Writers have already blazed a trail on the internet and there are many websites dedicated to helping writers. Since I have a Fine Art background and I think like a designer, I'll focus on artists & other kinds of small businesses like restaurants.
DO: Get yourself set-up with a website or blogFirst you need a "hub". A command center where you can connect to all sorts of social media and networking sites. In case you didn't know a blog is actually just another kind of website, just with more 'self publishing' tools. Having your own site is important because this gives you the greatest control over the flow of information and most importantly you can measure - yes you can actually see - the results of your marketing efforts. And then your can fine tune everything, do more business and make more money. Great NY Times article covers this nicely.
DON'T: Put off launching your website or blog. Otherwise Google and people on Yelp will talk about you behind your back.
Your goal is to get other people to help you promote your business on social media through their normal sharing activity.
DO: Think like a Marketing Pro and set goals that you want to achieveWhat is your goal? What do you want to achieve with the internet? You need to be able to answer this question. A good goal for a local bar would be, "To increase average nightly clientele by 25%"
Some good goals for small biz people are:
- Grow your fan base
- Get people to discover you
- Get new clients or customers
- Sell more products
- Rent your space
- Find projects to work on
DON'T: Assume that just having a blog and making a couple of random posts (like everyone else) suddenly makes you a marketing guru. :^|
DO: Think like a Marketing Pro and make a planIt's critically important that you PLAN AHEAD for all your marketing efforts. You need time to work for you. If you are throwing an event you need to start planning your marketing at least a month ahead of time. If you are a caterer who wants to get work catering weddings then you should be marketing yourself no later than February to get work on a June wedding.
DON'T: Wait until the last minute to think about you marketing plan! Otherwise you completely miss opportunities to get your event announced in print media and email newsletters.
DO: Pay attention to the timing and frequency of your posts to social media.People mostly cruise Facebook or twitter during their morning commute or during lunch at work. So time your big announcement to coincide with the mob of internet users that are likely to see your post. And reiterate your post a few extra times so it reaches as many people as possible. For more information on timing of posts just do a search.
DON'T: Wait to the 3pm on a Friday to do only one tweet about your bar's happy hour special. You should be tweeting that tantalizing announcement several times earlier in the week.
DO: Make good quality posts on multiple social media sitesIt's all about the quality, and quantity of your posts - where ever you post them. You want to reach as many people as possible, that's the point, so use the services that suit your business. Remember the web is an interactive communication tool and you will interact with people and communicate your story well to be successful.
DON'T: Don't go overboard and sign up for every site. It's too much work and you won't maintain them. If you're never going to make a video then don't bother with YouTube. If you find Google+ to be a waste of time, it's OK to not use it. Just be strategic.
DO: Use photos and images as much as possiblePeople click on images. I've seen the research! It's true! People pause to look at and read images like they never do with text. So always try to include an image with whatever post your trying to make. If you're a bar for example, you should tweet a photo of that happy hour drink. Or better still... get your customers to post photos of your drinks for you!!! This really makes web people like me happy... should you decide to hire somebody like me to help you with social media marketing then this gives us valuable content to work with.
DON'T: Write too much. According to research people don't actually read that much online. At least not in social media (not when marketing is concerned). It's better to keep your text short and sweet and use a photo to tell the story.
DO: Create business specific profilesIf you have a Facebook page as opposed to you normal Facebook profile then you can use all these bonus tools, like analytics. This will show you how many people reacted to your posts and even how they interacted with it! This is extremely powerful because this helps you accomplish many thing like helping you write and make better posts that more people are likely to follow through on. Also, this keeps your personal life separate from your business. Facebook offers it's own analytics for pages and you can even run your own targeted advertising on Facebook too.
DON'T: Trust me I speak from experience. It's not going to help your business to let everybody read your political rants on Facebook. Keep it professional on your "page".
DO: Have a Clear "Call to Action"This is an insider trick. A 'Call to Action' is a design on a web page or advertisement, like a "Buy Now" button or the "Like" button in Facebook. You want to have one of these 'calls to action' in some of your posts. For example, you'll want people to click from Facebook to go look at your new artwork - on your website. And you want this to be clear and obvious. If you can get people to click over to your website you can give them a lot more detail to entice them to buy your stuff. You're more in control.
DON'T: If you don't have a call to action, then all you are achieving is that somebody might read what you wrote and maaaaybe they might remember it. If you're not clear, they may not notice that you have anything for sale.
Like I said in my previous post, internet and social media marketing is actual work. But with a good set-up all you need to do is an hour or so a week of good quality posts, to whatever venue on the internet that connects you to the most amount of people for your time and effort. The hardest part really is getting started... And you can always hire me to help you get set-up.