Is Your Small Business Using Social Media to its Greatest Potential?

March 19, 2012 by  

This guest post was submitted to The Anywhere Office by Dominick Frasso of Vistage International

The way businesses connect with their customers has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. The Internet completely revamped the way we do business. Today, however, another trend-within-a-trend is once again changing things up. Social media have taken the consumer marketplace by storm. Rather than looking to the yellow pages or calling up a friend for a recommendation, customers are seeking others pinions on Facebook and Twitter. 
The smart small business will put social media to work for them, bringing in new customers and providing new avenues for customer service and customer referrals.
Yet, simply having a social media strategy isn’t enough. You need to use social media in the most effective way possible if you’re going to see a true social media ROI.
 Here are some things your small business needs to be doing if you want to get the most from social media:

  • Choose a central social media hub around which all else revolves. For some businesses, Facebook makes sense. For others, it will be Twitter. Small businesses can easily spread themselves too thin across several social media platforms, and wind up making effective use of none of them. Figure out where your target market is, and build your social media presence there. Channel all of you social media efforts right there.
  • Cross promote your social media presence with your other marketing initiatives. For example, if you’ve chosen Facebook as your social media hub, list your Facebook URL on your website, on your business cards, and even post it on the wall of your store. Your goal should be, in part, to get both existing and new customers to interact with your business in that one medium.
  • Be genuine with your social media followers. That sounds like “fluff” advice, but let’s dig a little bit deeper for a moment. People use social media to connect with other people, primarily. If your small business is going to reach its potential, you need to replicate that person-to-person feel with your social media presence. That means, for example, posting pictures of your staff celebrating someone’s birthday, or perhaps showing your involvement in a local charity drive. Create a personal element and you’ll increase attachment.
  • Invest in highly effective design elements. Having the right Facebook landing page will generate a lot more “likes” than simply having a standard Facebook profile. The same goes for a Twitter profile. Choose the right background elements, and carefully craft all of your informational elements to maximize social media effectiveness. Don’t leave design to chance; find a reputable designer or firm and let them give you the extra boost you need in this area.
  • Integrate video. Companies that use video as part of their marketing strategies see an average 120% ROI, according to Garter. YouTube gives you an opportunity to offer something of real value to your social media followers or fans. For example, the local hardware store which creates a five-minute video on how to install laminated flooring may see it pay off for years to come as people seek out not only their flooring products, but their expertise as well.
  • Give something away. One of the best ways to create brand loyalty and engender confidence is by providing something of value. Consider offering your social media contacts special discounts. Open up an hour early one day a month, and offer an extra 10% off everything in your store just to those who follow you on Facebook. Tweet special deals, giving a “buy one get one free” offer for the next three hours to those who come in and mention that they saw your tweet. This will drive customers to your door, and it will also increase the size of your social media circles.
  • Measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts. There’s a lot of discussion out there right now about how to measure social media marketing ROI. The fact of the matter is that, for small businesses, it’s relatively easy. Sure, you can look at statistics like the number of fans or followers you have, but that doesn’t really tell you how effective the campaign is. If your sales increase as a direct result of your social media efforts, then you know it’s effective. If you’re not getting results, it’s time to change strategies.

Getting social media right is critical if your business is going to continue to succeed. Make sure your social media strategy is really impacting your bottom line. Implement these strategies to push your social media presence ahead, and bring your small business along with it.

[Image Credit: Some rights reserved by Ed Yourdon]

Author bio
Dominick Frasso is the SEO/SEM Specialist at Vistage International, an executive coaching organization that helps CEO members build better companies through unique executive development opportunities. In order to provide a powerful learning environment for members, Vistage identifies qualified mentors seeking CEO jobs and positions them as leaders of CEO peer groups. Dominick leverages his experience in multiple marketing roles, including advertising, media buys, direct mail, email, marketing analytics, and SEO / SEM to help Vistage acquire qualified Chairs and recruit members with a high potential for success in the program.

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