Last week we looked at factors to consider when starting an online business – which got us to thinking about small business and social media. In the past year, we’ve seen a rise in the number of businesses using social media as part of their marketing strategies. Before we get into a few ways to use social media to help give your small business a boost, we’d like to share some insights about how small businesses are using social media.
A few months ago, we read an online survey regarding the use of social media amongst 1,180 SMB decision makers and how they use social media for business purposes. Of those who use social media for business, the most frequent channels for marketing were Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Coming in at the bottom of the list were Google +, YouTube and a company blog.
According to the survey, small businesses are primarily after getting feedback regarding customer satisfaction with products and services from their Facebook page. Surprisingly, these businesses used the company website or email newsletter most frequently for marketing promotions.
According to the survey results, 28 percent of SMB’s cited connecting with customers as their main reason for using Facebook, but only 10 percent of them found that offering specials and discounts are not an effective way to reach their customers.
How can I use social media effectively?
While posting about the latest and greatest products or deals on your Facebook or Twitter page can be a good incentive for consumers to follow or like your page, we believe that you can also use it to find out who some of your best brand evangelists and influencers are. It is important to not only identify this group within your community but also to engage with them, which is made easy through a majority of social platforms.
Social media can also become a platform for customer support and service. Your fans and followers should feel comfortable in your community and be able to post questions, comments or concerns on your page. If you’re going to use social media for this type of support, be sure to monitor your page frequently so that you can respond promptly.
Before implementing any social media strategy for you small business, it’s important to consider the following:
- It should complement your existing efforts; align it with your wider business objectives
- You should have a clear, defined target audience
- Develop a plan for the content, such as a content schedule
- Enlist members of staff to help you with content, or select a social media manager
- How to integrate all of the existing channels you are using
- Monitor, evaluate and refine the plan; it should be quantifiable
- What’s the measurement of success?
Are you using social media for your small business? What has worked for you?