Is Social Media Worth it for a Small Business?
Research has found that 92% of internet marketers claimed that in 2014, 80% of their social media networking efforts had increased traffic to their websites. The problem for many online marketers is that a lot of them don’t know which social media tools are the best ones to use. So, is social media worth it for a small business? Let’s find out as we compare social media tools.
The term “media” can be considered a mechanism to communicate information; something such as a radio, TV, or even a newspaper. Regular media only goes in one direction. For instance, when you listen to the radio or watch TV you can’t engage in the conversation you may be hearing through that media. (Well, I guess you could, but people may think you are a little strange!) Your ability to participate is restricted.
We can describe “social media” as being a social mechanism used to communicate information. Unlike regular media, social media allows communication to flow in both directions not just one direction. Social media allows the interaction of people. There can be a dialogue between two people or between many people depending on the type of social media being used.
The interaction between many people is what we call “social networking. We have to practice and build our social networks. I relate social networking to like it was when I started a new school or a new job. In the beginning we don’t know anyone, but then we start to meet other people. From there we might be drawn to people who have some of the same interests that we have and we start to build friends. That is the beginning of our social networking. We build new acquaintances that sometime can turn into close friends or business associates through our activity on social media.
How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Business
Using social media is probably the least expensive way to promote your online business. It can help keep current customers as well as bring new customers to your business. If you don’t become a part of the social dialogue you are taking a chance of losing those customers.
Implementing social media into your business can make you more available to new potential customers.
Advantages of Using Social Media
When you integrate social media into your business there will be many advantages that your business will gain as long as you properly plan for it and execute those plans.
• Your scope of coverage will expand because social media can reach millions of customers globally generating more leads.
• Your focus on a particular market segment will expand because you can concentrate of a specific group of people located in various locations around the world.
• The use of social media is economical because most social media sites are free to use and where premium memberships are provided, the rates are very affordable.
• Communication via social media is fast, widespread and in real time allowing for information to be broadcasted very quickly.
• It is user-friendly for the most part. It doesn’t require a lot of skill or complex computer knowledge to participate in social media, but some learning is required.
• It is much less expensive than traditional advertising and other marketing activities.
• Social media content can indirectly increase links to website content by appearing in search results, thereby, improving search traffic and online sales.
• It can provide an increase in loyalty and support from customers you have connected with.
Disadvantages of Using Social Media
As great as the use of social media can be, there are also some disadvantages that users should be aware of ahead of time to avoid any pitfalls.
• Inaccurate information concerning a business could unintentionally (in some cases, intentionally) be broadcasted and will immediately spread like wild fire.
• You could run into some legal issues if you breach privacy laws, spam, copyright and other online issues.
• You should strategize on how to avoid these kinds of risks before participating in the use of social media.
• Using social media will add yet another layer of needed work because it will require resources to manage all your social media activities responding to feedback and producing new content.
• Failing to use it effectively – i.e., using social media to push sales, but not engaging with customers, not responding to negative feedback. This could cause damage to your business and your brand.
Tips for Using Social Media Sites
There are an enormous number of social media networks that it would be impossible to talk about them all here. However, I will briefly discuss some that can be considered the top social media networks that we should consider using with our business, with a word of caution. Do not attempt to get them up and running all at the same time. It would be easier to tackle one or two at a time.
Facebook was the first social media to exceed 1 billion registered accounts. Facebook has the largest population of subscribers, with over 70% of the world’s population using it today. Some years back, it was a form of communication that was commonly used by college students, but today it is the most successful social media sites used globally. With the vast number of people using Facebook today, it is worth building a place for your business there.
• Create a business page and start to post special offers to people who like your page. You should do postings on a regular basis, at least once a month.
• Encourage customers to share photographs and selfies that show them using products purchased from your online business.
• Lessen your workload while intensifying your marketing efforts. For instance, rather than running a personal and a business page, you can give subscribers in your personal page access to your business profile.
Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows it’s more than 316 million users to post online content of 140 characters about themselves, their business and other people. You can search for topics that appeal to you and are relevant to your business. You can also build a network of followers.
• You can use Twitter to tweet interesting and unusual facts about your products and services.
• You can provide a link to the page or website that displays your products.
• You can also send out tips to your customers on how to use your products.
• It will be necessary to follow your customers, vendors, influential bloggers and others with lots of followers and have influence on your business.
• Gain more public prominence if you tweet photographs and videos connected to you or your business.
LinkedIn has over 97 million subscribers globally. It provides a great place where business professionals can host online Curriculum Vitae (CV), which are useful for networking opportunities with other users.
