Being an expert in your field and offering a high-quality product or service is essential for running a successful small business, but it’s only half the battle. If you can’t spread the word about your business, you won’t succeed no matter how professional you are.
Small-business owners may flinch at the idea of marketing. After all, when you’re competing in such a large market, knowing where to start to try and set your company apart from the others can be overwhelming. Trends and best practices seem to constantly be changing, making it difficult to stay abreast of what works and what doesn’t. The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. There is a whole host of marketing tools designed just for you. You don’t need a degree in advertising or an extensive knowledge of computers, either. Here are some tools that can give your organization a big boost with nothing more than a smartphone and an internet connection.
Let’s start with the basics. If you aren’t using social media by now, you may actually be starting from a disadvantage. The good news is diving into this platform is simple and free. The key to making the most of your social media strategy is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, and use them accordingly. For instance, Facebook and Instagram are great for sharing photos – which can have a much higher impact on your clients – but they’re not the best services for real-time communication. On the flip side, Twitter is great for building a large follower base and maintaining those relationships through direct engagement, but the character limits mean you’re restricted in the amount of content you can post there.
Of course, getting started with social media is just the tip of the iceberg. There are tools to help you dive even deeper into this sector.
One of the biggest differences between conventional marketing and social media marketing is that advertising is no longer a one-way conversation. It’s just as important to know how people are responding to your messaging as it is to run an extensive ad campaign. But keeping up with notifications across different services is a tough job for anyone to take on.
Mention exists to help you manage that burden. Its website boasts that it scours the Web, searching billions of sources in over 40 languages for whatever your search query is. The service then sends you notifications in real time when you pop up somewhere online, and even gives you the chance to respond to the message directly through the service.
Advertising isn’t static anymore. Ours is a world where trends can change at the drop of a hat, and advertising messaging needs to change with them if you want to remain relevant to your consumers. But how do you keep track of all the relevant information and trends surrounding even a single topic, let alone all of the topics that are relevant to your business?
Enter BuzzSumo. This service is a search engine and content aggregate that lets you search for topics, keywords, names or even full websites to see what the most popular posts are. This is useful for when you’re planning your content strategy. You want your marketing content to be relevant to what’s important to your customers at the time. The ability to see which articles are being read the most – and, more importantly, shared the most – is invaluable.
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and more – there are so many social media platforms it can be difficult to keep up with all of them. HootSuite helps streamline that process by letting you gather all your social media feeds in one app. HootSuite functions like a dashboard from which you can monitor all your feeds simultaneously. The app also offers another significant benefit: scheduling.
Running a limousine service, you already know the importance of scheduling and timeliness, so it makes sense that you’ll want to incorporate these values into your marketing strategy too. After all, effective social marketing isn’t just about having the right content, but also about sharing it at the right time. HootSuite lets you schedule tweets and other posts in advance so you never have to miss a beat. Not only is it useful for keeping up with posts in the middle of the night, but it also lets you plan out your strategy weeks in advance.