By Hessie Jones
Social media is now an essential channel for business endeavour, one where the innovation that comes naturally to small businesses can be richly rewarded.
In a previous article, I introduced a range of online tools that can be used for creative development (i.e. “Crowdsourcing”), advertising and video. I also discussed the reasons business owners give for backing away from online: the biggest being “time” and “cost”.
While online business efforts can be time-consuming, they are also necessary. The good news is that most of the tools I am discussing are free. In this article, I will introduce the main social media resources available to business.
Using social channels to find your prospects and engage with them will help you define your audience needs and challenges, and therefore identify areas where you can provide value and solutions.
The more active you are on social media, the more you will become visible to search engines for your defined category. Own the first page of Google search results, and you’re well on your way to establishing your brand in the keyword (s) that define your business.
Twitter is for networking and Facebook is where your customers are. You have to be on both places. Twitter helps amplify and promote your business especially to your customers that happen to be on both platforms.
Twellow is a great resource to find your audience on Twitter. Use keywords and geography (if applicable) to define your audience profile. Twellow will scrape User Twitter profiles and give you a list of recommended “follows’ to begin your follow list.
LinkedIn is beginning to grow as another venue to attract customers. Take advantage of niche groups that form on LinkedIn and be active in these discussions. The more you show your subject-matter-expertise, the more business opportunities that will present themselves.
Blogging is important. Post information about your product or about your category a few times a week at least. Become a subject matter expert to build your own brand credibility. Also, leverage your network for advertising exchanges. Post ad links on your network blog sites to link to yours and vice versa. This will help generate traffic to your blog.
At the Enterprise Toronto’s Small Business Forum, @cocktaildeeva introduced me to Visibli. This is a toolbar that frames the content that you’re sharing on your Twitter or Facebook posts. The Visibli toolbar can contain your avatar and links to your Facebook, Twitter, blog and website presences. When an individual clicks on the link you’ve shared on Twitter, they will be taken directly to the content with your toolbar that sits above it. What a great way to build more visibility to your website and social properties!
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