To take a break from my series of "Do's and Don'ts of Social Networking" I thought I would give you all a case study... my own business!
My partner James and I run a Graphic Design business. We specialist in design and web services for small businesses some of the things we do include:
-Business Card Design
-Advertising and marketing Design
-Website design, creation and maintenance,
-Photo touch ups and restoration
-Canvas artwork and graphic art
So how do we use social networking to our advantage? Well here are the websites that we use and how they are benefiting us...
Well this is the corner stone of our internet based marketing plan. Everything else we do is to funnel people to our website so they can place an order or find more information about us and our business.
Why do I use Twitter? Well basically it's a great way to reach a large amount of people in a small amount of time. Twitter is like sending an online text message to your client base, short, sweet and to the point. I can keep clients up to date with what I'm doing on their projects without having to bother them with constant emails, if they want to see how it's going then they can just look at the Twitter feed to see where we are. I can also keep an eye out for people looking for graphic designers through the search function and contact them that way.
This is our news and updates blog. This blog feeds into our webpage with news and updates. I write interesting articles which are featured on the blog to keep customers coming back for more.
We also have a personal blog each. James takes care of his and I take care of mine. James' blog is mostly about photography, graphic design, cars and music. These are all things he enjoys writing about and therefore is more likely to keep it up. They attract new people who have the same interests as him, these people become friends and customers.
My blog is very girly. I love pink, frills, lace and feeling like a princess, my blog reflects that. I have met hundreds of interesting people through my blog and some of them have become my most loyal customers. I'm interested in Japanese street fashion so I write about that and others who are interested in the same things read and respond. I have links to my Blue Crane Design website so if they want to find out more about my business they can. I don't shove my work life down people's throats though, they come to my site to be girly so that's what I talk about. People are clever if they want to find out more they will
Facebook is a great tool if you use it well. As I run a business I have a business page as well as my personal page. This is really key to a Facebook pages' success, don't treat it like a personal account. We gather fans through this account and they are able to get in contact and tell us what they think easily. We have some of our previous work uploaded so they can see it and discuss. We each have our own personal Facebook accounts to keep up with our close friends we keep these separate. Only every talking about work is the quickest way to lose your actual friends!
Myspace reaches more of a younger generation. We offer a lot of services like photo touch ups and manipulations which are aimed at models so we have a page here to connect with those sort of customers. We also offer a lot of design services which up and coming bands can benefit from such as cd design etc, Myspace is absolutely packed full of young bands. Of course we each have our own Myspace profiles to keep up to date with friends.
Deviant art probably won't get you much work but having a presence on here is absolutely necessary if you're in the creative arts. It's a fantastic place to meet other artists and see what the industry is up to. Be warned though if you want to see the awesome work you have to wade through quite a lot of the mediocre. It's great to be able to meet other people in your industry. James and I both have personal accounts and well as a Blue Crane Design account
Redbubble is kind of like Deviantart's big sister. This is another site which keeps us up to date with current design trends and other designers. Keeping up to date with your industry through social networking can be just as usefull as actually meeting potential clients. If you are out of date in your business then you won't be able to keep up with the competition! We each have our own account as well as a business account.
Livejournal is another blogging website, it's very similar to blogger but there is much more of a community feel. Instead of following rss feed etc you can make friends and start communities. Livejournal is only suited to some types of business, many users don't want to be marketed to s we keep this journal just to keep in touch with our old Livejournal friends from years ago up to date. It is automatically updated from our other blogs so it takes no maintenance.
I love Essentially for Women, I've met so many great girls on here! When on websites like this I try to focus on making friends rather than making contacts, I find that when I take a genuine interest in people they are much more likely to take a genuine interest in me! Networking is a two way street and that's such an important thing to remember, you can't just shove your product in people's faces otherwise you won't make any genuine contacts.
This is a site similar to Essentially for Women, several of my friends on here are actually also members of this site too. I use the exact same approach there as I do here, making friends and meeting great women!
This is just a snap shot of the social networking websites I use every day. There are some forums and websites that I use for personal enjoyment and I make friends there too, all of my friends know what I do and when they need a website made or something designed they come to us.
Hope that gives some of you an idea what I've been talking about!
Blue Crane Design