As Summer has blown by, I finally sat down to review and process all the notes from the Women’s Innovation Network’s Summer Retreat in Geneva, IL. We’re already anticipating our next big event, Creativity for Business Day during Crain’s Small Business Week. To learn more about this all-day event on October 2, 2012,Â click here.
â€œThe Internet is a different neighborhood.
Donâ€™t think of it as a TV or a machine,
it is a whole other community.â€
~ Erica Thomas
1. Have a social networking presence
Erica first introduced us to NetworkHoncho.com, a new online community she is about to launch. Of course her first tip was to reserve our spot!
â€œTechnology is crucial now more than ever.Â
You need a total online image.
We CAN do these things, market and promote ourselves for free.â€
2. Create outposts all over the web
With Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, message boards, chat rooms, and numerous other outlets, we can find a place to spread the word about our business and position ourselves as experts.
Erica mentioned that message boards are often overlooked, but asking or responding to questions in your niche can create a following and awareness of your business. One way to find a board is to think of a question a customer might ask and enter that into a search engine.
â€œThe more you have your image online
the more you franchise yourÂ own business promotion.â€
Key is to use each option as a tool that works for you. If LinkedIn isnâ€™t useful, try Twitter. If Twitter is overwhelming, look at another online tool.
â€œGo where you are comfortable. Find your fit and go there.â€
3. Video is extremely important
YouTube video is the top online promotional tool right now. Since it is owned by Google the search engine optimization happens overnight; the key is to properly use your description box, titles and tag your video. Regular Search Engine Optimization via a web site can take up to 6 weeks to be indexed.
You donâ€™t have to appear in the video if you are camera shy; you can use images with a voice-over. Take photos and develop an art library for your business. Make a video, and then keep pushing more videos out. A few WIN members offer video services.
4. Have a technology expert for your business
Knowing a technology expert can help you with easy computer maintenance that you might otherwise pay a lot of money for. It also helps you to discuss new software and hardware upgrades and establish what is truly necessary for you. They also have an inkling on whether a new coding language or gadget is here to stay.
â€œKeep aware of trends but ignore fads.â€
5. Be consistent in your online presence and stick to it
Decide on a posting schedule that works for you, but make sure you adhere to that schedule. If you go without posting for a long period people can forget you. With consistency, theyâ€™ll remember to look for your post a certain time of the week.
â€œIf theyâ€™re not looking for you, you can get lost in the crowd.â€
Since the workshop I’ve added a laptop fan to my technology investments, and am in talks with Erica to improve my web presence. I haven’t thought much about the video part yet, but it’s in the back of my head now. You can peruse additional social media tips in this post.
ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.