Learning how to use social media is a proven, effective way to help your small business grow. Social media has become essential for small businesses marketing for several reasons. Once you master how to leverage social media for your business, you will be able to reap the benefits and watch your revenues grow.
Why Social Media Is Essential
Exposure: More and more people are turning to social media to help them decide what to buy and from whom. Businesses without a focused social media presence may not be considered established enough by some consumers. Some potential customers need the “social proof” and credibility that social media can give a small business, so help them make their buying decision. Social media is a place where consumers can "check out" your business – before they decide to do business with you. You need to make it clear what you offer, what you stand for, and what customers your serve even in your social profiles.
Affordable: Social media is an extremely affordable way to spread the word about your business without a large marketing budget. If you want to help things along, paid social advertising such as Facebooks ads, typically costs a fraction of other types advertising and gives almost immediate results in terms of ROI. You can know if just 5-7 days if your strategy is working online.
Build Relationships: Not only does social media get your business name in front of more people, you can leverage it to develop relationships through consistent interactions. These relationships often lead to opportunities for your business to expand through collaborate with others, which can open up new opportunities. Social media exposure can often lead to mentions in news stories, media interviews, and other publicity for your business.
Boost Search Rankings: Studies have shown that social media increases brand loyalty, boosts SEO results and search rankings, and helps build an email lists. It can also help you scope out the competition (without them knowing) and get feedback about how your business is doing.
Using Social Media for Your Business
Facebook and Twitter are the two biggest social media sites in the U.S., but there are many others that may benefit your business. You can use a scheduling platform, like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to schedule posts to all your sites at once too. This allows you to increase your social media presence, but understand each social site is unique, so it might not be such a great idea to post the same content the same way everywhere online. Customized content will maximize your success on each site.
One great way to promote your business on social media is to offer something of value for free. People are much more motivated to like and share your post if they receive something in return, and you can ask them to like your page rather than just the post for an even greater impact. You can gain hundreds or thousands of new followers to which you can market your products and services, which will be invaluable to your future marketing efforts.
Posting at least a few times every week on at least one or two platforms will keep your content fresh so people will keep reading your blog. And that will keep your business name fresh in their minds so that, when they are ready to buy, they will think of you. Besides all the business aspects of social media, it is also a fun way to interact with customers and keep them engaged with your business on a personal level. Friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for more great tips on using social media for your business.
Melinda is a founder and president of Quintessence Group, an award-winning marketing consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA, serving Fortune 500 brands who target small businesses.