Last week Wise Daughters hosted a workshop on The Art of Marketing via Social Media, led by Erin Calhoun-Mangat. Erin really knows her way around not only Facebook and Twitter, but a whole host of social media sites I'd never heard of. She effectively demystified the whole confusing business, helping participants - all small arts entrepreneurs - figure out where to focus their energies.
Two short years ago, I thought Facebook was strictly a vehicle for youth to post stupid pictures of themselves, mostly drinking. More than 400 fans later, I realize how vital a tool it is for marketing Wise Daughters. Especially because I run workshops and events, it's a highly efficient way to get invitations out to my target audience of crafters. It's also become an important source of information for me. I'd never hear about many of the cultural or political events I attend without it. How did I manage before FB?
I struggle a bit with the separation between personal and professional online circles. Earlier this year, I found I had "friended" a bunch of people who are really business associates. At risk of offending them, I carried out an "unfriending" exercise, just so I could feel more comfortable posting family photos or other personal bits of information on my own profile page. Unlike many FB users, I prefer some privacy.
I have also embraced Twitter, despite stronger initial reservations. At first glance, it looked like nothing but banal lunch menu musings to me, but all that changed during the G20, when it was the single best way to find out what was really happening to people. I've also seen its effectiveness as a marketing tool. There's no better proof than a customer who barrels in to see whatever new item I've just posted.
It's kind of funny writing instead of talking to people - it can feel like my words are just floating off into a vacuum. But then days, weeks or even months later, a customer will refer to something I posted. This isn't at all how I have thought about community in past decades, but I have to acknowledge it's community nonetheless.