The proliferation of using social networking has taken the business world by storm. The versatility, convenience, and not to mention the cost-effectiveness of each social networking platform has become so important that no business, either big or small, would dare ignore.
Social networking has given small businesses yet another means to promote and market their business for a relatively little amount of time and effort.
For small businesses that are not plugged in yet to social media platforms and are wondering what the fuss is all about, or pondering if they really need to use it, the answer is a definite yes. Every small business needs to engage in social networking platforms if, at the very least, they want to reach potential customers and stay competitive.
Consider the following reasons below why small businesses should look into social networking platforms:
Connecting with Customers. Social media has been becoming more important where a user may spend nearly a quarter of their time each day on social networks and reading blogs. This means that target audiences, either locally or globally, are already using social media.
Connecting a business with numerous social sites gives them the ability to connect with their customers. Through interconnection, businesses have a better understanding of what their clients want, and what concerns and issues they have that need to be fixed with the product or services. Positive engagement with customers not only gives businesses the opportunity to make informed changes faster than ever, but offers a way to improve reputation and branding, and acquire free exposure.
Build Engagement and Business Density. Social networks help build a community of friends and followers who are more than just a business entity. Posting updates about the business and anything that could initiate participation from customers offers a relevance of creating branding and density. The more people that like the business page as well as their posts will create a sense of trust, which potential customers may see as a great opportunity to try what the business has to offer. In fact, studies show that the traditional word-of-mouth strategy still applies online. The more people celebrate a business, the more people will be enticed to join the bandwagon.
Social Network is a Means to Spy on Competition. Since everyone is already using these social networks, a business' competitor is probably there as well. What better way to improve a business than to know what the competition has to offer. The risk of falling behind the latest trend and the latest products and services of competitors is probably the greatest thing that every small business has to avoid. Having leverage over competitors making the business a step far ahead when it comes to uniqueness and creativity will definitely make every small business grow.
Social Networks Provides Better Affiliation. As a small business grows, they will not miss any opportunity of asking for help or communicating with other business owners that can help them improve their business, and social networking sites are niches one can deal with. This gives small businesses the chance to discuss current issues within their market, or anything that they can collaborate on to promote and acquire affiliates with similar businesses. This can lead to a bigger partnership where both parties can share leads, share leadership and marketing strategies, as well as working together on issues that need to be fixed.
Social Networking Calls for Creativity. Having a social networking account or business page is a big social responsibility. If one business needs to promote, they cannot simply just say, "Buy, buy, and buy" every day in order to entice customers. This is not how netizens act towards advertisements these days. They long for uniqueness and creativity. They want something that not only asks them to buy, but a whole package showing credibility, branding, and what it is about the product or service that provides them any benefit. So, the more distinct an ad or promotion gets to be, the more people will like it, which, therefore, creates more traffic that will bounce back to a positive result for the business.
Social Network Provides Versatility. Every social networking site has a different platform to offer. For instance, Facebook allows businesses to purchase targeted ads intended for specific demographics, whereas Twitter gives more leverage for small businesses to create more personalized branding through the ingenuity of their accounts.
Likewise, other social networking sites like Pinterest encourage business owners to be more visual with their advertisements. By using photo and info-images, they get to cross the line between the common practice of posting updates in Twitter and Facebook.
Another social networking site that small business may try is StumbleUpon, which is a collaboration of micro-blogging and partly a social networking account. It encourages business owners to break away from several-thousand-word articles that usually bore consumers, and instead use other mediums like pictures, music, quotes, chat, links, and other means.
Using a social network is not just a short-term fix, but a long-term strategy for small businesses to actively listen and engage with existing and prospective customers. Social networks build awareness, marketing and sales promotion, and build loyalty.
For a business to be successful, it must first clearly define strategies that would incorporate their goals and objectives, along with their concept and ideas on how fast and up to what extent they want to achieve success.
Using the advantage of each social networking feature, such as search results with Facebook, Google+, or Twitter, as well as using keywords and phrases to create a stronger demographic audience, especially with their local audience, that will be the foreground basis of expansion and growth of their business.
Using blogs, micro-blogs, interesting photos and videos, updates and posts, a small business can easily drive traffic back to the business site. These have all been proven strategies that lead existing and potential customers to easily share and promote; and all these have become secret weapons of many small businesses.
Craig Corbel is the VP of Marketing at Solution Web Designs, a web design firm in NYC also specializing in online marketing for small to mid-sized businesses.