Many small businesses are struggling in our local economy.
Social media provides a means to promote your business and turn your followers into loyal customers.
But don’t take my word for it. Research conducted as a part of the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report suggest that small businesses are seeing the greatest results from social media marketing.
Ninety percent of those surveyed indicated that social media is important to their business. Small business owners were most likely to “strongly agree” that social media was important to their business.
Social Media is time consuming, and you have a business to run. You must ask,
“Will the time spent on social media be worth my effort?”
Consider these results from the study as shown on the Social Media Examiner:
- Small businesses were twice as likely to find qualified leads than other types of businesses.
- Forty-eight percent of self-employed and small business owners saw improved sales as a direct result of their social media efforts.
- The self-employed (59%) and small business owners (58%) were more likely than others to see reductions in marketing costs when using social media marketing.
O.K. So you are convinced that social media is worth your time. But How Do You Get Started?
Start by building on these five tips for promoting your business using social media.
1. Establish an online presence
The importance of an online presence cannot be overstated. As Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive, has said,
“If you are not online, you are invisible.”
To establish an online presence, you first need a website with a blog, which you update regularly.
You must be where you customers are. Start with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Add Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube.
2. Create a video about your products & services
Use a video as often as possible. People want to know you.
Don’t over think the video. Just Do It! It takes time to build confidence. Your customers are not looking for professional, polished videos. They want to know about real people.
Don’t make the video long. Two to four minutes is the most watched time.
Upload your video to YouTube and then embed into your blog. How will you let your customers know about your video?
- Send a tweet with a link
- Post to LinkedIn
- Post to your Facebook Page
- Email the link
- Post to Google+
- Post to your Pinterest board
3. Collect email addresses
Start collecting email addresses today. Collecting email addresses is what Carrie Wilkerson calls “filling your stadium” and Seth Godin refers to as “tribes.”
Customers provide their email addresses and “opt in” to receive regular updates from you.
When you get readers visiting your blog, collect their email address (fill your stadium). You do this by having a form on your website or blog for them to sign up to receive your updates in their email. Entice them to sign up by offering something free. You may want to check out Carrie Wilkerson’s 25 Practical Tips for Endless Lead Generations through Networking, Online List Building, and Social Media.
4. Support a local cause
I’m from a small town, and we love to get behind a cause. It may be packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas child, Relay for Life, or many other good causes. When you use social media to support a cause, you do something good while also helping to create what is sometimes called “top-of-mind” positioning. When someone gets ready to buy, you will be the person or company who first comes to their mind.
Your goal is to create an awareness of who you are. You are a credible, honest, and likeable person. And you want others to know you. Build trust.
Zig Ziglar says,
“If people like you, they will listen to you; but if they trust you, they will do business with you.”
5. Listen to your customers
What are your customers saying?
What are your customers struggling with?
Listen to your customers, so that you can provide them with excellent service and value. Respond to your customers in a timely manner. Address negative remarks with a positive response.
You may also be interested in reading:
56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest (Beth Hayden)
Using Social Media to Promote the Business (newMedia)
5 Customer-Centric Tips for Small Business (Scott Monty)
5 Things that Belong on the Front Page of Your Website (Cynthia Boris)
23 Nuggets about Online Video (vloggingqueen)
Why Many Small Businesses Fail at Social Media (Ali Goldfield)