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biz ladies: creating fans from scratch


Today’s Biz Ladies post is by Katrina Padron, an award-winning director of marketing and a social media consultant. Katrina offers weekly social media strategies through her website, www.katrinapadron.com, and today she shares some of the best practices for creating a fan-base from scratch. Thanks, Katrina, for this helpful advice! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

You know your business should leverage social networks, but it’s daunting when you have zero followers, zero fans, zero members and zero connections. The good news about social networks is we all start at zero, so even those businesses with thousands of followers sat and stared at those big zeros, too. The key to getting fans is to get your business “out there.” Wherever you are, you just have to start. Here is a list of 30 strategies that get impressive results when you need to create fans from scratch.

Attract

  • Craft a contagious profile. In 140 characters, people decide whether they want to follow you. Make it wow!
  • Post pictures, tag them and ask for comments or captions. Pictures are highly likable and share-able.
  • Post videos and ask for comments and shares. Videos are compelling!

Integrate

Give

  • Guest post on bigger blogs. Use Twitter to help build buzz. Tag the blog in your original post so their followers see it. The day it goes live, be sure to search it on Twitter and respond to every person who replied or retweeted it.
  • Guest post on teleseminars and webinars.
  • Comment on blogs where your customers are spending their time.
  • Reply to every comment you receive.
  • Reply to @mentions.
  • Write a testimonial for someone else.
  • Do a vendor case study.
  • Say yes to every interview or writing request.
  • Profile other people on your site and make them look fab. They’ll be sharing that link for sure!

Partner/Collaborate

  • Look for ways to partner with competitors and pitch it. What else does your target customer want? What do you offer that your competitor doesn’t?
  • Look for ways to partner with big shots and pitch it. What can you add to their offerings?

Promote

  • Have a pay-what-you-can day. Post it everywhere and ask that people share your link.
  • Hold a contest. Offer your product or service in exchange for testimonials. Tell people they get bonus points for sharing your contest on their social networks.

Engage

  • Start commenting on other blogs.
  • Build relationships instead of self-promoting. Try these conversation starters.
  • Ask questions with simple answers. What’s one word to describe (your industry)?

Encourage

  • Tell people you’re up to something new and encourage them to tell others. Give links and make it easy.
  • Call in favors. Ask your friends to share what you are working on. Again, give links and make it easy.
  • Do live speaking engagements. Ask people to tweet and post in real time about the event and include your Twitter handle or tag your business.
  • Put calls to action on everything.
  • Ask for testimonials. Follow these 7 power questions.
  • Keep posting. You’ll simply remind people you are there.

Social networks offer incredible opportunities to get your business “out there.” Incorporate a few of these strategies when and where you can.

*Comment here and let us know what you are trying. You never know who might find you!

For more actionable ways to create communities of fans who love what you do and happily share it with their friends, visit www.katrinapadron.com.

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92 Comments

alexx boisjoli

Just what I was looking for today! I was hoping to find something just like this for a friend who is new to blogging. (and for me too, really)
Thanks for posting.

Somer Sherwood

Excellent, and all true! I’ve recently experienced what social media can do when it is really, really working. It’s truly the new way to do business and promote art, music, you name it. Will def incorporate some of these tips into my social media strategy, thanks!

Amanda @brown bear studio

Really helpful post! I just had my first non-friend/family Facebook like and it was quickly followed by a purchase. I am a believer! I’m sure with these tips (love that its in list form!) there will be more to come. Thank you!

{plum}

such great tips and friendly reminders. may you prosper this holiday season and next year.

best – d.

post script: don’t forget, shoulders back.

sarah {aroc urtu jewelry}

thanks for the tips! social media can seem like a full time job in addition to our main business (jewelry) but it’s more and more important everyday. some days we just want to design and create but this is a great reminder to make time for the online stuff too…

Clara

Sometimes it’s the simplest things I forget to do. This is so helpful! Thanks, Katrina!

Teresa

Slightly off topic… I am contually amazed at who I have met via social media and by some of the “bigwigs” who read blog posts or tweets by we “little people”. You are absolutely correct about favorable mentions of products or services on your blog/twitter – they can lead to new customers, connections and friendships for life. And Twitter is such a powerful tool. I personally believe that it is even more powerful than Facebook. Thanks for posting this, Biz Ladies!

Gina_AcuteDesigns

This is all such good advice…even for those of us that have some more fans but would like more. I feel that the best thing you can do is network and respond to others. Make a little community out of your blog.

Flora

exactly what I needed: practical things to do, right now. Action!
Thank you very much!! :)

Kustom Kissers

I have been utilizing some of these tips and am surprised at how quickly my numbers are growing. Can’t wait to see what happens when I implement the rest of them!

Jacqueline Mukweto

This a great list! It is a little easier to read than to actually do. I am trying to exercise patience and consistency in what I do. Sometimes starting out it’s easy to forget that time is a major factor. Its takes time to build an audience, fans, clients etc. It’s tempting to want to grow over night. I am glad the process is gradual it gives me time to modify and adjust as I am learning.

