Business Launch: Learnt Creations

Fern is launching her new business, Learnt Creations!

Fern is launching her new business, Learnt Creations!

For today’s business post, I want to spotlight one I’ve been working with for a number of months now. I am exciting to announce that Learnt Creations is up and running!

Fern is a lady I’ve been working with for nearly a year now to get her business ready. We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last several months, from getting inventory organized to having products stocked and ready for sale. After much discussion, we decided to begin online- good news for those of you not local!

Fern sells crafting products that she creates herself. Her inventory is always growing, so keep a close watch on her Facebook page as new products are added! “Like” the page for extra deals and discounts, some of which only apply to fans!

Business in social media: What to post

Before you even start your business, you should create a Facebook page. Before you apply for that store location, you should be posting status updates.

Why? Because it generates interest. People get excited about something new.

Keep in mind, it does come with a price. Maintaining a Facebook page for an unestablished business is more difficult than keeping one that has been around for years.

However, there’s no arguing the potential advantages it can give you. It does mean that what you’ll be posting will be slightly different.

So when you don’t have sales and new products, what do you post? Here are a few quick suggestions:

Updates
Your company Facebook page acts just like your personal profile. The idea is to post updates about your life, sharing it with friends and family. The same concept goes for your business.

I think Patrick describes it well here. Facebook, and social media in general, is about relationships. You develop a relationship with people, and they will follow you. No relationship, and they’ll forget about you in a week. What’s more, they’ll be more likely to turn on you. With a foundation for a relationship, they’ll be more forgiving.

Updates secure that relationship; they develop it. It draws in your followers, lets them know what you’re doing. It doesn’t have to be a new product introduction, but if you tell them that your application for a business license was just approved, they’ll cheer with you. Continual updates make them a part of your journey, and they’ll love you for it.

Goals and deadlines
Not only does it keep you accountable on what you’re doing, it also gives them something to look forward to. This pays off as you build anticipation for the coming date. Add a grand opening, and the anticipation doubles, and you might find yourself overrun when you finally DO open.

Pictures
People relate to visuals; it helps them to see things. It also makes your posts more eye-catching. Any time you’re at an event, whether it be a trade show or even just out shopping for business supplies, use that as an excuse to take a picture. It generates interest, and also serves as proof that you’re actually doing something.

Shoutouts*
Two birds with one stone: you get to share something that is important to you AND you just might get something in return. Shoutouts are when you single out a specific person, organization, or item, in order to bring attention to it. It’s a great way do a friend a favor while at the same time increasing your own page.

Fact is, while you may not have all the neat updates of a long-established company, you do have something you can contribute. It’s a fickle world and you better deliver, but the payoff is well worth it. You’ll build a loyal customer base and by the time you open shop, with any luck you’ll have a ready stream of customers.

*This is really too large a topic to cover in one post, but I at least wanted to address it. I’ll post a more detailed explanation on it next week, including tips and a short description of online etiquette. Stay tuned!

 

Being a start-up business in social media has its own challenges…

Last week, I discussed the best time to start social networking for your business as part of a series on social networking. (Check here for the beginning of the series: an explanation of social networking and what it has to do with your business.) Social networking can be a fickle thing and is confusing to many, especially for those starting new businesses. Instinct says to wait until your business is established before creating a Facebook page.

In this post, I explained why that’s not the best idea. It’s still doable and it’ll work, but for the greatest impact, you want to create your Facebook page before you even begin your business– even when you’re still in the research stage.

Doing this comes with its own set of challenges, however. A Facebook page for a start-up business is a lot different from one that’s long since established. You don’t have sales to advertise. You don’t have a new line of products to introduce. You may not even have a location to invite people to.

But you can’t just let it slide, either. Continuous updates will be the catalyst for the success of your business. People are quick to forget and quick to move on. They won’t wait around for you to get started.

If a known, established business, say, Walmart, goes a few weeks or even a month without posting, people aren’t likely to miss it. And, they’ll still shop at Walmart. Why? Because Walmart is already firmly established in people’s minds as the go-to place for shopping. They already know it’s there, and they know where to find it.

You don’t have that advantage. You miss a post, and people are likely to forget you. I’ve seen pages who have gone months without posting, and finally post a status update. The result was many angry fans who’d forgotten they had even liked the page and questioned why the post even appeared on their newsfeed. They lost likes over it.

