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Starting a Business

How Can I Use Social Media to Market My Business?

I own a a fashion-based direct sales business. I know social media is a good way to invite people to my trunk shows, where I present my merchandise. But how else can I use social media to advertise?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There a few ways you can do this:

1. Create a fan page.
Since you are a business-to-consumer company, you can reach out directly to the kinds of people who like what you are offering. Use the page to engage your audience through your circle of friends and ask them to help spread the word. Be active on your fan page and let people know what you're up to.

2. Get on Twitter.
This is a must. Start following others who are industry colleagues, then follow people who you are interested in. They will see you re-sharing (re-tweeting) interesting and useful information – including your own original content about your business.

3. Start a business blog.
Write about you as the person who loves to do what you do and why. Recently I visited with the CEO of TMC Media, who said you should be publishing content that is objective and relevant -- not cheesy marketing pitches. And post often. This helps position you as an expert in your field and gets you noticed, which can help improve your ranking on Google.

4. Link your social media accounts.
Work smart, not hard. You can use services such as HootSuite or Social Office Suite to connect your social platforms and monitor them all in one place. These tools are also handy for tracking who is engaging with your brand.

When you have something that can actually show you how your market is responding to your brand, then you can figure where your time is best spent. Is it using Twitter to promote your next trunk event? Is it an event invite over Facebook? Will it be through Evite to get people to reserve a ticket to have special pricing for reserving their tickets there? (That could be a great way to build an opt-in list for emailing people for the next event.)

You'll have to test to see where the best response is. Facebook is a great place to begin the viral process. Get your friends to help suggest your new page, then go get socializing.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Related: How to Promote Your Business Blog with Social Media
Related: Five Ways to Use Twitter for Marketing That You Might Not Know About