Many small business owners are still not using social media for their businesses. A number of surveys show that small business owners are still not aware about the power of social media and how to use them for promoting their businesses:
- More than 86% of business owners said they don’t think that Twitter and Facebook could derive any sales for their business (Citibank/GFK Roper survey)
- 61% of small businesses don’t see a return on investment on social media activities (Manta survey)
- Small businesses cite Facebook as the hardest social media network to maintain (Manta survey)
- 33% of small businesses said social media not part of marketing mix (Cox Business #SBWsurvey)
- Only 11% of small business owners consider social media as an effective marketing channel for finding new customers (Yodle Small Business Sentiment Survey
Social media is a bust for small businesses because they consider the medium to be intimidating to use. They create a Facebook page, Pinterest board, Linkedin business page and Twitter account only to find that building likes, fans or followers is not easy. Many also do not have enough time to learn how to use social media, do not have the patience to reap any results from social media activities, or simply do not know how to launch successful social media campaigns.
So how can small business owners use social media successfully and achieve better results from it? Below are ways local small businesses can benefit and use social media:
Social Media is all about building relationships with others. If you are a local business you can build relationships with the people in your city or if you are selling a product for specific niche then you have to build relationships with people of that niche. More relationships i.e friends you would make there more people are going to come towards you when they are looking for similar kind of service you are providing.
Now you know that social media is to build relationships the other step is to find places where you can find your potential customers. Your campaign should not be only limited to big websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, yahoo groups. Most of the business owners ignore small forums related to their niche but usually such small forums have very low competition and high target audience giving you a good opportunity to build relationships with your target audience.
Social Media is for Conversation. Participate in conversations with your potential. It is not important that conversation should be related to your product or not. It could be anything. Doing conversation would help people to know about you and you would learn about the likes and dislikes of your customer.
You need to build a relationship of trust between you and your audience to sell anything. Social media is a great way to build trust among your target audience by providing them with useful content about your products and how they would help them. These things would help you to establish yourself as expert in your niche so that people can come to you for your opinions when they really need your services. For e.g.:- If you have a coffee shop you can tell people interesting things about the coffee flavors when they are looking for such kind of information.
Don’t Create Rules:
The last tip/rule you should follow in your social media campaign is not to follow any rules when you are on such sites. Don’t create any rules like what to say out there or what you can’t. Just enjoy your time and make friends who could become your customers in future.