I am presenting on social media to a group of small business owners in a few weeks and in preparing for the presentation, have come across a lot of good information to share with you.
Like a lot of groups, small business owners are well positioned to gain from using social media. Why? Here are just a few reasons:
Social media evens out the playing field, meaning you can compete with larger businesses
Social media is personal and intimate in nature. Because small businesses are able to act more personally than larger businesses, social media is a perfect tool to take advantage of. Small businesses can also be more nimble and quickly adapt their business to using social media. Larger businesses may take longer to understand how to use it, and because more corporate sign-off is often needed, it may take longer for large businesses to respond and react to conversations.
Social media is affordable and effective
As a small business owner, your budget is never as big as your larger-than-life competitors. Social networking tools are a free or low-cost way of marketing your company and reaching out to your audience. If your audience is online, your communication with them through social media can often be more effective than more expensive means of communication, such as a full-page advertisement.
Social media helps expand your network.
Social media is one of the most efficient, effective and affordable ways of establishing relationships with your key audiences. Unlike many real-life networking opportunities, there aren’t membership dues or year-long commitments. You can use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to find individuals in your field and your geographic location. Once you join these social networks, you’ll find that developing social connections via social media is easy, effective and fun.
Your customers want you to be on social media!!
The Internet is not just for kids anymore. Your clients are most likely online and want you to be too. A 2008 Opinion Research Corporation study (as I mention in this blog post) revealed that 60% of Americans 18 and older use social media to converse, and of those, 93% believed that a company should have a presence in social media. Eighty-five percent of social media users believed that a company should not only be merely “present” but also directly interact with its consumers using social media.
Don’t leave your audience hanging. Get online and join the conversations.
And while you’re online, here are some other great resources to check out:
25 Tips for Small Businesses (Kyle Lacy’s Blog)
Ultimate Twitter Following List for Small Businesses (Smallbiztrends.com)
Top 10 Social Networks for Entrepreneurs (Mashable – just posted today!)