual items (though not my shop as a whole), but as far as I know, my three months on Twitter have brought me exactly two sales–one from a “follower,” and a custom order from the same person a few months later.  On the Etsy forums, I’ve heard people claim it brings them a good percentage of their overall sales and views, while others say it’s done precisely bubkes for their biz.  Given that I can easily kill two or three hours on Twitter in a single day, as a time-spent-for-money-earned ratio, Twitter may qualify as a whale-size fail, depending on who you are.  I suspect success with TwitterBiz also has something to do with what you sell; if your product is more unique than, say, jewelry (just to randomly pluck an example out of thin air, wink wink) then you’ll probably bring more interest from fellow Twitterers than someone who makes a really easy-to-find product.

However, the purpose of marketing isn’t simply to drive people directly to the checkout button (though that is the bottom line); no, any marketing expert will tell you that it’s pretty much equally important to “brand” yourself and get your name known.  That’s part of what Twitter can do for you–getting your shop into the consciousness of as many people as you can, either on an idle click-and-close basis (at least they’ve seen your item) or in a more “Hey, I know her work!” sort of way.  The more widely dispersed your name, the bigger your reputation and the more people will ultimately breeze through your shop–and logic says that the more visitors we have, the greater chance for a sale.

Besides which, whose shop do you want your Tweeps to think of when they are in the market for a pair of knitted baby booties or a goth leather cuff?  You should be the first name they think of for your type of item, right?

Here’s a real-life example of what I’m talking about.  In a town where I used to live there was a very nice locally-owned bookshop, and I loved to go there for all my bookish needs.  It was run by a man who was very nice, but a bit ditzy and capable of, I’m convinced, literally talking someone’s ear clean off their head.  Looking for spending money, I once asked the man if he needed any holiday help for the month of December.  He more or less offered me a position in “marketing,” which in his mind meant stuffing mailboxes with flyers and cold-calling people with Christmas promotions.  I declined and thanked my stars I never had to work for him–then asked him if he’d tried advertising in the local papers, since everyone in town reads the locals.  He said he’d tried running a coupon for a couple of weeks once, but nobody had brought one in.

Even then, I knew that he had it all wrong.  See, I was a regular newspaper-reader, and maybe I didn’t have time to use coupons from the newspaper before they expired, or was too busy to remember a special store event that was advertised on a particular day & time.  But when I thought about real estate agents, I thought first of the ones I’d seen advertised in the newspaper every single week.  And when I thought of carpet stores or chiropractors or lawyers, the ones I’d repeatedly seen in the newspaper were the ones that came to my mind–and perhaps my wallet–first.

And that’s why building your brand is important.  Maybe your Twitter contacts aren’t in the market for what you’re selling now–but when they are, maybe they’ll think of your shop and be there.  Or maybe if they’re asked for a recommendation, your shop is the one they’ll think of first.  And that’s the value of long-term marketing. Thus, I think of Twitter as a permanent  investment in making my brand known.

Oh, and a social outlet, and a source of info on other things I’m interested in–it is best for that, particularly for me.  Ultimately, I wish I could have discovered Twitter’s joys first on a personal level and had the time to enjoy the luxury of following fascinating people who will never follow me back.

But us WAHMs have not this luxury; thus, I create my Twitter balance between shop-talk, shop-promotion, blog-promotion, and just plain chatter with interesting folks.  (And reading @AlYankovic’s wacky tweets.  Just can’t resist!  And hey–wouldn’t my earrings look just smashing with his long curly locks?)

Until next time, my dear reader.  Feel free to request or suggest topics you’d like to see me write about.  And please, leave a contribution in the leetel box below…or e-mail particlesofstone at yahoo dot com.  Thanks for reading!

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