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Using Social Media to Build Your Hobby Business

Building your business, finding collections or locating new revenue sources ain’t what it used to be.

While many people simply regard social media as a way of staying in touch with friends, catching up with former acquaintances or meeting new people, smart business owners should realize it’s also a way to grow a customer base to exciting levels.

Years ago, collectors and dealers corresponded by mail through responses to printed ads in hobby publications. Print advertising, direct mail and contact at shows were the primary methods of communication.

No matter how large a sports card or sports memorabilia business is, the tools that are at your disposal these days can prove to increase sales and boost marketing efforts dramatically.

No longer are you limited by geographic boundaries, the post office or a lack of information. Opportunities are everywhere online.

All social media outlets receive the majority of their operating capital from advertising revenues, and it can be quite inexpensive to post advertisements on sidebars. A unique aspect of Facebook is the ability to design ads that will be specifically targeted to certain individuals in specific areas. Successful ads can be used to route customer traffic to websites, company pages, or even auction listings.

Even individuals who only sell via eBay should take full advantage of the various tools available to them with social media. An excellent way to increase sales is to draw in more visitors to the auctions and store listings on eBay, and one method to draw a crowd is to make announcements on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

Many sports card and sports memorabilia companies do not have an adequate web presence and are not in a position to build their own website. Unlike an option where a company must pay web hosting fees and development costs, the various social media outlets provide a free method to establish an online presence.

On Facebook, clients can become fans of a company and the business can post various updates or send each of their fans a message all at once. Many companies have realized that offering a sale only to friends, fans, or followers on MySpace, Twitter, or Facebook is an excellent way to increase their following.

An interesting way to encourage word of mouth advertising is to incorporate a customer referral program for use on the social media sites.

Because clients often use their personal accounts to post status messages and updates, there is a perfect opportunity available for an advertisement to be posted on each of their profiles.

The plan doesn’t have to be complex and can be as simple as asking clients to post a simple status message relaying their latest purchase or the fact that they shop with such and such.

Clients who visit a website or make a purchase as a result must type in the name of the person that referred them in order to receive a discount. While this may seem to be a fair amount of work, a small company can take advantage of this type of promotion to increase a client base. Larger companies can normally only use this tool if they have an existing customer database with numbers assigned to each individual for tracking purposes.

Although most sports card and memorabilia businesses primarily focus on vintage items and collectibles, it is often necessary for their marketing approach to be trendy and modern.

Additional contact with customers and potential customers should be the goal and social media can make it easy to accomplish.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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