Kim (at www.loveumadly.com)

Biz Ladies to the rescue as per usual! I launched my blog Labor Day and it’s been so fun watching it grow. I attempted twitter for a while, but found Facebook more natural for me (and giving quicker results). Now my facebook links to my twitter account. Any suggestions on choosing between the two? I admire so much of what is done here at Design Sponge and with you Ladies. Thanks!!

Katrina Padron

@ Kelly – Thanks for commenting. I hope these tips make a big difference in your business.

@Alexx – Thank you for sharing with your friend. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you both. I know starting is the toughest. It gets easier so stick with it!

@Jamila – Thanks for reading!

Eileen

When I think of how long it takes me to do a simple blog post, I’m curious as to how everyone finds the time to do all this AND do your actual work?

Katrina Padron

@ Somer, @ Amanda, @ Plum – It’s so crazy to think what an impact social media has on businesses these days. Glad you are incorporating it – a true game-changer! It’s true. It turns into sales!

Katrina Padron

@ Sarah – You’re right, social media can feel like a full time job. The best thing is to set aside 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the afternoon/evening for social media. Prioritize by doing the things that build relationships with your following.

Katrina Padron

@ Jodi + @ Clara +@ Flora – Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

@ Gina +Teresa – You are right on. Great advice ladies! Twitter is my favorite tool personally, but my best advice is to be where your customers are spending the most time.

Katrina Padron

@ Eileen – The long list can make this overwhelming. Just start with a few that you think will make the biggest impact. Schedule small blocks of your time. If it’s not scheduled it’s easy to skip!

Sarah Wilks

I would love to someday make my blog a source of income, and getting some followers behind me is definitely the first step! I’ll try posting more photos/videos and some of your other ideas, too – thanks for the tips! Sarah x

Melissa

Super advice–thank your for all the tips! Looking forward to trying a few more of these out soon!

Magda

I may not have a business I want to promote yet this post is helpful to me on so many levels. Thank you!

Katrina Padron

@ Sarah – Photos and videos are some of the most shared content on social media so that is a really good strategy. Also try asking fill in the blank questions to get more engagement, like One word to describe design is _________ or The blog I can’t stop reading is ___________. That will give you a little research on your customers too!

@Melissa + @ Magda – So glad I could help you!

Megan Menke

Thanks so much! I always seem to forget the simple things I can do to help my business, and these tips are perfect!

Claire

This is really great advice! With a few other ladies we are trying to see how we can start a design blog community in Belgium. And tadaa! here is the answer.

Hanna from HapaDesign

Yet another great Biz Ladies post! Thanks so much! I do have a question, though – what would you recommend, when I have a very little time to spend on social media and marketing? I currently juggling school, leading a volunteer project, writing my Master’s thesis and my creative outlets (blog, shop). Time is of the essence for me every day. So what are the most important steps? Facebook or Twitter? How to maximize the results with minimal time?

Siobhan

great advice. just need to keep on it at all times. social networking sooooo beneficial but can be time consuming if not given a time slot.

Leah

Thank you so much! I’m not really sure what I’m selling on my site but I’m really trying to make a career change into the blogging world/graphic design world…and these are great tips. I’ve had my blog about a year and am always so bummed I don’t have more followers…I guess I need to get on the Twitter bandwagon! Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement.

Katrina Padron

@Megan + @ Gussy Sew – Happy you like it and hope it helps you!

@ Claire – Awesome. Starting is the biggest hurdle. Do you have a name yet? We’ll keep an eye out for it.

@ Hanna – Oh My! You’re a busy lady! My best advice is to chose 1 or 2 strategies schedule small block of time for social media. Focus. Try just 1 or 2 things rather than everything. Trust me, consistently doing a couple small things can make an impact, plus it beats being overwhelmed any day :)! As for Twitter vs. Facebook – go where your customers are.

Katrina Padron

@ Jaclyn + @Siobhan – Thanks ladies!

@ Leah – Career change is totally within your reach. Keep at it! Twitter is a great tool, just remember to focus on relationships more than self promotion. You’ll see great results that way!

Rachel

This post is SO helpful! I’m finding that a ton of businesses are following me, but not a lot of consumers. Any tips?

Thanks again for the wonderful advice.

Natasha

This was great! I’ve just started my own website and Etsy shop and have been trying to gather as much advice as possible.

I think a good simple one is making use of your email signature by always leaving links to your site. Whenever I receive emails I almost always click on people’s signature links.

Hilary

Thanks, Katrina. So practical and so encouraging. I needed this to light a fire under me to get the ‘ol twitter back up and running.

Brittany

Thank you for such a thorough, thought-provoking post. So much food for thought, this will keep me busy for a while. Definitely hopping over to your site, Katrina. Thanks ladies!

Katrina Padron

@ Rachel – I see you dilemma. I recommend infiltrating those businesses that are following you and engaging and connecting with their followers. So if Udi’s Gluten free is following you, go to there page and start talking to their followers. Encourage them to come to your page too. They are highly targeted for you.

@ Heather – Thanks so much!

