Being a small business is fraught with difficulties, but one of the most frustrating is finding time to promote your business locally. Advertising is great but can be expensive, especially once you add in graphic design fees. And, once it’s gone, it’s gone, so if you don’t get it right you can end up wasting all your money. With this in mind, the following article will give you a few tips on how to promote your business using one of the cheapest tools available.
Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google plus, and YouTube have been around for some time now and with the massive increase in the use of smartphones they have boomed in popularity. If you stopped anyone using a phone on the street and asked what they were doing, you would discover that most of them would be on a social network. The hard part is getting your potential customers to notice your business on their favourite social network, and for each network, there are different things to learn. However, the number one task to get you started is to build a list of followers.
Here are a few ways to do it.
- Follow similar people in your business – It may sound a little strange but in order to become popular you have to be seen as an expert in your particular field. So, if you are a solicitor, plumber, business coach or accountant, it’s important that you surround yourself with people that value your expertise.
- Try and be consistent with your activity, tweet and post regularly and don’t leave it weeks between updates.
- Make sure that your tweets and posts include information that increases your standing as an authoritative person within your type of business. Include up to date news stories, and links to articles that will educate and inform your audience.
- Use hashtags. Most social networks now use hashtags, which look like this #. A hashtag is a sort of link that people use to connect lots of tweets together. So, if you’re looking to find a local audience, your first step will be to find out whether there are any local hashtags that people use. Tagboard is a great place to start. https://tagboard.com.
- Every now and then drop and little humour into your updates. Making people laugh is the best way to make friends.
- Whilst I am not a big advocate of selling on social networks I do think that offering your followers something exclusive can be very helpful when you are trying to boost your popularity.
- Always respond if someone mentions you or, direct messages you, or just starts to follow you, and try and start a conversion.
- With Facebook, you can now use the like button as a voting tool for a promotion, something that has been against their guidelines for some time.
- A tip for those looking for followers on their Youtube channel is to add a parameter of code to the end of your Youtube link and it will open a pop up asking them to confirm subscription to your channel. It looks like this and it really works.
One thing to avoid doing, however, is to never add a username at the beginning of a tweet. Do this and the only people who will see it are the people who follow you AND the person with that username, rather than everyone who follows you. You would be surprised how many people still do that and if you don’t believe me check this out.
OK, so now you have a few followers the next thing is to make sure that people can find you nice and easily.
Why I despair when someone with a smartphone asks me if I know a local plumber
Google plus, Google Places for Business and Google maps now all seem to be synched together in a sort of ‘find a local business’ mashup. Go to Google maps and search for a local chartered accountant and not only are you given a map with them pointed out for you, but you can also get directions, check their opening hours, and even leave a review once you’ve been.
It is therefore, extremely imported that you get your business listing verified and completed before everyone else cottons on to this sweet little tool.
All you need to get started is a Google account, a picture of the front of your building, your address and your logo.
Then go to http://www.google.com/business/ and get started.
For more information on how to promote your local business using social media why not give us a call on 01244 344114.