One of the most effective marketing tools available to small businesses today is social media. Newspaper ads can be very expensive depending on where you live. They get lost in all the clutter of the many ads found in most newspapers. Advertising on television is even more costly, and small businesses often cannot afford television ads. Many companies are using direct mail, but again this can get expensive. I don’t know about you, but virtually all of the direct mail pieces I receive go into the recycle box before they ever get in the house. I just don’t fool with reading them.
Social media can be a very effective, low-cost alternative to traditional advertising. Social media allows you build your brand and connect with people who want to hear from you. These are people who have previously done business with you, people who have gone on-line looking for the products or services you sell, and people who have heard about you and want to check you out privately.
I still advertise my auctions in our local paper because the cost is very reasonable. I buy a small ad that runs on the same day as the other auction ads in our paper. This ad refers people to my site on auctionzip.com that has the listing and pictures of items I’m selling. I just use the newspaper ad as a pointer to the other site so I don’t have to spend money on a larger ad.
However, I’m starting to get a lot of traction by advertising my auctions on social media. On my Facebook account I am a member of several area Buy-Sell-Trade sites from surrounding communities. In a few minutes I can post an ad about an upcoming auction. It’s not only seen by the people on these individual sites, but my ad is also listed on my regular Facebook page. In a few minutes I have an ad that can be seen by potentially 20,000+ local people at no cost to me. Plus, I can run that ad every day for a few days leading up to the auction still at no cost. I can also mention the auction on my Twitter account (@DennisBickers) providing even more exposure. Another advantage is that I don’t have to worry about deadlines. I can run my social media ads anytime I want to.
Of course, social media doesn’t limit exposure to just local people. One lady in California, after reading online about an auction I was doing, called to leave an absentee bid for a particular item. She ended up winning that item which I shipped her as soon as her check cleared.
If you’re not reaching out to potential customers and maintaining contact with your current customers through social media, you are missing a great opportunity to grow your business.