People are fickle. The harshest critic of you and your company isn’t the media or the investors; it’s the consumers. In my last post, I mentioned the reason for creating your business social network early is to make people a part of your journey. The downside of that is the risk of leaving them out of your journey.

People need to be a part of something. When you offer an invitation to join, but don’t deliver, they’ll forget about you at best and feel jilted at worst.

Having a Facebook page for a start-up business isn’t impossible. It’s just not the same as a business that’s already established. It has its own perks, but it also has its own challenges.

Start a Facebook page- or any other social media account- early. Get it going before you even start your business. But to make it successful, you need to deliver. Commit to posting at least once a week. No, you don’t have sales… but you have other things. And sometimes, it’s those unique posts that send your success soaring.

So what do you post, if not sales and product announcements? I’ll share that part with you next week!

Social networking: An invitation for a journey of a lifetime

Well, last week was a day off, thanks to the holiday and the craziness. No, I didn’t go “Black Friday shopping” this year… I had my own craziness at home to deal with. I thought we were just putting up Christmas decorations… well, turns out my husband had other ideas, and well, the decorations are still sitting in the box they’ve been stored in for the last year. But, I do have to admit- my living room looks a whole lot better now with a little rearranging!

Anyway, we’re back on track for work now, and that means- yes, I did promise to explain why now is the best time to set up that Facebook account for your business.

So. We’ve already looked at why social media is absolutely necessary for your business. Gotta reach those people where they’re at, right? With that said, when is the best time to start? I say it’s before you even establish your business.

Wait, what? How do you have a site for your business when you don’t even have a business yet? I’ll give you a few good reasons.

People love start-ups.

Ever hear a success story and get that good feeling deep down? Why do newspapers and periodicals constantly focus on start-up businesses? Because everyone loves a good success story. Everyone loves to hear how some blue-collar underdog managed to build a successful business.

Even better is when they’re part of the story. Everyone wants to be a part of something, to later say, “I was there when they first started.”

Why start your online presence now? It allows your customer base to become part of your story. It’s an invitation to join you on your journey, to watch your business grow. It holds a romantic appeal for others, those who would come along simply to share the exhilaration of success.

It’s your journey. But when you create a social media network, it becomes theirs as well.

Next week: Tips and warnings about starting online before you start your business.

 

Business and Social Media: Into the World of College Students and Teeny-boppers

Most businesses today, especially larger corporations, have at least some sort of online presence. Most have a website, and many have a Facebook page or other social media account.

There are still many, however, who question the necessity of having such a presence. Even if they can see the point of a website, they scoff at the idea of Facebook and Twitter, declaring that these are for college students and teeny-boppers, and NOT professionals.

Maybe that’s how Facebook got its start. But since its inception in 2004, it has exploded in popularity. Now, my 80-year-old great aunt has a Facebook page, and it doesn’t sit idle, either!

What does that mean for business? It means that there is a market just waiting for you. Being a business owner means that you have to start looking at every opportunity for your business. This is especially true for small business owners!

A website may sound like a big step and you may be overwhelmed by all that goes into it. A domain name and FTP transfers? What the heck?!

Rest easy, folks. It doesn’t have to be all that difficult. In fact, forget the website– for now. It has its place, but if you’re going to at least get a foot in the door, I recommend social media.

It doesn’t have to be Facebook, although that is my preference. Start with one, and as you get your page established, move on to the next to reach a greater crowd. Keep them connected, but unique.

I’m a huge fan of meeting the people where they’re at, and that’s exactly what this is about. You can’t expect customers to just show up at your door. No one else does, either. That’s why they advertise. But advertising isn’t always in the game plan, especially for smaller businesses. It’s expensive and difficult to target properly.

Social media gives you a ready-made target audience, and at no cost to you other than your time. That may be precious in and of itself, but I’d recommend it as a good and even necessary investment.

That said- when is a good time to start it? My strong suggestion is to do it immediately, and I’ll explain why in next week’s post.

Do you have a Facebook or other social media site, or know someone that does? If so, feel free to post it in the comments and share! Yes, I’m giving full permission to blatantly advertise in the comments… THIS time. Your comment will appear after moderation, so it may take a little time. From the comments, I will choose a few businesses to feature in a new post! 🙂