The successful small business strategy today includes a website and social media. A website provides a permanent location where customers can find basic information about the company. Social media is a modern marketing strategy for small business. Historically, the yellow pages were the hub of business information. Websites and social media have largely supplanted the yellow pages.
A website is ideal for providing general information about your small business, such as a list of products or services, frequently asked questions (FAQ) from customers, hours of operation, location, and contact information. In addition, a website can contain other dynamic information that engages your customers and develops a continuing and supportive relationship. This supplemental information might include “how to” articles and videos related to your business, a calendar of events (such as sales and promotions), and an interactive blog. When executed thoughtfully and consistently, this content can increase traffic to your website, stimulate interest in your business, encourage customers to buy your products or services, and inspire influencers to further promote your business to their social media networks.
Some website information is ideally packaged as a media kit. Also called a press kit this is a very easy way to provide information about your business that influencers can use to help promote your business. These influencers include sponsors or advertisers, print media, TV and radio shows, and bloggers.
A blog can also be added to a small business website. Think of a blog as a sort of company newsletter. Each blog post is a short article of 300-800 words relevant to the product or service offered by your company. In contrast to a personal blog which is often a somewhat random collection of thoughts and ideas, a business blog needs to contain useful information that responds to your customers’ needs in real-time.
For example, a gardening store might blog about tasks to do in the garden throughout the year. Gardening-related blog posts could include how to plan a garden during winter months, how to prepare the soil for planting in spring, how to control weeds and harvest the vegetable garden in summer, and how to use cover crops or mulch in the fall. The blog posts can be articles that describe activities such as planning a garden. Blog posts might also be videos that actively demonstrate tasks such as planting and spacing seeds correctly in garden rows.
To support and extend the use of the website, information from the website (such as events, blog post articles and videos, or company information such as photos) can be pushed out through various social media channels. For example, blog articles can be re-published via social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Rather than re-publish an article in its entirety, provide a short but very enticing description of the content along with a link to the original website blog post. Likewise, videos and photos can be shared on YouTube or Instagram.Using these techniques helps drive customers and other interested people back to your main source of information, your company website.
Using social media as an effective marketing strategy requires planning and commitment. Use a business plan as a business strategy planning tool. Carefully research the social media methods that will most effectively market your products and services. Start small; choose just one or two social media services or tools. Plan and create engaging content your customers want. Consistently publish this content throughout the year to your chosen social media channels. Using websites and social media can be a very effective way to promote any small business.