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Can Small Businesses Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Social Media?

Using social media can help gain the edge over competitors

Your competitors will very likely be using social media, so you should, too. To gain a competitive advantage, it’s important to have a social marketing strategy that:

  • fits into your overall marketing plan
  • has measurable objectives

These eight steps will help you use social media to compete effectively.

1. Find out what people are saying online

Freely available tools (including Google) can show you what people are saying about you, your competitors and your industry on the social web. Use these insights to tailor your approach to social networking. What can you offer that competitors don’t?

2. Set measurable objectives

You can measure the success of your social media strategy by, for example, monitoring the number of ‘shares’ of your content or visits to your website and conversions once there. Learn from experience.

3. Give people an incentive to come to you

Social media are effective consumer relationship management tools. Be responsive, build relationships and give people a reason to come to you rather than a competitor when they’re ready to buy.

4. Amplify your point of difference

Use social networking to demonstrate your higher level of customer service, for example, or talk about the quality of your products. Stress your unique selling point (USP) in your social media profiles.

5. Create and share good content

Useful content will drive traffic to your website and establish your reputation as a ‘go to’ source of information. Make it easy for people to rate and share your content once they’re on your site.

6. Make yourself easy to find

Use search keywords in your social media profiles and messages. Create profiles for local search sites such as Google Places, and make sure you feature on relevant review sites.

7. Combine social marketing with other marketing

Add social media links to your marketing materials and website landing pages. Highlight your other marketing activities – provide a commentary on events you’re attending, for example.

8. Use social networking to attract employees and suppliers

Invest time in building connections with engaged potential employees and suppliers who can give you an edge.