Social Media as Advertising for Small Business

The times…they are a-changing!

It used to be that you had to market to your customers on a regular basis, reaching out to them at regular intervals with more and more messages about how and why they should do business with you.

Let me tell you my friends, things are changing!

With the advent of social media, and by that I mean…

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blogging – WordPress, Blogger, etc.
  • LinkedIn
  • and many, many more…

…customer behavior and expectations are changing, moving from the “old way” to the new way.

When people look to shop for something these days, they don’t open a catalog, or yellow pages the way they used to.  Now, they ask their friends for advice (not so different, right?) but they do it through social media now.  They aren’t just asking their coworker or next door neighbor…they are using Twitter and Facebook to ask, “What do you think?”

And this is powerful!

If you aren’t a presence on the internet, you are MISSING OUT ON A LOT OF MONEY!

A young woman wanted a camera to take on vacation and so she asked for advice from her friends on Twitter.  A CMO (chief marketing officer) for Kodak was on Twitter, monitoring for this type of query.  He reached out to her and suggested one of Kodak’s least expensive cameras that might be a solution for her situation.

This is a 6+ billion dollar company!  And they are on Twitter, chatting with their customers about the pros and cons of an inexpensive camera.  How incredibly powerful is that?  It used to be that to get in touch with the executive of a huge corporation, you really had to have connections.  Today, if you want to stay in the running for business, you need to be using social media.

A recent article caught my attention about a local Phoenix restaurant, Z-Tejas.  One of their customers was really unhappy with a recent visit to their restaurant and tweeted about it.  Instantly, one of the owners of Z-Tejas contacted their unhappy customer and sorted out the matter.  Had they not been monitoring Twitter, they would have NEVER known how unhappy this person was, and that they were tweeting about it to anyone on their list.  I’m not as active on Twitter as a lot of other people, but my list is over 400 people.

Would you like 400 people to read about a bad experience?  Or would it be better to have 400+ people see that you appreciated how much of a problem this was for one of your guests, and you actually took steps to fix the problem? Believe me…negative advertising can cost you a LOT of money.

By monitoring Twitter, being attentive, and alert to a problem Z-Tejas was able to reach out to this unhappy customer and fix the situation.  This kind of advertising is worth its weight in gold!

Today, people Google everything. According to the February 2010 study from Compete.com blog, 3 out of 5 customers all use search engines when shopping for something, and that includes when they are shopping locally.  They want to know who has what they’re looking for. Not using social media can be killing your business.

Everyone who knows me understands how important shopping locally is to me.  If you don’t let your local customers know about you, how interested you are in them, their concerns, and how you might be able to help, they will find someone else to solve their problems.

And, very often, that is money you won’t be collecting, and if it isn’t local, the entire community suffers.

To that end, I can be found on Twitter as @KathleenBirming and @SmallBizBits.  I can also be found here on Facebook as Kathleen Birmingham.  And if you want to stay up on my Small Biz Bits, please “like” my page here.

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Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Blogs

What’s the point of blogging, or Facebooking, or Twittering?

For some, it is merely a way to get something off their chest, it is an outlet designed for people to vent, share, announce, or comment on something funny in life.

For others, it is a way to connect with people around the world, to join in conversation, to share information, to announce a new event/product/idea…in fact, it’s very much the same for everyone.

Social media makes it possible to connect with people all around the world.  What can that do for your business? If you don’t participate, it won’t do anything.

If you DO participate, and stay active, and get involved in “virtual conversations” you will begin developing relationships with people you have never met in person in your life.

And what is business, especially small business, if not relationship business? People want to do biz with folks they “know”.  This doesn’t mean they have to meet you in person, it means that they have to begin the process of knowing you, liking you, and eventually trusting  you.

So, when you decide to add Social Media to your business marketing ideas here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use your Personal Profile as your main hub on Facebook.
  • Do create Pages linked to your Personal Profile on Facebook.
  • The same goes for Twitter.  You don’t want to alienate your friends and family by bombarding them with posts and tweets that they really may not be interested in.  They probably love you, but not THAT much!
  • Your blog for your business should be about business.
  • Can you add some personal interest stories in your business blog?  Absolutely! Especially if that story works somehow as an analogy or metaphor for something going on in your business, much like my post The Best Boss Ever! just the other day. It was a personal story, but it most definitely related to business, didn’t it?
  • With social media, stay connected on a regular basis. Obviously, the more often you post, the better, but it is better to get on a regular posting schedule so that your followers know when to expect something new and exciting from you.

Is that it for Social Media?  Absolutely not!  But this is a good place to get started.  We will be covering more detailed information about Facebook, Twitter, and blogs in future posts.

For now, consider your biz, your brand, what you want people to think about when they hear about you.