Small Businesses Can’t Afford to Be Antisocial
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The corporate giants all use social media as a marketing tool. When the big boys all agree on a tactic that usually means everyone should probably try it out – small businesses included.
Yet small businesses owners often question the benefits of social media marketing – wouldn’t the resources of corporations simply overwhelm any small business social media efforts? Is it a worthwhile application of precious time for someone already carrying multiple roles?
Getting your voice and brand out there is simply that crucial in the Internet age. Social media teaches viewers who you are, what you represent and how you can be found. Moreover, once your social media routine is established, it can be automated to an extent, giving you back some of your valuable time.
You’ve probably heard (or are already familiar with) the pitch for participating in social media – it makes you less abstract and more personable. But let’s run through some arguments quickly:
- A business profile on a social media site with product and service information gives potential customers more chances to learn who you are.
- Such profiles also boost your SEO performance. Attaching a friendly, responsive voice to those profiles gives potential and current customers an opportunity to exchange ideas with you and other customers.
- Listen to your customers’ feedback, and you’ll come to understand your constituency better (free market research!) as well as show them you’re eager to hear their ideas.
- Customize your message to the social outlet you’re using – Twitter and Pinterest, for instance, work quite differently.
- Show off your expertise – social media is a great forum for thought leadership posts. Get your content shared and watch it spread across the Internet – you’re not even doing the work there.
- Social media also provides an extra avenue for rewards and special offers, giving special attention to your most attentive customers.
Sounds time-consuming, right? Using a free social media management tool like HootSuite can simplify things greatly, applying one message to all of your social outlets. Plan updates for the ideal time, and automate posting to ensure regular activity. Receive all your social media responses in one window so you don’t have to bounce around.
Having trouble gauging the return on your social media time investment? HootSuite, and many similar products, produces analytic reports on who’s reading what. Learn what’s working and what isn’t, and discover the best applications of your social media efforts.
Still, taking on social media is an exercise in listening and in patience. There’s no slam-dunk windfall to be found, and no floodgate of business to open. Learn about your customers, earn their trust with honest, helpful communication, and watch things improve in the long term.