Week Ten – Social Media and Word of Mouth
For many, social media remains a mystery. I'll give a few simple ideas to get you started. You can take it much further when you're ready, if you choose.
First, get a Facebook Fan page. You must do this through your own Facebook page — so if you don't have a personal page yet, start there. Your fan page can be customized with your logo, photo, tag line and other information about your product or service. Ask your friends and family to "like" you and tell your newsletter subscribers about your page as well. That way they can get your newsletter info via Facebook.
Start to post the same kind of content you include in your newsletter – informative tips and suggestions around your expertise or venture. Offer special deals to users who "like" you. Ask questions of your followers to get them engaged.
Next open a Twitter account. Twitter accounts are set up under your company name, for example VentureMom.com's Twitter account is @venturemom. All Twitter accounts are preceded by "@". Make sure you use your company name and not your name. That way when clients search for your company on Twitter they will find you. You can have additional Twitter accounts for personal use; your company Twitter account should be only for business venture info. So if you are a dog walker and your company name is For the Dogs, your Twitter account would be @forthedogs.
Then you can start to tweet. When tweeting, you want to provide useful suggestions in a short format. You have only a small number of characters for each tweet. For a dog-walking service you might suggest a great path, "Took Spot and Buster to Waveny Park today, trails were muddy so stayed on the roads, @forthedogs." Or "@forthedogs offering half price walks on Mondays, email us for details." Or "Read a great article on keeping dogs cool in the summer, go to _________." List the website where the article can be found.
With Twitter, follow those who are in your similar interest. It's common Twitter courtesy to follow someone who follows you. Set aside about 15 minutes a day to Tweet and find others to follow. There is an art to building a Twitter following, and you can get very creative with your Tweets. Follow someone in your field and see what they tweet about. Then make your own plan to gather followers and potential customers. Obviously, your venture may be local, but that's OK, you'll get local followers as well as others.
Don't underestimate the old-fashioned marketing technique – word of mouth. It's extremely powerful. So ask your happy customers to refer their friends. You might even offer a discount if one of their friends becomes a client. Also, tell everyone you know what you are doing. People love to help a new venture, and by talking about it, you will perfect your "elevator pitch."
Next week – Networking, PR and Speaking
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