Do These 3 Things to Promote Your Home Business

Traditional ways to promote home businesses such as word of mouth or brochure and pamphlet distribution have become more and more abandoned as they are proven to be less effective and unable to keep up with pace of modern society. Apart from their limited reach, traditional ways to reach prospective customers also take up too much time – and as the saying goes, time is money.

Meanwhile, the alternative to hire an advertising agent or put up paid advertisement in various media may not be feasible for everyone, let alone a home business owner, because the cost is much higher than the production cost and profit gained.

Today, consumers want to get something without having to go through troublesome process or spend too much time. That is why small business owners should implement a cost-effective, focused marketing strategy that utilizes on the internet. This is also effective as it triggers direct interaction and has wide reach.

Below are ways you can do promote your product or services:

1. Communicate with Messenger Groups

The smallest circle you can nurture to market your product or services is your closest friends – people who are on your phone book, more specifically friends who are on your chat messenger apps, i.e. WhatsApp, BBM, Skype, WeChat, Line, KakaoTalk, Viber, Telegram, Snapchat, etc.

It is not at all surprising for people to have 1-2 Messenger Groups on their smartphones today. The groups’ reach is also quite wide, e.g. WhatsApp messenger can accommodate up to 256 people in one group.

Those on your messenger’s friends list are a limited circle that you know quite well. In these groups, you can directly offer your products in a friendly tone. This is quite effective since the communication can be done specifically and with high intensity. You can immediately share the products’ data and pictures, as well as communicate directly about more detailed things, from discounted price to the types of courier chosen for the shipment.

How to utilize messenger groups for your home business:

If your offer gets response from one or more group members, follow up immediately by contacting them personally, or creating a new group. This way, those who are not interested in your products would not be disturbed by the long conversations and notification rings on their devices. Having a detailed conversation in a public group would also push down the previous thread of conversations.

2. Introduce Your Products on These Four Social Media Platforms

There are many online media platforms one could use a medium for marketing, whether it is a website, social media, fanpage, blog, newsletter, etc. However, for novice business owners – especially those without IT or graphic design skills – social media is the most affordable and easy-to-access marketing tools.

As the beginning, you need to understand the purpose of utilizing those platforms. For example, you cannot create a page on Facebook or Instagram just because the other products are doing it. A wrong strategy may lead to consumers’ disappointment. This is quite dangerous because social media users could easily express their disappointment, and this will definitely harm your products and home business’ reputation. Therefore, get to know and learn about the characters of each social media platform you are about to use as your marketing “weapon”. Some online media that you should consider:

A. Facebook

Facebook can be your main choice of social media to market your home business online. In Indonesia alone, Facebook is estimated to have over 60 million users by the end of 2015. Through Facebook, you can share texts, pictures, videos or links. You can even create notes and treat it like your private blog. In addition, you can reply to messages and make comments, although limited to those who are your Facebook friends.

Although Facebook is very useful for branding, many people still do not know quite yet about how to utilize it well. In the end, they did mistakes such as:

  • Uploading product pictures and randomly tagging your friends on them
  • Sharing a lot of product pictures to the public at one time that they overwhelm other people’s news feed on Facebook
  • Joining random groups and start selling your products without the administrators’ permission. Some people even share their products’ information in groups, even if those groups are not related to their products and services
  • Going straight to friends’ inbox, leaving a personal or group message with impolite invitation, such as, “Please buy”, “You should buy it!”, and so on

This kind of hard-selling practice can be categorized as spam and can damage your reputation as a seller, or even worse, make your account blocked.

How to utilize a Facebook account for your home business:

  • Create a dedicated account (personal account or fanpage) containing everything about your products
  • Create an easy-to-remember account name, put up clear images, each followed with captions containing the detailed information of the products, as well as the price and order process
  • Determine the suitable target for your products and invite them to become friends or fans. Those accepting your invitation will be happy to receive updates from your accounts
  • Do an attractive and educative style of marketing. Aside from updating products, you can also put up valuable and helpful contents that would inspire people to click “like” or “share” it to their friends. This would potentially invite more people to click and share your posts, and make your account more popular.
  • You can get into Facebook fanpage or Facebook groups related to your products. For example, if you are selling a jersey, you can join groups or fanpages of famous professional football clubs, such as Juventus, Arsenal, Real Madrid, etc.

To get a wider reach, you can utilize Facebook Ads, a paid ad feature which allows users to promote their products or businesses with different reach – depending on the user’s needs.

