Top 6 Social Media Platforms for Entrepreneurs

Social Media
Social Media

By Anna Brown, Vendio Free Online Store

‘Social Media’ has been the hot buzz-word of the past couple of years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The truth of the matter is, in a fast-paced world full of electronic communication, a blog or Facebook page is the new second storefront. You have to make yourself known, draw customers in, and create relationships all in a virtual world. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the old adage of ‘Location, location, location!’ Being in the right place in the right way is essential to attracting customers and growing your business.

Below we’ve listed some resources you should be sure to take advantage of – including some you’ve likely never heard of. There are ways to connect with customers, but also ways to network and connect with other business owners so you can network, ask questions, and get engagement.

To connect with customers:

1. Facebook This is the mega-mall of the internet. Almost everyone is here; customers and businesses alike, and you can easily put up a brand page for free and begin communicating with potential customers. The key to leveraging Facebook properly is communication. This isn’t a TV advertisement; it’s a virtual relationship and that makes a big difference in your strategy. If done correctly, you can build a huge and loyal following here.
2. Google+ The newborn competitor to Facebook, Google+ is growing rapidly and now allows brand pages. To make a splash here, get in early and set up an authentic, clearly branded page that allows Google+ users to see who you are and what your product is. The advantage is that Google+ isn’t yet as saturated as Facebook, so it’s much easier to get noticed.
3. HootSuite You may not have heard of this one, but it’s a gem of a resource. As you manage your social media presence, it’s important to know what’s happening across multiple platforms. HootSuite allows you manage your profiles, schedule tweets and messages, analyze your traffic, and track mentions of your brand. An all-in-one dashboard, it will make managing social media much less hectic.

To connect with fellow entrepreneurs:

1. Dreamstake A networking site with over 4,000 members, Dreamstake describes itself as “a business accelerator” and helps small business owners build strategy, business plans, and find funding. There are many groups, forums, and events that you can participate in to connect, learn, and grow your business.
2. LinkedIn A well-known professional networking site, LinkedIn has an extensive profile page and is a great resource for connecting with others in your industry or area of interest. You can join groups that fit your business or needs, which will allow you to get to know others, provide suggestions, and work out resources or referrals.
3. Twitter No list is complete without mentioning Twitter. Although the message length is small, this actually benefits you because you have to get down to the basics of your message. You can track your industry, find out what others are doing, find potential clients, and even follow your competition! This one is often a cross breed of building relationships with fellow entrepreneurs and customers. Depending on your industry, your customers could be spending time on this social network as well.

The social media world can be very overwhelming. The key is to focus on just a few platforms to start with, and then build and branch out from there. No business starts by opening 100 stores, so don’t feel like you need to be on every platform right away. Like all good businesses, you will grow and gain followers over time. Just relax and have fun with it!


Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service. Use AnyMeeting for your next online meeting.


How to Sell with Webinars

Selling with Webinars

By Angela Stringfellow

Any way you spin it, webinars are a valuable sales tool. Simply offering a webinar can boost sales and enhance brand recognition, and there are tons of ways you can use them to convert casual interest into actual paying clients. Here are seven specific tactics for turning webinars into sales engines:

  1. Offer a free introductory webinar to a longer, paid series. Delivering a complex training module can’t be done in just one webinar, and besides, if you gave away all your trade secrets for free your business would never turn a profit. Hosting a free introduction to a paid series is a useful way to accumulate more paid subscribers, by providing just enough information to entice attendees to want more. 
  2. Give a product discount as a bonus. Host a webinar, showcase your expertise and at the end, lead into subtle sales pitch for a product and offer an exclusive discount to attendees. Nothing is a greater sales incentive than a one-time opportunity to get a great deal on a valuable product. 
  3. Follow up, follow up, follow up! Once you’ve delivered an outstanding presentation, keep the interest of your attendees through regular contact. Ask for feedback the following day, follow up with a sales pitch for one of your products or paid workshops, and continue to provide value by inviting the same group to future free programs and regular industry tips. If, after you deliver your presentation, your attendees never hear from you again, you can bet they’ll soon forget all about you. 
  4. Identify a problem and a solution. Throughout your presentation, you should be hitting on hot buttons that identify common problems or frustrations. Grab their attention by making them feel like you’re talking directly to them, describing what they thought were unique challenges. Once they’re on the hook, offer up a solution: your products or services!
  5. Build value. This is an area in which many webinar facilitators fail. You must toot your own horn… subtly. Demonstrate your excitement about sharing a tool with them that will solve their biggest problems, and make its value clear. Talk about the standard retail price of the product or service you’re pitching, how much time or money they will save (or how much more money they will make), and illustrate their cost savings for taking advantage of your one-time-only offer. 
  6. Create urgency. Of course, if you’re offering a limited-time discount, customers have an incentive to make an immediate purchase decision. Add to that momentum by talking results and conveying how much they’ll benefit by acting sooner rather than later. 
  7. Offer a free consultation. If you’re selling services, customers love free initial consultations. But place a limit on it, such as within 60 days of the webinar. This provides you with an additional, one-on-one opportunity to close the deal!
Facilitators can employ one or several of these techniques each time a webinar is offered to help drive sales. Your wealth of knowledge on the subject matter should speak for itself, but using additional sales strategies can help turn potential customers into paying customers sooner and convert undecideds into decision-makers.