Unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware of the growing popularity of social networking sites, like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Do you know how to use these social networking sites to market your business? Here are some tips on how to effectively market your business using social networking sites.
Social Networking Important to Small Businesses
A recent survey of 148 private businesses was conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research found that 43% of the businesses surveyed believed that social media was very important to their business. 52% of the businesses surveyed said that they were “tweeting” and 43% had created their own blog for their businesses.
Tip #1 – Don’t Just Jump In to Social Networking
If your business has not used social marketing tools in the past, don’t just jump in and sign up for everything. Facebook may not be the right social media tool for your business. Before you begin using social media tools to market your business ask yourself a few key questions. Do you consider your business to be a social organization? What do you plan to gain from using social media to market your business? Are you looking for more customers or will you use social media to connect with others in your field? These are important questions you should ask yourself before you create a half dozen social media accounts that may be meaningless for your organization.
Tip #2 – Choose the Best Social Media Network for your Business
This tip goes hand-in-hand with my first tip. There really is no need for most businesses to use every social media tool available. If your company is a business to business company, you may not get much use from a Facebook page. Linked-in, a site where you can connect with other professional organizations in your field may be a better fit. Blogging can be a valuable business tool, but you need to have something to blog about. Think hard about what you intend to gain from social networks and research which social networking sites will be best suited to help you achieve your goals.
Tip #3 – Use Social Media to Improve Customer Service
Creating a blog about your business or using Twitter and Facebook to get product information out to your customer base can help you improve customer service. Twitter can be especially helpful when used to alert customers to a shipping delay, for example. Social networks provide invaluable tools for improving the customer experience. Improved customer service can give your business a competitive edge.
Tip #4 – Use Social Networks to Provide Valuable Product Information
Announcing a new sale to your Facebook fans is one way to make the most of social networking. You can also announce the arrival of new products and provide pertinent product information to your customer base. Blogging about your products, especially if you provide pictures along with the blog, can help you create demand for your company’s products and help you expand business. Be selective about what you blog and make sure to proof your work before you post it on a social network site.
Tip #5 – Use the Information Your Customers Provide
Not only do social network tools give you the ability to provide pertinent information about your organization to your customer base, you also receive useful information about your customers. Digging into the information your customers provide on Facebook allows you to create a customer profile. See what other Facebook groups your customers have joined or what likes and dislikes they post about. Having a strong understanding of your customer base is invaluable information that can be used when making key business decisions.
Social networking is the future of marketing. Learn to use these tools effectively can give you that competitive edge that will help you grow your business.