Friday, July 17, 2009

Five Social Media Tips for Small Business


You just might want to take some time and set up a few...your business's name will spread across the globe in no time!



5 SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES


POSTED BY EMILY MCMACKIN
JULY 16, 2009 03:43 PM


The other day, I was telling a relative who owns a small business back home about Twitter and Facebook, and trying to explain why people spend so much time on Tweets, walls and status updates. "That sounds like a total waste of time," he said. "Don't people have real work to do?" I laughed, but the reality is that while "social media" might sound like a silly pastime, it can actually prove to be pretty lucrative for small business owners who take the time to figure it out. Too bad I didn't have this article from Bankrate.com to show my relative; it maps out how owners can use social media to reach customers and promote their business with five key steps, including:

1. Use free sites to broadcast your business. Find out which sites your customers and associates are on—Twitter, Facebook or MySpace are the main ones—and create an account, posting company-related news, specials or events to your page.


2. Shift marketing dollars to social media to get more bang for your buck. Once you open an account, you'll be surprised by how many customers and colleagues are there, too. You can see who has received and read your messages, solicit quick feedback and get your events RSVP'd—all without spending a dime. So why not scale back on those printed brochures and postcards?


3. Use social media tools to learn about your customers—and your competition. All it takes is a quick search to see how business like yours are presenting themselves online. What can you offer that they can't? Also, pay attention to what your customers are sharing on their pages; what are their needs, and how can you serve them better?


4. Start a conversation. Look for ways to interact with your fans and friends through blogs, videos, links and other engaging content. Remember: The more interesting and versatile your information, the easier it will be for new customers to find you via search engines.


5. Mix it up. Don't just pour your marketing energy into one social media outlet. Pick three, and spread your time and efforts out between them to reach the most diverse audience possible.


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As the old adage goes, "A rolling stone gathers no moss." This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to increase your customer base!