Before we dive into the details of social media for small business, let us first frame the problem that small business owners are working to solve using social media. Traditionally, large businesses have had an advantage over small business owners because they have had larger marketing budgets and could spend more money on outbound marketing techniques like print advertising , TV adverts , large sales forces and direct mail.
Budgets dictated success.
Successful small businesses have long thrived on word-of-mouth to help promote their products or services. With social media, small businesses are now able to use free tools to help increase word-of-mouth while decreasing the need for outbound advertising platforms like the yellow pages, television ads, newspaper ads, etc.
The following 10 common traits are shared by small business owners successfully using social media.
What do Small Business Owners Who Successfully Use Social Media do differently?
1. They commit weekly resources to creating content and engaging in social media. These resources include time and money to making social media work for them. They understand that social media is an effective tool that has to be learnt. They also know that social media channels are evolving almost on a daily basis, but they are dedicated to making it work. When they do not have the time to learn themselves, they employ external experts and resources.
2. They have methods of understanding how social media activity impacts on their business results. They find out all that they can about social media and how it can make an impact on their performance. They read books, search the internet and find out how other businesses are using social media channels. They look at and learn from businesses that have used social media successfully.
3. They regularly generate content using blogs, You Tube, Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms. They make a decision about what social media channels will be most effective for them to be able to reach their target audiences. They create marketing communication content that is aligned to their environmental situations including their customer needs and expectations. They also make decisions about what social media channels to use, based on their expertise and capacity. They generate content that adds value to their customers and leads.
4. They don’t try to use every social media platform. Instead they focus their time and resources on the social media channels that drive the best results for their business. They realise that they do not have the time and resources to use all social media channels available.
5.They use social media to drive participation in offline events. They become experts at using social media to drive their events , staff communication and external promotion activities etc. They use social media to engage customers on- line, for offline activities. As a result, their online activities are integrated with all other marketing communications.
6. They set clear expectations for customers regarding frequency and types of social media interactions the company is willing to provide. They make an effort to know their customers and leads, and because of this information, they are able to create content that is acceptable to their customers and in turn, their customers know what to expect from them.
7. They leverage social media to position their company as a thought leader within their industry. Because they know the far reaching effects of social media, they use these channels to market themselves, by demonstrating their knowledge of their products, services, industry and the environment that they trade in. Customers see them as experts in their fields. This makes it easy for their customers and leads to trust them.
8. They provide clear calls-to-action and opportunities to generate leads and new customers using social media. They ask their customers for the business.
9. They use information and data from social media to drive business strategy. They know that it is by counting the numbers that they can improve their business performance. This includes analysing what their customers like , what they comment on and the suggestions that they make as well as the number of hits that their sites get.
10. They balance paid and organic search engine traffic. They pay for online adverts on such channels as Facebook and LinkedIn and on prominent blogs , online newspapers etc. At the same time they create and use social media pages to grow a following , create content that is valuable and indirectly promote their products and services.
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