Many small-business owners are discovering that social media can provide a positive impact and doesn’t have to be painful to implement and maintain. I was one of these small-business owners starting a company on a shoestring budget. Build the website and they will come was my mantra. I had a sharp website but I was still not getting traffic to my site. Needless to say something was missing and I’d better figure it out pretty quickly. After reading articles about social media I was a bit apprehensive because I already had a personal Face book page as well as a personal Twitter account, and I didn’t see how it could really benefit my business.
As it turns out, these two outlets were not a good fit for my business. My firm is a boutique recruiting firm and I need to create a buzz from potential clients. It turns out that LinkedIn was the proper outlet for my firm. I had already been using LinkedIn for finding candidates but not to drive traffic to my website. Before I started using LinkedIn to drive traffic, my website was experiencing between 30 and 40 hits a month. I started joining LinkedIn groups and posting discussions linking back to my website. The traffic started flowing and this month we had over 2,000 unique visitors to the site not the mention the returning visitors as well as those who subscribed to our RSS feeds. By embracing social media and not fearing it we are able to meet new potential customers on a regular basis. Here are some benefits you can look forward to if you choose to embrace the power of social media.
One of the biggest concerns for small-business owners is cost. Cost was certainly one of my biggest fears. The cost incurred with Face book, Twitter, and LinkedIn is simply in the labor to maintain the accounts and update postings. This is a very cost effective way to interact with your existing and potential new customers while not spending valuable budget dollars on print ads. When I think about print ads, I think about magazines and newspapers that sit on coffee tables and don’t get read. Social media, when done properly, provides a service to your customers at a low cost to your firm.
Ease of use
Social media such as instagram, facebook etc; are much easier to get up and running and use. When interest in company websites grew, not many business owners were able to set up their own sites and had to rely on outside contractors to build sites. I had to learn Word Press to create my site and couldn’t believe how easy it was to master. Vehicles such as Face book, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow someone with limited skills to build a professional online presence as well as helps in achieving instagram followers, which Is really great for them.
The days of toiling over setting up an online account, formatting issues, and distribution are over. I was pleased to see just how efficient the social media outlets are set up. You only have to worry about the content and not the formatting anymore. I really appreciated this particular aspect because it saved me time in getting current information out quickly. With a time investment of one hour a week, a business owner can stay in touch with their customer base. The owner can find out on a real time basis what their customers want and initiate promotions to increase sales.
Choosing the right social media platform is important. Below are a few tips for making your choice between the top three.
LinkedIn is the perfect platform for business to business sales opportunities. LinkedIn is a business oriented platform where you can join groups, post discussions, and grow business connections. LinkedIn was perfect for me because I could benefit from both new clients as well as new candidates. I can do searches for specific companies, targeted candidates as well as join groups and post discussions.
Face book is great for the business to consumer type of businesses. Restaurants are a great example of who can benefit from having a Face book page. Your customers can see pictures of your food, restaurant, and provide feedback. My friend owns a small pizza restaurant and his sales have picked up by over 15% in the two months since using Face book as a social media vehicle. Trust me, if Jim can do it, anyone can do it.
Twitter is very interactive and can take up more of a business owner’s time. In my experience, Twitter is the least valuable of the top three for business. It is harder for an owner to garner a large following on twitter. This platform should be left for the celebrities. I don’t know that anyone would get anything out of following me. They don’t want to know I’m sitting in a meeting, going to a client’s site or just placed a candidate.
Become one of the many small business owners who are reaping the benefits of social media and get your account set up and running today. Who knows, you might like it, I do.