Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to spend nothing on promoting your business: Social Media

When starting a business from scratch finance can be limited to begin with until sales are generated - however the problem is that without promoting your new product or service effectively, potential customers will not know that your business exists.

So here are the first in our series of suggestions for free/cost effective ways you could factor into your marketing plan to help reach your target customer via social media:
1.     Twitter – www.twitter.com

Twitter is an easy way to connect and engage with new and existing customers and can be a useful marketing tool to get people to share, promote and drive word of mouth communication about your business. Celebrities can be found more easily on Twitter than any other social media site, so if endorsements are key to your business promotion then Twitter could be the place to build your connections.

TIP: Find and follow potential business contacts and interact using their @names. You can send private messages, but only once someone is following you back.  Some useful additional tips can be found here: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/62470-29-useful-twitter-tips-for-beginners

2.     Facebook Business Page – www.facebook.com

On Facebook you can create a free page for your business, on which you can post information, special offers, photos, and details of forthcoming events to your target customer. It is also a great way for a small business to network with potential customers and to encourage referrals, as it houses the largest group of potential customers out of all other social media channels. Facebook business pages can be managed through a personal account still keeping your personal information private. Once your page is set up you can invite your existing friends to come and ‘like’ your page to give you an initial activity boost.

TIP: Facebook is a ‘social’ media platform, so once your page is set up it is important to create and join conversation with your customers to encourage loyalty. Be interesting beyond your product or service and you will soon see them ‘like’, ‘comment’ on and the all-important ‘share’ your updates.

3.     LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com

LinkedIn is a network with 65 million business professionals around the world and is a great tool for:
  • Giving you exposure to people hunting for products or services. LinkedIn's search features allow others to find you, and just like Google search.
  • Getting you introductions. Your LinkedIn business connections can give you a way in with people and businesses you might not otherwise be able to reach.
  • Displaying your recommendations from others on LinkedIn. Recommendations are word-of-mouth testimonials to you and your business, providing credibility that encourages people to do business with you.

TIP: Once you have a robust well filled out profile you will find people will start to come to you to ‘link’.  Join linkedin groups to widen your network and get discussion going.

Please note, not all methods will work for every business - marketing can be a case of trial and error. It is advisable that you have some way of measuring the success of each promotional method. Remember that even if marketing methods don’t cost you in money, they do cost you time, so be careful to budget time wisely.

To receive free business start-up advice and guidance contact TheWomen’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111.
Guest blog by Enterprise Enabler Francine Taylor

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