Recently I had the pleasure of attending Fatality Fest, the very first horror movie convention to take place here in West Palm Beach. As you might have guessed, I am a bit of a geek at heart, so I was very excited to mill about and take in all of the horrific delights. Similar to most conventions, there were people in costumes, vendors and celebrity guests. Of all the crazy things going on, I was especially interested in the vendors as they are the epitome of small business owners trying to get their dreams off of the ground. I decided to talk to as many of them as possible to get some candid thoughts about using social media to promote their small businesses and how their experience has been. These vendors are unique as many of them provide hand made products that would be hard to find anywhere else. During our conversations it became apparent that many of these small businesses turn to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Etsy to get the word out about their brands. I was lucky enough to have some of these vendors go on record with me and detail their experiences using social media to promote their businesses. Check out what they had to say!
Erika Ter from Auryn's Lair on her experience with using Facebook:
"Facebook has been a great help because people will actually follow us. People feel more connected and will have actual conversations about our products and anything else they want. For us, awareness leads to sales. I hate to say this, but our goal lately has been to build Likes. It's not so much about the number of Likes because realistically a small portion of your fans will see your content. Those Likes lead to increased traffic and word of mouth."
Courtenay Mims from Silver Fire Dreams talks about her experience with Etsy and alternatives:
"I have used Etsy, however I really prefer using a platform called Art Fire. Art Fire allows me to use as many pictures I want, have as many listings as I want and I just pay per click, rather than per item. Once you are locked into a price, you don't pay anything else, ever. I feel like Etsy is more of a closed environment whereas Art Fire is more open and is dependent on the efforts of the person. It's up to you. Etsy does help the business owner; it's just that Art Fire has worked better for me."
"Most people never ask us if we have a website, it's usually if we are on Facebook or Etsy. For us, it's easier to get in contact with people through our Facebook page opposed to them having to navigate a website. We get a lot of referrals for bigger projects from Facebook.
I never really look at the advertisements and act because of them. I'm more likely to do something because a friend of mine liked a page or recommended something, not so much because of an advertisement."
Melanie Gracie Phillips from Live Steamy on Etsy and Facebook:
"I actually love Etsy. They have amazing organization and they are much easier to use than Amazon or eBay. At first, I wanted to use Etsy to promote my art and poetry; however if you're not know, you don't really make a lot of money. We have seen some good sales for the more gimmicky products that we have, which in turn has seemed to help out the sales for art products.
In terms of other social channels, we are on most of them! For the most part, Facebook has worked out really good for us so far. Social media has been very helpful. We are testing a small Facebook Ad campaign set at $1.00 per day and we have gotten lots of Likes. It's definitely worth it."
While many of these vendors might sell comparable products, they each have a different take on how effective certain social media channels are when it comes to their small business. A majority of vendors preferred Facebook and Etsy as their go-to channels; however others saw the need to expand and dabble in Pinterest, Twitter and Etsy. It was a pleasure getting to know each of them and I have personally made sure I connected with them. You should too!