SOCIAL MEDIA AS A MARKETING TOOL:
FACEBOOK – FREE ADVERTISING:
Whether you personally like Facebook or not, Facebook is one of the most popular platforms where people spend lots and lots of their free time on, searching and surfing around for hours at a time. Unless you have your own clientele or will be relying on word-of-mouth referrals, you must have a Facebook presence. It’s a good idea to brand your Facebook page to match your website and post links on both your website and your Facebook page.
Facebook now allows online stores to be embedded into your Facebook page so you can sell right on the Facebook platform. The only criteria is you need a dedicated and secure website address. Most of the popular hosting companies offer https installation for a very reasonable fee. By using essential keywords in your postings, great graphics, coupons and other marketing calls-to-action and giveaways, you can use your Business Facebook Page without spending a dime.
FACEBOOK – PAID ADVERTISING:
Facebook has also created the most useful demographic-targeted marketing database known to man. They can tell just about EVERYTHING about their “members”. Without realizing it, millions of people have turned over the most personal information about their interests and likes and Facebook has databased everything. If you have a Facebook page, you are a member of this database, whether you know it or not.
As a business person, you can advertise for a fee to a specific and targeted audience. Facebook allows targeting by age, gender, interests, income level, interest groups, people they follow, and more. Once you know your best demographic, you can then create beautiful Facebook ads targeting this audience and inviting them to call, email or visit your website. The cost of Facebook Ads are, at the time of this writing, slightly cheaper than Google Adwords.
If your business has a national or international customer base, Facebook can be much more economical than Google Adwords because it is easier to create a customized audience on Facebook than it is on Google Adwords. Your web designer or marketer can explain this is greater detail.
Running Facebook ads will require ad copy, graphics, creating specific landing pages (in order to test how well the Facebook ads are working) and the setting up of Google Analytics in order to view the actual source of traffic and how many visitors have landed on your specific-marketing pages. Therefore, be sure to pick a web designer who can help you with this endeavor. If they have already done your graphics for your website, making matching graphics for Facebook is much easier than starting fresh with a new marketing agency or a new graphic designer.
GOOGLE BUSINESS – GOOGLE MAPS:
If you have a brick or mortar business and/or store, it’s a great idea to be listed on Google Maps so anyone can reach you on a cellphone or pull in directions right to their smartphone, especially if they use Google Maps as the gps system.
In order to start using Google Products (Gmail, Adwords, Adsense, Analytics), you will need to sign up for a google gmail account. That’s all it takes. All of Google’s products are free to use when you become a member of Google Gmail.
Google Search pulls local businesses from its own directories. That means that when you list your business on Google Maps, then you will be pulled up when someone searches for your services or products from their cellphone. If you have a website, this information will also be at a customers’ fingertips and accessible from their cellphone. Be sure to make sure your web designer can assist you in signing up for Google Maps. Do not do this until your website is done. You want a professional and branded look when you make your debut on Google Maps.
GOOGLE BUSINESS – GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE:
You will also want to create a Google Business Listing that has a branded Google Business Banner. At the time of this writing, Google Business still “blurs” the banners and does not allow total branding of your page, but I expect this will change in a short time. They must get complaints on a daily basis.
Your Google Business Page will include your business name, address, phone, email, website address, hours of operation, type of business and/or services you offer, pictures from your website, pictures of coupons, etc. Because Google Business is a part of the Google Search franchise, your google business page will be fed to the google search engines, and like YouTube videos, the search engines will lean in their favor.
By having a Google Business page, you can add your business to Google Maps, and ask clients/customers to leave feedback that will help you in the search ratings.
Make sure your web designer will be able to hand-code a beautiful thank you email that you can send to your clients asking them for feedback on Google Business, Facebook, Google Maps, and any other review platforms that are out there.
PINTEREST AS A MARKETING TOOL:
It’s a good idea to put all of your products and/or services on their own Pinterest Board so they will also come up in any searches people do on Pinterest. This is another social media website that many people flip through day in and day out. Be sure to add a pinterest link to your website and a website link to your Pinterest Account.
If you are an author, ask your web designer and/or graphic artist if they can create a “best seller board” with your book along side many of the best sellers in your field. If you are a landscaper, ask for boards for all of the different types of landscaping you do. A picture is worth a thousand words and a Pinterest Board is worth more than that!
Ask your web designer or marketer to teach you (or create a video tutorial for you) to learn how to post new photos up to Pinterest in order to continually feed information to Pinterest and keep updating your presence there.
TO TWITTER OR NOT TO TWITTER AS A MARKETING TOOL:
Twitter is a very active social media platform, but it requires a lot of attention. If you have the type of business where you are constantly taking pictures, or releasing new coupons, or have lots of news, this might be one social platform that will work for you. As noted above regarding newsletters, if you are searching for new information, keeping up with trends, receive new information from other sources on a daily or bi-weekly basis, then twittering can help your business in a huge way. There are people who search Twitter for different subjects and/or trends.
However, if you are swamped with work or are not computer savvy, you may want to skip Twitter. The last think you want to do is to open a twitter account and then ignore it. It is better to not have a Twitter account than to open a Twitter account, post a few “twitters” and then abandon it.
If and when someone clicks on your twitter link and sees no action, they may think you are not a viable business, or you don’t follow up on things, or they may just lose trust or confidence in you. So before you open a Twitter account and link to it on your website, be sure you have already committed to twittering and have a marketing plan of action.
LINKEDIN AS A MARKETING TOOL:
If you are looking for business-to-business contacts or clients, LinkedIn is a good platform to sign up with. LinkedIn’s signup process will lead you through uploading and entering just about everything about your business that will ultimately help other businesses and potential employees find you. Be sure to put a link on your website so your website visitors can connect with you on the LinkedIn platform.
LinkedIn also has groups of like-minded individuals based on shared work and/or shared interests. Be sure to do a search on LinkedIn to find any groups that you would be helpful in belonging. The best groups are people who are looking for your type of services and where you can post advice and tips to establish yourself as an expert. Often times, people will want to know more and will contact you individually, at which time you can offer then certain packages of services or certain products that can help them solve a problem they may be having.
Like Pinterest, you can upload photos and graphics about your business. This platform leans “younger” than Facebook and Google, so be aware of that. No sense in starting an Instagram account if you are looking for investors aged 55 and up. You might be wasting your time.
However, if you have a new gadget that kids would like, Instagram is the platform for you. If you are a newsletter type as described in Part One of this article, and you want to tap into this youthful market, Instagram is a must. Be sure to have a marketing plan ahead of setup so you don’t wind up abandoning this platform once you begin to use it.