3 Ways to Make the Internet Work for Your Business in 2014

Your website is open for business 24/7. Put it to work!

Your website is open for business 24/7. Put it to work!

Small businesses are always on the lookout for inexpensive, easy and effective ways to promote their businesses.

Here are three ways small business owners who have time to handle their own public relations and social media tasks can put the Internet to work for them in 2014.

Take Part in Local Online Networking Groups

Lakeland Business Leaders is a Facebook group that boasts online membership of more than 1,200 people who represent a wide range of local businesses. This group and others like it are particularly good for service-oriented businesses, because members are quick to refer each other when someone posts that they’re looking for a mechanic, a plumber, a veterinarian, etc. With a combination of online referral opportunities, weekly in-person power breakfasts that are free for premium members, and monthly meet and greet events, you can build your business online and in real life. Just remember to treat the online community as you would people you encounter in person. Don’t use these groups only to promote your current sales or promotional events. Get involved in conversations. Respond to referral requests. Think of ways you can add value to the conversation. Visit LakelandBusinessLeaders.com for more information, or join the Facebook page.

You Should be on YouTube

If you’re trying to reach 18- to 34-year-olds, consider YouTube. This video-sharing social media platform reaches more adults in this age bracket than any cable network, according to Fast Company. Don’t worry if you don’t have a video production background or a high definition camera. A good video that helps solve a potential customer’s problem or answer a question will get viewed, even if the lighting isn’t perfect. Be sure to include a keyword in your title that people might use when searching for your video’s topic.

Tweet A Little

There are 52.7 million Twitter users in the U.S., according to Social Media Today. The majority of users are between ages 18-29, so this is another great social media platform if this is your demographic. Twitter is great for getting feedback from existing customers and building relationships with new ones. Make sure you don’t take the “social” out of social media. Use it to share your good news, promote an upcoming event or inform followers of your latest blog post. But also use it to respond to a customer complaint, answer questions and build rapport.

Good luck growing your business in 2014. May the force of the Internet be with you.