If you think that MySpace users are just a bunch of time-wasting teens and blogs are just for self-indulgent navel-gazers, you could be missing a big opportunity to shift your eBay sales into overdrive.
Social media--blogs, podcasts, shared video sites, and social networks like MySpace, Facebook and others--are surging in popularity. Nonprofit research group Pew Internet & American Life Project (pewinternet.org) says that 8 percent of internet users create blogs, while 39 percent, or 57 million people, read them. In October 2006, internet research firm ComScore released findings that on social networks MySpace and Friendster, people age 25 and older make up 68 percent and 71 percent of their user bases, respectively. More than half of MySpace users are 35 or older. ComScore estimates that in May, traffic on MySpace was more than 68.9 million unique visitors, while YouTube received more than 41 million unique visitors.
Charise Richards (eBay User ID: mrpayne2) has seen this work to her advantage. Once a week, she copies the names of the products she's selling in her eBay clothing and accessories Store, One-Chic-Boutique, and pastes them onto her MySpace page. The 48-year-old Nixo, Missouri, eBay seller often finds that by the next day, her eBay listings appear with high rankings on Google searches, which contributes to her average sales of $3,500 per month.
"Google searches MySpace sites intensely," Richards explains. "If you type almost anything in a Google search, you'll find a MySpace page that mentions that in the first or second page. If you can, get on the first page of a Google search--that is a highly sought-after area." She estimates that she gets as many as 200 visits per month directly from her MySpace page.
In addition, Richards has cultivated a network of more than 1,600 "friends"--fellow MySpace users who are interested in her and her business. Many of them are her eBay customers and fellow eBay sellers who read her profile page and blog to keep up with her latest offerings. She can send messages to this network, which gives her an easy way to keep in touch with them.
Richards is quick to add that it's important not to be too promotional on MySpace. She says that directly linking to her eBay items or overtly directing people there would violate her MySpace agreement and could jeopardize her profile. However, she says, by making her content more personal and informative, and by having a discreet link to her eBay Store on the site, she both communicates to her MySpace friends about her business on eBay and stays well within the guidelines of the site.
"eBay sellers have so many tools available to them, just as [with] any other business," says Angela C. Adams, author of The eBay Success Chronicles. "MySpace offers groups for eBay sellers. Blogs and YouTube are becoming increasingly popular and are great ways to get people to notice a business. Networking is a major pull in getting more customers." She adds that these vehicles are all ways to increase the exposure eBay sellers have and draw more customers to sellers' offerings.