When life hands you lemons… make cake. Or add Vodka. Or take pretty pictures and blog about it. Because you really shouldn’t waste life’s lemons.
One of the realities of running a small business (especially an online business) is that you find yourself dependent on social marketing more than you might like. No adverstising budget? No worries, you have friends. Right?
Well, sometimes. Like last week, when some of my friends took the time to repost the news article about Mireio on Facebook. It meant a lot to me. And for small businesses, any press is a good thing. You scramble for those mentions on Twitter, Facebook, and assorted blogs.
But sometimes, friends don’t come through. And it’s really hard to NOT take that personally.
Truth is, it isn’t personal. It’s probably thoughtless… they have no idea what a difference a tiny little effort on their part would make for you—because they work “real world” jobs and don’t spend hours online everyday hocking their wares. They run offices and teach school and raise babies—all important things. But, they have no idea how soul wrenching it can be to constantly be “selling” any more than they have any idea that tweeting or blogging or posting a status link about you would make such a difference.
It does, though. And those of you who sell online know what I’m talking about. That amazing feeling of discovering a friend took the time to sing your praises. It helps. Immensely! Here’s how:
First, it puts your product in front of a completely different customer base. Social media is all about the power of the personal pitch. If a friend “likes” a thingamabob, then you’re more likely to check it out. YOUR friends might not be MY friends. And one of YOUR friends might have another friend in need. A friend who can use that thingamabob but didn’t know it, until your friend passed on your post. Get it?
Second, with the tweeting and blogging platforms, inbound linkage is golden. Google pays attention. And for small artists competing against megaliths with advertising budgets, linkage creates visibility. Being found by google, means you are found by customers. No matter how great your thingamabob is, if you sell online, you need to be seen.
Third, and I think most importantly, it provides a morale boost. Working from home is lonely business. There’s no water-cooler, break-room, coffees out with the mom’s group during your day. Having a friend promote your work gives you a terrific sense of well-being. A sense of “Hey, I’m doing OK!” It fuels the creativity muse (I’ve made more things inspired by friends!) and reminds you that you are not alone in this.
But not all your friends get this. So, what can you do?
First, you can ask. Which is what I did last week. I directly asked people to repost the article on Facebook. It was a hard and awkward thing for me to do. It makes me feel like I’m imposing. But, if a friend asked ME to post for them, well… I’d do it! And I wouldn’t think twice, because I know how hard self-promoting is. So, I summoned up my courage and ASKED.
Lots of friends followed through. YAY!! Far more did not… not so yay. Â That’s reality folks, even when you ask… even when you’re pointed and clear and direct, not everyone is going to climb on board the “YOU” train in any meaningful manner. What then?
Well, you have two choices here. You can get frustrated and rant over coffee, spend time worrying and being bothered by it all. That was me last night. Really frustrated by a particular situation.
You can focus on the people who got on board. Say thank you! Tell them how amazing they are for supporting you, because while it’s a small gesture to them, it makes a HUGE difference to you. Make sure they know that. Look for ways to support them. Nothing wrong with a little communal back scratching.
And pass it on. Use your social connections for good. Be a small part of someone else’s PR team. It’s so easy to make a difference! And trust me, if you spend part of your day promoting other people and their amazing work—you don’t feel quite so alone while promoting your own.
So, go make some Lemonade. I promise I’ll drop by and share a glass!