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Social Media Week 2013 has officially wrapped up here in Chicago and I'm happy to say I survived, barely!! It's these conferences and idea sharing sessions that inspire me and get me re-invigorated. I met some wonderful people and I have to say that these people are not just colleagues, but friends! As I reflect back on the week, I wanted to share some statistics...
As 2013 approaches, the American small business faces as many challenges as it ever has. Finding the right people, getting fair prices, collecting payments, accessing potential customers, keeping up with demand, finding ways to grow, accessing necessary capital, and affording marketing are all issues that business owners may lose sleep over. However hard it is out there, having a little help can make a big difference! That’s what Socialty is here for. At Socialty we can help you with customer access, leading to new growth, new revenue, and new success! By leveraging social media and letting Socialty help you to manage your company’s online marketing, you can relieve your stress and improve your bottom line.
Perhaps you’ve already set up a Twitter account, a Facebook business page, or maybe you even started a blog. How can you really leverage your Social Media Outlets and make it work for you? How can you use these online tools to attract new customers for your business? Utilizing social media correctly often requires remembering a simple rule of thumb: simply put, your following will mostly include the people who have done business with you. So to encourage repeat business and attract new customers, Socialty can help you set up one, two, or all of the following ideas!
A popular way to leverage social media is an online promotion. Take a product or service and offer a discount to your online fans. Posting a printable 10% off coupon (with the proper maximum value and/or “limited time only” text) could be a great start! Large companies use this kind of incentive to bring customers into their stores and restaurants all the time, and it improves word-of-mouth (“sharing”) advertising from customer to those all-important friends of the customer!
Use your blog or Twitter account to combine a compelling offer with interesting content. If you own a restaurant, for example, you can get Socialty to help you write and publish a weekly message about new menu items. But you could also have an online poll asking for anonymous feedback about a new dish. Or ask followers to suggest improvements, with the best idea tied to a contest or in-store event. Then take pictures and Socialty can “tweet” them to all your online customers.
Always continue to encourage customers to sign up for an e-newsletter or e-mail offers. You can enter the new registrants into a monthly drawing for a free item or discount. Keeping a constant, steady, but unobtrusive amount of information flowing from your business to the social media communities is the key! (And it’s also Socialty’s specialty!) Once established, you want to keep the online relationship active, because whether they’re a daily customer or someone who purchased something once last year, it’s all about the potential return!
Here’s a true story from my own life: as I wrote this blog, I was about to celebrate my birthday. In the back of my mind, I was wondering where my family and I should have a fancy dinner … I logged on to Facebook, and a locally owned restaurant (where I dine infrequently) had announced a menu change. They had shared a .PDF document of their brand-new menu. I viewed it and thought “I’ll have to go back there someday” … but I just went on with my day. A few hours later, I received an e-mail from the same restaurant. It turns out I had filled out my date of birth when I signed up for e-mail offers, and of course, it was an offer for a free entrée! I called my spouse and set up the birthday dinner.
Without these two online social media efforts, would this business be earning money from my family and friends on this occasion? Probably not. It always pays to advertise, and social media can and will provide your business with more and more leads, referrals, and revenue as the years go on.
There are many different methods of using social media to attract people to your business. Contact Socialty and start strengthening your existing online presence today! We help small businesses to utilize all the social media sites and services to improve relationships with customers.
“What should I do?” It’s a natural question. What’s the best approach to use when your business is ready to take the plunge and enter one or more social media services? Socialty can guide you in the right direction, whether you’re an “old pro” or a “newbie” using the social media websites. First, consider your reasons for using social media. Is it important to you that (relatively speaking) it isn’t expensive or time consuming? Do you feel like it will be fairly easy to do? Perhaps most importantly, is your existing customer base using it? What about potential customers? Which group(s) do you want to reach out to?
Second, ask yourself to mentally (or even better, in writing) list the goals for your business relating to online presence and social media use:
- Do you want to match up against your competitors? That’s a reason for a lot of business owners that have been “left in the dust” behind more tech-savvy companies. There’s no shame in that, but perhaps it’s time to get serious about social media and let Socialty help you catch up with them.
- Perhaps you just want a way to contact existing customers. “Liking” your business page on a site such as Facebook will keep the customer informed by opening a line of communication between you and them. You can tell them about special offers and discounts, for example, and they can tell you exactly what they like or dislike about your company.
- Maybe in your case the main goal will be to promote your products or services, which in turn will increase awareness of your business. You might only need to target a small town where you’re located, or a worldwide potential audience. The best news is that social media not only lets you easily self-promote your business, but good word of mouth is readily visible from one customer to the next through online reviews, comments and discussions!
