If you’re like a lot of people, you know what social media is, but you’re not sure how it can help you grow your business. While Facebook might be great for getting in touch with old friends, it’s power as a marketing tool is lost on many.
Social media outlets could be the least expensive and most effective marketing tools at your disposal . Whether it’s Facebook, You Tube or Twitter, you can start putting them to work right away with very little investment.
“Social media can have a noticeable impact, especially on smaller businesses,” explained Jacob Morgan, Principal at Chess Media Group in San Francisco.
Morgan told BusinessNewsDaily that social media allows businesses to continue to build relationships with their customers long after a sale is finished. It’s a way to keep customers interested in your business and coming back again and again.
“Social media allows businesses to focus on interaction with customers, not just the transaction,” he said.
Specifically, businesses can use Facebook to create targeted advertising that is aimed at Facebook users whose information and relationships match those of your desired customer. These Facebook users will see your paid ads on their Facebook pages. Your ads can then drive customers to your own Facebook profile, which is free. You can also offer your Facebook “friends” special offers through your ads and your profile.
Twitter, which is a service in which you can communicate to a large audience that has opted to follow your “tweets” (short messages of 140 characters or less). Using Twitter, you can create special offers to send to your recipients or you can use it just to keep people involved in your business and create a community of like-minded people around you and your services.
Using YouTube, you can create and post videos promoting yourself, your business or to feature subject matter that is relevant to what you do. Customers can find you on You Tube or you can send them to view videos to help explain things or demonstrate your services or products.
Regional and local social media
In addition to these internationally known social media networks, there are also other regionally popular social media sites that may be local to your business. However you decide to use social media, it’s important to have a plan before you start gathering contacts through a social media network.
“We see a lot of people who have lots of contacts but don’t know what to do with them,” Morgan said.
Social media can also be as simple as creating an opt-in email list that allows you to communicate special offers or events to your customers, said Tom Fauls, Associate Professor of Advertising at Boston University’s College of Communication.
“There are big opportunities for a high return on investment with permission-based email,” Fauls said.
“You can continue to build a database of customer emails over time,” he said. “It does not have to cost a lot of money and can make all the difference for a small business.”
If you are not using Facebook or Twitter to collect customer information, you can simply put an email mailing list sign up in your store or collect emails from on-line orders. Just be sure your customers have given their consent to receive emails from you and you’re your emails give them the option to opt out of receiving future emails. Too much unwanted communication can have the opposite effect and turn your customers off to your business.