If you spend any amount of time on the Web these days, you’ve probably noticed that there is a lot more than just “plain old websites” now. There are blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and much more. Trying to keep up with all the cool sites and “apps” can be quite overwhelming.
If you’re a business owner with (or wanting to have) an online presence, which of these applications should you be using? And where on earth are you going to find the time and energy for all of them?
Okay, deep breath… It might not be so bad.
The number of different must-have (or must-use) applications depends largely on how big your business is and how much time and effort you’re willing to put into its success.
All businesses nowadays really should have, at the very least, a website that gets updated fairly regularly and/or a blog. One or both of these should be your main “meeting place” for your customers or potential customers. This is where they’ll find out what you’re all about and what you can offer them. Much of the information on it may be more-or-less static – i.e., your history, mission, contact information – but that stuff should be kept up-to-date. There should also be new information – e.g., articles, products, reviews, portfolio pieces, etc. – added on a regular basis. The frequency will depend on the type of business you’re in, but even if you’re in a pretty “stead” line of work, your site shouldn’t sit untouched for more than a month.
Next in line are the common “Big 3” social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here to stay. And they’re much more than what you might imagine (rightly or wrongly) – they aren’t just for kids and wiling away the time. These are powerful and important business tools. Facebook in particular is well on its way to becoming the most used website in the world. Suffice it to say, your business should have a presence there. Twitter and LinkedIn might not have quite the popularity of Facebook, but they are still very valuable tools that you should be taking advantage of.
Are you starting to hyperventilate now at the thought of posting new content on all of these on a regular basis? Paper bag… You don’t need to invent new content for each of these applications every day. You are allowed to use the same content for more than one of them. That’s right. If you publish a monthly newsletter (oops, did we forget to mention that?), you can do the old copy-and-paste of its content to your main site’s article/archive page and as a post on your blog. Then, you can quickly and easily “tweet” about your latest post in Twitter.
There are several free tools (widgets) out there that will allow you to automate “feeds” so that when you post content in one place (e.g., Twitter) that automatically appears in another application (e.g., Facebook). Or what you write on Facebook feeds into a sidebar on your website or blog (make sure your feed is coming from your business Facebook business page, not your personal one).
YouTube might be an appropriate marketing tool for your business, which you can also tie in to the other social media campaigns. Here are some other social media sites that may be beneficial for your business:
The point is, you can make all of these – and other – tools work for you. True, they do add to your workload a bit, but it doesn’t have to be that much. If you can find the time to post something on your blog once a week (or even once a month) and a few minutes a day to write something on Facebook or Twitter, that might be enough to stay connected to your target audience.
Coming up with something to say on these sites can also be as simple as copying a link to an interesting article and adding a few comments of your own. Since these sites are all about sharing, that is what you are doing as well when you share an insightful or well written article or tweet that you think will interest your customers/clients.
Oh, and if you happen to have some fun while doing it, that’s not so bad either!