So, you’re a small business owner with your business, products and branding in place and you want to finally jump into the realm of online marketing. You’ve heard all of the great benefits and are finally convinced, problem: you don’t have a clue where to start?!?
Here’s a quick run down you can use to get started.
1) Set up a blog – WordPress.org offers a self-hosted blogging software that is versatile enough for any business model. It doesn’t even have to look like a blog with the theme options available these days and it’s easy enough for you to do yourself.
This is an important part of the set up as it gives you a home base and a place for you to tell the world about your products and services. You can keep your customers and potential customers updated on your company, connect with your visitors through comments and start an email list to keep them coming back.
2) Create graphics – You probably already have a logo, now you need to get it made for the web. You’ll need one for your blog, a profile picture (either of yourself or your logo) for your social networks and possibly miscellaneous graphics for products or other promotional materials you choose to use.
3) Define your compelling profile information – If you haven’t already, create an elevator pitch for your company. This will help you define your content, easily describe your business to others and help you focus your marketing efforts. This will be especially helpful when joining your social networks as they all ask for information about you or your company and the more you can provide the better.
4) Start with just 2 networks – There are over 1600 social networks to choose from, I suggest you start with the two monsters…Facebook and Twitter. I say this because by starting slowly you won’t get overwhelmed. Take the time to get comfortable, then add more as you go along.
Once you get comfortable with Facebook and Twitter you can then move on to LinkedIn, Youtube, etc.
5) Plan out content - In order to build up your campaign, you’ll need to post status updates daily and Tweet a few times a day. It’s a good idea to have an idea of what you want to share on these sites before hand. Plan out what kinds of information you want to share such as daily specials, new products, new promotions etc.
6) Use a software that will help you automate as much as possible – Here’s a step that will help the above step work smoothly and help save you tons of time. There is software available that will let you automate all of your posting, share it across multiple networks and even schedule your tweets and updates in advance.
Here’s a few suggestions:
This is just to list a few of the main ones. Take a bit of time to figure out which one best suits your needs. Some are free and others are paid services, so remember to take that into consideration.
7) Search and get social - Now you need some friends and followers. When setting up your Facebook and Twitter accounts you’ll be asked to invite your contacts, make sure you do that, then check the suggestions sections on both networks for others you’ll want to connect with. Make sure to add your Facebook and Twitter information to your business cards, receipts, invoices and any other promotional material you currently use. You want to connect with your customers or potential customers…always keep that in mind.
Once you have everything set up, you will want to also connect with your friends and followers beyond just your promotional efforts. Remember this is “social” so while you want to share information about your company, you don’t want to bombard them with constant sales pitches. Provide valuable information that will help them and interact as if you’re mingling at a party. You wouldn’t go to a party and do nothing but talk about you and your business would you?
Network, share, answer questions and join in the conversation.
This list is by no means detailed. I wanted to provide a simple guideline you can use to get started so you know what to look out for. If you have further questions about any of the steps above, leave a comment below….
Image credit: Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net