Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Using social media

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     to help you better manage your small business. 

     If you don't use Facebook and other social media to promote your business, you're missing opportunities to grow. 

     Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and other platforms are useful additions to your marketing tool box. Everyone who operates a small business deserves to make use of them.

     First, it is easy to set up your presence on social media. Even if you are not computer-savvy, you can follow simple directions and be up and running quickly. Just go to the site, and they lead you through it. 

     Second, social media pages put a face on your business. Everyone snaps digital photos these days. Photos are easily uploaded to your Facebook page, for example. Social media platforms are different in their requirements, but I recommend beginning with Facebook. Get your feet wet and then perhaps move on to other platforms.

     Third, social media makes maintenance easy and cheap. You don't need an expert, like you needed to develop a website. With Facebook, for example, you simply check in, post one of those photos you've taken, and say a few words--few is the operative word here. 

     Fourth, social media platforms bring in new business, get referrals, spread the word. People tend to pass your photos around, getting your business in front of more eyeballs. 

     Keep in mind that social media is not like a brochure. It's not an ad, although they will sell you one if you want one. Social media is more like a scroll. It unfolds day by day or week by week. It is not static, it changes as you input more as the days pass. And you are making these changes yourself.

     Make your photos a living record of your business. A baker photographs every cake as it is being made. A florist photographs every arrangement as it comes into view. Show before and after photos. A massage therapist photographs hands (no faces) working on a subject. A landscaper shows the hole being dug, the plant being inserted. 

     Don't try to be professional. Aim for being informative, humorous--and a little craziness can help. These things attract attention. You're not taking photos for display in a gallery. You're having fun, and so are your viewers. 

     Auto repair shops can show a mechanic's hands fiddling with something under the hood. Pest exterminators can take endless pictures of bugs. Even lawyers and accountants can take pictures of public street scenes, auto accidents, close ups of balance sheets, etc. 

     The purpose of the photo is to inform and entertain. They are quick glimpses or slices of life. They have something to do with your business, they are memorable, they remind your clients/customers that you are there for them, and they bring in referrals. 

     You can promote your business in many ways. Almost all cost you money. But social media offers opportunities that reach far beyond other means. And for the most part, they are free!