I was one of the first college kids to join Facebook back in 2004, when registering with a valid college email address was a requirement. That’s right, I was an early adopter. I had no clue what Facebook was—I was just a freshman who wanted to make friends on campus and stay informed about events going on.

10 years later, everyone and their mom (literally) a has Facebook page. Classmates from elementary school, distant cousins in England, your favorite rock bands, even the local coffee shop down the street. Essentially, you don’t exist online if you don’t have a Facebook page. And if you’re like me, you never had the opportunity to take college courses covering topics like Social Media and Online Marketing. You’re just trying to keep up with the digital world and stay above water.

During my three years at Tarkenton Financial, I have witnessed the importance and value of marketing your business online, and have learned so much about it. Whether you’re a local mom and pop shop or an independent salesperson, your customers will search for you online—and you need to be there.

So what’s the first step? A website for your business. This doesn’t mean you have to spend your life savings paying a top-of-the-line developer to custom create a website for you, especially if you’re just starting out. You might get to that point, but your website can evolve with your business. Here are some pointers when building your website:

  1. Show your personality and keep your navigation simple and intuitive. You want to let your potential customers know what you can do for them, without boring them to death with tons of useless information.
  2. Offer free downloads or guides to generate leads (require visitors to complete a contact form before the download).
  3. Buy a domain name. Make it something short and easy to spell so people can remember it. GoDaddy offers domains and custom email addresses for only $10-$15 per year.
  4. Make sure your website is integrated with SEO (search engine optimization) capabilities to get ranked higher in search results. This gives you the ability to add keywords and descriptions for each page.

Now that you have a website, it’s time for a Facebook Business page! You can create a page by logging in using your personal Facebook credentials. From there, the process is very simple. Choose the type of business you have and complete the form with all of your company information (including your website address). The more information you provide the better. Invite all of your Facebook friends to like your page and spread the word. This is like having another website out there. It’s another way for potential customers to find you online and learn about your business. Happy customers can share their stories on your page and rate your business. You can share content relevant to your business (website links, blogs, videos, etc.), post coupons, and create events/contests. It’s a no brainer!

The key is to put yourself out there and learn as you go. Before you know it, you’ll be connected to all sorts of prospects and customers (or maybe even those distant cousins in England).

View More