Social media is supposed to be the great “equalizer.” Small businesses can set up pages and accounts and promote their brands just as much as the big guys. Well, sort of. The thing about social media is that it takes lots of time to establish a presence and to gain a following. The big guys hire entire departments to do just that, and they have large budgets to purchase advertising on social media sites.
Still, there are things that small businesses with small budgets can do to get their names out there. Because Facebook is the largest media platform, a new business should start there and then move on to other platforms as there are time and growth.
Here are 10 things that you can do to spread your brand and develop relationships with #fb-followers who will then share you with their communities.
#1. Find Complementary Businesses’ Pages and Contribute
Write comments or paste your great content on those pages. You will establish yourself as an expert in your niche and you will begin to develop relationships with a company’s following. For example, suppose you sell paint and deck stain. You can find businesses that sell home décor and both interior and outside furniture or patio and deck décor. Get on those pages, answer people’s questions, and comment on their comments. And be certain that your company name with an imbedded link to your site is how you are posting.
#2. Change Out the Content on Your Page
One of the mistakes companies make is to focus only on their products or services and to write content that relates to the benefits and value to potential customers. This gets pretty boring. You want fun, entertaining stuff, along with your serious content – that’s what really keeps people coming back and sharing. Having a joke or a quote of the day is always a good idea. Dollar Shave Club has a great following on its page because it mixes things up – sometimes it talks about products, but often its posts have funny customer stories and silly, fun statements. It also re-posts a lot of its blog posts too.
#3. Create a Separate URL Address for Your Facebook Page
By doing this, you can use your website, your posts, and comments on others’ pages and whenever you write as a guest blogger or comment on blogs of other companies. When you establish yourself on other social media platforms, you can drive people to your page with that address. This is what large companies do. Geico Insurance, for example, has its own URL address for Facebook, but it has gone beyond that. Its mascot, the Geico Gecko, has his own Facebook URL too.
#4. Ask For People to Comment
You do this by asking questions that allow people to express their opinions. It would be wise to avoid really controversial topics like politics or some social issues, but how about animals? Publish an animal rescue story and ask what types of punishment should animal abusers get? Publish a couple of unique drink recipes and ask followers what their favorites are. Getting conversations going about anything, related to your niche or not, will engage people and cause them to share.
#5. Post a Poignant or Inspirational Story
Everyone loves stories, especially those that tug at the heartstrings. Post one and ask readers to share it with their communities. A lot of them will. And if you make a regular habit of posting stories, readers will come back for more. The goal here is to get your brand into their heads so when they need your product or service, they think of you.
#6. Feature Your Customers
Everyone likes to see his/her name in print. Ask your customers for their stories about how they have used your product or service. They can post them on your wall. Once they do that they will share with their followers, because they are now “famous” on your wall. ModCloth does a great job of this. It openly solicits stories and photos of customers wearing their clothing – these are regularly posted, and their following on Facebook is huge.
#7. One-Up Your Competition
See what your competition is offering as specials and discounts. Go one better. And offer a bigger discount if they share the initial offer. Foundr Magazine does this all the time. If viewers/readers share a post, they are entered into a drawing for free subscriptions.
#8. Post, Post, Post
You may have nothing new to say about the value of your product or service. And that may be a good thing. Posting humorous stories, odd news, or just a story about the office dog will do just a well.
#9. Add Your Facebook Address to Your Email Address
Of course, you know to embed a “share” button on your site and on all of your blog posts. But you are also developing an email list. If you add your Facebook address to your email address, then you can drive more customers and potential customers to your Facebook page. If they like the stuff they see, they’ll share with their friends.
#10. Run contests
You have to make the prize worthwhile, of course. But readers will share contests with their friends. ModCloth does a good job of this too. It runs contests to “name” an item of clothing that it has just acquired. The winner gets the item free. Jack Daniels runs contests for the weirdest bar stories – winners get featured in future Jack Daniels ads.
So now you have 10 things you can do, and you will probably come up with more once you navigate around a little bit and discover what other businesses are doing to attract more followers. Be aware that all of this takes time, and you do have a business to run. That is why it is a good idea to start with Facebook and not to expand into other platforms until you have the staff and budget to do it well. Dull, boring, outdated social media pages go dead.
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