The Social Media Monster – Tilting At Windmills

Tilting at Windmills – The Social Media Monster

by M of the FrenzyGals

I admit it. I am NOT a savvy Social Media user. I only joined Facebook a few years ago (basically when we started the business), and I was never on MySpace. I really don’t “get” Twitter. In fact, I kind of totally hate it, but I try. Blogging is new to me and I have a lot to learn. Then you throw in Tumblr (I REALLY don’t get THAT), Pinterest, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Google+ and I am WAAAYY out of my element.

This makes things difficult, and somewhat ironic, considering I run a web-based e-retail business. Trying to keep up with the constant changes to the Terms of Use and functionalities of all these “tools” as well as trying to find that balance between staying engaging and not crossing the line to overbearing, is a full time job. In fact, I know of several companies who have at least one individual, if not a team of them, whose entire job is to manage the Social Media Presence of said company!

So, with all that AND the job of actually RUNNING a business (i.e. filing the proper licensing and tax forms when necessary, processing orders, finding or making new merchandise, responding to information requests, developing marketing strategies, and working on website malfunctions) how does a girl get a grip on reality?

The truth is, I don’t. Not really. Despite the setbacks and the frustrations and the “what the hell is this new thing I have to learn and master to survive and compete in the new global marketplace” I still manage to find that well of optimism that washes me with a belief that I actually CAN do it all.

It helps to have a business partner that is also my sister and one of my best friends so I know her inside and out. We fight fair(ish) and can work together even when we don’t like each other very much. She is amazing (yes, K, I’m talking about you!) and I am very lucky to have her.

But even with the optimism, the support system, and that annoying little voice inside my head that pushes me to do better and learn more, it is a daunting task. So I ask you

How do you form a strategy for dealing with a Monster you don’t understand, that is constantly evolving and changing the rules, and is always growing new heads?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I am still on the steep side of the learning curve. I read articles and books and blogs that promise to give you insider tips and the “Top 10 Ways to Use Social Media for Your Business,” but I always come up empty-handed, or, rather, with hands full of even more questions.

I don’t want to spend my days worrying about how many people “LIKE” my business page, or re-share my photos, or @ me on Twitter. I want to spend the bulk of my time creating and presenting inventive and quality work to the marketplace. And, yes, I would like to get a decent amount of sleep on a fairly regular basis.

But the nagging questions remains, how does a micro-business (we are even smaller than small) compete in the world of web business without these tools? How do you remind people you are a business and translate that knowledge into sales? How do you balance the 27 different hats you wear as an entrepreneur on your head, all at the same time, without dropping any?

Maybe we have to drop a few hats every now and again. Maybe we have to go radio silent to think about what we actually want to say. Maybe we have to say, “fuck the stats” and just do what makes us happy and share what brings us joy without the worry of how many people will LIKE or SHARE it.

Staying the course. It is a nice little buzzphrase, but really hard to put into practice. We do our best, and that is all we can do. For us, here in the Frenzy Universe, the thing about social media, is the social part. We like the interaction, the commentary, the discussion. And so, our strategy, if you can call it that, is to put it out there, honestly and openly.

We aren’t experts, we are simply us. We will scrawl our message on the side of the monster with whatever art supplies we have on hand. It may get washed away by the rain, or graffitied over by others, become irrelevant, or be challenged, scrutinized, and deemed invalid by the powers that be.

We may be hard to hear over the din or hard to read in the dim shadows and awkward corners. But we will be here, optimistically sharing our little corner of this world and inviting you all to cross the Portal of the Possible and step into the Frenzy Universe, where the Impossible happens every day. Even a luddite like me navigating the waters where the Social Media Monster lurks beneath the waves.

5 Responses to “The Social Media Monster – Tilting At Windmills”

  1. Joe Murphy Says:

    I think you’re on the right track. The people who seem to be really successful are building relationships, not “curating content.” They’re saying meaningful things to people who care about it, and they’re showing a personal side. That’s what makes fans who will turn to you first. (How I hate social media accounts which feel like a press release channel!)

    That said, there is some value to making sure your business is linked and indexed and all that. You could take the approach from your “how we decide to go to a con” post – value your time, measure how much you spend Social Networking, and then compare that to hiring some firm to handle it for you.

    (The million-dollar question, of course, is whether all those Likes and Shares and ReTweets and +1s and even links and hits ever translate into PURCHASES.)

  2. Frenzy Gals Says:

    You are so right, Joe! We love the community of friends we have built using Facebook and we decided at the inception of our business that it would be as much of us as it could possibly be. We don’t follow a traditional business paradigm, which is probably partly why we aren’t seeing the returns in the same way, but we like being us rather than some faceless corporation that is all about pushing their own agenda. The problem we run into is the amount of time it takes to have meaningful interactions with people on all the different sites. We are only two people, after all. And neither of us owns, or desires to own, a smartphone. :D

    And that IS definitely the million-dollar question! If we could figure out how to translate our media presence into sales we just might be able to afford to hire an outside to firm to handle some things. But it probably wouldn’t be our social interactions. Those are sacred. People are what matter most to us and we would feel dishonest letting someone else be the social face of our company.

  3. Bruce Cooperberg Says:

    M, I feel your pain. I had months of downtime between jobs this year so I invented a line of goods to try out on the market. Then I had to build a website to even begin to show anyone what I had available, as well as having a PayPal system.I hate having to become an IT expert just to run a simple business. It was so exhausting for me to build even an amateurish site on Go Daddy, I don’t have the energy or the will to promote it on the seemingly endless numbers of steampunk social groups.That alone seems like a full-time job.

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’ve already done all of the hard work. And you’ve done it excellently.You two have the most honest site that projects your real personalities.

    My uninformed advice to you is maybe maintain a Facebook prescence because everybody can add content to it,and forget all the rest. There will always be some new social fadsite popping up. Nobody has time for any of them.

  4. Frenzy Gals Says:

    Thanks, we will be writing a series of these “Tilting At Windmill” articles to discuss our experiences as tiny business entrepreneurs. We tend to view things slightly differently than big business, or even moderately sized small businesses. If there is a specific topic you would like us to address, just let us know! – M

  5. Frenzy Gals Says:

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. We feel YOUR pain. It is really overwhelming to have to become a web developer, coder, designer, and ecommerce specialist just in order to put your creations out there, and then that isn’t even a guarantee anyone will ever find you. You spend so much time building and maintaining the day-to-day business stuff that you start to lose time you used to have to make your product and design new things. We still love this job way more than any other job we have ever had, which is what keeps us going. We would love to help other up and coming artists, such as yourself, but we haven’t the time or the capital, sadly. What we do have is a social media reach of some volume and we do try to leverage that. All we can do is chug along and “Don’t Stop Believin’!”
    - M


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