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Posted On: Feb 11, 2010 at 11:13am MST

This guide will be discussing what you as a small business owner can be doing to increase your overall presence and visibility on Facebook. Traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) deals with being seen and found on the web via search engines. In this case, you can think of Facebook as sort of a "walled garden." Much of what happens on Facebook is kept solely between friends or networks via privacy settings. Search engines can and do find things like fan and application pages; however, the focus of this guide is how to increase your visibility and presence via Facebook's internal search.

Facebook's internal search can be found on the top right of every Facebook page. As this community grows, it is likely that this search function will be used more and more, so it's a good idea to be familiar with it.

When a user searches within Facebook, they are taken to a page where they can filter results. Here is a search I did for "Halloween costume," filtering the results to show everybody. Any page and any profile with unrestricted privacy settings has the potential to show up in this search, however, people in my network will have preferred placement (more on that later).

As you can see, ranking is very much based on the time of the posting. The first result when I did this search was an Etsy user's fan page promoting a "Retro Halloween Costume". As you can see from the image, this Facebook user shared a link to their item on their fan page 14 seconds before I performed the search.


To help you appear higher up in these searches, here are a few recommendations to increase your visibility:


1. Open yourself up! Change your privacy settings to allow "Everyone" to be able to see your profile, wall, updates, etc. If you are nervous about opening your profile up to the public, then consider making a separate profile on Facebook as an artist/crafter. This is allowed by Facebook's Terms of Service so long as you use your real name and that it is you opening the profile. Other than that there is (currently) nothing that says you can't have one profile for your personal life and one for your business/professional life. Use your "professional" profile to send out updates about your crafts, join relevant groups, accept every friend request, and market yourself. Use your personal profile to keep in touch with friends and family.


2. If you do make a business page, it still needs to be about you. While your privacy is a valid concern, you should not be afraid to have a picture of yourself as your profile picture. You should list the city your living in (networks are important on Facebook), and you should still talk to people as yourself. While you don't necessarily want your customers reading updates about your family, you still need to be personable and friendly. When we've conducted surveys about buying handmade online, one of the biggest factors for buyers is connecting with the person they're buying from. They want to feel like they are supporting a real person, don't miss an opportunity to connect with your customers.


3. Join a large, relevant network.This will likely be a college you are an alumnus of, the city you are living in, or possibly your workplace. This is the window that popped up when I set my"primary" network to Tucson, AZ:

The Tucson network has 168,670+ people in it. If I am part of a network, then anybody else who has that network set as their primary will find me first in relevant search results. You should also notice that "pages" was not listed as one of the preferred search results. Pages already return frequently in searches for exact matches,so you don't have to worry about them being part of a network. You do want to make sure that your profile page (or business profile page) is set the most beneficial network it can be set to.


1. On your fan page and profile/business profile, make the most of your updates, wall posts, links, notes, etc. Facebook search is really just a search through people's interactions and updates. When you change your status, post a link, make a wall post, or initiate any discussion/conversation try to think about a good keyword that you could used in the title or body of that update. As you saw in the search for Halloween Costume, the Facebook user posted a link on their page's wall using "Halloween costume" to describe that link. When I did a search and set the filter to "everyone," she was the first result. If she had called it a "Vintage Dress-up Outfit" I would have never seen her link.


2. Make use of the Tabs that you have available on your page:


If you have a blog that you already write posts for you can post the same information under the "notes" tab. The photos tab is a great place to share a few shots of your work place (we're always hearing from customers that they want to see the spaces used by crafters and artists to make their work). Share some information about your business in the Info tab. You could copy and paste any kudos you have into the"reviews tab," and of course there's the ArtFire Facebook Kiosk which pulls items right from your studio and lets you sell straight from Facebook.

3. Interact! Social networking is about interaction, building networks of friends and acquaintances. Fan other people's pages; take part in discussions on walls. Start an event for your local network. The best part about "marketing" on Facebook is that it shouldn't feel like work, it should be fun and engaging. If you use Facebook to its fullest potential you should be able to reach people who come back to your page because you are interesting, because you add to discussions, because you posted a great link or video. Facebook, just like twitter or blogs, doesn't tolerate constant promotion (spam) well. If you make an honest effort to make friends and get to know your customers you'll be doing more for your business than spam/non-stop promotion ever will.

Looking for More? Check out these other SEO Guides:


Holiday SEO Guide
ArtFire Blogs SEO
Keyword Research
How to Improve your SEO on ArtFire
SEO Tools for Keyword Research
Introduction to SEO



This post was edited by sara On: Sep 17, 2010 at 11:56am MST  


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Posted On: Feb 16, 2010 at 3:52pm MST

Twitter can be a helpful resource for anyone promoting their business online. In fact, many CEO and company executives use Twitter to keep in contact with their customer base and give their business a more personal feel. But Twitter isn’t just for major companies, anyone can use it! In fact it’s a great resource for online artisans looking to drive business to their shops.

