It’s a given that you should be advertising your home-based business on social media. But, should you be paying for it? There are a variety of great options, both paid and free, that you can utilize to market your business.
Where should you be spending your time and, more importantly, your money?
Organic Social Media Marketing
A Twitter profile, a Facebook business page, a profile on Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and an Instagram account: Are these all things your business has? If not, it should. These are all free and somewhat easy marketing avenues. Presence on social media is crucial. Many people head right to Facebook to search for a business now instead of visiting Google. Social media profiles are just as important as websites if not more so.
That being said, building and maintaining an audience can be tricky and time-consuming. I typically only recommend joining the number of social media channels that you have time to maintain. Trends and strategies change frequently, and it takes a lot of effort to stay abreast of what is going on and how to maximize it for your business. It’s important that you keep your profiles up to date and current. Tools like SocialBee can make it easier to post simultaneously across multiple channels, but the art of social media management can, in itself, be a full-time job. That’s why I suggest focusing on a couple of key platforms that you find most beneficial to your business and target audience.
The most significant part of social media marketing is interaction and conversation.
That is something that is difficult to buy and is much more powerful when it is natural and genuine. Working on things that create honest interaction with your page is the best way to grow organically. Asking questions, creating conversation, and soliciting responses and engagement is the name of the game. By studying up on the most effective ways to increase fan engagement, you will naturally increase your reach.
Contests are a great way to increase engagement, fan participation, and followers.
You can do it free with a widget or simply use a post. These can increase your organic traffic not only on the contest post, but it will also trickle over to others.
The major social media platforms offer analytics so you can see which posts are doing well and which ones are creating that much-needed engagement that you are seeking. By gauging the success of posts, what time they were made, what they said, how they were worded, what call-to-action they had, etc. you can plan future posts to be more successful.
Paid Social Media Marketing
In addition to all the free ways to utilize social media, there are a lot of paid options as well. Really, the options are limitless. Paid sponsorships are available on all the major platforms.
Facebook’s advertising options allow you to sponsor specific posts from your page or advertise your page in general to attract more followers. The system provides estimates of how many your sponsored post will reach and gives you demographics and budget choices. The same options are available when advertising your page. You can choose demographic targets to help ensure appropriate audiences are being shown your page. You can also choose the placement of your ad: Mobile vs. desktop, newsfeed vs. right column, etc.
Another popular option on Facebook is advertising offers, promotions, or events. Users can claim offers or coupons to use in-store or online. Or, they can RSVP to attend your upcoming event.
Twitter offers opportunities to sponsor tweets or your account to attract more followers. Like Facebook, you can select platforms, budgets, and demographics to increase your reach. There are also opportunities to purchase followers. Whether you choose to go this route is up to you; however, be aware of purchasing fake followers. A large number of fake follower accounts can harm your credibility and obviously won’t increase your engagement.
On Pinterest, you can promote pins so that they are seen by more people. Promoted pins increase awareness, engagement, and traffic generation. One thing that Pinterest allows you to do is pay for engagement. You can create a campaign where you pay for each engagement (a close-up, repin, or click) on your promoted Pin. The same is true for their campaigns to increase traffic to your website. You only pay for the click throughs.
LinkedIn is a great place to post-employment advertising if you are looking to hire or build your business. The site also offers sponsored updates and ads that are meant to attract new followers to your company. Like the others, LinkedIn offers targeted audience demographics and options for mobile, tablet, and desktop platforms. They also have budget tools and an analytics center as well.
It is important to track your successes and ensure that you are getting good value for your dollar. If you are going to incorporate paid social media to advertise, I recommend utilizing the site and audience that have already proven successful for you organically. Without a dedicated social media consultant, it is nearly impossible to have a meaningful presence on all of the outlets. Pick and choose which ones are most successful for you and run with it!
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Dawn Berryman is the founder and owner of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University in English, communications, and journalism and has worked in the marketing/communications field since 2002. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband, three children, and their Wheaten Terrier. Dawn has operated an online business since 2006 and has worked from home full-time since 2017. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.
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