This article was first posted on Penn Olson on 26 October, 2010.
A recent survey at Ratepoint reveals small businesses are uncertain about using social media usage. Although 36 percent of small businesses agree their customers spend time on social networking sites, 27 percent are undecided and 20 percent disagreed that their customers were spending time on social networks.
Neal Creighton, CEO and co-founder of RatePoint shares, “Social media use is no longer limited to one demographic, everyone is adopting. While many small business owners are uncertain, big brands are investing heavily in social media. Social media can be a great equalizer for small businesses to compete alongside larger brands and SMBs are missing out if they are not involved.”
Here are reasons why social media marketing is an opportunity and would be a waste if ignored:
Fish where the fish are. The Internet is ubiquitous and also a cost-effective way to reach out to your customers and prospects. Compared to traditional marketing & advertising, setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account is free. (Of course, note that getting engagement and participation for your digital campaign is another story.)
Connect & Build Relationships
Customers need to be persuaded before they buy what you have to offer. Think of marketing as making friends. Just like how you would make a new friend offline – you must be deemed as honest and trustworthy. If they like you, they introduce you to their friends, and trust me – word-of-mouth does wonders.
I’d say @thegardenslug does a good job at relationship marketing on its handle – a good mix of tweets about the menu, promotions, the staff, sharing valuable content, and tweets that truly care about the customers. Would you consider that time-consuming if you are sincere?
Branding & Visibility
You would have known by now I am a big advocate of increasing awareness. I strongly believe that if you are not even making yourself visible, there is absolutely 0% chances of being in the customers’ evoked set. This is something like share of voice (SOV) – if you want to be heard, you must take the first step to speak!
Become an Expert in Your Field
I’ve noticed an increasing trend in companies using blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr as part of their company site. Providing useful content adds value to your customers, aids search-engine optimisation (SEO) and earns you respect in your niche. When users find your content relevant, traffic to your site would also increase as users point to your site.
Online Reputation Management
Listen and find out what your customers are talking about you. (e.g. Singtel’s classic case) It provides an opportunity to seek suggestions and fix problems, if need be. In time of crisis, it would be useful for clarifying yourself – at least you would have an audience who would listen to you.