Looking for ways to grow your small business? Read on for some great ways to increase your bottom line by making the most of social media.
See what people are saying about you already
Want to know whenever someone says something about your business online? Set up a Google Alert and you will be notified whenever Google adds something that mentions your business name. You may also want to track other terms related to your business or industry, including competitor names. Setting up a Google Alert is easy: just go to the Google Alerts website and enter your search terms and email address. You choose the frequency with which you receive alerts, but it’s best to receive them as they come up so that you can stay on top of any conversations, issues or trends relating to your work.
If you aren’t already on Facebook — and who isn’t? — get yourself an account right away. You’ll want to set up a page for your business, not a personal account. If you need inspiration, spend some time looking at the pages of similar businesses. Once your page is set up, you can go about getting your customers (and potential customers!) to “like” your business.
There are plenty of ways to generate new Facebook “likes,” but the easiest one is simply to ask people. If you have a personal Facebook account, you can invite your existing friends to like your business. You can also increase your visibility by posting to your Facebook page regularly: make it a ritual to post something new at least once a day. Videos and photos make for more interesting interactions. Also consider hosting Facebook-only promotions or events.
Over 500 million people use Twitter, and some of them are definitely interested in your business! Signing up for a Twitter account is simple and tweeting is no more complicated than compiling 140-character messages. There may already be conversations happening about your business or industry on Twitter, so you’ll want to perform a quick Twitter Search before jumping into the conversation. Just remember that it is a conversation: be careful not to use Twitter as a one-way promotional tool.
Yelp effectively combines social networking with user reviews—and over 71 million people visited the site during the first quarter of 2012 to decide how to spend their money. Search Yelp in your city to see if anyone is already reviewing your business, and take some time to respond to reviews (even negative ones!) with kindness. Yelp even offers helpful guide for responding to reviews. You can set up a business account on Yelp which will allow you to communicate directly with your customers, offer special deals and promotions and view business trends.
Foursquare is a mobile application that allows users to “check in” at specific locations. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses are already on foursquare and over 20,000,000 people use Foursquare to connect with local businesses. Set up a business account and use Foursquare to generate business through promotions. For example, if you run a coffee shop, you could offer a free coffee after the tenth check-in.
If it sounds overwhelming to keep up with managing a brand across so many sites, it doesn’t have to be. The user interface for all of these sites is simple, and keeping up with them doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. If you have trouble keeping up, create a social media schedule for yourself and stick to it!