Why You Need to Make Time for Social Media

As a small business owner, you wear a million different hats and the last thing you need is another role to add on top of everything else. It’s a lot to handle; I know because I’ve been there. I know your No. 1 enemy is time – not just the time needed to run your business day to day, but also the time you need to invest into growing your company.

I’m here to say that social media marketing is a vital tool to accomplish the latter and is worth the time it takes. Here are three reasons why you need to be out in front of this rapidly growing medium:

1. To easily stay in touch with customers – really, it’s easy!
It takes just a few minutes to create a Facebook business page and a Twitter account, and ask your friends to like or follow you. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have hundreds of followers from the get-go; it takes awhile to grow an audience.

If you don’t have the time each day to think about what to post, simply sit down and create a campaign for the entire month. For instance, if you’re a travel agent and you’d like to offer up great hot-weather vacations, you can simply go to the Travel + Leisure website to see if there are articles you’d want to re-post about destinations you’re trying to book. Then head over one of the free tools that lets you schedule your posts and tweets in advance, like Roost, TweetDeck or HootSuite.

One of the advantages of Roost is that it also serves up content feeds to you depending on what industry you’re in, making it easy to find the content you need. (Full disclosure: My company, VerticalResponse, recently acquired Roost.) Then you can come up with one post for every other day, set it and forget it. Roost also lets you see and respond to replies to your posts from a single dashboard, so you can take advantage and engage your customers across all your social networks from one place.

2. To reach and get new customers
Posting this great content along with your offers will help you build credibility with your audience as well as nurture longer-term professional relationships. Focus on providing value to your network, which will keep you front of mind when they are making purchase decisions. As your audience grows, your followers will retweet your content on Twitter or “like” your posts on Facebook. Every time this happens, your name and content will be displayed to their friends and networks in their feeds. You can think of this as an implied endorsement from your customers, which could result in these new prospects taking advantage of one of your great offers.

Since most of you are probably already sending email marketing campaigns to drive business, a simple way to start integrating them with social media is by publishing the link of the hosted version of your email out to your Twitter and Facebook followers. But the really good stuff begins in the in-between times when you just want to publish simple offers and related content. Then you can have your social media campaigns going and flowing.

3. To stay up-to-date on your competition
No matter what industry you’re in, I bet many of your competitors are using social media and reaping its benefits. How do you find out? Simply follow them on Twitter and Facebook to see all of the things they’re up to. Not only will you get their latest news and happenings, you might actually get some inspiration for your own marketing and social media efforts, too. Just remember that they’ll probably be following you for similar reasons, so don’t announce anything on social media that you don’t want your competitors to know.
Are you using social media yet to grow your SMB? If you are, I’d love to hear how it’s working!
Reader’s Toolbox

www.verticalresponse.com

www.roost.com

www.facebook.com

www.twitter.com

www.tweetdeck.com

www.hootsuite.com

 

 

 

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Janine Popick

Janine Popick is the CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse (Inc. 500/5000 2006-2011), a leading provider of self-service email marketing, social media, event marketing, online surveys and direct mail solutions for small businesses. She brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment, including NBC Internet; XOOM.com; Claris Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Inc.; and Symantec Corporation.