A major challenge for small businesses is figuring out how to properly market their brand without enlisting in the help of others. This is where social media comes into play. In fact, 70 percent of adult social networkers say they shop online, and 53 percent follow a brand.
If you are ready to further your marketing efforts, first outline a list of clear goals for the short and long term. You have countless options dependant on the amount of time and effort you have to devote to promoting your business. The bottom line is, it is crucial for small businesses to build their online brand. Read on for five ways you can leverage social media as part of your marketing plan.
This form of social media marketing offers small businesses an affordable way to market their brand. Facebook has a mighty platform where businesses can build a presence, and with over 300 million users, your business will get maximum exposure.
To create a presence for your business name, you have a couple of options. For a simple presence on Facebook, you can register for a Business Account. To further expand the presence of your business, you may decide to create a Business Fan Page. A Business Fan Page gives you a place where your customers can become a “fan” of your page by liking it, which means they will see updates to your page.
Another social media marketing powerhouse, Twitter offers an amazing marketing platform for businesses. The possibilities of ways businesses can utilize Twitter for marketing is countless, and the conversations taking place on the site cannot be ignored. Twitter is a friend of small businesses.
Sign up under your company name so you can tweet from that account. If you are unsure how Twitter can benefit your business, rest assured. Read a Twitter Guide to point you in the right direction as you get started.
To further maximize your Twitter account, you should learn about the tools it offers its users. There are desktop clients that provide you more flexibility and control over your account than when you are on the actual website. Other tools, such as Twitterfall, allow you to perform custom searches and follow trending topics.
While the focus tends to lie on social networks, company blogs can do a lot for small businesses. A business blog is an inexpensive way to share your expertise and get your name out on the web. To get some help with your blog, you can enlist in the help of WordPress. Many hosting providers have an easy setup for blogs and install WordPress for you. Take some time to decide if this route makes sense for you.
Contribute to Other Blogs
While it may seem counter-intuitive, participating on blogs that are not your own can produce a valuable payoff. To build a good reputation and establish credibility, you must have patience. Take matters into your own hands and do not wait for people to come to you. Get out there and build your own reputation.
Identify a few blogs in your industry and read the content. Take the time to regularly participate in discussions and try to add value. Make an effort to learn more about the writers—they may later be valuable contacts.
After you have spent some time and built your credibility, you may reach out to the blog owners and inquire about guest posting an article on their blog. Agree on a subject prior to submitting your article. You may also ask if they would consider posting on your blog. Either way, you are getting your name out there and hopefully you attract new customers.
Local Strategies Combined with Mobile Social Networks
For small businesses, Yelp and other mobile social networks are potentially strong marketing avenues. Yelp allows you to set up a business account where you can answer questions about your business, add important information, announce promotions and track the users who view your page at no cost.
There are easy ways to proactively promote your business on Yelp or a similar service. Ask your customers or friends who have bought your products or used your services for a positive Yelp review. Offer a promotion, such as a discount off of a future purchase to a customer who gives you a review on Yelp.
Social media is a potentially powerful marketing avenue for small businesses. Build yourself a strong online presence so consumers will be able to find your business online. Through the help of social media websites and blogging, you are setting yourself, and your business, up for success. So make sure your business has a presence in the places where your current and potential customers are active.
Name: Megan Totka
About: Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.