The oldest and still most powerful way to promote any business is through word of mouth. Nothing resonates stronger than a recommendation from a friend, family member or colleague.
According to research from Nielsen, compared to traditional paid advertising, consumers trust these word of mouth referrals 92% more. In fact, they trust traditional advertising over 20% less than they did back in 2009. But word-of-mouth is only going to take you so far, and you only have so much control over how fast it spreads. That's where social networks like Facebook and Pinterest can help fill in the word-of-mouth gaps.
Another amazing statistic from Nielsen's Global New Product Report is that 43% of shoppers have a higher chance of making a purchase when they first hear about it on a social network. That means that more than one third of your potential customer base can be swayed toward your product or service once you get your brand name in front of them.
Two of the top social networks you can use to promote your business, and take advantage of this online word-of-mouth advertising with, are Facebook and Pinterest. With over 1 billion active Facebook accounts and Pinterest rapidly growing with over 70 million users, their reach is far greater that even your most social of friends or family.
This is not going to come as a shock to you, but Facebook is currently the number one social network on the planet. You would be missing a huge audience if this network were not one of your soapboxes. Business Insider reports that in the US, 67% of all internet users are on Facebook. And in the United Kingdom, that number jumps to a staggering 82% of all internet users. And with 83% of users in the coveted 18-29 age range, it's a no-brainer that this is a great platform to promote your brand. With new online safety techniques such as those offered by Lifelock.com, the once online shopping-weary age range of 45-54 has shown a 46% increase on Facebook since the end of 2012.
Regardless of the increase in safety awareness regarding Facebook and other social media, it's still vital to educate yourself on the risks of ID theft, and the ways to protect your business from being compromised, such as keeping personal profiles private.
The next step to promote your business on Facebook is to implement a good marketing plan.
Social Media Examiner outlines ways to get the most out of the social network. They advise setting up a dedicated business page, and not just trying and use your personal page to promote your company. They also discuss having a marketing strategy to attract new followers, promote your business effectively to those followers and engage your audience to make the sales.
Mashable gives additional advice like making sure you use a vanity URL for your business page that it is easy to find, using apps to distribute your content and posting relevant messages at the appropriate times.
Even as one of the newer kids on the block, the reach of Pinterest is nothing to shake a stick at. Social Media Today states that 47% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a Pinterest recommendation.
Pinterest is a pinboard style social network where you can show your hobbies, services or interests. People can then share your 'pins' on other social networks. It is a fantastic platform for displaying original content that promotes the services and products that you offer. Use compelling graphics to promote what you do, stay engaged with comments on your boards and your followers' boards, and share and re-pin as much content related to your core services as possible. This will create an interactive platform that keeps you in front of your potential customers and shows them that you are a company that cares.
By using these social networks as an extension of your word of mouth campaigning, you will continue to increase your audience and your bottom line.