Leveraging Social Media for Small Business: Part 1

Social Media for Small BusinessAs a small business owner, if you were aware of a strategy that would ultimately ensure a higher bottom line, would you adopt it?

According to a recent survey, more than two-thirds of social media users report being more likely to purchase products from a brand or company they follow online.

Odds are you’ve heard plenty about Facebook, Twitter and the other social media tools.

What may not be clear is why it is so important to develop and implement a social media plan for your business.

If you’ve been on the fence about using social media, consider the following:

Establish a voice

Many small business owners believe that the time necessary to utilize social media is too great a burden, meaning that – oftentimes – social media outlets are overlooked entirely.

Unfortunately, this is not an effective approach to building your business and enhancing your brand. Even if you choose not to create and manage social media presences, your customers will be talking about your products.

When a question arises surrounding your business, who would you like to have address the topic at hand? A former employee? A customer loyal to another brand? How about your competitor?

Maintaining a social media presence means that you will always be available to respond directly to customer questions and feedback. You will also be in a position to remain competitive with businesses that already have their own social media plans in place and be top of mind for your customers when it comes time to make a purchase.

Let your customers guide you

The benefits of using social media strategy are clear, but the issue of developing the plan to maintain a social media presence remains difficult for many small business owners.

The solution? Start simple, by going where your customers are.

Do your customers enjoy Twitter? Tweet along with them. Perhaps they prefer Facebook? Begin there first. Either way, simplify the process by employing one network at the onset. Go wherever the greatest concentration of your customers exists, and expand to other tools if necessary through time.

And if you still aren’t sold on adopting a social media strategy, consider this: one report found that only 24 percent of small businesses in the U.S. use social media in a structured, strategic manner.

It’s up to you to capitalize on the void.

Part 2 of this post is available here.

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