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Marketing Monday: Social Media—what’s all the buzz?

As herbalists, we love to connect with people. This is, after all, one of the reasons we do what do. But how do we successfully create and maintain these valuable connections beyond the borders of our own towns and into the online world? One very powerful tool is social media.

Did you know…
 

  • During the average 20-minute period in 2010, there were: 1,5870,000 wall posts, 2,716,000 photos uploaded and 10,208,000 comments posted. (AllFacebook.com)
  • Users say they're more likely to buy if a business answers their questions on Twitter.
  • Social  media accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online in US." (Journalism.co.uk)

But what does this mean for YOU?

6 Business-y (and fun!!) Reasons Why You Might Want to Consider Integrating Social Media Into Your Business and Marketing:
 

  1.   Speak directly with your customers: This is why I love farmers markets so much! I get to talk directly with the customers about my products, share with them personal stories and educate them on the benefits of each product. This is the same opportunity we have online utilizing social media. Think of it like taking the conversation from the market to the ‘screen’ to keep the conversation going. You then can easily link your products here on Poppy Swap to any of your posts and tweets and encourage people to learn more about you and your products. Hint: if you are too shy for the markets, online is a great way to get your gab on ;)
     
  2. Information is power! With social media you have direct access to feedback on your products and business. Track the ‘buzz’ regarding your store/products or topics you are interested about. It’s a great way to stay informed and see how your business is growing.
  3. Reach the peeps! Have your message reach a broader audience. You never know who is clicking, linking, tweeting or simply googling about herbs and your products. We all know one chance encounter can lead to a great connection. Multiply your destiny online!
  4. Boost SEO: Everyday search engines such as Google and Yahoo! are tweaking their algorithms for ‘search’ optimization parameters. The up-and-coming contributor to improve SEO is your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Having a consistent online presence on each of these networks will improve your search rankings and ultimately drive more traffic to your Poppy Swap store and website.
  5. Peer-to-peer support: Did you know that our 2 highest sellers on Poppy Swap work TOGETHER and spend a lot of time promoting one another?? Cooperation works!Social media tools such as the Poppy Swap forum, Facebook, and Twitter are great ways to stay connected and learn from your fellow peers and even ask for help! Learn a new herbal recipe, find out about an online herbal class or course, connect with fellow herbalists-- these are just a few ways to leverage peer-2-peer support with social media. By letting people know you are out there, you will get the nurturing care of a people who know what its all about!
     
  6. It’s FREE! Who doesn’t love something for free? Utilize these powerful tools for all of the reasons mentioned above (and more!) to support yourself and the growth of your business without paying a dime. No need to buy expensive software or have a fancy computer. And it’s easy~once you get the hang of it!

  
On the softer side~
Another thing I know about herbalists is that many of us would rather be outside with our hands in the dirt and NOT on the computer. But here a few things to remember that might convince you to come inside and hop online for a bit~
 

  • Your followers are YOUR friends: and they are connected with you through your social media networks to learn from you. And better yet, you can learn from them! Remember, these are friendships that can be mutually supportive. Just like the in-person relationships you have in your own town, you can cultivate heart-felt connections online as well.
     
  • They’re listening: your fans, followers, and connections are all people who want to talk and learn from YOU! It was their choice to ‘follow’ you, ‘like’ you, or connect with you in the first place. They came to you. In other words, they’re listening! This is a HUGE accomplishment so take advantage of their eager ears and talk to them and teach them what you know
  • Inspire!: by sharing your world as an herbalist with your social network via photos and videos, offering tips on herbs, sneak peeks into your apothecary, and nutrition and lifestyle information, you have an opportunity to inspire people who otherwise would not even know these options exist! Similarly, you also have an opportunity to be inspired by what others are doing. Inspiration is a powerful thing, so let’s harness its potential with as much as integrity as possible.

Social media is a VAST topic, so keep your eyes peeled on Marketing Monday’s as we dive into detail on specific aspects of social media and how it can help you with your herbal business.

What do you think of social media? Share with your fellow swappers your thoughts and feelings on social media. Let’s get this conversation started!

About the author:: Would you like support with your herbal business efforts? Kristie Nackord, fellow swapper and the ‘herb girl’ behind Spirit Horse Herbals, is also an independent marketing consultant and social media specialist available to help YOU! For more information, click here.
 

