The hardest part about the new digital world of marketing and advertising is knowing where to start. Most small businesses are one-or-two man operations, where marketing has previously been limited to word of mouth, and the occasional spotlight in the local paper. This has worked really well for a lot of small businesses, but its also a great way for your business to stay just that – small.
So in comes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and a bag of others. All free places, that people are using all day, any way. It’s a way to have your customers undivided attention, but what is the point? What are you going to achieve from the time you are spending on social media as your business?
The most important part about social media for small businesses is interacting with your customers, either pre-or-post purchase. This has always been the curse of the small business, that a lot of the time you don’t know where your next customer is going to come from, or who they could be. Social media lets you gather together a range of potential customers that you wouldn’t normally have had access to.
Where previously word of mouth was used by existing customers to spread news of a business, now social media performs the same function. Existing customers have a place to talk about how great you are at what you do, potential customers have a place to hear about your work, and most importantly, both of these people already spend time in these places. By having a business page on Facebook (for instance), you have a way to be involved in your customers lives OUTSIDE the shopping/purchase/service experience. You get a chance to be involved in every day of their lives, not just the ones where they decide that they want to deal with your business.
Social media provides an opportunity to talk to them more broadly about the products or services you offer (rather than just the one that they have purchased so far), and get them involved in your brand and its promise (more about that later in the year). It allows your business and what you do to be very visible, and interesting – you are no longer just a service provider, you have a story, you have passion and you have personality. All of these traits are things that people connect with, feel emotionally linked to – and that emotional link is what creates sales.
Small business owners by and large are specialists in their field. Their passion for the work they do is what gets people excited about their products or services, and ultimately creates more business. By putting all of this kind of information in one place, that is on a social media platform, you can become an expert in your field in the mind ofboth current and potential customers. This allows you to build trust and expertise with people who more than likely need it, making you a valuable resource in their eyes, not just someone taking their money.
Ultimately, social media provides businesses with an opportunity to connect with their customers on a much more intimate level, and provides an opportunity to connect with a much wider audience. However, its not all fun and games at this stage – there are a lot of do’s and do-not’s of social media that could affect the future of your brand.
And that’s why Im here. I want to teach you how to best use various kinds of digital media to best help and deal with your customers.
Pop back in next week, where Im going to talk to you about what kind of “stuff” you should really be posting on your pages, and why.
Do you have Twitter? Come and follow me to learn more about social media for businesses, and my love of Parramatta.