Social Media Marketing has been a buzzword that keeps popping up in many news articles, blog posts, and business discussions.
For small business owners, should you start join the Social Media party? More importantly, should you start implementing social media marketing strategies for your small business?
What is Social Media Marketing?
If you are still unclear as to what social media marketing is about, let me give you the scoop. Social Media marketing is about leveraging social networks and channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, blogs, etc. to network and build relationship with people, engage with others to discuss about matters related to your industry or business, share your knowledge and expertise with your audience, and to promote your brand, products, and services to prospects as well as customers.
Why You Should a Social Media Marketing Program For Your Business
Personally, I don’t think it’s a question of whether businesses should dive into social media or not, but it’s a question of how to get started. The number of people on Facebook (over 500 million registered users) and Twitter (over 150 million) as of 2010 is staggering. And new members continue to join these social networks at an exponential rate! Furthermore, these people that are participating in these social networks could potentially become your customers, endorsers, or business partners.
With such a huge population of users on these social networks, businesses who don’t find ways to participate in social media marketing have a lot to lose! Furthermore, social media marketing is FREE to use!
Almost every type of business can benefit from social media marketing. I’ve seen businesses such as cafes, chiropractors, retail stores, consultants, personal trainers, and more are having great success at growing their businesses using social media tools.
How to Use Social Media To Grow Your Business and Customer Base
Social Media Marketing can and will help you grow your business and customer base. But first, you have to plant the seed by engaging in the following activities:
Produce remarkable content and share them with your audience/followers on Youtube/Twitter/Facebook – Remarkable content would be in the forms of articles, blog posts, videos, podcast, white papers, or slides. People appreciate great content and when you can provide remarkable content that is aimed at educating, entertaining, or informing, it can greatly build your brand and draw attention to your business and your website.
Monitor what others say about you, your business, or your brand and respond accordingly – Social media is a great tool for managing your reputation and for customer service. Use a service like Google Alerts to monitor what others are saying about you and respond accordingly.
Networking – Social media provides you with great opportunities to network with people from all over the world. You can form great partnerships that can benefit your business.
Promotion – By using social media channels, you can offer exclusive discounts and specials to your audience to make them feel special.
Engage, interact, and build relationships – This is the key to long term success in Social Media.
As you can see, Social media is a powerful tool for raising visibility of your business and your brand. But don’t just stop there. Continue the nourish the relationship throughout. Remember to respond to people promptly, especially those that ask your questions, leave you messages, or leave comments on your blog, facebook page, or in twitter. Social media is about giving, sharing, helping, and connecting.
Keeping doing the above, and soon, your business will grow by leaps and bounds!
Recommended Social Media Tools for Small Businesses
The number of social media tools and networks are plenty and the list continues to grow each day. So where should you start? Below is my recommended list of the most popular and powerful social media tools and sites that small businesses should participate in. You may not have time to participate in all of them so just pick a few to start out with.
Blogging – blogging is one of the best social media marketing tools. By writing useful and remarkable blog posts, you can drive lots of traffic to your site and help to raise awareness of your business and your website. Blogging can consume lots of your time though. It’s recommended to post at least 2-3 blog posts a week.
Facebook – Does your target audience hang out in Facebook? If yes, then you should build a Facebook fan page and regularly add content to it. Facebook may not be appropriate for businesses such as plumbing or roofing, however.
Linkedin – Linkedin is designed for business professionals. Every businesses should create a profile on Linkedin.
Youtube – Youtube videos are great for demonstrating, entertaining, and showing people how to do certain things. Businesses such as plumbing, dance studios, salons, hotels
Twitter – Twitter is very easy to get setup and to use. As such, every business should use twitter to network, build relationships, and promote discounts and specials to your customers.
Alright, I hope this blog post has given you enough information to get started on Social Media Marketing. If you want inspiration, check out Coffee Groundz on Twitter!