Congratulations! You have made the first step and you are officially marketing your business online. You have your pages dressed in their Sunday best and they are all ready for the big event, but where is your audience? Ooops! You forgot to promote! Don’t worry. Fortunately for you, online advertising and communication strategies are always evolving, and being late is better than never showing up. We can get you caught up in no time, the first thing to keep in mind is that in terms of Social Media promotion the end goal is to generate new “followers” on Twitter and “likes” on Facebook which will hopefully turn into sales down the road.
Let’s get started…
Online Promotion -
1. Email Signature – Place all of your social media icons linking to your pages in your signature. I like to use Iconfinder, because you just have to type in the platform you are looking for, choose the icon you like, select the size you want, and then either save the icon to your desktop or copy the image URL (depending on your email provider’s image upload). Once you have your icons, upload them to your signature, right click the icon and click “hyperlink”. Add your URL for that particular platform and click save, you’re all set! Always make sure you test your links and modify as needed. Here are instructions for different email providers on how to add a signature: AOL, Gmail, Yahoo!, OutLook and more. Here is what my personal Gmail signature looks like. It’s basic, but each icon takes you straight to my social media profiles.
2. Website – Just like your email signature, you need to have all of your Social Media Icons, as well as “Like”, “+1” and “Follow” buttons, embedded on your website where all of your customers can see them. Take LocalEdge for example, we have them listed unmistakably along the upper left corner. You can find the embed codes on each of the Social Media Platforms (click here for Facebook and here for Twitter, to start – note: these tools work best when you’re logged in) and you can copy and paste them right into your website editor.
3. Constant Contact – Now that you have your Social Media sites embedded in your email signature, it’s time for you to get the word out via email blasts. What’s that? Where do you get the email addresses from? “E-mail List Building – Some Tips for Starters” is a good place to begin.
4. Suggest your page to your friends on Facebook – All Page admins have the opportunity to suggest their Page to friends by selecting the “Invite Friends” link on the right side of your page. Selected friends may begin to see suggestions for your Page in the right-column as they navigate around Facebook. A preview of what this looks like can be found above the friend selector after you select “Invite Friends.” Non-admins do not have this option, and are not able to view this link. However, they can share a Page with friends by selecting the “Share” link in the bottom left side of the Page. They can then choose to share it via a post on their profile, which may appear in their friends’ News Feeds, or with specific friends via a message.
5. Promote with online ads – You can promote online with a Facebook Ad or even Google AdWords. These ads will show up in Facebook and/or Google and allow people (potential customers) to click through and navigate directly to the page you set the ad up for. These ads can be cost effective for generating traffic to your pages or websites and the best part is you can fine tune them to exactly who you want to target. For example, you can limit it to males in Buffalo, NY between the ages of 20 and 30 years old and attend college. There are many other targeting attributes to choose from but in the end it is very precise when it comes to choosing your target market and should definitely be a part of your Marketing arsenal.
Offline Promotion –
1. Print – This category includes everything conceivable: weekly shoppers, classified ads, flyers, Yellow Pages, magazine ads, newsletters, local TV guides, coupons, billboards, hanging ads on doorknobs, company letterhead, even business cards. If there’s paper involved, there’s plenty of opportunity to advertise your Website and Social Media Site URLs.
Tip: When promoting your Website or Social Media Sites in display advertising, make sure you have a clean Vanity URL. Twitter makes this easy for you. They give you a vanity URL right when you sign up – the link to your page is always twitter.com/YourUsername, making promotion a breeze. Facebook, on the other hand, makes you work a little bit harder for a Vanity URL. In order to claim your Facebook Vanity URL you must attain 25 “likes” on your Business Page. Once you’ve reached 25 “likes” you can change your URL at http://www.facebook.com/username/, but keep in mind that once you change it, you can’t change it again, it’s permanent.
2. Radio – A radio spot these days can be quite a bargain, and it is an easy way to reach a large audience. Make sure you mention your website URL (or Facebook URL) at least twice and add what the customer stands to gain by visiting.
3. Television – Just like with print, make sure the URL you are trying to promote is displayed in your commercial and/or infomercial where the customer will see it.
4. Word of Mouth – The easiest and cheapest form of advertising is word of mouth. Tell your friends, family and customers to visit your pages and “like” or “follow” your company. Once you build up a respectable following it’s easier to get the conversations flowing. You might be saying “Why should I get my friends to ‘like’ my page, they already know about my company?”. Well the answer to that is you aren’t trying to reach your friends; you’re trying to reach the friends of your friends.
5. Sponsorship – Sponsoring local events is a great way to give back to the community and promote your business at the same time. Email, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and newsletters should be tools that complement your company’s involvement in the community.
Managing your online presence isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t a walk in the park either. It takes planning, testing, and constant exposure to eventually have an effect on your business. The most important thing about advertising is listening to your customers. What’s working, what isn’t working? What do they want, what don’t they want? Listen to your customers and tweak your online strategy accordingly and watch your online community grow along with your profit margin.
By John F. Black