Have you been a small business owner searching for ways to grow your business? Do you wish to attract more leads to your organization, or have heard about Social internet marketing, and now want to try it?
Being a small business owner you face many challenges - limited capital, minimal support staff and having too much to perform in what seems like not much time. So, how do you increase your small business without heavy investment in marketing and advertising? Answer - by making use of technology. Web 2.0 provides you with various tools and techniques that assist you to generate leads and increase the exposure of your home-based business. Social media is one such tool. Here's all that you should know as a small business owner to begin increasing revenues using social media.
What is Social Media?
Social Media is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. These comprise of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, GooglePlus, and MySpace.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is using the above mentioned platforms to arrive at a new audience of customers and create product brand awareness. By spreading word of a product from user to user, Facebook marketing strives to gain greater legitimacy for any message because it is shared between trusted "friends."
Which Social websites Channels are hottest?
Studies show that Facebook & Twitter are most popular social media channels followed closely by YouTube and LinkedIn, GooglePlus.
How come Social Media Marketing Interest me?
If you believe this kind of Marketing isn't for you, think again. These platforms give you a large bundle of advantages to small business owners. Here are some reasons why you should consider using Social websites for your business.
Exposure: As a small business owner you rely largely on multilevel marketing to channel contributes to your business - which, therefore relies on your interaction with others. This is the core notion of what Social Media is! But Social websites offers virtually unlimited possibilities to interact with people - an incredible number of them! With this interesting form of marketing, your business is will no longer limited to local leads; you'll find leads coming in from a diversified geographic market!
Zero-cost: While other marketing media would be expensive, this type of marketing is pretty free, or requires negligible monetary investment. It is a great low-cost way to get your message across.
Improved web site: Being on popular social websites platforms strengthens your online presence. The more people discuss you on Facebook or Twitter, the greater are the chances of your business being found on relevant web searches like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.
Direct experience of prospects: These platforms provide you with with your customers directly. You could have one-on-one contact with them, know very well what they really want.
Go viral: Such marketing gives you the opportunity to go viral with your marketing. Think about this. You add up a video concerning your business on YouTube. 10 people want it, and five of them share it using their friends, who in-turn share it with 20 the best way to. This is known as "viral marketing," therefore it may be a very effective strategy to increase your lead generation.
What is a Social Media "game plan" and why should you have one?
A social media game plan is a process including a few simple steps that can help you achieve your social media objectives. The social websites arena is large and you will get lost in it if you do not play by the rules. There are many competition and you have to have a clear plan if you want to stand out of the crowd and get noticed.
Your ideal Social networking game plan
A typical idea for your business should consist of these four steps
Build your network
Propagate your presence
Step 1 - make your network: The first step is to search for and add those users for your network whom you think fall into your target audience segment. When placing a request to add users for your network, it is always safer to accompany such requests having a personalized message. You can also look for and join groups that have to your line of business. For instance, if you are a business selling Health drinks and other health-related products, you could join groups where topics such as nutrition, diet or health are discussed. Bring in more business provide you audience for the products you have to offer. However, a lot more a group, do remember to incorporate VALUE. Answer questions you are equipped to answer, actively be involved in discussions, be subtle and do not aggressively "push" your products.
Step 2-propagate: The next phase is to announce your Social websites presence. You can do this with the help of links to your social media pages on your website, e-mail signature line or newsletter, in case you have one. You are out there with your business-announce it!
Step 3-stay connected:Another step is to keep in touch with your fans and group members. Social media initiative is easy to start, but requires effort to keep. And like many networking efforts, results are usually not immediate. Acquire permission from group members yet others on your network to transmit e-mails. You can then e-mail relevant prepared to people on your network. The true secret here is to send RELEVANT, VALUE ADDING content-not an advert of your products/services. If you are a health-drink selling company that is also a part of the nutrition and diet group, you can send links like '10 Best Anti-Oxidant Rich Fruits' then perhaps add a graphic and some information about your product, encouraging people to call you if they're interested. This method will be better-received than just sending the prospects an e-mail flyer totally focused on your product.
Dos and Don'ts
While social networking is all about human interaction and cannot be strait-jacketed, here are some tips that can come in handy.
What you should do?
