It’s time for… Spring Cleaning!!

I know I’ve been gone for a while. I promise I have lots of stories for you when the time comes.

Right now, however, I’m feeling the need to do a bit of sprucing up around here. So hopefully the next time you all stop by, this blog will have a new look and feel to it.

Don’t ask how long it’ll take me; I have no idea. But I’ll keep updating as I go, so no worries there. This does mean that my Tuesday Top Ten series is going to be pushed back at least another week, but I will be finishing up at least the social media portion of that.

So keep an eye out folks, it’s going to be exciting!


Tuesday Top Ten – Best Social Media Sites for Small Business Part 2

Oooook. I have been feeling very anxious about this week’s Top Ten. Overwhelmed. Do you understand the sheer amount of info out there on these topics? Check out Pinterest. Just do a quick search for “social media tips”. I’ve even set up my own Pinterest board just for this stuff. There is a TON of info on how to use social media for your business. And my goal? To whittle it all down to just a few key points, and to keep it simple so that I, and all my readers, can use it. Sounds like a pretty lofty goal, right? Yeah, it does to me too.

So even though I think I might be crazy to continue this, here goes…

Top Ten Social Media Sites for Small Business Part Two


Top Ten Social Media Sites for Small Business Part Two - Twitter

A lovely representation of the Twitter logo

It was tough choosing this week’s social media site. I was torn between Tumblr (which I don’t really understand), Pinterest (which I’m getting better at) and Twitter. Don’t ask me how I finally decided; I’m not sure myself. I don’t think I really decided until I started to write the word “Twitter”, actually.

I’m terrible at Twitter. I have an account, obviously, but I go long periods of time without actually tweeting anything. I have a whole bunch of other social media accounts tied to Twitter so things still get tweeted, but most of it’s automated and therefore much less personal. But before we get into why this is a bad thing, let’s get the basics down.

Twitter = France?
Twitter is kind of like a foreign country in the social media world. It even has its own language. Here are a few terms that you will absolutely need to know (and know how to use) to be successful on Twitter:

Tuesday Top Ten – Best Social Media Sites for Small Business Part 2

Since I tend to be a bit wordy, I went with this short and simple image instead.

These terms, of course, are just the beginning. If you’d like to dig a bit deeper into the Twitter-language, go here. Some of them are really silly, but a lot of them are very useful.

Tuesday Top Ten – Best Social Media Sites for Small Business Part 2

Well, they do.

So you want to start a Twitter?
But why? Why is it important to my business to do this whole tweeting thing? Whoa there buddy, hold your horses. First thing’s first. You need to set up the account before we can delve into any deep philosophical questions like that.

First you need a user name. This is how people will find you, and should be easily recognizable. Mine is @madebymegshop, so a Google search for my Etsy shop will come back with my Twitter in the results. People can also easily search for me on Twitter. This is different from the display name. I used my actual name for that.

Then you need a profile image so people know that you’re not a bot (not an actual person, in other words). You can use your business logo here, but I’ve chosen to use a picture of myself. Personally, I like knowing that there is a real, live person behind the business, but that’s just my preference. I’m not alone though. According to PC Magazine, uploading a photo that shows your face can result in as many as ten times more followers. It just adds a more personal touch, in my opinion.

You also need a good description of who you are and what you’re about. Again, this shows potential followers that you’re real.

Finally, you can include the link to your website. If you don’t have a website, link to your blog or your Facebook.

Tuesday Top Ten – Best Social Media Sites for Small Business Part 2How the heck do I use this thing?
Hell if I know. Really. But because I’m relatively masochistic, I’ve been doing my research.

First of all, you need to develop a following. This is obvious, right? I mean, you can talk and talk about interesting, valuable things all day long, but if no one is listening it’s kind of like the tree falling in the forest with no one around. No one cares, because no one is seeing it. If you’re brand new to Twitter, this means you need to start following people. You can follow blogs you read (most have social media buttons on their homepages to make this easy), real-life friends, and people who run other small businesses (even your direct competitors). If you know what your target market is, go ahead and do a hashtag search for a term that relates, and follow users who talk about it. But don’t follow every account that you come across, because there is a limit to how many accounts you can follow. I hit the follow limit fairly quickly, so I use a service called JustUnfollow to weed through the accounts that I follow, and get rid of the ones that I can live without.

