Local internet marketing is nothing if not ever-changing. Your ability to keep up could mean the difference between sinking and swimming in today’s competitive marketplace. Social media is one of the newest developments from the Internet arena that businesses are now using to grow and market their products and services. Large companies were the first to hop on this bandwagon, but the power of social media is no longer only a focus of large businesses; small businesses are now warming up to the fact that social media sites, such as Facebook, are an important component to add to their marketing strategy. After all, if 82% of larger companies (Lyris June 2010 survey of online marketers) are using Facebook as a primary marketing tactic, there must be good reason, and we believe it’s critical small businesses jump on this social media tactic to add their marketing strategy as well.
Check this out: In the December 2010 eMarketer report “Social Media in the Marketing Mix: Budgeting for 2011” Debra Aho Williamson shared that small businesses are slower to adopt social media as part of their marketing strategy due to the fact they often don’t have a large web presence to begin with. But regardless as to why, what’s important is this is changing and small companies are seeing the positive impact of social media for their businesses.
We find social media is a powerful tool for small businesses to:
Increase their customer base.
- Find leads.
- Promote their businesses.
- Share information.
- Become experts in their niche for their target market.
- Research what competitors are doing.
And to get the most out of social media, we’ve found it’s important for small businesses to:
- Target the fan base for their market.
- Provide incentives and ‘exclusive’ offers for followers and fans.
- Provide useful and helpful content to show expert subject matter status.
- Provide up-to-date and complete profile information.
- Be consistent and regularly update content.
- Respond within 24 hours to customer questions and comments.
In addition to social media, websites and email lists are 2 additional Internet marketing tactics that should be a part of a small business’ marketing plan, and in most cases, these last 2 items are the first to be added with social media coming in last. However, we encourage companies to use all 3 of these tactics concurrently to have a powerful marketing campaign. In fact, using a website, email and social media together works wonders as you use your new social media fan base to share emails with, share your website link on your social media page and vice versa, have fans sign up for your email list on your website and social media pages, etc.
At the end of the day, social media is growing and continues to change the way we market our businesses. For a small business to not take advantage of the power of social media, where there are 500 million users on Facebook alone, they’re missing out on a huge market that’s right at their fingertips.