Social networking platforms build buzz, boost business and serve small businesses as low-cost/no-cost marketing tools. Business owners need to know how these tools strategically serve and support business first so that they best implement social media strategies to market products and/or services.
Social Media, simply put, serves users and organizations in marketing in three ways:
Marketing is about building relationships — relationships start with communication. New web tools like blogging, micro-blogging (Twitter), social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning), podcasting (BlogTalkRadio), video distribution (YouTube), event coordination tools (Meetup), wikis (Wikipedia) photo sharing (Flickr, Photobucket), and product review sites (epinions.com) allow small businesses to communicate, educate and share information directly with their current and prospective customers.
Content in the form of blog posts, audio, video, comparison/review sites, tweets and social network messages help share information in a less-formal way that builds the know, like and trust factors that influence decision making. Content is no more just text. Small businesses can use audio or visual content for a “show me” and “tell me” to create communications a pack more interactive punch.
Social media’s direct communication distinction serves and supports business since it brings individuals you wish to attract directly to you buy 10k Instagram followers for $15 and makes direct communication possible. Social Media makes communication a conversation so business owners can share, receive feedback and connect on equal ground with their target markets.
When small businesses empower their target consumers, they feel powerful. When your target market feels powerful, it trusts you, buys from you, and stays with you. Social networking collaboration transforms consumers into “prosumers “.In a period of social media prosumers, it’s people (not companies) who make, shape, or break purchase patterns.
Small businesses can ignite collaboration for marketing by creating their own communities and/or joining communities. In so doing, they could listen and connect with their target customers and build a totally free forum to bring their market together. Collaboration = Marketing Acceleration.
Social networking collaboration tools like review sites, video sharing sites, blogs, wikis and more allow users to self-serve, collaborate, and potentially serve being an endorser for the small business. Social networking works as a marketing tool because folks are more likely to trust peers rather than companies.
The energy of mass collaboration serves and supports business owners in a distinct way. Tapping/creating valuable collaborative options will bring people together to talk about ideas, exchange information, and help one another — and support relationship growth. Removing the “company/client” disconnect can break up elitism and boost marketing mind power.
The main reason that social networking works as a marketing tool is easy — because it’s fun. People want to go where they feel they belong, have a voice, are heard, and enjoy themselves. Business owners need to be where their target markets are — and nowadays, the masses are on Facebook, Ning, Twitter, Linkedin, Photobucket, YouTube and more because it has entertainment value.
Remember the Will It Blend? campaigns by Blendtec? They were a great exemplory case of social media marketing in brilliant action. Videos were relevant while they showed the product, were entertaining (they blended an iPhone!), and these were viral! People could easily share the fun with friends because of the simple social media sharing widgets.
You can’t put a dollar amount on free promotion. The way social media stores data being an “Interactive Rolodex” also has an activity factor. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming the “new databases” as they are fast, easy, and fun. People are more likely to update their Facebook and LinkedIn information than a sterile address book because it is fun.
Business owners use social media’s entertainment factor to build their online database of contacts and connections, be visible to prospective customers, and get the word out in creative ways like YouTube videos, blog posts, images, podcasts to create people smile and spread the word.
How Social Networking Helps Small Businesses Sell
Social Media Marketing helps most small businesses boost sales indirectly by increasing relationships. Understanding that social media marketing serves users for communication, collaboration, and entertainment is the first faltering step to considering how to strategically implement the large number of social media marketing tools and choose those that work best for the unique organization.
The important thing thing that small businesses need to consider when using social media to help sell is that efforts should have value. There’s to be value to your content, community, and execution to get people to activate with you or your organization. Social networking doesn’t sell things — people sell things. Participating in social media marketing starts the relationship-building process. Start small and snowball. Social networking takes understanding, passion, effort, and commitment to create it work. Give your business an authentic voice with social media and commit to providing value and you will soon be off to a smart start.Read More