In today’s fast-paced digital world, people are constantly plugging into the internet any way possible from smartphones, computers and tablets. No longer is the internet used just for an occasional e-mail or research report. Now, people desire to stay connected 24 hours a day with friends and family through their social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and several smaller interest-based sites.
For small businesses, this means an online presence is one of the best ways to get noticed. The vast variety of social media outlets can help small businesses build their image, promote brand awareness and find their target audience quicker and cheaper than ever before.
The more social your business is, the greater your brand awareness will be. It is wise to take advantage of multiple social media outlets to discover which one works best for you. When choosing where to put your profile, don’t underestimate the power of blogs. Blogs are a great way to build your brand, and the greater the number and quality of the posts you create, the higher your organic search engine ranking will be.
One of the main goals when building your image should be to let customers know you care about them and their business. A recent study conducted by about.com found that 80% of consumers “expect businesses to bend over backwards to earn their business.” Because of this, interacting with your customers online is essential. One way to achieve this trust is to allow consumers to write questions or comments that you respond to. Additionally, encouraging customers to write reviews of your service and/or product can be a great asset assuming the reviews are good. But, above all, be sure to respond promptly to what your customers write.
As a small business, it may be difficult to keep up with all the posting required to stay on top of the social media game. To overcome this, develop a plan of how often you’ll publish posts and how quickly you intend to respond to questions or comments. Whether it’s daily or weekly, it’s important to stay on top. The consistency you provide online will speak volumes about the quality of service your small business provides.
Find Your Market
Social media can help small businesses spend less time and money hunting for new customers. Do not overlook the power of “friending” clients and contacts after they have found you. By friending them, you will be opening a window into their world. Sales are generally an emotionally based decision, and socializing with your customers will help you find out what is important to them and what drives them to spend money. Your new found knowledge will help you improve your product, service and sales tactics.
Where to Start
If you are ready to build your social media profile and build your business, keep in mind these pointers. Wherever you decide to put your social media profile, you need to be able to keep up with postings and responses to questions and comments. If someone found your business profile and noticed you haven’t posted anything for weeks or that it’s been several days since you responded to a customer’s question, they will likely take their business somewhere else. Be sure you can stay on top of the social profiles you create.
Make your postings relevant. Your customers do not want their news feeds and tweets full of info they don’t care about, just as they don’t want to waste time reading blog posts or watching videos that aren’t useful to them. Relevant and useful information is key.
When used appropriately, social media can be a powerful tool in building your small business. Take advantage of the many ways social media can help your business grow.
About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer for Income.com and expert in business who specializes in giving entrepreneur advice. With over 20 years of business experience, Robert is now retired and hopes others can benefit from his writing.