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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creating Relationships Using Social Media

I think it's really important for bloggers to make 'blog friends.' I know that the thought can be daunting. There have been days where I've felt like I'm late to the party, where every blogger is bff's with every other blogger. (Dramatic, much?)

So how did I get over that? How did I put my shyness to shame and put myself out there? Two words: Social media. Social media is the key to networking for an online site, whether it's a blog or a shop. You might think "But do I really need Twitter account AND a Facebook account?" Yes. If you want to make an online presence for yourself and your site, then yes, you do.
These days, when everything from paying bills to buying Mom's birthday present is done online, it is so important for those who run an internet-based business to participate in and have knowledge of the latest and greatest social media site(s).

So you have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Etsy, Blogger, etc, now what? It may be easy to think that social media is used solely to gain fans or followers, but it should be used for so much more than that. It helps you develop real relationships, not just with customers, but with other independent business owners.

Obviously these sites are used for self-promotion, whether it's announcing a sale or sharing a new item in your shop. But go beyond that. I always make it a point to "like" my favorite bloggers Facebook status's or start a friendly conversation via Twitter. But make sure what you have to say is relevant. No one likes the "Hi, I love your page! Would love for you to come like mine!" comments. Remember, the goal is to make a real relationship, not get borderline spammy.

For me, Twitter has been the most beneficial way for me to make friends with other bloggers.  I'll admit it took me some time to figure out the "right way" to use Twitter. For a while there, I just didn't get it. I think the key is to incorporate personal tweets, not just "new blog post!" or "new item in the shop!" Self promoting tweets are fine, but if that is all you're typing it's going to be harder to get people interested in what you have to say.

The best use for Twitter is communicating with other people like you. It is so much easier (especially for us shy girls) to converse with another blogger or Etsy seller through a tweet, rather than meeting in person (insert awkward hello and a "Oh hi, I read about your life all the time" moment here). It's also less formal than sending the "I'm a huge fan of your work!" e-mail. You want to use Twitter as a conversational tool more than you want to talk to yourself about your new blog post. I mean, WAY more.

By reaching out and making relationships with other independent business owners you create a network that can be used in any way you want it to. You can make a friend. You can make a business partner. They can help you advertise. They can write a guest post for your blog when you're extra busy (wink, wink). I mean, the possibilities are endless. Remember, you don't know how a relationship will effect you until you reach out and give it a try. For example, did I know that casual tweets with Rouge&Whimsy and YellowHeartArt would result in monthly g-chat video dates with them?? I mean, they're my best blogging bitches now and I know I can always rely on them. I can't imagine if we had never started tweeting at each other some random day.

Social media allows you to create a support system for your business. I have made real life friendships through it (Remember when meeting people via the internet was scary? I guess it probably still is in a lot of cases...) and I know my business would not be where it is today without them.

16 comments:

  1. Very timely post for me since I'm writing my business plan for next year and I'd like to have a stronger social networking presence. I guess I'll have to consider getting on twitter!

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  2. Great post Julie! I, like yourself am quite shy. I am becoming more confident with connecting with other bloggers and small business on the internet. But I think I still need to work on my shyness during wedding and craft shows!

    xo Caitlin
    beyondwonderlandblog.com

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  3. Thanks for this post! I've tip-toeing back and forth between whether or not I should get a twitter account but you may have swayed me to come to dark side ;)

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  4. Great post and advice. I always struggle with this because I feel like my favorite bloggers must be overwhelmed by all of the comments and tweets. I'm just a needle in a very, large haystack!

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  5. If you would have told me a few years ago that I would make real life friends online, I would have laughed. It used to seem so scary and creepy - now it's just the way bloggers do it =).

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  6. I need to work on this :) I don't have a facebook OR a twitter! I've just never been a twitter girl.. I just don't really connect with people on there easily. Thanks for the post.. Xo

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  7. I always feel awkward about even remotely tweeting about my posts on say blogger or on Etsy, because when I got a twitter account it was more to connect with friends, so I had it backwards there - but I agree, twitter is so much better for that non-formal nice hello.

    I'm far too shy to just go up to someone and say something along the lines of "I am such a huge fan! Oh I totally know all about you/your dog! and by the way, that picture of your grandma? it's awesome."

    ...I'd feel like a total creep!

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  8. Thank you for your advice! I've been mucking around the past couple months trying to figure out how in the hell all my favorite bloggers are BFF with each other, and how to get in on the action. I've been avoiding Twitter because, well, I just don't get it. But I guess I need to figure it out!

    With love,
    Melody of From Scratch
    http://melodycharlotte-fromscratch.blogspot.com

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  9. This is a great post! I'm quite shy, too, always have been - and it is a lot easier to say a quick "hey" or "I like your stuff" on Twitter than sending a long email.

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  10. yeah! your best blogging bitches! what up!? (pops collar and walks off)

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  11. I tell you between doing all the retweets for people and tweeting my stuff and promoting a gazillion sites, it is hard to be everywhere. Sometimes, a personal tweet gets in there and sometimes I am surprised when out of the blue... a personal one comes in!

    Seems like there are so many new sites to be "on" at some point, enough is enough! LOL

    <><

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  12. I totally agree with this. I actually just ventured out the other day to make my twitter account known. I had it for a while but I never posted anything and I didn't share it with anyone because I was too shy. However, I'm finding out that it is a lot easier to use that facebook with communicating with other bloggers. Especially when you want to give a compliment to someone else. You can post a comment on their blog but you'll never know if they responded unless you double check your comment post. Also, I have notice dramatic increase in my blog and shop views since I started reaching out to people via blogs. I even got a sale recently.

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  13. Great post! I never really understood Twitter. I signed up just because of my business. BUT now that I've had a few conversations using Twitter, I get it. ha. :)

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  14. Amazing posts that's so well thought out. Social Media really is something that has to get into your head to the point where you don't even have to think about doing it anymore, you just do. I enjoy being on Twitter and visiting other blogs, it almost doesn't feel like work but it does play a big part in my own blog and shop.

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  15. thanks for this! i've just started my journey down blog/etsy world and am finding it daunting to have to remember to tweet/blog/share/upload/instagram etc. etc. i work full time and don't have much time at home in the evenings, and i was just finding myself wondering how it's possible for other bloggers to be everywhere on the net all at once. i feel like i missed the blog train, everyone that i read has seemed to be blogging for a couple years now and everyone seems to know everyone. i feel like a little fish in a big internet/social media sea.

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  16. INDIGOBEANcreations, I totally feel you on that one. I'm approaching my one year 'bloggiversary" and I'm re-assessing the way that I blog! I think you'll find that many of the people who can uphold the intense social media presence are full-time bloggers, or at least not fulltime 'workers' in another area, with a blog and shop on top of that. I think the key is to only do what you can, and figure out what works best. I'm with Julie Ann, I find Twitter is very useful (when used correctly) in forming new relationships with the community and getting to know people. It's taken almost a year to get to this stage of understanding, so don't give up! You're in a good place to learn anyway :)

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Thanks for the comment! I read them all and reply when I can. Please be sure your blogger account is linked to your e-mail so I can do so! (Tutorial on how to do that here: http://tinyurl.com/c6gh9fk) xo JA

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