If you are getting a little tired of people telling you to get on Facebook, tweet about your latest products or blog about the amazing customer service you offer because you are too busy running your small business, then now is the time to think again. Only two years ago there were over 1 billion people on Facebook, 500 million individuals on Twitter and 200 million people actively using LinkedIn – all potential customers for small business owners to actively engage with in a very cost effective and instantaneous way. So let’s look at some of the benefits of social media, which can help your small business grow and prosper.
Increased loyalty base
Customer trust and loyalty takes time to develop but getting a word of mouth referral has always been the best recommendation. If you are using social media to get information out about your brand and people “like” it, then many more people will become not just followers of your social media output, but also potentially your customers. Sharing relevant information and updates on a regular basis via blogs or Twitter feeds will ensure that people keep coming back for more.
Personalise your business
We all want to interact with other individuals, and the same can be said for products and brands. It can be a little dehumanising to do business with a faceless company that is only interested in pushing out its product and branding. If you want to connect with your customers (and with potential buyers of your services), then you need to make the effort to communicate with them on a level that both you and they find comfortable and acceptable. Short video clips, Instagram photos or blogs introducing your business, the staff and the product and/or service, all of which can be uploaded onto Tumblr, Facebook and so on free of charge, is one way of “humanising” your brand.
Protect and monitor your reputation
It’s impossible to define the number of online conversations happening every second of the day, but it is possible to say that many are about the good or bad experiences that customers have when dealing with a company. Social media can help you monitor what is being said about your small business, thanks to online reputation management tools. You can then check online for mentions of your product or services, and respond to both good and negative feedback in an instant.
Remember the saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”? Instead of shying away from the many social media platforms out there, do connect, engage and develop online fans using these handy and free tools, because those fans and readers are your customers of the future.