As a small business owner, I’m sure you have heard of buzz words such as social media marketing, Facebook marketing, and Google My Business…. but what do these buzzwords mean and do they have any significance for your business? Will engaging in social media marketing actually bring customers through your door?
Let’s start with the basics.
In the last few years, you may have heard of applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These are a few of the top social media applications out there. A social media application allows you to interact with other people online (hence the term “social” in social media marketing). For example, if you have a Facebook page for your small business, you can connect with your customers on Facebook and socially interact with them via status updates.
Now that you know what social media marketing is, we still need to answer the main question: Is social media marketing necessary for your business?
Truthfully, every local business needs some sort of social media marketing. You don’t have to be present on all social media channels but to not be present on any of them? You may as well set fire to hundred dollar bills. Allow us to explain…
The first thing to understand is that social media marketing is an additional channel to expose your business. Think of it as an extension of your business. For you to bring in new customers, you need to determine which social platform you can effectively and consistently utilize to extend your business to new customers.
Since Facebook is a well-known social media platform, we will use that as a prime example. If you have a budget, you can use Facebook ads to promote your business page to new people. Even if you don’t have a budget, you can promote your business page to your current, personal network. With frequent funny, viral, or new status updates, the more your page will be exposed to other people as long as your content gets “shares” and “likes”.
This may sound like common sense but this is the chink in most business owners’ armor. For your business to thrive, you need to provide your customers with the best product or service you have to offer. By doing so, you will start building repeat customers. When times get tough or your budget is too small to advertise, it’s these loyal customers who will keep your business running.
So how does Facebook help with this? Facebook and other social media tools allow you to connect with your current network. If you are friends with your customers on Facebook, share your business page with them. Most of these customers will give your business page a “like”.
Of course, this isn’t the hardest part. The hardest part is keeping your Facebook business page updated with interesting updates. If every update is about your business, then you may end up annoying your customers. Remember, the goal here is to keep your current customers here for the long term.
It’s easy to talk about things but we wanted to show you an example of a Facebook business page that markets the business well. Take a look at this Applebee’s page (a local one in Chicago):
You will see that the page contains tons of reviews and daily updates. Of course, we advised you not to make every post about your business, but given this is a restaurant, people are more open to food advertisements. If you are a window installation company, people probably don’t want to see every status update about windows. We recommend two posts a day with at least one post about something amusing. When you create posts about your business, make them informative, entertaining, or interactive. That’s exactly the point of this Chicago Grande Ave Applebee’s business page.
Take a look at your favorite businesses and their Facebook pages and observe what is working well for them and what isn’t. There’s no reason for you not to apply the same social media marketing strategies for your business.
Of course, as a small business, you need to market yourself on social media. It’s not a matter of “if you need to” but rather, how well you do it. If not, you are already behind the game. However, like anything good in life, social media marketing takes a fair amount of planning, strategy, and testing to work. Most business owners struggle to juggle updating their pages after a hard day’s work. However, if you are curious about what social media marketing can do for your business or if you have any questions, feel free to email us or call 630-296-6932.
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