How to use Facebook to promote your Ruby Lane Shop
inJanuary 29, 2013 - 1:25pm
When I first started B.BOLD Jewelry for Boomer Girls I decided that I would let my business grow incrementally, one step at a time. I had a plan, though. I would start by joining Ruby Lane because it would put my shop in a “mall” of quality shops. Joining Ruby Lane would be easier than building my own website. Besides, the site is attractively designed and customer friendly I’d also have technical support without spending a fortune and Ruby Lane would do the advertising for me and provide me with traffic.
As my business grew, I began to realize that if I wanted to increase my sales to create a self-sustaining business that provided me with a serious income, I would need to use some of my present Ruby Lane income to advertise on my own. The question was—how to do it? I already had a personal Facebook page, so I decided on Facebook for my business.
As of today, on Facebook, my shop has 15,000 fans. This means that whenever I post an item, it can reach thousands of people and their friends. More often than not, an item I post will sell in a matter of minutes or hours. As a result I have created my own personal base of potential customers and am no longer competing with any other Ruby Lane Shop owners. I’m pulling interested customers from Facebook directly to my shop rather than hoping people who browse all shops on Ruby Lane will find me. Many of my purchasers have never been to Ruby Lane before, which means I’m bringing a stream of newly registering visitors to Ruby Lane. At any rate, here’s how to do it.
1) Create a second page from the hub of your personal page, and call it by your shop name. Then write all of your customers a letter telling them that if they “like” your page (likes are the equivalent of fans) they can enter weekly contests and win free jewelry. Provide an easy link for them to follow, and some of them will join. I began with a fan base of 50 or so. (Over a period of 3 years, I had built my email contact list to 450. Now it is 1200.)
2) Hold weekly contests or giveaways. On Facebook, contests need to be created using an application approved by Facebook. This is because of legal issues that determine how users can promote themselves without appearing to be represented by the company itself. Facebook can’t afford that liability so if your page doesn’t comply with this rule, it may eventually be eliminated, along and everything you’ve worked for. This is the one rule that you REALLY need to follow faithfully.
3) Find an appropriate contest App. If you google “Free Facebook apps”, you’ll find good choices. The program should be set up to ask entrants to share the contest on their own page, with the added incentive that if a friend of theirs wins, they win, too. The program keeps track of entrants and when the contest is over, a random number generator chooses the winner or winners.
3) If you use paid Facebook advertising, be sure to target it and experiment with your targeted selections until you find the right mix. My shop targets Boomers, so choosing the age of my audience was easy. It’s important to narrow the audience down only to people who will potentially buy your product. In other words, for special interests, you probably don’t want to select “sports,” or “pets,” etc. You probably want to select "online shopping" or other categories related to sales and fashion.
4) Create an interactive page by posting content that doesn’t relate to selling. Potential customers don’t want to see only a sales pitch. They like to be entertained. Studies say that only about 1/3rd of your posts should consist of items for sale or things about your business. The most common mistake I see is that shops using Facebook either promote themselves and their products exclusively, or they post content that is related to their own interests, not to what interests their customers. This, I think, is a recipe for turning off potential fans.
5) Encourage dialogue on your page. Ask open ended questions that one might find on a survey—questions about fashion preferences, or demographics, but also questions as simple as-- what are you planning this weekend? Or, “What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?”
The important thing to remember is that Facebook is a place where you not only engage in social interaction, you can also let your fans advertise for you by encouraging them to post reactions and photos after receiving their new jewelry. In the process of posting, you’re also creating a subtle philosophy that expresses the uniqueness of your product and personality. You’re also connecting to people in a friendly way that builds solid relationships.
Since your shop is online it makes sense to market online rather than in print. A Facebook presence, and the resulting feeling of accomplishment are more than worth it! So buckle up, get busy, and learn how to use one of the most effective advertising methods in existence today. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on a great chance to grow your business beyond what you ever thought possible.