As a small business Dizzy Ducks Creations are often encouraged to network, locally and further afield something that Mother Duck actually finds difficult. She hates fostering a relationship principally with sole purpose of bettering our business. Is there an ideal solution? No. Although we may not enjoy networking it does actually pay off.
There are a number of small business network pages on face book and Mother Duck would actively encourage any new small business to take advantage of what they are offering. It may take weeks or even many months for you to actually see fruition from your networking but by letting people know you are there, what you offer and your willingness to accommodate customers wishes, will reap rewards.
Mother Duck likes to say to her customers "if you like what we do leave a review but if you have a problem with what we do then speak to us and let us try to put it right." Although we don't like a bad review if it's honest then so be it.Your customers are a great way to network! If you have a good customer base then they will spread the word and you will get word of mouth recommendations. If you can regularly update your products, make sure they are fairly priced and have customer offers occasionally you should be able to encourage people to purchase from you. If you provide good quality products with honest and helpful customer service you will get repeat business.
So Mother Duck says get out there ... shout from the roof tops, let people know what you do BUT be polite! If you are networking on facebook don't abuse other pages; this means don't spam your sale/special offer/new products on their wall. If you want to try and encourage other pages to 'like' your page make your first visit to their page count; just leave a polite calling card, let them know who you are and what you like about their work/page and politely ask them to visit your page. Most pages love to see their 'like' or fan numbers going up but don't harass people to come back to your page and like it personally. Remember it is a choice and if you pester they will most probably not bother and possibly remove your page from their favourites too; if they are seeing your page on the news feed that is great. Remember that everyone seeing your page in some form is a possible customer ~ maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but you never know what they may want in the future.
Mother Duck doesn't do the hard sell on our face book page and likes to keep it friendly. Remember that your page when all said and done represents your business, so avoid using it as a place to rant. If someone has badly treated your page/business be firm but polite in your response, communicate by email if you can. Keep copies of all that has/is being said (screen shots) so that if it escalates you can report the abuser to face book. Again it comes down to choice, you can choose to delete/ban a person/page that is abusing your page.
Your face book page or website are your shop window, your store, a place to encourage your customers to call in and hopefully spend. So keep it user friendly.
Enjoy your networking, make it count but don't abuse it.
love & quacks