Social Media is a vehicle many people are taking to in order to promote and run their home based businesses. In the past we have profiled some more established businesses, but this week I want to introduce you to someone brand spankin’ new.
Elizabeth Muncy is the owner of Felt Wonderland. She bases her business in her home in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth makes custom felt craft items, party favors and decorations, decorative items and even kids’ clothing items. She just launched Felt Wonderland on April 29th, and with the help of social media, is already getting lots of orders and referrals. I recently had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her business, as well as how she uses social media to promote and run her business.
1. What social media platforms are you currently using to promote your business? I currently use Facebook, Twitter, Store Envy, WordPress, and my personal Instagram to post to my personal Twitter account, which I then retweet using my Felt Wonderland account. I plan to begin pinning my work to Pinterest from my online store within the next week as my portfolio has grown a great deal in the last few weeks.
2. A. Do you feel that these platforms have increased your business’ scope? Absolutely! My work over the last few months went from word of mouth and just creating pieces for friends to a young brand. In less than a month, I have over 100 “Likes” on Facebook, received 2 large party orders, and made contacts with other handmade businesses throughout the country and the world.
B.Do you feel as though you are getting more jobs due to using social media to promote your business? All my orders and discussion with potential future clients in the last month has come from social media. Social media allows me to showcase my work to a much wider and diverse audience.
C. How long did it take to start getting leads from each social platform? Immediately! I opened all of my social media accounts on April 29, 2013 and I received my first significant order on the 30th.
3. If you are using more than Facebook, which platform do you feel has the greatest reach for your business? With less than a month in, I feel Facebook has given me my greatest reach thus far. While there are plenty of negatives about Facebook, when someone hits a like on a photo or a link this is also advertised to their friends. This has lead to a “six degrees of separation” phenomenon. So friends of my friends have the opportunity to see my work.
4. Have you been featured in any traditional media? (newspaper, radio, etc.) Not yet.
5. Have you been featured on a blog of any sort? If so, do you have a link to that post? Yes, I have lots of very creative friends, one of whom featured my work. My friend, Jackie, who sells handmade scarves and headbands, featured mine and a few others on her blog, Nora & Jac.
6.Why do you think social media is a good fit for your business? Social media makes our communities much smaller. As a consumer, the first place I start when researching the best prices or who has x item in x color/size/shape is the web. I rely on my friends for recommendations for products they love or found useful. I know my friends shop the same way. I could save forever and never be able to open a brick and mortar store that could fail in a year. Using social media, I eliminate costs that keep me from my dream and make myself more available to my family.
7.How much time do you spend in a week promoting your business on various social media platforms? I post daily on both Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FeltWonderland and a couple times a week on my WordPress blog. All told, probably about 4 or 5 hours a week at most.
8.Or, are you purely an organic user – you allow social media to do the ‘talking” for you (as it should be to a certain extent) – do you just allow others to post and comment on your work, or do you actively promote? My usage is a mix of both. Friends have been amazingly generous in sharing the link to my Facebook page and photos of my products on Instagram. I post photos and allow the work to speak for itself. But I’m also looking for ways to actively promote.
9. How many aspects of your business do you host on social media sites? Do you sell on Facebook? Do you use Etsy? Do you use Facebook purely for promotion or do you list products, etc. I host a store at Store Envy for online orders (there is a link on my Facebook page); however, I also take orders directly from Facebook messages and via email. All product images are displayed on both sites.
Elizabeth’s dream has been realized with a minimum of the traditional start up costs. A brick and mortar store is often so cost prohibitive that many would-be small business owners just aren’t able to make that dream a reality. Social media has provided a way for many small business owners to not only promote their business, but house it almost entirely for free on the web. I think this is an amazing way that the Web is able to help fortify families and our economy, both locally and nationally. These business owners are able to be home with their families, as well as make their dreams come true through the passion they have for art, or photography or baking or whatever. It’s a great way to make money and fuel your passion.
If you have a home based business that you are able to run and promote through social media and would like to be featured on this blog, please contact me! I’d love to hear from you!