grow a small business online

If you’re already on the road to improving the way you run your service business with Breezeworks, you may want to check out a few of the easy, low-cost ways to promote your small service business on the web.

1. Yelp

For small businesses and independent contractors, a presence on Yelp can be essential. In many urban areas, Yelp is quickly replacing the yellow pages as the go-to source for local tradespeople. If you don’t already have a Yelp page, you can register on http://biz.yelp.com, which provides a video walkthrough of Yelp’s features for the new user.

There’s a lot more to maintaining a Yelp presence than just creating a page. This article from Mashable is a good place to start. Mashable suggests responding directly and constructively to any negative reviews your business might receive. Another helpful article from Social Media Examiner provides a list of ways to stay active on Yelp and get the most from the site. If you’re a Breezeworks user, and often communicate with your customers via email, you can remind them to leave Yelp feedback when their project is complete.

  • Advantages: Everyone knows Yelp. Customers have come to expect that they can find many local businesses by searching the Yelp directory. Dedicated, loyal customers can help your business hugely by leaving positive reviews. Yelp’s free mobile app allows you to review your company’s page on the go.
  • Disadvantages: Inviting reviews means accepting negative as well as positive feedback. In addition, you don’t have control over which reviews are prominently displayed on your company’s page. On the bright side, Yelp allows businesses to respond directly to all reviews, providing another way to interact directly with a customer and clear up any misunderstandings.

2. Facebook

Like a Yelp page, a Facebook page is also free to set up for your small service business and can boost your company’s visibility. Unlike Yelp, which is primarily a directory with user reviews, Facebook allows you to post timely content and news related to your company. After you create a page using Facebook’s business portal, you can also purchase ads on Facebook to drive business to your page. This article on Mashable and this one on Huffington Post detail more in-depth ways to make the most of your company’s Facebook presence.

Facebook is an ideal place to share photos of your work. If you’ve been using Breezeworks’ Photo Notes feature, you’ll already have a catalog of job-related photos on your smartphone. You can use Facebook’s free mobile app to upload examples of your work to your Facebook page.

  • Advantages: A Facebook page allows you to interact directly with your customers via comments, and also allows you to post photos, videos, and other content on a news feed. With Facebook’s app, you can reply to posts via mobile phone (which you’ll have in your pocket if you’re using Breezeworks). You can also easily run promotions for the customers who “like” your page.
  • Disadvantages: Although setting up a Facebook page is free, advertising on Facebook can be costly. While some customers may see your posts, it’s not guaranteed that all of them will — not unless you pay additional advertising fees, according to this article in Forbes. Still, Facebook can provide a helpful way to interface with a loyal customer base.

3. Twitter

For the right kind of small service business, Twitter can be a great resource. A Twitter account, free at http://www.twitter.com, is an easy, immediate way to reach your customer base. Like Facebook, Twitter can be a way to gather word-of-mouth business, run promotions, and announce news. If you’re in a line of work that could benefit from speedy communication to a wide audience, Twitter might just be your platform. VentureBeat’s article on Twitter explores a few different ways that small companies have used Twitter to their advantage.

If you’ve got your phone in your pocket, using Twitter is as simple as sending a text — just a lot more public. With Twitter’s free mobile app, you can post messages and keep up with other Twitter feeds. Encouraging customers to “follow” your Twitter feed is another way to keep in touch and communicate. Stuck in traffic? If Breezeworks gives you bad news about transit times, a public tweet can reach all of your Twitter followers immediately.

  • Advantages: The immediacy of Twitter can put your company’s message in your customer’s hands in seconds. Also, you can pay for “promoted tweets” that will advertise your business. Tracking other Twitter feeds and participating in discussions can connect you to other professionals and provide visibility for your business.
  • Disadvantages: Only 143 characters! It requires some creativity to use the limited space in a tweet. If you want to connect with colleagues and fellow industry professionals, you’ll have to devote some time to posting tweets and collecting a list of relevant Twitter feeds.

These are only a handful of the ways you can use social media to promote your small service business. Armed with only a mobile phone, you can keep up with clients, connect with colleagues, and advertise your work while you’re out on the job. With more people on social media than ever these days, there’s few better ways to reach new customers.

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