When you have a business, your goal is to make a profit. Often, earning that profit involves offering a product or service for sale. But how do you let prospective customers know that you have a product for sale? They can’t buy it, after all, if they don’t know about it. That’s why most business owners find it necessary to advertise.
However, many business owners shy away from advertising; you might even be shuddering at the thought already! The high price of advertising is one reason why so many dread having to deal with it. After all, the idea is to make a profit, not spend money! The good news is that it is possible to advertise without spending money. While it may take some cash investment to get your business to the level that you wish, you can promote your products and services without spending any money at all.
Suppose this is piquing your curiosity, then good! It takes an agile mind and an adventurous heart to run a business! One of the easiest ways to promote your business is online – and you can do it without spending a penny. Online social networking websites are readily available at no cost, and millions of people are using them. Almost everyone who has the internet available to them is a member of at least one of these sites.
Now, when you think of social networks, you most likely think of connecting and reconnecting with friends and family. While personal relationships are more frequently seen, social networking has become a huge advantage for businesses. Some social networks are exclusively for business. If you have a small business, especially an online business, there are several ways that you can use these sites to increase your traffic and sales.
While most social networking sites are more focused on developing friendships and relationships, as we mentioned, some are designed primarily for business. You can use these sites to build relationships with other business owners by sharing your information and interests. By building relationships with other business owners with similar interests, you can gain valuable contacts that can lead to increased business opportunities. At the very least, you’ll make friends that you can share your concerns and bounce ideas off.
While social networks like LinkedIn are a great way to connect with other business owners, that doesn’t mean that other social networking sites can’t be great for promoting your business as well. Even though Facebook and Google + may have originally had personal interaction as their focus, they both have very active business pages that can be used to interact with your clients and prospective customers.
When joining one of these online networking sites, you’ll first create a profile for yourself, giving you a profile page. Be careful when creating your personal profile; people who use these sites for personal friendship and relationships dislike feeling like someone is marketing to them. Use your personal profile page to meet new people. But once you’ve got your personal page, you can create business pages separate from your personal contacts. Everything you do on your business page can be “shared” on your personal page without directly marketing it towards your friends.
When you join a social network site, you create the opportunity to generate a lot of interest in your product or services. That makes the time you spend on social networks worth it! Look for people to connect with that will help you grow. The generated interest that you create in your business will translate into more focused traffic, translating into sales.
Dr. John P. Elcik, IV
The Pragmatic Web Designer