Before you go on to devour the Twitter and FaceBook secrets I have for you, I'd love to tell you that you can launch an online business using Twitter and FaceBook alone, and without doing much of anything else–but I'd be misleading you. However, you can get a powerful buzz going for your business if you first get your ducks in a row as far as your website and web presence is concerned, before you move on to Twitter and Facebook as business tools.
Heres a step-by-step strategy for getting noticed online and giving your business a huge boost:
1. Make sure your website is basically optimized"hire a professional if you need to"and check that your web content tells visitors what you do, how you do it, how great you are, and exactly what you want them to do–don't leave any room at all for misunderstanding here. If you sell green slimy bog pumps, tell them why yours is the best on the planet and why they can't live without one. Then point them where they can pay you and get their slimy bog pump right away, without any further delay. Effective web content is critical for your online presence, and if your website doesnt effectively channel visitors where you want them to go"well traffic is wasted and you can ignore what comes next. Make sure youre registered with Google Local Business Center so that Google can pass you local referrals.
2. Now it's time to get busy on Twitter. First, a word in your ear: if you ignore my advice and start spamming people, your Twitter career won't last five minutes. Twitter users are not tolerant in this respect. If, on the other hand you're smart and follow the best examples of Twitter use, you will enjoy your use of Twitter, and you will become popular. More to the point, you will be able to use Twitter to expand your business–even in ways that never occurred to you. To give you an even stronger hint, the way to win on Twitter is to actually take the time to establish relationships with other users. Don't expect to be a hit if all you do is send followers links with cursory instructions!
3. Use your keywords in your Twitter bio, and don't forget to mention your location: if you run an attic renovation business then be sure to talk about it in a legitimate way on Twitter so that if anyone else is interested they can find you.
4. Do a search on Twitter Search, Tweet Scan or for a business thats strictly local, Nearby Tweets for other Twitter users who have talked about your niche or mentioned your keywords. Follow them and join their conversation naturally. By all means be helpful if you can, but DO NOT ram your business down their throats or you'll get blocked.
5. You might well be able to find other business-owners who offer goods or services that are compatible with yours. Consider proposing a sort of mutually beneficial arrangement whereby you promote each other's stuff whenever it seems appropriate. You can also retweet each other.
6. Retweeting is quite possibly the most valuable feature of twitter. It's simply when a user retweets (or forwards to use email vernacular) another user's tweet. If you habitually retweet the best of your followers, they will most likely reciprocate. An interesting or useful tweet can go far this way and literally make waves on the Internet.
7. Now we come to the big secret: the little thing that most Twitter users overlook, but is the secret to making Twitter the tool that so many people rave about: HashTags. All you need to do to keep a finger on the pulse of Twitter whenever your chosen keyword is mentioned, is follow the hashtag page for that word. If it doesn't exist, create it by tweeting the word with the # sign before it. You will also get noticed by anyone else watching those hash tags.
8. If you're lucky enough to get some buzz on Twitter you could find that your business is seriously boosted. Follow my guidelines, and learn as much as you can about using Twitter and you'll raise the likelihood of some solid buzz considerably!
9. Next lets move to FaceBook. Its particularly easy to use FaceBook for business purposes. The first thing you want to do is explore FaceBook groups so that you can link up with the right people.
10. Right now the most creative way you can spread the word about your business is by having a FaceBook app that promotes you in some way: 100s of businesses have done just that"there are literally thousands of FaceBook apps available. Get together with a developer to create your own personalized FaceBook app and you could recoup your investment many times over. Its well worth consideration. If you want to see how this might work for you, consider the Visa Business Network Application which now has over 50,000 members; and Mashable has a list of 30 FaceBook apps and how they can impact your business.
11. Advertise on FaceBook. The FaceBook ad engine is powerful and allows you to dictate a tight demographic"so only people who are expressly interested in what you sell will see your ad. Dont forget to put your keywords in the title and body of your ad.
Patricia Skinner is Director of Sekari Content Production Studio in Amman at Sekari and spends her days doing what she loves best; cooking up winning content strategies for organic search.