Although it shouldn’t, a number of businesses are finding that traditional marketing is falling short of their expectations? This may be due to a shift in the way people shop. While newspapers, trade publications, television channels and radio were once places most people turned too for product advice, more and more people are now looking towards social media sites and online networking as a way to meet others and learn about products and services. Whether you use them or not, and to be honest you need to ask yourself why not?, no doubt you would have heard of their names – Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr.
Here are just a few of the benefits that these and other social media sites hold for small businesses and how you can use social media to promote your company products and business website.
You probably already have a logo and a website, but part of building your brand is to get it out in to the public eye. Having your corporate brand through a variety of social media sites will give your company more ‘face time’ with your potential customers. They will see your brand name, logo design and other basic company information which in turn will assist in building a stronger brand recognition for your business. If you can make your presence and message resonate with your target audience you will be building positive regard.
Improve Search Engine Ranking
Having your company name throughout a variety of places along with links back to your corporate website will drive your search engine rankings up. No website is an island, but your website may be as isolated as one if you don’t make any connections to it! Social media sites are just one way to put your website ‘on the map’. Because they are so popular, any links from your profile to your website will be weighted heavily by search engines and perhaps might also get you a lot of media coverage.
If all of your Social Media profiles link back to your company website, this will funnel the people who are interested in your small business to your website. Think of your social media profiles as various billboards. Not everyone who passes a billboard is interested in it, however the image still makes a subliminal impact. Better still, some people will notice and be interested in the products or services that your company offers and hopefully become customers. Because millions of people are visiting social media sites every day, even a small percentage of interested parties can add up to a lot of extra traffic for your website. The social media networking logos are actually tailored to be friendly and inviting!
Knowing Your Audience
Social media is one of very few opportunities to have a meaningful discussion with your prospective customers and clients. You can talk to them, listen to them, and even poll them for information. If there is a product or service they are clamoring for, you could be the first to know. If there is a barrier keeping them from buying your product, you can identify and remedy this. You can get to know your customers on a personal level — and best of all, they’ll get to know you just as well. This will increase your small business’s image as well as the power of your brand.
Networking with Other Businesses
You aren’t the only business using social media to attract more customers. This means that you can make meaningful connections not just with your competitors but with possible suppliers and vendors as well.
Social media sites are an incredibly effective and, even better, completely free way of getting your business, your product, and your services advertised to an increasing number of people. You don’t have to spend hours per day on these sites to get the benefits; simply build a simple, professional profile on a few social media networks that are popular with your target audience and include links to your business website as well as contact information. The purpose of social networking for the small business isn’t to add yet another chore to fill up the day, but to get your message out to more people, simply and effectively.