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Marketing a challenge for small businesses

Marketing for a small business has always been a challenge, but with the advent of social networking, it’s now a lot cheaper. Anyone with access to the Internet can spread the word about a business. Most of the social sites are free and allow for instant access to hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers.

Start a Facebook page for your business, and get your friends and family to “like” it. Remember, there’s a fine line between marketing your business and annoying the heck out of people. Don’t post every day, and don’t sound like a needy neighbor. Use the site to post useful information. It doesn’t have to be related to your business. It only needs to remind people that you have something to offer. List your products and services and send out coupons and cyberfliers about sales. Post pictures of your business and your employees. Facebook is all about connection.

Open a Twitter account under the business name. Tweet about interesting articles you are reading. Pass on helpful tips. Offer the occasional twitpic of the latest item in inventory. Find out what your competition is tweeting about and match them on any offers or sales.

Start a blog with longer posts about items of interest. There are several sites out there that will let you set up a blog and customize it by color and design. Use your blog to inform. Offer positive comments about other businesses. Who knows? You might get a return favor.

Knock yourself out with other social networking sites. The sky’s the limit. A couple cautions, though…

Remember, you’re aiming for potential customers. No lewd jokes. No offensive pictures. Unless you’re selling bibles, leave off discussions of religion and politics. If in doubt, leave it out. Once you toss something out there, it’s there for good. While you want customers to feel connected to you, don’t get too personal. It’s the internet. Too personal could lead to creepy.

Finally, make sure all your social sites are connected through the business website. Setting up a website is a breeze these days with a template and a software program. You can find templates for $15 to $50 of all types. Set up a domain name with a provider and pay a small monthly fee.

Cheap website. Free Facebook. Free Twitter account. Free blogging site. It’s marketing on the cheap for a small business. The only expense comes in your time. After all, someone has to do all that posting and editing. So, you may have to hire someone just to keep up with all of it.

BTW, check out our new website at www.newper.com. Find us on Facebook at New Perspectives, Inc., follow us on Twitter @newperMS, and read our blog at newper.blogspot.com. Time for a nap.

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