Running a small- or medium-sized business is challenging for a number of reasons. Often, it feels like you’re racing to survive, not thrive, with business owners feeling incredibly time poor and struggling to streamline their cashflow.
It can also be tough to keep up with the best and latest free digital tools. So, here is a list of three must-have digital platforms, that will help you stand out from your competitors. The best part? They’re all completely free of charge and easy to use.
It may sound obvious, but many small- and medium-sized businesses in Australia still either don’t have a Facebook business page, or do have one, but haven’t optimised it. This is quite mind-blowing as it’s completely free of charge to set up, is a great way to connect with your current and future customer base, and will deliver some quick wins for your business if you spend time on it.
Once you’ve set up a page, the best way to optimise it is actually really simple. You will look professional simply by:
- Having a profile photo illustrating what your business does or showing your company logo;
- Sharing a written description of your business;
- Sharing your business’ contact details; and
- Sharing information about who you help (in other words, your target customers).
Regular organic posts sharing tips, news and insights about your industry as well as photos of your business and team will bring your business to life.
Another simple way to optimise your Facebook business page is by asking customers to leave a review. Reviews carry weight with new customers as increasingly consumers read the reviews of others before deciding to try out a new business or service.
There’s also the option of putting a small and measured spend behind some of your posts to turn them into ‘sponsored’ posts. For a very small investment, you can target new customers in a specific locality or region.
For example, if you’re running a particular promotion for your local business you could ‘sponsor’ some relevant Facebook posts or run a specific ad campaign to reach people in your local area. You can also target a specific demographic, such as families or couples who may visit the area on the weekend.
2. Google My Business
Google My Business is also essential for every small- and medium-sized business to be represented on as it shares basic location information about your company for anyone searching for businesses on Google Maps. It also influences your local search rankings and highlights your business with a red dot on the map.
Similar to having a Facebook page, the benefits of being on Google My Business are ultimately down to how you optimise your presence.
For example, it’s possible to include a photo of your business and describe what your company does, your opening hours and how customers can contact you. Google My Business provides your customers with a quick snapshot of your business without having to search through your website.
Google My Business also allows you to share business updates and news, with text, photos and videos. Plus, Google My Business allows you to see the analytics and results of customers coming to your website, so you can see what kind of information your customers are searching for.
Canva is a graphic design platform which is free of charge. With a ‘drag and drop’ format, it’s very easy to use, again with minimal time investment from you or your team. Canva has been built for non-designers as well as designers and gives businesses and individuals access to millions of photographs, graphics and fonts.
With Canva you can develop a unique and specific visual identity and make your brand instantly recognisable online. This makes your business more memorable straight away without incurring the expense of a graphic designer.
You can also create visual appeal for your business with eye-catching images and designs. Canva is completely customisable and lets you upload your own logos and designs and edit them to create visual images that really connect with your target audience.
These three different platforms are a great way to increase the visibility of your business online and help drive more revenue in 2019. To get ahead of your competition, using free platforms like these will ensure your business’ digital presence is in tip-top condition without spending heaps of time or money in the process.