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How To Grow Your Small Business Using Social Media

How To Grow Your Small Business Using Social Media

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Have you been a small business owner researching ways to grow your business? Would you like to attract more leads to your business, or have heard about Social internet marketing, and now want to try it?
Being a small business owner you face many challenges - limited capital, minimal support staff and having too much to complete in what seems like almost no time. So, how do you expand your small business without heavy acquisition of marketing and advertising? Answer - through the use of technology. Web 2.0 will provide you with various tools and techniques that help you to generate leads and increase the exposure of your home-based business. Social media is a such tool. Here's everything you should know as a small business owner to begin increasing revenues using social media.
What is Social Media?
Social networking is a category of online media where individuals are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. For example Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, GooglePlus, and MySpace.
What's Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is employing the above mentioned platforms to arrive at a new audience of customers and create product brand awareness. By spreading word of your product from user to user, Social media strives to gain greater legitimacy to get a message because it is shared between trusted "friends."
Which Social websites Channels are most popular?
Studies show that Facebook & Twitter are most favored social media channels followed closely by YouTube and LinkedIn, GooglePlus.

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How is it that Social Media Marketing Interest me?
If you think this kind of Marketing is not for you, think again. These platforms give a large bundle of advantages to small business owners. Here are some reasons why you should consider using Social media marketing for your business.
Exposure: As a small business owner you rely largely on network marketing to channel results in your business - which, subsequently relies on your interaction with people. This is the core thought of what Social Media is! But Social media marketing offers virtually unlimited the possiblility to interact with people - numerous them! With this interesting type of marketing, your business is not limited to local leads; you can find leads coming in from the diversified geographic market!
Zero-cost: While other marketing media will be expensive, this type of marketing is pretty free, or requires negligible monetary investment. It's really a great low-cost way to get your message across.
Improved website: Being on popular social websites platforms strengthens your internet presence. The more people speak about you on Facebook or Twitter, the greater are the chances of your organization being found on relevant web searches including Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.
Direct experience of prospects: These platforms put you in touch with your customers directly. You'll have one-on-one contact with them, understand what they really want.
Go viral: Such marketing will give you the opportunity to go viral using your marketing. Think about this. You set up a video about your business on YouTube. 10 people as it, and five ones share it using their friends, who in-turn share it with 20 more people. This is known as "viral marketing," also it can be a very effective strategy to increase your lead generation.
What is a Social Media "game plan" and why wouldn't you have one?
A social media game plan is a process consisting of a few simple steps that can help you achieve your social media objectives. The social networking arena is large and you'll get lost in it if you don't play by the rules. There are plenty of competition and you have to experience a clear plan if you wish to stand out of the crowd and acquire noticed.
Your ideal Social networking game plan
A typical game plan for your business should consist of these four steps
Build your network
Propagate your presence
Keep in touch
Step 1 - make your network: The first step would be to search for and add those users in your network whom you think get into your target audience segment. When placing request to add users for your network, it is always easier to accompany such requests which has a personalized message. You can even look for and join groups that have to your line of business. For example, if you are a business selling Health drinks and also other health-related products, you could join groups where topics like nutrition, diet or health are discussed. Bring in more business provide you audience for your products you have to offer. However, while in a group, do remember to ADD VALUE. Answer questions that you will be equipped to answer, actively be involved in discussions, be subtle and do not aggressively "push" your products.
Step 2-propagate: The next phase is to announce your Social websites presence. You can do this by adding links to your social media pages on your website, e-mail signature line or newsletter, when you have one. You are around with your business-announce it!
Step 3-stay connected:Another step is to keep in touch with your fans and group members. Social internet marketing initiative is easy to begin, but requires effort to keep. And like many networking efforts, results are usually not immediate. Acquire permission from group members among others on your network to transmit e-mails. You can then e-mail relevant prepared to people on your network. The true secret here is to send RELEVANT, VALUE ADDING content-not a commercial of your products/services. If you are a health-drink selling company that's also a part of the diet and nutrition group, you can send links like '10 Best Anti-Oxidant Rich Fruits' then perhaps add a picture and some information about your products, encouraging people to call you if they're interested. This method will be better-received than just sending the prospects an e-mail flyer totally specialized in your product.
