I used to be up on technology. Back in the Dark Ages I bought my first computer - a Mac IIci with a 40mb hard drive, Ikegami b/w monitor and a laser printer (all for about $16,000) - so I could learn Photoshop to work on designing movie posters (when Photoshop had only one layer). When the internet came along I embraced it. I didn't learn HTML but I was designing website banners and spending time on AOL. I remember making a big move so I hit the internet searching for moving companies. There were only 5 listings.
I'm not sure when, where and why I fell behind the curve. I can't put my finger on it. I've had a website but I really fell off the horse when social media hit. I didn't have a Twitter account until everyone else did. I signed on to Instagram in the past year and change, maybe. I didn't sign up on Facebook until January 2009 followed by my photography page in July 2010. And I've just signed on to Pinterest this week but haven't posted anything. Yup, I'm really late to all these social media platforms. I did start a blog in early April 2006 to chronicle the making of my book, Everybody I Shot it Dead and in 2009 I blocked every day of the year, as I am doing on this blog this year.
Worse than being late is I don't know how to make these platforms really work for me. I am a disaster as opposed to master on gaining any forward motion for my work on social media. And this is not for the lack of trying. I've been watching my friends pounding on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with likes, comments and followers, while I'm across the street looking on and thinking WTF am I doing wrong. Were you ever the kid that got picked last?
Okay, forget I wrote any of the words into sentences up to this point. That past few days I've been on a mission...researching the internet on how to crack social media where I can reach outside my own little circle so I can get my work out there. The first portion of the research was looking for articles on how to financially benefit on social media. I ran into all kinds of articles about people making a living off selling photographs on social media platforms. It seems Instagram is big. Some guy supposedly earned $15,000 by offering a one day sale of 6 x 6 inch prints at $150 of any photo on his Instagram. So, he has 22,000 followers so maybe it's true. Then I think, how the heck did he get 22,000 followers? He's not a celebrity nor is he taking pictures of celebrities. Yes, research can be soul killing.
I was really searching all of this to find out about selling on Facebook, and within Facebook but all of the articles were from 2013 and earlier. They all said you have to get a third-party app such as Spotify or Ecwid. And they cost money. Not what I wanted - I'm not into threesomes. I wanted a store inside my FB biz page, where I could reach outside my circle of friends (they're supportive but they've already bought) through FB ads. Then searched for the best Facebook stores and found a list of the top Facebook stores. It included Coke, Urban Outfitters etc. but when I went to look at their Facebook pages none of then had a Facebook store...they just had a link to there website stores. After a day of research I only found to FB pages that could sell without the buyer having to leave Facebook. And they both looked like crap.
I was about to give up and just send my Facebook page to my website with a call-to-action button. Then I decided to click the button of no return where I thought was the point of having to hook up with one of the third party apps. Well, it didn't do that. It offered me to go straight into using my current credit card processor and then letting me add my content to sell. And it looked clean and simple. How could this be? I figured it out when I went into the help pages to see if I could reorder my items. I started reading all the questions and gripes from people looking for help. There were very few, and at the top of the help page and under every question category was "Having a shop section on your Page is a new feature being tested. It may not be available to you at this time." Then the answers provided by the community were answering as if it was dealing with third party apps. Frustrated people were wanting to find out how to delete there store. I left the help area and figured out my questions on my own. Now I think I can say this...
MY FACEBOOK STORE IS NOW UP AND THIS IS WHY I AM A TRAILBLAZER!
And I believe I am one of the first people to try this exciting platform within the FB platform. There's a huge built-in audience on Facebook and reaching them is easier and less expensive than getting people to my website. If I can find success with my Facebook store I'll be one of the first, especially for the fact that I am not a celebrity with an existing pack. This will be the first time I am advertising (I don't know why I feel like advertising is creepy) which is a big step for me. I am at peace with it now, figuring out how will people find my cool stuff if I don't reach out to them. I'm putting myself out there, as scary as that is, and hoping/praying/voodoo/whatever that I don't fall on my face.
Here's my strategy...I put up the store, I changed my banner into a storefront and now I am going to embark on some Facebook ads to reach more potential followers (people I don't know...yet) and boosting my Everybody I Shot Is Dead listing with an ad that will alert people outside of my network that the book is on sale through Cyber Monday for 50+% off at $24.95.
If you want to get in on this insane deal you will need to go to my FB page (click on my new banner below to get there) as I am not offering this deal on the website. When you get to my page you can click the "Shop Now" button or the word "Shop" in the menu bar pictured below or scroll down the page and you'll see part of my shop in the sidebar.
What else can you do? Please share my FB Store on your timeline and invite your friends to like my page. I would also love to hear your feedback - the good and the bad.
If you haven't seen this video check out Mo, Frank and me chatting about Everybody I Shot Is Dead! Warning: there is partial nudity.
In closing, if anyone reading this works at Facebook (or owns it) here are a few things you need to improve:
- since Facebook is global I would like to sell globally, currently I can only sell within the US
- they need to have a way to show the retail price and a sale price in the same line
- There should be variants within an item that has two versions with different prices (eg. Limited Edition and Open Edition photographs
I'll let them know when I come up with more or better yet, they should give me a call and we can brainstorm how to build this better mousetrap.