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Using Social Media for Small Business Promotion

-- 2011-07-26 2:00 am --

It's no longer satisfactory to simply have your business represented online by a lone website. In the age of social networking and quickly-spreading online trends, every business needs to be considering a presence on site like Twitter and Facebook. These websites present great opportunities for brand awareness, promotion and even hype. So, how is it done and what do you need to know before you experiment with social media?

Twitter

As the worldwide leader in so called "microblogging," Twitter is a must-have social networking account for any small business that is trying to reach out to a wider audience. That's because the site allows these simple, 140-character messages to go viral simply by the act of "retweeting." When someone retweets, your original message is displayed on their profile page. Their friends can then read your tweet and spread it themselves.

Twitter is an excellent way to promote things like sales or special offers. And if you've got a new product, Twitter offers a way to talk about it that is short, to the point, and draws attention. You can even do a series of tweets that focus on each unique aspect of a new or existing product, encouraging users to retweet if they agree.

Furthermore, Twitter encourages customer interaction with your brand. If they have a question about your business or product offerings, they can simply address it to you in a tweet. When you respond, they'll feel as if they got the kind of personal attention that they deserve, and they'll spread the world with a favorable tweet about your business. Twitter is increasingly the method of choice for small businesses that wish to reach a larger audience in an interactive and fun way.

Facebook

Small business owners who desire a more robust set of communication tools need look no further than Facebook, which offers businesses the ability to create "pages" in its social networking ecosystem. The advantage to these business or fan pages, over traditional profile pages, is that they are uniquely and deeply customizable. Rather than have a simple list of sections like "wall" or "info" or "photos," brands can set up product pages that detail their offerings. They can make a promotions page that lists their ongoing special deals. And just about any other type of page is relatively easy to construct.

Facebook also gives businesses more robust communication options. Each of these business pages comes standard with the Facebook "wall." That means users can posts questions or comments, interact with business owners and employees, and engage with the product.

It also means that the Facebook page owner can post status updates that appear on everyone of their fans' walls. Because these status updates have a much higher character limit than those on Twitter, the information can be more robust and include videos, photos, and links to your website or other places that relate to your offerings.


Social networking is an indispensable tool for small business owners that can help them grow their business and engage with their customers in exciting new ways. The massive popularity of these sites makes it nearly a requirement for a serious business to have a serious -- but fun and engaging -- online social media presence.