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05 August 2013

How Social Media Can Affect Small Business Owners

How Social Media Can Affect Small Business Owners
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By Amit Kothiyal

Over the past few years social media has been an integral part of any business marketing plan, coupled with search engine optimization; Social media has done wonders to many brands.

Especially when it comes to reputation management and branding, social media plays a key role. However you need to be very careful with your approach, it can affect negatively as well. Contrary to assumption that social media is only for big brands, it can actually work wonders to small business as well.

Most importantly social media is free or atleast cheap enough which any small business owner can afford, using social media you can communicate with your audiences in a better way.

Below are few tips which can be effective for small business owners planning to use social media:

Start with a good strategy

Like any other traditional marketing campaign you need to work on a strategy first like cost, return and length of the campaign.

It’s vital that you analyse all the aspects, get enough materials for different social media platform s like face book, twitter etc.; and proper scheduling.

While working on the budget and strategy, consider if you are going to do it in-house or outsource it, with a good strategy there are many tools available in the market which can help you to manage your social media yourself.

Focus on engagement and not sales

Social media should be focussed on user engagement and not sales. It’s not about posting regular updates about your company and products to facebook, twitter and other social media platforms. Think about your audience first, updates or posts should be that which your audience love. Don’t pitch as sales. Social media requires you to think beyond just posting updates about your product, extend it to industry, hot topics or anything where your audience loves to participate and discuss this further.

Focus on quality than quantity

Your social media campaign should be planned in a smart way, it’s not about just posting 15-20 updates a day, irrelevant postings might irritate your audience and you might be treated as a spammer. Social media is more about one to one communication.

Instead of many updates, a single update which your audience likes to share and comment on can be more valuable to you.

Be Responsive

By responding to the questions and comments from users in shortest possible time you can establish a reputation of good customer service on social media. You should always respond ASAP to users either they are posting on your facebook wall, marking you through tweets or commenting on your blog posts or updates.

Apart from being responsive you need to be polite and relevant to the topic. You can use different tools for better management.

Stay away from self-promotion

Though social media is about branding but you should refrain from self-promotion, keep posting news about your company, products etc. but this should not cross 15-20% of your total posts.

Let users talk about you. User engagement is an essential aspect.

Be spontaneous, relevant and compact

Social media can bring you followers and further can be converted to customers. A social media campaign for a small business plugged with a good website structure, great content and good support can do wonders to your brand.

If you are outsourcing this job to any internet marketing company, check their social media profiles, they should have multiple social media profiles, check their posts, user engagement, content quality and how that is being shared over the social media sites.

Try above tips with great content and be responsive and polite to your audience, social media can bring good branding, reputation and traffic to your website. Set targets which can be measured.

 

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