Dos and Don'ts
While social networking is all about human interaction and will not be strait-jacketed, here are some tips which will come in handy.
What you should do?
Add value to your contacts: Always increase the value of your contacts. Always! Provide them valuable information, tips and other interesting facts that they'll use. For example, Jane, a home-based company owner sells health drinks and fat loss products. So, it's wise for her to provide her audience with interesting articles on the subject of weight loss.
Be consistent in your online participation: It's not at all a one-time effort. It's about building a relationship... and relationships require time. Be consistent in your social networking communication. Have an interesting tweet/post/update a minimum of every day. In some few cases, multiple postings per day are even better-but don't forget rule#1-add value. Your content shouldn't sound like pointless ramblings or advertisements of the product/service.
Pay attention to what's being discussed: When you have joined a forum or a group, actively engage in relevant discussions. Make use of specific, professional knowledge to assist others. Contribute to add depth and dimension to some discussion.
Conversation is the vital thing: As mentioned before, social media marketing endures relationships. To build a powerful relationship with your prospects, you should engage in a conversation together. Maintain a 2-way communication between your audience. Take genuine desire for what they have to say and comply with comments or observations that are made.
Thoroughly be aware of subject you are talking about: Position yourself just as one expert on these platforms. But make certain you know what you're speaking about. Research if you aren't absolutely clear on something. Mistakes on these platforms spread quickly and damage the trustworthiness of your business.
Personalize your interaction: It's advisable to personalize your interaction along with your audience. Inquire about a celebration or occasion posted over a Wall, such as a recent trip, or "like" the trip pictures on Facebook.
Portray your individuality: The biggest advantage small business owners have over large corporations would be the fact they are much smaller and haven't lost that real-person feel. Allow your audience know the person behind the business. Make sure your interactions include a personal side!
React to your customers' grievances ASAP: Were you aware that 88% of customers say unanswered complaints on social media sites deter them from doing repeat business? And deleting customer complaints is worse! So make sure you resolve your customer's complaints on social networking platforms immediately. Although you may can't resolve them, at least respond so that they know they're being heard. Acknowledge everything.
Mention your Social media marketing presence: Advertise your profiles. Always provide links in your social media profile in your website, blog, e-mails and also print materials. For websites and blogs, it's best to add Facebook and twitter widgets that provide a live feed of what's happening on your Facebook/twitter page, immediately on your website or blog. Provide incentives or value adding information such as whitepapers or articles so that you can encourage people to follow yourself on social media sites!
Monitor & moderate: Monitor your social networking presence. Find out where your name's coming online and in what context many experts have used. A Google alert is the simplest way to do this, though there are many free tools available online to monitor your web presence. Also stay in-control of your social media pages. Read what others are putting up on your page and respond promptly.
Syndicate your Social Media content: Content creation will take time. So why not make the most of this content you have? Post your posts on all popular social networking sites and don't hesitate to re-use them. Turn your blog post into a link and set it on Facebook. Convert it into a video and increase YouTube and Facebook or turn it into a presentation and put it up on SlideShare. The aim is to get maximum exposure for the content.
What you should not do?
DON'T overtly push your products/services: Social websites is a platform
in places you build relationships, to create value. It is not an advertising venue. Your audience
will shun you if all you talk about is the items you sell. Think about it, do you talk to your family
and friends regarding the products you sell continuously? Of course not! Then don't treat your
social media marketing audience any differently.
DON'T spam your contacts with pointless updates: OK, therefore you added two new items to your line-up. While it is great to share the news, don't spam your contacts with ads. Placed a link to the new product range; monitor who is interested and share facts about a need-to-know basis.
Don't possess grammar and spelling errors inside your posts: You are a small company out to create an impact. Don't spoil it through spelling and grammatical errors. Use spelling/grammar checking tools, but never rely solely in it. Proofread your posts before putting them up online. If spelling or grammar just isn't your strong suit, have someone else proofread your projects before it goes out
DON'T neglect to respond to requests for help out with your area of expertise: A high level part of a group or forum, seize every chance to display your expertise. Don't be a wallflower-actively participate in discussions.
Do not let your profile get stale: Be sure that your profile is frequently updated so that you offer something new. One mistake many small business owners make is creating social websites profiles and then forgetting about them. Your social media marketing efforts have to be on-going to carry results.

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