Note: This is just a simple introductory guide to Twitter, and in no way covers all the aspects of this micro-blogging service.


Setting Your Twitter Account



If you don’t already have a Twitter account, just visit www.Twitter.com and follow the links to get started. It's a good idea to register the same Twitter name as your studio name. Doing this will help build your presence online by offering a consistent face for your brand. It might also be a good idea to checkout Twitter's Introduction Guide (there's even a video!) to help you get the feel for how the system works.


Following and Being Followed

Once you’re signed up, it’s time to start thinking about following people. Chances are, when you first signed up with Twitter, they recommend some big name Twitter users to follow. These are random recommendations from the site, and are usually celebrities or big companies. You can choose to “follow” these users, meaning you’ll receive their updates in your timeline. However, this doesn’t mean they’ll receive your updates in their timeline. In order to receive your updates, they’ll have to follow you.


The more people who follow you, the more people receive your updates. For example, if you choose to post a link to your shop on Twitter and you’re being followed by a lot of people; all of those people currently online will see your link. That means more people clicking on your link rather than just a handful.


Of course, you shouldn’t just follow everyone on Twitter. You want people who will be interested in your posts to follow you. This might require a little research using the Twitter Search for keywords, which is available on the right panel of your Twitter homepage. You can also use applications like twit-seeker to find people who talk about things you like, or do searches on Twitter to find discussion you might jump in on. However you choose to build your followers, get engaged and involved.


The people you follow can be viewed by clicking the following link below your username, while the people who follow you can be viewed by clicking the followers link.


What to Tweet



Once you have a few followers and are ready to start promoting your business,you’ll need to know what kinds of things to tweet about. A common mistake online sellers will make is to post a link to their shop with no information or introductory text. While people may see this link, it’s not likely that they will click on it. To entice people to follow your links, you’ll need to intrigue them. Simply writing, “Just listed” followed by a link is not likely to attract much attention.


Try asking a question or saying something funny. For example, if you are selling a pair of snowflake earrings you want to promote on Twitter, you might say something like, “Prettier than slush earrings!” or “Wear them in July, you’ll feel cooler!” or even “Just like your ears, each one is unique!” with a link to your item. These expressions grab shoppers’ attention more than “Just listed new snowflake earrings” with a link to your shop. Keep in mind that you only have 140 characters for each posting, so whatever you post with your link needs to be short.


You’ll also want to personalize your Twitter account. Post updates on your life and opinions as well as links to your items. This way your followers have a chance of establishing a personal relationship with you and seeing the artist behind your work. Tweet about your family, your job, and everyday life. For example, you could post things like “I just got a new puppy!” or “I’m going to the DMV, cross your fingers for me,” to generate discussion on your Twitterfeed. It is important that people following you see you as a real person, not just an e‐commerce site.


@Replies and Direct Messaging

Of course, there’s more to Twitter than just posting links and updates. You can also talk to individuals using @Replies and Direct Messaging.


@Replies allow members to respond and talk directly to other members on the public feed.This is helpful for responding and even carrying on a conversation with other users. To respond directly to another Twitter member, just type @ followed by their Twitter username.

This way these posts will show up in that user’s @replies section of their Twitter page (which you can access by clicking the @Replies link on your Twitter control panel).

Direct Messaging allows you to send a private message to another member. You can send and receive messages by clicking on the Direct Messages link in your Twitter control panel.

Some users like to send Direct Messages to new followers, introducing themselves and linking to their shop.


Still Confused about Direct Messages and@Replies?


As our COO Tony Ford Explains it: A Direct Message is like passing a note in class, while an @Reply is like standing up and shouting your message to another person. A Direct Message is private, an @Reply isn’t.

Direct Messages are good for personal conversations which are closed to the community, while a @Reply might be better if you don’t mind others joining in your conversation. For example, if another user posts a link to one of their items and you wanted to compliment it, you might send an @Reply stating how much you like that item. That way, other users can see it. However, if you wanted to request a special order from that seller, you might want to use Direct Messaging.

It should also be noted that if a user isn’t following you, you can’t Direct Message them. However, you can @Reply them.

Twitter Tools

Because of the popularity of Twitter, there area number of services and tools created by companies (not Twitter itself) to make Twitter easier to use. While it is impossible to list all Twitter applications (more and more keep popping up every day), here are three of my favorite:

Tweetdeck– A useful downloadable application that helps categorize and aggregate your normal Twitter page. Being able to display all tweets, @responses, DM's and specific search terms in columns will make you wonder how you ever got by without it.


Twit-Seeker- This is one of the easier programs to use to find new people to follow who are talking about the things that interest you. Search "handmade" or"stained glass" or any number of keywords and you'll be shown up to 25 people at a time who have been talking about that keyword.


