New Small Business Tips
By Russ Nadasdy
Social Media offers some excellent tools to promote your small business. As well as my own personal use, I have found some great proven techniques for promoting your business and assisting you in acquiring new customers.
As a business getting started in Social Media, you should first choose 3-4 platforms that you find the most useful, and post your pages’ basics. Do NOT choose more than 3-4 sites to create profiles at, or you’ll run the risk of insufficient time management and inundation of info to your followers by being on too many sites – yes, it IS possible to be on too many sites (a true S.E.O. expert will tell you this as well). So, pick your favorites and stick to them – weekly, tri-weekly or better yet, DAILY. Here are the ones I personally recommend, based on my own professional success as well as for clients, and are as follows – in order:
- Facebook – It is globally popular, and has great FREE tools for robust posts, promotions, contests, and more. Do NOT use Facebook’s pay options though – they are next to worthless unless you are a huge worldwide corporation, like McDonald’s or Nike, for example. For your small business, there are tons of FREE Facebook options to integrate into your profile (see: Facebook apps – not smartphone or tablet apps, but Facebook “apps”).Do yourself a favor and search for a Facebook-compatible resource called Thunderpenny (http://www.thunderpenny.com) – they answer questions and come to your aid very promptly, and with expert advice and easy-to-implement software choices (“tab”, “app” and static HTML code) for your Facebook page, and it’s all TOTALLY FREE. Thunderpenny code and online software tools do require a little initial set-up, but can be used with very little technical savvy required, and certainly no more of your own set-up legwork than any other NON-FREE pay-for-use services. As with many social media sites, you can run some great promotions for new customer lead generation, like a contest where you give the participants and winners a free (low-cost) prize in exchange for them providing some simple contact info, which you can then use to contact them and nurture them as new customer leads. They are going to your profile for some type of initial interest anyway, right? So why not make it fun for them, and potentially very lucrative for you! You’d be astounded by how cooperative people will be with submitting their consumer info when they know they have WON something. You have to be ethical about it, but ANY potential customer info is worth its weight in gold. Facebook is EXCELLENT for promotions and contests that are really simple to set-up and administer for optimum customer lead generation.
- Twitter – It is a great site for its immediacy and quick, succinct information exchanges, and worldwide popularity. It is a great site to build a dedicated following for you as a thought leader in your industry. Get even more interaction by adding posts (WITH PHOTOS) involving tasteful humor and anything relating to timely holiday cheer, and community outreach/charity efforts. If you don’t do any of these, START TODAY! People love to hear about the humans on the other side of the screen doing great things. It’s well worth the responses you’ll get in return, and all those followers can become potential customers.
- Google+ – It is big in popularity again, since it’s initial popularity upon it’s inception, and now it’s recently been backed by the mega-powerful Google search engine and members network – helps integrate all your Google profiles/info with Gmail email and Google+ social media. Google+ is a great additional tool to use all of the same tactics you can use on Facebook, but with even more features. One of it’s more robust features that rivals Facebook is the ability to organize all of your contacts into “Circles” that can intertwine and integrate into many convenient levels. Another great feature that rivals Google+ competition is “Hangouts” which is their awesome version of social media chatting (and better yet) video conferencing. Imagine if you could ‘Go-To-Meeting’ multiple people/clients/co-workers remotely right from your own business Google+ profile for FREE? Pure genius!
- YouTube, YouTube, YouTube!!! – Everyone can recognize the power of moving pictures – in this case, video. It is CONSISTENTLY proven that people, especially consumers geared to make a purchase, will respond exponentially more to posts and online content (even emails) with pictures and/or videos that are added WITH text. You will lose out on a lot of good attention if you post text alone. So, use your video to its best advantage for the majority of the planet – keep your videos exciting, engaging and informative – BUT short, sweet and to the point. You will NOT get anyone (I mean ANYONE) to stay watching a video, no matter how juicy the content, for more than 3 minutes maximum. Better yet, adhere to the 30 second rule, and keep your videos under 30 seconds, like a well produced TV commercial (but for a mere fraction of the cost of TV or other traditional media). For example, the whole video concept of one of YouTube’s competitors called Vines is that they are short 8 second videos – no shorter, and more importantly, no LONGER than a short succinct amount of viewing time per video. For best YouTube success in particular, post multiple times a year, and keep them short, neat and informative little ‘total packages”. To be perfectly honest, if you utilize YouTube with all the best practices, you don’t really even NEED any other social media outlets, but you CAN augment your YouTube content by bolstering it with a few other powerful social media profiles as well. YouTube is key for outreach and brand growth/recognition, so use it today!
So, when you do go ahead and take on (or edit your existing) 3-4 few select social media profiles, you can ALSO automate your posts with some great pieces of online software. There are many out there, but most do have a monthly fee. Although, there are some very cost-friendly options available. For example, a very robust, reliable and affordable tool for content automation including photos/videos is Hootsuite (available at Hootsuite.com). Hootsuite allows the ability to automate numerous profile posts all in one fell swoop, for up to 5 people to be logged into the same account. At even the lower lever “Pro” account, you can do all of this for only $9.99 per month, which even includes analytics to measure and project your results. That’s a huge value for the amount of time and repetitive work that it takes to post the same things multiple times to several profiles. And, for only what adds up to $120/year plus tax, you can write it off on your income taxes as a business expense, and it STILL costs less and delivers way more than a Social Media savvy relative you may have that is doing things for your business online now, or an inexperienced intern or part-time employee. I have used Hootsuite for 4 years now, and it cut my time spent by 400% IMMEDIATELY by automating many repetitive Social Media posting tasks to multiple profiles. I’m sure you agree, the old adage still reigns true – “time is money”, so save your business BOTH!
As far as advertising your business online outside of social media, to anyone in the Milwaukee Metro area, I highly recommend http://smallbizmke.com. I had the pleasure of being asked to speak publicly at one of their social media events, and afterward I had the welcomed opportunity to network with other growing local businesses. Since then I have acquired two brand new paid clients from that ONE event, and I’ve now been asked to continue to work with http://smallbizmke.com by doing some blog writing and additional design to help promote us all. They have excellent advertising and business outreach tools and events, so check them out – you will find a multitude of greatness within http://smallbizmke.com. There is virtually no one in Milwaukee doing what they are for small businesses looking to properly grow in today’s technology and marketing-driven age. I would seriously advise any small business owner/partner/employee to check out the goldmine of info, events and opportunities offered by http://smallbizmke.com. Even if you only attend one event, you will leave with a serious wealth of info from many like-minded and opportunistic people just like you. Not to mention, you’ll undoubtedly get into some great networking conversations, healthy exchanges of business cards/contact info, and you’ll meet other people more than happy to do business with you.
In mentioning my own business, I started by leaving the corporate world (gladly after 15+ years) to (ironically enough) start my OWN corporation. I have celebrated continued growth and financial success for 9 months and counting. My business, ROI Communications, specializes in Graphic Design, Web Design, Social Media for Professionals, Augmented Reality, Photography, Illustration, Marketing and Analytics to measure and project your results. ROI Communications offers a great niche of services to best possibly ensure that your business grows and gets to the next level. My personal links are as follows, and feel free to contact me any time for a FREE initial consult:
My full design/web/illustration portfolio here:
My LinkedIn profile with full resume and credentials:
I would be happy to talk to anyone who’s interested, with a FREE initial consultation at any time. Contact ROI Communications, and start growing your business TODAY!