|Sat May 16 2009 19:52:54|
Small Online Sellers Build Big Social Networks
By: Ina Steiner
We recently announced that we were looking for your stories on how you use social marketing sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and blogs to drive traffic and boost your online sales, and that we'd send an autographed copy of Guy Kawasaki's latest book to our favorite submission. I'm pleased to announce that Gary Overton has won the book, "Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition."
Gary uses Facebook to share his most unique listings with Facebook "friends," and he purchases Facebook advertising. Another reader, Sandy of Minnesota's Highway, uses Twitter, MySpace and Facebook to build a network of people who are interested in selling or collecting vintage items to get the word out about her offerings. One of the submissions was from a vendor, and I decided to include it since it offers insight into how companies use Twitter to communicate with customers. Thanks to everyone who shared their tips on social networking!
Gary Overton Sees Higher Sell-through on Facebook
I have only been using Facebook for 3 1/2 months but it drives a lot of traffic to my eBay store. I use it 2 ways to do this. I use "Share on Facebook" to share my most unique listings with my Facebook "friends." My STR (Sell Through Rate) overall for my eBay store is usually a little over 20%. The STR for items I share on Facebook is usually just a tad below 50%.
I also run Facebook ads. I do not sell many items from these ads, but they DO increase my search ranking on Google on every item I advertise there.
I have over 400 "friends" on Facebook and could add hundreds each day if I so desired, but I try to interact with all of my friends on Facebook. I also do NOT share too many items on Facebook because this is a turn-off to a lot of people.
This is all a balancing act. I want to add as many items as possible without turning off "friends." I also am very active adding other things on Facebook that I am not trying to sell including y Netflix rentals and ratings.
You can find me on Facebook by searching for Gary Overton.
Sandy of Minnesota's Highway Uses Social Network to Diversify
I mainly use Twitter to alert persons with interests similar to mine of the items I have for sale on my site and yes....eBay as well. I also use Facebook and MySpace in the same way. Right now, I have to walk a fine line. I don't want all my eggs in eBay's basket, but until I build my own internet presence, I will continue to post items on eBay. I sell antiques and collectibles. Basically, I follow/ seek friends with those who are interested in selling or collecting vintage items, in an effort to build a network and get the word out about my offerings. I sell my stuff here as well as eBay.
I began using Twitter about a month or so ago after revamping my shop website to focus more on on-line sales. I use Paypal as a payment option as well as postal money orders. Eventually I will add Google Checkout. I have no expensive or fancy shopping carts. I think most people interested in buying antiques and collectibles simply want to know that they can trust the seller. They want to be able to pay for the item easily, get the item quickly, have it be what was described and be able to return the item if necessary. In return, I only ask that buyers provide me an accurate way for me to contact them so they can verify that they made the purchase. This is done to protect both of us from internet fraud. I also want them to provide an accurate ship to address, so the item can be delivered quickly by USPS.
I wanted a venue entirely my own to sell items that I would normally host on eBay. Hopefully by using networking sites like Twitter, I can eventually build enough business on my own site so I don't have to use eBay anymore. Frankly, I am sick of their ever-changing rules and want to be in control of my own business. I'm a 100% seller with DSR ratings of 4.9, 4.9, 5.0 and 4.9. and nearly 1000 feedback. I am also tired of their ever increasing fees and failure to communicate with their sellers in any way that is meaningful and that would suggest a true "partnership". Had I wanted a "boss", I would have kept working the job I retired from two years ago.
I sell to supplement my social security income. I'm not seeking to build a huge business, just to make enough to make some extra money from the items I purchase at auctions, estate sales, antique shows and shops. I also have a brick and mortar antique shop and sell at antique shows.
Since using Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, I have seen increased sales at my Minnesota's Highway site. Hopefully, that will continue, so I can eventually make a transition to selling only on my site and eBay can be about it's business of becoming a great big "overstock" junk seller of overpriced imported items. Good luck with that!
Minnesota's Highway (Link)
Third-Party Vendor Tweets to Stay in Touch with Customers
How Auctiva is using Twitter… Auctiva utilizes Twitter to start, maintain and expand relationships with our customers. On a daily basis, we "Tweet" about current site conditions, industry news, release dates and product updates. We also use Twitter to personify our company and communicate the distinctive company culture that makes us who we are.
We are slowly but surely building our community, cross-communicating between our customer email messages, web sites, and blogs. Auctiva does not utilize the Twitter format as a stand-alone medium, but rather a complementary outlet to all of our communication methods.
We encourage our customers to join us on Twitter and use this medium to build their own communities that revolve around their businesses and storefronts. This includes special discounts to Twitter followers only, grand opening announcements and new inventory additions. Simple messages with big impact.
One of our most recent Tweets! "eBay sellers & online merchants: How do you use Twitter to drive traffic and boost online sales? Share! http://is.gd/uTSb"