• Set up a LinkedIn profile and then add the link to your website.
• Update our profile with new links, product reviews, articles and books you are currently reading so the information shows up to everyone in your network.
• Join LinkedIn groups that are known to have many customers.
• Post frequently and post comments related to products and services you offer.
• Seek out recommendations from vendors and other business associates on your network.
• Add brochures, PDF’s, videos, and PowerPoint presentations under your profile to supplement your customers with interesting content they can share or download.
Pinterest is the newest social media marketing, but it is incredibly popular. It recorded membership of 10.4 million in its first year after its launch. Pinterest now has 100 million users. In its second phase, it recorded a 40% traffic increase. This site permits users to share images by pinning videos and photo pinboards. These pins can be shared on Facebook and Twitter for future exposure. Hence, content is truly visual in nature.
• Sign up for a Pinterest profile for your business and then create a lot of themes or product interest that relates to what you trade.
• Add the pin it icon to your site so that customers who visit can pin or post product pictures from your website to Pinterest.
• Always provide an additional description to images when posting them to Pinterest. You can also pin some videos on your board to generate more views.
• Conduct pinning contests on your site by persuading users to place (pin) a picture of your product to the Pinterest boards.
• Engage with others by re-pinning their images.
YouTube has over a billion users today. People spend hours watching videos and the number of people watching each day increased by about 40% since March 2014. About 80% of those watching YouTube come from outside of the United States thereby, allowing for a global reach of potential customers.
• Create a YouTube channel for you business. Then add useful videos and persuade customers to watch them and share them with others.
• Create a video contest by asking users to make brief videos to show the way they use your merchandise or service and have them post them to YouTube. Finally, let the viewers vote on their favorite ones.
• Try to post a short video no more than 2 minutes (or less) of you offering tips for your customers as you are showing them ways to use the merchandise that you sell.
• Request that customers offer video testimonials and place them on your YouTube channel.
Google+ now has 359 million active users and therefore, makes it a social media to use to promote your brand and your business. Make a direct connection between your business website and your Google+ page.
• Create an account and in your personal profile, first create what is referred to as “Circle” for customers, vendors and other categories of business and others that are interested in your brand. Frequently post interesting content to the people in your circles and influence them to leave feedback and comments. The type of content that you post can be announcements about special sales and promotions, interesting articles, product reviews, blog posts, images.
• Initiate a “Hangout”. To do this you can use Hangouts On Air, which is a chat/video tool in Google+ that can be used by several different people at the same time. You can create short videos and they will be seen in “real-time” or they can be stored on your YouTube channel. This tool can be used to create a testimonial by having a conversation with existing customers/clients about a product or service that you provide.
• Try to start a Google+ profile for your business. Then start a Google+ community that pertains to a particular topic that is related to your business. Post frequent information in the community and on your Google+ business profile so you can make sure your followers remain interested.
Instagram now has over 300 million monthly users. Your brand is as important as your products and services. Instagram is a tool that can be used to promote your brand identity and will increase buyer loyalty, brand equity and user value.
• Create an Instagram account to set up your brand. Include a link, write a great profile and make sure you keep your name and image constant.
• Post good content to be a magnet for your followers. Don’t do any hard selling. Use high resolution images that are visually pleasing. You can offer special promotions and sponsor events to share.
• Build your followers (audience) by including relevant hashtags to your images and invite others to share your brand.
• Form relationships by using active captions, run contests that are restricted to your followers. Make sure you respond to and “like” your followers’ posts.
• Track your growth and make sure you know what is working and what is not so you can repeat the activities that are helping to grow your business.
• Determine when the busiest times are and then optimize your postings around those times.
• Make realistic goals for your business.
Choosing the Right Social Media
Using social media can put you above your competitors. Connecting with your customers online can elevate consciousness and build your brand as a trusted business person. Using social networks gives you a chance to achieve new contacts without having to physically travel from event to event to network with like-minded people. Take advantage of the savings you will gain in cost, time and other resources that networking online can afford you.
Social networking can improve several areas of your business.
• Building your brand
• Interaction with customers
• Finding tactical commercial colleagues
Take time to choose the right social media to use for your business. Remember it’s essential to know which social media that your customers are using. You need to target your efforts towards the same channels that they are using. You may already know that some customers are on a particular social media that that echoes your business interests or that your customers are already a part of. You may need to use a combination of social medias in order to cover all your bases.
Please feel free to contact me if you need help with anything. Just make a comment below or you can always get in touch with me through wealthyaffiliate.com (here is a link to my profile).
Founder of Mom’s Trusted Affiliate