What do traditional marketing techniques require? Cold, hard, cash. What is the return on investment? Not nearly as much as you hoped. What does a paid advertisement guarantee you? After multiple cycles of the same ad and thousands of dollars later, who knows. A better solution: social media.
What is social media, exactly?
Small businesses use social media to interact with clients/prospects by posting announcements, useful tips, alerts, events, reminders, photos, videos and much more on social media websites like Facebook & Twitter. Visitors can view posts live on their Smartphone standing in line at Starbucks or sitting at their desk at work. By using social media, clients/prospects can read useful information at their leisure. Not only can you provide info regularly, you are developing a social business relationship without the awkward business lunches, scheduling time, and cost of traveling. Twitter is popularly used for its simple to-the-point posts up to 140 characters. Facebook is commonly used for lengthier posts to include media like photos & videos up to 420 characters.
Social Media Benefits for your Small Business
Utilizing social media is a cost-saver and a time-saver and helps to develop social business relationships in a professional yet creative manner using modern technology. Take a look around you: electronics are everywhere! Smartphones, tablets, netbooks, desktops, laptops; instant knowledge is at our fingertips! No one is waiting by their mailbox for snailmail anymore; everything is sent directly to an inbox or touch screen.
Keep your company fresh in your clients/prospects minds by posting on Twitter and Facebook multiple times per week. How much money would a paid advertisement cost if you posted ads four times per week, or sixteen times per month? Social media allows for connecting with an audience that wants to see what you post. Social media is free, modern marketing. In between posting educational info, tips, company news, and funny YouTube videos, you can sporadically toss in a few promotional items about your services. Social media is not only free, but convenient, innovative, and personable without intrusion.
Whether the same amount of time is spent on social media when compared to traditional marketing, you’re getting so much more bang for your buck by using time more wisely. There are even free websites, like HootSuite that allow you to schedule social media posts outside of normal business hours. Experts say the best time to post is early Tuesday mornings, but what if you don’t get to work until 8:30am? Schedule the post the day before on HootSuite to go live at 6:00am, so folks can conveniently view the post at their own leisure throughout the day.
Social media is F-R-E-E. Save cash! Save that marketing budget for purchasing the new scanner that your office desperately needs. And social media has unlimited uses; you can post anything you want, anytime of day, for free!
Example of Using Social Media for Business
Planning an office party or business luncheon? Why not create an event via Facebook and send “evites” to all of your “friends” (clients/prospects). Keep track of the RSVP’s right on Facebook and post exciting news and information leading up to the days before the event. How easy, fun, creative, convenient, and FREE is that?!
What is Your Social Media Strategy?
Now that you know what social media is and how it can benefit your company, it’s time to brainstorm a strategy.
- What is your goal for using social media? Who will maintain the content, maintenance and posts on your social media sites?
- Create Facebook and Twitter pages for your company. Enter lots of content about your company information, and photos where applicable. Use company logos, colors, taglines, mission statement and a link to your company website. Or simply use Facebook as your company website for free!
- Find friends & followers. Notify clients/prospects of your company page and how it can benefit them to “Like” your business on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter.
- Post away. Post tidbits, ideas, reminders, relative thoughts, videos, photos, anything you want that you think will benefit your business in a positive, socially acceptable way in hopes of encouraging interaction.
Takeaway: The main purpose of social media is to socialize… encourage interaction, sharing info, “name dropping”, commenting and reposting of posts. Social media is a wonderful thing for its convenience, ease of use, free service, real-time happenings, innovation, creativity, and a whole lot more!
Still not sure how to get started? Ask Lauren @ LANConnect for advice.
Your television is getting dusty, your laptop is getting rusty, and your telephone is — what’s a ‘telephone’?? The only piece of technology earning your precious time these days is your Smartphone. It’s like when your four year old dog who was once your ‘baby’ was shoved aside when the real newborn was brought home. Almost nothing can stand up against the Superman of technology anymore.
Years ago when texting was born, it was like this magical thing where you could take a chatroom or Instant Messenger out of your computer and put it on your cell phone. Dreams came true! Now combine the addiction of ‘mobile Instant Messaging’ with games in glorious HD quality, checking e-mails in the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, and posting on your Facebook wall that you are in the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru playing Bejeweled –it’s almost inconceivable to folks a mere 20 years ago!
With all this convenience and fun in the palm of your hand you would think people wouldn’t obsess over using any of the previously mentioned features whenever they felt like it. Au contraire! People actually appear to get incredibly offended when they are told, “you never pay attention to me because you are always checking your e-mail on your Blackberry” or “no more texting until you finish all your homework”. Why does it seem like Smartphone’s have become “the other woman” or “the new drug”? It’s just a really efficient method of communication and entertainment, no? What’s the real harm? It’s not an actual drug and it’s not actually someone to cheat on your lover with, is it?
Perhaps Smartphones are the gateway to more serious matters that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. Let’s list a few negative situations Smartphones have created recently: texting while driving as a distraction has killed and injured hundreds of people all over the country, business owners’ blood pressure is increasingly high due to their Smartphone’s not receiving enough signal strength while traveling, and relationships ending by means of Facebook, texting, e-mailing and Twittering way too often.
What on earth were people doing BEFORE Smartphones? Their lives must have been incredibly dull and more stressful, and their eyes, necks, fingers and hands must have been in even worse shape than they are now, right? Wrong! While there is great value in innovation, this one particular invention is something that we know we can live without yet continue to rely on as our primary source of entertainment and communication.
Our poor, overworked opposable thumbs did not evolve in preparation for 21st century mobile devices. However, our Smartphones continue to help us find our way home when lost on the road, tell a loved one trapped in a 3 o’clock meeting that your water broke, and tell us reports that more miners were rescued seconds ago. I guess the Smartphone isn’t so bad after all.