Tuesday, December 4

Humble Hippo saying thank you lots to fab folk!

Today was mainly spent button thumping - or web site building to give it it's proper name.  We now have a new shiny website to showcase the amazing and talented folk that make up the Hippo Family.  And then it dawned on the small brain that we have so many people to say thank you to that this post would rumble on for pages and be like a Gwyneth Paltrow acceptance speech if I did that.  So, I will try to narrow it down to the core bits.

Firstly, we trundled along to Apley Farm Shop with a few humble possessions, a fingers crossed attitude of 'hope this works' and a few Hippo-ettes trundling along with us.  So, firstly thank you to Clare's Prints for allowing us to fill our walls with her fab pictures in those early days.

Then the fun really started! Err, this is a big space folks and we don't actually have a lot of stock.  And then, from nowhere this voice popped round the corner saying 'hello, I do paintings, do you want to have a look?' Being blissfully ignorant of who this person was, or what they did we just said 'ooh yes please'.  And then this amazing array of pictures turned up from Simon along with various helpful things like browsers for prints.  Then there was Maureen who giggled her way into the shop with the most amazing quilts ever, and again then turned up with helpful things so we could show them off better.  We cannot thank them, and others that joined in the early days enough.

Here we were, two strangers just arrived to take on a lease who they didn't know and all these amazing artists trusted us with their stock that had taken them hours to produce.  In some cases the work they use to raise funds for their charities which means so much to them and now to us, thank you John and Kath. 

I look at the button thumping done today and realise that we are incredibly fortunate to be trusted with some fabulous work, have and continue to meet some lovely people who are just so talented it's jaw dropping on times.  From about 3 Hippo-ettes we have grown to almost 30 in a matter of four months and most have been like Simon, Maureen and John just popping their head round the door to say hello.
Apologies if you now feel like calling me Gwyneth, but this is a truly Humbled Hippo at how much we've gained in terms of new friends just from putting up that sign that says 'Hello, we are open so please pop in and say hello'.  Hippo xx

Monday, December 3

Facebook for small businesses

This is meant to be helpful to those just starting out using facebook for their small business, but equally may be useful as a reminder to some.  Not saying this is an exhaustive list, just some helpful things we picked up along the way!

Is is a page or a person?
This might seem like a daft question, but what we've found is that some don't set up a page for their business which means they can't be 'tagged' in posts and we can't direct traffic to them.

How to set up a page:
while logged into your personal account enter this in the search bar: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

go through the various choices depending on what you want to set up and there's your page done!
make sure you add some pictures, your contact details, about you etc etc BEFORE you start going after likers - give them a reason to like your page.
once you do start advertising your page you need 30 likes from people not pages in order to secure the URL which means the name then becomes yours - once this name is set it can't be changed, so make sure you search through beforehand that the name is avaiable.  And where possible try to make it short to avoid folk typing in the wrong name when searching for you.
Does your page look pretty?
Pretty obvious question yes?  Well in some cases no.  If you're asking folk to come along and 'like' so make it personal, show people what you want them to see.  If you want to say you're the best hairdresser out there show some of your best work, or your salon with happy customers.  It's sometimes hard to think from the other side so often it's better to ask a friend if they would find it interesting.  It's easy to miss something obvious or simple because you do it all day, every day so always ask for outside opinions.

you're got your page - how do I get the likes?
This is tricky - you require patience now!  There are various sites out there offering '1,000 likes in 10 minutes' however from personal experience I would avoid them.  Why? Because visitors aren't that daft, if you set up 2 weeks ago and suddenly have 500 likes if can look a little odd, better to let it grow slowly and steadily and be able to know that all those likes are there because they are genuine and you get the chance to interact and be seen to interact with them.  If you're in any doubt have a look at our facebook page, full of pics and happy banter. 

However, one sure fire way to get people coming over to you is to share.  Might seem a really simple thing, but if you are the one saying 'wow look what I found when I visited @fredscats' people don't think you only care about yourself.  There are hundreds of pages out there all competing with you, stand out by being lovely!

How to tag posts:
This is one that a lot don't realise but it's dead simple!  Firstly, if you want to tag another page on one of your posts you have to 'like' them so make sure you've done that bit first.  So, using @fredscats as an example pop over to their page, like it and say hello to them so they know where the like came from.  Because in order to raise likes they have to come from a person, Fred's Cats won't know that 'Abi Smith' is 'Hair is Lovely' so what you say is:

Hello from @hairislovely, thanks for the gift today it was really kind of you, see you soon Abi' or similar depending on how you met them.

notice the @ sign?  This is the magic symbol for tagging!  If you want to include a page you must put the @ sign in front of their name, if you have already liked them it will immediately start to find them from your list of likes.  If it doesn't find them, it means you haven't liked them so go back, like them and tag them again.

Also when you share pictures make sure you add a comment to the effect of: 'We just had to share @fredscats pic, it's so cute!' that way you not only share the picture but you tell folk who you are, where the picture came from and you also tell the other person you shared it because it will now pop up on their timeline.  This is what you're trying to achieve, pop up on as many timelines as possible.  Those statistics that mean not a lot?  The reach is about how many people saw your post, and if you are new you won't get it on your own but by sharing and cross promoting you increase their audience and yours.  If you are asking people to trust you as a brand, a business or an enterprise they want to know you will share and help because that adds trust, it proves you're human and not just about yourself.

Hope that helps, but if not please add bits!  Hippo xx