I believe one of the best strategies to use as a small business is to acknowledge your failures (or probably, more accurately, your weaknesses in marketing and promotion) and to straightforwardly ask your trusted seller friends for supportive help. My belief is there are people in the online selling community who actually do enjoy being leaned upon for guidance.
When I say that like that I think most people say to themselves "Nah, that help is impossible to find" and/or "My situation is unique and IF I do get some tips they won't help me." My friend Taylor (Native Naturals) made a comment recently that pointed out the internet world has a "me, me, me" attitude. She also reminded me - somewhat darkly - that "not all" pass along information to assist.
Believe me there are folks out there in cyberspace who are willing to help who don't require much of anything in return. Further, and probably most importantly [and the not-so-obvious reason I am writing this blog post] I believe there are online sellers who are thankful for trustworthy friends that value their judgment and wisdom and are pleased to have seller friends that offer them pay-it-forward opportunities.
I have a lot of Facebook friends and Twitter followers who are small online sellers. Many of my closest friends are amazing artists selling their handmade creations but not all of them. Some folks I know online and via social media are WAHMs listing general merchandise items from their closets to raise some extra cash to support their families. A fair percentage of them are reselling when they find opportunities to list stuff like HTFs, OOAK heirloom treasures or consignment shop finds.
What We Know Is
When groups of sellers get together in online spaces to support one another collectively I believe a synergy happens that is almost unbelievable. "What we know" is kind of amazing to see in other words, especially when it comes to finding solutions to common problems. So if you want help ask a trusted group of online sellers for help and make a commitment to get involved with collective promoting!
After visiting my friend's stores and surfing cool posts on Facebook I get that success and completed sales (I call them "SOLDS") have a lot to do with finding niche markets that exist and simply just going for it with trying to sell things online. What I find over and over again (and admire) are those small good-guy online sellers who display a true passion for marketing and genuinely want to succeed with what they are doing business-wise.
I am not saying I spend a lot of time looking for promotions via social media that are smashing successes. I like to see that kind of thing when I come across it but I am pretty sure the frustration of listing stuff for sale online and only hearing crickets in their stores is a real problem for many. Simply put, that downer is a big part of "What We Know Is" too and is why networking with other small sellers is so criticial.
I think moral support is worth more than gold so I suggest you go looking for it as a high priority task when you go online to try and sell things.