If you own a small independent business that doesn’t grow fast enough, Internet marketing can come to rescue.
Today we’ll show you how you can combine your website, your blog and social media to create a network that works together, resulting in growth.
So, if you’re a business owner having problems, listen up and enjoy!
Grow your Small or Independent Business through Internet Marketing
The grassroots nature of social media is a perfect fit for small, local or highly specialized businesses.
In this business model, the chain of communication between consumers and marketers is more direct and naturally immersed in social connections than in larger corporations. Because a smaller business is closer to the grassroots level, it is much easier for these businesses to engage in a relevant conversation with its target audience.
For some small businesses, a Facebook page is an alternative to a Website. While this business model can sustain local businesses in the embryotic marketing stages, social media is only one piece of a much larger system of communication. Multi-platform models are absolutely necessary to grow your audience and build your brand.
Let’s start with the Website. Consider your Website to be a separate branch of your business. It has overhead and maintenance costs, and it will require extra labor to write and update content. Your Website is a connecting point for loyal customers and new shoppers.
On your site, remember to include essential information such as products or menus, contact information, deals and specials.
Also, focus on including keywords that highlight both the broad and unique aspects of your business. For example, if you provide a localized product or service, include the city name, region and state as often as possible.
You will also need to include broader terms such as “women’s clothing”. No need to go overboard, just be conscious of your keywords when you are drafting your strategy.
The content of your Website may not change often. If you own a restaurant, the menus may change. If you work in retail, you may update the content to showcase new items. If you provide services (i.e. a landscape company), you will update rates and packages as needed.
Now it’s time to understand how people reach your Website. Remember, your site is a separate branch of your business, but it’s located on a street that can be very crowded or very obscure. This means, your market is either highly competitive or incredibly small. Both of these are limitations when trying to grow your target audience.
Regardless of your market, your Website will offer specific information with little room to branch away from its target audience. This can be a conundrum. The platform that has the MOST to say about your business has the SMALLEST audience.
We’ve already talked about SEO as far as keyword placement, but search engines also consider how recently information on a site has been added when ranking it search results. Once you’ve locked in a solid keyword strategy, you can focus on updating your content regularly.
A blog is the perfect way to keep your Website regularly updated.
For retail owners, posts can include photos of your customers with your products, updates on trends and upcoming events. Restaurant owners can post photos of guests and new dishes and can include notes from the chef or the owner. Service providers can offer insight and tips into their fields. Everyone has the opportunity to share on a professional and personal level.
Because your blog is on your Website, it still has a limited audience. It’s possible that a few browsers or customers may stumble upon your blog posts – keywords can definitely work for you here – but it isn’t going to reach enough people to grow your target audience.
As a communication outlet, blogs connect the personal and professional worlds. This element, when compounded with the necessity of regular updates, makes the blog the perfect conductor between your Website traffic and your social media traffic.
Start with a Facebook page. After you’ve created your Facebook page, begin to form partnerships. (Remember, Facebook is all about networking.)
For local businesses, find businesses on your street, Like them and post a message on their wall. Now their information will show up in your feed, and you can share their posts when you see something that interests you. Chances are, this business will return the favor and will post some of your updates as well.
There are many strategies for obtaining Likes on Facebook. However, just because someone Likes your business doesn’t necessarily mean he is visiting your page often or that he is even receiving your news feed.
The Facebook news feed is based on an algorithm that combines the time of the post with the user’s history. It’s designed to show him what he likes, not what he might like to buy.
Facebook Insights are a much better way to monitor the traffic to your page, and it also provides insight to which posts are the most popular.
Once you have a Facebook page, begin linking your blog posts. By using Facebook Insights, you can work write your posts in response to what is really peaking visitors’ interests. This will drive traffic to your Facebook and subsequently to your Website (to read the post).
Once you get a handle on Facebook, you may explore expanding your social media network to Twitter. Many businesses are also encouraging interaction through Instagram. This works especially well for retailers who can photograph new merchandise and post the images to Instagram for followers to view.
Remember to interact with your followers. Answer their questions and respond to their comments. When you tag a photo of a client for your blog, tag her in the post. The more ways you involve your customers in a brand experience, the larger your audience will become.
Does your small or independent business grows fast enough?
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