Traditionally you may have secured business through more traditional methods such as in-store promotions, leaflet drops or as a result of ads in a local paper.
And, while these methods still continue to drive sales for many, quite often we come across businesses who are still overly dependent on these options. Often it’s simply because they’re wary of trying out something a little different even though their customers are now exposed to greater competition if they’ve chosen to use social networks.
The reasons we frequently hear against the use of social media include;
- Sales are fine
- We have a few big accounts and they keep us going
- We’d prefer not to in case people say unpleasant things about us
- Our customers aren’t the type to use Facebook or Twitter
- I don’t use them myself so wouldn’t know where to start
- We don’t have enough staff
When you look at the above list are these really sufficient reasons to not look for more business in new places?
What happens if those key accounts suddenly change supplier or worse, suddenly cease trading?
And if somebody is going to say something unpleasant about you or your business, you don’t need to have a presence on social networks to facilitate this – wouldn’t it be better to know what’s being said so you can act?
Social media isn’t the only place you can secure business in 2013 but with an increasing number of your existing and potential customers spending time online, they’re exposed to more choice than ever before and they talk – sharing good and bad experiences.
Why would you not like to be part of the conversation, to potentially have your customers tell others how good you are?
Customer service and research is another superb use of social media. Focus groups are fantastic and particularly appropriate for many situations but they cost, quite a lot! Asking customers for feedback can be difficult in person, we’ve all told a waiter the meal was fine while deciding we won’t be going back to the restaurant concerned, haven’t we? Talking to your customers gives you the chance to ask for real feedback, to encourage people to tell you what they want – perhaps there’s a product they’re purchasing online that you could arrange to stock for them?
You don’t have to commit your every waking moment to hanging out on Twitter or chatting to customers on Facebook, you might not even choose to use these particular networks at all. It might be that your field is more suited to networking on Linkedin or that it’s important for you to showcase your talents on Pinterest. And of course as it’s important for all of to increase our visibility on Google, you might decide to opt for getting started with a blog and a Google Plus account.
It is however increasingly important that you secure a presence for your business online and we do suggest that while it’s tempting to allow a family member who’s always on social media to handle it for you, that you as a business owner have a significant input into what’s happening. It’s your business after all and we’ve personally seen the aftermath of a well-meaning individual take on the challenge of building a fanbase online without the input of the owner!
Some of the options we can offer you as a Small Business include;
- A social media audit – we’ll review, explore your results, work on your skills, make recommendations
- An introduction to social media – we’ll take it at your pace and tailor it to suit your business
- Intermediate social media – you’ve got a presence but growth has stalled, we’ll help you move forward
- Creating a strategy – plans make things happen, we’re happy to map the way with you
- Content workshop – struggling with what to say, we’ll look at how to find what will work for you
- Integrating social media into your overall marketing strategy
- Promotional tools workshop – competitions managed correctly work, breaking rules can cost pages
- One to one or in-company training – at a time designed to suit you, not us!
Social media will continue to grow and while trends may change, if you’re in business you need to be preparing for those changes by connecting with existing and potential customers on an ongoing basis so that you can continue to grow your business.
Call Debbie at 087-2785818 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we might help you make a significant difference to your bottom line!
And, before I finish this post if you happen to work in the hospitality sector there’s a super course coming up in August tailored specifically to those of you working in hotels, bars, restaurants, B&Bs, etc. that will enable you to talk to others in your industry whilst learning how best to deal with the networks suited to you. It takes place in Dublin, Cork and Tipperary and if you’re interested give me a call to discuss.