Thomas Jefferson once said " The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time." He was so right. How can anyone expect to grow their business without advertising? It doesn't have to be all paid advertising though. Today there are so many ways to advertise free using social media platforms, it really is possible for people with small advertising budgets to reach large audiences.
There is of course Facebook. Facebook is the largest social media platform available today with over a billion members world-wide. It's free to set up an account and of course a business page which can be used as a marketing tool.
Facebook offers paid advertising which I feel is one of the better ways to spend your advertising dollar as you are able to select a very focussed demographic of an audience to promote to. You can also budget anything from a minimum amount such as $5 per day upwards which allows you to carry out some beta testing and trial different ads before you start sinking huge amounts of money into your advertising.
Another way to use Facebook for marketing purposes is to join groups that match your interests and business goals. Start interacting via these groups and provide advice whenever possible. This shows you as an authority in your field and soon other members will be asking or paying for your services.
My favourite social media platform is Pinterest. It is free to set up a personal or business account and is currently growing faster than any other platform including Facebook. I think one of the main reasons for this growth is that people recognise that it is not just a social media platform but also a very effective search engine. If you use Pinterest's search engine capabilities to optimise your account, you are onto a winner straight away.
I have read many articles from bloggers and business people who point to Pinterest as being responsible for growing their email lists quicker than any other method available.
With Pinterest you are able to link every one of your own pins back to your website which in itself improves your rating with Google, but it doesn't stop there. Other account holders who re-pin any of your pins onto their own boards are just duplicating the number of possible links back to your site.
Another advantage with Pinterest is that you don't have to create all of your pins yourself, you can re-pin from others onto your own boards. This saves a huge amount of time. It's important though to have a good percentage of your own pins showing as these are the ones that will introduce people to your website and not someone else's.
Other social media sites worth looking at are LinkedIn, especially if you are offering professional services. Their basic account is free and they have other levels of membership which are paid. Depending on your needs, I would suggest that you set up a free account first and then subscribe to paid membership if you feel you need more.
Twitter is another free social media platform. It has it's good points, however, personally I don't believe it is any where near as effective as Facebook or Pinterest for marketing purposes.
If you are of the younger age set, then you may wish to look at Instagram. This is very popular with teens and people in their twenties. As with Pinterest, if you are marketing a product, then both these sites use imagery as their main mediums of promotion.
Finally I would like to mention You Tube which was bought out by Google several years back now and is another effective way of getting your brand out there. It is also free to set up an account.
I hope this has been helpful in helping you decide on which social media platforms to use for your business. I don't believe it's a good idea to join every one, probably best to choose two or maybe three that best suit your brand and goals.
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