Once you’ve followed some people, you are going to want to build those relationships by interacting. You can do this by mentioning them, retweeting them, or DM’ing them. And if someone takes the time to mention or retweet you, make sure you respond. It’s actually pretty easy, and I think I’ve got a good handle on this part. Interacting is what normal people do in real life, right? So this part should come naturally.

Top Ten Social Media Sites for Small Business Part 2

I’m not really yelling at you

The Deets
So you have a Twitter account. And you have a following. And you’ve made some good connections. You’re done, right? NO! You aren’t done yet! There are some details that you need to keep in mind here…

*Keep your tweets short and sweet. You are only allowed 140 characters, and you want to leave room for other users to reply or retweet. Also it’s been proven that tweets that are less than 100 characters long have a 17% higher engagement rate. You want that, trust me.
*Know when to tweet. Just like on Facebook, there is an optimal time/day to tweet. On Twitter, your best days to tweet are Saturday and Sunday, with Wednesday and Thursday showing the lowest rate of engagement. You do want to try to tweet several times a day, but know that your most important tweets should probably be focused around the weekend. And on those days, it seems that the best time to tweet is between 5pm and 6pm.
*Use relevant hashtags, sparingly. You want people to be able to find you, but you want to make sure that the right people are finding you. Try to only use one or two hashtags in each post.
*Don’t be afraid to ask for retweets. You will easily and effectively amplify your message if you do this. But make sure that you use the word “retweet”, instead of just “RT”.

And if that isn’t enough, here are a few more quick and easy tips to use.
Tuesday Top Ten – Best Social Media Sites for Small Business Part 2

I’m spent. I hope that helps build a greater understanding of how to use Twitter, but really, I’ve just skimmed the surface. There is much, much more info out there that can help you get into it deeper. I’ve found that Pinterest is a great place to go for that info, or at least a good place to start.

So, do you use Twitter? Any helpful tips you’ve found to make Twitter work for your business? Any questions that I didn’t answer? Feel free to comment, and I will certainly help if I can.

Tuesday Top Ten – Best Social Media Sites for Small Business (part 1)

I’ve decided to split this week’s Top Ten list into smaller, more manageable pieces. This week, I’ll be discussing Facebook, and how/why you and I should be using it for small business. I had intended on doing the whole list today, but the Facebook part of it got way too long, way too quick, so I’m posting it on its own. Hopefully the next few I’ll be able to post together, because if not I’ll be writing about social media for the next two and a half months which would be terribly tedious. But anyway, here it is…

Top Ten Social Media Sites for Small Business Part One

Hopefully you all have a personal Facebook account, so you have a bit of basic knowledge about this one. If you don’t, let me know and I’d be happy to walk you through how to get one set up. But even if you have a personal page on Facebook, maybe you don’t know why, or how, you should be using it for your business.

*As you’re reading, please note that all of this assumes that you’ve already started a Facebook page for your business. If you haven’t, start here. There are a lot of resources out there to help you get it set up, including this one which has videos along with text. Once you’ve got it set up, check out this site for more simple but valuable tips on what it should include.*

Why use Facebook as a part of your marketing strategy? Mainly, the sheer size of Facebook means that it will be a valuable tool in marketing your small business. As of last March, according to, the site had an estimated 1.5 billion active users. Billion. So basically, it’s huge. And even better, it’s free. Of course you can choose to pay for advertising if you’d like (I don’t), but even if you don’t you can still get your name/brand out there by doing a few simple things:

Make sure you are posting status updates regularly. Most advice will tell you that you should update daily. I don’t. I think a couple times a week might be enough, depending on your business and what you’re posting. You don’t want to post updates just to fill space. But you don’t want to overly self-promote either. Basically, what I do is when I have something meaningful and business related, I post it. Pictures of my works-in-progress, finished items before I list them, updates about shop issues, or even the random cat-stalking-yarn pic… They all make it onto my page.

