How to use social media to promote your small business

Social media for your business
Many of your customers and clients use social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date about their favorite businesses and brands. As a small business owner, it's more important than ever to ensure your marketing strategy includes some social media activities. Social media platforms offer some fresh ways to connect with your current and potential customers, build your online presence, and also help you develop long-lasting relationships with industry professionals, associates, and future contacts.Here are some tips on how to use social media to promote your small business:

Maintain a blog

You don't need to be incredibly tech-savvy to manage a blog and this can be one of the most powerful online marketing opportunities for a small business owner. How many times have you come across an article or a study related to your industry and wanted to share your thoughts on the subject? A blog is the perfect platform to do just that. You can also use a blog to announce upcoming sales, spotlight a product or service, run contests or giveaways, and encourage customer feedback. Make sure you're updating your blog frequently and providing high-quality content for your readers.

Manage a Facebook page

A Facebook page is another simple online marketing tool you can use to promote your small business. Here you can share simple status updates about sales, industry news, upcoming events, and drop links to your blog. Share content from contacts in your business network to build rapport. A Facebook page is also a great place to respond to customer questions and feedback, and track response rates and interest from different marketing ideas or campaigns. You can also set up Facebook-only promotions and special offers for anyone who "likes" your page.

Run Twitter contests

Maintaining a Twitter presence can be part of your online marketing strategy, but you do need to be very active on this social media site to reap any rewards. If you do have the time and resources to manage a Twitter account, consider running a contest and encourage participants to use a hashtag so you can track responses and entries. Promote this contest on your Facebook page and blog to generate more interest. You can also use Twitter to post candid images or link to Instagram -- a photo sharing site -- and attract more followers. Be diligent about posting relevant information, responding to followers who reply to your posts, and retweeting other Twitter users' updates. This may mean checking your Twitter account daily, and even multiple times a day.

Engage followers and fans

The only way to truly leverage social media for marketing purposes is to engage the people who are "listening" to what you're sharing. Make sure you're posting relevant and timely content -- and not just scheduling a series of posts to stay active on these sites -- so that people can really resonate with your company. Being active on these sites opens up a new line of communication with your current and future customers, clients, and business associates. This direct line of communication becomes incredibly powerful when you want to build your brand and generate new or repeat business.
 
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