Incorporating Facebook and Twitter into your small business marketing plan has become nearly a necessity in the past year. While some are still trying to figure out a successful approach to Facebook and Twitter use, entrepreneurs continue to add more online marketing tools to the mix. Here are a few more that you can check out and see if these sites can help your business in 2011.
Since launching at South by Southwest Interactive in March 2009, Foursquare reached over 4 million users by October 2010. Foursquare is a location-based, social network to make it easier to explore cities and find friends. Using the ever-ubiquitous smartphone, users check-in to a place when they’re there and alert friends through the Foursquare mobile application. If a user checks in to a location frequently they can become the coveted mayor of that location.
At a minimum, small business owners should claim their business. If you wish, you can provide special offers. In a way, it becomes a low-cost customer loyalty program that’s easy to administrate. Say you own a coffee shop. You can give the mayor their first drink free or give a free drink to customers for every five check-ins. Restaurants could offer a desert special. Retailers can place discounts on items they want to move off the shelves that day. These special offers can be changed instantly, so if you’re having a slow day, try to push some activity through Foursquare special offers. And don’t forget to promote on your Facebook and Twitter pages.
Groupon—and other sites like it—have been spreading across the country this past year. Group buying sites typically promote a deal of the day from a local business. Discounts range from typically 50 to 90 percent off, but only if a number of customers set by the business opts into the deal. If there are enough customers, Groupon alerts them and the customers will print out a Groupon to take into the business or go to their online store to redeem.
Some businesses are using this tool to generate new customers. Your loyal customers will alert their friends through Facebook and Twitter because they want the discount and won’t get the deal unless enough customers sign up. Over 20 million Groupons have been purchased as of December 2010 and the site claims that 97 percent of businesses want to be featured again.
In a world of 140 characters and more and more people adopt smartphones, it’s crucial to find ways to reach them. Google has entered the URL shortener market but have added an unique feature. Google Shortener not only gives you a short URL to place on Twitter, it also generates a QR code. Smartphone users know that when they see a QR, they’re just a scan away from more information about the services you’re advertising.