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Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ have become the new avatars for business development medium. With each of these platforms having almost 100+ million users, businesses can choose to ignore social media at their own peril. It has become indispensible for businesses to be present on these social networks to connect with existing customers. What’s more, social media has turned out to be a goldmine to acquire new customers. Before we move on to discussing how to use these platforms for small business development, consider these mind-boggling statistics.
- 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
- Facebook has close to 1.9 billion users
- Twitter has a user-base of 560 million
- LinkedIn boasts of 240 million users
- Google+ is home to 400 million users
Know your audience
Prior to building up your social presence, do some legwork and find out who your customers are, what they want and the channels they are present at. If you have a small shop, when customers come to visit it, ask them whether they use social media. If yes, which platforms they prefer. Some of them might not be using these at all.
On the other hand, if you own a web-based business, you should be having an email list. Send out emails asking customers about their social foothold. You can even conduct a survey. This will help you get considerable insights. Use Rapleaf or Flowtown to know which of your customers are present on social networks and what their likes/preferences are. You just need to have their email addresses to get the details.
Besides, Google Alerts is another great way to do market research and know how to formulate an effective social media strategy.
User Engagement is the key
Remember it’s all about THEM not YOU! Create highly targeted, interested and compelling piece of information to be displayed on social media. Also, what might work on Facebook might be a flop on Twitter. Different platforms are different animals. Each of these need to have specific strategies.
Your content must be creative and complemented with images to capture a prospect’s attention. You can even do paid promotion on these networks. For instance, if you are writing a post on Facebook, you can promote it to a given set of audience for a specific fee which is generally not too high. It gives tremendous exposure to your small business.
Using Search Options
Search boxes are great places to start finding new customers. The process is quite simple. Type in your customers’ names and you will come to know whether they are using it or not. If you don’t have names, enter keywords relating to your industry’s niche. You will also come to know about your competition. LinkedIn has a very powerful advanced search option. Similarly, Twitter has a search functionality that also lets you search for a specific geography.
Let’s say most of your customers are on Twitter. With about 340 million tweets per day, it seems near impossible to get your business noticed. However, it’s not as difficult as it seems. What you can do is set up searches for keywords relating to your business/industry using tools like TweetDeck. It helps pull tweets even if your prospects haven’t included hashtag. When conversations happen, you can monitor these and provide valuable information depending on the situation.
- Never sound as if you are desperate to make a sale happen, be genuine!
- Listen to what your customers have to say, converse with them.
- Focus on providing value by sharing meaningful content, they will come to you.
Social Media is the key for user engagement. Using the combination of these, you are sure to attract thousands of new customers to your business.