We’ve spent some time covering the trials and tribulations of the Designers that we carry and we thought it might be fitting to tell you about what FUTURE NOTION goes through! (full confession ahead!)
FUTURE NOTION, is a social commerce start up for Fashion and Product Designers, and like any new business, traction is always hard to gain especially in the face of super stiff competition. True, there are a plethora of tools out there to help a new business get started – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Digg, FFFOUND, Svpply, Polyvore, headhurtingyet? Let’s not even start on advertising, okay? But the question remains – how?
No doubt social media is definitely a boon to any emerging business, that is definitely not the issue here. The point is HOW to harness the effectiveness of social media to build your business. The theory of it sounds lovely, but the practice of it is a different story.
We at FUTURE NOTION, find that a combination of tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Stumbleupon definitely helps in traffic. This works for us, and might not work for everyone. We are an image driven site, with original blog content so images are submitted to Pinterest (follow us follow us!) Blog posts and new designers are tweeted about and these get fed back into Facebook. What do YOU use?
The other day we added a few pins of new products onto our FUTURE NOTION PINTEREST board which barely garnered any response. That was slightly depressing given how Pinterest is the new Social Media darling and drives traffic in droves. We almost gave up. BUT we added another pin that sought to drive traffic to one of our previous blog posts, and voila, the chain reaction was amazing. Almost immediately, traffic went up, the pin was re-pinned and liked and that was encouraging to us! Our point is this – it takes time to understand the mechanics of each Social Media Channel, much like it takes time to understand one’s customer base. So, time is all it takes – but for a lean operation, WHO HAS THE TIME?!?!?! That is something we are still trying to figure out, so if our SM strategy might seem sketchy, we are sorry but we are working on it, believe us!
Search Engine Optimization. I love how happy this term sounds, optimization / optimize / optimistic. Haha, not entirely related..SEO is definitely a crucial component to any business seeking to grow their traffic organically (read: no beeg beeg advertising budget) It is the cornerstone of the web business and it does work if enough time, effort and intelligence is spent on it. BUT, again, who has the time, riiiight? Our advice is to pick a few words and optimize the heck out of it – make a conscious effort to work on those few words and there will be rewards.
Here’s what we have done, hopefully you might find it of use.
1. Install WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Can’t stress the importance of this enough. It’s basically a walk through for any new blogger or website (if you are on wordpress that is, but if you are on another blogging CMS, there should be a solution too. Just google it.)
2. Pay special care and attention to:
Title – make sure your keyword is inside it. work that right brain.
Meta Description – also make sure a keyword is inside. work that right brain harder.
H1 / H2 (for those who don’t know what this means, it simply stands for Header 1 and Header 2. easy peasy. Header 1 is important, okay?)
Don’t stuff it – anything beyond 8-10 keywords is stuffing. That’s the threshold.
Follow these steps for a start, and you can progress to something more advanced once you have that nailed. baby steps, k..if you need further explanation, firstname.lastname@example.org, we will be more than happy to share our knowledge.
Administratively, it is also a challenge to implement best practices, some sort of workflow system and operational procedures. There are tools out there, of course, but sometimes, especially in more creative businesses, it is tough to carry it through, but needs must.
Cash flow – that is something ALL businesses face, unless you are Apple and have something like 40billion in cash just sitting pretty, you will face this problem.
What are some of the problems YOU face in your design / creative business? Share it with us okay?