If you’re a start-up or a small business and think you don’t have an adequate budget to effectively market your business, think again. If you have a computer and Internet access, that’s enough to get you started on the right track. For starters, develop a practical approach towards creating a social media strategy for your business.
According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Report, 83% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business. Use social media to meet and connect with customer; however, you must have a plan. Don’t go out in the deep waters of social media without having a plan. If you go out in the deep waters without knowing how to swim – you will drown.
Below are a few steps to get you started:
- Identify your audience
- Know the wants/needs of your audience
- Follow and connect with them
- Listen, listen and listen some more
- Respond in a timely manner
- Introduce yourself
- Be social
- Offer up fresh content
- Acknowledge them
- Give away something… FREE
- Know your value
- Be authentic
- Share information
Here are some valuable tips that will help you interact with your audience:
- If you don’t have a Facebook page for your business, create one now. Update often, be consistent, and post fresh content. Offer contests; free give-away items or services.
- Open a Twitter account and connect with clients and “experts” in your field to build your network. Join the conversation on Twitter, participate in Twitter chats and become part of the community.
- Join the LinkedIn community. LinkedIn allows you to establish your brand and create trust around your business. It’s great for professional networking. Create trusting relationships with people; which might translate into lasting business relationships. Create groups, initiate topics and conversations. Establish yourself as the expert in your field.
- Launch a Twitter chat party introducing your brand. Schedule weekly twitter chats and brand yourself as an “expert” in your field. This will give you the opportunity to create a forum where you can share your knowledge all the while bringing awareness to your brand.
- Create a YouTube channel. Identify a spokesperson for your channel, producer and editor, then develop your content. Create fresh, consistent content. Digital video usage will triple in the next year. Use your channel to feature your services/products. It will personalize the experience.
- Design and implement an e-Newsletter. Use the e-Newsletter to build your database, strengthen relationships and promote your brand. Share coupons and updates about products and services provided by your company.
- Create a blog. Make it interactive and include video as much as possible. Engaging your customers is critical to building relationships. Use the blog to talk with your clients, share company insight. For example… Your company might have launched a new product that faced challenges in its development stages – write about it. Draw the reader in by sharing a personal story associated with a product or service you offer. People love transparency – be honest and draw people in by your story.
- Purchase a domain name. Domain names may be purchased at a very low-cost. Even if you don’t have the budget to create a website, it’s ok. Link your domain name to your blog until you’re ready to invest in a website. Also, purchase a few email addresses @yourdomainname.com. Doing so helps establish credibility to your business or start-up. Offer up quality content.
- Create a Google+ page. Google+ is an excellent way to connect with others who share similar interests, as well as meet potential clients. It’s a good marketing platform that brings awareness to your brand and drives traffic to your website. It allows for personable interaction and it its +1 feature gives users a simple way to promote your content.
As you build your brand, always remember to apply these simple steps at every stage of your business:
- Build Relationships
- Fresh Content
- Share Your Knowledge
- Image is Everything
- Connect with Clients/Customers
- Be Transparent
There are so many free and low-cost tools available to you. Use these tools to your advantage. Don’t wait for that million-dollar check to come in the mail. Just go with what you have and work it!!