There are countless books, seminars and even apps that are designed to combat the seemingly daunting tasks of online profiling. Creating an effective online presence has pushed well past fleeting trend status-it is now fast becoming a vital small-business strategy.
The online presence of a small business inevitably has the power to either enhance or destroy. But it cannot be ignored. It is not a "set and forget" strategy but rather one that must be maintained.
Social networking effectively takes time and resources- choose a select few sites to start with and cultivate a strong and well-maintained presence.
Start scouring for strategic partners. One of the major perks of social networking is the ability to tie your service or product to another in a mutually beneficial marketing strategy.
Enter new and hard-to-reach niches with a simple link sharing agreement. Trust will be inherent when you enter new markets through established sales channels.
Cross-promotion via social networking creates an automatic web of symbiotic marketing. Never rely solely on social networking- offer a better rate for in-store pick up or a toll-free number for fast and easy customer service. A personal touch can transport the profile from 'scary online fiction' to the real world. Establish a bond to build trust and acceptance.
Feeling like the jungle of social networking options is just too vast to navigate? Start here: every business should have a Facebook page and a website with a blog. Work on maintaining these two sites before investing in any others.
Once you have the profiles established boost them with some simple tricks:
- Photos, photos, photos. We cannot stress the importance of creating visual content for your potential customers.
- Increase loyalty by showing the "real you'' with small insights into daily life as a business owner.
- Create and promote incentives, deals and sales that are exclusive to online viewers.
- Capitalise on word of mouth with comments and review sections.
- • Hold contests and develop rewards programs.
- Get to know the users- don't try to be too big, too fast.
- Connect with other local businesses, creating an online community that also coincides with a real community.