prtothetrade

Social Networking for Antiques & Art Dealers: 11 How-To Steps to Success.

In 1 on January 2, 2010 at 8:45 am

The news that the Haughton’s International Art Fair and Sanford Smith’s Works on Paper are facing the axe, need not be crippling news. It is just one more reason to get on the bandwagon and tap the Web 2.0 (or PR 2.0) tools to reach new communities of buyers.

The beauty of social networks is that they help you establish a dialog  that’s very much like the way you work a customer in  your store…

  • You chat.
  • Offer the back story.
  • Give expert advice.
  • Talk price.

Here are the rules for successful social networking. Follow them, and you will see results.

11 Must Dos of

Social Networking.

  1. Identify your social media strategy. Figure out what you want to accomplish.  When you have these answers, you can create a strategy.
  2. Train & educate your staff.  Make sure everyone who speaks on your behalf or talks with customers is totally familiar with the networks, how they work and the strategy.
  3. Take the time to look your best. You social media profiles reflect your shop and your website.  Always use an avatar, for instant recognition. Take the time to make Facebook tabs and Twitter custom  backgrounds that support your marketing initiatives.
  4. Talk to the people. Don’t let a day go by without checking in on your social sites. Services like pingfm let you update all your sites at once. Tweet Spinner and other services let you prepare and schedule messages in advance.
  5. Reward loyal fans with exclusives. By offering fans and followers items that are exclusive to the social audience, you can “demonstrate value” and make them feel good about following you.
  6. Really promote your social profiles off-site. Use the social network icons and widgets on your website, your business cards, your letterhead.
  7. Track mentions. Know what conversations are occurring in your name. There are a lot fine tracking systems on the market. Find one with archiving and data exportation options.
  8. Back-up by being  social on your website. Blogs and forums were the original social media, so make sure to support them with  good content. At the end of the day, your site is your ultimate sales tool; take care of it!
  9. Check out all the social outlets.There are literally hundreds of social sites. Saturate many sites to achieve your company’s goals.  Social news sites like Digg and  social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon help get the word out faster.
  10. Protect your shop’s good name. Services like KnowEm allow you to reserve and protect  your usernames across hundreds of sites.
  11. Don’t think you’re above it. There’s just no way around social networking anymore. It doesn’t matter if you sell paintings or furniture worth millions or deal in mid-range collectibles – you must be social.

Cartoon appeared in The New Yorker 5/11/09

Just in case you missed my blog on blogging, “A How To of Blogging for Antiques shops,” here’s the link: http://bit.ly/5Wc0IC. You’ll also hear from Bob James, of Armacost Antiques Shows, who who commented on the importance of blogging.

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  1. We’ve just recently started the social networking for our antique shop and these tips were very helpful and reassuring!

    • Thanks for the comment, Kate. In the light of so many old guarders trashing the new marketing paradigm, it’s wonderful to see that dealers are definitely beginning to see the Internet as a friendly, not fearsome, place.

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