To be sure, small business owners find themselves in a very unique situation, in fact, most of the business owners that I know (myself included) are tasked with doing everything from scrubbing toilets, to managing customer service, to accounting and facilities maintenance. Truly, it can be a monumental task.
On top of that, throw in a shaky economic situation, rising utility costs, and a lower profit margin and some might begin to wonder what on earth ever drove them to pursue entrepreneurship as a career and lifestyle choice in the first place.
So, why on earth would anyone want to add social media marketing into an already manic schedule? (I know it certainly can seem overwhelming!) The honest answer is:
When it is done properly, social media marketing for small business works!
In my day-to-day interactions with other business folk, many people that I speak with are telling me that their numbers are way, way down from previous years. And I always try to remember that great innovation and growth are sometimes born out of adversity and tough economic times. Preferably, small business owners would start to use social media before a financial crisis hits, but no matter what your current situation, just ‘getting started’ today (not tomorrow!) is the most important thing.
The beauty of leveraging all of this social media ‘stuff’ for business promotion is; it does not have to be expensive, complicated, or overly time consuming.
In fact, it has been my experience, through my own small biz D.I.Y. social media activities that over time it can provide such benefits as:
- improved brand awareness
- increased search engine rankings
- quantifiable cost savings and increased profits
- enhanced networking opportunities
- the chance to help others and continue learning
If you have previously been hesitant to jump in, but now find yourself willing to embrace online promotion and social media, i.e. dipping your toe into the social media pond, here are five action items that can help get you started.
- List out (or think about) your business goals and how you would like social media and online marketing to help you achieve them. Your goals can be anything that you would like them to be. Some common examples are ranking well on Google, bringing in more customers and increased sales.
- Agree to commit half an hour a day towards your social media goals.
- Create a Flickr account under the name of your business and upload a few photos. Make sure you tag them properly and add a nice description.
- Seek out some forums that are in your business niche – from liquor stores to high end shoes and B and B’s, I am quite certain that an online forum exists that encompasses your business. Find them, register, read through some posts and try to be helpful and not spammy if you reply. Also, find relevant blogs and leave a few comments.
- Write a blog post. You don’t even have to publish it, but it will get you to start thinking about what type of information you could publish online that would help to educate your customers.
As a small business owner myself, I realize that finding additional time during the day is NOT easy. And at some point, your social media activities must bring measurable results.
If you remember one point from this post, please let it be the following:
When it comes to using social media for small business promotion, sure, anybody can do it, but not everybody does it.
It’s not difficult but it does take a certain amount of consistency. You can do this!
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