In the world of small business owners, reaching out to as many consumers as possible is not only smart, it oftentimes proves a necessity.
Unlike larger companies who oftentimes have a marketing and social outreach machine in place, the smaller businesses are not so fortunate. While that does not mean the smaller guys can’t hit their proposed marketing initiatives, it means more time and effort is often required.
So, as a small business man or woman, what are you doing in 2016 and planning to do beyond to reach as many consumers as humanly possible?
Network is the Key
Start by looking at how much or how little networking you are presently doing.
This of course means not only through marketing efforts (email, flyers, mobile marketing, attending conferences and trade shows etc.), but also via social networking on some of the best-known and most productive social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, even YouTube).
To break it all down, consider the following:
- Changing dynamics – The business world has become a much more mobile place, especially in just the last few years. Both potential customers who may be looking to do business with you and those providers you need goods and services from throughout your time as a small business owner have spent a sizable amount of time and will continue to on the web. Whether you are trying to reach consumers to buy your products and/or services or you are in need office supplies, new technology for your workspace, perhaps even to see how much you qualify for in a small business loan, the old-fashioned days of sending off a letter and/or using the telephone have been passed over and then some with all the mobile gadgetry, including social media. Now this doesn’t mean your small business can’t and won’t still do some business by phone, but use those social connections for expediency and oftentimes better results;
- Be consistent – Just as you have to stay on top of your company’s financials in order to stay in the black or at least break even, you also need that time and effort with social media. A little tweeting or sharing here and there simply won’t produce the desired results, so go into it full-force. If you do not have the time and/or social networking skills to do it yourself, have one or more employees (you may even consider hiring someone just for social media outreach) handle the tasks. While your brand should not be spread too thin across multiple social channels, it is fine to be on several simultaneously. If you’re on Facebook, this is a good site to run consumer and company polls and even offer contests to the buying public, especially those new customers you are looking to gain. If you’re on Twitter, it’s a great venue to retweet stories of interest to consumers. Given you are the consumer in fact at times ordering and purchasing products and services for your small business, use Twitter to read about trends in your industry, the financial sector (whether you are in need of small business funds etc.), or to read about social media. You may be surprised to see the leaps and bounds social media has taken in recent years. Remember, there were many business “experts” who felt that social media was just a fad and would disappear within a few years. Safe to say, that has not been the case;
- All or nothing – There are some small business owners who take an approach to all that they do that it somehow must be all or nothing. When it comes to social media and doing what is best for your company, don’t take that direction. While you do need to be consistent in your social media endeavors, always remember that social media is but one component of the overall marketing effort. With the New Year not all that old, sit down and review (assuming you’ve been in business for a year or more) what worked a year ago this time and what was maybe not your best marketing and social outreach initiatives. You can learn a ton from just where your brand was in early 2015 to today.
More than likely, social media has and will continue to play a major role in making your small business stand out from the crowd.
Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com
About the Author: Dave Thomas covers marketing and business topics on the web.