With so much of our communication going viral these days, it is with increased vigor that small businesses are trying their hand at marketing online. There are many platforms with many benefits, and if used effectively together can actually be a painless and fluid process to boosting your business and online presence.
I like to start here because your business should have a website where you own the domain name. This is somewhere that all other things tie back to in the future. Your website is going to be your client’s one place to find everything they could ever need to know about your business. From here all your other media and communications will stem outward.
Using a blog can work in many business scenarios. For most of my clients I write blogs that are mostly information sharing in the general field of their business. In most of these cases our goal is to keep the potential client engaged until they need us. A blog is also a great way to build your business portfolio of activities. You can show and write about the latest refurbish job you did on that 1902 Hoosier cabinet to highlight your restoration skills; etc.
Many small businesses have turned to free blog platforms to set up their “website” for their business. While these platforms can work and do work, I find that over time a client ends up paying more for adding on this, that, and the other thing; than if they had paid for an annual website designer specifically for their business purposes. Use caution!
We are going here next because as a small business owner you can get a lot of great news and information to help with your business plans on LinkedIn. You can seek like-mind professionals with whom to collaborate, groups that work like think-tanks, and so much more. LinkedIn is a great way to showcase your skills, your business, and connect with others on a socially professional level.
When used properly for business, Facebook can be a very useful marketing tool. Many businesses make the mistake of setting themselves up as a person or a fan page rather than a business. All varieties of pages on Facebook have a purpose and built in features that will help you get the best experience out of the platform. Being setup properly, finding and building followers, and keeping your audience engaged without being pushy are just a few of the keys to effectively use Facebook for marketing a business.
Most folks are familiar with ‘Mayhem’, the troublesome character in the insurance commercials that effectively reminds us of our human flaws. If you visit Mayhem’s Facebook page, you will see he has over 1M followers and people are engaged on the page, but nowhere do you see the insurance company advertising their products; but I bet you remember them…
I like to think of this as the social encyclopedia of everything and nothing. Quick snippet searches can often lead a client right to your front door, so Twitter is not without its benefits. There is some time involved in using it continuously, but for small business purposes we start by focusing on getting your name out there first.
So what does all that mean?
What I like to tell my clients is to make things as automated as possible and start at the beginning whenever possible. Here’s a very basic social media marketing plan that I implement more and more with my clients this past year…
· Establish a Website
· Establish a Blog (perhaps)
· Establish all social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube…)
Use the website to hold all content. Use a blog to send a periodic detailed message to followers or share continuously useful information. Use social media to send out frequent posts to engage followers. Keep your name ever in their presence and when they need you, they will remember you. Give them something for nothing; information is free!
By starting at the beginning we are able to establish your website and use the verbiage therein to build the other media as we go along. Once the site is established we begin to distribute communications on a regular schedule to maintain automation and time savings, uniformity and professionalism, and constant online growth and presence.
We do have other options for growth, but that’s a great foundation on which to build. Virtual Assistants are perfect for helping small businesses implement these types of plans as well as to manage other tasks that take up valuable time when you should really be focusing on the products or services that make the wheels spin.
Where ever you need help within your business, let’s have a conversation and see where I can help you free up some of your time to start with and to also get your business headed in an organized and vision oriented direction.
Ursula Wachowiak – The Write Hand – Virtual Assistant – firstname.lastname@example.org