How To Grow Your Small Business Using Social Media

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Are you currently a small business owner looking for ways to grow your business? Would you like to attract more leads to your business, or have heard about Social internet marketing, and now want to try it?

Like a small business owner you face many challenges – limited capital, minimal support staff and having too much to do in what seems like not much time. So, how do you increase your small business without heavy purchase of marketing and advertising? Answer – through the use of technology. Web 2.0 provides you with various tools and techniques that help you to generate leads and increase the exposure of your respective home-based business. Social media is a such tool. Here’s all that you should know as a small business owner to begin with increasing revenues using social media.

What is Social Media?
Social websites is a category of online media where individuals are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. These comprise of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, GooglePlus, and MySpace.

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What’s Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is using the above mentioned platforms to succeed in a new audience of clients and create product brand awareness. By spreading word of a product from user to user, Social internet marketing strives to gain greater legitimacy for the message because it is shared between trusted “friends.”

Which Social websites Channels are hottest?
Studies show that Facebook & Twitter are most popular social media channels followed closely by YouTube and LinkedIn, GooglePlus.

Why should Social Media Marketing Interest me?
If you believe this kind of Marketing just isn’t for you, think again. These platforms give you a large bundle of advantages to small business owners. Here are some reasons why you should consider using Social Media for your business.

Exposure: Being a small business owner you rely largely on network marketing to channel leads to your business – which, therefore relies on your interaction with people. This is the core notion of what Social Media is! But Social media marketing offers virtually unlimited the possiblility to interact with people – numerous them! With this interesting kind of marketing, your business is no more limited to local leads; you can find leads coming in coming from a diversified geographic market!

Zero-cost: While other marketing media would be expensive, this type of marketing is relatively free, or requires negligible monetary investment. It’s actually a great low-cost way to get your message across.

Improved web presence: Being on popular social websites platforms strengthens your web presence. The more people speak about you on Facebook or Twitter, the more are the chances of your company being found on relevant web searches like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.

Direct contact with prospects: These platforms provide you with with your customers directly. You’ll have one-on-one contact with them, determine what they really want.

Go viral: Such marketing offers you the opportunity to go viral along with your marketing. Think about this. You place up a video about your business on YouTube. 10 people enjoy it, and five of these share it using their friends, who in-turn share it with 20 lots more people. This is known as “viral marketing,” this means you will be a very effective strategy to increase your lead generation.

What is a Social Media “game plan” and why wouldn’t you have one?
A social websites game plan is a process including a few simple steps that can help you achieve your social media marketing objectives. The social media marketing arena is large and you may get lost in it should you not play by the rules. There’s a lot of competition and you have to have a clear plan if you need to stand out of the crowd and have noticed.

Your ideal Social networking game plan
A typical idea for your business should incorporate these four steps

Build your network
Propagate your presence
Keep in touch

Step 1 – make your network: The first step would be to search for and add those users to your network whom you think fall into your target audience segment. When putting a request to add users in your network, it is always better to accompany such requests using a personalized message. You can also look for and join groups that have to do with your line of business. For instance, if you are a business selling Health drinks and other health-related products, you could join groups where topics including nutrition, diet or health are discussed. Such groups provide you audience for that products you have to offer. However, while in a group, do remember to ADD VALUE. Answer questions that you are equipped to answer, actively be involved in discussions, be subtle and don’t aggressively “push” your products.

Step 2-propagate: The next phase is to announce your Social networking presence. You can do this by adding links to your social media pages on your website, e-mail signature line or newsletter, when you have one. You are on the market with your business-announce it!

Step 3-stay connected:The next step is to remain connected with your fans and group members. Social media marketing initiative is easy to get started on, but requires effort to maintain. And like many networking efforts, answers are usually not immediate. Acquire permission from group members yet others on your network to send e-mails. You can then e-mail relevant prepared to people on your network. The important thing here is to send RELEVANT, VALUE ADDING content-not a commercial of your products/services. If you are a health-drink selling company that is also a part of the nutrition and diet group, you can send links including ’10 Best Anti-Oxidant Rich Fruits’ then perhaps add a picture and some information about your product, encouraging people to speak to you if they’re interested. This method will be better-received than just sending the prospects an e-mail flyer totally dedicated to your product.

Dos and Don’ts
While social networking is all about human interaction and should not be strait-jacketed, here are some tips that may come in handy.

