I do not own a business, but I have worked in various different jobs from serving locals at a breakfast diner, to cleaning cabins at a summer resort, to being a reporter for a newspaper, to interning at a small marketing company. No matter where you work or what the business is, bottom line is: a business is a business and as an owner or entrepreneur you want your stuff out there and your business known.
I believe the number one step to take first, especially as a small company or as a lone entrepreneur who wants to launch their business, is invest in someone or another company who knows how to create and format a clean, well designed, easily accessible website. Your website is the very first thing consumers see and it is where they find all your contact information. A sloppy, poorly designed website that looks like my five year old niece designed it is a big NO NO! You immediately look unprofessional and untrustworthy to the consumer, and they will move on to other businesses. Take it from a consumer herself. If you do not know how to do it, take the time to invest in a professional who does, and it will pay off.
Moving on to social media specifically, more and more businesses are utilizing social media to market their company. “Like us on Facebook!” has become the new marketing slogan. Social media is fast, easy, gets information to the consumer faster and in a much more appealing way other than seeing an ad in a newspaper or an annoying commercial on TV. Here are my top Social Media sights that YOU need to be using regularly to expand, launch, or improve your [fill in the blank].
1. FACEBOOK: What!? I thought Facebook was just for high school and college students who like to creep on their crushes? If you haven’t jumped on the Facebook marketing bandwagon yet, then do it now, because businesses have begun to use this years ago (in other words, this is almost old news by now!) But it’s not just for businesses! If you are a singer trying to make it big, create a separate professional Facebook page just for your followers. Add your YouTube videos, pictures, songs, links, and tell your followers where you’ll be singing next. If you are an entrepreneur same thing, stop using your personal Facebook page to market your business and make a professional one where it is clean and solely committed to your business. You can tell your Facebook “friends” about deals, coupons, classes, ANYTHING! According to the Pew Studies – Facebook still dominates the social media sites with 89% of social network site users have a Facebook account as of February 2012.
2. TWITTER: Again, if you haven’t already jumped on this bandwagon, then get on it. Twitter is quickly becoming the “new Facebook.” What you write has to be quick, witty, and has to grab your fellow tweeters’ attention. Adding photos or links into the tweet make it even easier for a person to become more intrigued and more likely to see what you have to offer. Twitter is a great way for a quick “Hey look what I have going on this week at my hair salon!” type of thing, and people eat it up because they don’t have to read an 800 page article to know what’s happening in your business. It’s quick, it’s simple, and information quickly gets re-tweeted and sent to more followers.
3. PINTEREST: I love Pinterest. I am border line obsessed with it. Conversations with my girlfriends sometimes revolve around the phrase, “Hey! I saw this cool thing on Pinterest this afternoon!” I believe it is a MUST if you are a photographer, wedding planner, clothing boutique, beauty salon – ANYTHING dealing with women’s interests that you have a Pinterest account and you regularly put your stuff on there. Pinterest is so visually appealing and so easy to get your business and website passed around and in between people (especially women) who eat up this kind of stuff. But they have categories from design, to gardening, to cars, to men and women’s fashions, to health and fitness and MORE. The possibilities are endless for virtually any type of business. Start Pinning!!
4. INSTAGRAM: Instagram is becoming more and more popular, especially with the ease of using it on any smartphone. It is a free mobile photo-sharing app that has about 80 million users and counting! It is a visual, photo-focused social media tool. If your business can get creative, I believe any business can use it in some way. Instagram your food! Instagram you working at your desk! I think business need to STOP being traditional and boring and START being creative and moving with where the media is heading.
5. LINKEDIN: If you or your business hasn’t already, get a LinkedIn account as soon as possible. It is a great B2B (business to business) tool because it is an awesome way to network and get connections on a professional level rather than just a friend request from Facebook or a re-tweet from some random person. Get connected now, and start networking immediately. Every business or business woman/man NEEDS a LinkedIn no matter the profession.
Of course there are many many other social media sites – some more geared toward certain professions than others, but these I believe are the top 5. According to the Pew Studies, as of August 2012 66% of online adults use Facebook, 20% of online adults use LinkedIn, 16% use Twitter, and 12% use Pinterest and Instagram. Another 5% say they use Tumblr (Which I haven’t mentioned, but is still a great tool to use!)
Your business card is no longer a small piece of paper that you keep stuffed in your wallet. Get your stuff out there and get to know your social media and which sites would be better tailored to your business. Get social!