BBB Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT - Welcome to the wonderful world of online advertising. Since the rise of social networking sites, people have come to learn that using them to advertise has helped their business’ growth expand exponentially. There are so many different social networks in this day and age… but is any one better than the other? Do you need to use them all? And which one is best to advertise your business with?Yes, you need to use all of them. With different social channels come different audiences, styles, and features. Click here to check out a short clip on finding the best ways to advertise online using social media!FacebookFacebook was originally launched in 2004 and has since evolved into one of the most popular websites worldwide, with a staggering 1.86 billion (yes, with a B) monthly active users.* Facebook marketing has completely transformed how businesses advertise and connect with the online community. As of 2016, more than 60 million Facebook Business Pages have been created.*Here are some of the best ways to use Facebook to advertise your business:Create a Facebook Business PageAll you need to create a Facebook Business Page is your business’s name, information, and two photos (one for the Profile Picture and one for the Cover Photo). Click here to start setting up your Facebook Business Page from scratch.Once your page is set up, you’ll establish an audience. Check out the “Build Audience” tools found in your Page’s Admin Menu. You’ll find options to invite both your Facebook friends and email contacts to follow your Page.Join Facebook GroupsAnother great way to build your audience is to join a few Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups are a great way to network with other businesses and build your name in your community.For an easy start, Facebook offers a “Suggested Groups” feature that you can find on your top navigation bar when you view Groups from your Page. You can request to join any group by clicking the “Join” button on the Group’s Page.Post RegularlyNow that you’ve got your page set up and have created a follow-base, you’ll need to start regularly adding content to your page to keep your followers interested and to encourage them to shop with your business. Keep your posts short and visual - linking to an element like a photo or video, article, or a different page. You can post anything from events to special offers to articles you find interesting or that your audience would find interesting. There is no need to post every day, but a good average is 3-5 times per week.Although you should be checking your Page daily for messages, comments, or other interactions from your audience, you can schedule your posts ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about posting at specific times.YouTubeYouTube was originally launched in 2005 and was bought by Google the next year at the tune of $1.65 billion. It has since become the third most visited website in the world, reaching around 88 countries with local versions in 76 languages.*Here are some of the best ways to use YouTube to advertise your business:Create Your Business Channel/YouTube Brand AccountThere are two things you need to create a channel for your business on YouTube: your business’s Google Brand Account and a YouTube Account. This is the trickiest part so stay with me.If you don’t have a YouTube account, you’ll need to make one. Since YouTube is a Google product, you’ll need to use your business’s Google Brand Account to create a YouTube account. If you don’t have a Google Brand Account for your business, you can learn all about them and create one here. If you already have a YouTube account (yay!), you can create your business’s channel by just adding a channel to your account, finding and selecting your Google Brand Account, and filling out the details. Why make a whole different channel you ask? Your business’s channel (aka YouTube Brand Account) is different than your personal channel because you can appoint multiple managers or owners to it. Once your channel is created, you can organize your managers by following these instructions.Create PlaylistsBefore you upload your videos, it might be a good idea to organize where you want to put them. Playlists are different categories for your videos that make it easier for your viewers to find a specific type of video. For example, you can make separate playlists for different topics such as informative videos about your business, tutorial videos, customer testimonials, and more.Upload Those VideosNow that the foundation of your business’s channel is created, it’s time to add your videos. On the top right corner of YouTube, you will see an upward arrow and if you hover your mouse over it, you will see it says upload. Select the video you want to upload from your computer, add a title, description, and tags. On the same screen, you can also manage the privacy settings for each video to either public, private, or unlisted. Since your videos are for your business, you’ll probably want public so that they can be seen and shared by everyone. Before you hit publish, make sure to add the video to any playlist you created that fits with the theme of your video.Subscribe To Other ChannelsInterested in what other businesses are doing on YouTube? You can subscribe to any channel you want by going to a video created by the channel you want to subscribe to and clicking the red button that says ‘Subscribe’. Just like any other social networking site, subscribing to someone puts your business’s name in their head. They might even subscribe to you back!To find channels to subscribe to, YouTube suggests videos and channels on your homepage that it thinks you may like based on other videos you’ve watched. You can also browse for channels by category by clicking on “Browse Channels” on the left side of your homepage to see popular channels across different categories. TwitterTwitter was originally launched in 2006 and now currently ranks as one of the leading social networks worldwide with 313 million active users per month.