Social networking platforms build buzz, boost business and serve small businesses as low-cost/no-cost marketing tools. Business owners have to understand how these tools strategically serve and support small business first so that they best implement social media strategies to sell products and/or services.
Social Media, in other words, 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 using 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 SMM provider, like and trust factors that influence decision making. Content is no further just text. Small businesses may use audio or visual content for a “show me” and “tell me” to create communications a bunch more interactive punch.
Social media’s direct communication distinction serves and supports small business because it brings the folks you intend to attract directly for your requirements and makes direct communication possible. Social Media makes communication a conversation so small business owners can share, receive feedback and connect on equal ground using their target markets.
When small businesses empower their target consumers, they think powerful. Whenever 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. By doing so, they could listen and connect with their target customers and build a 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 as an endorser for your small business. Social media works as a marketing tool because folks are prone to trust peers as opposed to companies.
The power of mass collaboration serves and supports small business owners in a distinct way. Tapping/creating valuable collaborative options would bring people together to fairly share 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 most important reason that social networking works as a marketing tool is straightforward — because it’s fun. People desire to go where they think they belong, have a voice, are paid attention to, and enjoy themselves. Business owners have to be where their target markets are — and today, 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 certainly were a perfect example of social media marketing in brilliant action. Videos were relevant as they showed the merchandise, were entertaining (they blended an iPhone!), and they certainly were viral! People could easily share the fun with friends due to the easy social media sharing widgets.
You can’t put a dollar amount on free promotion. The way in which social media stores data as an “Interactive Rolodex” even offers an amusement factor. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming the “new databases” because they’re fast, easy, and fun. Individuals are prone 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 construct their online database of contacts and connections, be visible to prospective customers, and get the term 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 may be the first faltering step to considering how to strategically implement the multitude of social media marketing tools and choose those that work best for your unique organization.
The important thing thing that small businesses need to consider when utilizing social media to help sell is that efforts will need to have value. There has to be value to your content, community, and execution to have people to activate with you or your organization. Social media doesn’t sell things — people sell things. Engaging in social media marketing starts the relationship-building process. Start small and snowball. Social media takes understanding, passion, effort, and commitment to create it work. Give your small business a traditional voice with social media and commit to providing value and you is likely to be off to a smart start.