October 16, 2012
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that social media is not one size fits all. Every small business is different and will have different social media needs. For example, some may be looking to acquire new clients while others may want to use social media channels to strengthen customer relationships or educate their audience.
No matter the reason, social media is a cost-effective marketing tool for getting the word out about your business and reaching a large pool of prospects. The following are a few tips for using social media effectively.
Don’t Limit Yourself to One Channel—If you have a great story to tell, you want as many people to hear about it as possible, so don’t limit yourself to one social media channel. Get your information out there using multiple tools like Facebook, Twitter, and your own branded business blog. Social media isn’t just for socializing…these tools provide a great platform for publicizing your business and interacting with your community of readers on a daily basis.
Build a Custom Community—You are in control of creating your own custom social media community based on your brand and the information you release. Over time, you can build a highly targeted audience with whom you can engage in detailed conversations and develop long-lasting, loyal relationships. You can also use the survey capabilities within some social media tools to gather valuable customer information to improve your product or service to meet the needs of your audience.
‘Talk’ to Your Audience Regularly—With social media, you have the ability to carry on conversations in real time, so be sure to maintain your online conversations. If you are inconsistent with your social media communication, your audience will lose interest. Keep your readers engaged by keeping up with conversations.
Don’t Replace Marketing with Social Media—Social media is a complement to your marketing program, not a replacement. While it’s important to be active within the social media space, it’s even more critical to keep up with your long-term marketing program. Continue to plan email marketing and print campaigns…even advertising where appropriate. You need to find the right blend of marketing and social media.
Small business owners in many communities offer downtown trick or treat events. Take advantage of this opportunity to build your business reputation. Involvement in local events goes a long way with both existing and prospective customers—indicating a vested interest in your community. Find creative ways to make your business stand out this trick-or-treat season. We hope the following suggestions will spark fun promotional ideas:
October marks Women’s Small Business Month, and we are happy and proud to recognize women in business both locally and around the world. Successful business women of the past and present continue to forge new paths for female entrepreneurs. We celebrate all those who are breaking the glass ceiling and serving as role models and mentors to women everywhere.
For many business owners, September tends to bring a bit of a slowdown. The chaos of getting kids prepared for going back to school has passed, and a focus on saving money tends to kick in as people prepare for the coming holiday spend. Combined, this can often translate into a lull for business owners.