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Did you know that in 2012, experts expect more than a billion people worldwide to have Facebook accounts? The social media wave is still rising, and it’s just going to keep getting bigger. With it comes a brand new way of doing business: social media marketing. Social media for small businesses is growing right alongside these trends, and if you aren’t part of it already, you need to be.
Social media represents a great opportunity to expand your customer base, as well as forming closer connections to your existing customers. As people come to embrace social networks, they come to rely on those networks more and more.
They consider their friends network to be a trusted source for news and recommendations, like a bridge club or poker night, except with a global reach. If you can get your business included among these trusted sources, you’ll have a direct connection to your customer base.
At the same time, the effectiveness of traditional marketing techniques is quickly waning. People are becoming immune to, and even annoyed by, the standard “push” marketing that has dominated the advertising world for so long.
One of the key aspects of the Internet is a person’s ability to pick and choose exactly what content comes to them. They don’t want messages forced on them, but they will happily allow businesses they like to send them information that’s relevant to them. These consumers seem to really understand the business-customer relationship, and with that understanding comes a desire that the relationship not be abused.
This, then, is why social media for small business makes so much sense for marketing. In a lot of ways, it’s a perfect match. A small business isn’t some cold impersonal megacorp that doesn’t care about individuals. Small businesses thrive on making a personal connection to their customers.
Further, social media is cheap. After all, the basic platforms are all free. A recent survey of small businesses by Zoomerang showed that over half of them paid less than $100 a year for their social media marketing. Yet, for that tiny investment, you can potentially expand your customer base by hundreds or thousands of people. Even if you go all the way and hire a small social media marketing firm – which not every business even needs – it would still cost you less than a single additional employee.
So, if you’re ready to embrace social media for small business, here are some tips to get you started:
In short, the key to this brand new way of doing business is to sell yourself so that you can sell your products. With social media, you have to make people like you. It’s a strange way of doing business compared to years before, but it’s a new marketing world, and one that’s full of potential for promising small businesses.