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How Small Businesses use Social Media to Get Ahead

October 5, 2012

New customers are the lifeblood of every small business, so how can you get more?

Small firms have to do everything they can to keep their current customers happy, while also attracting new clients along the way. Existing customers keep your business stable, but new customers help grow your business.

Getting new customers, however, can be a tricky and costly endeavor. Direct mail campaigns and trade shows are expensive and don’t always generate the quality new leads your business needs.

As a result, many small businesses are turning to the Internet to market themselves. Why? For starters, it’s cheaper. This year the average cost to acquire a new lead through inbound marketing (i.e. using the Internet) is $135, compared to $346 for outbound marketing (telemarketing, TV and radio, direct mail, etc.).*

Inbound marketing can also be more effective than traditional marketing channels because you have the ability to target your ideal customers. You also have a larger pool of potential customers compared to the limited reach of a direct mail campaign or trade show.

If you use social media effectively, you’re creating an opportunity for customers to find your business while searching for a particular product or service and that translates into warm leads for you.

Here’s a couple ways you could get started:

Create a page for your business on Facebook. Many businesses regard Facebook as important as Google in their marketing plans. With 900 million users it’s hard to argue that Facebook doesn’t have a place for small businesses. By creating a Facebook page for your business and getting “likes” from friends, family and current customers you expand your exposure to their networks where like minded individuals with similar needs can become future customers. Businesses with over 1,000 Facebook fans are proven to generate more leads than those with less than 1,000 of followers.*

Tweet about it. Twitter isn’t just for Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, it could be for your business too. Keep potential customers up to date on new products or share relevant news to keep your followers engaged. Followers interested in your service have the potential to convert to leads down the road. Similar to Facebook, your posts can be retweeted by followers expanding your reach into their networks. The key here is to engage in conversation about topics that interest your customers, too much selling and you’re not doing it right.

Start a blog. There are many good reasons to start a blog including the SEO benefits. But, it also gives your business a personality. A blog allows you to talk directly to your customers, telling them not only what you do, but how you do it. It also provides a forum for customers to comment and provide feedback creating a two way conversation. It’s a great way of building trust and brand loyalty with your customers.

Whether you choose one of these methods or start on another platform better suited to your products, it’s important that you keep at it. People relate to engaging brands. If you’re not tweeting, posting or blogging a few times a week your audience will lose interest and move away. Keep up to date with your social efforts and you’ll have the chance to turn your followers into new customers.

*Source: The Inbound Marketing Explosion

  • Carolyn Donders

    Simple tips but very powerful. These are some of the most effective strategies in social media, even though there are probably many more all over the world. In any case, whatever you choose to use for marketing it is important to be able to understand that tool and get a good idea of how to effectively use it.