@ Natasha – Yes, email signatures are highly under-utilized real estate. On some platforms, you can even make it clickable.

jade

great post! while we don’t have millions of followers of twitter (yet!), we noticed a big jump when we started participating in weekly twitter chats. We are a travel blog, but chatting with foodie bloggers or mommie bloggers or fashion bloggers has helped get our blog noticed not only by other travel bloggers or travel community but also people who want to travel! It is a lot of work, but I feel like it is paying off so far! Thanks for the tips.

Laura @SpeakSpanish

I’ve been reading Desing Sponge for a while and i always find interesting post esp BizLadies, thanks very much to share here, it is honestly the kind of advice i needed. Gracias!

Lottie Really Loves

These tips are just what I need to give me some ideas and hopefully take my little blog to the place where I want it to be.

I think I need to join twitter and probably get a smart phone.

Laurie

Thank you, thank you, thank you for ALL of the Biz Ladies posts. They are so helpful and encouraging for someone like me who is still in the dreaming/planning stages of starting a small business. Such a wonderful resource.

Laurie Henry

This was so helpful! I got my business license in August and am looking for ways to get my business out there. I have a stationary/invitation business and am planning on setting up a booth at a bridal fair in January to hopefully get some clients!

Christie

Starting out with only a few ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ is seriously daunting, but I’ve found that every little comment or bit of feedback is ten times as inspiring and motivating to keep me going! Thanks for this helpful post. I’m really hoping that facbeook & blogging will help take my handmade business to the next level.

xo!

Stephanie

I just hosted a launch party for my new interior design business last night. This is so very helpful – and extremely timely – for me. Thank you!!

FOLLY HOME

Fab post – perfect timing as we’re just working on social networking at the mo for our new online store. Very helpful, thanks! :)

Alison Hodd

Katina, I learned much from your post and would love to subscribe to your newsletter. Sadly I am having trouble with your website. I sent you the specifics in a private message on FB. Likely it is in your ‘Other’ Message box. Can others click around on http://www.katrinapadron.com?

Mary

I’m so glad you approached this topic. Trying to self promote can be so daunting when you’re starting out.

Thanks!

Katrina Padron

@ Jade – That’s great advice. How are you finding your Twitter chats?

@Gailete – Thank you so much for mentioning. Great post!

@Laura – Yes, this column is awesome! Thanks for reading my post!

@ Christie – Good luck with your biz. What is it called?

@ Stephanie – Congrats on the launch party. That’s a huge step! I wish you the best!

Katrina Padron

@ Hannah – I know it can be overwhelming. Stick with a couple and you’ll see results!

@ Mary – I’m glad it’s helpful for you. Good luck!

Rachel M

Great article that goes through all the big hitters! I think the key is helping people not get overwhelmed and knowing where to start. For some just the thought of Twitter makes their head spin! Definitely will repost this on FB!

AlexisAnne

I’ve bookmarked this post so that I can come back daily and remind myself to try something new. Definitely trying to build my FB and Twitter presence- lots of great tips here. Thanks!

Theresa

Hi Katrina,
Thanks so much for taking the time to share all this great information! I just had one question. When you say reply to every comment, do you recommend sending a direct email (when/if you can) or just within the post (thread)?
Thanks again!

Deborah Yun (youngswandesigns.com)

Hi Katrina, just discovered Biz Ladies and your post was my first read!! What a lovely way to start reading about this column for my newly launched photography & art shop on Etsy. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful insights! xoxo, deborah

Katrina Padron

@ Rachel – Thank you so much and I really appreciate the repost!

@ Alexisanne – 2012 is your year!! Let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!

@ Theresa – When I reply to comments, I usually tweet or post on the thread. That way other people can see it too and it helps give you more credibility. But it is ok to follow up with a DM too.

@ Deborah – Aww. That’s so flattering. I loved being featured here. There are always incredible articles.

Lizzi

Great post thanks! This led me to Katrina’s website which is also great, I recommend the conversation starters.

Katrina Padron

@ Fran – I really hope it helps you in 2012!

@ Lizzi – Thank you so much for mentioning those! Use them as much as you want!!

Amy Kaneko Events

As many others have said, this post was really wonderful. Katrina, I really appreciate your tips — they are insightful & incredibly useful. The video tutorials on your website (how to add a hotlink to Facebook, etc) are easy to follow and make a lot of sense to do. I’ll be following you on Twitter and am looking forward to receiving your future pearls of wisdom!

Katie

Thanks very much – this is a great post. My friend and I have been working on a new blog about craft, upcycling and lifestyle ideas that don’t cost the earth, and we’re now planning how to really build our social media profile – this was really helpful! We’re tweeting @shoestringtweet if you have a moment to check us out!

kim

Love the advice and perspective, and these are exactly the points I know I can easily smoosh into even the busy days. The effort put in is incredibly worth it!

Melissa Kojima

Wow. Great tips. Thanks so much. I’m doing quite a bit of these now, but I see where I can make improvements. I agree it’s very important to reply to everyone and to build a relationship with the community you’re in. It shows you care and that’s who people want to connect with, right?!

Katie

Awesome info!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! Can I ask what a “pay-what-you-can day is? Thanks, in advance!

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