The world of business has shifted drastically over the last nine years.
Previously, small businesses participated in outbound marketing strategies designed to place their business in front of potential customers. This outbound marketing strategy included running newspaper advertisements, billboards, postal mailers, and several other relatively aggressive tactics. Today, the focus for small businesses has changed to a seemingly more passive form of marketing called inbound marketing.
As the exact opposite of outbound marketing, inbound marketing is focused on prospects or visitors reaching out to a business in search for services. Inbound marketing positions the business as an expert in the industry through highly informative blogs and social media posts. Considering that nearly 97% of all consumers use online resources to begin their search, small businesses are finding a growing importance of blogs and social media to attract new visitors to their site.
As the first step in inbound marketing, it is extremely important to be able to attract new visitors to the website of a small business. While search engine optimization will position the business favorably in the search engine results page, only blogs and other social media networks can present the information the visitors are looking for. By creating highly informative blogs and having this information shared on social media networks, your small business will be able to attract hoards of new customers. Remember, your business must have dedicated internet access for this strategy to be successful.
Social media offers you the uncanny ability to communicate with your audience, and for your audience to communicate back with you. When someone leaves you a comment, it is imperative that you always respond or at least acknowledge the comment. Even if the comment is negative, it is important that you use the opportunity to make it a positive. Doing so will only increase the rate of engagement. In its essence, social media opens the door for effective communication between you and your customer base.
Sharing is Caring
In the world of social media, your goal is to have your content shared with others. When your audience shares your content, they are effectively promoting your brand to their friends. In effect, your content could be shared exponentially, which would grow your audience to unexpected and gargantuan proportions. The total effect of social media for small businesses is a global presence.
As the largest social network, Facebook represents a breeding ground of prospects from around the world. However, Facebook also represents an excellent way to keep your local customers up to date on any type of promotions, giveaways, or contests that your business may be hosting. By getting ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ you effectively grow your audience of prospects and customers.
The key to marketing on Facebook is to engage your audience with posts that add a significant amount of value to their lives. Since not all posts are created equally, the following information offers insight into the best practices to successfully engage your audience.
- Photos are worth a thousand words and an infinite number of ‘likes.’ In addition, offering your audience the opportunity to provide a photo caption will allow them to add their own words to the thousand words already provided by your photo.
- Ask questions or offer your audience the opportunity to show their creativity with “fill in the blank” statements.
- Everyone likes valuable tips, which will increase the sharing of your content.
- Quotes offer valuable insight into the business brand and also inspire thought.
Twitter is among the top social networks and represents a hoard of your customers. Unlike Facebook, Twitter was designed for use on the mobile phone. A major benefit of Twitter is that you can contact your customers at anytime because they are normally with their mobile phones. The best tweets will be retweeted among your prospects, which is exactly what you want.
In the world of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are among the top networks in the world. Connecting billions of people from around the world, these networks are ideal to promote your brand and establish new business relationships. Social media is one of the most valuable tools for the small business looking to succeed in today’s connected world.