Want to generate public relations for your small business but don’t have the time or the budget? Think outside the expensive media-coverage box with these simple strategies for boosting your profile in the marketplace.
Ingratiate Yourself to Industry Influencers
Who are the thought leaders and authorities in your space? Keep tabs on their number of followers on social media, the number of shares they get and generally how engaged they are with their communities. You want them to know who you are, and you want them on your side. In some cases, you may already be connected to them within your own social media networks. If that’s the case, reach out to them – not a mass email; personalise it – and give them an update on what you’re doing and how it can benefit their audiences.
In other cases, you may have to cultivate those relationships – by networking, connecting with influencers on social media and then taking it further by actively engaging with them on their channels. But remember, your efforts shouldn’t be purely self-motivated. To really get them in your corner, you want to promote these influencers – and what they’re doing – too. Basically, it’s engaging in a little I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine action in the name of achieving mutually beneficial results, such as more traffic to your websites, increased awareness of your brands and hopefully, new customers!
Call on Contented Customers
Likewise, it’s also a good idea to touch base with your satisfied customers and ask them to share their experiences in their networks. Customers trust referrals from satisfied customers the same way people trust online reviews. Nothing beats positive word of mouth!
Give your Blog a Flog
Having a blog on your website is a simple, relatively cheap way to drive traffic to your site, build your brand, convey your message and provide relevant information to your existing and prospective customers.
Regular, compelling blog posts can:
- Boost your search rankings; search-engine algorithms are on the lookout for fresh content
- Serve as a way for you to more actively engage with your visitors and customers
- Position you as an expert by providing valuable content that keeps visitors coming back for more
- Increase the likelihood that visitors will comment on and share your content.
Ramp Up Your Own Social-media Efforts
By now, no-one underestimates the power and reach of social media, but are you making the most of your networks? These are essentially free platforms for self-promotion. Use them! Tell your customers and prospective customers why their lives are better because your business exists.
And yes, all this social networking can be time-consuming for already-time-poor small-business owners, but these days, there are tools to help you. Similar to how bookkeeping software can save you hours on quoting, invoicing and payroll, social-media-management products, such as Hootsuite and Buffer, save you time by allowing you to control multiple social media accounts from one place.
They enable you to schedule in advance and automate much of your social-media interaction. What’s more, with free products such as Google Alerts, you can receive email notifications when someone mentions you or your business on the web. (You can – and should – then respond accordingly.)
Schmooze – You Can’t Lose
Taking things offline for a moment, you are still your small business’s best ambassador, so arm yourself with business cards and network, network, network. Go to as many industry events – conferences, exhibitions, tradeshows, luncheons – as you can and promote your company as much as you can.
This is your chance to take advantage of that all important face time with influencers (see above), existing clients and potential customers. (Be sure to collect your share of business cards, too, for your aforementioned intensified social media efforts.)
Also, kick things up a notch by looking for opportunities to take a more leading role at these events. Are you an expert on the topic? See whether you might be an appropriate speaker. Does the event feature giveaways or prizes? Perhaps you could donate one of your company’s products or your services.
With these positive PR tips and tricks, you’ll soon have the marketplace buzzing about your business without breaking the bank.