How can you use social media to launch a new business?

Launching a new business can be tricky as you may be starting from a completely blank canvas. It may be that you are launching a new product or service that is not known so you will have to make people aware of who you are and what you are offering. Having a website is a great place to start, but if none knows you exist then they may not search for you or your products. Social media is a fantastic way to get your brand and products recognised. You can opt for the paid for advertising or you can choose to build up a following organically. If you decide to go down the organic route then you need to think about how you care going to get your posts seen. You may be able to advertise on some local groups but be aware as sometimes these groups have restrictions regarding advertising. You can also ask all your friends to share posts and links to your social media pages.

The best way to build up a following quickly is to offer a prize draw. Some many companies quickly gain hundreds of followers by running a giveaway competition in exchange for a share and like of their page / posts.

Social media as a platform to advertise community events

A popular way to communicate with the local community is through the medium of social media as it is a good way to publicise community events, dispense information and safety advice. Although the idea of using a physical noticeboard situated in a prominent position has been used for years this is becoming a less common way of communication largely due to the fact that fewer people are walking to shops than previously and therefore they are not seeing the notices posted there.

A social media community page where two or three members act as administrators on the page and monitor the posts and comments is becoming a regular sight. Members can request to join the group and, in some groups, have to wait to be accepted before they can begin posting. This method of communication is useful as it can convey new information quickly for instance in the case of a cancelled event. Local businesses can advertise their services and any special events that they are holding such as open days.

A disadvantage with this type of community noticeboard is that there are people who do not use social media so they will not be aware of posts that may concern them.

How to market your small business

If you are a business owner of a small business you may not have thousands of punds few every month to spend on marketing. You need to think very carefully about how best to invest your marketing budget to quickly see a decent return on your investment.

You should already know how important your customers are as not only might you rely on their repeat business but also their word of mouth reviews to gain you more customers. Word of mouth marketing is great, but it is not ideal to have to solely rely on it.  You need to explore other marketing avenues that work well for your industry and business. Costs can often be tight in a small business so each pound needs to be spent wisely. There are a few ways in which you can market your small business for little money or sometimes for free but you often do need to be willing to invest some of your time.

Social media is a great marketing platform for business of all sizes. It allows you to connect with people in your local area if your business is aimed locally or nationally. Setting up a profile or account on the social media sites is very easy but you may find that you struggle to manage them. If this is the case then you may wish to either go on a social media marketing training course or outsource the management to a third party.

Using social media to publicise local events

The vast majority of people under the age of sixty have access to social media and even if they do not consistently post on their page, they will be able to be part of groups in the local community and follow posts about local events. Although the idea of using a parish noticeboard situated in a prominent position has been used for years this is becoming a much less effective way of communication largely due to the fact that fewer people are walking to the local shops than in previous times and therefore they are not seeing the notices placed there.

If you want to publicise an event a better way of reaching the community is through a social media community page. Some of the members act as administrators on the page and monitor the posts and comments before allowing them to be uploaded removing any that break the page rules. People can request to join the group and, in some groups, have to wait to be accepted before they can begin posting. This method of communication is useful as it can convey new information quickly for instance in the case of roadworks or a postponed event. If you can offer a service to your local community it can be advertised on the local community page too.

Can Social Media business pages replace a Website?

Promoting your small business is essential to making it a success but you may ask yourself whether the plus points of having a website are cost effective as employing a web designer and developer to build a business website can cost anything from a few hundred pounds upwards. If you are able to set up a business page on a social media platform yourself this is usually free and quite easy to do.

Most social media platforms such as Facebook have good marketing capabilities allowing you to advertise and sell products, receive and comment on reviews and make money from advertising revenue. Tracking of visits to the pages can be scrutinised giving an insight into what is working well and what is not bringing in any business.

Many businesses prefer however to have their own website so that they can control the content and any changes are made by them or their web designer but if you have a web presence on a social media platform, it is possible that they can make changes which may have an impact on your business. For instance, advertising links may be inappropriate for the audience you are targeting, or negative customer reviews may be posted without giving your business the opportunity to resolve issues.