Promoting my business through social media
Want a low-cost way to win over your future customers?
One of the most effective ways to promote an idea online is to harness the power of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter and the huge audiences they command.
Lance Concannon, Social Media and Methodology Practice Lead at PR company Text 100, explains:
'The great thing about social media is that it gives your business the ability to talk directly to your audiences, engage with them and let them talk back. That provides valuable insight for any growing business.'
So how do you use social media to get people interested in your business? In a word: dedication. Loyal followers don't occur overnight; it's all about time and effort (not money). But first you need to know the basics:
1. Know your audience.
Listen to what they want and pick your channel accordingly. If you want to market to businesses, use LinkedIn. To target consumers, try Facebook or Twitter. You can have the best updates but if they're sat on the wrong site no one will read them.
2. Create a community.
It's all well and good having large numbers of followers or fans but getting them to talk to each other about your business is a different matter. Pose questions and try and create a dialogue so they feel like it's a human talking to them, not a machine.
3. Add value.
Your aim should be turning customers into fans, and fans into active promoters of your business. The people who will recommend, stop and shout about your business are the ones you want to attract, so use your posts to draw them to your latest and greatest news.
4. Don't think that social media can turn your business into something it's not, because it can't.
But what it can do is promote excellence. Prove that you're an expert in your field by answering queries and posting interesting (and relevant) comments.
5. Give it some thought.
It doesn't have to be a thesis about quantum physics, but make sure whatever you're promoting to people is relevant, informative and original.
Social media isn't just about connecting with your existing customers. Explore other channels and connect with local businesses, suppliers or potential partners. There could be opportunities you're missing.
7. Be current.
There's nothing worse than old news. Don't post/tweet or blog using your usual marketing material. Instead think up new ways to spread your news.
8. Be regular.
At least a couple of Tweets and Facebook/LinkedIn posts a day should be a minimum.
9. Market your social media.
It's not a case of 'if you build it they will come'; you need to tell people that you are on Twitter or LinkedIn. One idea is to make sure that you have all your social media addresses on all your communications, from emails to leaflets, so that people know where to find you.
10. Have fun
Social media is about people and we're not serious 24 hours a day, so make sure that there's some humanity in your posts.
And finally… remember that social media on its own isn't everything. Use other channels too, like local face-to-face networking events to build your contacts book, make connections and promote yourself and your business. Social media works best as a complement to other kinds of marketing . If you want to know more about how to do this, read our article on networking your business .