Today's small business can and should take advantage of the many technologies available to them.
These technologies include online forums, associations and networking platforms. You know them as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. They are valuable to you as a business owner in that they are a free way to market your brand, products and services to potential customers.
For many businesses, their potential customers are other businesses as in partnerships or sub-contracting. By having a decent profile up and running, your business becomes visible to these potential partners.
For the small business that lacks the information technology expertise to take advantage of these important technologies, let Red Car Software be your I/T savvy support team.
1.55 Billion monthly active users!
As of the third quarter of 2015, Facebook had 1.55 billion monthly active users. Consider using Facebook to tap into this extremely vast set of people. Granted most are on for social reasons and not business communications but it's still serves as a type of electronic "word of mouth" feature. Facebook makes interaction easy because you only have to click a "Like" icon.
From your personal account (which is required) you are then allowed to create a business page. That page is where you will post informative articles pertaining to your business. At the same time, this allows for the separation of social and business messaging. The hope is that these articles show up in search results which serve to drive traffic to your website.
LinkedIn: Where Professionals Network
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook except it's for professionals and businesses. It is a fabulous online forum for entreprenurial and industry minded people seeking career and business opportunities. You create a profile that promotes your brand, credentials, products and/or services. You then make connections to other members thereby creating a network of professionals that you have easy access to... Win-Win!
The catch is you have to create that account and undertake the work of creating your professional and business profile. This is a solid case of you get out what you put into it! I often find blank profiles with just someone's name. I assume they were just getting started and intend to return and slowly add to their profile. If I am a computer guy and you are as well but your profile does not represent that, then we will probably never connect which defeats the whole point (in my humble opinion)!
Also, you have to post interesting articles at least once or twice a week to capture attention of even more people to connect with. Some work but a small price to pay to reach such a worthwhile audience. In addition, with LinkedIn you get a 3-for-1 deal. When I post an article to LinkedIn, right afterwards you can just click to share the article with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Too easy!
Google Plus: Great But Too Late
Google Plus is a like a merger of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. A great product but the problem is they were too late to the dance. If you have already been on Facebook and LinkedIn for a couple of years and have an established group of followers, why would you start all over just to re-create what you already have? Still, because so many use Google's free "gmail" they find they already have a Google Plus account somehow.
Since it's free, you might as well post articles where they may result in a business or customer connection. Especially, if you link the articles from your LinkedIn account. The reward, while probably low in chance of happening is high in value considering the ease with which it takes to post an article.
Instant business networking from your mobile phone
Twitter is an online forum except you post pix and really brief statements real time from your mobile phone! "About to start Conference XYZ that I am attending! The turnout looks great!" Twitter can be used for all topics but one can choose to use it only to promote the business and help make business connections. However, you do have to build up a following while at the same time choosing who you think is a good idea to follow so you receive their posts ("tweets").
Still it is a free resource that the small business owner should avail themselves of. With it, you at least have a chance of making a good business or customer connection. Make yourself an account and a nice business profile and then get going! I hope you found this information helpful and I hope to make a business connection with you "out there"!