Wouldn’t it be wonderful to set up an exhibit booth at a perpetual trade show? You’d never have to take it down and wait for the next opportunity to get your brand noticed, and you wouldn’t have to worry about display storage details and costs. What if I told you there was a way to expose your business to billions of people each and every day without having to set up or tear down a single thing? All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a miniscule amount of time spent typing your business information.
I’m talking about social media and websites for business profiles. If you aren’t listed on at least one of these sites, you are missing out on a big connection opportunity! Whether you choose one of them or all of them, here is a list of three sites you should definitely include in your marketing plan. The best part: they’re all free! I’m going to leave “The Big Two” off the list – Facebook and Twitter. I’m assuming you have accounts at both of those sites already (and if you don’t, what are you waiting for?)
LinkedIn. It’s like a Facebook just for businesses and professionals. If you are only planning on choosing one website, this is the website you should choose. Not only is it a place a customer can turn to for information about your business (or a place prospective employees can check out prior to a job interview), it is a place where you can connect with industry insiders and other business owners.
It’s a powerful site with many options too. Search for colleagues, whether within your business or another business; keep up-to-date on industry happenings; search for candidates to fill a new position; or list your open position within groups – but only if you use it properly. Be sure to fill in your business’ profile as completely as possible. This is important for making relevant connections with others. When you are able, seek out others in your industry with a simple search. This is like being at a trade show! Once you’ve made these connections, make your presence known by posting industry-related articles, or choose to advertise on LinkedIn to a target audience you specify.
Tip: read up on LinkedIn advertising if you choose to go this route so that you are getting the most out of the program.
Pinterest. This site is becoming quite popular, and is much more than a site for housewives looking for decorating ideas! The way Pinterest works opens up doors for a unique way to get noticed by a fresh audience.
Set up your profile and decide what the purpose of Pinterest will be for your business. Do you want to use it to showcase new products, or will it be a place of inspiration? Start by finding other profiles to follow. Advertise the fact you have a Pinterest account on your Facebook page or Twitter account, or post information on your blog with a link to your Pinterest. Then get pinning!
You can use Pinterest for product giveaways too. For example: ask customers to pin pictures that show how they use your products, or pictures of locations where your product was recently purchased. Hold a special trade show giveaway, where pin a picture from a trade show you’ve set up a booth for the chance to win a new product.
Don’t stick to boring product pictures, either. Locate some funny or cute memes that are related to your industry. If you aren’t the creative type, browse other business Pinterest accounts within your industry to see what they are doing, and what pins get the most likes and repins. It’s all about exposure, and if you pin the right stuff, your pins can go viral and bring you more exposure than you’ve ever imagined!
YouTube. More people go here than anywhere else to find a video on a topic that interests them. It’s more than just funny cat videos! Post new product demonstrations, reviews, and even tutorials. Post behind-the-scenes videos, or make a special video that not only highlights a new product being released, but incorporates a giveaway as well.
People love watching videos, so if you aren’t using this site for your business, you might want to rethink that stance! Stuck on what to post? Turn to your blog for inspiration. Start out by turning some of your most popular posts into videos and go from there. Be sure you are including every keyword related to your business to ensure that it pops up when someone searches for a specific term. Whatever you do, don’t forget to interact with people who comment on your videos!
Does your business have an online presence beyond your website, Twitter, and Facebook? While this is a good start, the key to building a larger network and acquiring new customers is to set up a presence on as many sites as you can handle maintaining. That being said, don’t set it up if you have no intention of visiting the site often and engaging in conversation – this is the only way to make social networks, well, work!
Do you do trade shows exclusively, or have you incorporated other social sites into your marketing plan? Tell us what you do, and why it works so well.