I have to admit, when I started thinking about small businesses and social media, I thought – oh, they will be really up-there with the top successful social media sites, because they will probably use this as a cheaper way to market their brands or companies. But I hadn’t thought about the fact that they actually need to know how to use the social media and what to expect from it before they use it.
Nope – Sales will not soar the week after creating your Facebook and Twitter Pages:
After researching this a little bit – not intensely, but I did read some interesting articles (you can read them here, here and here), it is prevalent that small businesses tend to be lacking in knowledge about how to use social media and what it can do for their business.
What can social media do for your small business or not-for-profit?
As my lovely little photo above shows, Ted Rubin says, social media is a place to build customer loyalty, answer customer queries and build a community. He goes on to say that these take time, but, if you stick to it, you can gain trust from followers which can lead to brand loyalty. If someone is loyal to your brand, they are going to more likely buy more from you, more frequently!
Here are my tips for learning about and using social media for a business:
- If you don’t have much knowledge of social media do you have an employee (maybe a younger one) who knows quite a lot about it? Perhaps they could help you start your Facebook page and Twitter page – BUT, make sure they are clued-up with how to use social media for a business (not just for personal use).
- Are there any online courses on social media available? I quite often see online social media courses going for rather cheap prices on sites like Groupon.co.nz and Living Social.
- What about getting a student in (like me!) to help you out with your social media? This could be a cheap and easy way to get someone in to help you gain knowledge on social media. It will be something practical the student can put on their CV, and you are going to learn from someone who is learning about the current social media trends right now. You could put the ad up on Student Job Search.
- Be patient! Don’t think that you are going to see results straight away – but if you keep your content up to date, and post interesting and relevant content on your page, your followers are going to start getting to know you and your brand better, which can lead to loyalty.
- Remember this is two-way-communication – be ready for followers to start asking you questions and writing on your posts/pages. Think about what you are going to post, and all the possible things people might say, so you are ready to engage with your followers.
To end I will quote tech guru Ted Rubin (again), “with a few subtle shifts in priorities and an adoption of long-view, small business owners can put themselves back on the path towards success… and sales.”
Have you had an experience with social media for your small business? Let me know in the comments below. Do you need help from a student like me? I am keen to learn and grow in this area, so please let me know if you would like to chat about this!
Keep an eye out for my next post – I will be showing you some small businesses who are doing a great job in the social media-realm!