The optimal social media strategy for one business may not be the best approach for your business. Our Small Business Spotlight series is an effort to demonstrate how various small businesses have used social media in a new or unique way. The small businesses we will highlight all bring something creative to the table to help promote high-quality products.
1.) When was your business founded and what do you do? My business partner and I started our business in 2004. Though, then, we were doing more consulting type work.Â Our own brand, California Footwear Co launched in Spring 2011.
2.) What social media platforms do you use on a regular basis?Â On a regular basis, we mostly focus on Twitter and Facebook. We’ve dipped our toes into Pinterest and Tumblr and have the skeleton of a blog. Those three will be our next push.
3.) Do you do your own social media management?Â We (I) do. My business partner has always been the sales expert, while I have a marketing and media background.
4.) Do you think social media is helpful to your business? Why or why not?Â Yes. It’s helpful on many levels. It helps us connect with our customers for customer service, promotions, and awareness. It’s both personal, and yet can send out a broad message at the same time. I also find social media to be perfect for sparking ideas, getting feedback on products or promotions, or advice from peers.
5.) Do you have your own website and if so, does it contain a blog?Â Our website, www.californiafootwearco.com has been up since June 2011. It does contain a blog, but you wouldn’t know it because we have yet to post anything on it.
6.) You are actively engaged on Twitter. How did you decide that Twitter would be beneficial to your business?Â To me, Twitter feels like I’m stepping into a party every time I log on. Sometimes, it’s a mellow party where moms are sharing experiences. Sometimes, it’s a raucous party where we’re all drinking, jokes are flying, and there may even be some trash talking. But in any event, it’s all real life and REAL time. And I think it helps any brand stay relevant, woven into current events, and there’s a real opportunity to engage yourself into a conversation (again, just like at a party) that could be significant for your brand.
7.) Have you seen a direct correlation in sales in response to your time on Twitter? We’re still pretty new to Twitter (relatively speaking). I feel like we’ve developed some significant relationships, but honestly, no, there doesn’t seem to be a direct correlation. I expect our awareness, and therefore sales from that awareness to build over time.
8.) How do you find the right mix of people to follow?Â We have a product that we know busy moms will appreciate. Seriously, who doesn’t want comfortable shoes for every day wear? Mom bloggers/twitterers are really pretty easy to find. Also we follow folks that are into running because I am, so it’s an interesting conversation, but even more importantly, our sandals are perfect for post run â€œrevival.â€ We follow other local companies, because they’re usually pretty supportive, helping us get the word out, or are good for seeking advice. But, we also follow industry experts, social media experts, and just really fun/funny people that I can relate to, because we all need a good laugh. We’ll follow someone for a few weeks, then evaluate whether they continue to fit our criteria of: information we can use, people who can make us laugh, influential folks who we’ve reached out to and have responded in some way, and generally anyone who follows us (that isn’t pushing a threesome, or other spam).
9.) Is there one thing you tried that you’d advise other small businesses to stay away from? Specific to Twitter or general?Â Specific to Twitter, you should carefully consider the opportunities that are presented to you. We’ve been solicited to be part of a lot of â€œeventsâ€ or promotions. They are not all created equal. My background is media planning, so I’ve done all the acronym (CPM, CPC, impressions, unique visitors, etc.) analysis. Don’t evaluate anything in a vacuum. Compare the opportunity to what else is out there. We’re more than happy to offer a pair of shoes for a review or a giveaway, because we know that our customers LOVE our shoes and it will turn into more pairs being sold. Beyond that, we’re no longer willing to pay to be part of an event, because the ROI just hasn’t been there.
10.) When setting up your e-commerce site, what did you find the most important investment you made to be? (i.e. design, platform, SEO, good tech support, etc.)Â For us, it was definitely design (intuitive, engaging, etc.) and security. The good tech support just seemed to be part of the package. But now we need to get working on maximizing our SEO.