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Social Media for Small Business

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Social media platforms have become a hub for not just social interactions, but also for business promotions and visibility. Social media provides numerous advantages and benefits to companies. Not only are you able to engage directly with your target audience, but you can also establish a presence for your business. This is especially important for small businesses as they need a way to stand out and compete with better developed, as well as better funded companies on the market.

However, social media isn't as simple as it may seem from the business point of view. Simply creating a page on Facebook or opening a Twitter account isn't enough to help you reach success. In fact, you have to know how to work social media platforms, in order to drive business goals. That being said, should you try to manage social media for your small business on your own or leave it to professionals? Here are a few things you should know before you decide.

You need a goal-driven strategy

As mentioned before, simply having a page or a profile on social media isn't enough to drive business goals.  You need a goal-oriented social media strategy, in order to utilize those platforms to their fullest potential. For example, why do you need a social media presence in the first place? To build awareness, visibility, engage with customers? Why are you on Facebook? Is your audience there or did you assume it's the right place to be present on?

In other words, you can't aimlessly build a presence on social media with no clear purpose in mind. You have to set goals and determine how social media can help. Not only that, but social media is about your target audience. That means that your efforts must be in accordance with their preferences, otherwise, you'll lose relevance. Ask yourself if you have the time and knowledge to accomplish this on your own. If not, then better get some help.

A well-placed marketing strategy

Many small businesses are ecommerce stores. Social media is a great gateway to promote your products directly to your target audience and generate leads you can later convert into customers. However, you simply cannot be pushy about your promotions. Instead, you need a well-designed marketing strategy that will span various marketing channels, including social media.

To put things into a perspective, you can't tell your audience "Hey everybody, here's a product of mine, so why don't you folks start buying it so that we can get all of this out of the way". That simply won't do. Promoting products to your audience includes building awareness, showcasing product features and portraying its value, seamlessly including a call to action and nurturing leads back to your website or landing page to seal the deal. If you can design specific pages the same way a Shopify developer would, for example, then by all means, go ahead. If not, you better consult with one first.

Ensuring consistency

The primary focus on social media is establishing a relationship with your target audience. That includes regular conversations, sharing relevant content, responding to feedback and ensuring audience engagement, among other things. Now, consistency is key for maintaining a relationship with your audience. If you neglect them or delay responding to their comments, you'll simply cause an outrage. Reputation is a fragile thing in the online world and even a single misstep can shatter your reputation to ruins.

If you don't have time to commit to responding to your audience feedback and to maintaining your relationship with them, you should strongly consider hiring someone who can. Otherwise, you risk not only losing your reputation but also losing your potential, current and future customers as well. The main reason is that by angering your audience, you'll cause an avalanche of negative press. That will make other consumers avoid your business as if it was infected by the plague.

Providing value to your audience

Social media interactions are about socializing. Businesses, even small ones, must engage with their customers, in order to ensure their attention. Simply put, you need to give something in order to get something in return. That's where content comes into play. One of the best and most common ways businesses provide value to customers is by presenting them with quality and relevant content. Consumers on social media prefer to consume good content and engage in discussions regarding relevant topics or news.

Therefore, you must provide your audience with content that's informational, educational and entertaining. Otherwise, your content will be meaningless. The matter at hand is whether you have the means and the skills to research what resonates well with your audience. Can you create content that's engaging and interesting enough to encourage your audience to like it and share it with others? Can you promote content that will go viral on regular basis? If not, you'll most likely need some help in doing so.

As beneficial as social media platforms are, they aren't easy to manage by a long shot. Many small businesses engage in social media marketing because they believe they'll have a handle on things. However, even a simple mistake can cost you more than you've imagined. Therefore, consider if you can do it on your own or you need help. That way, you'll ensure that you actually have a successful social media campaign.

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