B. Twitter

Unlike Facebook with abundance of feature, with its one-stop-visit concept, Twitter prioritizes status updating activity, and it is only limited to 140 characters. However, the simplicity of this microblogging platform is appealing for many people, proven by the number of users in Indonesia that has reached around 30 million people.

To prove itself as an innovative company, the US-based tweeting service is planning to increase its tweet limit to 10,000 characters by next March. At the moment, that number of characters can only be sent via direct message (DM). Twitter is a great tool for spreading information within seconds. This is useful for e-commerce businesses that heavily promote their products within their network; the more followers they have, the more widespread the information will be.

How to utilize Twitter for your home business:

  • Choose the right username and create a profile that is relevant to the product you marketed (describe with personal details, profile picture a.k.a. avatar, and the right background wallpaper)
  • Use hashtag (#) to make searches on certain topics easier. You will also find it easier to maintain updates and interactions of your brand among the followers.
  • Give special offers or quizes via Twitter. Most followers on Twitter follow your brand to get special offers and discounts that cannot be found on other platforms.
  • Increase your frequency of tweeting and do “retweet” with mentions (@username). Retweeting other people’s tweets to your followers is another sweet way to build social capital and improve your brand’s credibility
  • Utilize direct message (DM) to convey personal news or answer specific questions. Twittereven allows you to send messages collectively to many users, so long as they are your Twitter followers.
  • Use “favorite tweet” for positive comments tweeted by your followers
  • Look for influencers with high number of followers to increase your brand’s reach, e.g. “Kopi Enak” (Good Coffee) brand can cooperate with food bloggers who can talk about your product variants and uniqueness.

You can also utilize Promoted Accounts or Promoted Tweets, a feature on Twitter which allows you to place tweets on a favorable positions on Twitter timeline.

C. Pinterest

This social media platform creates “board” system to bookmark interest things, where users can share contents based on certain categories from products or services offered. The majority of Pinterest users are females who love to share beautiful and inspirational pictures which can uplift their moods. You can put a “pin” on your favorite pictures, and share them to other Pinterest users.

Most of Pinterest users are from other countries, which means if you can optimize this social media platform, it is impossible that your business can be recognized more widely and attracts foreign consumers .

How to utilize Pinterest for your home business:

  • Determine your initial strategy in utilizing Pinterest, whether to introduce your brand, increase sales or widen customers’ network. This is important so that your design would match the desirable outcome.
  • Make your boards interesting, by “Create Board” with these percentage of content:

- 40% pins containing motivational or inspirational pictures, such as “children room decoration”

- 40% pins containing instructional or educational pictures, such as “Party hair-do for long hair”

- 20% pins mentioning brands followed by product pictures and promotional offers, such as winter sale accessories

  • If you have an official site or an online shop, embed “PIN IT” button on the site, so that every page containing pictures or designs can be pinned automatically. Additionally, put a “Follow me on Pinterest” button on your site’s main page.
  • Put you pin closer to the first or second line of the board. Research shows that pins placed in the middle and closer to the first line are getting the most attention.
  • Make your board more interactive with various tutorial videos, product demos, presentation documentation or webinar

  • Utilize “Pinterest Web Analytic” feature to be able to review the statistics on successful or less successful pins. This would help you design your next marketing strategy on Pinterest.

D. Instagram

Founded back in 2010, this social media has become very popular due to its simple and intuitive features, allowing users to share pictures, videos and stay connected with one another. On Instagram, someone can tell their story of the day, share travel pictures, or even promote their products to their followers by adding photo location, tag and relevant hashtags.

From here comes the “Insta-celeb” who uses their popularity to get financial gain and social status. Instagram provides online marketing opportunity by “selling” products through visual power by relying on photo sharing activity.

Pay attention to some tips below to help optimizing your Instagram as a marketing platform for your home business:

  • Put up high quality pictures to attract buyers
  • Invest in good camera and filter apps that can enhance your pictures, such as VSCO
  • Do regular updates—but not too often—by scheduling product updates. The point is to make followers look forward to your latest products without feeling annoyed by your posting frequency.
  • Use relevant hashtags that are searched by many users. You should do a bit of research first.
  • Use repost facility to display positive testimonial pictures and boost your business credibility
  • You can use endorsement technique by making public figures or Insta-celeb with huge followers as your business ambassador through positive testimonials and support for your business as a promotion.

Other than the four names, there are other social media channels that work quite similar and can be utilized as marketing platform, such as Google+, Linkedln, Path, Kaskus, YouTube, or even Periscope.

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