Chances are, unless the business is well established, people do not know to search for it online or that it exists. To begin encouraging people to join a business community they first must be aware of its online presence. But the truth is, they should not have to search for the business – it should know how to find them.
Learning how to advertise a business’ online presence is every bit as important as the maintenance of the social media profiles. People must know they exist and understand the benefits of them.
Let’s discuss a few ways to promote social media profiles.
1. Utilize the local community.
Where does your local community interact? At school board meetings? In online forums for community members? At the local coffee shop? Wherever the people are, is where the business should be advertising its online presence.
Give out flyers at local events with social media profiles listed, collect email addresses at meetings and tack up announcement boards with business advertisements. Team up with local businesses to display post card announcements and put decals on business windows.
Add easy to use social media buttons to the business website, include social media profile links in the email newsletter, and in all business-related email signatures.
Tip: Create all social media account profiles using the business name or one similar name. The easier it is for people to locate a business, the faster they will.
3. Paid advertising.
Although it is not necessary for every business, there are many who have great results from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn advertising. If the business is new and looking to quickly locate its target audience, paid advertising is a good way to start. Use the ads in conjunction with a promo to jump-start its online presence. Research the network plans and set a budget for 3-6 months to see real results.
4. Advertise the company blog.
The business blog can generate a large amount of traffic to the business website and can leverage it as a unique entity amongst its competitors.
Add sharing buttons to all posts so readers can easily repost and share with their networks. Seek out other industry-related blogs and leave a comment including the blog url. But make sure to add real value to the conversation with the comment; otherwise it will come off as cheap self-promotion. Share blog posts across every social media network and include appropriate tags so readers can locate it easily. And advertise it in the email newsletter – always.
5. Fill out profiles.
Search for your business name online and fill out all the relevant profiles. Add business information, summaries, calls-to-action and pictures where possible.
Make sure the top places a potential customer could land house the correct business information and generate interest, such as Yelp or Google Places. Include links to social media profiles, the business website and respond to every positive or negative comment already placed – publicly. A negative comment without a response reflects poorly on the business, even if it was addressed privately. Make sure the replies are public and offer solutions.
6. Tell users why.
Placing the links to social media profiles in all the right places on and offline does not guarantee people will be interested.
Give them a reason to follow your business online and make it clear what the profile will be offering – exclusive offers, tips, industry-related news or how-to’s. Make the benefits crystal clear.
7. All communication channels.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but social media profiles should be advertised across every communication channel in the business. If customers listen to “hold” music while waiting, talk about social media profiles and use a call-to-action. If there is a business advertisement on your vehicle – add social media decals. Have employees include business profile links in email signatures, business cards, on uniforms or name tags.
Basically, in every place clients or potential clients may be – on tables or menus in restaurants, on receipts, on mirrors in a salon, or a bathroom mirror in a doctor’s office. Anywhere the client will be.
8. Network to network.
Don’t forget to advertise social media profiles across the networks. Ask followers on Twitter to join the business on Facebook or Pinterest. And vice versa. Make sure all followers know there is a company blog and ask them to sign up for the email newsletter.
But do not offer the same content across all mediums – shuffle it up and create the content according to the individual network. If followers know they can get the same info in two places – why follow both?
9. In ALL advertising.
Promote the email newsletter, blog, and social media profiles in every business advertisement – online advertisements, magazines, newspapers, radio and/or television. Promote profiles in event advertising; exhibitions or anywhere the business is being represented.
And if there is limited space – advertise the company website first and one additional profile link. Choose the network where the business is most active.
10. Word of mouth.
It may be an old-fashioned way of advertising, but word of mouth is still the foundation of every form of advertisement. Talk, talk, talk about the business social media profiles, have employees actively engage in conversation about them and ask every client or potential client if they are aware of its online presence. They may not want to buy or work with your business in the beginning, but change their mind after following the business online. Make it serious business to tell everyone about where they can find the business online.
There are many ways to promote social media profiles and hopefully we got most of them. Do you have any additional ideas or advice for small business owners?