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:
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 ;)
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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!
- 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.