Kristie Nackord
Marketing Consultant~
http://www.KristieNackord.com

Replies to this topic

Fantastic advice, specially the "on the softer side" part. Social networking is usually perceived as a drag, when it can be made a fun and rewarding experience while growing your business. We promote daily on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and our blog, and share our crafty love on other sites like Ravelry and similar community-oriented webs, and it's always a joyful experience. After three years online, we have met hundreds of amazing customers, friends and readers - and that is where the stimulus to keep growing lies.

I think many sellers, particularly new ones, have an idea of promoting that's based on hard-selling, 80's marketing - but you can make it completely different! Be yourself, speak of what you love, help others grow, and transform promoting into teaching, sharing and loving!

Thanks for this post Kristie!

  • RosaArtemisia
  • gwendolyn ♥

These are great ideas.  I did try the Facebook thing once, but it wasn't my favorite venue.  Maybe I'll try it again.  I absolutley love blogging, because I LOVE writing and photography.  I also love the free exchange of information.  However, my dilemma has been in interesting people in my blog.  I had the same problem on Facebook- how to get people to notice me in the first place.  I did learn a lot on Facebook, but the lack of privacy has always been a concern to me.  That and the amount of time I was spending at the computer.

I adore working directly with people, love answering their questions, walking through any concerns or issues, and I especially love to hear their stories.  When I first started selling products I worked with a local herb shop owner and gave New Moon facials in her store.  It was incredibly moving to literally touch people's faces and make them feel beautiful.  I can't wait to start doing Farmer's Markets.  I have a friend who sells on PoppySwap and etsy, and she also does Farmer's Markets in the summer.  She promotes her online shops so that her summer customers can access her products in the Winter.  I think that is a fabulous idea!

 

Gwendolyn Rose Botanicals ~ ♥
http://www.GwendolynForever.etsy.com
  • RosaArtemisia
  • gwendolyn ♥

I have given some more thought to your question, "What do you think of social media?"  and it has inspired some ideas.

I don't know if this qualifies as social media, but I have thought that I would love to start blogging about some of my favorite new discoveries on PoppySwap.  Since I've started to look around the site, I have come across some clever products that I would never have considered crafting myself.  I think it would be fun to support my fellow herbalists by occasionally promoting their work via my blog, something I love to do anyway, and hopefully the support will be reciprocated.  It would be a way for my work to be promoted via various social media outlets but in a way that doesn't cross my comfort zone.  Seems like it could be a win/win for everyone.

Then, I had another idea... again, I don't know if this qualifies as social media.  I am about to make a salve, and I need an infused oil that I can't make myself.  Usually, I purchase this oil from Mountain Rose, but I decided to get it from PoppySwap this time, and I'm super delighted to support another herbalist in this way.  Then, it occurred to me to possibly take it a step further.  If I end up loving this oil, I can include a link to the seller's product page from my product page, and I can ask the seller if she would consider doing the same for me.  The idea is that my potential customers can learn a little bit more about the product that is included in my salve by looking at this seller's page and possibly make purchases directly from her, if they so desire.  Additionally, anyone browsing this seller's product can learn more about the healing salves available made with her product.  Finally, it creates the positive energy of goodwill in the community that is exchanged between sellers and passed on to our shoppers.  It occurred to me that we don't necessarily have to be friends to lift each other up and lift ourselves up at the same time.  If a quality product and a loving consciousness are involved- maybe that is all that is needed to support one another.

I have loved my internet business.  It has given me the opportunity work with so many people from different walks of life, and to ship my products to many international destinations that otherwise would not have been possible.  It has also helped me to refine my business skills.  Two years ago, the idea of attending a Farmer's Market would have completely intimidated me, but now I find myself embracing the idea enthusiastically.  My experience on the internet has been key in building that confidence, so I love that you mention the internet as a great way to get started for shy people... like me!

Anyway, these were just a few of the ideas that crossed my mind.  I am passionate about communication and sharing ideas, and I hope that others will share their experiences with social media on this thread, because I find it very interesting and exciting.

  • greenjourney
  • greenjourney

We are not participating in social media at this time. We have reservations about it, and our low speed internet service is easily overwhelmed by the content of these social media pages. One of the great things about poppyswap is our access to community thru the forum. We are happy to contribute in this way and hope to build a strong sense of community with all of you!

Gwendolyn, (I love your name, especially the sound of it) thanks for sharing your appreciation of your internet business experience and your ideas for mutual promotion within our community.

Eleggua, (I'm not sure what your preferred name is) Teaching, sharing, loving are good words to live by!

