Adding Social Media to the Business Marketing Mix; No Longer a Question of "Why" but "How"
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: May 6, 2010, 8:13 am
- Updated: May 13, 2011, 2:59 pm
How does your business use social media in its marketing mix? If you use it to identify and attract new customers; then you are in the majority.
According to the latest *Small Business Success Inde- 61% of small business respondents use blogs, Twitter and Facebook profiles to expand-'
And while social media adoption is up, doubts do remain. Here are some of the other key findings of the *report:
1. The Social Media Users
Of those small business owners surveyed, one out of five say they are actively using social media in their business. How are they using it? Well among this group of social media users:
- 75% have a company page on a social networking site
- 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
- 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months
2. The Social Media Doubters
Despite these statistics, many small business owners continue to harbor concerns about adopting social media, with time investment being the over-riding concern. The report goes on to find that:
- 50% of small business social media users say it takes more time than expected
- 17% express that social media gives people a chance to criticize their business on the Internet. Yet, only 6% feel that social media use has hurt the image of the business more than helped it
Done Right, Social Media Marketing Levels the Business Playing Field
There is no doubt that social media marketing and social networking can have a powerful impact on small business success. As Janet Wagner of the University of Marylan's Robert H. Smith School of Business explains:
Social media levels the playing field for small businesses by helping them deliver customer service. Time spent on Twitter, Facebook and blogs is an investment in making it easier for small businesses to compete...we (are) at the point now, where...the question for business owners should no longer be 'why use social media marketing', but 'how'?'
As with all marketing tools, social media fits differently into every compan's marketing strategy. While almost every business could benefit from a blog, not everyone needs to be active on Twitter all day long. If your target market is not active on social networks, then perhaps it is't the right fit with your marketing goals. For example, some, not all, B2B companies might find it hard to build a following on Facebook, but if you operate a consumer business, such as a restaurant or cupcake bakery, then Facebook is an excellent way to reach and engage with potential customers eager for information about menu updates, special offers, and events.
And while Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn represent the most prolific social networking sites, whatever industry you are in, you can pretty much guarantee that, somewhere on the Web (from neighborhood online discussion boards to bloggers in your field of business), there is an opportunity to be where your customers are.
Here are a few articles that explain how you can use social media to elevate your brand, improve customer service and generate business:
- Getting Started with Social Media Marketing
- Making Social Media Pay Off for your Brand and Your Bottom Line
- Thinking of Starting a Blog? Tips to Help You Start, Maintain & Grow a Small Business Blog!
- How to Get Bloggers to Write About your Business
Web Technology' The Next Big Investment for Small Business
While social media marketing can be done on a shoestring budget and ranks third in small business investments to be made in the next two years according to the *Small Business Success Index, the priority investment by small business continues to be in building an online presence, whether from scratch or adding new functionality to existing sites.
Business.gov offers several resources to help business owners start and grow their online business. Here are just a few:
- 10 Steps to Starting an Online Business
- Starting and Growing an Online Business: An Entrepreneu's Checklist
- Getting Started with E-Commerce - An Entrepreneur's Checklist
- 3 Technologies to Help You Take Advantage of the Economic Recovery - CRM software, email marketing and Web site analytics explained.
- SBA / Google Online Business Videos - Google and the SBA have partnered to educate local businesses about how to succeed online. Each video describes how a small business owner successfully uses the internet to grow its business.
Follow the Business.gov Social Media Network
You can follow Business.gov on the following social media sites:
*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.
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