Marketing a small business using social media platforms enables business opportunity, franchise and other small business owners to keep up with changing demands and secure an internet presence.
According to Fox Business, 97 percent of small business owners report that they market through social media channels. As you rely on social media to improve your sales or business strategy, recognizing mistakes other businesses make can help you avoid similar problems.
Overlooking Subtle Advertising
The goal of social media in advertising is subtlety. Outwardly advertising on your social media account is tempting, but it will ultimately backfire. For example, American Express wants a follower to apply for an American Express business credit card, but subtle advertisements—as opposed to an outright call to action—are likely to pull better results.
According to Huffington Post's Michele Masterfano, social media is an effective marketing outlet that does indeed reach target customers. But blatant advertising on a social platform could deter customers. Followers want real information from your online brand. For example, American Express discusses responsible credit card management or debt repayment plans. Content still relates to services the company provides, but it's an understated advertisement. Focusing on advertising without recognizing the wants or needs of your followers can result in lost potential customers.
While managing various social media sites to attract potential customers, it's tempting to share identical and similar posts, photos, updates and stories. This can cost your business. Go for variety. Diversity provides your followers something new and interesting to learn — reasons to stay on top of Facebook and Twitter. Use Facebook for sweepstakes and giveaways and promote special reports and product updates on Twitter. Provide links or feature highlights that keep your followers entertained and invested without overwhelming them. Feel free to cross-promote exclusive and noteworthy content across platforms occasionally.
The foundation of successful social media marketing is connecting with others and joining their conversations. Reply to comments and engage in dialog. Talk to your followers and fans as real people. Inquire about satisfaction or dissatisfaction with products or services. Stay apprised of the conversations that your followers are having on your social media account. A connection with your followers helps you build your brand, grow your business and provide data about consumers' needs and desires. Customers want to hear from you! Meet your followers' expectations by creatively and personally posting content that reflects your brand and attracts traffic. An occasional reply or Facebook comment shows that you're invested in and value your loyal customers.
Social media serves as a powerful marketing tool. Take measures to keep up with your customers' needs and avoid obvious advertising by instead building relationships with your audience. Talk to them, rather than at them. Your services or products can speak for you. Visit social networking accounts of other brands and, evaluating them through the eyes of a consumer, see what works and doesn't.
BusinessOpportunity.com guest blogger Lauren Rose is a business consultant who specializes in marketing strategies for small business. Originally from Duluth, Minnesota, Lauren graduated from the University of Minnesota's Carlson Business School. She would love to open up her own small business someday. But until then, she stays busy running after her three little girls, creating great new dinner ideas for her husband, and loving her two dogs Moose and Bronx.