Monday, 30 September 2013

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Social Media To Reach Their Audience

Social media offers an easy and free way of reaching your audience and speaking directly to and with them. Any type of business can use social media successfully, no matter how small. However, it can definitely be more difficult for small businesses as opposed to established brands to build a decent following and see results from social media – but with enough knowledge, some time and effort, even the smallest and newest businesses can start seeing some great results from social media.
  • Social media can help small businesses to:
  • Communicate with their audience directly
  • Build meaningful relationships with their customers
  • Get more traffic
  • Make more sales
  • Get more engagement
  • Raise awarenessManage their customer service
  • Advertise their products for free
Although social media can take some time to work, it’s important not be discouraged. Here are a few essential tips that will help your small business get the best results from social media:

1. Your profiles

Your social media profiles pages are extremely important. Make sure that whenever you start a new social media account, you complete all the necessary information, provide links to your websites, and choose great images as profile and timeline pictures. It’s important to not do this half-heartedly and also make sure that you maintain a certain uniformity across your different social media profiles, so as to avoid any confusion from your audience. The better your profiles look, the bigger the chances that your audience will check it out!

2. Build a following

When you start a new profile, it can be quite disconcerting to see that you don’t have any followers. But there’s no need for panicking as you can easily start building a following. While in the beginning your only focus might be to just get as many new followers as possible, even if they are spam, remember that won’t help your business much. In order to grow your business and your following, it’s indicated to have engaged followers that are interested in your business. Spammers usually won’t retweet you, or share your updates or engage in conversation with you, and this is after all the purpose of social media – to build relationships with your audience and to grow it.
Start by engaging with other users, and posting updates on a regular basis, preferably daily. These are the first steps in building your very own social audience.

3. Share quality content

One of the best ways to be successful on social media, and get more fans and followers at the same time, is to share great, quality content. Best case, you have a blog of your own and you can share your own articles. You can also use content curation tools such as to look for great content that you can easily share with your followers with only a few clicks. Great content on a regular basis will keep your audience interested, help you get more fans and followers and will help establish your business as more influential and knowledgeable.

4. Start polls and competitions

Polls and competitions are great ways of boosting your engagement, traffic, followers and even sales. There are plenty of tools available for each of the most popular social networks to help you easily set up a contest or poll. It takes minimal efforts on your part and can get you some great results. Try for example the Poll app for Facebook polls or Wishpond or Woobox for competitions and sweepstakes.

5. Engage

Engagement, as I’ve mentioned earlier, is extremely important of any social media strategy. If you want to get the best results for your small business on social media, try to engage with as many people as possible on a daily basis, preferably. This entails:
  •       Sharing and retweeting
  •       Asking and answering questions
  •       Taking part in conversations
  •       Liking and +1’s

The more you engage with other users, the more they will engage with you in return. This in turn will lead to more fans and followers, more shares and retweets and a bigger reach.
You can also ‘mention’ people on most major social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.). Whenever you mention someone in one of your updates, they will be notified so there is a much bigger chance that they will see the updates. Try to use this feature whenever possible to attract people into having conversations with you and sharing your updates.

Are you using social media for your small business? What results are you seeing? Please let us know in your comments!