4 Ways to Extend Your Small Business Onto Social Media
May Day, May Day! Small businesses are drowning when it comes to social media. Research by Constant Contact shows that almost 60% of small businesses need help with social media marketing.
This is no surprise since social media can seem overwhelming to the average small business that’s not directly focused on social media.
3 Reasons small businesses need help with social media
- Social media is a time suck. Dip your toe into the social media waters and soon an hour or two has passed without anything of value added to your business to show for your time. Actionable SMB Tip: Schedule a limited amount of time to accomplish a set activity. If you do this every day, you’re more likely to build the habit. (Here are ten tips targeted to small businesses to help you manage your time on social media.)
- Social media offers a confusing array of options. You can get a headache trying to figure out the different social media platforms and that’s before you start creating content and engaging on them. Actionable SMB Tip: Don’t spread yourself too thin. Choose one to three platforms that relate to your business and build from there. I recommend a blog as a starting point since it provides for social sharing and commentary. (Here’s seventeen steps to get your blog started.)
- Social media doesn’t directly drive sales. Many businesses, small and large, have trouble tracking sales or profits back to their social media interactions. Actionable SMB Tip: Include a social media call-to-action in your social media content. Most businesses assume that the call-to-action is implied therefore they neglect to include it.
As a small business, look at how you use your resources, especially owner and employee time. Attention is your scarcest resource. Take a break to determine what you’re looking to accomplish or you’ll never get past chasing the next sale. While I appreciate that the next sale is important, you must dream bigger if you want to succeed for the long term.
4 Ways SMBs can extend their businesses onto social media
As a business owner, you need to make your customers feel special and offer services that larger competitors can’t. You can use social media to take your personalized service a step further while broadening your reach. Here are four tactics that many small businesses employ on a regular basis that can translate into social media gold in the form of content and engagement.
- Answer customer questions. Regardless of your business focus, your prospects have questions about the product and why they should buy from your firm. You know the major questions that your prospects ask. Just put your answers into writing. You can place this content on your blog and post about it on social media. If you have photographs, graphics or video to enhance your response, include them. Don’t forget to link to this answer on the appropriate product page of your website.
- Offer styling advice. This works for a variety of small businesses such as clothing stores, interior design, makeup, and other fashion related categories. Use photographs to show prospects how your products look in action. You can just lay your clothes out so that your audience can tell how they coordinate. This works with photographs and videos.
- Show before and after images. This works well for a variety of businesses like a hair salon or fitness center. Use photographs to show how customers look. Be careful how your ask customers to participate and get a release with their signature to ensure that you’ve got rights to use their image. (BTW—I suggest that you check with a lawyer regarding your release form.)
- Spotlight your customers. Let your customers tell their stories related to your product. Since writing may seem daunting for many people, use photographs of your customers using your products. This works well for crafting businesses where customers can show off their handiwork.
Social media can help you make more effective use of your time. While this may sound paradoxical, used well, social media enables you to deliver what’s special about your business to a broader audience. There are two parts to this approach: making social media part of your daily routine so that you efficiently engage without spending hours doing so, and finding ways that extend and represent your business on social media.
What other recommendations do you have and what has your experience been with social media.
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/resqbrett/8069667293/