BY ASHTON COLLEGE
Social media has become one of the key tools to help small businesses jumpstart their activity. It is a convenient, low-cost way to reach out to the majority of people. When used properly, social media helps small businesses raise brand’s awareness, build their audiences and spread the word about special discounts or services.
However, before jumping on a social media train, here are some key points you should think about.
Which Tools to Use: With a variety of social media tools available, you should start with the ones that your audience is most likely to use. For most businesses, this means the use of Facebook and Twitter. Other social media websites, such as Google+, LinkedIn or Instagram, to name a few, may also be used depending on the nature of your business. Ask yourself about your desired audience to see which platforms would work best. For instance, LinkedIn works better for professional tips and business-to-business interactions, while Pinterest is a less formal, photo-driven tool that works well for beauty and fashion.
Another question you would want to ask yourself is which platforms you can maintain an effective presence in. You don’t have to jump into all the platforms at once, as it would be difficult and time-consuming to manage them.
What if you think that your clients don’t use social media? Take your time to see if that is actually true. Aside from the fact that most families have at least one member on a Twitter or Facebook account, there are always creative ways to have a social media presence that supports your brand, products or expertise.
Gaining Followers: Goal number one is to be engaging. Share original, informative content that will be interesting and beneficial to your potential clients and customers. Post updates about your business that are applicable to your clients, and make sure that you respond to their comments and feedback. The more interactive and engaging your social media content is, the more likely you are to gain attention and followership.
If you are just starting out on social media, you can always use incentives to gain followership, such as offering special discounts or announcing promotions earlier. You can also use social media advertising for many of the social media platform, and tailor the ads to the people that you believe will be most interested in your products and services.
At the same time, make sure your content is relevant to the brand image that you would like to promote and the products or services that you offer. It may be better to have a smaller number of the followers if they are truly interested in what your business has to offer.
Building Relationships: Anytime a potential client sees your company or hears from you online, you are building a relationship with that client. That way, the next time you post something on Facebook or Twitter, they are more likely to read it. It does take time to build relationships, so be patient whenever you first start out using social media for your small business.