According to a recent study, 34 percent of business owners say they have no desire to use social media in the future. However, they’re missing an important opportunity to connect with people and tell them what makes their businesses unique, differentiated, and special. Through social sites, businesses can let prospects know why they care about their customers.
Small business owners should realize that customers feel a stronger connection to their business, employees, and services through informal interaction through social sites. It’s a platform for conveying personalized communication to your clients. Email blasts, traditional advertising, and television commercials are impersonal because they are one-way data dumps to a consumer audience. Through social media, customers can engage and provide feedback to a company’s updates or posts. It’s interactive.
There are three key benefits in building a social media following:
1. Establishing your brand. On social media, a service provider can display their passion for what they do. They can convey that they care about how their products or services make a difference in people’s lives. An elevated level of goodwill ultimately affects a company’s brand, and social media is the channel with which one can show to the world why customers should come to them and not their customers.
2. Community. A social media channel, such as a Facebook page or Twitter account, becomes a vibrant community of like-minded people when the channel becomes large enough. You have stimulating conversations and witty remarks. People share similar and helpful information found in other sites. The community becomes a self-improving nucleus of growth within its niche. By nurturing such a community, a small business obtains a leadership position in its sector and aligns its products and services along benchmark standards. Fans become your volunteer marketers.
3. Influence. Social media gives small businesses recurring exposure. In traditional advertising, a company has to repurchase ad space in order to perpetuate its level of influence. With social media, one’s influence can grow through word-of-mouth marketing. Customers who care about a product or service will tell their family and friends about it.
According to author Jim Keenan, 78 percent of salespeople who use social media outsell their peers. More employees and workers are also spending their time on such sites. According to staffing agency Intelligent Office, 30 percent of people spend one hour on social media at work every day.
In one case study of successful engagement on Facebook, One Source Talent (OST), a talent agency founded in 2003, has grown into one of the most popular firms in the United States. That’s quite an influence on a huge industry for an agency founded only 10 years ago. With 113,000 fans on its Facebook page, OST shows how companies can leverage technology and social media to establish itself in a competitive space.
Popularity creates a positive snowball effect. Internet marketers call this phenomenon “social proof”. One prospect sees a company’s popularity with a similar audience and decides to join the bandwagon. Afterall, 113,000 Facebook fans can’t be wrong.
According to a recent survey by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), 60 percent of businesses plan to spend more on sectors like social content creation in 2014. This initiative represents among the largest efforts by companies to connect with their customers. Only 25 percent of companies are incorporating mobile marketing, according to SIIA. Mobile only represents a miniaturized pc computer or laptop. It’s social sites that enable two-way engagement and communication, and that includes Facebook “likes” and retweets on Twitter.
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