How to Use Facebook and Twitter for Your Small Business

Wed, Mar 2, 2011

Online Marketing

We’ve talked before on this site about the challenges facing a small business owner when it comes to developing an effective marketing plan.  Chances are you have limited time and money. The good news is that there are solutions to help you market and grow your small business online. I’m sure you realized that just by listening to the chatter about the popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  But did you know that Facebook and Twitter can be used to market your small business?

Facebook for Business

First, let’s look at Facebook. Facebook is a site where you create a page with a short profile and bio of you. Most people include pictures. Then, you find your friends who also use Facebook and you add them so that you can send messages, chat, and write on each other’s wall. The main idea is staying in touch with friends. Here’s how to use Facebook to grow your small business:

  1. Create a Facebook Fan Page. You can find the instructions here. You need to already have a personal page or a Facebook Ad account. If you don’t, you will be prompted to make one. Once you have the fan page, you can invite customers, and even friends and family to join your page by clicking the ‘like’ button. You can then use Facebook as a platform to advertise your business, engage your customers, maintain former customers, and attract new customers. The best part of this is that it is free. It does take time to maintain and grow your following but the initial investment is zero.
  2. Consider a Facebook Ad. Prices vary depending on the size of the market you want, but you can specify what location, gender, and age group you want your ad to target. Because of the cost, you may want to try the Fan Page first and create your ad depending on the feedback of your followers.

Twitter for Business

Next, Twitter is a revolutionary type of social media that has been described as ‘micro-blogging’ or even ‘open instant messaging‘. Twitter essentially allows you to create a profile and start ‘following’ people, being ‘followed’ by people, tweeting short 140 character status updates, and retweeting relevant tweets of the people you following.  It’s free instant information and communication. Here’s how to use Twitter to promote your small business:

  1. Create your business’s profile on Twitter. Use a professional looking photo or your logo.
  2. You can do searches to find people who tweet about things related to your business and follow them or tweet to them.
  3. Tweet about anything related to your business like daily specials, upcoming promotions, etc. You can even ask your followers questions that can help you change and grow your business in the future. If you work in a coffee shop an example might be: We are thinking of adding a new size cup for the coffee of the day. Would you like bigger, 22 oz. or smaller, 10 oz? That fits in your 140 character allowance.
  4. Next, retweet your customers’ responses to show that you care about them. Showing that you care about your customers is one of the best ways to engage them on Twitter.

Remember, that your professional Facebook Fan Page and Twitter page are not for your personal communication with your friends. Try your best to maintain professional, upbeat dialogue, with as few grammatical or spelling errors as possible.

 Lastly, keep in mind that even big names in business, politics, and the arts have Facebook and Twitter sites. These are not just for teenagers and college freshmen anymore. They can be utilized to grow your small business with minimal cost.

By Sara Beck. Sara is an MBA student and loves to travel. She blogs at www.sarabeck.wordpress.com.

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