Marketing for Small Businesses: How Can Social Media Help?

We get so caught up in the lofty ideals or day-to-day activities of owning a business that we sometimes lose focus of the most important objective: getting more customers or clients through the door.  We can all agree it’s impossible to succeed as a business if you’re not attracting new customers.

So, let’s take a dive back into the prehistoric era to recall the early stages of business planning and discuss how social media can help bring in new leads.

The Three W’s

Who, what, and where…going old school.  Remember the elementary school days of analyzing a story by answering those three questions?  Like a lot of things we learn at a young age, this is coming back to bite.  This is elementary business planning.  How can any business function without consumers knowing:

Small Business Social Media

  1. Who are you?
  2. What does your business offer consumers?
  3. Where exactly is your business located and how far are you willing to travel to serve consumers or clients?

Now…

How Can Social Media Help Small Businesses Answer These Questions?

There are dozens of areas of social media that can serve to improve a business, but we’ll stick with hitting the two high notes in this post.

1) Increasing Brand Exposure

No exaggeration, you have billions of people on social media sites reading, listening, sharing, reviewing, and discussing everything under the sun from the latest technology gadget all the way to the new local coffee shop or bar down the street.  As a small business owner, this opportunity to increase your brand exposure cannot be ignored.

Brand Awareness Marketing Profs

Again: do people know who you are, what you do, and where you’re located?  What if you could spread that knowledge to just one or two percent more consumers in your area?  That’s a pretty hefty increase in the number of people potentially walking through your door and making a purchase.  Social media offers an inexpensive, quick way of spreading answers to those questions directly to consumers.

At the very least, it’s imperative that every small business has a presence on the four musts of social media.  Additionally, you should have listings on location-based social media sites such as foursquare and Yelp.  With a strong identity in social media, you increase the chances of being found in Google searches from consumers and you can also make active attempts to reach out to new consumers.

2) Shaping Customer Relationships

Let’s face it: social media is where consumers are focusing their attention when it comes discussing their purchasing experiences.  And if you think they’re not talking about your products or services, you’re wrong.  I guarantee it.

I don’t care how small your business or product line is, somewhere in the dark corners of the Internet people are talking about you.  Is the discussion good or bad? That is the question.

Social Media Conversations

Don’t sit back and just let people talk about your business.  While there is some lack of moderation control in social media, you can definitely shape conversations that are happening.  The easiest way to shape these conversations and make them favorable for your business is to start them yourself.

Obviously you can’t create positive conversations if you don’t have active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, foursquare, YouTube, and the many other social networks.

Simple, huh?

Well, even beyond having active accounts, you must have a specified social media marketing strategy, you must understand your audience, and you must be able to create conversation that keeps people interested.

Social media marketing offers the cheapest, fastest way to build brand awareness and interact directly with consumers in today’s market.

In a competitive environment, a small business has to go where the consumers are talking…and the consumers are talking on social networks.  Adapt or be left behind, because social media is here to stay.

My Social Game Plan, Social Media for Small Business Owners
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About Jonathan Payne

I'm the Founder and Author of My Social Game Plan, where I've spent the last six years writing about social media marketing in an effort to help business owners and marketers stay on top of the rapidly-evolving marketing landscape.

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