Are you a sole-proprietor with a small budget but knows that having a Facebook presence is critical?
I recently read an article published by a reliable source that shared ideas and comparisons of how small business can learn from big international corporations on getting a leg up from the big guys. As reading this article intrigued me thoroughly, I thought to myself how could I as a sole-proprietor use some of the same suggestions to get a leg up on my competitors, or even small businesses that may have a bigger budget then I do. While thinking about this, I then took into consideration my expertise in social media and those clients that I have helped gain their social media presences and by using the tips from the article came to these conclusions from solo-practitioners on small ways they too can win with Facebook.
#1 Have a plan and a strategy
Big companies focused on strategizing, forecasting and planning for their Facebook marketing. They have the manpower and finances to make a larger footprint then most.
Sole-proprietors and Small business owners, on the other hand often create a Facebook page because friends or family members have shared with them their experiences with Facebook, or they read that experts say anyone in business must be on Facebook. But they create their page with no real goals, and don’t understand a personal page verses a business page.
Think about what you want out of your Facebook presence. Is it more exposure? More sales? Or more contact interactions to help populate your newsletter? Whatever it may be, figuring out your goals is the first step in initiating and directing your Facebook presence.
#2 Use custom tab applications
You’ve probably seen those sharp, shiny customized page tabs that big business like shoe stores, beverage companies or clothing stores have and wonder how to do that or what it takes to do that. It is not as expensive as you thought! It is very affordable for all budgets. Or if you’d rather DIY you can, you just need to be a bit tech savvy, have a image program or two, and have extra time on your calendar. However, finding the extra time is the most expensive resource in many of our sole calendars.
AGilpin Consultants, along with numerous others, gives Authors, Entrepreneurs and Busy Professionals the affordable leg up that you need. These custom tab applications have really leveled the playing field, so it’s important that you take advantage of them.
#3 Emphasize interactions
Facebook users want interaction and attending, and this is where big companies blow us little guys out of the water. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
When planning your goals in Step 1 include promotional features like contests, virtual gifts and discounts. These are available on most custom tab apps. So again, if you’re not using a custom tab app, sign up, create engaging content and be social.
#4 Be available
Facebook, as well as other social media sites: LinkedIN and Twitter, is about the individual – your customer.
Sole-proprietors and Small business owners when managing it themselves often check Facebook once or twice a week, if their calendars allot. But you wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing customers were in your store with no cashier, or that your telephone was ringing with no one to answer. As big companies have the manpower to delegate daily socializing, now you can too!
Your online availability as a sole-proprietor or small business owner is vital. It could be what motivates your next customer to buy your book online; or sign up for a free consultation to understand your services better; or RSVP’s to your next seminar; so check your Facebook page often, and respond when your fans post to your wall. Having an online business manager can help you stay on task and help your social presence be more social.
#5 Take action
This step is where sole-proprietors soar over small businesses and big companies. That is because we don’t have business bureaucratic hierarchy. This is our leg up!
As your fans post to your wall this becomes instantaneous feedback that we can use to make appropriate changes in our services and/or products, resolve issues and enjoy compliments and referrals. Because as owners we can make things happen right now.
#6 Be flexible
While corporate decision making takes a while, their online managers have little flexibility. But sole-proprietors and small business owners don’t have to wade through the corporate process.
Have an inventory of books you need to clear before the next series gets published? Post a today-only 25% off coupon for your fans that purchase this book from Facebook. Have a seminar that you’re hosting or an event and you want to get a bunch of people to attend? Let your fans know via wall post that everyone who registers today and mentions the post gets a two free drink tickets with their registration.
Creating a sense of buzz and offering your fans good deals is a great way to get a strong community response and shows that you are flexible.
What do you think? Are you ready to get a leg up on your social media presence?