How To Build Business
In many ways, social media has become the great equalizer in business. Thanks to social networks, small businesses have the potential to target new customers from around the globe at no cost.
Except that's not entirely true. As many SMB owners have found out, launching and maintaining a social media presence has a hidden price: time.
It takes time to learn how to use social media properly, and time to choose the right social networks. But social media can be used to build your business, and with a little time management it can easily be worked into your day.
The guide below will show you how-so read on.Choosing the right social network to promote your business
Not all social networks are created equal. The quality of the interaction-how much members are engaging with your brand's profile on the network-is what is going to affect your business'bottom line.
Here's what to look for when choosing a social network.Demographic. This is probably the most important point.
Is your target audience part of the social network's demographic? If not, building a presence on that network is a waste of energy.Member activities on the network.
Do members use the network for business or for pleasure? You may have greater luck with a social network that's strictly for business in order to find success.Functionalities.
What features are included on the network and can they help you build business? Look for things like: free classified ads and business listings, video uploads, RSS feeds from your website or blog, and free business forums. Level of Engagement.
Do members actively participate in discussions? Do they respond to messages, forum posts and posted ads? Are they active in carrying on dialogue?The aspects of a great online profile
The busiest you'll be on social media is when you're getting started. This is when you'll be building your online profiles and automating as much of your activities as you can (yes, automating. More on that in a moment). Here are the aspects of a great online profile.It's easy to find.
Use your business'name for your profile name so you appear at the top of searches. Use your company logo for your picture, and users will know they're at the right profile.It's interactive.
Users expect two-way dialogue on a company's social network profile. Yours should include a forum or discussion board for users to leave comments, links to relevant articles, images and any videos about your business.Its owners network with its followers.
Businesses with a good social media presence welcome new followers, reply to questions and comments, and thanks followers for sharing links to the profile.It links back to your own website.
Ultimately, your goal is to drive traffic to your business website. Your business URL should be prominently displayed. It should also be hyperlinked, so users only have to click the URL to be redirected to your site.It's frequently updated.
Check your profile daily and respond to member questions and comments. Add new content whenever possible. A member question that goes unanswered reflects badly on you as a business owner.Effective time management
It's the Achilles heel of any small business using social media: it takes up time and that's something most business owners don't have. Here are some tips and tricks on easily working social media into your schedule.Integrate social media into existing marketing plans.
Just as you plan new advertisements or press releases for your business'sales and events, plan your social media campaigns around them as well.Automate your updates.
There are literally dozens of web applications that let you schedule social media updates hours and even days in advance. You can spend a few minutes each morning scheduling the day's updates, and then get on with your day.Designate a daily time to manage your networks.
Block off half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon to reply to questions from followers. Quality is more important than quantity.
It's better to have 3-4 engaging posts that your followers will enjoy than 15-20 mediocre posts that do nothing to build your brand.Measuring the impact of your social media outreach
How will you know if any of your social media outreach is making a difference? There are free tools available across the internet that allow you to measure your social media impact-in fact, they're often built into the social networks themselves.
Here's what to look for.Clicks:
How many clicks (visitors) is your profile getting each week?Conversions:
Are visitors signing up for special offers you may have posted, and are they clicking over to your website?Return Visitors:
How many of your profile's fans or followers return, and how often?New Visitors:
Is your profile attracting new fans and followers?Every small business can run a social media campaign
Social media can build your business in tremendous ways when your campaign is managed properly. By targeting the right networks, using them effectively and managing your time well, social media becomes a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Social networks can be a small business'best friend-all you need is to know how to use them.