When you get into business for yourself there are a few things many people take for granted. Customers simply do not just knock down your door. Without the proper marketing and promotion your foot traffic will be minimal at best. The good thing is there is a lot of promotional methods out their that are free or fairly cheap.
Step#1 – Social Media Can Be Your Best Friend Or Your Worst Enemy
A properly optimized social media campaign can do wonders for your business. It can produce word of mouth marketing at its finest. At a minimum your business should be on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in that order. Google+ in my opinion has a 50/50 should of being popular. A lot of people have a Google+ account but they do not seem to use it that much, but Google is making a big push to make it relevant so it just might succeed.
I wouldn’t recommend going from no social media presence to signing up for Twitter, Facebook and Google+ all at once. This can split your time between the three and cause all three to do very little for your business. Initially I would recommend setting up a Facebook account and work on getting enough people to “like” your Facebook page. Once you get some information out on the page and around 100 followers you can move on to Twitter, then Google+.
Be aware though if you mess up social media can work against you. Each angry customer can come to your Facebook page to complain for all your other customers to see, or they can complain about your company to all of their friends instantly. If you do come across a negative opinion about your company do not argue back and fourth with the social media user. Make a short to the point post that you are sorry they had a bad experience and that you will be messaging them privately to discuss the matter further.
It is easy to get into a back and fourth chatter which can really spiral out of control and make your business end up looking worse off. Be keeping the discussion more private it gives you a chance to win back the customer and provide good customer service.
Step #2 – There Is No Substitute For Good Customer Service
By providing high quality customer service you are able to get customers talking about how great your business is, either by calling up a friend or reverting to social media. Either way is an opportunity for someone to pass on how much they like your business and tell their friends why they should check it out.
Step #3 – Cross Promote With Related But Not Competing Businesses
For example, if you run a car wash you could partner with a local auto parts business so you hand each customer a leaflet advertising the auto parts store and they do the same for your car wash. You are helping each other succeed, but you are not direct competitors of each other.