By Suzanne Nagy, Social2B Social Media Coordinator
Social media is changing the way small businesses communicate with customers and market products and services. Social media gives small business owners the opportunity to access online communities that reach expansive groups of people on a personal level.
Social media for small business is intricate and time-consuming work. For your small business to be successful in social media, your online interactions need to be honest, open and provide substance, and even though you are marketing a product, your focus needs to remain on building relationships rather than exhausting customers with marketing messages and sales pitches.
Selling your Products to an Online Community
When getting started in social media, the first question you should ask yourself is, “What do I want my small business to achieve?” A successful social media strategy starts by creating an objective and developing a goal. Developing a clear understanding of what you want your small business to accomplish will help you evaluate and refine your objectives based on what is achievable using social media.
Social media offers a full and diverse range of sites you can visit, tools you might use and socialization methods you might employ, while helping you keep your objective realistic and achievable. If you do not have a clear understanding of your objective, the users of your social media sites won’t either. No small business should use social media without some direction.
Tips for Using Social Media for Lead Generation
Small businesses can harness the power of social media by encouraging people to visit their social sites; but it is the “socializing” that keeps customers coming back. Building relationships with casual users will turn them into regular visitors that will eventually produce valuable leads for your small business. Here are a few tips of how to generate leads using social media:
Utilize online networks. Create a blog and take advantage of using Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks to rapidly move information to thousands of people. You will be able to target communities and reach existing and potential customers. Your customers are using these tools, you should too.
Be human. Draw users in by crafting messages that are natural and friendly. If you approach your social media activities as you would approach your personal social life, you will succeed.
Engage with customers. Once you begin engaging with customers about your products and services, you will have a better sense of what they are looking for. People who show a vested interest in your small business will influence growth of your small business. If possible, respond with information that includes links, descriptions, follow-up questions, etc.
Monitor the competition. The more you know, the more responsive you can be. Tune into your competitors social media networks to learn more about their methods and strategies. While there, take a step back and look at your own position in the industry. How do you compare to your competitors? Use your findings to refine your own techniques.
Scaling Your Social Media Marketing Efforts
It’s no secret that social media marketing generates widespread exposure for businesses. But as social media networks continue to grow, it is imperative to the success of your small business to gauge your company’s social media exposure, engagement, influence, action and ROI.
When scaling social media for small business, think about what you expect from social media, what return you would like to see and what return you are expecting for the time you are putting into social media. Scalability is not a people issue – it is about business results. You want to make sure that the results you are getting are going to make a significant impact on your small business
Small businesses who engage social media are doing exceptional things and it’s great to see them experimenting. Social media will continue to evolve, but if you regret to think about what your small business is trying to achieve and how you will measure it, your social media efforts will more than likely fail.