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Using Social Media to Promote Your Business

Part of the Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Social media is an inexpensive way to promote your website and to keep new and existing customers chatting about your business. Here are some quick and easy tips for using some of the most popular social networking sites — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn — to help drive interest and customers to your business.

Facebook

  • Set up a business page on Facebook and post special offers (at least once a month) to all those who Like your page.

  • Post polls (called Questions) on your Facebook page that ask customers fun or quirky questions related to your products or services. For example, if your site sells clothing, start a poll that asks customers to choose their favorite color shirt to wear on the first day of spring.

  • Ask customers to share pictures on your Facebook page that shows them using their favorite product they bought from your website.

  • Reduce your workload while expanding your marketing efforts on Facebook: Instead of managing both a business page and a personal page, simply allow subscribers on your personal Facebook page. Subscriptions allow you to send public updates that your subscribers can view. Subscribers can be customers, vendors, and anyone else who is interested in seeing your public posts — just as they would on a business page.

Twitter

  • Use Twitter to tweet interesting or unusual facts about your business or products and provide a link to that product page on your site.

  • Send out short tips via Twitter on how to use your services or products.

  • Tweet pictures related to you or your business to your Twitter followers.

YouTube

  • Create a YouTube channel for your online business and regularly add fun and useful videos and then encourage customers to view and share your videos with others.

  • Launch a video contest: Ask customers to create short videos of how they use your product or service and post to YouTube, then let other customers vote on their favorites.

  • Every week, post a short (two minutes or less) video of yourself offering tips for your customers, such as demonstrating how to use a product that you sell.

  • Ask customers to submit video testimonials and post them on your YouTube channel.

LinkedIn

  • Create a LinkedIn profile and add links to your website; update your profile with new links, product reviews, books, or articles that you're reading, or other information so that this information appears to all the people in your network.

  • Join LinkedIn groups that may be popular with many of your customers and frequently post questions or comments related to the products or services you offer.

  • Ask your customers, vendors, or other business associates in your network to provide a recommendation for you or your business in LinkedIn.

  • Regularly search the Answers section of LinkedIn and look for questions that you can answer related to your online business (if you frequently answer questions that are rated highly by other LinkedIn users, you could earn the title of Expert for that particular topic).

Google+

  • Create circles in your personal Google+ profile that are set up specifically for your customers, your vendors, and others interested in your brand.

  • Post interesting content to your customers and other business-related circles and encourage feedback or comments on the content. That content might include your blog posts, interesting articles, product reviews, announcements about special promotions, and other exclusive offers or news.

  • Start a Hangout, the multiuser chat tool in Google+, to solicit feedback from customers. You might, for example, discuss a new product or service or ask for input on issues such as customer service.

  • Launch a Google+ profile (as soon as Google opens this feature to all businesses) to make it easy for your customers to find and follow your business.

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