It seems a little pointless, but it has to be said: social media is nothing short of a revolution when it comes to marketing. Over 60% of adults worldwide use social media and many marketers have reported a noted improvement in their sales in the wake of a social media campaign. It’s plain to see how utilising social media can do wonders for a business.
Amazingly, not everyone has jumped on the social media band wagon with smartphones in hand busily updating statuses and tweeting about how busy the band wagon seems to be getting these days. Small businesses seem to be getting left behind and missing out on the value of Facebook and Twitter.
Why? The answer appears to be a lack of time or not knowing how to use social media sites. Let’s face it, that’s a pretty poor excuse; when you were a child did you decide against walking because you didn’t know how to do it? No, you learnt and you learnt fast; if you didn’t you’d have quickly found yourself in a position in which your siblings or supposed friends were running off with your favourite toys while all you could do is crawl frantically in pursuit.
Don’t let your competitors run off with your customers. It’s time to learn, jump on the band wagon, join the revolution and so on; the question is: which social media site should you use? Your immediate reaction might be to think, ‘why should I choose? I’ll use both’ but the best advice for a small business owner with very little time is to pick only one platform to operate from. That’s right, just one. There’s little point in creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and every other networking site that you can find, if you haven’t got the time to give all of your profiles regular attention, keep them active, up to date and interesting. An unkempt social media site is worse than not having one at all. So which one?
Facebook is a giant in the world of social media and the advantages of marketing through Facebook are undeniable. There are an estimated 901 million monthly active users; although this estimation might be a little overzealous, it’s not far out. The opportunity to reach such an unfathomable amount of people is not something you should be passing up.
There are, on the other hand, reasons not to choose Facebook. It is, for a large portion of the online population, a purely social site. Many users aren’t interested in advertising campaigns, amazing deals or promotions; the key to using Facebook as your platform is to make your page interesting to users with how-to guides and genuinely useful tips, not just advert after advert. It’s suggested that 10% of your activity should be promotional; anymore then users will feel bombarded with advertising and leave your page.
Twitter, in relation to Facebook, is geared more towards businesses but, unfortunately, has significantly less users: there will be a projected 250 million active Twitter users by the end of 2012. Statistics have shown that approximately 40% of Twitter users regularly search for products via Twitter which is a brilliant way for you to get your products or services out there.
The decision is yours; take a look at both sites and see which one takes your fancy! No matter which site you pick, be sure to remember these two crucial guidelines:
- Make your page attractive to users: give tips, post interesting industry related videos, post a weekly blog and make it witty and humorous. Anything! Just don’t post reams of advertising; would you read a page if it was just adverts?
- Don’t expect your sales to go through the roof a week after you’ve created an account. Social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint; it’s all about building a relationship with your consumers not making hard sales. Don’t forgo your existing marketing techniques; use social media to enhance them, not replace them.
So, all you small business owners out there pick your platform and get your business noticed!
Written by Jennifer Griffiths on behalf of Creare; a leading SEO company that works with you to improve your business ranking by using various techniques from social media to article marketing.