There are tons of tools out there for small businesses to use, but the list of them is constantly evolving. If you want to see real success, there are a few that now stand out from the crowd to help you increase brand awareness, traffic to your website and, hopefully in the end, sales.
You’ve probably heard the term “social media” thrown around before, but do you realize that it’s more than just a platform for college students to meet other college students?
Social media, Facebook and Twitter being the big two players, has skyrocketed in business use over the past few years. For starters, it gives your business the opportunity to both get to know your customer base better and conduct free research on what exactly your customer base is in the first place. That way, you can tailor your overall marketing strategy to the demographic you know you’re actually reaching.
Additionally, Facebook and Twitter can give you the opportunity to let your customers get to know you. They are “social” media sites, after all – use your social media profiles to let some of your personality shine through and shy away from the uber-businessy talk. Be real, and your customer base will respond.
They’ll also lend you a much broader platform of people to reach with both your business and your business’ website. The more people you reach, the more people will come to you to buy your products or services. It’s quite possibly one of the easiest and least expensive (actually, free) ways to market yourself and your business to more people than you ever thought would listen to you.
You can join groups on Facebook and meet other professionals or like-minded business people that are in a similar field and network to increase your contact base. You can share blog posts that you write and tweet them across the world for broader reach. You can drive traffic to your site by linking to your own page on Facebook, maybe featuring a giveaway or special sale or something of the sort.
The possibilities for social media are potentially endless, so if you are a small business and don’t yet have a Facebook or Twitter profile, it’s a good idea to get them as soon as possible.
Similarly to Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets, YouTube can be a wonderful platform to reach large audiences with unique and branded video content.
YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world, second only to Google itself, so you can imagine how many people are using this powerful tool in a day. By having unique video content that’s relevant to your brand posted on YouTube, you’re exposing your company name to all of those people using this search engine.
You optimize your website for Google and other search engines, right? Well, you can’t forget about YouTube. You want to create content and post content that is informative and entertaining, and of course relevant to what you do. Use your expertise in your field to give how to demonstrations or informational lessons. Market your products with a clever commercial.
Whatever you do, try to pay attention to production value. Generally speaking, the higher the production value of a video, the more traction it will have in YouTube. That said, it’s relatively inexpensive to shoot high-quality video yourself, or hire a small company or even a freelance videography studio to shoot and produce something for you.
Once your videos are posted, you can optimize the video title and description and use it to drive viewers back to your website. If it’s good content, people will share it with others and you’ll reach an incredible base of new, potential customers, all with a new awareness for your business and your brand.
Speaking of your brand, make sure all of your videos are clearly marked with your company name and logo, either throughout the entire video (better for informational/how to/product videos) or at the beginning and end (perfect for more commercial videos).
Pinterest can be an awesome tool for small businesses, especially those with something creative or visual to sort of “show off.”
Although it could technically be coined under the “social media” term, Pinterest is used in such a different way than Facebook and Twitter that it does deserve its own heading. Pinterest is really the place to go when you have visual content to share, and its power can be shocking.
It’s the third largest social media network in the world now (behind, you guessed it, Facebook and Twitter), and if you post the right kind of content on Pinterest, it can get pinned and repinned across, again, a huge platform.
The other beauty of Pinterest is that you can link your content back to your website, so that way when anyone pins or repins your content, you’ll be getting all of those links back to your site. Plus, if you cross-promote other brands and businesses, they’ll be more likely to cross-promote you in return, so it’s easy to take advantage of the massive network that Pinterest boasts.
Jackie Ryan is a freelance writer who works with many small businesses. Her advice to any small business is to use every tool you can think of – have custom logo mats created for your entryway to your office, even! If it’s creative enough to work, then work it!