Be Social: Social Media for Small Businesses

When you are operating as a small business, often one thing you don’t have is the luxury of time. It’s a possibility you are too busy to be tapped into Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or any others of the plethora of social media offerings out there that can help your business. However, it is always worth remembering that nothing else gives you such a direct and individual way to interact with your customers and clients on a regular timescale. And ultimately that is what makes your business profitable – the people you interact with on a business level.

When social media looks appealing from a marketing perspective as it is free to sign up for multiple social media, blogging and video accounts across the board, remember that the most valuable investment you need to put in is time. You have to make a big effort to come up with new and interesting content for your audience, whilst at the same time engaging with them directly on any queries or conversations that might arise. What can be a good plan if resources are stretched, is to pick one platform and focus solely on building a community there. That’s a great landing point, and if successful, you may find the growth to useful other social networks happens in an organic manner.

Following on from that, it’s good to bear in mind social media essentially isn’t about you, it’s about your customer. Try and tap into how they think and act, and use that knowledge accordingly. Often your infant social media strategy can be organically grown just by following the direction your engaged customers are taking it in, as I mentioned above. It’s also a good idea just to ask what social networks your clients or customers are using – that’s a great start to quickly building a worthwhile community.

As a small business, you may feel that given the time you have invested, you need an immediate return on this. How is it best to measure that? You may hear boasts about numbers of Twitter followers – that is great in theory as people are tapped in to your content. However if all they are doing is receiving tweets and not following any calls to action, then it’s not as valuable as it appears to have lots of followers. Concentrate on the quality of your interaction with clients and customers, and the results you see from that. Given the choice between a smaller community that adds value to the business and interacts with you on a regular basis, and thousands of Twitter followers that bring no value to your bottom line, I’d go with the smaller community as they are worthy of the time you invest in cultivating that.