A savvy small business owner knows that Social Media can be your best friend when it comes to free marketing. You can reach thousands, if not millions of established and potential clients, just by having updated and relevant content. Like with all trends, you have your behemoth brands like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, but there are also a multitude of “Under the Radar” Social Media sites that if utilized correctly could take your brand from successful to viral. This article will highlight some social media you might not know about, or have minimal knowledge of, and the best part is- they’re all free!
If you’ve paid attention to the news in recent months, Yelp has rapidly become one of the best places for your business to grab instant feedback from its customers through business reviews. It has an easy to use interface, and rates on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Instant Feedback and ability to publicly address feedback.
Visibility on their website with your business info such as your website, your hours, photos, etc.
Networking! So many businesses don’t realize that you can network through Yelp by writing positive reviews for other businesses under your business name. If you’re lucky they’ll do the same thing for you, boosting credibility and networking within your community, and who doesn’t want that?
Anyone can post a review. Anyone. Even people that just want to write negative reviews that may have never set foot in your establishment. If your business becomes victim to a viral hurricane of negativity, people will jump on an opportunity to post their feelings on your business. This isn’t specific to Yelp, however, any platform that relies on “the voice of the people” can be subjected to this PR nightmare.
I have to admit, this is a Social Media site that I just recently discovered, but for the right business, MeetUp is a fantastic place to find your target audience. You can partner with local groups to host a MeetUp at your place of business, or adversely, find a business to host a meet up for you. MeetUps range anywhere from tech fans to political rallies, so the possibilities are endless. I know, I told you they were all free, but this site does have a small registration fee ranging from $12 – $19 per month. A minimal expenditure for the level of exposure you could reach.
Endless possibilities to reach new clients.
Free Tools: Event Calendars, RSVP Trackers, Internal Messaging. Brand Customizing.
While you’re advertising to people you think would come to your meet ups, MeetUp will also advertise similar companies to the people that are interested in your group. So while this is a really great way to get your information out there, your followers could be subjected to similar events that mirror yours.
No eblasts or mailing list exports either- which means it will be harder to bring your new found friends with you in the future.
If you have a Youtube Channel for your business, you might want to consider opening a vine account. Vine is the text message to the phone call- a 6 second (yes..6 SECOND) looping video to get your message across. Though it might sound insane, Vine has actually launched brands into super space with its tenacity. And not just small business brands- large brands like HP, Tide and Reynolds Wrap to name a few.
HP recruited an established Viner named Robby Ayala to do a series of these mini-videos for their brand new laptop. This is an example of what they came up with.
Quick relay of brand information- You won’t have to worry about people sticking around to hear what you have to say.
Hashtags to target your information to specific demographics.
Viral Content- Vines have the possibility of going viral quickly, as long as you can get creative.
Cons: If you’re not looking to enlist established people like Robby Ayala for your videos, it will be up to you to create engaging content for a 6 second video, and if we’re being honest, it’s not easy. Vine is best used in conjunction with another platform- like YouTube or Twitter, a lot of the successful Viners have accounts on multiple platforms and use vine as a “sneak peak”.
Out of all of these, Periscope is our new personal favorite. Periscope lets you LIVE STREAM with your followers! How awesome is that? Having an event? Live stream. Want to post a How-To video? Live Stream! Want to make an announcement that your customers will love? Live Stream. Instead of writing a stagnant post that people can come back to later, you can post a dynamic video that people can watch as you make it. Who doesn’t love that? It’s innovation to the extreme.
Pros: I think the pros are pretty obvious. You can get instant feedback from whomever is watching your stream- hearts for likes and live commenting, and it gives you a direct link to the people that care about your business. You can answer questions in real time and, when the stream is over, you can post it as a video for any of your viewers who weren’t able to attend.
Cons: Well, there aren’t many that I can think of in terms of cons for your business. From personal experience, Periscope sometimes had glitch moments, where we’ve had to restart a stream, and that can be irritating. Aside from that however, if we had to chose one of these five Social Media avenues to implement it would be this one.
Ready for the biggest “Duh!” statement in this whole article? LocalsNetworking.com is all about networking with locals in your area. <gasp!> This website makes it easy for you to target specific markets and find other businesses that could potentially use your services.
When you find a network, only one person or company can claim a profession So, if you’re a plumber and you find a group to network in, you’re going to be the only plumber there. The competition is null. You get to choose your network, you get to research and find out who you think will be the biggest profit to your business.
Lots of groups can be private, so finding an open group for your profession might be a challenge, especially if you offer a service that is common.
Are there any other Social Media apps or sites that you’ve implemented in your business with success? Do you use any of the ones mentioned in this post? Comment below tell us about it!