Marketing your small business can seem like a daunting and expensive process. However, with time and effort you can market your small business effectively with a combination of free online and offline promotional tools.
Social Media – A Great Online Tool for Small Business Promotion
Social media profiles are a great way to increase awareness of your products online. You can network with other small business owners in your area and connect directly with your customers. Short timely updates through these services allow you to have a continuous web presence – even when you are busy running your business.
Although each social media service is based around the sharing of news and status updates, the setup of some networks may suit you better than others. It is worth trying at least two different services to start with, and finding out sharing methods work best for you.
Social media can be a great way to boost your online presence if you are unable to blog regularly due to time constraints, or feel that your writing skills are not up to par.
If you only want to post a brief news update, a full blog post is not always appropriate. Visitors to your website can see your social media updates if you embed a widget for your chosen service on your front page. Use a widget for your Twitter stream, or Facebook page to keep visitors up to date with the latest news.
Social Media Services to Try :
Twitter – Allows you to post quick updates of 140 characters or less. You can also post photos with a caption. Easy to update, easy to embed in your website – way of keeping your website updated when you are running short on time for blogging, but should not be used as a replacement for blogging.
Facebook – Allows you to have business page if you already have a personal profile. Post news updates, photos, schedule events, share information with/from other business pages and individuals.
Google+ – A new social network from Google, that gives you complete control over who sees your updates. You can also make a business page similar to Facebook. I would encourage anyone to set up a Google+ business page even if you do not update it as regularly as your Facebook or Twitter page. This is because it may help your Google ranking.
Linkedin – A Professional profile on Linkedin may hep you to connect with other business people and make useful contacts. A profile on Linkedin is perhaps more useful for ‘B2B’ or ‘business to business’ contacts, rather than direct ‘B2C’, or ‘business to consumer’ contacts and interaction.
Pinterest: Pinterest is a new network which allows you to share images that you find on the web and organise them onto inspiration ‘Pinboards’.
Things to note:
‘Stickiness’ of updates – a news update will last longer on the Facebook platform because of the way in which news can be shared and re-shared to other members’ profiles. The average life of a Facebook update is about 3 hours while the most engagement receieved from a Twitter update occurs within the first hour after posting.