Add value to your contacts: Always increase the value of your contacts. Always! Provide them useful information, tips and other interesting facts that they may use. For example, Jane, a home-based small business owner sells health drinks and weight reduction products. So, it feels right for her to provide the wedding guests with interesting articles on the subject of weight loss.
Be consistent in your online participation: It's not at all a one-time effort. It's about building a relationship... and relationships take time. Be consistent in your social websites communication. Have an interesting tweet/post/update at least every day. In some few cases, multiple postings each day are even better-but don't forget rule#1-add value. Your posts shouldn't sound like pointless ramblings or advertisements of your respective product/service.
Pay attention to what's being discussed: In case you have joined a forum or possibly a group, actively take part in relevant discussions. Make use of specific, professional knowledge to help others. Contribute to add depth and dimension to a discussion.
Conversation is the vital thing: As mentioned before, social media marketing endures relationships. To build a robust relationship with your prospects, you'll want to engage in a conversation using them. Maintain a 2-way communication between you and the audience. Take genuine curiosity about what they have to say and comply with comments or observations which can be made.
Thoroughly understand the subject you are referring to: Position yourself as a possible expert on these platforms. But make sure that you know what you're referring to. Research if you aren't clear on something. Mistakes on these platforms spread quickly and damage the reputation of your business.
Personalize your interaction: It's better to personalize your interaction together with your audience. Inquire about a conference or occasion posted on the Wall, such as a recent trip, or "like" their holiday pictures on Facebook.
Portray your individuality: The biggest advantage small business owners have over large corporations is the fact they are much smaller and haven't lost that real-person feel. Allow your audience know the person behind the organization. Make sure your interactions incorporate a personal side!
Respond to your customers' grievances ASAP: Were you aware that 88% of customers say unanswered complaints on social media sites deter them from doing repeat business? And deleting customer complaints is even worse! So make sure you resolve your customer's complaints on social media marketing platforms immediately. Although you may can't resolve them, a minimum of respond so that they know they're being heard. Acknowledge everything.
Mention your Social networking presence: Advertise your profiles. Always provide links on your social media profile in your website, blog, e-mails as well as print materials. For websites and blogs, you ought to add Facebook and twitter widgets that provide a live feed of what is happening on your Facebook/twitter page, at that time on your website or blog. Provide incentives or value adding information such as whitepapers or articles as a way to encourage people to follow yourself on social media sites!
Monitor & moderate: Monitor your social networking presence. Find out where your name's coming online and in what context it is often used. A Google alert could be the simplest way to do this, though there are many free tools available on the internet to monitor your web presence. Remain in-control of your social media pages. Read what other people putting up on your page and respond promptly.
Syndicate your Social media marketing content: Content creation needs time. So why not make the most of the information you have? Post your posts on all popular social media sites and don't hesitate to re-use them. Turn a blog post into a link and hang it on Facebook. Convert it into a video and increase YouTube and Facebook or morph it into a presentation and put it to SlideShare. The aim is to get maximum exposure to your content.
What you should not do?
DON'T overtly push your products/services: Social media is a platform
in places you build relationships, to create value. It's NOT an advertising venue. Your audience
will shun you if all you could talk about is the items you sell. Think about it, could you talk to your family
and friends regarding the products you sell all the time? Of course not! Then don't treat your
social media marketing audience any differently.
DON'T spam your contacts with pointless updates: OK, so now you added two new services to your line-up. While it's good to share the news, don't spam your contacts with ads. Set up a link to the new range of products; monitor who is interested and share info on a need-to-know basis.
Do not have grammar and spelling errors with your posts: You are a small company out to create an impact. Don't spoil it through spelling and grammatical errors. Use spelling/grammar checking tools, but never rely solely with them. Proofread your posts before putting them up online. If spelling or grammar isn't your strong suit, have somebody else proofread your work before it goes out
DON'T don't respond to requests for help in your area of expertise: If you are a part of a group or forum, seize every possiblity to display your expertise. Don't be a wallflower-actively participate in discussions.
Never allow your profile get stale: Ensure that your profile is frequently updated and that you offer something new. One mistake many small businesses proprietors make is creating social media marketing profiles and then disregarding them. Your social media efforts have to be on-going on bearing results.