Helping new and smallbusinessesNotes on marketing andsocial media for the smallbusiness
It does not matter whether you are a new business or already established – in times such as these, times of effective recession, finding new customers or revitalising your relationship with old ones it is going to help. You may have products and services to sell. You may have a nice set of prices to offer them. You may have a whole range of busi- ness qualities which make you stand out. If you don’t manage to put all of that in front of your customers you will not manage to do as much business. When you reach your customers you need to be all of the above but you also need to be … approachable, attractive Before that you need to be easy to reach. Your customers need to be able to find all that you can offer. Part of the whole business process is your marketing effort. First of all you need a plan … Let’s make it a cunning plan!Your plan, your strategy and its content needs to be in keeping withwhat you do. Yes be attractive but be attractive in the right way. So,the look of what you put out there needs to be good but also to beright for you. A cornershop will not look to have full page adverts inVogue, for example. Nor would they need a full blown social mediacampaign and a glittery website. Others, however, would find benefitfrom just such.The traditional media for putting out the message of local businessesare gradually dying, or they are being ignored. Fewer people arepicking up a local newspaper, even the free ones, similarly with maga-zines. More people are using the internet to source products and ser-vices, including those from small businesses locally. There are reasonsto use business cards, leaflets, brochures and even posters. It is betterthat the spelling is correct, the design fits the purpose, and generallyit looks good. Yes, you can do all of this yourself. Sometimes, though, it is better to use someone who knows. You may not see the mistakes. You may not see the small things that make your promotional and marketing products fail in the eyes of your potential customers. If you present yourself badly, you are not going to do as much busi- ness as you might.
So! Have your brochures, leaflets, business cards done properly …similarly your website. Personally I always walk away from any businesswhere there are countless errors in their literature and their website. It tendsto indicate that the business itself is not as well run as it might be or that theygenerally will get things wrong, that their products and services will not beup to par. The internet For most businesses some sort of internet presence is a must. The amount of time each person spends on the internet continues to grow, and amongst all age groups. In 2010, the number of over 65 year olds with social media pages or accounts doubled. 40% of all time on the net is spent sourcing products, services or researching such and the businesses associated. At the very least your business should be entered onto a number of business index sites. These are basically internet versions of the yel- low pages. It may be useful for you to have your own website. If this is the case, once again you can do it yourself, using website templates or those provided by certain hosting sites. You may design and code the site yourself. If you do any of this make sure you test the site, the code, and have someone else check what you have done. Another alterna- tive is to have a site made for you.It may be useful for you to have your own website. If this is the case, once againyou can do it yourself, using website templates or those provided by certain host-ing sites. You may design and code the site yourself. If you do any of this make sureyou test the site, the code, and have someone else check what you have done.Another alternative is to have a site made for you.It may be the case that certain approaches are too expensive. There are free orcheap options available if you know where to look.
As before, if you decide to have a website make sure it is fit for purpose. It should lookthe part. It should be free of obvious mistakes. It should definitely contain key pieces ofinformation:- about us, giving a general background to the business and the people involved,people are happier when they know they are dealing with a business with a humanface;- contacts, knowing how to reach you, where you are, your phone number, emailaddress, shop/office/studio address, social media contacts;- products, services, what you have to offer.Other things can be included but the above are the basics.E-mail marketing is another option.Social mediaYes, the new big thing!Everyone is talking about social media. Facebook this, twitter that, linkedin whatever…A suitable and well thought out approach can be of real benefit to most businesses.As above, a strategy is best … back to the cunning plan!Blogs and social networking are the primary and most used forms of social media forbusiness. Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Wordpress, Tumblr, Myspace, are but a few.Video and photo sharing sites , bookmarking sites and portfolio sites are the nextmost used. These include, Youtube, Flickr, Digg, Del.ico.us, Behance, but there aremany more.
What you do, what you include needs to be both balanced and of proper service to yourneeds. Implementing a social media strategy will take time out of your working day, butwith a planned approach it need not be too much of an imposition. The benefits can beremarkable making you and your business reachable, attractive, having a greater marketpresence. Another option is having an outside agency, a suitable marketing or social mediaprovider help you along the way.Whatever you decide upon, be:- accurate- attractive- up to date- informative- busy enough , make regular entries- fun- open and honest- polite. Try to give a call to arms in whatever you do. Try to get a response of those who visit your site, your social media pages. With their contact details you have acquired a new potential lead. Every platform is different. Find out what it can do for you. Use the potential at hand to get your message across. Above all, make sure that you connect everything together. So, making a mention in one area of your social media is automatically repeated in the others, similarly with your website. If you update your site make sure it is mentioned in your social media presence. There are a lot of sources of social media information on the internet.
ContentWhether you are using print, a website, social media, e-mails, all of them or other means, you need topay attention to the content. If you are sending out crap you are likely to get crap in return.Look good, say it well, say it right, make it easy to buy from you. These principles will give you thebest chance of success. Be easy to understand, don’t mislead your customers, put it all in the right set-ting. Use the right font – be easy to read The right language – use the sort of words your audience woul The right colour – the right palette The right background – set the scene The right decoration – don’t make it so busy people ignore the message or have the wrong pictures for the product or service … a short, sharp message above the fold – people have short attention spans, to the point! The content you provide is part of your brand, your identity. Dress it properly. The me- chanic you want will probably be wearing overalls. The accountant may wear a suit. In just the same way the content on your website and your social media platforms needs to follow all of the rules: - present the correct information - make it brief - just enough of the right decoration - diagrams or pictures can be a help - use the right words - a call to arms - make it easy to respond.
Video content …if a picture says a thousand words, then video speaks volumes … The major marketing group of the American east- ern seaboard, Onemarketmedia, have listed 51 ways video can be used for business. Put simply it is an easy and personable way to get your message across. Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr all have the capacity to share your videos with others. Social media and video go hand in hand. Introduce yourself. Introduce your business. Tips and hints can be a useful way of getting content across. Giving something helpful to your audience makes you approachable, friendly. Adverts are only a small fraction of what is possible through video. If you are going to do it, do it right! Yes, you can buy a dv camera, or use one available to you. Can you do all that is required, though? Video is no different to any other medium. Spelling mistakes, poor layout, bad graphics, all of these can do dam- age to your business efforts. Or get someone else to do it for you.F4mmedia can help with all of the firstname.lastname@example.org in touch and we can help with your social media campaigns, your strategy, thecontent, particularly the graphics, the video for social media and websites of yourown.There are a number of other helpful e-books available, just ask for your free copies.