Cost Effective Way to Promote Small Businesses
In a struggling economy most small businesses are looking for cost-effective ways to increase their brand image and increase sales. Emergence of social media has given small businesses a great opportunity to market their product to a huge audience for fraction of the cost it would take to reach such an audience using traditional media. Although there are success stories using social media, most business owners struggle with the concept of using social networking sites to promote their brand and products. Mentioned below are how small businesses can use social media to promote their business using few social networks like Facebook, Twitter etc.
Promoting Small Businesses Using Facebook
Millions of users looking for products
With millions of users worldwide Facebook is the perfect place to promote your business. There is a misconception that Facebook is mostly used by teenagers and young people, and they don't really buy stuff or leave Facebook to visit other websites. Although there is some truth in that, one of the fastest growing groups in Facebook is the adults between 40 and 60. So this is definitely a good place to promote your brand irrespective of age and gender.
You might already have a Facebook profile for yourself but create a page for your business as well. Make sure to add some nice pictures of your product in that page and to write a good description about your business with a link to your website if you already have one. Creating the Facebook page is the easy part, hard part is getting Facebook users to like your page and suggest it to their friends. You can do this by giving away something if a user likes your page etc. If you are providing something valuable then you are likely to get many likes. Make sure to periodically update your page with valuable content and special offers so your Facebook community will continue to grow. Once you have an active page you can promote it to other Facebook users using Facebook advertisements. Facebook advertising is a very powerful tool with many features to drill down to a specific user base. Perfect for small businesses which mostly targets local people.
Using Twitter to Promote Small Businesses
One tweet can make a difference
Twitter is another powerful social network that you can use to promote your business. Promoting a business in Twitter is a bit tricky because it is hard to find a user base suited to your business. Because of the time constraint some business owners use Twitter follower software to find targeted followers. These software helps you find targeted users based on keywords, geographical location etc saving you valuable time. After you build up your followers it's a matter of engaging with them and systematically promoting your products. Engaging at a personal level is very beneficial in Twitter because a persons Twitter stream is almost always publicly visible to his or her followers which may lead to more people visiting your website.
Niche Social Networks
Focus on one network in the early stages
Although it is good to take part in many social networking sites as possible it is a time-consuming task as well. First focus on one network and build a fan base in that network. Then you can leverage your fans in that network and expand to other networks. Facebook and Twitter are some of the top social networks to promote your business because of their huge user base. But you can use other niche networks to promote your business as well. A business and professional network like LinkedIn is also a good place to promote your business or service.
Measuring Success with Social Media
As business owners it is important to focus on the return of investment. However you have to understand that it is not that easy to measure that with social media. For example if you run a Facebook advertising campaign you can measure the cost and revenues and make a decision based on that. But it is not easy to calculate the result of a single tweet. Although it is one tweet you must have spent many building a faithful following. That doesn't mean you shouldn't measure the return of your social media efforts. But then you need some good tools to measure them properly.
Discussed about are few ways small businesses can use social media to promote their business and brand. There are many more ways and in most cases it is by trial and error you realize the best way to promote your business using social media.