Sox Signatures: Behind the Scenes (Part 3)

behind-the-scenes

Welcome to Part 3 of our ongoing series “Sox Signatures: Behind the Scenes”.  Today’s topic is social media, and how we built a small but loyal following through sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

How much information can you really fit into 140 characters?  Can you convey a complete idea? Sell a product or service?  Can you add fit in hash-tags and not use non words like ‘b4’ (before) and ‘c’ (see)?  Social media has become the go-to for business, celebrities, and wanna-be-famous people to connect with their customers and fans.  If you don’t brand yourself well across multiple platforms, you’re losing out on the limitless potential that those platforms provide.  To give a breakdown on how Sox Signatures has built it’s social media following, we’ll break it up into 2 sections: Twitter and Facebook, as those are the 2 main platforms we’ve used.  Now if you’re reading this for a top 10 advice column on how to gain followers, you’re in the wrong place.  Instead you’re going to get our experience, what we have done and will continue to do in the future to expand Sox Signatures, so that everyone can find affordable, high quality, and hard to find memorabilia of the Red Sox stars of today and tomorrow!

Twitter (Follow Us Here!)

Twitter by far has been our most used and successful platform.  The Sox Signatures account currently sits at about 2100 followers, and while we really want to get to into the 10K+ mark like most businesses, we built slowly, andhave a very loyal fan base.  The key when building a Twitter following for a business, is that it’s not really the numbers that matter.   We could easily go out and buy thousands of followers to beef up our numbers (and believe me, we’ve been tempted), but then we are just tweeting out to bots or unused accounts.  Instead we constantly hold contests, tweet links to new products, announce sales, interact with fans (and trolls), tease upcoming promotions, or tell people where we are so they can come up, say hi, and maybe walk away with a free autographed card.  Google is your best friend when it comes to starting a business.  We constantly are reading other blogs and articles on the best ways to gain followers, because you never know what you’ll learn from outside sources.  You may read 20 articles and only come away with a handful of helpful ideas or tips, but any one of those tips may be the tipping point (see what I did there?) that starts that waterfall of followers you’ve been waiting for.  Constantly try new approaches, and as long as you keep trending up, there’s no telling how high you can go.  The number one promotion that has gained us the most followers is of course our giveaways.  The standard “Re-Tweet and Follow to be entered to win a ____” is by far the best tool to help get your name out to as many people as possible.  Are some of these people only following because they want to win something? Of course! But you never know if the person their Re-Tweet reaches is a potential customer.  Since we are a memorabilia company, we try to do giveaways related to our product line, which for the most part means autographed cards.  We have literally thousands of signed cards we’ve collected over the years, and they are the perfect giveaway because they don’t cost a lot to buy or get signed, it’s still an autograph of a current or former Sox player, and it only costs a stamp and an envelope to ship them.

What we love most about Twitter, is that it gets a fan’s questions and comments directly in front of us, and we can answer their questions, or Re-Tweet their comments to everyone.  When starting a small memorabilia business, the #1 question is about authenticity.  How do I know the item you’re selling me is legit?  We get that question all the time on Twitter, and we’re happy to answer it every time, because the key to our business is instilling confidence in the Sox Signatures name.  We need your trust in order to sell our products, and the only way to gain that trust it to be as transparent as possible.

Facebook (Like Us Here!)

Facebook has been a tougher nut for us to crack, as we currently sit at about 450 Likes.  While a bunch of those are friends and family, that is the place you have to start when it comes to building a following on Facebook.  Sure it feels weird sending a request to have your 2nd cousin like a business page, but you never know if they can share the page with someone else who may be a potential customer.  The key to spreading the word is to create content that people want to share.  This usually takes a lot more time than just putting together a 140 character tweet.  You need things like blog posts, sales, promotions, giveaways, and stories.  The items that get shared on Facebook usually have very catchy titles, and videos are always a plus, especially now that Facebook has the video’s auto-play in everyone’s timeline.  Unfortunately for us, the autograph business doesn’t usually lead to too many video opportunities, but we’re working on that.  Another great tool, unfortunately isn’t free, but it can be as cheap as you want it to be.  We have found that Facebook ads have been very successful in bringing in new Likes to the page.  You can spend as little as $1 a day and if you target the correct audience, you’ll see the Likes start to trickle in.  Obviously the more you spend, the better the results, but every little bit helps!  With Facebook you’ll also want to focus more on the cover photo and profile photo.  These really need to stand out as professional photos and not just be larger/smaller versions of your logo.  Running contests on Facebook is also great, though it doesn’t spread the contest as easily as Re-Tweets do, and Facebook doesn’t like you requiring people to share a post to enter, so you may get the post pulled down if you do that.

Facebook has been a little tougher for us to “go viral”, as most of the posts shared there are to promote pop culture news sites or “click-bait” sites.  The key is to focus on putting out interesting and new material, while slowly building up your following.  If you want quick numbers, you go to Twitter and you’ll get plenty of people who are just interested in winning a contest.  Facebook is where you are likely to find people who are actually interested in your products, because someone’s timeline is usually very personal to what their interests are.  They don’t want to be spammed, but they want relevant information as it comes in.

The overall guide to gaining a social media following, is you have to keep at it.  You need to be consistent with your posts, without filling people’s timelines with useless information.  The rule of thumbs that we have come across is usually 4-6 Tweets a day, and 1-2 Facebook posts a day.  Anything more and you run the risk of losing followers who are sick of you filling up their screen, and anything less you run the risk of people losing interest and un-following.  The main goal is to spread the word about your business, and the best part of most of social media, is spreading that word is usually free!  It just takes your consistent time and energy to keep posting and coming up with new, interesting content.

In part 4, we’ll look into some of the costs of building a small memorabilia business, where the bulk of the money is spent, and how to make sure you invest the right amount in each of the necessary areas.  Thanks for checking in, and be sure to post some comments below either on the overall series, your own social media tips, or what you experience has been with Sox Signatures through social media.  Thanks for stopping by!

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