Getting your small business online
The first step to getting your business online is to use the web yourself. Get to know how people interact online. If you don't have a Facebook account, set one up. Create a Linkedin profile and join some groups. Sign-up to Twitter. Find out what RSS feeds are and how to use them to read blogs.
Once you have spent a bit of time connecting with people and reading blogs, it's time to start using it to promote your business and increase customer satisfaction. The great thing about the web is that it's mostly free of charge.
I'm going to outline one possible strategy for using the web for your business. Of course there are many ways of using these tools.
Setting up Facebook for your brand.There are roughly 800 million users on the social network. It makes sense to have a very visible presence on Facebook. To that end, you can create a branded page. To see an example of a branded page, here are a few examples Coca Cola and Nike. There are a few rules around setting up branded pages. Here is a video from Facebook outlining how to set up the timeline for your business.
Using Linkedin to find new business
Linkedin is a social network for professionals. If you are in the B2B business this is a great place to find new customers. There is a great article here that gives tips on using Linkedin for sales prospecting.
Using Twitter for customer support
Twitter is a great way for your customers to contact you and for you to react when things do not go according to plan. If things do go wrong, Twitter is often the place that people go to complain so it makes sense to keep a close eye on it. You can set up a search in tools like Tweet deck. For a more Enterprise level solution, there is Radian 6.
Setting up your own website
Hopefully there is enough here to get you thinking about an online strategy. If you would like more information, tweet me @aonghusflynn.