Social Media Marketing And Management For Small Businesses
Did you know that most businesses now consider social media as an integral component of their marketing mix and overall business strategy? Considering the vital role it plays in determining whether you will eventually succeed or fail in achieving your business goals, maybe it’s about time you think about joining the online conversation or you may risk losing your customers over to your competition.
Why Should You Consider Social Media Marketing?
Let’s explore some important information about social media marketing and management for Small Businesses tips and best practices. In a nutshell, small businesses should consider making their presence felt online for a lot of good reasons. For example, it can:
- Put your brand in front of your target market. Your target market spends most of their time online so you should, too. Interacting with your target market in the top social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Foursquare can definitely enhance your brand visibility and improve your bottom line so go for it!
- Enhance your credibility. Providing valuable content can help enhance your credibility as an expert in your niche and help turn your fans and followers to loyal customers.
- Help you gain competitive advantage. By listening and participating in online discussions, you will know exactly what your market wants and provide them with the solution they need way ahead of your competitors. For sure, this can give you a definite edge over your competitors.
- Put a human face to your business. For folks who I have the pleasure of speaking with at conferences and workshops, they know I mention this often. People prefer to buy from people so humanizing your business can significantly help increase your profit potentials.
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Benefits of Social Media Marketing – Straight from the Mouths of Experts:
According to a new study conducted by Manta.com, one of the largest online communities dedicated to promoting and connecting small businesses around the world, about 90% of some 600 small businesses they surveyed across the US indicated that they are actively networking online to promote their business and expand their customer base. The study also revealed that 78% of the respondents have gained 25% of their new customers through social media and other online channels for this year alone. Isn’t that great? You bet it is.
In addition, a study conducted by the Chicago Community Trust (http://cct.org/sites/cct.org/files/CCT_LinkingAudiences2012.pdf) in April 2012 indicated that Facebook and Twitter plays an important role in driving highly targeted traffic to small businesses. In fact, about 50% of all the referred visits to the Chicago-based sites included in the study were traced back to these two social networking giants. These studies, along with numerous others, clearly indicate how social media helps small businesses. So, are you ready to learn how it can help you take your business to the next level? You definitely should!
Make Social Media Work for You -
Despite the many benefits that can be achieved by interacting with your target market in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare and all the other top social media platforms, there are a lot of business owners who find difficulty in getting things right. The Manta survey revealed that about 58% of the businesses they surveyed are having difficulties promoting their Facebook pages while a survey conducted by Business Network International (BNI) indicated that about 75% of business owners were “put off a particular company due to their poor use of social media”.
To avoid such problems, here are some tips that can help you get the most from your social media efforts:
- Identify your goals. Determine what you intend to get from your efforts before signing up for any social media platform. Do you want to raise awareness? Do you want loyal followers? Do you also want visitors to your website? It’s always best to do your research, study them, understand your target audience and implement what you’ve learned.
- Strategize. Consider which platform will work best for your business and focus your energy to make sure you get the best results possible. You do not have to sign-up on all social media platforms if you prefer; however, make sure that you can maintain your accounts and keep up with your audience. After all, being in every social media channel and doing a half-hearted effort in promoting your brand doesn’t really make any sense. Therefore, having some strategies will also help you measure your success online.
- Provide value. It pays to be active but make sure your target market gets something of value from all your posts. Dare to share industry secrets and how-to tips. Providing free advice on your field of expertise and building relationship with your audience can definitely help create a positive buzz around your business.
- Avoid posting duplicates. For best results, make sure you tailor-fit your posts so that you’ll have unique versions for your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Redundancy may prove problems and followers may decide to un-follow your accounts. Therefore, keep it simple, yet interesting and valuable.
- Interact. Responding to your customers’ queries in a timely manner can help put your business at the top of your game. It really doesn’t matter if you choose to use Facebook over Twitter or Pinterest as long as you interact. What matters is that you engage your people in an interesting conversation and be there to answer their queries.
- Avoid blatant self-promotion. Avoid focusing on yourself or your business entirely since this can be the ultimate turn-off. Promoting your products or services once in a while in your postings is recommended. As mentioned above, providing value and cultivating strong relationships online by encouraging two-way conversations and sharing are important. Liz Strauss, the founder of SOBCon and a well-known social web strategist pointed out in one of her posts, “ask people what they’re thinking; keep listening when they tell you because it’s irresistible when you do” said it best. That’s the right way to do it.
Done right, social media can take your business to the next level so get ready to be taken for the ride of your life! Have questions, contact us and we’ll discuss which social media platforms are suitable for your business.