Posts Tagged "social networking"

Taking Your Web Business to the Real-World

Businesses which are solely online have become increasingly more common. If you own this type of business, you already know just how convenient they are for owners and customers alike. However, there is another dimension you may not have considered—the real-world connection. Here, we’ll review how and why bringing your product real-world will benefit your online sales.

Start Small

There’s no reason to overwhelm yourself with a massive convention in your first real-world sales attempt. In fact, trying to take on one of these huge sales can actually be a recipe for disaster. Most small business owners simply aren’t prepared for sales on such a large scale, even if they’ve been selling online for years. Instead, start small by checking out sales in your local area.

Nearly every product and service can find an appropriate local outlet. If you’re a crafter, there are many craft fairs at churches, community centers and fairs. The more digitally-inclined can also find local venues—most major cities have their own, smaller version of the big, nationally-known conventions. Graphic arts and other techno-skills are ideally suited for these smaller conventions.

Bloggers may feel that their options are more limited, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever your web space subject matter might be, there is a show, convention or fair which caters to your topic. Food bloggers can visit a variety of locations, such as farmer’s markets, cooking schools and organic homesteads. Fashion bloggers can seek out up-and-coming designers in their area. Tech bloggers can visit local conventions and find the latest and greatest local innovations. In short, there is an endless supply of potential real-world topics for every blogger, most of which are only a short drive from home.

The Main Benefit: Personal Connections

Regardless of what your online business might be, the main benefit of going real-world is the unique chance to connect personally with your customer base. People are more likely to purchase a product which they’ve had a chance to try out in person. Once they’ve met you and seen what you have to offer, they’re also more likely to feel confident trying out new products and services via your web space. Our top picks give you plenty of options on how to link real-world featured products to your site and increase those sales figures.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that real-world connections are becoming outdated in today’s society. While online shopping is hugely popular, connecting personally is a basic human instinct which will never go away. By meeting and impressing your client base in the real world, your online sales and traffic will reap the benefits. For most online small business owners, the time spent at these events is well worth it, and repaid several times over in online sales and traffic volume.

Getting Started

If the idea of taking your online business makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there’s no need to jump in all at once. Your web space will benefit from even a short visit to a farmer’s market, tech convention or fashion show. You’ll become more familiar with what works—and what doesn’t—with your target market, which is the ultimate marketing tool. Before you plan to actually sell or blog about a ‘field trip,’ take one on your own and soak up the atmosphere. Talk with vendors and customers, see what’s offered for sale, and evaluate how your own product or service stacks up. The knowledge you take away from just one event will translate into increased sales and traffic if applied properly, so get out there and start making connections!

Is Facebook Enough for Your Small Business?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube are websites familiar to virtually everybody. In addition, they’re completely free of charge. While this makes them very attractive to cash-strapped small business owners seeking to create web space, there are some very important points to consider. Here, we’ll discuss precisely what social media sites can, and can’t, do for your small business.

Enough is Not Enough

The first basic mistake in assuming that a social media presence is ‘enough’ for your small business is the concept of settling for ‘enough.’ Your business is your baby, your dream, your ambition. Do you really want to settle for ‘enough?’ While your business may not be ready for a completely interactive, visually stunning website which rivals those of major, nationally-known companies, it deserves more than ‘enough.’ Even our budget picks can deliver highly professional and traffic-generating sites, so there’s no excuse to linger on social media.

Consider Your Image

Social media sites are attractive for many reasons, one of the largest being their cost—nothing. However, this also means that social media is literally teeming with pages and accounts. The public perception of social media sites varies widely from one individual to the next. Although your Facebook page may be leaps and bounds ahead in terms of content and quality, it’s still a Facebook page, just like your best friend’s tenth-grade daughter maintains.

Taking Full Advantage

This is not to say that social media doesn’t have its place. In fact, social media can be an incredibly powerful and positive tool for your small business. It’s all in how you utilize the resource. Facebook is an excellent platform for many different types of marketing, from posting photos to hosting contests to keeping fans abreast of the latest developments. Twitter and Instagram are excellent for keeping customers in-the-know without bogging them down with an overload of information; they’re also great for keeping your business fresh in the minds of consumers. Pinterest, with its photo-showcase potential, can be a truly powerful way to show off the best of your visual assets. Think up creative themes for boards and view them as a way to entertain and inform your consumers.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when maintaining a social media presence for your business is to remain professional. If you have personal accounts, keep them entirely separate from your business web space. You may adore pop music, but some of your customers may not, and seeing a long line of Gaga and Bieber attached to your page can look unprofessional. When using your business accounts, keep things professional, including views, likes, links and every other type of virtual ‘trail.’

The Next Step

As wonderful as social media sites are, they simply can’t replace the solid, trustworthy impression of a stand-alone website. Anybody can create a social media page or account—a stand-alone web space shows that you’re serious about, and dedicated to, your business and your customers.

Build your website using the same themes you’ve picked up from using social media networks. Keep things interesting, interactive and engaging. Update the content of your site regularly to keep it from falling into the dreaded ‘dead’ category.

At the same time, maintain your social media presence with the same level of dedication. Social media is not enough for your small business, but it’s a completely cost-free tool which no small business owner can afford to ignore. A great way to set your social media pages apart from the rest is to link them back to your website. This can be done in a variety of ways, and for a variety of reasons. Choose the methods which best complement the type of business you’re in, and remember to keep things professional. Get started today by browsing our recommendations, and rise above the social media crowd!