In the past year, I have increasingly use Facebook as key communications app to message friends and customers, with almost instantaneous response. Sharing ideas, personalising messages, notifying future events and promotion offers through this medium, has solicit a much higher response to email marketing, when it is to a small, personal contact list. For more professional matters, industry news and updates, an finely crafted eNewsletter still has a place, serves as another medium for more comprehensive messages.
Before we delve into the 5 ways to social media can help any small business grow, I have some 3 introspective questions for you are a small business owner.
- In your own opinion, what will be the greatest benefit you can get from using social media in your business?
- Are you willing to start using social media (if you haven’t yet) OR are you still not convinced enough that it’s truly beneficial?
- If you have started, do you know how to enhance the use of Social media marketing to build your brand, friends and followers?
1) MONITORS YOUR BRAND’S REPUTATION
An infinite number of online conversations take place on a daily basis across social networking sites, and many of these discussions are about the public’s perception of various brands on the market, both good and bad. By utilizing online reputation management tools, you can monitor for mentions of your brand on the Internet to promptly engage in those active conversations. This can go a long way in helping to convert a prospect that has been researching your brand to a viable customer. In the event that negative feedback is being voiced, these monitoring tools allow you to take action quickly before your brand can be damaged.
2) POSITIONS YOU AS AN INDUSTRY EXPERT
By using your various social media channels to share compelling, industry-specific content that your customer base will find valuable, you can be viewed as an expert in your industry. Earning this status will help you to become the “go to” person in your industry, creating additional opportunities to expand your brand’s presence on the Internet through guest blogging or webcasts.
3) INCREASE SALES
Social media marketing needs to help increase sales and revenue. That’s why it’s called social media marketing and not simply social media public relations. To be fair, improving brand awareness and legitimizing a brand should, by themselves, help increase sales. But there are ways to use social media to directly steer consumers toward the sales funnel. For fans of the business, business owners can write posts that link to products, sales, etc. Marketers can also use promoted content and advertisements to sell products to target audiences who haven’t become fans of a brand yet. The ability to target particular audiences is one of the greatest benefits of social media marketing. Social networks know a lot about consumer interests and demographics, so even though there are hundreds of millions of fans, marketers can accurately target the right people with the right message.
There are also a lot of ways that retailers can sell products directly from social networks. On Facebook, business owners can set up a Facebook store with apps like Ecwid or Beetailer. Shopify account can sync and publish a Smart Market Mobile App to for users to receive deals and buy directly on mobile.
4) IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
Another benefit of social media that’s easy to overlook is customer service. Even if a business has a dedicated customer service department, telephone number, or email, it’s important to handle issues via the method of communication the consumer prefers. The fact that people use social media to ask customer service questions is reason enough for businesses to ensure their ability to help customers through social media.
5) ATTAIN POSITIVE REVIEWS
Delighted customers who are interactive on social media would have an avenue to share their experiences, post, share and act as advocates for your business. Of course there might be the odd negative review posted, which as a market driven business, this provides the business a way to interact and response positively to ‘make right’ of the of a negative experience. Best brands and businesses are build with integrity and honesty anyways, a bad review on social media can often be made right with other delighted customer’s themselves responding to the criticism.
If you don’t have time time or resources get set-up on a social media plan and action, you may want to look at outsourcing to someone or adedicated company who quickly understand the nature of your business and give you a defined plan with purposeful actions. Use social media to build attraction. If your not in the conversation, you’re out of touch and losing out to those who are!