Why Social media? …for Rennies.


         It’s the latest #Trend. Everyone seems to have caught the wave of real-time information sharing. Today, any user can choose to tap into public streams from their beloved artists, public figures, food, fashion, shoes, and even…. Renaissance Faires.  Don’t believe me? Look up “Sterling Renaissance Festival” on Facebook; over 10,000 followers. How about  “Florida Ren-Fest” on Twitter (@flarenfest) with over 800 followers? Still not convinced?

         Social media has become integral in building a company name and reputation. Like I’ve said before, if you’re not on the Internet, it’s like you don’t exist! It’s a competitive world and there are probably many others that offer the same services as you or your company. These venues of personal interaction give you a chance to stand out by making connections with customers. There are many ways to stand out and I could start a whole separate discussion but I want to focus on interaction. The days of cold corporate storefronts and logos are crumbling, revealing small business run by quirky people we can relate to, we can approach, and befriend. When you’re kind, caring, and approachable, you’ve got instant and honest feedback that everyone needs to grow. Not to mention the opportunities that good ol’ fashion networking provides! Good friends can open good doors to that next gig or event. Just remember, those Fanpages and micro-blogs aren’t networking themselves!

         Okay, so it seems like everyone has a profile. I’ve just created a profile for my business on one of the many sites available and I am overwhelmed! Where do I start and how do I acquire followers?

         Offering discounts and/or special benefits to followers is a good starting point. This is especially popular with FourSquare, an application that encourages users to explore their cities and visit off-the-beaten-path locales. Facebook Fanpages may offer an incentive for followers to share the page with friends. For example, all followers will receive a Facebook exclusive coupon code when the page hits 1,000 fans. One could apply the same concept to Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, etc. Contests with tasty prizes are a fantastic idea, broadcasting them on Youtube is even better! Of course, the key to any good website or blog is GOOD CONTENT. I cannot stress that enough. Social media gets your content good exposure and then cycle feeds itself… Have you told your friends about this article?

         One of the beautiful things about these heightened modes of interaction is the scope of your audience. You have the potential to reach the world, but more importantly, the people with similar interests. Target audiences have never been easier to reach through keywords, hash tagging (#), mentions (@), etc. Sure, you can still run an advertisement in the local paper or you can run an advertisement on Facebook targeted toward those with specific interests. I’d wager a Steampunk themed shop would do well with the later.

         I mentioned instant feedback a little while ago and you may be wondering why that is so important. Maybe you would like to gauge the interest of your latest prototype before you put it into full production, or the popularity of one of your existing products. Feedback isn’t always critique. Sharing or “featuring” other talented individuals creates an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine,” relationship that helps everybody. Better yet, what if you need help? The best example I’ve come across so far highlights the recent storm damage at the fairgrounds of Silver Leaf Renaissance Faire. A bulletin went out, requesting help clearing debris. After a few “shares” and “retweets” the word was out and so were volunteers.

         The biggest mistakes are made when the man behind the curtain forgets that the business cannot network itself. Applying applications or feeds that auto update the profile can give it a robot’s persona. Who wants to interact with that? RSS Graffiti and Spam can be one and the same. Spamming your business or wares on other’s profiles or streams is offensive and unnecessary. This is not creating the personable atmosphere we just talked about. Yes, absolutely promote yourself but please do so with moderation. Waking up to a twitter feed filled with “Look at my latest work [link]  #awesome #ninja #rockets!” posted fifteen times is not epic. I encourage the human connection. Speaking of which, your daily presence or consistency on any media is alluring. A blog that hasn’t been updated in a couple of months is a red flag. A status that hasn’t changed in a week isn’t cool. It makes the user wonder if you’re still doing business and whether or not you check you page often. Yes, it’s a commitment to stay connected and its worth it.

         I have a website, why do I even need to bother with this?

Oh my. If I haven’t properly nailed it down for you, all I can is, “Social media platforms are made for the sole purpose of INTERACTION, small business, independent artists, and public events strive for it. Like Oxygen, they need it to survive. 


© 2011 Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

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Replies to This Discussion

WarMouse, yet another super informative article! I am enjoying these. I'll step out and say that the hash tagging is a great hint, (especially on Twitter). When I use the hash tags we almost always pick up another follower or two at a time. (By small measures great things come.) I always try updating out Facebook and Twitter at the same time, (as content we add interesting news stories and articles we pick up on the web, in addition to our advertising and the like.) Thanks for sharing. The social media is something I think alot of artisans are resisting because it somehow feels mechanical or odd, but it is a great thing really and can be like publishing your own newspaper or magazine.




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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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