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The relatively recent phenomenon of social media is growing at an exponential rate, not just for individuals but for businesses as well. We’re always trying to help our readers figure out ways they can take advantage of this platform. The recurring questions is does social media help small businesses? Below are some helpful hints for getting you and your business off the ground when it comes to successful self-promotion through social media.
1. Get to know your clients and their needs.
That seems like a no brainer, right? Knowing your target audience has been essential to business since long before the first tweet was ever sent. But this principle can—and should—be applied to businesses using social media as well.
Once an individual entrepreneur or small business owner know the demographics you’re trying to reach, then it’s a matter of tailoring your social media output to those demographics filling their wants and needs as clients. Therefore, things like updating your profile or page description to highlight your major selling points, your services and offers that coincide with what exactly your audience wants. Take a look at your service page, does it reflect what you’re company is selling? I’m sure you have Google Analytics set up, if you don’t then do that right now…then add Google Webmaster Tools while you’re at it. These two free tools can give you a plethora of information. Especially when it comes to who your audience is, and where they are coming from.
But don’t just stop at that—your profile info isn’t primarily what people will read. Keep your target audience in mind with everything you do on social media—day-to-day updates, photos or offers—everything. For each post, ask yourself how your audience will receive it and whether it will help provide what they’re looking for in a business of your type.
Also, being aware of current trends and statistics in social median should become part of your daily TDL (to do list). Even if you spend only an hour a day (stay away from the rabbit hole) you can accomplish and learn so much about your users. Many sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr feature hashtags and trending topics, providing a general idea of what people are talking about or looking for Google some reliable statistics on trends and growing demographics in social media; you may be surprised at how many older adults have begun to use sites that were once geared just toward teens! Being aware of your target audience’s interests, and of the larger audience you could potentially reach, is crucial in building connections and broadening your horizons.
*Tip: add a few google alerts that are relevant to your medium. Start curating those topics, whether you use Scoop.it or Tumblr, it’s a matter of building your community and surrounding yourself and your brand with topics that matter.
2. Be proactive and intentional in networking.
Social networking is a great innovation for businesses, but it doesn’t just happen on its own. I spend at least one to two hours a day on Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Google +. Trust me when I tell you it helps. Our community has grown over the years, with new faces and people every day. You can’t just set up a profile and then wait for clients to come find you. In most cases, you’ve got to go looking for them. If you’re just starting up a new page or profile, getting it out to family and friends you already know can be a good place to start. Still, you’ll have to go beyond that if you want to keep growing, so you need to be willing to seek audiences outside of your normal comfort zone, or to have others help you get the word out.
It’s always good to have connections in your field, whether potential clients or other business relationships. Search for other people, businesses, or pages that are doing what you do (or what you would like to do). Pay attention to how they do things so you can see what works and what doesn’t, but also, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask for tips, promotion, or other connections. You may be surprised how many aspiring businesses or entrepreneurs are willing to help out others like themselves. Naturally, you should be friendly, kind, and professional in all of these interactions so people know that they can like and trust you. Even so, take any advice or results from these connections with a grain of salt; what works for one business doesn’t always work for another, so also keep in mind your own unique offerings and what your clients need from you.
Some social networking or blog sites, such as Facebook and WordPress, feature the option to promote your posts to members of a certain demographic, making it likelier that people will see your page in their newsfeed. This option requires you to invest a little money, but it can really go a long way in increasing your page’s traffic by the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands!
3. Have your own unique voice and style.
Social media users want to feel like they’re friends with you and that they’re talking to a real person, even if they don’t know you personally. That’s why it’s important for you personally to cultivate relationships with your clients through social media.
Some individual entrepreneurs choose to hire someone to write posts and manage social media connections, but sometimes it’s just better to handle those things yourself! Then the audience knows your personal voice and style, and they have information and updates coming directly from you instead of through a middleman, so they feel more like they know and can trust you. Many actors, celebrities, and well-known bloggers directly moderate their own profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, giving the audience a small glimpse into their lives. This often gives them greater responses from fans and followers with genuine interest, leading to significant conversations and interactions. If you can be conversational, friendly, funny, or helpful, and channel the best parts of your personality into online posts, then you can begin building these positive personal relationships with your audience too!
So remember, social media can help you and your business learn what clients are looking for, better reach and connect with target audiences, and build positive relationships through your own unique offerings and style. But don’t just go by these principles; let the trends and the ever-growing popularity of social media speak for themselves. With these tips and by simply staying aware of what’s happening in the digital world, you should be well equipped to discover a wide potential audience just waiting to be reached.
A final note, please listen to your audience. Don’t think that by speaking endlessly you will gain authority. Actually you should find a balance of listening and speaking.
Just so we’re clear at Level343 we love sharing our tips for your social outreach. We can help create and implement a social footprint that will garner authority, engagement, and community.