Often I’ll get asked by business owners about social media, in particular, business owners want to know, “Should we get involved in social media? If so, which ones are the right ones to invest our time and money in?” Social media is a powerful tool, in particular, for small business. It’s powerful because it gives you a huge return on investment. You can be very targeted in how you reach people and you can get a big bang for the buck. In that sense, it actually levels the playing field between small businesses and the big guys because you don’t have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to get the kinds of results they’re getting.
The problem with social media sites is they tend to breed like rabbits. It seems like every single week some new site is popping up. For example, at the time of recording this, a few popular sites are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I can imagine that very soon those sites will change, in terms of which are most popular. How do we know which ones to be involved in, as small business owners?
1: I would say is pick just a few best, two, maybe three. How do I know which ones to choose? First of all, do some research, in particular, about demographics. What kinds of people are using each kind of social site? Different sites tend to attract different genders, different age groups, different geographies. Get to know a little bit about what the research is. It’s free and available on the internet.
2: Ask your most valuable customer. Your most valuable customer is the profile of those people who are doing business with you. Simply ask them, “Which social media sites are you spending time on?” That’s a good clue of where you should be investing your time and money.
3: Hold off on getting involved in a new social media site for six to 12 months. First of all, that will allow you to make sure that that social site is going to stick. Like I said, they tend to crop up all the time and we want to make sure that a site has staying power before you invest any time or money into it. Also, it will give you time to prepare what kinds of campaigns you might involve yourself in, rather than just jumping in, like crazy.
4: Conducting a test to see how responsive your potential customers are. That means, getting involved in running a few campaigns for online advertising on the social media sites. Marketing is more about science then art and by testing it, we’ll get a good idea of what ones really work for your business and which ones you should just leave alone. If you remain focused and choose carefully, your social media sites, social media can be a powerful marketing tool for small business.