* Twitter allows registered users to post short & sweet, 140-character messages out to their followers. This is perfect for businesses to stay connected to their community and inform potential customers about their day-to-day activities. Here are some of the best ways to use Twitter to advertise your business:Present your businessThere are four must-haves for your business’s Twitter account if you want it to be successful: an easy-to-identify username, a profile photo, a header image, and a bio.Your business’s username should be under the name of your business so it can be easy to find, not your personal name or anyone else’s. For example, if the title of my business was ‘Emma’s’, I’d want my username to be something along the same lines, such as ‘@emmas’. Avoid using punctuation to keep your name easy to type. If the exact username you want is unavailable, try adding in something simple like your location or your type of business, such as ‘@emmasboston’ or ‘@emmaswriting’. Want something a little more creative? Try a word of encouragement to check out your businesses, such as ‘@visitemmas’ or ‘@writewithemmas’. Make sure you love your username because it can’t be changed once created (unless you want to create a whole new account from the ground up - you don’t). Don’t get too lengthy though, the maximum amount of characters you can have in your username is 15. If you think skipping over adding photos is no big deal, think again. Photos add trust and legitimacy to your account. If I look up a business on Twitter and there isn’t a profile photo, it makes me think that the business is either brand new and doesn’t have a logo, or that the account is poorly managed and not worth a follow, or even that the account is fake trying to scam me. Take the extra five minutes to pick out a profile photo and a header image. Your profile photo (the small square box) is a great place to put your business’s logo. Many people make the mistake of adding a picture of themselves, which makes your page look like a personal account. This photo should be about 400x400 pixels.Your header image can be something a little more creative. You can use a photo of the outside of your business, your products, photos from an event, or even a graphic with text. This image should be about 1500x1500 pixels. Last but not least, create your bio. Your bio is 160 characters to give a brief overview of your business. This could be anything from a mission statement to a slogan or tagline, or even something as simple as your store hours. I recommend you add your business’s location and a link to your business’s website and any other social media accounts you have for your business. And just like that, your business’s account has been created.Follow at a steady paceOn one hand, you want to follow every account you can in hopes that they follow you back. On the other hand, you definitely do not want to go overboard with the following. No one likes an account that is clearly just following you and everyone around you to build their follower base. In fact, Twitter keeps an eye out for pesky accounts such as these that follow too many accounts in a short amount of time and blocks them from following more users until their following-to-followers ratio balances out. Keep it simple and follow the people that matter like other local businesses, friends and family, and businesses you aspire to be like. Engage in conversationTalking on Twitter is always fast and to the point. With only 140 characters to work with per Tweet, there isn’t room for many details. If you need more than 140 characters, you can take the conversation to a Direct Message (DM) where it’s private and can be as long and lengthy as you want. On top of that, the only way to send a DM is if you and the person you want to converse with follow each other. So when a customer sends you a Tweet with a question, you can answer back with a simple “Thanks for reaching out! Give us a follow and we can message you the details.” Depending on your profile’s privacy, your Tweets are public to either the entire Internet or your entire follower base. That means that people can see if you respond to someone or not, so make sure that you come across as responsive and reliable to your followers by checking your account daily and responding to anyone who Tweets at or DM’s you. Tweet, Tweet, TweetTwitter moves fast, you can post a Tweet and then 5 minutes later it could be at the bottom of someone’s Timeline (aka homepage/newsfeed). It’s recommend to post about 2-3 times per day; you can post anything from upcoming sales or events, posts from your blog, an interesting