In my last post I encouraged you to go for it. Just start. You won't know until you try.
I promised to give you some of my other tips for promoting and building up a business.
Now bear in mind I started Mee a Bee in 2007. You'll find it hard to believe but Facebook wasn't a huge part of our lives and business pages were a relatively new thing. I can't remember exactly when I set up the Facebook page for Mee a Bee but it wasn't a huge part of the strategy in the early days.
How I got my start was in blogging. I had a free blog set up with Blogger. I blogged everyday for several years, some 2500 posts are still available to read if you can be bothered. You'll see I shared stories about my life with kids, in Japan, sewing, travelling, education, cooking. All manner of mundane stuff.
What's important is not the platform I was using or even what I was posting about. What's important is that people were following me. Friends and then later strangers, who became acquaintances and later customers. I built a mini-community where we cared about each other, and supported each other. There were other bloggers. Other business owners. We all shared common dreams and goals. Each time someone commented a little conversation was sparked. I am still great friends with many of these wonderful women even today.
I was also a regular visitor in online forums. I visited and commented on other people's blogs. I shared other people's work.
Community and shared passion was what drove us. Many of us were interested in education and raising our children conscientiously. There were tons of work at home mums who could relate to the struggle of running a business with small kids underfoot. A lot of people resonated with my philosophy of using only natural materials and non-character fabrics. It was obvious what I was trying to achieve and my mission was supported by others.
We were early adopters of Twitter and Pinterest. We shared and chatted over on those platforms as well. Each conversation served to cement the relationship and love we had for each other and each other's businesses. A great many of my customers were known to me personally through my online world. But I guess each of those conversations created a ripple effect as the Google algorithms love genuine footprints all over the web. Features like this one also helped: Bloesem Kids interview.
If I were to start a business today, I would go about building it the same way. Relationships are important. Connections are important. Potential customers expect an even greater degree of 'transparency' in a business than ever before. They want to know who they are buying from and what makes you tick. They want to be swayed by your convictions and influenced by your opinions. They're looking for a cause they can get behind. They savour authenticity.
There are tons of ways to go about sharing what's important to you and it can be overwhelming staying on top of ALL social media. My tip - pick one and master it. Learn the ins and outs of one platform. And then expand to others when you've got a handle on it. There's no rule that says you have to be everywhere. Go where your clients / customers / followers are already hanging out.
I can help you decide where.