I may be enthusiastic about marketing, but I can get truly enthusiastic about FREE!

As we head into spring and start cleaning out the winter blahs I’d like to take this month to focus in on some FREE marketing tools.  We’ll start with a big one, and then I’ll show you a couple of my favorites and how I use them.

The biggest free tool is, of course, social media.  Facebook, You Tube and Twitter all come to the top of my mind, but don’t rule out specialized niche platforms.  As a performing songwriter, my husband builds and maintains profiles on specific music focused online communities where he can share his music.

If you own a company that is focused on visual presentation, like a gift basket company, landscaping, re-decorating, etc… create a profile on a social site that is photo focused such as Flickr.  Remember images, properly labeled are found in keyword searches too!

If you are going to use more than one, please make sure you do not have so many you can not manage them on a regular basis.  Engaging in communication and building relationships is key to growing your business.  Granted, I personally don’t believe it should take more than 15 – 30 minutes a day per platform to remain engaged.

If you haven’t joined the masses, I understand, but if you’re trying to reach more people this year I highly recommend finding a social media site and diving in.

Tips for using social media for your business:

1.  Create a facebook page as well as a profile, this will allow you to add tabs and share information with those who have “liked” or opted-in to your page.  This is an excellent way to find and engage with like minded individuals on autopilot.

2.  Use the social media to brand YOU.  Use the same photo and basic bio across all platforms.  You’ll find people use specific social media for specific reasons, linked in is much more business focused than say facebook, so your approach to connections will change with respect to the media, but your brand should remain the same.

3.  Join groups and engage in conversation, make posts, update your status with related but non “I have something to sell” posts.  Share knowledge and interests, allow the people who are interested in learning more come to you.

4.  Create an interesting bio that discusses what you do AND focuses in on your target audience.  I’m always interested in talking to people who want to work from home so my bio talks about how I enjoy working from home.  Most people who contact me mention my working from home so it gives me an opportunity to engage with them and take our conversation off line.

5.   Have fun with it.  Some people have separate profiles for business and personal.  That seems like too much work for me, but each to their own.  Most of my new contacts come from posting some witty comment my daughter made or posting some of my art work.  It all leads back to the fact I work from home and my hours are truly my own.  I brand my lifestyle.

And if you need help with your social media, please don’t hesitate to ask!

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