Support to get online
It is more important than ever to have an online presence for example a website or a social media account. Here are some resources to help small businesses, charities and community groups get online. It can be quick, easy and free!
- Choose your online platform
- Social media platforms
- Video platforms
- Don’t share personal data online
There are a whole range of online platforms available for you to use, depending on your skills, time and budget. These platforms provide different tools for different purposes.
- It is simple and free to list your organisation on Google (external link), so that it shows basic information about your services, location, opening hours and contact details
- Use a website to inform people about your services, particularly if the information doesn’t need to change frequently
- Use an e-commerce tool to take online payments
- If you are building a website, you could explore the many different integrated payment options with the website builder.
- If you do not have a website, its quick and easy to set-up a PayPal account (external link) to take online payments for example. PayPal will take a fee for every transaction
- Read more on the e-commerce options for small businesses (external link)
- Use social media to build a community around your subject by posting short, regular updates
- Use a video channel to directly communicate and share advice or information via video
This is the biggest social media channel worldwide. Free to use.
- If you are not ready to create a full website, you can create a Facebook page and use this as a your ‘website’
- You can add events to your Facebook page
- Visitors can message you via Facebook and you can have a discussion forum
- You can allow others to update your Facebook page
- Visitors don’t have to be on Facebook to view your Facebook page
- Older audiences often use Facebook, but not other social media platforms
- Visitors may expect you to update your Facebook page at least every week
- It will look like a Facebook page and not like your own brand
- Website URL takes the form www.facebook.com/yoursitename
- Create a Facebook account (external link)
- Create a Facebook Page (external link)
- Tips on generating engagement with Facebook (external link)
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets”. It is free to use.
- Once you've set up an account you can post, like, and retweet tweets.
- Tweets are messages up to 280 characters and can be anything from news to an event reminder or just a hello to your followers
- You need to build up ‘followers’ as they are the ones who will primarily be reading your tweets
- Once you have followers, they can spread the word about you so it can be a great way to build an audience
- You can also ‘follow’ other organisations and build a community around your shared interests
- You can include images, gifs and video in tweets
- You get 160 characters to describe your organisation on the profile
- Twitter probably works best for marketing, alongside a website or Facebook page
- Latest tweets can be embedded across most other social media platforms, websites and Facebook
- Followers generally expect replies within 24hours and you should aim to tweet at least weekly
- If your audience isn’t on Twitter then Twitter is not for you
- To get the best out of Twitter and be responsive to the community, you’ll need a smartphone
Instagram is a photo-sharing platform owned by Facebook. Free to use.
- It’s a great option if you want highly visual marketing e.g. products, pictures of events, etc
- Instagram probably works best for marketing, alongside a website or Facebook page
- Latest posts can be embedded across most other social media platforms, websites and Facebook
- It works with ‘followers’ in the same way as Twitter
- If your audience is not on Instagram then Instagram is not for you
- You’ll need a smartphone to use Instagram
The two main video-sharing platforms are YouTube and Vimeo
- Video can be a great way to share information, advice or campaign messages
- Any videos you create can also be shared across most other social media platforms, websites and Facebook
- Video content is promoted in Google search results so your audience doesn’t need to be on YouTube or Vimeo to be aware of your videos
- You’ll need a smartphone to create videos
- You can share an unlimited number of videos for free on YouTube but it has adverts
- You can also share a limited number of videos for free on Vimeo and it doesn’t have adverts
Avoid listing personal email addresses or phone numbers as contact details online. It’s easy to set up a free, generic email address, for example using gmail, outlook or yahoo mail.
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