The question facing today's small businesses and startups is “How do we reach out to potential customers?” Most turn to social media and other online publishing platforms to spread the word about their products and ultimately gain a large number of engaged followers. Engaged followers provide two advantages. One is proof that your products are wanted, which will help you form future partnerships. The last and most obvious advantage is free advertising, letting your followers spread the word about your products for you.
How do you get started? Before creating your free social media accounts, you must first have a clear and concise vision for your business. What industry will you compete in? Who are your main competitors and how can you differentiate from them? In other words, what can you offer that other similar businesses can't? That answer can set the stage for your social media campaigns.
Another question to answer is “who are your potential customers?” In social media terms, who is your target audience? If your business specializes in selling color-themed flower bouquets, your target audience might be newly-engaged couples and event planners. If your business specializes in baby toys, your target audience might be parents, grandparents, and pre-school teachers. Once you've established your target audience, you can create more meaningful content.
It is also important for businesses to focus on a larger mission or goal, whether it be to become the largest snack producer in the food industry or to revolutionize online shopping. That focus will transfer into your social media content and help the target audience develop a deeper understanding of the business.
Facebook and Twitter are the two standard social media platforms all businesses must have. Choosing which other social media platforms to use comes down to your product and your target audience. If your products fit under the “lifestyle” category such as food, fashion, and gifts, you might consider Pinterest and Instagram. If you are in the technology industry, Google+ might be handy. If your business is a bakery or foreign movie theater, Foursquare is a great option. The key is deciding which online platform suits your type of business and the needs of your customers.
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