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January 31, 2013 / Social Business Media Managers

Social Media and Small Business How and Why It Works

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Business and social media how does it work and why does it work for some and not for others. These questions are on the minds of many small business owners when people talk about using social media. The most important question for you as the owner is “Why should I get involved and how is it going to help my business?” The answer to the questions must first come from what is your mission and purpose for your business. Can you in a few words describe both of these concepts as they relate to your business?

Having done that, what are your 3 or 4 major objectives for your business? What are the 2 or 3 goals for each objective that are SMART goals (measurable and timeline for achievement)? How do you envision your business in 5 years and how to do the items discussed previously help you achieve that vision?

You are probably asking yourself why all the questions and what is the purpose I know my business. These questions help you clarify where you are and where you want to be and can be used to develop on how you can best get there. As you look at your strategic plan and marketing plan, ask yourself how and where am I planning on maintaining my present customer base and how do I plan on continuing to attract new customers. Who is the target audience or audiences that I am trying to attract or maintain as clients/customers? The answer to these questions for a large part helps in the development of you marketing plan, customer relations and maintenance plan. With the marketing plan the major purpose is to establish some kind of positive relationship with potential clients. You are attempting to resonate with them in a manner that they will ultimately buy from you.

Through the process you are branding your company and yourself as unique in you particularly industry and can deliver a differentiate product or service. Though the marketing process you are building a know-like-trust factor so potential clients/customers will want to come and buy from you. Social media becomes one of the tools available to you in your marketing plan that will enable you to build this type of relationship. It must be emphasized that it is not the end all in marketing and is only one phase. Social media has been found effective for small business to play with the big businesses without breaking a budget. It is a process that requires attention as much as the other parts of your marketing plan to be effective. Remember it is only one tool in your arsenal of tools to build your brand. It can be effective in building new clients/customers and helps to maintain present clients.

The use of social media in business is to build positive ongoing relationships with potential customers/clients and extend greater benefits to present customers/clients. Think of it as means of networking much as done when attending live events. It is a means of utilizing effective communication to provide a clear understanding of what you have to offer. We are establishing a relationship with people we meet and entire into discussions. Through social media we are doing the same type of thing. You are asking questions of the people and telling them about yourself and your business. You are building a relationship that takes time to build and is not done in just a few sessions.

Now that you have answered the questions about your business and your marketing plan and have a basic understanding of what social media is about, you are now ready to begin the journey of selecting the right types of social media and the right sites. Then selecting the right message and the right mediums to build the relationships with your target audience is now your next task.

Given the many sites available it is important that you select the ones that best fit you target audiences. The place to begin is to seek the answer to the questions that revolve around your target audience. The first thing to do is to do a search of sites that those individuals use for their social media. There are many different sites with many different characteristic and not all are best for all businesses. So it is important that you search for that target audience demographics. Decide what type of relationship you want to develop with them and why is it important to your business. What is the problem you are trying to solve for that demographic with your products or services? What makes your solution or solutions the best for them and how are you going to communicate that to the target audience? How effectively are you communicating it with your present use of media especially your website?

Once you have identified the answers you are ready to begin the journey into the world of social media and business. You are now prepared to select the right sites to use for your business, began developing the profiles and selecting the process you want to use to create the relationships. This becomes first steps in engaging the social media tools to assist you in enhancing your business opportunities.

In the first paragraph we proposed the question as to why to use social media and why are some successful and others are not. The first reason is that now social media is being used in many more ways and with the growing smart technologies it becomes even more important to have presences online in many different formats. Big business realizes the importance of using social media and uses it very effectively to promote their brands. It has become a way of communicating with people on different levels and to create social media as a part of customer care. Why it is not effective is that people do not use it correctly. It has to be done constantly and consistently. It has to be done with thought and with a way positive outlook. Social media has to be more than just asking people to come to an event. It has to be a process that establishes the know-like-trust factors. Therefore social media does not work if you do not work it.

Over the next few weeks we will explore together the many sites available, and the ones that are most used and the ones that need to be further explored. We will discuss how to develop a plan to evaluate the return on investment for using social media. We will examine ways of exploring how it is affecting your overall business presence. We will explore other the use of other online tools that can be used to assist in improving the overall business processes.

Look for the next phase as we began the exploration of sites.

1/31/2013 Lonnie G. Juarez, Jr. Ph.D. Visionary/CEO Social Business Media Connections and Social Business Media Managers

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