What you should do?
Increase the value of your contacts: Always increase the value of your contacts. Always! Provide them useful information, tips and other interesting facts that they may use. For example, Jane, a home-based company owner sells health drinks and weight-loss products. So, it seems sensible for her to provide her audience with interesting articles on the topic of weight loss.

Remain consistent in your online participation: It’s not at all a one-time effort. To expect building a relationship… and relationships take some time. Be consistent in your social media marketing communication. Have an interesting tweet/post/update a minimum of every day. In some few cases, multiple postings each day are even better-but don’t forget rule#1-add value. Your content shouldn’t sound like pointless ramblings or advertisements of your respective product/service.

Pay attention to what’s being discussed: For those who have joined a forum or even a group, actively participate in relevant discussions. Takes place specific, professional knowledge to aid others. Contribute to add depth and dimension to some discussion.

Conversation is the vital thing: As mentioned before, social media marketing thrives on relationships. To build a powerful relationship with your prospects, you need to engage in a conversation using them. Maintain a 2-way communication between your audience. Take genuine curiosity about what they have to say and follow up on comments or observations which might be made.

Thoroughly know the subject you are referring to: Position yourself as an expert on these platforms. But make certain you know what you’re discussing. Research if you aren’t clear on something. Mistakes on these platforms spread quickly and damage the trustworthiness of your business.

Personalize your interaction: It’s wise to personalize your interaction with your audience. Inquire about a meeting or occasion posted on a Wall, such as a recent trip, or “like” their vacation pictures on Facebook.

Portray your individuality: The most important advantage small business owners have over large corporations is always that they are much smaller and haven’t lost that real-person feel. Allow your audience know the person behind the organization. Make sure your interactions include a personal side!

React to your customers’ grievances ASAP: Are you aware that 88% of customers say unanswered complaints on social media sites deter them from doing repeat business? And deleting customer complaints is even worse! So make sure you resolve your customer’s complaints on social media marketing platforms immediately. In case you can’t resolve them, at the very least respond so that they know they’re being heard. Acknowledge everything.

Mention your Social websites presence: Advertise your profiles. Always provide links on your social media profile inside your website, blog, e-mails as well as print materials. For websites and blogs, it’s best to add Facebook and twitter widgets which give a live feed of what’s happening on your Facebook/twitter page, at that time on your website or blog. Provide incentives or value adding information including whitepapers or articles as a way to encourage people to follow yourself on social media sites!

Monitor & moderate: Monitor your social media presence. Find out where your name’s coming up online and in what context it is often used. A Google alert may be the simplest way to do this, though there are many free tools available online to monitor your web presence. Also stay in-control of your social media pages. Read what other people putting up on your page and respond promptly.

Syndicate your Social Media content: Content creation will take time. So why not make the most of the information you have? Post your content on all popular social media sites and don’t hesitate to re-use them. Turn your blog post into a link and set it on Facebook. Convert it into a video and enhance YouTube and Facebook or turn it into a presentation and put it up on SlideShare. The aim is to get maximum exposure on your content.

What you should not do?

DON’T overtly push your products/services: Social media marketing is a platform

in places you build relationships, to create value. It isn’t an advertising venue. Your audience

will shun you if all that you talk about is the belongings you sell. Think about it, can you talk to your family

and friends regarding the products you sell all the time? Of course not! Then don’t treat your

social media marketing audience any differently.

DON’T spam your contacts with pointless updates: OK, now you added two new products to your line-up. While it is good to share the news, don’t spam your contacts with ads. Offered a link to the new product selection; monitor who is interested and share information about a need-to-know basis.

Don’t possess grammar and spelling errors inside your posts: You are a small enterprise out to create an impact. Don’t spoil it through spelling and grammatical errors. Use spelling/grammar checking tools, but never rely solely with them. Proofread your posts before putting them up online. If spelling or grammar is just not your strong suit, have somebody else proofread work before it goes out

DON’T neglect to respond to requests for aid in your area of expertise: A high level part of a group or forum, seize every opportunity to display your expertise. Don’t be a wallflower-actively participate in discussions.

Never allow your profile get stale: Make sure your profile is frequently updated and you offer something new. One mistake many small businesses proprietors make is creating social media marketing profiles and then forgetting about them. Your social media marketing efforts have to be on-going to deal with results.

How To Grow Your Small Business Using Social Media

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