When you start a business, the word “free” sounds like music to your ears, so two areas where you can promote your new business freely are networks and social media! However, networks and social networks should not be seen as advertising for the poor. In fact, these areas are a critical part of building a brand in today’s marketplace. But before you get started, here’s the do’s and don’ts version of the notes when it comes to dominance in these areas.
- Attend as many networking events as possible how can you get your name there. You never know what business connections or future clients you might meet. However, the main thing here is to be human!
- Don’t talk all about yourself or go to what your company can do for them. Nobody likes pushy salespeople, so don’t be that guy (or girl)!
- Treat this experience like a first date – Engage them by asking questions and showing genuine interest in what they have to say. Then, if you have something that might help or interest them, casually mention it.
- Exchange business cards. You want to be able to follow your new contact, so be sure to swap the cards.
- Don’t go straight home and call them! Haven’t you heard about it on dates? Well this is also true in business! You don’t want to appear desperate. Wait a day or two and send an email. This way they can reply when they have time and if you don’t get a response then you will get a hint.
- Dress professionally. It’s fine to dress casually, but it’s quite different to wear ripped jeans and tennis shoes. First impressions are key, and while people say they don’t judge, they really do. So dress to impress!
- Don’t overload your post. Yes, your fans and followers want to hear about your business, but they don’t need so much information to fill their entire Facebook home page.
- Update regularly. (Now I know I just said don’t get overwhelmed, so there’s a fine line between too much information and not enough information.) That being said, my biggest dislike is when a company or restaurant doesn’t update content for more than a month or, for that matter, more than a week. Not updating regularly gives the impression that you don’t care about your subscribers. Your followers are your biggest fans, so keep them posted!
- Link your social media sites together. If you have a website, you must have a social media widget that connects all your pages together. If you are on Facebook, you must include your links to other social networks and so on. This is important so that your customers and customers can easily fan you, tweet you, or follow your blog. Without links in sight, chances are your followers won’t even know you’re using social media.
- Don’t do everything for yourself. Yes, your fans and followers want to stay up to date with the latest happenings in your business, but they also want to be involved. Ask your audience questions (example: if you are a restaurant, ask your fans what their favorite dish is, or if you are a boutique, what trends do your fans like). These types of engaging questions allow your audience to engage with you. They can also be a source of inspiration and understanding of what your audience likes, dislikes, etc.
- Post interesting and relevant articles on your social media sites. Have you read an interesting article that is relevant to your business? Well, I’m sure your subscribers would love to read about it too!
- Synchronize your social media layouts. By that, I don’t mean they have to be identical, but they should all have your logo as your profile picture, similar colors, and site transitions. The last thing you want is a hodgepodge of social media without a real overall design concept.
Vanessa Daigle is the co-owner of Marketing Mix Studio, a full-service marketing agency focused on small businesses and nonprofits.
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