The internet has created an unlimited marketplace not defined by physical space. You no longer need to buy expensive space in the newspaper or television to advertise your business. In fact, the growth of social media has been so explosive it has bypassed analog modes of advertising. An estimated 97% of people will search for a product or business online.
Most successful online stories have come from people who use the internet to grow their businesses. With social media, you have so many avenues you can use to market yourself including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr and Pinterest amongst other.
Take your hobby to the next level, do you like making hair? Stop making your neighbors hair for free and make some money. Can you do portraits or paintings and don’t know where to market your product? Customers are waiting for you online. Follow the rules below to set up your online presence.
Rule number one – Understand your target market
You need to have a clear understanding of your target market and what medium they are likely to interact with, for instance, teens will most likely be on Instagram or Snapchat than on Twitter. Women aged 18-35 will be on Instagram and gravitate towards fashion trendsetters, cosmetics, shoes, and other beauty products. Corporate business people are likely to prefer Linkedin or Twitter to Facebook and Instagram.
Rule number two – Decide on the online avenue and allocate a budget
Set up the online accounts you want, and link them where possible, for instance, what you post on YouTube will automatically appear on Twitter because of the linkage. The beauty of social media is that it is free, but for better engagement, you may need to use some money to get additional exposure. For instance, Facebook has the sponsored ads that could push your content to audiences outside of your current network which consists of friends or those who have liked your page. If you can, set aside a small budget to sponsor a few ads.
Rule number 3 – Get engaging content
How your audience engages with you depends on how engaging your content is. If your business is make-up and you want to use social media to advertise your services, you will get a better response if you did a video blog showing how you can help them achieve the perfect look with make-up.
Keep your audience engaged with interesting informative content. Schedule your posts so that your audience knows when to expect new content from you. You can for instance schedule a post every Tuesday and Saturday. Be consistent otherwise you run the risk of losing their interest.
Content can be hard to generate so you need to put in place a good plan. If your video is on make-up tips, divide it into smaller, manageable posts, for instance do a two week tutorial series that focuses on eyebrows with topics such as: how to get the perfectly shaped eyebrows, how to use a pencil stick for perfect eyebrows, how to tweeze your eyebrows and how to thread your eyebrows amongst other interesting topics. From each main topic, try and get as many sub-topics as you can without being repetitive or boring.
Rule number 4 – Build an online community
To be successful online, you need to build an online presence and this happens when you engage and find a way to get people to subscribe to your YouTube channel, like your Facebook page, follow you on twitter or get automatic Instagram likes. The more people you have engaging with you online, the more people will get to know about what you are offering.
Rule number 5 – Consider getting a website.
A website is a great way to advertise your business. It lends to credibility to what you have to offer. Creating a website isn’t an expensive venture; many online consultants who would be happy to create one for you at a low cost or use one of the many website templates that you can personalize if you don’t have the budget to pay a consultant to create a website for you.
When the website is up and running, search engines like Google and Yahoo need to find you. How is your Search Engine Optimization? Make sure you update correct information on your website.
Rule number 6 – Stand apart from the competition
What are your competitors doing, how can you do it better than them? The online streets are busy and some of your competitors may have the resources to hire people with roles dedicated to social media management. Check how they engage with their audiences and offer a better experience where there could be a gap, for instance, are people asking for video tutorials, DIY Videos, or educational content? Be the one who steps in to provide the answers and you will surely stand out.
Engage on a personal level. No one likes to engage with someone they don’t have a type of bond with. Let people be able to put a face to you and your business. Introduce your team, share funny pictures and build relationships.
Ensure that your product is top notch; nothing kills a brand faster than a customer with a gripe. With one touch of their keyboard they can destroy your business, because, like you, they have access to your followers.
Online marketing requires commitment and a willingness to engage with your audience at all hours. If you do not engage you will lose the audience you worked so hard to get.
Success doesn’t come overnight; you have to be patient before you see a return. Remember someone liking your Facebook page doesn’t mean they will buy your product. You still have to go the extra mile of engaging with them and converting that like into a sale. The leads generation potential for online marketing is immense but if you do not follow-up it will all be for nothing.
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.