Social Media

October 25, 2009 1 comment »

I own a local business - Why do I Care about online Social Media?

social-mediaLocal business owners think going online means selling to the world.  This is just not true.  Many offline businesses that go online find lots of local customers that are just looking for a business like what they are offering.  Online does not just mean Global - It also means Local!

Many business owners think Social Networking is a waste of time and will not bring customers to a local business. This cannot be further from the truth. It is true that without a strategy time can be wasted, and huge efforts can go unrewarded. Having an Online Strategy for all your Social Networking is where the key to the gold lays.

Social Media Strategy

It is important to come up with a plan that can be used on a regular basis and that will yield the results that are needed. Some small businesses are happy with 100-500 visitors each month and others need thousands of visitors to make their efforts show in the bottom line. Many service industries do not want more business than can be handled so creating a workable and sustainable strategy in the onset is quite important. There are no cookie cutter answers - but there are some generalities that can be used for most small businesses.

Online Strategies

Social media should be a part of an entire online strategy. There are many different marketing ideas and methods that can be packaged into a workable strategy. Some of them are:Social Networking Strategies

  • Blog
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising (AdWords)
  • Social Media
  • Forums
  • Commenting
  • Other Peoples Blogs / Community Blogs
  • Article Marketing
  • Online Directories
  • Link Sharing

Social Media plays a large role in online marketing because when used properly it creates a huge web of back links to your website. It also creates a large following of potential customers that like you and what you do professionally. They become a rather large source of referrals that will start to fill your sales pipeline. Do not think that social networking will give instant results - it is a process that grows over time.

  • Here are a few ideas of how to use Social Media Sites in Traditional / Service Businesses.
  • Post the Special of the Day
  • Create a Special for Online Customers that walk into your store
  • Offer Electronic Coupons
  • Make Announcements that affect customers
  • Create Customer Appreciation
  • Customer Service

What is the Buzz about?

There are thousands of Social Media sites - blogs, video sites, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter - hundreds of sites where people can interact with each other. Some of these sites are business related and some are not. Many niche businesses have their own Social Media sites. If you are a traditional business owner then there are four different social media sites that are a must for you to join. Here they are in order:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter
  3. FaceBook
  4. BizNik
  5. Any site that is specialized in your personal niche

LinkedIN

LinkedIn is the first social media site to join. This is a site for professionals that are looking to grow in many different aspects. It can act as an online business card, resume, and portfolio. LinkedIn offers the business owner a way to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack - creating trust that is hard to earn online.

Twitter

Twitter offers ways to meet potential clients, potential power partners, potential joint venture partners, and your local customer base. It can communicate and broadcast what your business is doing in your local community, distribute electronic coupons, facilitate customer service, and many more important business related tasks. This is the ultimate in free marketing.

FaceBook

FaceBook provides a platform to interact with your customers and target market. They offer FaceBook Pages specifically for businesses. This is a great place to look for potential clients, post specials for your online clients, and to share about your business. Does your business participate in the community? Sharing these types of community connections can be a great Public Relations move for your business and FaceBook is one of the best places to get that information out.

BizNik

BizNik is a website just for businesses. This is a place to post business related articles, look for potential employees, look for power partners, and offer paid workshops or classes. This is a growing community of business owners that has a great deal of marketing and promotional ideas that are freely shared to help the community as a whole.