For a small business owner, social media is vitally important to growing their business. I own a small business and also work for a social media company. Apart from my passion to give my customers excellent service, the most important aspect of my business is marketing via social media. Aside from word-of-mouth and one-on-one communication, it’s a way to bring in new customers and keep previous ones coming back.
Big business has come a long way in the social media arena as they discover the importance of engaging their customers online. I like what Ford Motor Company says about social media: “You can’t just say it. You have to get the people to say it to each other.” -James Farley, CMO Ford. They also have a website called FordSocial social.ford.com. Ford Motor Company knows the importance of social media.
Erik Qualman has produced a Social Media ROI video on Socialnomics that you can watch on YouTube at youtu.be/ypmfs3z8esI. In this video he shows statistics of how businesses have grown when they take advantage of social media.
Google “big business and social media statistics” and you’ll find all the information you could want on the importance of social media.
A small business does not have the resources that large companies do, but for zero to minimal investment you can build interest and influence via social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, websites, and blogs. I post daily on several of these sites with messages targeted to draw in customers. I respond to anyone who contacts me and have received new business through them. In Erik’s video, he showed how one small business owner, Gary Vaynerchuk, grew his business using social media. He points out that:
$15,000 in Direct Mail = 200 new customers, $7,500 Billboard = 300 new customers, while $0 Twitter = 1,800 new customers.
So what can big business learn from small business regarding the use of social media?
1. Acknowledge the importance of social media. This may seem simple, but small businesses need social media and they know it.
2. Post content on a daily basis. You need to keep your customer and fan base engaged and coming back for more.
3. Be human. This may sound strange, but let your customers know that your company is made up of people who want to reach out to them.
4. Encourage customer participation. Let them have a voice and then respond positively to them when they use it.
5. Diversify. Use as many social media channels as you can, not just the well-known ones. Search out new social media outlets and use a social media dashboard to keep them connected.
7. Keep up on social media news. Stay ahead of the game and take advantage of what you can use to grow your business and customers.
If you’re a large business, be sure you have a social media expert who has a passion for your brand and your customers. Use a moderating company that will be as enthusiastic about your customers as you are. If you’re a small business owner, be sure you’re passionate about your services and customers and be diligent in the use of social media and then grow yourself to be one of the big businesses. I believe that knowledge and passion go hand-in-hand to success in the social media arena and acquiring customer loyalty which will result in growth.