I have a friend who now lives in Ohio and maintains a hobby of shopping yard sales for antiques to resell. She has over 15 years of experience doing this sort of thing and has developed an expertise in the field of knowing what to buy, and knowing what will sell for a profit. But only her small group of friends knows what she does.
We were catching up recently by email and I told her how I am becoming more knowledgeable as a Social Media Consultant and helping small business owners, especially those with sole-proprietership and no employees, enter the world of social media to promote their services. I referred her to my blog, which led to her question, “Do you just put in these blog posts and then people comment back to you? I don’t follow how this makes money. ”
Here is my reply, which helped her understand how this social media thing, specifically blogging, really works:
“Thanks for asking about my blog. Let’s say you are an antique dealer and want to enter the social media world. You start a blog and make posts about what you discovered over the weekend at a yard sale. You talk about how you turned around and sold it on Ebay for a nice profit. You tell a story about what to avoid, and what doesn’t sell. You talk about how you made a mistake, got ripped off, made a thousand dollars, restored something, restored your house, used an antique item in an innovative way, etc.
You continually make posts on whatever you are doing related to your passion of antiquing. Then, you create a Facebook page for your antique business. You post announcements about an antique auction coming to the area, and what to watch for. You create a Twitter page and post Tweets like “just purchased an antique wxyz for only $20!” The blog, Facebook and Twitter are free, but you spend several hours each week making posts and keeping it updated.
After a few months, you may have people who found you by searching antiquing and Ohio. You will gain a few followers and they may even comment on your posts. You are diligent in replying to anyone who comments on your posts, and you also spend time browsing other posts by people with similar interests.
Give yourself at least 8 months of building an online presence and soon you will have a reputation as an Ohio antiquing expert. Because you made blog posts using the keywords and tags specific to your field, people are finding you and reading what you have to say.
So how does it make money? Someone sees your blog and mentions it to their club or organization who may pay $200 to $1000 for a speaking engagement about antiquing in Ohio. People will want to hear of your adventures and experience, and your credentials will be you online presence. If you gain enough followers and people are visiting your blog because you offer relevant and helpful information, an advertiser may decide that your site is where they want to put their money. Research shows that advertisers are looking for sites to put their money and want their ads to be in places with content relevant to their industry where people are already visiting. If you are found easily, the advertisers will find you.
The key is to create an online presence, and you can do this by blogging on a specific topic that will attract people.
When Jane Doe (Joe Blow’s sister!) has a houseful of antiques to deal with after her parents died and she needs help with liquidating them, she’ll go online and do a search on antiques in Ohio and if your name comes up and she likes what she reads in your blog, you might get a call for your services.
The most amazing thing about the evolution of social marketing is that it’s not just the high-budget businesses that can be discovered. The little guys can do it if you put in enough time keeping up your social presence and blogging information that others can use. ”
By doing nothing, only a small group of people will know that she is an antiquing expert. By creating a social media presence, she is sharing her knowledge with an endless pool of potential clients that can find her if they look.
-Article courtesy of Natalie Carpenter, Red Humpy Design