Have you been a small business owner researching to grow your business? Are you looking to attract more leads to your small business, or have heard about Social internet marketing, and now want to try it?
As a small business owner you face many challenges - limited capital, minimal support and having too much to perform in what seems like very little time. So, how do you expand your small business without heavy investment in marketing and advertising? Answer - with the use of technology. Web 2.0 will provide you with various tools and techniques that assist you to generate leads while increasing the exposure of your home-based business. Social media is certainly one such tool. Here's all you have to know as a small business owner to begin with increasing revenues using social websites.
What is Social Media?
Social networking is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, GooglePlus, and MySpace.
Precisely what is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is utilizing the above mentioned platforms to arrive at a new audience of customers and create product brand awareness. By spreading word of the product from user to user, Social Media Marketing strives to gain greater legitimacy for the message because it is shared between trusted "friends."
Which Social Media Channels are most favored?
Studies show that Facebook & Twitter are most widely used social media channels followed closely by YouTube and LinkedIn, GooglePlus.
Why should Social Media Marketing Interest me?
If you believe this kind of Marketing is just not for you, think again. These platforms provide a large bundle of advantages to small business owners. Here are some reasons why you should consider using Social networking for your business.
Exposure: As being a small business owner you rely largely on multi-level marketing to channel leads to your business - which, subsequently relies on your interaction with folks. This is the core notion of what Social Media is! But Social Media offers virtually unlimited opportunities to interact with people - numerous them! With this interesting form of marketing, your business is will no longer limited to local leads; you will find leads coming in from the diversified geographic market!
Zero-cost: While other marketing media could be expensive, this type of marketing is comparatively free, or requires negligible monetary investment. It's a great low-cost way to get your message across.
Improved web presence: Being on popular social networking platforms strengthens your web presence. The more people speak about you on Facebook or Twitter, the higher are the chances of your small business being found on relevant web searches including Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.
Direct connection with prospects: These platforms provide you with your customers directly. You'll have one-on-one contact with them, know what they really want.
Go viral: Such marketing will give you the opportunity to go viral with your marketing. Think about this. You set up a video relating to your business on YouTube. 10 people like it, and five of which share it with their friends, who in-turn share it with 20 more people. This is known as "viral marketing," therefore it may be a very effective approach to increase your lead generation.
Just what is a Social Media "game plan" and why should you have one?
A social networking game plan is a process including a few simple steps which can help you achieve your social internet marketing objectives. The social media arena is large and you can get lost in it if you don't play by the rules. There's a lot of competition and you have to have a clear plan in order to stand out of the crowd and obtain noticed.
Your ideal Social websites game plan
A typical game plan for your business should include these four steps
Build your network
Propagate your presence
Keep in touch
Step 1 - build your network: The first step would be to search for and add those users to your network whom you think get into your target audience segment. When placing request to add users to your network, it is always preferable to accompany such requests with a personalized message. It's also possible to look for and join groups that have to your line of business. For instance, if you are a business selling Health drinks as well as other health-related products, you could join groups where topics including nutrition, diet or health are discussed. Such groups provide you audience for that products you have to offer. However, much more a group, do remember to provide VALUE. Answer questions that you are equipped to answer, actively take part in discussions, be subtle , nor aggressively "push" your products.
Step 2-propagate: The next task is to announce your Social media marketing presence. You can do this by adding links to your social networking pages on your website, e-mail signature line or newsletter, if you have one. You are around with your business-announce it!
Step 3-stay connected:The 3rd step is to stay connected with your fans and group members. Social internet marketing initiative is easy to start out, but requires effort to maintain. And like many networking efforts, email address details are usually not immediate. Acquire permission from group members among others on your network for you e-mails. You can then e-mail relevant content to people on your network. The true secret here is to send RELEVANT, VALUE ADDING content-not a commercial of your products/services. If you are a health-drink selling company who's also a part of the diet and nutrition group, you can send links like '10 Best Anti-Oxidant Rich Fruits' after which perhaps add a graphic and some information about your products or services, encouraging people to make contact with you if they're interested. This process will be better-received than just sending the prospects an e-mail flyer totally committed to your product.
