Some Thoughts on Social Media and Small Business

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One of the biggest push-backs I get from small business owners when it comes to social media is time.  They don’t have any.  And this is a real issue, because to do social media well – i.e. engage in conversations, track what customers are talking about, develop content, etc., does take time.  Sure, you can hire someone else to do it, but can a third party really engage with clients as well as someone who works at your company?

Still, social media can drive traffic to your website and drive sales leads.  It can add value.  So I’m starting to think that for small businesses, a light footprint can still be effective, as long as it’s strategic.

For example, imagine a small firm with a staff of seven salespeople.  They’ve all got smart phones, about half have Twitter accounts.  The business could open Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, follow clients, and post about content.  The salespeople, in turn, can follow the company account and their clients, retweet company posts, and engage with their clients.  I.e., the salespeople handle the engagement end, the company manager/owner/whoever handles the content creation side.

What else is strategic?

  • Defining your social media goals.  Are you going to develop relationships?  Drive leads?  How many?
  • Figuring out where your clients are online and focusing on those social platforms, rather than trying to be everywhere.  How do you know where your customers are?  Check their e-mail signatures, their websites, their business cards.  Or just ask them.
  • Following clients.  It’s the first step in engagement and social market research.
  • Measuring results.
  • I’m sure I’ve missed something – what else belongs here?
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