Social Media and Your Small Business
By Keith D. Yurgosky, Business Consultant
The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center
Social Media has become an excellent tool for small businesses to connect with existing customers and to attract new customers. However, there is a fine balance between informing customers about products and services and bombarding them with advertisements. Learning how to properly engage your customers is crucial to your success with social media. Take these steps when building your social media presence.
- Do your homework. It is very clear when someone has little understanding of a social media site and is only using it to advertise a product or service. Spend time understanding what the different social media sites offer and which ones are appropriate for reaching your existing and potential customers. Pay attention to how people interact so you know how you can use the site to market your business appropriately.
- Build Trust. Work to gain the customer’s interest and trust before you go for the sale. Share stories to let people know the person behind the product or service. Customers want to deal with people they know and trust.
- Engage your customers. Social Media is about engaging customers and building relationships – it isn’t just sell sell sell. No one signs up for social media sites just to see advertisements. If you offer valuable ideas and information and listen and respond to their needs, they will be more likely to buy from you and share your social media content with others.
- Pay attention. These days, people can share opinions instantly on a variety of review web sites. Be aware of what customers are saying about your business. Do everything you can to encourage your satisfied customers to share their positive reviews, while handling negative reviews carefully. Even if you don’t plan on using to social media to grow your business, you should learn how to use it to potentially save your business!
- Make time. It’s common for entrepreneurs to say they don’t have time to ‘play’ on social media sites, yet time spent managing focused social media efforts can be an excellent way to stay connected with current customers and attract new ones.
It is important to remember that marketing a small business is an ongoing activity that takes careful planning and plenty of effort. Social media should only be a part of your overall marketing efforts. Contact The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center at www.scrantonsbdc.com or 570-941-7588 for assistance with developing an effective marketing plan for your small business.