SOCIAL MEDIA is no longer a new phenomenon, but it continues to grow at an astounding rate. Newer sites like Twitter now operate alongside of ground breakers like Facebook, and even Google is getting in on the social media action with Google Plus. Not only are there more social media options out there, though, but there are also more people than ever who are regularly using social media and even relying on it for decision making.
For this reason, more and more small businesses are jumping on board the social media train. These businesses understand that social media is now, for many businesses, the number one way to connect with new customers and old customers alike. But how, exactly, can social media boost your business? Here are just a handful of ways:
Creating a personalized experience
One thing that most people are looking for these days is personalization. After all, our Facebook profiles personalize advertisements based on what we say and do on Facebook, and Google is going to start doing the same thing with Google Plus. The modern consumer doesn’t expect generic interactions with same-old-same-old companies, but wants a customized, unique experience that makes them feel they can really connect with a business on many different levels.
With social media, you can create a more personalized experience for your customers. This, it seems, will be even truer when Google Plus allows business accounts to be created on its new platform, since you can divide your G+ contacts into different circles of people. This will allow you to highly target specific types of customers in a way you aren’t yet able to do through social media!
Getting better feedback
One of the best ways for a business to grow is through feedback, but getting feedback from customers in person can be tough. With social media, you can find the good, the bad, and the ugly about your business with just a little searching. According to TOA Technologies, 1,000,000 people view tweets about customer service each week, and about 80% of those tweets are negative, which means it’s really easy to figure out areas where people haven’t been happy about your business!
Beyond that, though, you can also use social media to test out new products or even take surveys on your Facebook page or through your blog. Consider using a giveaway to see if customers love new products your business is considering using. If not, you can go back to the drawing board, but if the products receive some great feedback, you’ll have a better idea of who to market them to.
Connecting locally and globally
One of the great things about social media is that it’s perfect for both local and global businesses. Since it’s online, it allows you to connect with people from all over the world. On the other hand, since you can tailor your marketing to the people you really want to reach, you can get local customers for your local business. Running specials for customers in your own area or far off is really easy with Facebook, Foursquare and other social media platforms, which make it easier than ever to connect with a broader audience for your business.
Can a business credit card be helpful, too?
While much of the social media advertising right now is free, Daniela Baker from CreditDonkey says, "You may want to consider a business credit card for the things that aren’t." Some cards give good rebates, and, at any rate, a credit card allows you to get some basic start-up fees for your social media endeavors – whether that means funding giveaways to increase blog traffic or hiring a freelancer to do some of your social media networking for you.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that businesses these days are simply not going to grow without social media interaction. It’s now the way that people are doing business, so you had better get your business on board, too.