Monday, June 22, 2009

Social Networking: Time Waster or Business Builder?


It all depends! It is my opinion that anywhere you post online is a good thing for your shop and business name for SEO and name recognition. Get out there and be seen and recognized!

However, it is SO easy to twiddle your time away online chatting on various sites, so what is the balance and how do you manage it? I have a couple of thoughts for you to ponder:

1) Anywhere you post online, if used correctly by using links to your shop and your shop name, will add to your SEO factor and make your business easier to be found.

2) There is strength found in networking with people who are your target customer market.

3) Networking can create a great support group for you and your business.

There are a couple of types of networking - social and business. Then, they breakdown into handmade, corporate business, and a zillion other categories.

I suggest that the handmade online sellers participate in both handmade networks AND regular business networks to find potential customers everywhere.

Realize that the handmade networks are made up of a lot of sellers like you. However, sellers of handmade are also buyers of handmade for products other than what they make.

Business networks are made up of businesses of all kinds, big and small, and may need to be educated on why buying handmade creates value. You can be the voice for the handmade community.

I am a member of about 15-20 social and professional networking sites. It could make my head swim if I fretted about nurturing all of those! Here is a plan:

**Keep your profiles on ALL networking sites up-to-date and visit them frequently. Even a teeny edit will bump your profile up for the search engines to find again. If you don't do this, it will just lay there gasping its last breath.

**Make a list of all of your online networks. Decide which ones you want to participate in. Decide on your weekly time allowance split between all you selected, and stick to it.

**You can visit your profiles and edit one a day if you have a lot of them. That takes 3 minutes each and just keep the rotation going. You can do that to boost your SEO.

**For the networks where you want to be heavily involved, be sure to keep your links and business name before the other participants per the Terms of Use for the sites. Upload photos if allowed and use all tools available to you (photos, blogs, etc...) And above all, be SOCIAL, be friendly, and be yourself!

Here are some networking sites to look into:

HANDMADE Networking Sites
http://www.ning.com/search/networks?q=handmade - LIST of many
http://yourhandmade.ning.com/
http://www.byhand.me/
http://www.starvingjewelryartists.com/
http://www.votehandmade/
http://www.craftjuice/
http://www.indiepublic.com/
http://www.webjam.com/
http://www.plumdrop.com/
http://chainmaillebymboi.com/forum/index.php

BUSINESS Networking Sites:
http://www.linkedin.com/ http://wozone.ning.com/ (Website Owners' Zone)
http://www.ning.com/search/networks?q=women+business - list of sites for business women
http://www.ning.com/search/networks?q=business - list of networking for businesses
http://www.ning.com/search/networks?q=small+business - list of networking for small businesses
http://www.ning.com/search/networks?q=home+business - list of networking for home businesses

And, don't forget your local online business networking sites. I belong to

http://www.wqmagonline.com/ and http://www.local-shops-1.com/LocalShops1/social-network.html that cover Regional Florida and I have made some great contacts!

If you have a great networking source for online sellers, post here and I will add to the list!

5 comments:

  1. Excellent article... Twiddling time... I am so guilty! But I will use your suggestion of making a list rather than relying on my inbox!

    Great list of networking sites

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  2. This is such great info! I actually have been using a timer to make sure I'm not 'twiddling' time away in front of the computer (or anywhere else!) thanks for the great list of resources!!

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  3. PrettyPeacock - what a great idea to actually use a timer. Frankly, that is brilliant because it is so easy just to get involved in the online discussions and friend-following that time just gets away from us.

    PillowTrowDecor - a list will certainly help. I think that knowing and being aware of the time spent on networking helps - both with needing to do more time, or in the case of online network, perhaps needing to focus a little more.

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  4. What about social networking sites like Twitter? Would that be a good one to have and maintain? Also What if you have an account on one of these social networking sites, could you just use that one or should you create a whole new one that is all about your online store?

    What kinds of edits should you make everyday on your networking sites? Like about sales, new products, etc..??

    Sorry for the questions I have started a store and just learning how to better my store.

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  5. Hi Infused Moments! Cute shop you have! Thank you for your excellent questions that inspired an brand new blog post today. See your answers here:
    http://indieceo.blogspot.com/2011/07/do-i-really-need-social-networking-for.html

    Appreciate your comments.

    ReplyDelete