Using Social Media For Small Businesses 6

These days, most major brands and businesses are embracing social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, and their executives are also blogging on a daily basis. Unfortunately, while some small businesses have begun to dabble in social media; many still don’t understand why ongoing participation is so important. If results from a recent survey are any indication of the importance of being active in social media, then small business owners need to change their way of thinking right away.  They are the ones who stand to benefit the most.

The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that 90 percent of marketers believe social media is important to their businesses and small business owners are seeing the greatest results from their social media efforts. @Mike_Stelzner, founder of the Social Media Examiner, authored the industry study in which he surveyed more than 3,000 marketers, 47 percent of whom were either self-employed or small business owners.

So why is social media so important to small businesses? Phil Merson of the Social Media Examiner highlights some areas where small business owners saw greater benefits than their peers:

Forty-eight percent of self-employed and small business owners saw improved sales as a direct result of their social media efforts;

The self-employed (59 percent) and small business owners (58 percent) were more likely than others to see reductions in marketing costs when using social media marketing;

The self-employed and small business owners were more likely to report new partnerships, with at least 59 percent noting a benefit;

Small businesses were twice as likely to find qualified leads as other types of businesses.

One of the key benefits to social media is that it gives small businesses the opportunity to “keep up with the big guys” in their industry. Using social sites such as Facebook and Twitter allows small businesses the ability to interact with consumers and promote their products and services without being burdened with the high costs associated with building websites and launching their own, private online communities. It also provides them with an opportunity to gain insight into what is being said about their brand, their business and their industry.  Never before has this opportunity to receive immediate and important feedback been so easy to obtain.

When it comes to creating a successful social media campaign, it isn’t as difficult as you might think. What takes the most time is being sure that to keep up-to-date with the conversations that are being had, and ensure that you are actively participating. Remember: just having a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube account for your small business doesn’t mean you have a presence in social media. To build up a following, you must be sure that you’re posting updates, comments and links on a regular basis. If used correctly, social media will help develop awareness of your business, establish your expertise in your industry, build relationships with customers and promote your products and services. Keep in mind that the social media landscape is constantly changing and social networking sites can come and go within a matter of months. By keeping informed on the latest social media developments, you’ll be able to adapt your strategy accordingly to maintain continued success.

For more information on how small businesses are using social media, be sure to check out this infographic on Mashable. 

-John Kreuzer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 thoughts on “Using Social Media For Small Businesses

  • Webinarista

    Great article John. It is all about the “electronic word of mouth” and keeping it as local as you can. With Social Media it is like being there.

    Keep it coming.

  • John Lusher

    Great post John! Small business and entrepreneurs are embracing social media in record numbers and there is a good reason why: because it works!! Connecting to, and staying connected to customer is key in this economy and social media provides the venue for that to happen! Love it!

  • David Kaufer

    Good post John – you’re right in that small to medium businesses can greatly benefit from strong, proactive social media programs. In many ways this reminds me of the 1990s when businesses were discovering (and struggling) with the idea of building/using websites. It takes a bit of a paradigm shift but it’s going to be even more crucial for businesses to succeed in the future.

  • Jonathan Adams

    Good read, as usual. David hit the nail on the head when comparing it to the 90s website boom. If you’re a small business owner and you don’t figure out social media, you’re going to get left behind.

  • Adam Herbel

    Some good points John, especially the one stating that just having an account on the platforms does not mean that you are using social media effectively. Small businesses have to have trackable goals and consistent interaction on each to make social media worth the time and make it profitable.

  • FasterDude

    Since the beginnings of web-based forums as replacement for NNTP server “newsgroups”, much of the web has been social media.

    Anyone who understands advertising knows that the word ‘media’ labels a class public communication that takes paid advertisement, e.g,. TV, radio, newspapers, magazines.

    Likewise, those who understand advertising know that vehicles are specific firms of media, e.g., CNN, KNX 1070 radio, the LA Times, National Geographic.

    Internet vehicles that provide facility of forum, let the entrepreneur act as if she or he exists in a virtual bizarre, a virtual marketplace, a virtual fair.

    Such virtual bizarres help entrepreneurs to break the barrier of resistance that shoppers face with impersonal 800 customer service lines or having to drive to stores to talk with sales people.

    Entrepreneurs as small-business operators must come to understand the above-mentioned vehicles — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

    Facebook works only for the Mary Kay and Amyway crowd who do not fear pestering relatives and long-lost high school friends into buying MLM products.

    Otherwise, Facebook is nothing more than ad buying based on keywords lifted from alleged preferences of Facebook users.

    LinkedIn exists for the business-to-business crowd of sales people trying to pester other sales people within corporations to buy each other’s corporate products.

    To use LinkedIn, requires old-fashioned, rolodex-like social networking, but without the face-to-face meet ups.

    Twitter works for the retailer and restaurateur as well as anyone selling products directly to consumers. Twitter alone presents the best fluid marketplace.

    Yet, like the marketplace, the merchant must constantly shout out to passers-by, to get their attention.

    Knowing how to create a nation of loyal customers is key to leveraging Twitter. That’s why Twitter works well for celebrities.

    YouTube works for any seller of products to shoppers who become customers when entrepreneurs want to bypass TV and provide direct infomercials.

    A correct strategy for YouTube would involve providing videos more like Infotainment rather than Informerical.