article to check out, photos or videos from your business, or basically anything that comes up during the day! To check out your local BBB’s Twitter page for ideas, visit twitter.com/BBBConnection. InstagramInstagram was originally launched in 2010 and bought by Facebook two years later at the tune of $1 billion. As of January 2017, it hosts 600 million individual accounts and has an estimated worth of $50 billion*. Hats off to Mark Zuckerberg for jumping on a good investment when he saw it.Here are some of the best ways to use Instagram to advertise your business:Set up that accountWhen setting up your business’s Instagram account on your smartphone, you can register with your business email so notifications come to you. Just like Twitter, you’ll want to create a username that is under the name of your business so it can be easy to find, not your personal name or anyone else’s. Your profile photo is a great place to put your business’s logo. Many people make the mistake of adding a picture of themselves, which makes your page look like a personal account. To add or change your profile picture, go to your profile by tapping , and upload your photo by tapping the profile photo circle.Your bio should be informative and friendly. With up to 150 characters of space, it could be anything from a mission statement to a slogan or tagline, or even something as simple as your store hours. I recommend you add your business’s location and the URL to your business’s website. You can make it Instagram-trendy by using emojis to explain these things instead of writing it out. For example, instead of writing out “Located in Boston, MA” in your bio, you can simply put “Boston, MA”.Follow at a steady paceOn one hand, you want to follow every account you can in hopes that they follow you back. On the other hand, you definitely do not want to go overboard with the following. No one likes an account that is clearly just following you and everyone around you to build their follower base. You can’t follow more than 7,500 accounts, so don’t try to overdo it. Keep it simple and follow the people that matter like other local businesses, friends and family, and businesses you aspire to be like. Picture thisNow it’s time to post some pictures! Top business accounts post 4-5 times per week on Instagram. You can post anything from photos or 1-minute videos of your business, your products, your area, your employees (with their permission), to pictures or videos you found on the Internet (site them of course) or graphics you created. To check out your local BBB’s Instagram page for ideas, visit instagram.com/bbbconnection/. Instagram’s format automatically makes your photo a square (the standard size is 612 x 612 pixels). Although the square looks best on Instagram, not all pictures will fit perfectly. By tapping , you can switch the photo from a square to a portrait or landscape.Now it’s time to edit! If your picture is too blurry, dark, bright, crooked or bland, Instagram lets you edit your photo to adjust your photo’s features. Just tap the “Edit” button next to “Filters”. For an easy fix, you can try Instagram’s “Lux” feature that automatically enhances your photo. After selecting a photo, tap at the top of the screen to apply Lux.Now it’s time to slap on a filter. The most popular filters are Clarendon, Gingham, Juno, and Lark, but any filter that best suits your photo will do. You can change the intensity of the filter by double-tapping to filter and using the slider to adjust the filter strength. A picture is worth a thousand wordsAfter you have finished editing your photo to your liking, you can add a caption, location, and tag other people. Captions can be up to 2,200 characters. Instagram is the place to be fun with your captions - they should be professional but friendly, almost like you are talking with the person you are showing the picture to. Feel free to add in some emojis for color and don’t forget your...#HashtagsHashtags are a must for Instagram. Since users can search for posts by hashtags, they offer a different way to expand your reach. Use a main hashtag in all of your posts (such as #yourbusiness’sbrandname) to make it easier for people to find content related to your brand. With a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, you can hashtag like crazy; I recommend at least 5 hashtags per post. Hashtags can be anywhere in your caption - right smack dab in the middle of a sentence or at the very end all together. Want to separate your hashtags from the rest of your caption? You can add a comment to your post where you can post all your hashtags and it will expand your reach just the same.Tell a storyInstagram stories are the photos of accounts that appear in circles at the top of your newsfeed. They are pictures and videos (live or in your camera reel) or even Boomerangs that can be viewed for only 24 hours. Using this feature allows your business to post content that doesn’t have to be as high-quality and professional as regular posts. You can even add face filters, hashtags, locations, and tag people to make your posts even more discoverable. *information and statistics provided by facebook.com/business, support.google.com/youtube, youtube.com/yt/press, about.twitter.com/company, business.twitter.com/en/basics.html, help.instagram.com, blog.instagram.com and instagram.com/press.