Social Media Advantages For Your Small Business
Every small business owner should look at taking advantage of Social Media as a marketing strategy. You can bet that your competitors already are.
Here is an article from Forbes to get you started.
10/04/2012 @ 3:32PM |5,518 views
Five Social Media Tricks Every Entrepreneur Should Know
Photo by Jill Richards Photography
“It’s 2012, and people don’t buy what you do but why you do it. Social media helps companies of all sizes expose the individuals behind the brand, humanize it and build influence,” says Amy Jo Martin, founder and chief of social media consultancy Digital Royalty and author of social media book Renegades Write The Rules, released this week.
Martin, who has 1.2 million Twitter followers herself, works with celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal and corporate brands like Hilton Worldwide and FOX Sports to get the most out of their social media networks. She believes entrepreneurs are especially poised to gain from social media because it provides easy access to potential customers and partners, facilitating free marketing and market research and efficient customer service.
How can entrepreneurs leverage platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? According to Martin, these are the top five social media tricks every entrepreneur should know.
Humanize Your Brand
Across platforms, social media allows a brand to connect with customers in a more personal way. “The key is not to just advertise the business,” says Martin, who believes the best way to grow your following is by sharing valuable content. Her formula for a good content balance is to share education, information, inspiration, exclusives and entertainment. It’s also a good medium for storytelling. For example, rather than tweeting a photo of an ad, share a YouTube video of a real customer using the product to show how it works. Furthermore, Martin recommends being very responsive to others and contributing to the conversation in your communities.
Conduct Budget-Friendly Research
If you’ve built up a decent following and relationships with people, you’re then able to ask questions and get feedback. “Instead of allocating a large part of your budget to formal research studies, you get data in high volume quickly,” says Martin. You can tap into your consumer base in real time, asking a question about their product preferences or which holiday offer they’d prefer. The trick to getting feedback is offering it, she says. “If you are often replying, then others are more likely to reciprocate.”
Provide Efficient Customer Service
Companies in retail, service and hospitality industries were among the first adopters of social media for efficient customer service. Southwest Airlines often tweets if there is a flight delay, and shoe retailer Zappos has a separate customer service Twitter account that is manned around the clock to respond to comments. “You need to be present and acknowledge mentions,” say Martin. “Then customers know the brand is listening.” She recommends setting up alerts for the brand name and product names, and responding to both positive and negative comments.
Build Relationships With Reporters
“Social media provides an avenue to build relationships with media outlets and have an ongoing relationship with reporters,” says Martin. The simplest way is to follow individual journalists and pay attention to their interests and their requests. For example, if a business reporter frequently posts about the Yankees, engaging with them about baseball is a non-threatening, more personal way of connecting. Additionally, reporters often take to social media to find sources. Martin once noticed a reporter’s tweet, asking if anyone knew how best to adapt to the new Facebook timeline format. She responded, and the reporter and camera crew were at her office interviewing her within three hours.
Seven Tips To Get More Social Media Followers
How To Build A Social Following
Amy Jo Martin, founder of social media consultancy Digital Royalty and author of Renegades Write The Rules, says the best way to build a social media following is through sharing. She provides the following tips on how to provide quality content and build out your network.
Crowdsource Product Development Ideas
Having your audience play a role in developing a product or service does a few things: it engages them with your brand, instills a feeling of ownership over the final product and taps into their collective wisdom to create a better result. Martin says it’s as simple as asking questions on your platforms and using the community as a sounding board. Some screenwriters, for example, have used Facebook to ask what background music they should use in a scene they’re working on. Martin worked on a crowdsourcing campaign for DoubleTree by Hilton that asked, “What are the little things that enhance your travel experience? #LittleThings” It got a ton of response, so paid off as a publicity tool. They also analyzed the trends and implemented many of the suggestions, so it ultimately helped create a better service.
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