Love or loathe it, social media is here to stay. It is not going to go away. Personally, some people prefer to ignore the lure of being connected to all and sundry and scoff at being privy to those who post every detail of their daily lives. Professionally however, social media has to be looked at differently. Social media provides increasingly accessible and cost effective tools for small businesses to market themselves to very targeted audiences.
One of the complaints about modern life is that everyone is connected, everyone is plugged in and everyone has a device of some description. In some respects, it is true, and in daily life people should perhaps learn to unplug but the thing is they are not! What this means for you, the small business owner, is that there is the opportunity to let more people know about your business simply everywhere. Social media quite simply, should not be ignored by the small business owner. Rather it should be utilized as an essential part of your plans for marketing your business.
How can social media help your business?
Social media can help you promote your business in a very cost effective way. There have been countless studies done; across the board social media has a higher return on investment than traditional routes of advertising. It can help you compete in your industry, contact customers, get valuable customer feedback, increase your visibility and convey your brand personality. Also, as a small business you are in a very unique position compared to larger companies to engage at a very local and personal level on social media.
How can social media hinder your business?
With so many reasons to assist your business it would seem almost impossible to think of ways that social media can hinder your business, but social media can be as damaging as it is as effective. People tend to think they can start a Facebook Business page, send out a few tweets and that business will start flooding in. Additionally, businesses can be lured by the appeal of all channels of social media setting up pages and profiles on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube and stretching themselves poorly across all channels whilst effectively achieving nothing but frustration.
There is also the temptation to think of your best friend’s Facebook account and treat your business page in a similar fashion. Treating the businesses social media account like that of a college student can be the kiss of death for many small businesses.
To sum it up, just in case I have scared you off, social media can be a vital tool for marketing your small business. But it needs to be approached professionally and you need to have a plan. To ensure that social media becomes a vital tool for growing your business, formulate a plan before you decide to throw yourself in boots and all. Develop a social media strategy which is really important, especially if on occasion, you will be receiving assistance with your social media posting. Choose 2 or 3 channels that suit your business best and do them well. Plan posts that are consistent and accurately convey your brand. Check regularly to ensure customer posts are responded to and your business has genuine engagement.