I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve heard it. Many small business owners have expressed to me that they want to be on social media, but that they’re not. The reasons are various. Some have shared with me they feel uncomfortable posting. Others simply don’t understand the mechanics. Regardless of the reason why you haven’t been linking up on social media it is a practice that is VERY valuable. I mean VERY. At the end of the day if you want to not just be able to succeed but to exceed your expectations – it’s something I highly recommend. Excuses are like belly buttons. Everyone seems to have one. But nothing will change if your practices don’t. You can’t pine away at the prospect of having a social media presence while never taking necessary action. There are several benefits in regards to the partnership of Social Media and Small Business. We will be exploring them today. Because in the words of Erik Qualman “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
Before we delve too deep, I think we all need to understand what Social Media is. Social media is essentially the creation and sharing of content through websites. This can be user generated content – like your cousin Pam’s new baby photo on your news feed/personal review of a product. Or it can be content that has been generated by a brand. Either way, you’re probably exposed to a lot of both if you have personal accounts on any platform. Content can be informational or a general idea that has been shared.
Oftentimes, it helps to understand they ‘why’ behind something. I understand, if you’re a small business owner – you’re probably strapped for time. You want to create something that is going increase your brand awareness, drive sales, etc. You also probably don’t want it to take over your life. Which I COMPLETELY understand. But learning about small business and social media will pay for the investment of your time in droves if you are doing it right.
How Social Media And Small Business Work Together
Connecting With Potential Customers
I know that your mom gave you the talk when you were small about not jumping off a cliff. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it a good idea. Well a lot of other small businesses are utilizing social media and trust me they are reaping the benefits. In fact there are now 50 million Facebook pages for businesses. Don’t be discouraged by that number. Each small business has something UNIQUE to offer through their personal brand.
If your fear has kept you from pursuing this, let me assuage your fears. It’s really hard to do social ‘wrong’. We all start from a place of limited knowledge. Trust me, there are ways. Stay away from:
- Sharing too frequently
- Sharing something unprofessional, negative and frankly things that are full on offensive
If you stay away from these three tenets, you’ll probably do just fine starting out. There are ways to do it right too.
Some great ways to do this are:
- Define your personal brand
- Share content, information and messages that align with your brand values
- Share content that is valuable before you sell
I promise to share those basics in a later blog post. But the fact of the matter is if you’re not creating content to share with your customers you are MISSING OUT! Every month you decide to not invest your time in social media you are missing out on connecting with 1.9 Billion new potential customers from Facebook ALONE.
That doesn’t account for users on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Now to be fair, we know that all of these people wouldn’t be customers. Statistically it’s not going to happen for a whole host of reasons. But some of them could be. You can’t strike out if you don’t even willing to play the game. That’s why its important to understand social media and small business.
Marketing to Your Ideal Customers
Maybe you have found that 75-year old women in Wisconsin who absolutely love your orca whale inspired kitchen pottery. You could also have had great experiences from 24-year old mothers. Perhaps they adore your coordinating water color bibs and bows. Maybe you’re marketing a niche product to several different established demographics that all share an interest or business need. The fact of the matter is, they are probably ALL on social media in some capacity. Which is why it is so valuable to focus on social media and small business. We live in an age of instant gratification and personalization. If you can’t Amazon Prime a product to be here in two days, you can certainly pay the difference and someone will make a customized version for you on Etsy.
We live in an age where customers can find whatever product they are looking for on the internet. But if you’re not willing to work towards establishing and branding channels for your social media presence – they’re going to have trouble finding you. Whoever your ideal customers are, they are on on social media.
Once you have your social media strategy set up and you have executed it consistently, it’s time to start play with ads. The cool thing about advertising on different networks is that when you can target your customers. You can set up multiple audiences with different demographics, interests, etc. You don’t have to have several hundreds of dollars, you can start with $10. Once you find what works, you continue to hone in on, make changes, and discover other customers to market to.
Serving Your Customers
Your customers expect you to be on social media. They expect you to be available to answer questions about a product and to listen to their complaints promptly and will share their experience. Whether that be on social media or not. It’s incredibly important to always acknowledge the role word of mouth plays in social media and small business. If you’re marketing to Millennials (who are now coming into peak buying power) it’s important to note they trust user generated content 50% more than other media.
In other words, if Jenny shares a great experience with your company on Facebook, or a resounding review of your product – Anna may be more likely to buy than if she’d just seen an ad from your page. The same goes for negative experiences. The better care you can take of your customers and the more responsive you are the more likely they will continue to be a customer.
Once you find out who your customers are and who your competitors are you can conduct social listening. This is an incredibly important aspect of social media and small business. This helps you better understand how to meet your customer’s needs. I know you’ve probably written down who they are statistically on paper. Understanding the full spectrum of the fact that they are as a human being is very helpful. Trust me, they will have plenty of needs. The more you can meet their needs and expectations the more valuable your product will become to them.
There are a whole host of reasons to work towards understanding and executing your research regarding social media and small business. At the end of the day, are you? If not, then why?
Thanks for reading!