There’s no question that social media has exploded over the last few years. It has exploded through the use of tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. It’s more than individuals using these tools for personal use, as more businesses are joining the social media explosion on a daily basis. The big businesses aren’t the only ones jumping in, small businesses have also discovered how social media can grow their businesses too.
photo credit: ToGa Wanderings
Smashburger, the hamburger chain, is just one example of a small business using social media and growing, as a result. In 2007, Smashburger had just three stores in Denver. Since then, they have grown to over 150 restaurants across the nation. While the burgers are good, they have used social media as their secret sauce, according the USA Today. They offered coupons they offered interview contests to their 69,000 Facebook followers. They take the time to reply to any questions and complaints on both their Facebook page and through twitter. They also reached out to bloggers who might want to review new Smashburgers opening in their town. Social media allowed Smashburger to connect with their customers in a way that other outlets couldn’t.
This is the same for your small business. You can use social media to stay in contact you’re your current customers and connect with new ones. Let’s take a look at a few different social media tools popular with businesses.
Facebook has historically been known as a personal tool to connect with friends, and family, and to look up that long lost high-school friend. But, within the last few years, Facebook has started to offer the Business Fanpage. This Business Fanpage allows any Business to set up a page and connect with their “fans” or customers. It’s essentially the same as a personal page. You will be able to make posts, tell your fans what is new with the company, answer questions or respond to complaints. You will also be able to post pictures of any new products that you are selling. There is some customization allowed with Business FanPages, so you can create unique landing screens. For example, if you have a sale, you might post a flyer of your sale and information on the landing page. Users can easily click from there back to the wall, but it gets you out in front of customers.
Twitter is another social media tool that you can use for your small business. It’s easy to set up an account and start “tweeting”. It may take a little bit to build up your follower list, but as you tweet more, and your tweets get retweeted, your follower base will grow. It’s important to be consistent with your tweets. You want to make sure that you don’t tweet once every three or four weeks. Your followers started following you because they want to connect with you and see what’s going on. They want to see something constant – a few tweets a day is fine. Also, make sure you respond to the people who tweeted you. This is a connection that you want to make and show them that you value their time and thoughts. Another value of Twitter is to monitor the stream of tweets containing certain keywords or hashtags. This allows you to listen and get a feel for what your current or potential market or your competition is saying
Google+ is one of the newest member of the social media party. They are a cross between FaceBook and Twitter. You can connect with individuals and put them in your defined circles. These circles can be defined as “customers”, “retailers”, “business partners”, etc. Then when you post a new, updated status, you can choose which circle you want it to go to.
Social media is a must for any small business owner. It’s easy to get started, so pick one of these to start your social media journey and begin connecting with your customers in this new way.