Social networking platforms build buzz, boost business and serve small businesses as low-cost/no-cost marketing tools. Small business owners have to know the way these tools strategically serve and support business first so they best implement social media marketing strategies to market products and/or services.
Social Media, in other words, serves users and organizations in marketing in three ways:
Marketing is about building relationships — relationships begin with communication. New web tools like blogging, micro-blogging (Twitter), social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning), podcasting (BlogTalkRadio), video distribution (YouTube), event coordination tools (Meetup), wikis (Wikipedia) photo sharing (Flickr, Photobucket), and product review sites (epinions.com) allow small businesses to communicate, educate and share information directly with their current and prospective customers.
Content in the shape of blog posts, audio, video, comparison/review sites, tweets and social network messages help share information in a less-formal way that builds the know SMM provider, like and trust factors that influence decision making. Content is no further just text. Small businesses can use audio or visual content for a “show me” and “tell me” to make communications a group more interactive punch.
Social media’s direct communication distinction serves and supports business as it brings the people you wish to attract directly to you and makes direct communication possible. Social Media makes communication a discussion so business owners can share, receive feedback and connect on equal ground with their target markets.
When small businesses empower their target consumers, they feel powerful. Whenever your target market feels powerful, it trusts you, buys from you, and stays with you. Social networking collaboration transforms consumers into “prosumers” ;.In a period of social media marketing prosumers, it’s people (not companies) who make, shape, or break purchase patterns.
Small businesses can ignite collaboration for marketing by creating their very own communities and/or joining communities. By doing so, they are able to listen and connect for their target customers and build a totally free forum to create their market together. Collaboration = Marketing Acceleration.
Social networking collaboration tools like review sites, video sharing sites, blogs, wikis and more allow users to self-serve, collaborate, and potentially serve as an endorser for the small business. Social media works as a marketing tool because individuals are more likely to trust peers as opposed to companies.
The power of mass collaboration serves and supports business owners in a distinct way. Tapping/creating valuable collaborative options may bring people together to share ideas, exchange information, and help each other — and support relationship growth. Removing the “company/client” disconnect can break down elitism and boost marketing mind power.
The most important reason that social networking works as a marketing tool is straightforward — because it’s fun. People wish to go where they feel they belong, have a voice, are paid attention to, and enjoy themselves. Small business owners have to be where their target markets are — and these days, the masses are on Facebook, Ning, Twitter, Linkedin, Photobucket, YouTube and more because it’s entertainment value.
Remember the Will It Blend? campaigns by Blendtec? They certainly were a great example of social media marketing marketing in brilliant action. Videos were relevant as they showed the merchandise, were entertaining (they blended an iPhone!), and they certainly were viral! People could easily share the fun with friends due to the easy social media marketing sharing widgets.
You can’t put a buck amount on free promotion. The way social media marketing stores data as an “Interactive Rolodex” also offers an entertainment factor. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming the “new databases” since they are fast, easy, and fun. People are more likely to update their Facebook and LinkedIn information when compared to a sterile address book because it’s fun.
Small business owners use social media’s entertainment factor to build their online database of contacts and connections, be visible to prospective customers, and get the word out in creative ways like YouTube videos, blog posts, images, podcasts to make people smile and spread the word.
How Social Networking Helps Small Businesses Sell
Social Media Marketing helps most small businesses boost sales indirectly by increasing relationships. Understanding that social media marketing marketing serves users for communication, collaboration, and entertainment may be the first step to considering how to strategically implement the multitude of social media marketing marketing tools and choose those that work best for the unique organization.
The important thing thing that small businesses need to consider when utilizing social media marketing to greatly help sell is that efforts should have value. There’s to be value to your content, community, and execution to get people to engage with you or your organization. Social media doesn’t sell things — people sell things. Engaging in social media marketing marketing starts the relationship-building process. Start small and snowball. Social media takes understanding, passion, effort, and commitment to make it work. Give your business an authentic voice with social media marketing and commit to providing value and you is likely to be off to a smart start.