A small note about this; the “experts” will tell you that pictures and/or links do better in terms of engagement than straight text updates do. I don’t find this to be the case. For example, I posted an update about a sales milestone last week and it got 141 views and 15 likes, while a link to my blog post from yesterday only got 36 views and 1 like. I say, find what works best for you and do it. If it happens to be text as opposed to links, then post more text updates. You can always post links in the comments.

You want people to see your updates, and either “like” them, comment on them or share them. Every time someone “likes”, comments on or shares your page or a post from your page, all of their friends see it in their feed. This not only boosts engagement, but it can also build your fan base.

My biggest issue with Facebook is engagement. A while back, Facebook changed how fans see page updates. Not everyone who “likes” my page will see every post. In fact, while I have over 1,200 fans, only about 100-150 see each status update. Here are couple suggestions that I’ve found, that I will try to use on my page in the near future.

Use hashtags. Facebook added the ability to post clickable hashtags recently. You can even search for which hashtags are used most, and find out which ones are used by your target customers or competitors.

Share quotes. This one I will definitely use. I have a whole book of knitting-related quotes. The idea here is to share quotes that your audience can identify with and will either like or share or both. You can also post a picture along with the quote if that’s what works for you. If you don’t have ready access to brand-related quotes, search using the hashtag #quote on Twitter or Facebook.

Ask questions. This suggestion is so awesome because it’s so open ended. As long as it’s appropriate to your page, it works. But keep it simple.

Connect with competitors, and comment on their content. I don’t use this suggestion currently. Actually, I’ve always been relatively opposed to it. But I may give it a shot, because why not? Obviously, you don’t want to actively advertise on competitors pages, but a relevant comment here or there on something they shared couldn’t hurt. You don’t want to step on any toes, but connecting and even cross-promoting with other small business owners can’t be anything but helpful.

Like vs. Share posts. kb-like-share-walmartThis one is interesting. I’m not sure how I will be using this one, but I’m definitely going to be trying it out. You could also use a different version of this idea by posting a “like vs. comment” update. Basically you are asking your fans to vote for one of two options, by either liking the post or sharing/commenting. It does require pictures, however. You want to create a picture containing the options you are asking your fans to choose from, and also include simple instructions for participation (which you can do using Photoshop or one of the many free photo editing options on the web). Again, every like or comment is shown to friends of fans, so this is a simple but very effective marketing tool.

I have to say, in looking for pictures to use as an example for this, I tried really hard to find one from somewhere other than Walmart. I detest Walmart. But that was the best example available. I feel a bit dirty for using it, but I didn’t have a lot of options. Anyway, back to the business at hand.

The last important thing, or at least most important thing because I’m sure there are many more tips out there, is that you should know when to post updates. In my case I’m marketing an online business but my main audience is still within the United States, or at least that’s where the vast majority of my sales come from. If you are marketing an online business as well, time zones are a factor that should be accounted for.

That being said, the best times to post to your page are generally around 1pm to 4pm. Traffic on Facebook starts to get steady around 9am and drops off around 4pm on the weekdays, but 1pm-4pm is when you are most likely to get the most exposure for your posts. The worst time to post, according to, is any day between 8pm and 8am or on the weekends. I’m not really sure how time zones factor into these times, but I would assume that they mean local time. You can post whenever you’d like, obviously, but I would suggest using the “schedule” feature to get each post maximum exposure.

I hope this little “guide” has helped. If you need more advice, check out the links I’ve included, or even do a Google search of your own. And if you have any strategies that you use with your own page that I haven’t mentioned, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear them! If you are still unsure about setting up your page or building a fan base, feel free to check out my page and/or send me a message.

Actually, it's my Sunday. And I'm not all that happy about it. But whatever.

Actually, it’s my Sunday. And I’m not all that happy about it. But whatever.

