5 Social Media Lessons for At-Home Businesses
If you work from home, online marketing may be key to your success. Strategic use of social media can maximize your reach and resources including skills, successes, contacts and supporters (particularly those who can give you a professional reference). You don’t need to blanket social media. Your time is limited, so focus on key sites you are comfortable using and attract the type of customers you want. Here are five strategies to get you started.
Link In to Other Businesses
If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, you need to get on it. “LinkedIn is today’s Yellow Pages,” says Brad Friedman, a Denver-based social media consultant. “Business introductions are made, potential deals discovered and new employees or employment opportunities” happen on LinkedIn.
According to the latest stats from eBiz/MBA, LinkedIn is the third most popular social media site in the U.S. If you aren’t familiar with it, think of it as a business-minded version of Facebook. It’s free, easy to use and offers great online networking resources.
Even the Smallest Business Needs a Website
Get a website. It will help people find and contact you because even the Yellow Pages is online!
While today’s DIY technology makes it relatively easy to build a basic website, consider outsourcing this to a local firm that specializes in small business marketing. This way, you will (1) make a contact in the community, (2) support another local business and (3) get it done right by someone you can physically meet with if necessary.
A competent Web service will provide or refer you to a skilled writer who will ensure your site content is appropriate, relevant to your business, and optimized for search engines with keywords and metadata to boost visibility in Web searches. Request a WordPress-based site, which provides a back-end content management system that you can easily maintain on your own.
Use your site to blog about your product or service. Ask customers for permission to feature them and how they use it. Write about issues that customers need to know about, and provide links for more information. Invite them to comment or guest blog.
Make a Separate Facebook Business Page
If your business is a B2C (Business to Customer), you will likely benefit from a Facebook page. Be sure to create a separate business page for it: don’t combine business with your personal profile. Use Facebook’s tools and suggestions to create a page that works.
Why Facebook? Because it’s nearly impossible to be entirely free of it. According to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of all American adults and roughly 73 percent of teenagers use Facebook. Even half of all Internet users who aren’t on Facebook live with someone who is.
A Facebook page extends your business reach and acts as a kind of super magnet for your product or service. Keep your page tightly focused. Take for example a company like LifeLock. People who visit their Facebook page get the information they expect and judging from the numbers who Like it, find value in it.
Make Real-World Connections Through a Business Meetup
Meetup.com helps organize social and business groups in a given geographic area. Use it to find a business group that matches your interests. Many Meetups are free while others charge a small fee to help cover meeting room costs and other expenses.
Also attend Meetups that attract the kind of customer you are looking for. It’s not unusual, for example, for a writer to attend a Web developers’ Meetup and vice versa. In addition to finding potential customers, it’s an opportunity to learn about the issues customers face and gain insight into their interests and concerns.
These social sites will allow you to get “out” even if you work from home. Online marketing provides a great way to market yourself while being able to stay home with your family.