The Top 10 Sites to Promote Your BusinessI’m so pleased to present my third guest post of the year which was written by the fabulous Carolyn Nicander Mohr.  I know  you’ve seen her in the comments for quite awhile now and I know a lot of you have become regular visitors to her blog.

If you haven’t stopped by her place yet you’re definitely missing out!  She stays on top of everything happening in the tech world.

I’m so thrilled she accepted my invitation to write a guest post for us.  She really knows her stuff so take it away Carolyn…

In the olden days you might have promoted your business by advertising in the Yellow Pages, on billboards or other physical media. Advertising was expensive and difficult to update.

With advances in social media, you have many options to promote your business with current, in-depth information. You can respond to your customers’ questions or complaints in record time and build loyalty. The latest ways to promote your business are direct, timely and free of charge!

1. Facebook Page

You may think of Facebook as a site where teenagers trade tales or where long-lost friends reconnect, but Facebook is also a popular venue for businesses. With 800 million users, 500 million of which log on every day, Facebook provides a free gateway to a large and captive audience. Over 30% of US ad impressions in the first quarter of 2011 were on Facebook. (See, U.S. Online Display Advertising Market Delivers 1.1 Trillion Impressions in Q1 2011)

You don’t have to buy advertising to promote your business on Facebook. You can set up a Facebook page that provides information and breaking news about your business. Make the most of your Facebook page by tying it to your business and updating it with your latest news. You can run promotions for “Liking” your business page, announce new promotions and sales, and invite customer comments.

Facebook Fan Page

Make sure to update your page frequently to keep your Facebook page current. Having a Facebook page that is outdated could do more harm than good.

By the end of this month, Facebook will have Timeline established for all pages, giving you a further opportunity to showcase your business.

2. Twitter

Your first move with Twitter should be to register your business name as your Twitter ID. Keeping your Twitter ID short is important but make sure it identifies your business.

Once you set up your account, you can market your business by tweeting news about promotions, products and reviews. More importantly you should monitor tweets from customers who may have a gripe against your business. A direct and personal response to criticism on Twitter can generate a lot of favorable tweets, turning a Twitter storm into positive PR.

You can check for mentions of your Twitter ID by clicking on @Connect at the top of the page. You should also look for mentions of your business by searching using hashtags: #nameofyourbusiness.

Twitter

Having an active Twitter account shows the world you care about your customers and are well ahead of the curve in keeping up with tech developments.

3. QR Codes

Using a QR Code can give your customers information and lead them directly to your website. QR Codes can be created easily with a QR Code generator and can be read with a smartphone or tablet using Google search or Google Goggles. Having a QR Code on your website allows your customers to scan the code and have a direct link to your site so they can access it easily when they are on the go!

QR Code

My full review of QR Codes can be found here:  QR Codes: The Next Great Tech (You Haven’t Heard of Yet).

4. Google+

Google+ is less than a year old, but its importance continues to grow. While Facebook is much larger than Google+, the latter claims over 50 million daily users.

Google+ has introduced business pages so you should grab your business name now and start a free Google+ Page. The jury is still out on whether Google+ will be a big hit or not, but cover your bases and reach out to the 50 million daily Google+ users.

Google also has been integrating its search results with Google+, making your use of Google+ even more important for marketing your business.

5. YouTube

Adrienne has done a fabulous job of explaining why videos are important. Videos can help your customers get to know you and your business, giving your business a face and a voice. You can also explain your products or services and demonstrate how they are used. YouTube is a free video hosting service that will show your videos to the world.

You can also post video responses should you discover a YouTube video on a topic that is related to your business.

Your videos may not go viral, but you may still reach people who would never read an instruction manual. What would you show the world about your business given the opportunity?

6. Pinterest

Pinterest is the latest social media site to take the world by storm. Pinterest users post images linking back to sites across the Internet. You can use Pinterest as a visual bulletin board to showcase your products, so others can see, like and re-pin them. To promote your products, perhaps offer a benefit to Pinterest users who re-pin your images.

To check on whether people have been pinning to your website, use this link:  www.pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com with yourwebsite.com being the URL of your website. You will be shown the pins with links to your site that you and others have pinned.

A full review of Pinterest can be found here Pinsanity! Why You’ll Go Crazy Over Pinterest.

7. LinkedIn

Many people view LinkedIn as an online resume website, but the site is so much more than that. You can join groups with others in your industry. See what others are posting, what the hot topics are and how others have tackled common issues. Promote your business by offering your solutions to these issues.

8. Google Alerts

When you’re running a business you don’t have time to constantly search the web to see what others are saying about you. Good news, Google will do that for you.

Google offers a free service called Google Alerts that will alert you when a search term appears on the Internet. Use your business name and any trademarks your business owns as search terms so you can monitor their use and any possible trademark infringement. Discover reviews, praise and criticism when it happens so you can follow up immediately.

A full review of Google Alerts can be found here On Alert With Google Alerts!

9. Blog

A business blog may seem out of reach, either because you don’t feel you have the time to devote to a blog or you don’t have the writing skills to compose the articles. But if you think of a blog as a new way to reach your customers, you can realize what an effective promotional tool a blog can be. A business blog can inform your customers about upcoming products or services, highlight features of a product so customers can understand it, and help your business seem more personal.

Use your blog to help customers discover upcoming news about your product. Let them know what goes into product development. Help them to understand why you are so excited about the product and help their excitement grow. You customers will feel more connected to your business and have a deeper understanding of your products.

10. Website

One of the first things people do when they start a business is launch a website. Websites and businesses go hand-in-hand to give your new business legitimacy and educate your customers about the products and services you offer.

You may have put a lot of effort into building your website when you started building your business, but it’s important to update your website as your business grows. As new social media sites emerge, you should link to those sites on your website so people can connect with your business around the Internet.

Make sure you have easy and visible links to the social media sites listed above. Make sure you have a Facebook “like” button on your website as well as a button so your customers can become fans of your Facebook Page. Have buttons both for your customers to follow you on Twitter and to send out tweets about your website. Have a button for customers to Subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Have buttons so customers can pin your images to Pinterest and follow your business on Pinterest. Consider having a place on your website that shows your latest pins on Pinterest, encouraging your customers to interact with your business there as well.

Mobile Internet is becoming increasingly important for businesses. View your website on mobile devices: iPhone, Android phones and iPads. Can your site be viewed on mobile devices? An iPhone has a 3.5 inch screen. How does your site look on that small screen?

Do your website links work on mobile devices? Do you have pages that won’t load onto mobile devices?

However your site looks on a mobile device screen, that’s what a large portion of your customers are seeing.

Bottom Line

Opportunities abound for you to use free tools to promote your business to a large audience. By using these tools effectively, you can spread the word about your business without breaking your budget.

What sites do you use for promoting your business? Which sites do you find most effective? Let us know in the Comments section below!

What A Great Post

So did you enjoy the post?  Carolyn and I would love to hear your thoughts on what she has shared so please feel free to ask her any questions because she’ll be more than happy to answer those for you.

We are always studying ways to promote our business and Carolyn has become quite the expert herself. Let’s take advantage of Carolyn’s generosity so if you have any questions at all, now’s the time to ask.

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today and I want to especially thank Carolyn for sharing this post with us.  I’m so honored that she has shared her knowledge with us all.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr

Carolyn Nicander Mohr is a freelance tech journalist who writes for her blog, The Wonder of Tech, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Please be sure to stop by and visit her at The Wonder of Tech where she writes about personal technology.

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