Kristie, You make a great case for using social media! Still, I'm feeling negative about it especially after I heard a local lawyer/activist refer to it Wed. night as "facecrack", like an opening for "big brother" to look through. That was enough to prompt my partner, Steve to delete his facebook account yesterday.

So, I'll not be doing lesson three this week with you. Truthfully, I'm still working on lesson one! We are with you, lagging behind a bit, but we'll be content to make progress in the slow lane, for now.

We value your guidance on all things poppyswap!

Aline

Aline Crehore, Green Journey Seeds
In Plants We Trust
http://www.poppyswap.com/shop/greenjourneyseeds

Friends~

I’m so glad you are feeling inspired by the posts and sharing your thoughts and feelings with the rest of us. This level of exchange is very supportive, as each of you has mentioned.

 

Aline, I can understand your reservations about privacy and the “big brother” theory. It truly has to be an aligned and resonant path, otherwise, like any other type of experience we try to force ourselves into when we aren’t ready, it will be frustrating and fearful. I respect your choice and your husbands’ to utilize the channels which feel wholesome and supportive for you!

Gwendolyn, your ideas for mutually supportive blogging and what we call ‘link backs’ to fellow Poppy Swapper products is just the spirit we are trying to foster here. I love that you walked away from reading this post and found yourself inspired and tapping into your innate creativity. Beautiful. Just what I was hoping for! Your questions about blogging and social media have prompted me to consider making it the Marketing Monday topic for the upcoming week. For success, they must be interwoven with one another.

And, should there be another marketing topic you are interested in discussing or learning more about as it relates to your Poppy Swap store and online herbie business, please feel free to let me know and I will see what I can do.

 

Thanks y’all for your support, kindness, and inspiration~

Kristie

  • RosaArtemisia
  • gwendolyn ♥

Aline, I can understand your reservations as well.  My main concern with social networking sites is how easy it is to manipulate large numbers of people by exploiting their passions and emotions.  For instance, I told you that I am naturally inclined to be most moved by photographs of plants then by drawings.... social networking sites make it really easy to track these natural tendencies.  On a personal level, if my leaders are using these natural tendencies to make decisions that are in everyone's best interest- I would not have a problem with that.  However, if this information being used to benefit a few who give very little back- that's what I find heartbreaking.  It is not something that I can participate in.  For me, it is about finding a way to use my voice and my passion so that I am given the credit I deserve for my ideas and contributions and the opportunity to participate in building a community that has room for me and everyone else, too.  That's why I love blogging, and I am beginning to love the use of a public forum, though its still very difficult to speak so publicly and with no option to delete my comments if I change my mind later. 

I think my idea of community was shaped by my grandmother, who was a Mexican farmworker.  In her community, generosity is the rule, never the exception.  Everyone pitches in, gives what they can, and everyone trusts that the blessings will come back to them eventually- its not blind trust.  Everyone looks out for everyone else. My ideas of community were further shaped by my experiences in activism- everyone simply pitches in and works hard with the purpose of acheiving a goal that is for the greater good.  So, I've always had a hard time understanding anything else.  If we all help each other, we are all helping to elevate ourselves in the long run.... at least, that's what I always thought.  Social networking is a powerful took, but I am far too sensitive and protective of myself to use it.

Kristie, I'm glad you found my ideas inspiring.  That's the ideal, in my opinion.  To inspire one another and to reach higher ground together, as a community.

I think that life can be frustrating and fearful even when you are ready to dive in.  Everyone is different.   

  • greenjourney
  • greenjourney

Kristie, would you speak to us about the Poppyswap facebook giveaways?

I forgot to say please, so I am using the edit function to cover my tracks!

Please, and thank you!

  • admin
  • kiki

LADIES!!! 

 

I love this thread. So much creativity, community and generosity. Its so cool that we can all share our successes and ideas because all of us share the same value to make the world and our herb community better!

Aline, the giveaway is a weekly promotion that we do through facebook to say thank you to our shoppers. Every week, someone who shopped on the site is selected and we send them a freebie from a vendor. The freebie can be from anyone who donates an item to the cause. The shoppers really love it. It makes them feel like the "won!!" something and it introduces them to a new seller. 

That seller is always announced on the facebook page and in newsletters with a link to their store.

If you'd like to be involved, just shoot me an email with the product you'd like to share. We'll put it out to our customers and then let you know when we have a winner! 

Let me know if you have more questions!

And thanks to everyone who's in conversation here...its truly beautiful.

xo Kiki

Kiki
~bring people herbs~
poppyswap.com

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