Are you operating lean these days? Have you slashed your budget to next to zero and still worry about how you’re going to stay afloat?
Have no fear, free social media tools are here.
I’ve put together this list of 10 extremely popular social media sites that have tools you can use to market your products, keep in touch with clients, and manage projects all without paying a cent.
1. Blogger. http://www.blogger.com/ Blogger is one of the most well known blogging platforms (next to WordPress, which I’ll talk about below). Why should a e-commerce site blog? The more appropriate question to ask is why not? Maintaining a blog lets you communicate to past, present and future purchasers that there’s a human behind that site of yours. Use your site to feature a new prouduct or a popular customer.
2. WordPress. http://wordpress.com/ Not to be confused with WordPress.org (which is the pay-for-customization side of WordPress), this blogging platform is very similar to Blogger in its means to publication. I you do decided to start a blog, here’s something to consider when deciding to choose Blogger v. WordPress: Without paying any money, Blogger is more customizable if you intend to add widgets; however, WordPress has many more templates and styles but does not let you customize much more than that.
3. YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/ This video site isn’t just for teen-agers and wanna-be Rock Stars. Consider using YouTube to upload a commercial about your products or how-to videos explaining how a product is used (or constructed). YouTube accounts are free and easy to set up and can be embedded on your site.
4. Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ A microblogging site that asks you to tell the world what you’re doing in 140 characters or less, Twitter truly is sweeping the world as a form of communicating with anyone and everyone who’s interested in what you have to say. Use Twitter to announce an upcoming sale or as a customer service tool. Keep an eye out for trends using TwitterSearch or download Tweetdeck to keep up with your conversations. Check out the folks at Zappos or an example of an e-commerce site that Twitters.
5. Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ This social networking site is most noticeably used to keep up with old pals, however, many consumers are also using it to profess their love for the products they use. Why not create a Fan Page for your products or site and invite your best customers to become a fan. Remember the phrase “If you build it, they will come’? Same thing applies here.
6. GoogleGroups http://www.groups.google.com/ Part of the Google Applications Suite, Google Groups is a free tool you can use to collaborate with multiple users. Think of Google Groups like your very own intranet or wiki. You add content, hit publish, send a note to the other users you want to see it and voila – you’ve communicated to your staff (or vendors, franchisers, etc.).
7. GoogleDocs http://www.docs.google.com/ Another component of the Google Application Suite, Google Docs is a free tool you can use to create word processing documents and spreadsheets. Docs will also let you publish and share with whomever you choose if you so need.
8. Flickr http://www.flickr.com Flickr is a photo management and sharing site with global reach (and popularity for that matter). How can you use Flickr? Upload product images and tag them appropriately. When someone searches for, say, Water Filtration, if you’ve done your job right, your images should appear. Voila: free marketing.
9. Anyvite http://anyvite.com/home If you’re considering trying an offline event, Anyvite helps you assemble an e-mailed invitation (without ads), import contacts, add locations including links and keep tabs on your guest list. If you’ve followed the advice above, you’re also on Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. This site will also collaborate with those sites to post images, videos and messages about the event.
10. Skype. http://www.skype.com Do you ever find yourself wishing you had a second phone line but aren’t sure how to pay for it? Consider downloading Skype, a free voice-over-internet tool