Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can social media help with your small business?

Social media has quickly become one of the best ways for a small business to compete against bigger players in their industry. For a business, creating a social media strategy not only allows you to create a personal connection between your brand and your customers - it also gives you the opportunity to:

• Build customer loyalty

• Create great customer service through interaction

• And lower your customer acquisition costs in the long run.

A recent survey by Michael Stelzner, provided interesting data that was shared in the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report . What was found that small businesses who follow a social media marketing strategy received two times more qualified leads than those of businesses that didn’t.

As you can see, social media helps bring your brand in front of your potential customers much more easily than any other marketing strategies and at much lower costs. To be successful in your social media efforts there are certain things you should follow:

Offer valuable content: Determine what your prospects need and try to fulfil it with great content. Will the content that you offer help them solve their problems? For example, for fans of your Facebook page, you can offer discounts, contests or exclusive promotions that reward them for their loyalty.

Be consistent: Make sure that your communications are frequent and connect with your customers on a regular basis. If you haven’t updated your Facebook page over time, don’t be surprised if your prospects start leaving.

Be visible on multiple social media platforms: Don’t just depend on one social media platform for your customer outreach. People are all over the web, having profiles on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter all for different purposes. So, make sure that what you post is unique to the platform you’re on.

Along with strengthening your brand, social media has another advantage thanks to Google. It helps in your search engine optimization strategy. With the Panda update, Google has declared that social media activity will play a large role in how a website will rank in search results. The more people share your content through social media and link back to your website, the more Google will look favourably upon you.

Customers are looking for more than just a transactional relationship with their favourite brands. When you create an atmosphere that allows your prospective client to connect with your company by voicing their opinions and suggestions through social media, you gain their trust. This trust translates easily to higher revenue as it makes lead conversion easier.