Small businesses can be reluctant to embrace social media. Others jump on the bandwagon before thinking through what they want from social media. This is completely understandable; using social media effectively for your business requires time and knowledge. Social media can seem overwhelming and a small business could be forgiven for thinking that they can get by without it and that the fuss surrounding social media might blow over.
However, social media is here to stay in one form or another. One certainty is that nothing will stay the same for long in the world of social media. Like everything in the world of digital media, it is constantly evolving and businesses need to keep abreast of the changes.
Gone are the days when customers were just passive receptors of the information companies feed them whether it be via advertising or direct marketing. Customers increasingly want to engage with companies and to be involved in a two-way dialogue whether it be via Facebook or Twitter or another social media platform.
Although this means having to invest time and resources getting to grips with these new ways of communicating to customers, it also provides businesses with excellent opportunities including:
- An extremely cost effective alternative to advertising enabling businesses to engage with their customers in a meaningful way. This could include communicating special offers, latest developments, new products – all of which will remind the customers of your business
- Improved search engine rankings if your customers are actively engaging with your social media content (as it helps keep your site dynamic and have regular updates – something that search engines such as Google regularly look for when deciding how to rate your page)
These opportunities unfortunately come with potential pitfalls as customers can post negative comments. However, as long as businesses are prepared for these eventualities, the negative comments can be turned into positives.
For my next blog I will discuss how a small business can use social media in the most time efficient manner.