Social media is the new reality for businesses. The habits of more and more people have moved online, incorporating social networking and social media sites as part of their daily routine.
Sites such as FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter reach out to the masses on a regular basis. People are quick to “Like”, view and “tweet” what they see, what they like and what they are doing to their social networks.
Large companies have jumped on this social movement and have successfully incorporated social media and social networking as part of their marketing efforts. However smaller businesses for the most part are struggling with social media and social networking.
Small businesses must have a social presence and integrating social media and social networking is essential to long term business success.
Why is social networking and social media important for small businesses?
It’s simple – this is where the people are!
If we look at the social reach of FaceBook it’s very easy to see and recognize the potential this has for a business. FaceBook currently has 500 million users, is expanding everyday and the majority of people that use this social networking site spend a large portion of their days using this site.
For any business, especially the small business, missing out on such an opportunity is pretty much committing business suicide.
In a recent panel on CBC Radio, Rob Swick and I were asked about the use of social media here in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was evident there was an interest in social media within the province but the number of companies effectively using it were few and far between.
From my experience, I see many businesses that have an interest in this area but fail to embrace the technology. Part of the reason I see has to do with a lack of understanding they have about the benefits and perhaps a lack of resources. While many small businesses have a web presence, these are underutilized, rarely updated and contain irrelevant information that does nothing to enhance the impression of the business.
While social media requires an effort from the business owners, it is much easier than many companies realize and is 100% free. The benefits of reaching out to customers and forming a social presence have major up-potential. Today’s internet is not just about selling online, it’s about building relationships, forming trust and later leveraging this to the benefit of the company.
For example, FaceBook provides business owners with an opportunity to create “Fan Pages” that users can easily “Like” with the click of a button. These pages can then be used to form relationships, reach out to potential customers, provide information and build an ever expanding social presence. Did I mention this was available for free?
Business owners have their own social network of friends and family that extends the reach of these “pages” to their friends and family … the exposure and reach of a small business now becomes extremely large with minimal effort. Business owners can set these pages up in a matter of minutes, can post information and topics as they socialize with friends and family and quickly gain a foothold in the social realm.
If you’re a small business owner and want to learn more about social networking and building your social media presence, drop me a note.