SocialOmph- Another great tool to help you manage your Twitter account which you can useto schedule future tweets for your Twitter account. This is a helpful trick ifyou want your account to be active but aren't going to be able to update it.You can set up tweets with fun finds or other non-time sensitive tweets to keep your account more active.


New users should probably spend some time getting used to Twitter before investigating tools. This will help you understand what kind of services you can use to make your tweeting experience better, and what will only make things more complicated.


 A Quick Note on Spam

Sadly, there is spam on Twitter. These can come in the forms of bot Twitter accounts with suspicious names such as, “Freemoney$$”or “SaveBigonCars.” It’s best to avoid these accounts, as they can send you automatic direct messages if you follow them with links to spam sites or virus.Always be wary of a link you receive in a direct message or tweet when you do not know the user or recognize the URL. If the offer appears to be too good to be true, it probably is.


What Else Can I do with Twitter?

Once your Twitter account is set up and ready to go, hit the forums! Use some of your other social venues to let other sellers know your Twitter info. There are several threads out there of people just sharing their Twitter usernames. Go though and follow your favorite shops, and be sure to post your Twitter name so others can follow you. Also, don’t forget widgets! If you're a Pro (verified) member of ArtFire you can add several different kinds of widgets to your studio to help your buyers find you online. If you're just a basic member you can still add your Twitter page to your Market Hub!


You don’t need to use Twitter just to promote your studio. You can use Twitter to promote your blog, website, or even social media profile! You can also use Twitter to get feedback on your items and sites. And of course, you can use Twitter to talk with other artisans and form new friendships.

If you’re looking for more important on Twitter, try asking members of the community or doing a specific search for what you’d like to know.

This post was edited by sara On: Sep 17, 2010 at 11:27am MST  


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Posted On: Feb 17, 2010 at 9:42am MST

great .. marking this to read later .. I still can't figure out what the @ is for .. and how a response to a comment shows up .. oh so much to learn over there.
Thanks !
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Posted On: Feb 21, 2010 at 9:23am MST

I also try to figure out twitter!!!

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Posted On: Feb 24, 2010 at 8:47am MST

thanks for the orientation pointers ! looking into it ...
.........................................
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Posted On: Feb 24, 2010 at 8:55am MST

Twitter is next on my list. Thanks for the tips!

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Posted On: Mar 2, 2010 at 2:55pm MST

I also have some twitter tips I've posted on my blog for once you get these points under your belt. Please check them out here and feel free to respond: http://ellesbeads.blogspot.com/2010/02/microblogging-tips-for-promoting-your.html
This post was edited by ellesbeads On: Mar 2, 2010 at 2:55pm MST  

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Posted On: Mar 5, 2010 at 2:14pm MST

Thank you so much for posting that, Sara! I have a Twitter account, but I never use it because I couldn't figure out how to use it. Even the Twitter site itself doesn't make it obvious, unless perhaps I didn't find the right place to look for the answers, which was not obvious.....
"The Arts are universal medicine, delivered through human interaction, which, when absorbed through our senses,actually heals our bodies on a cellular level. This has been shown to be true for plants and animals also. Art has a value that goes beyond beauty!" Diane Marie

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Posted On: Mar 8, 2010 at 2:01pm MST

Another tip - mentions- if you want to reply to someone but would still like others to see it, put the @twittername after a another word.
Check it out @twitterfirend your item http://tinyurl.com is really cool

They know you like their item and so does everyone else.

That's why RT's get passed to everyone, having words before the @twittername
Susan
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Posted On: Mar 12, 2010 at 4:44pm MST

Posted by Sara:
"You’ll also want to personalize your Twitter account. Post updates onyour life and opinions as well as links to your items. This way yourfollowers have a chance of establishing a personal relationship withyou and seeing the artist behind your work. Tweet about your family,your job, and everyday life. For example, you could post things like “Ijust got a new puppy!” or “I’m going to the DMV, cross your fingers forme,” to generate discussion on your Twitterfeed. It is important thatpeople following you see you as a real person, not just an e‐commerce site."


TRUE. Nothing is more annoying than when I see the timeline filled up with a dozen "look at my shop" tweets all in a row, then nothing from that person for days, then a dozen more "look at my shop" links. I unfollow them because I feel like I'm following a stream of advertisements for a faceless seller rather than getting to know the creative person making whatever is being sold.  If someone talks about their day to day activities, current projects, latest ideas, linking to articles relevant to whatever they do, random thoughts, that's what gets me interested in actually visiting their website or shop to see whatever it is that they are promoting. 

While I'm hardly the authority on marketing, I think it's a good idea to think of Twitter as a tool for promotion through networking and interaction rather than a place to simply post ads.  Put your personality out there, not just your product.


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