Your goal of starting your own business is finally a reality. You’re wondering how to get the word out but you don’t have a very sizeable budget for marketing. So, how do you reach a lot of people without spending a lot of cash? Two words: Social Media.
Social media has exploded in the last few years and, as business owners, we can use this to our best advantage. There are several types of social media and as I go over the different types, I will share some tips on how to best utilize them to market your business using social media.
Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites are getting more popular every day so businesses can no longer ignore the trend. Instead we should embrace these sites and view them as cost-effective marketing tools for both online and offline businesses.
There are already hundreds of well-known businesses using Facebook to promote new products, get feedback, and gain new customers. They offer discounts, coupons, and host contests and giveaways. Social networking sites can offer your business exposure, target audiences, new fans, and help to entice new customers. You can also upload pictures, videos, and post links that connect to your business.
Blogging can be an effective way to let the public know about your business on a more casual, personal level. You can blog about what your business has to offer, new products, ideas, and upcoming promotions. You can learn what the public likes through comments and feedback.
When you write your company blog, link to other bloggers.
Bloggers love links. When you link to another blogger, they get a notification of that link. In terms of attention, this is even better than an email. It shows them that you took the time to read their blog post and build on it.
For your readers, it’s a great way to show them how you’re thinking about issues that others are wrestling with. Research who the thought leaders are in the industry and subscribe to and read their blogs via Google Reader. Incorporate their analysis, observations, and insight into your blog. Also engage those who comment on your blog. You can gain valuable information from them and it is a great way to ensure they will return to your blog.
You want to make sure to index your company blog. Search engines can deliver great traffic so be sure YOUR blog is part of their search index.
For instance, this is the Google page to submit your blog URL: http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl.
Also include links in your blog to your company website as well.
Of course, this is Twitter. Twitter can be one of the most difficult social media tools to master. It can take a lot of time and effort, but if you take the time to do it correctly, it can be a powerful marketing tool. Don’t view Twitter as a sales tool but more of a contact tool. To get your name out there, get people to spread the word about your business, and build your reputation. Here are some good rules to follow when starting to twitter:
Before you start following people, get 3 or 4 tweets on your account so you don’t look like a spambot.
Follow prominent bloggers and follow who they are following. They will usually follow you back.
Fill out your bio- Use your real name, your location, your website, tell who your company is and what you do there, and upload a picture. If you don’t, a lot of people won’t follow you back. Also, this puts a more personal cap on you.
Tweet when you’re reading a good article. You have to limit it to just 140 characters so list the article name, shortened URL (for example, use bit.ly), and a short comment if you want. When people reply, give them the courtesy of a reply back. You can engage, use follow up questions, and challenge them, if you like.
Broadcast- Once you have established credibility and a set of followers, feel free to broadcast updates. These can be product releases, blog posts, upcoming events, etc.
You should try to make sure only around 60% of your tweets are conversational and the remainder should be about the message you’re sending about the products or services you’re marketing.
Non-@reply tweets- These are retweets that are passing on links to interesting information, personal observations as you do your work, personal life things (Funny stuff). People are attracted to twitters that pass along valuable information.
This includes YouTube, Vimeo, and GoogleVideo. Videos are a great way for people to view content. You can do product demos, for instance. One limitation for YouTube is that videos can be no longer than 10:59. This should be more than sufficient for basic product demos. And you can add links to your company’s website. GoogleVideo supports longer videos and they come up in Google search but unfortunately, Google is going to discontinue accepting new uploads to GoogleVideo in the near future.
Social Reading and Publishing
This includes Scribd and SlideShare, which are the leading social document sharing sites. You upload a document to these sites and people who are doing research can find and read them. Document types include:
- Word Documents
This is a great place to share the content you are creating. One consideration for Scribd and SlideShare: A webinar presentation can actually multiply in value when it’s on these social document sharing sites. Don’t forget to tag your presentations. People will use them to find your documents.
You also have Social Bookmarking such as Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon. And Social Reviews like TripAdvisor and Yelp too.
Now that you know about the different types of social media, here are some benefits that it can offer your business.
- It can help build reputation and give your business great exposure.
- It provides cost-effective free advertising.
- It helps you to connect with key people in the industry.
- It helps you to discover what the public likes through feedback.
- Your business gains new traffic and increased sales.
- It can assist in getting public opinions when launching new products and services.
These are all great reasons to choose social media to help market your business.
So, you see, social media marketing is a great, inexpensive way that allows you to reach the maximum amount of people in a minimal amount of time. Attitude can be one of the most important considerations. If you view social media as a tedious part of your job, you won’t benefit from it as much because it will seem like a chore. But if you look at it as a great way to get your business out there, your business can flourish in a positive way.
If your company doesn’t have much money for a marketing budget, you should look into social media to market your business. It’s hard work, but it works. Now that you know the rewards you can reap by using social media to market your business, the next big question is:
Are you and your business ready to be social?
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