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Running a small business, it can be a constant challenge to try and keep up with the bigger players in your niche. Large companies with more resources, finances and existing loyal customers have a big advantage when it comes to getting seen and making a splash – so if you’re just a small start-up with no capital how can you possibly get noticed?
The answer is simple: social media marketing. Social media marketing offers huge advantages to small businesses and in many ways ‘levels’ the playing field.
To make the very most from it though, you need to understand all the different advantages that it offers. Read on and we’ll look at some of the top ways that a small business stands to gain from using social media marketing in the right way…
Using social media marketing, it’s possible to get your brand seen by countless viewers. Potentially, you can even use social media to gain direct conversions – turning views, into clicks, into paying customers. What makes this even better though, is the fact that you can do all this without having to first invest huge amounts of money in.
Social media marketing essentially involves posting regularly to networks like Facebook, like Twitter and like Google+. Doing this, you can then get your brand seen repeatedly by your followers and you can potentially gain a lot of clicks and visits.
This process doesn’t actually cost you anything but time, and if you’re time poor you can hire a social marketing agency that knows how to leverage these channels for maximum benefit, and as such you’ll find you can get a lot of exposure from these services for very good prices.
One advantage that a small business has over a large one is the ability to feel approachable and personal to the audience. People like dealing with small businesses because they like the feeling that there are real people providing the products and services that they feel as though they can trust.
Using social media you can take this idea and run with it – social media marketing allows you to actually communicate with your audience and to engage with them in a way that just isn’t possible otherwise. Can’t think of a name for your new product? Why not ask your followers? Want feedback on how to improve your service? Just ask!
Social media marketing is great for bringing new visitors to your brand. At the same time though, it’s also very effective for helping your existing customers to come back more regularly. In other words, social media builds brand loyalty because it reminds your customers that you exist and because it makes them feel as though they’re a ‘part’ of something bigger (that being your company’s values and goals). It’s much easier to get your followers behind you and rooting for you when you’re on social media.
Social media marketing can also be used to network. Of course you’ll network with new potential clients and customers but just as importantly you might meet another company or professional who you can team up with to release a product, or who has an idea for other ways you can work together. This can potentially lead to huge opportunities and big benefits, so don’t undervalue it!
Reputation management means handling the way that your business is seen and this particularly tends to be used for managing your online reputation. One tool for changing the way your business is seen online is SEO. Another though is social media – which allows you to communicate directly with your market and thereby explain to them why you’re doing what you’re doing. This is how you can put forward your side of the story and that in turn is an excellent way to manage the way you’re seen.
If you’re a very small business – perhaps even a sole trader – then one challenge you’re going to face is being taken seriously. The danger here is that customers will view you as ‘just a guy/woman’ rather than a ‘real company’.
Social media gives you one way to avoid this risk. That’s because it gives you a chance to showcase your branding – and if you have a great logo design then you can use this everywhere from your website to your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile. When you do this, your customers will see that you’re serious about branding yourself and they’ll see a consistent and professional image across all your channels.
Finally, professionals can view social media as an excellent opportunity to showcase their authority and their expertise. Every time you post on social media, you can demonstrate your knowledge and thereby increase your value in your followers’ eyes. Do this enough and you’ll gain their trust and become a thought leader in your niche.