Friday 5 May 2017

7 FREE Online Tools Essential for Marketing Your Business

Nicki Edgell

Most of the tools listed in this article are forms of what we call social media. But don't be misled. These so called social media tools are being used more and more by businesses that are leveraging the power of the internet to reach a global market. Since realising this myself I have completely changed my attitude to social media from one of an addictive waste of time to an opportunity to widely market my products and services.

Some skills are required to run these accounts and to maximise the benefits but with a bit of practice these can be mastered quite quickly and then you will be ahead of a game in which social media marketing is still a relatively alien concept to most people.

Some time is required to set up the accounts and maintain them, but you don't have to spend as long as you may think. There are tools available that can automatically share and schedule content for example, and if you work in a team you can cross share and duplicate.

And, best of all, amazingly if you ask me, all these facilities are free!

But Does It Work?

It may sometimes seem that despite hours of social media and 1000s of views and clicks you have not made many sales or contacts, and you may wonder what is the point? However do not give up. A key thing to remember with social media is that you are getting out there. It may take 1000 views to get a bite but that one bite can make all the difference especially if the 1000 views were gained through very efficient and boundaried use of your social media time.

Another critical thing to realise is that social media is increasing your overall online presence and hence your visibility in search engines. So even if people do not find or read a post, Google will.

"Eighty percent of success is turning up."
Woody Allen
Actually turning up puts you in the game and at an advantage as many of your competitors will not. Even if you don't get a sale this time your name will be out there and maybe months or years later someone might remember and will be a lot more likely to contact you than someone who is invisible.

But crucially by spreading your presence including your shop links all over the internet using these free facilities you are increasing your chances of being found. At Nikkenergy Google often finds our social media presence before our conventional websites. If someone is googling a key word or phrase such as "alkaline water" more often than not Google will return a blog post high up the rankings.
Think of social media as planting hooks and seeds all over the internet - some of these will flourish in the future!
Google also likes active sites and these social media pages are easier to keep active than a more typically static website.

Some of our blog posts via Google+ appearing on Google front page search results

Let's look at the list of seven below. You don't need to master all of them. Indeed you may decide that Facebook is your thing and not Twitter, or you have time for three of these tools and not all seven, or why not just start with one if you are a beginner? They all perform different functions and have different audiences, reach and scope: From Twitter which is good for a quick snap ad to a Blog which is as sophisticated as a website.

Be aware that some of the tools are co-owned and hence come in groups, so maxing up the use of all parts will not take a proportional increase in your time. For example once you have a Google Account, this comes with Blogger, Google Plus and YouTube together and all three can be accessed from the same log in. Similarly Instagram and Facebook can be linked.

If I was pushed to choose a priority judging on the engagement we have gained, I'd say the key ones to start with would be Facebook and a Blog (auto linked to Google Plus), closely followed by a YouTube channel. However it depends on your market. If you are selling highly visual items for example you might find Instagram essential. If your potential customer base is more interested in reading reviews and testimonials a more wordy blog site may work best.


Facebook gets a lot of stick. Sure it can be a terrible waste of time and appeals to some of the most dubious characteristics of human nature when it comes to the ego, narcissism, confirmation bias, fake news, FOMO and mob mentality. It is used mostly by friends for social posts (and a lot of political debate) and has interest groups. But putting that aside, when applied to business it's a different matter - in fact my attitude to Facebook changed entirely when I started using it for business.

What you need is a dedicated business page which is kept separate from your personal page (some business people don't separate the two and although some minimal crossover is possible and probably even desirable it is generally sensible to separate your business from your social posting). So in order to get a business page you do need to start with a personal account but once you have set up your personal account you don't even need to use it. Many people, particularly if working for themselves, find online privacy has to be compromised to at least some extent if they want a visible online presence, but if you want, there isn't anything stopping you setting up a pseudonym personal account or one with fictitious data purely in order to access the business pages.

Once you have your account (let's face it most of us will have one already) it is a very quick process to create a business page, brand it up, link it to your shop or external website, and start posting information. You can set up multiple business pages if you want and invite colleagues to contribute, administer and edit the pages. You usually get the option to change the @username of the business page to one of your choosing subject to availability. If in luck this allows you to have a recognisable web address of the format rather than a series of random characters and numbers.

It's all free but Facebook will frequently offer to sale you advertising space designed to boost your reach. I've tried some cheap ad campaigns without any significant breakthroughs to date, having found encouraging likes and shares amongst existing contacts to work just as well. Anyway there is that option depending on your budget, and a minor inconvenience if you are not interested.

See an example here.


A blog is an easy way to obtain a CMS (content management system) website. Look around this blog as an example. Built and maintained using Google's Blogger it has pages and links, and is updated frequently. What other website provider can provide such a service for nothing? Furthermore as it is owned by Google, Google likes to find it in searches and provides seamless integration with other (also free!) google products such as Google Plus and YouTube below.

In order to access the Google Blogger (and the services below) you need a google account. This is easy to set up just be signing up for a gmail account (if you have a gmail email address already you may not realise you do have a google account at the same time). Once signed into your account you can access the various services (or google apps) via the 9 square button usually at the top right of your browser.

Click on the Blogger icon and follow the steps to create a profile and a blog site. I recommend opting for the full profile option including Google Plus (+). I also recommend just choosing any design and getting going. It is much easier to learn these things by trial and error during which you can view your site live, usually before many members of the public will find it. Fine tuning including transferring to more attractive templates can always be done later.

