In addition to social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., professional sites can help boost your online business presence, develop and maintain professional contacts, and attract clients. Membership and certification organizations, business listing and referral services, and business social pages can connect you with colleagues and potential customers alike. By providing links back to your business website, you also increase search engine optimization (SEO) and generate leads.
Different Models of Business Marketing Platforms
- Professional Membership Associations. Available in virtually every field, one example is the Editorial Freelancers Association, whose paid membership offers benefits such as continuing education, a discussion group, and a job list through which those seeking to hire editors and writers post positions on which members bid.
- Professional Certification Organizations. Also available in many fields, an example for those in the fire- and water-damage business is the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, which has a free referral service so consumers can find certified service providers.
- Professional Listing and Referral Services. One example of a pro-paid listing service for home-improvement businesses is HomeAdvisor. This service enables customers to request a cost guide, access a library of articles, use its ProFinder app, and leave starred reviews—all for free. The subscription service Angie’s List now offers a free plan in addition to paid plans so consumers can hire and review pre-screened pros. Also, you can post all reviews on your own “Testimonials” website page.
- LinkedIn. Through the LinkedIn business social site, professionals from every field can connect with colleagues in their own specialty and beyond, branching into an ever-widening network. Membership is free and enables you to build an engaging profile, post updates, publish posts, and join field-specific discussion groups. A Business Plus (paid) subscription offers increased opportunities to connect and more functionality to grow your business, including ProFinder.
- LinkedIn ProFinder. This new marketplace connects top-quality freelance and independent professionals with new leads and also offers a publishing platform. For those looking to hire freelancers, posting projects is free. For service providers and freelance professionals looking to get hired, the first five proposal responses are free, after which a LinkedIn Premium Business Plus subscription is necessary.
- Other Business Social Pages. Let the insatiable desire for online content work to your advantage by uploading your profile and posting content to free online business pages through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other sites. When you create and share interesting, relevant content for your followers, including photos and videos, they share it with others and refer them to your page—a portal to your website.