There are currently over 2 billion Internet users logging onto the World Wide Web. A large majority of global Internet users regularly frequent their preferred social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google Plus.
Yet the question remains: Is your small business positioned to benefit from the online and social exposure readily available today?
Here are things every small business can do to maximize social media awareness:
Create a visible brand name.
Engaging in social media through business blog posts, and more, on a steady basis can help you achieve consistent visibility. By participating in conversations, sharing daily food for thought, and making yourself (and your brand name) part of their day, you can remain top of mind when potential customers are looking for your service or product.
Model yourself as a resource.
Well-known brand names remain visible by sharing great content. While you may perceive that it is a waste of time, to the contrary, it is the best way to establish yourself as a go-to resource for a specific topic, product or service. Your efforts can establish your unique voice as an industry fixture people can trust. It’s human nature to trust those we know and those we see others advocating.
Book speaking events.
Who do conference organizers, reporters and local chamber of commerce members seek out when looking for event speakers? Those who are both trusted and visible within their industry. Thanks to social media, you now have the opportunity to quickly become both.
Develop an online community.
By making yourself available through social media, reaching out to customers and sharing content, you can strengthen your online community and attract potential new clients.
Reduce sales cycles.
Do you know what happens when someone from your social media community lands on your website to make a purchase? They do it faster. They need less convincing, less hand-holding and less actual talking to you. Why? Because they already know you. They read your blog, follow you on Twitter, and receive your offers on Facebook. You’re not a stranger. You’re their friend – someone they trust and feel comfortable doing business with without hesitation.
Highlight your offering.
Social media platforms offer an additional channel to market your products and services in a friendly and casual way. You can highlight products and what makes you amazing within the context of a normal conversation – not a sales pitch. You also have the chance to answer questions, reveal capabilities and offer how-to advice to help social media fans get to know you better.
Find new customers.
Every week my public relations and event firm receives new customer referrals and leads as a result of our social media presence. Potential customers contact us for services or to partner on something because they like what we’re doing on Twitter or because they read one of our company blog posts and it helped them with their business. When you consistently create helpful conversations, you make your brand part of the story and people notice.
Share your company’s story.
What is the main lesson social media has taught us? People like to conduct business with companies they know. We like being introduced to the voices behind the logo because it helps us to feel connected to the business and invested in their success. By sharing your company’s story using social media you can create an emotional connection with fans and advocates.
Become a social advisor.
You are not the only one using social media to network and meet people. So are others. Sometimes, you are the person they are trying to meet learn from – be resourceful and capitalize on the opportunity to socialize and help customers and brands with quick tidbits, information and answers to key industry questions.