Small business owners are always looking for inexpensive ways to reach new customers and grow their business.
Alas in this ‘age of austerity’ most businesses don’t have the money to invest in traditional high cost marketing campaigns that have been the mainstay of marketing over the past decade.
Social Media offers an inexpensive alternative that just happens to be very successful if used correctly.
There is a huge opportunity for small businesses to utilise social platforms effectively in today’s ever changing modern online society. But is this good or bad? Personally I think it’s a good thing.
Social media is an online community of people with common interests who interact on a social level rather than on a business level. While there are many popular social sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin, the purpose of them all is to provide a means of communication amongst all users.
Marketing departments are well aware that there is little point sending mass messages to consumers unlikely to be interested in what you are selling or the service you are providing. Target marketing is the perfect way to get your message to your audience. Social media offers you this opportunity as people have specifically chosen to follow you. This will enable you to build a personal relationship with your followers. It allows you to become the face of your business and not just a corporate advertisement. You can build brand loyalty by communicating with your audience by answering questions and responding to their posts on a personal level therefore being a human behind the ‘corporate shop window’
Social media allows you to create a buzz of new events, products & services and at very little cost other than time and effort. You can keep your followers engaged by regularly tweeting, creating discussion on Linkedin groups or by posting messages on your Facebook wall. The best brands are those that not only openly share all feedback from their users, but that take the time to engage, acknowledge, address and learn from criticism too.
Relationships are the cornerstone of any effective business relationship!
But remember, if there is no interaction, then it is simply broadcasting, self promotional tweets without interaction gets you nowhere. Many businesses and individuals have the mindset that this will work and people will listen. It’s called ‘social networking’ for a reason! And, don’t think it’s about the amount of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’. You may have a lot of connections, but lack quality connections. It’s easy to jump on the social media bandwagon and think about the numbers, but this simply doesn’t work.
You need a relevant target audience.
If you want people just to ‘listen’ then there are much more effective ways to broadcast than social media.