Social media are very popular, and I regularly get questions about how to use Twitter, Facebook, Linked In etc to get clients.
You might be spending hours on these social media tools (they are pretty addictive!) but are they getting you closer to any sales?
First, a reality check …
Are your potential clients using the same social media tools as you are?
Are they using them to help them with their buying decisions? Or for personal reasons and entertainment?
How many of your clients are actually ‘following’ or ‘liking’ you right now?
And what are you talking about or sharing with your followers that is useful and interesting for them, and info that they would share with others?
When you dig a little deeper you might quickly discover that your contacts are mostly friends, family and peers, and that your content isn’t really that interesting for your potential clients.
Not really that surprising then that you aren’t getting any sales via Twitter.
So, how can you get more useful creative business followers on Twitter?
Start researching your potential trade buyers, collectors, partners, manufacturers, and start following them, find out what they are up to, comment on their tweets or RT.
If you want to get more and better twitter followers (including some good tweet chats to follow) then read our blog post on that topic.
And even better … do you want to know The Design Trust top 99 design & craft journalists, media & bloggers to follow on Twitter? Then click here.
But it isn’t really about the quantity (or even the quality!) of your twitter followers …
The truth about Twitter is:
It is a great social networking tool, for research, to get news and gossip, to improve your profile (or destroy it if you tweet when drunk …), …
but not great to get clients or for sales!
So please stop tweeting: ‘look at my website now’, ‘check out my work here’.
You are jumping ahead in the sales process too quickly. Selling is about building a relationship.
If I don’t know you I will not click any links as you might be bogus. Most people will ignore your message at best, find you annoying, stop following you, or at worst will report you as a spammer.
(TIP: Never send the same message to 10 different @ in 10 minutes, as ALL your followers will get all those tweets, not just the addressee and that’s spamming! Make it more personal, spread out over time, or better even DM)
The advice of professional social media experts is:
Less than 10% of your tweets should be about selling yourself, and probably less than 20% about you.
So what should you be tweeting about? Find out more below …
The important word in social media is: social
Social media are great for networking, to find out things, to learn about events and commissions (about 90% of the content of our business training and opportunities listings comes directly from Twitter!).
What works on Twitter is: give more, take less.
If you share good, useful, creative, high quality, visual, funny, relevant content in your tweets on a regular basis then people will start to follow you and trust you as an expert, and then they might visit your site.
Twitter can be really useful to your creative business, just following others, without you ever sending out a single tweet! (although that will make your profile look a little bit dodgy to be honest!)
Twitter guru Alicia Cowan says in her Twitter Brilliance course that Twitter is a very big cocktail party. I agree.
But as the party is sooooo big, it is very easy to get lost. You need to find those parts of the party that are truly useful to you, otherwise Twitter is a very big waste of your time ….
So, how do you do that?
Knowing your niche, interests, and core values is a great starting point.
Twitter is great to find and share with like minded people across the world. If you are an #extremeknitter, #girlgeek, #handmade fan, #craftivist, #typography, #Londonmap then use a hash tag and you will find others to connect with. The more niche, the better!
If you regularly post about the things that really interest you and that you are passionate about then you’ll develop ‘your voice’, and you can really tell your story, start ‘owning’ and reaching your niche.
Sum them up in 5 – 8 key topics. And then blog and tweet about these topics on a regular basis.
Twitter is one of the best ways to become an expert in your audience’s eyes, and to really show what you are about and make your brand values come alive.
I am a big believer in the marketing mantra: ‘people only buy from people they know, like and trust’.
Twitter is one of the best marketing tools to raise your profile, build trust and for people to really get to know you – both on a personal, creative and business level.
Using images adds even more to creating your brand and sharing great content (You are a visual person, aren’t you?). Share images of:
- your studio or environment you work in
- work in progress (give a sneak peek, or show images over a period of time)
- your stand at a trade show
- an article in the press
- inspiring places, spaces, colours, patterns, typography, … whatever inspires you!
Images really will show what you are about as a person, and your clients find it often interesting to find out more about what inspires you.
If you have got various key topics that cover your interests and talents (think about what your niche is), and you send images, RT interesting events or articles around these topics, and comment constructively on others, then you will become a reliable source of knowledge and interest in that specific topic.
The Design Trust as an example …
I think it is useful to share the lessons we learn in developing our own business.
Twitter has been particularly great for The Design Trust to raise our profile. I think what has really helped is that we provide consistently creative business info and listings that our audience finds useful (and sometimes funny, controversial, or thought-provoking I hope!). We wanted to position ourselves as a pro-active organisation, that’s helpful and practical for designers and makers, and engages with its audience. Twitter allows us to do all of that most frequently without being overbearing (I hope!), at no cost and with fairly low time investment.
Twitter has has also been great to find potential (international) partners to work with. It’s very easy to find people who work in the same field, across the world, and to connect with them, and then to continue the conversation via email, phone or meetings.
Twitter is also our biggest source of website traffic, increasing our monthly web visitors and return visitors dramatically. Most of our tweets include clickable links to useful blog posts, business training and opportunities on our website. (Tip: If you want to create a clickable link, then just add http:// before your specific web page address and it becomes directly clickable!)
We use Buffer to spread tweets throughout the day, and to plan in advance, so that it doesn’t take up too much of our time and we don’t annoy our followers with 10 tweets in one minute either!
But of course we are a business too (no, we don’t just provide lots of great practical business info for free as a hobby. We are proud to be a social enterprise.)
So how does The Design Trust use Twitter to promote and sell ourselves?
Secondly, we use Twitter as a ‘first point of contact’ to start engaging with clients. When we have got something to sell we often use questions to identify those readers who might be interested in what we offer (‘Want to start your own craft business but don’t know where to star? Our e-book can help!’), and we always emphasise the benefits for our clients of what we have got to offer (‘You can watch our business expert webinars whenever you like, wherever you are in the world. So great for when you are busy or don’t live in the big city.’).
Thirdly, we use Twitter to stay in very regular touch with our audience so that they remember us when they might need practical business advice for their design or craft business. Via Twitter we hope that people will visit our website (where they can learn much more about us then in 140 characters!) and to sign up for our free newsletter or other services.
Selling is about building a relationship, and Twitter can be great to start that relationship, and to build your profile and credibility. But if you jump straight to ‘buy from me’ or ‘look at my website’ then you are missing some essential earlier stages in the selling process. (If you want to learn more about the 4 essential stages of selling then click here)
So, why is Twitter our favourite social media tool?
Because it’s a fantastic marketing tool to get to know and communicate with your social network:
- for market research, finding what’s important, and trying out headlines that ‘work’
- getting real insights into our client’s business questions and worries, and being able to answer them really quickly (and briefly in 140 characters!) if we can
- to get the latest industry news (and gossip)
- to making connections, especially finding some wonderful partners or suppliers
- one of the easiest ways to say publicly ‘thank you’ #FollowFriday
- to supporting campaigns and adding our own comments to discussions
- to driving traffic to our site and building our profile (far more rapidly than we could have done otherwise)
Using Twitter ‘just’ as a selling tool only is …
… just boring and annoying for us who come across it. And not very effective and a big time waster for you and your creative business.
So please, don’t include me in those tweets anymore …
Want to learn more about how to use Twitter & other social media for your creative business?
If you want to learn much more about how to use social media effectively for your craft or design business, then check out the new book by social media expert Hilary Pullen: Online Marketing for Your Craft Business: How to get your handmade products discovered, shared and sold on the internet
In this book she explains very clearly all the different social media tools, how to use them, how to set goals for them to make them do what you want them to do, and how to create a social media strategy and plan, and much more!