If you own a small business and you aren’t using social media by now, you are giving yourself a massive disadvantage in the market. The world has changed, people don’t find out about things the way they used to. Many old forms of communication are becoming obsolete. There is no better way to let people know you exist than social media.
Social media takes the idea that there is no better form of advertisement than word of mouth, and lets the business interact with that word of mouth directly. For example, if you have a Facebook page, customers can interact and leave comments on your page, which you and your business can reply to. By doing this well, you can massively raise your profile. It is also worth noting though, that if you do this wrong, you can damage your company.
But this article is all about how to do it right. I’ll mention a few pitfalls on the way that you can avoid too, just so you know. The first place I’m going to start with is mixing up your approach to social media.
1. Approaches to Social Media - It’s good to have a website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and a blog so that you can engage with an audience on their chosen platform, whatever it may be. It’s also beneficial to have personal accounts on these as well as business accounts. You can use both to promote your business, but if you do, make sure that they are doing it differently. For example, use your business blog to post about the display stand you set up at a trade show and on your personal blog, post pictures of yourself with some of the people you met while at the event. Both can mention you were there, but they take very different approaches in the way they appeal to readers.
2. Give Out Information and Advice - It’s also good to offer advice and resources for free. This helps show your status as an expert in your field. It doesn’t have to be much, just simple information. You should allow your possible customer base to ask you questions, and then answer as many of them as you can. Don’t sell your product in your answers either. People don’t like it when businesses appear to be directly selling things on social media. Instead, customers will value your honest answer and consider buying what they need from you anyway.
3. Consistent Brand Image – all of your business-related social media pages should have consistent branding. This doesn’t just mean a logo that looks the same on all of them. Where possible you should have the same colour schemes, fonts, feel and copywriting style. You need your look to be recognizable, and well known.
4. Use Social Media to Give Your Business a Face – People like businesses that have a face. It makes them feel trustworthy. You only have to look at two of the most successful businesses ever, Apple and Microsoft, to see how much of an impact this actually has. Make sure you use social networks and other forms of social media to make your business look human. Video blogs (or Vlogs) can help with this, and if you do follow the advice given here and take both a personal and business approach to social media, you should consider using some of the personal things on the business pages.
Hopefully this has helped you get an idea of some of the ways you can embrace social media to help your small business.
About the Author: Dane Cross is a blogger and online marketer who writes extensively about trade show marketing. He is currently writing on behalf of Marler Haley.