Social media makes small businesses look bigger. It enables you to reach more customers quickly and in a different way than has ever been possible before. Social networking has worldwide reach. If we can say nothing else about social media, we can say that its impact is global. Social Media is also the cheapest most powerful kind of marketing today for your business.
Social media is not the end-all, be-all of your business. It's not the magic bullet that will allow you to take a struggling business to the height of success simply by claiming your Twitter account. But what social media can do is make you a better company by allowing you to listen, react and build faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Here are some reasons why you should have a social network:
You can start a dialogue with your clients and partners from your own website, establishing your own community with your own brand name. Perhaps people can come to chat with representatives of your business through office hours.
Engaging in social media and blogging on a steady basis helps achieve constant visibility with your audience. By participating in conversations, sharing daily food for thought, and making yourself and your brand part of their day, you stay at the top of your potential clients mind.
Build a community:
By making yourself available, reaching out to customers and sharing information, you strengthen your community. You form new connections, allow community members to meet one another, and create a deeper dialogue by increasing the number of voices.
Decrease time to conversion:
Do you know what happens when someone from social media lands on your site to make a purchase? They do it faster. They need less convincing, less hand-holding and less actual talking to you. They feel that way because they already know you. They read your blog, follow you on Twitter, get your deals via Facebook. You're not a stranger. You're their friend — someone they trust and feel comfortable doing business with.
Highlight your product:
Social media offers an additional avenue to show off and talk about your product in a friendly and informal way. You get to highlight what you offer and what makes you awesome in normal conversation without coming across "salesy" or too promotional. You also have the opportunity to answer questions, show features and offer "how-to's" to help people get to know you a little better.
Find new projects & clients:
Every week my company, Outspoken Media, receives new client referrals and leads as a result of our social media presence. People contact us for services or to partner on something because they like what we're doing on Twitter or because they read one of our blog posts and it resonated with them. When you make yourself part of the conversation, you make your brand part of the story...and people notice.
Hang with other influencers:
They say we are the company we keep, right? Well, social media lets you be friends with the people your customers most look up to, helping to increase your own authoritativeness by association. You look smarter when you talk to smart people.
Tell your company's story:
What has social media shown us? That people like to conduct business with companies they know. We like being introduced to the voices behind the logo because it helps us to feel a part of the company and invested in their success. By telling your company's story and sharing that with users, you create a personal feeling and make people invested in your success.
Be a mentor:
You're not the only one using social media to network and meet people. So are others. And sometimes, you're the person they're trying to meet and the person they're learning from.
Develop better ideas:
Armed with blogs, forums and social discussions you'll be able to try and get feedback on ideas before you spend any time developing them. You'll see what works, what people hate and what they want more of, so you can produce more of what interests them and less of what puts them to sleep.
Through Twitter or Facebook, I can have a conversation with Chris Brogan, Anita Campbell, Erika Napoletano and Jonathan Fields all before lunch. You can't buy that type of access. Luckily, through social media, you don't have to.
An offshoot of that "networking faster" thing is being able to find future partners, mentors or just really cool people to share resources with. Through social media and the world of blogging, I was able to meet someone I eventually started a business with and countless others I've collaborated with on other projects. I've also met mentors and friends who have shaped my career and my business.