Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company, found that 62 percent of adults in the world utilize at least one social-media platform regularly. More than 75 percent of small businesses in its own country fail to utilize social media as a tool for marketing. Subsequently, it should surprise no one that Australian businesses generated only 5 percent of its total revenues from e-commerce in 2011, according to a report by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development.
Small businesses, regardless of what side of the pool they reside, can ill-afford to ignore the power of social media as it pertains to its profits. Social networking does not have to be a central aspect of your overall business plan, but it must be incorporated in some ways to maximize the potential of your enterprise. These bare-minimum social-media strategies (after creating your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.) should immediately be employed.
Nurturing those curious customers seeking a service or product you provide is vitally important. Linkedin is an especially useful tool for business-to-business marketers targeting a specific genre. Bizo is a marketing firm that allows Linkedin users to run their ad campaigns through their specialized platforms. According to Adotas.com, the performance of Linkedin ads increased by upwards of 20 percent when using Bizo platforms.
Business-to-consumer marketers can utilize the other social networks to attract leads from various arenas. A company like US Money Reserve, for instance, uses both its Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep potential customers up-to-date not only on gold and silver prices, but also any special offers they are extending. Facebook has over 1 billion users on it, while Twitter has nearly 200 million, according to MediaBistro.com. It makes little sense for a small business not to utilize these tools.
One of the better aspects of social media is the ability to instantly respond to criticism or questions your customers have. Social networks allow customers to interact with one another regarding a product you offer. For instance, if you sell 2000 watt generators, a customer may want to know if that is enough juice to start an air conditioner or run an electric heater. Another customer who already has the product may know the answer and post a response for you.
Business-to-business marketers are especially adept to using social media to bring in new customers. In fact, 56 of B2B marketers said they will increase the amount of money they spend on social media advertising in 2013, according to a BtoB Magazine survey. But even paid Google ads, used in conjunction with your Google+ account and its 500 million users, can be beneficial to get your company on the first page of web searches. These ads can be relatively inexpensive too, depending on the keywords you associate with your company.
Social media for your business does not have to be time-consuming or a detriment to other business needs. Set a time limit for how long you’ll spend on social media, turn off notifications (they will only distract you), and schedule new posts. As your revenues increase, social media dedication can be adjusted accordingly.
This is a guest post thanks to William Lewis. A huge advocate for cloud computing solutions, Bill writes about how cloud storage can help small businesses and freelancers to improve their business practices.