It is now estimated that over 10% of UK internet traffic is to social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. For many small businesses the whole idea of social media is ‘alien’ and very few have any idea how to use it for benefit and profit. And maybe it’s a bad idea anyway…
Swanage, Dorset, UK, March 24, 2009 - At their core, the power of social media is the ability to create groups of 'friends' with your family, friends, clients and peers and share ideas and information. For personal use there's a clear benefit to the user. You can keep in contact with an aunty in Australia, find old school friends, share pictures and stories. But what about for business? How can you REALLY use social media to generate clients and profit?
"First of all a warning. Using social media for business means you become visible, very visible. That's great if you have absolute control over what you share and who sees it. But can be very dangerous if you don't. Once something is 'published' via a social network or indeed on the internet in general, it is there to stay. Removing it can be almost impossible. Poor information, customer complaints and dissatisfaction spread very fast," says Henry Baker, Dorset based marketing expert.
Having said, Henry asserts there are 3 clear ways social media can benefit small businesses:
1. Keeping in regular contact with clients. e.g. set up a Facebook group for clients, invite them to join, share questions, client testimonials and offers etc. Regular, valuable communication with client is proven to increase satisfaction and repeat spend.
2. To create a 'viral' marketing campaign. Again, with Facebook the idea is simple. You may post something for your clients and in turn their whole network will see what you post. They may see something of interest, join your group and become a client.
3. You can use social media to 'mobilise' huge groups of people and move them and their interest to specific things. e.g. IF you had a Facebook group for business and were running a physical event, you could use Facebook to drive part of the registration for that event.
And there are other useful applications too.
But, these types of MEDIA (and that is all they are - like newspapers, magazines etc) are NOT a replacement for sound marketing systems dedicated to attracting the best, highest spending clients. They are just another 'tool in your kit box'.
The rules are also a bit different. Social marketing is all about value for free. You must ADD value to your audience. And keep in mind social media is called 'Social' media for a reason. It is for SOCIAL interaction - building friends, acquaintances and relationships. Doing so will stand you in good stead, relentless sales messages will always fail...
Mr.Baker is available for interview, articles and the right speaking engagements and can be contacted on +441929 427744. Mr. Baker has over 10 years of sales and marketing experience with some of the World's leading corporate sales organizations, as an entrepreneur, business owner, real estate investor and internationally respected trainer and educator. He has directly helped over 900 small business owners grow their businesses and tens of thousands more via his business growth tips and secrets.