.Social media has become an important way to reach out to customers today. It has increasingly become an important marketing tool for businesses today. But many small business owners are not yet convinced of the benefits of social media, how they can use social media to get targeted customers, and what strategies they need to use.
From Smart Money magazine, here are basic tips on how small businesses can use social media to drive up profit:
- Find a focus and identify the goals you want to achieve through social media
- Establish a web presence, be it a website or blog, and create profiles on social media sites
- Create relevant content, giving customers the opportunity to converse about something that is of interest to them
- Become an indispensable source of information
- Pick a medium, giving due consideration to what your customers use to receive information
- Share your message and invite customers to participate
Epsilon, an email marketing vendor, prepared a white paper on the “12 Steps of Social Media Success.” Their advice is:
- Be open to social media: embrace the need to change and be “open” to truly creating dialogues with customers.
- Jump in and familiarize yourself in using social networking, even if you have to do it first in your personal life.
- Learn from history and tap experts: find case studies, check competition, and research your favorite brands on how they are conversing with their customers via social marketing
- Get the support and buy-in of everyone in the company
- Take time to understand your customers: what communication style works best, and what value your brand can provide in customer conversations
- Start slowly, listen and take small steps: take the time to understand each social network
- Take chances: test new initiatives, content, conversation starters and offers
- Create value