Social networking platforms build buzz, boost business and serve small businesses as low-cost/no-cost marketing tools. Small business owners need certainly to understand how these tools strategically serve and support small business first so they really best implement social networking strategies to market products and/or services.
Social Media, to put it simply, serves users and organizations in marketing in three ways:
Marketing is focused on building relationships — relationships focus on 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 making use of their current and prospective customers.
Content in the form 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, like and trust factors that influence decision making. Content is no longer just text. Small businesses may use audio or visual content for a “show me” and “tell me” to produce communications a group more interactive punch.
Social media’s direct communication distinction serves and supports small business as it brings the people you wish to attract directly to you buy 10k Instagram followers for $15 and makes direct communication possible. Social Media makes communication a discussion so small business owners can share, receive feedback and connect on equal ground making use of their target markets.
When small businesses empower their target consumers, they think 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 networking prosumers, it’s people (not companies) who make, shape, or break purchase patterns.
Small businesses can ignite collaboration for marketing by creating their own communities and/or joining communities. In so doing, they could listen and connect to their target customers and build a 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 networking works as an advertising tool because people are more likely to trust peers rather than companies.
The energy of mass collaboration serves and supports small business owners in a distinct way. Tapping/creating valuable collaborative options will bring people together to talk about 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 an advertising tool is easy — because it’s fun. People want to go where they think they belong, have a voice, are paid attention to, and enjoy themselves. Small business owners must be where their target markets are — and today, 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? These were an ideal exemplory instance of social networking marketing in brilliant action. Videos were relevant because they showed the merchandise, were entertaining (they blended an iPhone!), and they were viral! People could easily share the fun with friends because of the simple social networking sharing widgets.
You can’t put a buck amount on free promotion. Just how social networking stores data as an “Interactive Rolodex” also has an amusement factor. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming the “new databases” as 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 is fun.
Small business owners use social media’s entertainment factor to create their online database of contacts and connections, be visible to prospective customers, and get the term out in creative ways like YouTube videos, blog posts, images, podcasts to produce 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 networking marketing serves users for communication, collaboration, and entertainment could be the first step to considering how exactly to strategically implement the great number of social networking marketing tools and choose those that work best for the unique organization.
The important thing thing that small businesses need to consider when working with social networking to greatly help sell is that efforts should have value. There has to be value to your content, community, and execution to obtain people to interact with you or your organization. Social networking doesn’t sell things — people sell things. Participating in social networking marketing starts the relationship-building process. Start small and snowball. Social networking takes understanding, passion, effort, and commitment to produce it work. Give your small business a geniune voice with social networking and commit to providing value and you will undoubtedly be off to an intelligent start.