While it is still important for an entrepreneur to know about traditional advertising (newspapers, flyers, direct mail, signage), these tools are quickly out lapped by their digital counter parts that are not only more powerful, but are also less expensive (i.e. Google AdWords, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media). Of course, some technical prowess or support is needed to take advantage of these new opportunities.
The beautiful thing about social media is that everyone is doing it because everyone can do it. Social media marketing is simple, accessible and—with the right strategy—can be working for you while you are busy growing your business and focusing on customer service.
Below are the three most popular social networking sites, along with tips on how a home-based business can leverage them as part of a marketing strategy. The great thing is, these are networks you can join right now for free.
This is a growing and global captive markets for your message. Many small businesses now forgo a website and link their business home page directly to their Facebook page. This is even more effective when you purchase a small amount of advertising to promote your business page to your ideal customer.
Try starting a Facebook page and updating daily about a product you are selling. LifeLock’s Facebook page is a great example of the content possibilities from videos and photo albums to recent promotions and call to action pieces.
You can also use this opportunity to network with other businesses and even share promotions or suppliers. One Nova Scotian home-based business, an organic market stand owner who was at a stalemate with shipping fees for bulk supplies, used her Facebook page to reach out for community interest in a group-buying scenario. It was a win-win for the customers and other small businesses that benefited. The biggest benefit was for the business owner who can now pass on the lower price for bulk goods onto her customer.
A global conversation is taking place. It’s between your current customers, your future customers and everyone in between. Conversations are happening and topics are trending. As a small business owner, jump in on the conversation and directly interact with your customer. Ensure they have your @twitterhandle to discuss your products or a recent experience with you. Network with other businesses like yours. Provide the public with tidbits of information about the area you specialize in. Follow trending topics and join the conversation, linking back to your business information when it is relevant.
If your business has anything to do with food, exercise, home improvement or decorating, you need to be on Pinterest. It is simple to join and add the bookmark tool to your browser. It is also simple to isolate the influential people who have garnered many followers on their personal pin boards.
Create a pinboard of your product offerings whether it is kitchen materials or press-on nail ideas. Create web articles and photo galleries on how to use your products in innovative ways to make day-to-day life easier. Share your pin board with others with similar interests or pins and sit back and watch the referrals come to your business.
Five Tips for Social Media
On any of the described engines, or any of the other multitudes of social media engines, the basic mantra (be creative, be unique and be original) and the following rules apply:
- Know who your customer is and speak to them; if you don’t know this information, find out!
- Be real. The appeal of social media is connecting to other people. Create a personality for your business that is closely related to you. The more genuine you are in your efforts, the more loyal your following will be.
- Plan and commit to fresh and original content. You can share, re-tweet or re-pin other people’s information from time to time but your followers will grow when they see you as a source for unique and original content.
- Commit to new content daily. Give some thought to what you will feature and post each week. You can use themes to help (birthday, holidays, etc) but make sure you are bringing new content out regularly. It is okay to repeat some posts but never too close together and never more than twice or three times.
- Don’t over post content or flood the feeds too much in one day. If you have a flurry of ideas for Monday, save some of these and post on Tuesday or throughout the week.