WTF is this all about?

Did you know I have a Tumblr? I don’t have a clue how or why I should be using it, but it’s there, and occasionally I post stuff on it. I really should try to make these social media accounts more focused, but hell, I’m not very focused in general so that’s not an easy thing for me to do.

And for real, if I can’t figure out what the hell to do with Twitter, I don’t think I have much of a shot at Tumblr. I just do things, sometimes, and hope they turn out well.

Like this. Just... why?

Like this. Just… why?

I’m hoping to make my Tuesday Top Ten about this issue; how and why to use social media for small business. I just really don’t understand, so it’s more for me than for anyone else. It’ll give me a chance to do a little research, which I have trouble with if I don’t have any outside motivation. Let’s be honest, I have trouble with life if I don’t have any outside motivation.

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions for me, or anything you’d like to see included in the Tuesday Top Ten, I am very open to ideas. Thanks, and have a great weekend all!

I'm a server. I don't get a weekend.

I’m a server. I don’t get a weekend.

Warning: I will most likely offend you at some point

So I realize that I may have offended some people with what I said in the post before last. I’m not going to apologize, because I meant what I said and I’m not sorry for thinking those things, but I do feel the need to explain a bit.

When I first joined Etsy in 2010, I only had one item up for sale in my shop. Not surprisingly, no one even looked at it, let alone bought it. It wasn’t until recently, probably November or December, that I really got serious about selling on Etsy. So, as I do with just about everything, I dove in full force and got really into just about everything that I could involving Etsy. I starting blogging more, with more of a focus. I created a facebook fan page for my shop. I linked my shop and my blog with facebook and twitter. I also started joining teams, with the intention of getting a little bit more exposure and promotion for my shop. You know what? It worked. I now have anywhere between 150 to 200 views per day, on average. I may not be selling much right now, but it’s a bad time of year to be selling knit goods, since spring is right around the corner.

My basic point is, I joined those teams mainly for the purpose of self-promotion. I love the self-promotion teams/threads. You get to see people’s new items, people’s favorite items, people’s treasuries, etc. But now, I’ve realized that these teams also provide a sense of community. For example, the Etsy Success team is chock full of supportive, helpful members, who just want to make sure that everyone is successful and happy with their Etsy experience. I love that too.

That being said, there is a place for both community and self-promotion. And perhaps both things do not belong in the same team. Maybe the people who use Etsy are better off knowing which teams are primarily for self-promotion and which are primarily for supporting other sellers. Not to say that you can’t have a good mix in the same team; in the Advertising and Promotion team we have a thread every day just for supporting one specific member, which I happen to be the beneficiary of today (see my last post). But I like knowing that if I want to self-promote, I can go to the Etsians of Facebook team or the Top Treasury team, and if I need someone to vent to or someone to tell me that I’m doing the right thing by sticking with this whole online selling thing, I can go to the aforementioned Etsy Success team. Basically, I like having my information grouped that way. Maybe I’m weird.

So it’s not that I don’t think teams should be for community building. I do. But I don’t think every team should be for community building. And like I said before, no one is twisting anyone’s arm to join a certain team. You don’t like the purpose of the team, then don’t hit the “join this team” button. It’s pretty simple.

Anyway, enough of that rant. I’m done with it for real this time, I promise! 🙂 Now for something completely different…

I love my Kindle Fire. It was a Christmas present, and besides the Keurig it was probably the best gift that I got this year (I love that silly coffee maker). I was carrying it around in a plain, boring black case for a while, because I didn’t want to spend the money to buy anything fancier. This past week I decided the heck with it, I’ve got enough money to get myself a pretty Kindle case, so I hopped on Etsy and started shopping. I may enjoy buying stuff on Etsy more than I like selling, haha. It’s so pretty, and the Kindle fits perfect! It doesn’t hurt that the people who run Five Sprouts Stitching, the shop I bought it from, are awesome and helpful and talented. Definitely well worth the price.

Blargh, I have to go back to work now. Have a happy Friday everyone!! 🙂