5 Free Social Media Tips For Local Businesses
Although this blog has been a lot quieter the past couple months I have been very active working with small businesses on everything from selecting the right domain name for their website to using social media to promote their business effectively.
As much as we may be a for profit business we also truly feel it is our mission to help educate the local business owners who understand they need to move a portion of their marketing efforts online but either a) think the cost is too high or b) feel like it is too time consuming or technical.
One of the things that we show as part of the holistic marketing model they need to look at now that they can no longer just use the legacy methods (i.e. print) as their only form of advertising is social media.
Over 50 percent of their customers are now looking online but most have not shifted any of their marketing spend to online (more on that in a future post). Since they may not feel comfortable spending money online as they are just now in the beginning of the education process we feel it is important to help them with low cost or even free online marketing tips, in many cases these are social media tips.
Here are 5 tips that a local small business can use today to help promote their business for free using social media:
Use Proper Links To Your Website When Posting On Facebook:
One of the most frequent mistakes I see people make when promoting their website on Facebook is not actually making the link to their website active, for example if I was to share something about this blog and put the following you would not be able to click on it and go directly to this site, instead you would have to hope your friends on Facebook either copy and paste the link or type it in, people will not typically actively do this:
Check out my blog at BruceMarler.com
Instead you need to add http:// in front of the link or website name to make sure it is an active link in what you are sharing on Facebook, for example it should look like this:
Check out my blog at http://BruceMarler.com
If you do the above on Facbeook people can click directly on the link to the site and this will drive significant more clicks to your business website.
Create a Facebook Page For Your Business Not A Personal Account:
One of the more frequent mistakes that people make when first thinking about using Facebook for business promotion is using a personal Facebook account rather than a Facebook Page. This happens more frequently than you may realize.
It is best to keep your personal account separate from your business account. This will help you promote to your customers rather than family and old high school friends who may not be interested in a business thousands of miles away and on the other side keep you from posting vacation pictures to customers rather than your family.
Facebook pages are free. They are great for interacting with your customers and promoting special offers. They also allow you to get top of mind awareness with your customers after they had forgotten about you. As many people may visit your website, do business with you, and then move on by taking advantage of a Facebook Page to put links to your website and specials and events you may be having you can keep your brand or business in front of customers who have visited you in the past.
Claim Your Facebook Username For Your Facebook Page:
One of the easiest things you can do to protect your business brand online is by claiming your Facebook Username for your business page. This means that you no longer have a long string of characters as the link to your page, instead you have a short and brandable link to your fan page, example is http://facebook.com/localtek
You can see exactly what brand is being promoted (Localtek) instead of something much longer like this:
As you can see the top link is much more effectively promoting your local business online. To do this you can read this How To Set Your Facebook Page Username Tutorial.
Promote Your Facebook and Twitter Accounts Offline:
As much as we online marketing folks like to believe that the world revolves around online marketing and nothing else matters that is not true, more and more a holistic approach is needed when promoting a business. One easy way to take advantage of mixing various promotion types is to make sure you add your Facebook Page and Twitter account on any print materials you may have or even make sure you mention in any radio promotions you may be doing as well.
As an example we recently designed new business cards for our company and on the front we have standard corporate business card information (website, address, etc) but on the back we have our social media information to make sure people know where they can connect with us through our social media presence online.
If you are already paying to have materials created you should promote your online presence. If they become your friend on Facebook or follow you on Twitter even after they through away that business card you still have access to them when your promote yourself on either service.
And one more tip:
Suggest Your Facebook Page To Your Friends:
To be clear as I say suggest your page I do not mean be spammy, do not promote it daily to all of your friends but if you are in business and need to promote why not start with people that are comfortable with you and are likely to accept your Facebook page suggestion?
That way when you put out promotions they are likely to “Like” them and this in turn means it is likely to be seen by their friends as well which begins to take advantage of what social media is all about when it comes to business promotion, peer to peer recommendations. A recommendation from a friend will always go further than any advertisement someone could do.
In many cases we have heard customers tell us that they have created a Facebook Page but could not understand how to get people to see it. The step missed was suggesting to friends and family to get things moving.
The above tips may be simple but they will help get you moving at no cost, if you have further tips feel free to post in the comments.