Bootstrap THIS! (Warning: SM For Beginners)

(If you’re an ‘expert’ skip to the last line and answer the question.)

No longer do you have to rely on word of mouth or pay exorbitant amounts to get your business’ brand known.  Now, you can get the word out internationally – for free!  Free’s still a word people use, right?
How do you make Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media work for you and for your business?  We ALL know that these tools are free and are a great marketing tool for you, as long as you have the willingness to be creative and persistent, and persistent, and persisten, and persistent …

Everyone knows of the “Old Spice Guy” or the many charity campaigns with an internet component.  While you may not be able to afford to hire actors, you can use pieces of these tried-and-true campaigns to help your low-budget “bootstrapping” strategy.  For example, you can ask customers to name your newest advertising campaign in exchange for product or services, or you can lead a “Tweet for charity” event and offer to donate while raising money and brand equity.  Lowe’s Home Improvement recently offered a weekend of coupons event in which emails were sent for a chance to win 90% off coupons or free merchandise.  This gave them the opportunity to create a database of customers while generating plenty of Facebook buzz.

Reviewing your product lines on Facebook or other sites can help you get the word out about your merchandise while showing your discernment.  You could link to celebrities using your items in internet photos to generate buzz.  You can post photos of your own on Flickr.  Further, you could go more by creating a blog to discuss your product or another aspect of your business.

Using computer networking tools to advertise does have some caveats, though.  Make certain you have a secure password and are discerning in what information you provide online – having your email address hijacked by a spammer can bring on negative customer reactions!  So get out there and make your business known online, but be certain to do it in a way that safeguards your brand and your customer information.

Now’s the time to ask yourself – how am I using this completely free advertising online to work for me and my business model?

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