“I’m a Small Business Owner. Why Do I Need to Use Social Media?”
I cannot tell you how many times I am asked this question when presenting on how to set-up your social media accounts and utilize these sites to market your business no matter how big or small the company is. The analogy that I use to explain all the different Internet web presences that a company has or should have is the following:
- Your Website = Your Virtual Company
- Your Blog = Your Online Newsletter
- Your Social Media Sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc) = Your Virtual Networking
- Your Video Site (YouTube, Vimeo, etc) = Your TV Commercial, your “how-to” videos, etc.
I will go into more detail about the other three topics in other blog posts, as well as give you specific tips on how to get more fans and followers on the major social media sites. As for now, let’s discuss the basics of social media and why even small businesses need to get involved in using this avenue for marketing their businesses. Here are some potential benefits for posting to social media for your company, even if you are posting for just 30 minutes per day:
Get New Business
Yes, it’s true! Once you’ve developed even a small following of “fans” to your Facebook page, you will generate new business or even spark renewed interest by previous customers. The next big question is, “how do I do that?”. It really is all about building relationships with your current and potential customers online. I will be covering many tips and tricks on how to do this in subsequent blogs. Stay tuned!
However, this doesn’t happen overnight. There is no magic formula for getting someone to walk into your business (or click on your virtual business’ website) just by posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, etc. It is about commenting on your fans’ posts, sharing their posts, sharing information that benefits your fans and not just broadcasting all about your business – you must always think about your fans first. Always think in terms of “how would this information I am posting make my fan’s life better, more successful, etc.” and not think about writing things that may sound to your readers more like “look at me, look at me”! Yes this sounds obvious, but companies do it all the time.
Create Good Backlinks for your Company Website
Backlinks (also known as inbound links and incoming links, among others) are links from websites other than your own that point to your company website. They are becoming extremely important for search engine optimization (SEO – optimizing your site to rank how on the search engines so that your website shows up high on the first page of the search engines) for many reasons, including indicating to Google that the more, high quality backlinks you have for a site, the higher the ranking of the site may have. Many of the social media and video sites (including Google’s own YouTube.com) are high quality, high-ranking sites that, when you post on them and have your website listed somewhere on those sites, gain you valuable backlinks.
Build Lasting, Meaningful Business Relationships
As mentioned above, the more you learn how to use social media to post valuable information that benefits your current and potential customers, the better your relationships with your customers will be. Other ways to build good customer relationships is by providing excellent customer service. If a customer has a problem with your company for some reason, if they have a negative post on your social media site(s), it’s a good idea to address that post professionally and without judgment and simply find out how you can improve the customer’s experience (this is also called Reputation Management). Just by taking the time to address negative issues compassionately and honestly, you may not only regain an unhappy customer, you may gain new customers simply by what you wrote.