If you work as a freelance or you have a small business, marketing can be expensive. It is also difficult to accurately gauge the success rate of any advertising you do unless it equates directly to sales, web hits or inquiries. If you are just starting out, or you work for yourself, you probably don’t want to (or simply can’t afford to) spend out a lot of money upfront for pricey advertising campaigns. Luckily, this is where social media really comes into its own. It’s the perfect set-up for the self-employed and is ideal if you are a web designer, copywriter, illustrator or run a small business like landscape gardening, carpentry or dog walking. In fact, even really businesses are now seeing the advantages of getting a loyal online following and getting their message across on Facebook and Twitter.
Tips for Promoting Small Business on Social Media
1. Get a fanbase on Facebook
It doesn’t cost anything but it can get you some great exposure and help you to build up an online business presence. You can still have your personal account: in fact, it’s a good idea to keep business and pleasure separate. Although your friends won’t mind hearing about your achievements and business offerings occasionally, they’re going to get pretty fed up if you’re trying to sell them your services every day. Your business account allows you the freedom to solely concentrate on your work and the services your business provides.
2. Link up to LinkedIn
This is another free asset that can help to get your business name out there. You can invite clients and colleagues to your list and build up a great contacts base, from which you can branch out to other people. You can upload updates, which is great for any business or client news you might have and it’s a great networking tool for self-employed or freelance workers.
3. Tweet on Twitter
Again, you might want to set up a separate business account on Twitter, if you already have a personal one. You don’t necessarily want to tone down your regular posts in case clients are reading. Your business account should be solely used to promote your work, although it pays to inject your posts with a sense of humor and personality – people don’t just want a constant sales pitch; they also like to be entertained. Offers, news and interesting projects can all be posted on Twitter and the more you post, the more followers you should gain, as your name spreads and people become interested in what you’re doing.
4. Share your Links
If you don’t have a blog on your website, you might think about creating one. Twitter, Facebook and Linked in are all great ways to publicize your new blog posts and the relationship works both ways – link to your blog and people are more likely to check out your website while they’re there. You can also have your recent Twitter and Facebook pages on your website or blog, so your business is getting double the exposure. Do regular, short updates and keep your posts lively and engaging to encourage people to come back.
5. Make some friends
Hook up with some like-minded small business owners across all the social networking sites. Whilst you don’t want direct competition affecting your business, remember that social networking is a global phenomenon a dog walker in Mexico is unlikely to be direct competition if you are based in New York. Contacts can prove yourself and other similar business might be able to share ideas and contacts. You can offer reciprocal links on your blog, you could recommend them and, who knows, it could lead to more work for you, if you are linked to someone who is highly recommended. Social networking has had an incredible impact on the ability of the self-employed or small business owner to get worldwide exposure. If you use these sites to your advantage, you should be able to effectively market your business online without spending a dollar. Obviously, many businesses will still need to explore the regular advertising routes but, whether you use social networking as your sole source of marketing, or as a supplementary one, you should see some clear benefits to signing up to these sites.
If you know any other way to promote your small business on social media then share with us!