Today many people desire the stability of a second income or the freedom generated by starting a home based business or by starting an online business.
Whatever type of business you desire, starting your own business is one of the greatest decisions you will ever make.
The freedom and liberation from routine that comes from a profitable home based business or online business is like nothing else you will experience in life.
Whether your aim is to provide a full time income to replace the day job, or a second income to supplement your lifestyle, it can all be achieved through the power and versatility of the internet.
However, it is estimated that 90% of online businesses either fail or never generate a single sale. The primary reason for this is under estimating or simply not grasping the need to market effectively and reach your target audience.
I can talk to you about the importance of keywords and the need to get the basics of search engine optimization correct, but this is for more established site owners and can easily be the topic for a whole weekend of discussion.
For new web site and home based business owners the fastest way to start establishing interest in your online business is through the incredible power of Social Media.
By far the most widely used social networking site is Facebook. It offers direct access to more than 500 million users and although it’s seen by many as a social site, it does in fact present a huge range of opportunities for online businesses and the home based business community.
Facebook is a platform where companies can interact with current and potential customers, and where they can promote their products and services.
Recently Facebook has taken steps to actively encourage businesses to use their service, by offering initiatives such as adverts and fan pages. Businesses can set up a company profile or groups and message boards where customers can converge to discuss with one another the service they have received. Like other social media sites, the key here is openness and businesses must be willing to give up a certain degree of control to customers.
Keeping content interesting and relevant is crucial to any social media page, and Facebook is no exception. To attract and retain followers or fans, you need to offer exciting content that stands out from the crowd. Consider different forms of content, such as video marketing, audio, pictures or blogs that would most appeal to your target audience.
Facebook can also be used as a market research tool, through which companies can poll their fans and measure their reaction to new ideas before applying them to the businesspop over here.
Once your page or group is set up, think about who you want to attract. Start off small by inviting friends and current customers, who will then invite their friends and so on. Social media is an extremely viral form of communication, so don’t expect to have thousands of fans overnight. Discounts and other offers exclusive to Facebook fans or group members can be a great way to generate more followers.
If you are considering using Facebook to promote your online business or home based business then consider the following.
* Post regular business updates on your wall – it is important to keep content fresh and interesting. But try not to add too many updates because content overload will overwhelm your fans and swamp their news feed pages.
* Make use of video or images – keep your page visual as this helps to engage your audience.
* Offer discounts and run promotions and competitions – this is great way to increase your following, by providing offers exclusive to Facebook fans.
* Carry out market research – Facebook offers a free platform for market research. Poll your fans to find out what they think of your business ideas.
* Respond to comments – make sure you reply to questions or comments posted by fans and start developing a dialogue with them. Similarly, reply to criticism, don’t ignore it.
* Start discussion groups – encourage conversation about your business. This is an effective way to boost brand awareness, and you can educate fans about your product or service.
* Use Facebook ads to increase your fans base – although it’s no substitute for proper engagement, it can help boost fan numbers.
* Share blog posts – if you have a company blog make sure you share the latest posts on your Facebook fan page.
* Avoid over commercialisation – when sharing interesting product news or offers, try not to be too profit-focused. Social media sites are not merely another sales platform and being overly commercial is a guaranteed way to deter fans.
Above all, be upbeat, positive, newsworthy and honest. Nothing deters potential clients more than negativity and false claims.
Have fun with your new home based business and remember that it is simply a vehicle to drive you to where you want to be in life.
Paul Chatwin is a UK based internet marketer, researcher and article writer. His field is business development for the home based and newly online entrepreneurs. His brand of coaching and training through personal contact and online videos has helped numerous budding business men and women achieve their Six Figure Income dreams.
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