Small business marketing tips for social media

Customer outreach is one of the single most important tasks for any small business marketer. If a company can forge a relationship with its customers, it will surely find some level of success. One of the best ways to do that is by engaging in social media marketing to raise awareness of a brand as well as to stay in touch with consumers and potential clients.

According to eWeek.com, the results of a Fall 2011 Constant Contact survey contrast mightily with its Spring 2011 counterpart. It seems that social media adoption among small businesses is experiencing a rapid rise fueled in no small part by changing attitudes toward that kind of service.

The study cited a handful of reasons that small business owners gave for social media integration. Apparently, 83 percent of respondents are attracted to social media's low cost, 67 cited its ease of use, 51 percent like that their customers regularly use those channels and 45 percent enjoyed the small time commitment social media required. Here are some possible reasons for these answers as well as ways that small businesses can take advantage of them.

Low cost
Unless there is a detailed and complicated campaign meant to be supported by a social media effort, using things like Facebook and Twitter are extremely low cost. Once there is a person on staff who can write reasonably well and is familiar with the basic principles of various online platforms, the only real cost is that person's salary and perhaps the cost of a computer.

Ease of use
There may be a steep learning curve when it comes to social media, but reaching a plateau is not very difficult. The first month or two of a campaign run using Google+ or LinkedIn may be rough, but practice makes perfect. A small business owner or staff member who immerses herself in the world of social media will quickly become acclimated to the environment and can recognize what is useful and what is not.

Customer use
Take a look at anyone on a computer and there's a good chance that he'll check Facebook or other social networking sites regularly. Like the newspaper and television before it, the internet is quickly becoming the platform of choice on which to reach the most people. Facebook and other social sites are ground zero for congregating on the internet, so marketing there makes perfect sense.

Time commitment
Most regular folks don't spend all of their waking hours on Facebook, so there's no rigid standard of quality to follow. Of course, small business marketers should be savvy and possess proper grammar and spelling skills, but for the most part using social media sites doesn't demand a highly specialized skill set.  

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