CrowBiz

…funk for the old soul…

Posts Tagged ‘business’

Twittering Your Business Away

Posted by crowbiz on June 30, 2009

 

Love it, hate it, # it

Love it, hate it, # it

Ah, social networking!  Say those few syllables over and over…. yes, it does take on the timbre of “anal itchiness,” “festering pimple,” and “supreme nausea.”  I would like to include “gaseous blowhard,” but it would require the British pronunciation “gas-ee-uss” rather than the clunky American version, “gash-uss.”

 

Do you wish you had a nickel for every forum poster who oozes about how great Twitter has been for their business?  How they find it so fun to spam, er I mean, post their items to their 11,000 followers and then sit back and watch the love roll in?  What is it about the magic number 11,000, by the way?  Did I miss the meeting where they handed out the secret code behind the pyramid that night?  And did you notice that after someone proclaims Twitter as crucial to their success, you check their Etsy shop and see they’ve made 7 sales in 2 years?  Then the chipper seller lets drop, “Well, I can’t be sure how many sales came directly from Twitter, but I know it’s helped!”

Yeah, it’s helped immensely – in sucking your time and your mind.

My feelings about the big twit are ambivalent.  I have some loose connections, do the occasional pimp, and mostly pick up links to hilarious sites that would take me too long to find on my own.  So right there, Twitter saves me time on my time-wasting, which I can now do in a much more targeted and efficient fashion.  Despite having over 300 followers, which is so low that I’m not even at the uncool kids’ lunch table, I’m still talking mostly to myself on Twitter.  When I eventually tweet the link to this very post, I’ll be able to watch the blog stats rocket upward by one.

There are several creepy followers who seem to be Stepford Twits, manufactured somewhere in that same factory that makes people to give testimonials for weight loss ads and mysterious work-from-home pitches.  They have what seem to be regular, homespun avatars, what with their undoctored faces, or pets, or children.  Yet their tweets seem to be a preprogrammed regurgitation of How To Get (fill in the number) Followers in (fill in the time frame).”  No other content, really.  Get followers so you can tell others how to get followers so they can say they got followers that will want to know how to get followers.  What does Jane Doe need with 11,000 followers?  

Once I boldly asked what the heck I needed with 10,000 followers (I was being conservative), and got an immediate reply from a nonfollower/nonfollowee with a curt, “I would think that would be obvious!”   It wasn’t to me.  It was one of the few, and certainly the quickest reply I ever received.  And the guy seemed offended.  It wasn’t as if I’d said, “Who needs liquids to live?” or “Oxygen is so overrated” or “Too bad you don’t know your real dad.”  Yet this stranger instantly heard my tweet – perhaps it registered on his Twitter Dissent Meter – and jumped in to scold.  Kind of like Big Brother and the Wizard of Oz combined, only without the rat cage or technicolor.

Take aaaall that time you’ve spent on Twitter.  Subtract out any real humanesque interaction – be honest now.  I’ll let you keep that, because sometimes it is fun to check someone’s link to a picture of the sleeping guy next to him on the flight (thanks, some funny guy who follows me).  Now how much time do you spend talking to the great void?   When you post your latest doohickey, do you rush back to check the views on Etsy?  Then back to Twitter… then back to Etsy… then…oh, right, leave a @reply to someone, because that will seem human of you, and there’s a 25% chance that the person you reply to might, in some future moment, click on a link that you’ve posted.  Which you will dutifully check by rushing back to Etsy.  Not that you’d be able to document this in any meaningful way, but you’d give yourself the idea that Twitter “definitely helps.”  

Is this your marketing, promotion and sales strategy?  No really, tell me it isn’t.  Visually, I picture it like this:  you run outside and leave your business card on the sidewalk, or maybe a picture of what you’re hawking with contact info.  Some people walk by, maybe even 11,000 people.  Maybe someone picks it up, maybe not.  After a few minutes, you dash back outside to check if anyone picked up the card.  If so, you put another one on the sidewalk.  If not, you go back and wait.  Repeat process indefinitely, or until you realize you sure need a shower or a meal or to leave for your real job.  

My heretical suggestion is that you get your bum off Twitter now and then. Next, take that time and pour, shovel and cram it into something that might be called an activity.  Find better outlets.  You may even have to – god forbid! – spend a few bucks advertising to a qualified, target market.  Sure, go ahead and send the pictures of your fingers photoshopped to look like sausages (I laughed till I cried) – enjoy it for what it is and don’t count on it bringing in the sales.

Yeah, yeah, there are those who will vehemently disagree with me and insist that their Etsy business booms because of Twitter.  You are free to tell me I don’t know what the bedazzzler I’m talking about, and I don’t mind, because I know your secret; you come from that different midwestern factory where they make the rare bird who is a success right out of the starting block and don’t even realize it.  I think there are three of you.  Maybe you interpret my crabbiness as jealousy, but I’d redirect you to frustration instead.  Anyone who reads my blog knows the idea of constraining myself to 140 characters is like something right out of Dante’s Inferno.

To wrap up, self-interest dictates that I should drop my info here.  If you have a soft spot for the unflappable, uncool kid on the fringe of the cafeteria, I’ll be there with my flabby sandwich:  https://twitter.com/CrowBiz

But I’m only one voice in 11,000.

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Posted in Business & Etsy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

The First (and Last) Bank of Etsy

Posted by crowbiz on May 29, 2009

 

Shake it, baby!

Shake it, baby!

That’s it, I’ve officially declared myself as having “been around.”  Not that around, the other around.  No, I can’t play longer-than-thou on Etsy with any clout, like all those “I remember when there were just the four of us back in 2005…  Oh, remember how great the fall of 2006 was before all those (thinly disguised pejoratives) were signing up every day?”  But having ground out a hard-won 20 months, I’m a veritable geezer in Etsy world.

 

It’s working OK for me.

Why it may be working or not working for you is an apple to my orange.  Or melon, if you don’t mind.  

There is no “key,” so stop looking for it.  But there are about 1000 keyless entry doors you’ll have to go through, some that lead into little worlds of warm, fuzzy successes, often temporary, and some that open over a precipice down which you will plummet like Wiley Coyote.  Stop obsessing and make decisions.  Quit microanalyzing the frigging Google Analytics and make something.  It might be an object, or a phonecall, or a difficult decision (yeah, that crocheted thingie is bone ugly).  There will be failures.  Try some stuff.  It’s your issue to figure out.  And it does not matter why someone in Texas visited your site 12 times yesterday between 2:00-3:00 am.

I’ve said this many times in forums when I can pull myself away from eavesdropping on catfights or things like the “hair disc” thread:  Etsy is not an ATM.  Yeah, it sounds crabby, like a jaded old-timer who isn’t willing to help a newbie, but friends, that’s the simplest, most helpful thing you might hear all week or all month as you spend hours of your life trolling the forums looking for “the way.”  It’s your business.  Maybe it’s your hobby, in which case, you’re probably not annoying the world with your worries, and I thank you very much.  For many people, it starts as a hobby, then becomes an obsession once a little money trickles in.  Dangerous territory.

If I see one more of those tv or magazine “Great Way to Make Money” plugs that mentions Etsy, along with medical billing, stuffing envelopes and inventing a market-sweeping new gadget, I may or may not audibly groan, but I will shake my head a little like that old timer sitting next to the pickle barrel, and keep on slowly rocking.

Oh, and just a reminder:  did you know it’s actually Etsy’s site, and you are allowed to do business on it?

What Crow needs to do is take some B vitamins, drink some iced tea, and lay off.  Eventually.

Posted in Business & Etsy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »