By now, you’ve probably been told multiple times that all businesses need to have a presence online. And on multiple platforms.
If you’re not familiar with social media, you may wonder why? I’m going to give you several reasons…
The overall goal for social media
The number one reason to get your business online is to network with potential customers. You want to build as large a following for your business as possible. But your goal is also to build a list of appropriate followers. You want to focus on those who are potential buyers of your products and services. It does you no good to have thousands of followers who have no interest in your offering. It’s not the largest list that wins, it’s the largest targeted list.
As you grow your list…
Ever heard about nurture marketing? Your goal is to provide tons of value to your growing list of prospective customers. There are various numbers being suggested in the industry, but I heard recently that we need to offer around 50 tips, or articles, or posts that provide something of value, for every one marketing piece we include in our social media sites. Now of course that doesn’t mean you stop your usual marketing of your products or services offline. Business goes on as usual offline. This recommendation is for building your online process.
Success with social marketing doesn’t happen overnight
But the long term value is indisputable. The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report has some good news for small business marketers. Small business owners are seeing the greatest results from social media marketing. “Almost all marketers find that social media helps them stand out in an increasingly noisy marketplace. In fact, 88% of all marketers found social media helps get them increased exposure. Additionally, 72% of those surveyed saw increased traffic and subscriptions as a result of social media.”
Another survey suggests that those who have been using social media for about 3 years see the biggest benefits. However, I’ve personally found tools that can increase lists of targeted potential customers almost immediately.
Ways social media increases your list of potential customers
People like to share the online tidbits they find helpful. People share links on Facebook; they Tweet links on Twitter; they make recommendations on LinkedIn. The more ways you can provide for people to find your content, the more likely your content is to find its way to people who would not have found you otherwise.
In his new book, “Launch – how to quickly propel your business beyond the competition“, Michael Selzner lists 7 reasons why social media benefits businesses:
- Keeps people coming back When you provide valuable information to your target audience, they will continue to seek out your content. “When people make consuming your content a regular part of their life, you’ll gain something that money can’t buy.”
- Readers will recommend your content to others Readers who find value in your content will recommend you to their friends and family. “Those recommendations to others are priceless for your business. They’ll help you quickly expand your base.”
- People will reach out to help you either through feedback, suggestions, promotion of your services or products, and offers of their services – free!
- You become an authority As your readers find value in your content, they trust what you have to say. Trust is one of the critical factors necessary for buyers of products and services.
- Your audience becomes loyal fans Here’s an interesting statistic: 79% of Twitter users are more likely to recommend brands they follow and 67% are more likely to buy brands they follow. I suspect the same might hold true for other social media sites.
- Other experts want to work with you
- “When you decide to sell something, readers will buy” “… the common bariers to selling will be broken down because you will have become a known and trusted source.”
If you’re not convinced yet that social media is worth your while, here are a few other statistics from the Social Media Marketing report:
- The self-employed and small business owners were more likely to report new partnerships, with at least 59% noting a benefit.
- Small businesses were twice as likely to find qualified leads than other types of businesses.
- Forty-eight percent of self-employed and small business owners saw improved sales as a direct result of their social media efforts.
- The self-employed (59%) and small business owners (58%) were more likely than others to see reductions in marketing costs when using social media marketing.
More customers, and lower marketing costs. Two things most small businesses are looking for.