If you’re reading this post, then I probably don’t need to lecture you about the benefits of blogging and social media for your small business. You already know.
But for those who need a reminder, or those who don’t know about the importance of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for their business and just happened to stumble on this page, here are some reasons why you need social media.
For starters, one of the most critical things a small business must do to get off the ground and running is finding a solid customer base and making sure they come back. Repeat customers can make or break a fledgling business venture.
Small business owners should consider social media as the best assistant they’ll ever have when it comes to keeping in contact with their customers and connecting to them in a personal way. What keeps customers coming back is not tireless promotions being thrown at them as reminders, but knowing that a business cares about them as a customer.
Through social media, small business owners can harness networking tools to know more about their customer than is possible with any other outlet, and reach out to make a personal connection.
“We live in a relationship economy,” says CEO of business consulting firm TechSavvy Global, Scott Steinberg, meaning it is a primary concern for companies to personalize their business and build trust with their customers. With social media, businesses can know everything about their client, from buying interests to birthdays. “It is the high-tech equivalent of the old barbershop or local bar where they greet you by name when you walk in the door,” says Steinberg.
Small businesses who don’t use social media argue that time is too valuable, and their employees are spread too thin as it is, without adding the stress of social networking into the mix.
Unfortunately, they fail to see the vital role social media can play in marketing and customer care. If successfully running his or her small business is the primary concern of the owner, which it should be, and if that success invariably depends on the satisfaction of the customer, shouldn’t connecting to the customer be a primary concern of the owner? And there is no better way to connect to customers than social media. If customers are your concern, then social media should be too. Simple as that.
It’s not only important to use social media, but also to know which social networking tools to use
Many businesses access LinkedIn to make connections and network, but small, local businesses are better off using Facebook or Twitter to connect to their customers. Business owners need to be aware of which social media outlets work best for their company, and come up with a social media plan. Research other companies in your industry, and other businesses around your size and customer base, to see what networking tool is best for you.
Okay, now you’re inspired, ready to strategize your social media plan and charge the front lines, but before you go, consider this tip: start small.
Small business owners can quickly be overwhelmed by all the networks and media groups out there – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Pinterest, Google+, to name a few, not to mention the countless blog sites – but social media analysts advise small businesses venturing into social networking to start small.
Take one media outlet, your Facebook page for example, and focus on maximizing your presence on that network. As your company grows, along with your presence on that site, add another network into the mix. Continue growing gradually like this until your social media presence is at its peak.
This is a good strategy to avoid getting in over your head and discouraged right from the get go.
Ultimately, how much social media benefits your company is up to you and how much you bring networking tools to your aide. It can’t be said enough: in today’s world, there is no better way to connect to customers than through social media and networking, whether you like it or not.
And besides, it’s easy, accessible, and generally pretty cheap, if not free. So why not?