See an example here.

Note that the most popular Blogging platform is actually Wordpress which is a website building platform that specialises in content managed blogs. Many wordpress sites do look good and I will be investigating their offer in the future (I understand there is a free option and a paid subscription option) but in the meantime there are many attractive Google Blogger templates that offer the same functionality.

Also some people have a blog enabled website (ie. a website that already has a content managed blog page). These are fine and give a nice integrated look but I still think a separate blog has it's advantages (you get a second website for a start, hence a wider reach).

Google Plus

One of the advantages of the Google offer are the add ons including Google Plus (G+). Google Plus was really created as a rival to Facebook. It hasn't really caught on so much here in the UK but is big in America. It can be used as an add on to your Blogger whereby blogs are automatically shared on Google Plus gaining leveraged exposure especially in North America. At Nikkenergy we gain many views on Google Plus and the Google Plus pages (which are duplicates of our blog postings in our case) rank highly in searches.

It is available to anyone who has a Google Account and can be set up and linked as part of the Blogger set up process above.

See an example here.


Many businesses are using YouTube now for online video marketing. You can make your own videos, edit them and add captions and links, and share others through playlists or to your own channel.

YouTube is another google product available through your google account log in (via the 9 square button). 

After reaching a certain milestone with your YouTube account you can, like Facebook, personalise your web address to (subject to availability).

It is easy to upload your own videos to YouTube. You can also add links to certain time points within a video.

See an example here.


Twitter is a slightly different beast in that I see it as slightly more independent than the others. Starting an account is easy involving inputting an email address, choosing a twitter handle (username), a couple of photos, some accounts to follow, and away you go. Basic tweets are limited to 140 characters but you can link and add photos and media. Twitter will usually automatically shorten links so as to give you more leeway with the character limit.

Like many of the social media platforms you can also set up automatic feeds so your new YouTube videos for example are posted automatically to your Twitter account. You can also use a leveraging tool like Tweetdeck to manage multiple accounts or scheduling software like Buffer to schedule future tweets.

Twitter posts are more fleeting than Facebook for example so rather than content having a lasting effect it is more a case of posting a quick "flashcard" which will most likely only be read by whoever of your followers happen to be on at the time.

See an example here.


Linkedin is the social media network for professionals. Like Facebook it offers the opportunity to share posts and articles. But the key advantage it has is that it is deliberately aimed at professionals and their businesses. Therefore people expect to see posts about your business and will link with you accordingly and will more likely read your content with some degree of interest. It is thus designed for a very different audience and your network is much more likely to be professional contacts rather than friends. Consequently there is little danger that these people will become irritated with your business marketing, like a friend could do on Facebook for example.

Recently a very good blogging / article facility was introduced. See an example of one of my articles here.


Instagram is a mobile phone app that allows you to post photos and videos, with captions and hashtags. It is very popular with a younger demographic and now considered an important platform for businesses. It is quick and easy to take a picture of a product, an event, or a location, edit the photo and add some text, and then post it instantly on Instagram and share to Facebook.

See an example here.


There are many more social media and website options (eg. Wordpress, Wix, Pinterest, Mailchimp, Medium, Whatsapp etc) and it is worth keeping abreast of developments and trends, but spend a day setting up some or all of the above and you will instantly be ahead of the vast majority of the competition.
Even if people do not find or read a post, Google will.
Signing up is the first stage, setting up comes next, and then once all set up you have to run and maintain the accounts. Each stage is a subject in itself and will take a bit of training and trial and error especially if social media and IT is new to you. But don't give up. Start with one and then add others to your arsenal. When you are set up try a post a day, and a blog a week. Combine it with a 30 and 90 day challenge. This sort of constant activity gets you into a rhythm of your business. Within several months you will have a library of online information both visible to Google and the envy of many competitors.

Nikkenergy is a team of home based network marketing entrepreneurs working in the field of health and wellness who leverage the internet to expand their markets worldwide. Nikkenergy team members have access to free IT assistance. If you would like to learn more about the opportunities with Nikkenergy, or have any questions about this post please leave a comment below.

About the Author

Nicki Edgell

I am a clinical Psycho-neuro-immunologist, Metabolic Balance Coach, Natural Nutritionist and Independent Nikken Consultant. I practice in Brighton in the South of England, helping individuals and groups towards the health, vitality and the life they want for themselves. I work under the principle that wellness depends on a balanced holistic approach to living, in all areas of your life: your body, mind, family, community and financial health all have an impact on your wellbeing.


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.

Statutory Notice: Although every effort is made to keep this information accurate and up to date this is not an official Nikken website. Registered trademarks® of Nikken appear throughout this site. Our Independent Nikken Consultants do not make any medical claims. Nikken products are not medical devices and may not be recommended to treat specific medical conditions. People who are in their first 3 months of pregnancy, or who have a pacemaker, health problem or electronic device (either implanted or external) should consult their doctor or manufacturer of the device before using magnetic products. Do not place Nikken's magnetic products in direct contact with magnetically sensitive items such as watches, video and audiotapes, computer discs, credit cards and portable electronic equipment. It is illegal for a promoter or a participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits from getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved. Any personal data is not shared. Newsletter or blog followers can opt out at any time. If you sign up for my newsletter, which is administered through Mailchimp, I will store some of your information, including your email address, and certain information about the links you click within the emails I send you, on a Mailchimp server. Neither I nor Mailchimp will ever sell your email address or share it with any other party.