Social Business Media Additional Tools for Businesses
Small Business and social media has continued to gain in importance. The major concern of small business owners is will it work for their business. As discussed in previous articles, the use of social media works for the business if it is used in the way it was intended to build positive relations with the public. As with any tool it should be used wisely and be used in a consistent manner.
Tools such as LinkedIn for professionals, Facebook Pages, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ are all-powerful tools in building business relationships. Each is a great tool for a business when matched with the demographics in its marketing plan. As with any marketing tool, it takes time, patience, good content, and frequency to build and create brand awareness. Another major part is consistency. The content must promote the business brand and the information posted must be relevant to the people the business is attempting to reach and serve.
Prior to any decision to get involved with social media of any kind it is important for the business to make sure that it has an adequate budget and has appropriated money for the social media effort. The budget must not only consider financial considerations but human resources and time. Time must be devoted to doing the research, developing content, and posting the content developed in the various media sites chosen by the business. It is important that the content developed is relevant and ease the achievement of the goals of the social media marketing plan. Means of measuring the success of the social media marketing plan should be explored and put in place to measure the return on investment over time. The need for a plan that includes an adequate budget for the implementation process, whether the social media marketing is handled internally by staff or contracted to an external agency for the business is important to the overall success.
The number of social media sites has increased exponentially. Various sites draw many different demographics and have different requirements. They also have different purposes and different outreach. The need to know the target audience will have a great impact on what sites are chosen to promote the business brand. In addition to the basic sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ there are many other sites that are very important to business development. One of the newer sites that have gained popularity is Pinterest. This site is a favorite of women of all ages and many businesses that are selling or appealing to women use this site. The site uses interest boards (think of them as mini posters) to post interesting and relevant information. The more pictures you use or information with pictures the greater the interest generated. The major effort is to promote good solid content that reflects the multiple interests within your business that maybe of interest to others. It is also important to curate other information that may also show information useful to others. The use of the content it to create brand awareness and promote the business while at the same time creating informative call for actions. As part of the process the business must also follow other boards as well as building relationships in a positive way with other businesses and people.
Another of the newer services is Gentlemint. It is similar to Pinterest with the exception that has a focus on men’s topics. As with Pinterest, it creates brand awareness and builds business relationships. It to uses pictures and good topics on interest boards to post information. It provides the ability to follow others as well as be followed by other businesses and people. As with all social media sites content drives the process. The better your content, it increases the opportunities for others to follow and create business partnerships.
Storeboard is an up and coming site that combines social media with business in some very unique ways. It is a very flexible platform and can also be of benefit to non-profits as well. The site is both national and international in scope. Many of the big business are using the site on an ongoing basis and reaching out to many businesses on the site. Some of the features of the site include: markets, classified, groups, forums, videos, blogs, images, audio, coupon deals and selected channels to follow. It has a good search capability and allows businesses to contact each other through a messaging system. Status updates like those used in other social media allow you to send out short information pieces about your business or other relevant topics.
Yet another business to business social media site is MerchantCircle. The focus of the site is to promote business to business relationships. It is designed to enhance a business’s opportunity to create a solid business presence. It provides the business with a chance to connect with other business as a follower of the business or to create connections with business to send messages. A business can create and post blogs, newsletters, create coupons, search for leads, develop a network of other businesses, create service request for customers to contact the business, and a chance to upgrade to be able to do more promotions. In addition a business can keep up status updates and link them to other social media sites. It is a flexible program and gives a business an opportunity to expand the possibilities for greater business.
There are many sites that keep developing and older ones continue to improve their presence, it is still incumbent on the business to make the best decisions on which ones to use. The use of the internet has grown. Consider how internet users spend their time: 22 percent on social media, 21 percent on searches, 20 percent browsing content, 19 percent reading emails, 13 percent multimedia sites, and 5 percent online shopping. A business must also remember that is very important to research each of the social media sites to make sure that their main target market is using the site.
As a business recognizing that the time and effort in personal and financial resources that will be expended in the social marketing effort is critical, it is important to carefully select the best social media platforms for their business. It is impossible have a presence on every site and to post good content on each site. It is better that reach your target market and drive customers/clients to the business site or the storefront than to dilute the brand message.
An upcoming blog will begin discussions of other tools that should be used to more effectively improve the business and to provide additional flexibility to the business development and business model being used within the organization. Keep in mind all that is done in and for the business focuses on serving the public as we know them as customers. Service, service, courtesy, respect and truthfulness in all that is done to provide the greater benefit to the public.
6/5/20132 Lonnie G. Juarez, Jr. Ph.D. Visionary/CEO Social Business Media Connections and Social Business Media Managers
As a business owner for over 30 years, I had the opportunity to work with many businesses in providing computer software utilization and leadership development. Small businesses are the ones that need the most help with the use of social media. My graduate degree is organizational change and development and assist in creating the media plans for small business. http://www.socialbusinessmediamanagers.com http://www.sbmconnect.wordpress.com