Dos and Don'ts
While social networking is all about human interaction and will not be strait-jacketed, here are some tips that may come in handy.
What you should do?
Improve the value of your contacts: Always increase the value of your contacts. Always! Provide them valuable information, tips and other interesting facts they can use. For example, Jane, a home-based small business owner sells health drinks and fat loss products. So, it seems sensible for her to provide her audience with interesting articles on trading of weight loss.
Stay consistent in your online participation: It isn't a one-time effort. To expect building a relationship... and relationships require time. Be consistent in your social websites communication. Have an interesting tweet/post/update at least every day. In some few cases, multiple postings every day are even better-but don't forget rule#1-add value. You shouldn't sound like pointless ramblings or advertisements of your respective product/service.
Pay attention to what's being discussed: When you have joined a forum or a group, actively be involved in relevant discussions. Use your specific, professional knowledge to assist others. Contribute to add depth and dimension into a discussion.
Conversation is paramount: As mentioned before, social media marketing thrives on relationships. To build a strong relationship with your prospects, you'll want to engage in a conversation using them. Maintain a 2-way communication between your audience. Take genuine fascination with what they have to say and follow up on comments or observations which are made.
Thoroughly be aware of subject you are referring to: Position yourself as an expert on these platforms. But ensure that you know what you're speaking about. Research if you aren't absolutely 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 along with your audience. Inquire about a conference or occasion posted over a Wall, such as a recent trip, or "like" the trip pictures on Facebook.
Portray your individuality: The most important 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 business enterprise. Make sure your interactions add a personal side!
Answer your customers' grievances ASAP: Did you know 88% of customers say unanswered complaints on social networking sites deter them from doing repeat business? And deleting customer complaints is more serious! So make sure you resolve your customer's complaints on social media platforms immediately. Although you may can't resolve them, at least respond so that they know they're being heard. Acknowledge everything.
Mention your Social websites presence: Advertise your profiles. Always provide links for your social media profile inside your website, blog, e-mails and also print materials. For websites and blogs, it is best to add Facebook and twitter widgets which offer a live feed of what is happening on your Facebook/twitter page, right there on your website or blog. Provide incentives or value adding information for example whitepapers or articles so that you can encourage people to follow yourself on social media sites!
Monitor & moderate: Monitor your social networking presence. Find out where your name's coming up online and in what context it is often used. A Google alert will be the simplest way to do this, even though there are many free tools available on the web 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 networking content: Content creation needs time. So why not make the most of the information you have? Post your articles on all popular social networking sites and don't hesitate to re-use them. Turn your blog post into a link and set it on Facebook. Convert it into a video and add to 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 networking is a platform
that you build relationships, to create value. It isn't really an advertising venue. Your audience
will shun you if whatever you talk about is the belongings you sell. Think about it, could you talk to your family
and friends concerning the products you sell constantly? Of course not! Then don't treat your
social media audience any differently.
DON'T spam your contacts with pointless updates: OK, so now you added two new items to your line-up. While it is good to share the news, don't spam your contacts with ads. Set up a link to the new product range; monitor who is interested and share facts about a need-to-know basis.
Don't possess grammar and spelling errors with your posts: You are a small business out to create an effect. Don't spoil it through spelling and grammatical errors. Use spelling/grammar checking tools, but never rely solely in it. Proofread your posts before putting them up online. If spelling or grammar isn't your strong suit, have someone else proofread your projects before it goes out
DON'T neglect to respond to requests for aid in your area of expertise: A high level part of a group or forum, seize every possibility to display your expertise. You shouldn't be a wallflower-actively participate in discussions.
DON'T let your profile get stale: Ensure that your profile is frequently updated so you offer something new. One mistake many small businesses make is creating social websites profiles and then forgetting about them. Your social websites efforts have to be on-going to carry results.