Third, it’s time to think about the costs. Better than 4 of 10 businesses choose not to budget for social media marketing. However, a majority of businesses spend something – if only a small amount of money – on leveraging social media for their business, which greatly improves the likelihood that it will result in a positive impact on the bottom line. But it need not “break the bank!” Of those businesses spending dollars, more than 1 in 4 spend less than $100. As the old saying goes, a little goes a long way! Socialty can help you stretch those dollars to get the most out of them.
That brings us to another point. Who’s going to do all the work? It isn’t backbreaking, muscle-straining labor, but social media marketing is time intensive and requires thought, planning, and good old-fashioned follow-through. Many businesses don’t employ anyone to run social media efforts, but increasingly (as the benefits become more and more obvious) owners and management are realizing why they should do so. You can try to do it yourself, and sometimes that’s a successful approach.
However, we at Socialty usually hear from our customers that the plan didn’t work out. In one way or another, whether it’s a lack of time to write and post blogs or e-mails, difficulty learning the “ins and outs” of social media systems like Facebook and Twitter, or unexpected occurrences that shift attention away from the necessary upkeep like updating pages and responding to online questions, business owners often find that it’s worth using a service that has the skills needed and that will put in the time to make it work!
The next step is to figure out which social site(s) you want Socialty to target. For many businesses, using Facebook is a great place to start. According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg the site recently surpassed one billion active users every month! It is a great site for “sowing seeds” to grow your business. Many Facebook users are more likely to buy your products or pay for your services if they choose to receive updates from you via their News Feed. You can “reap the harvest” by using Facebook to increase brand loyalty and to drive repeat business back to you! To complete the circle, promoting online social media is possible through your storefronts and/or through print, radio, television, or virtually any kind of advertising.
Another of the most popular social media services is Twitter. Unofficial estimates are that over 500 million people have Twitter accounts. You can “tweet” a message of 140 or less characters (letters, numbers, symbols) to consumers who choose to “follow” your business. Of course this can be a deceivingly easy process, with a language of its own that can take time to master. What you should write, when you should tweet (and how often) can change how successful or unsuccessful your efforts are. Socialty can help by formulating a plan customized to your business, its goals, and its customers.
Other sites you may want to utilize include YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn. Each of these can have a tremendously positive effect on your business, but each also has its own intricate features, strengths, and risks. For example, you wouldn’t want to post a video on YouTube that acts as a commercial for your business, only for a rival business or disgruntled customer to write hate-filled or obscene comments about it! Socialty can protect your online reputation and also help direct complaints to the appropriate people for resolution.
In short, Socialty is ready to help you today to reach your goals in social media marketing! If you have a plan, we can help you execute it. If you need a plan, we can help you create one.
The best approach is to let Socialty create, update, or take over your social media program. Your business will be in great hands with a professional company, you won’t have to worry anymore, and you can “Keep Social and Carry On!”
Links to the sites Referenced above:
Ninety years ago, radio broadcasting was becoming the most popular way for businesses to reach American consumers. Salesmen touted programming in a wide variety of formats and genres, from classical music to news & weather to dramatic plays, and businesses sponsored many of the popular programs during what is now called the Golden Age of Radio. The Bell Telephone Hour, The Voice of Firestone, The Planters Pickers, and Champion Spark Plug Hour are examples of how sponsorships made corporations and manufacturers into household names in the days before commercial interruptions became commonplace.
Sixty years ago, television began its ascent as a primary medium for informing, educating, entertaining, and again, advertising. Today, 60 minutes of broadcast or cable/satellite television includes about 16 minutes of commercial advertising. It’s an expensive option, but if planned and executed correctly, businesses using the TV medium can reach thousands or even millions of consumers.
Fifteen years ago, Internet marketing became a crucial part of advertising strategy. Banner images on web sites and the often-maligned pop-up ads were early methods of using the Internet to grow your business.
During the last decade, and especially in the last few years, social media has become the cutting edge for business advertising. Social media blends the technology that many consumers have at their fingertips with social interaction. Consumer-generated “buzz” – including reviews, rumors, and reactions to official news announcements – will usually result in more traffic to company web sites, and can drive sales, increase utilization of services, and expand brand recognition and loyalty.
Social media has exploded as a business promotional tool because, unlike traditional media (newspapers, radio, television, film) social media advertising is relatively inexpensive and very accessible to almost everyone.
Which brings us to SOCIALTY. We have a simple, yet elegant, mission: helping small businesses manage their social media campaigns and online reputations. Socialty creates dynamic content, manages your presence and engages users to create word of mouth buzz. We use an online approach that focuses on sites such as, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. We also create blogs and email marketing campaigns that delivers your brand directly to users via email. Socialty can help a company take its brand to social media sites, paralleling a company’s existing media outlets. The ultimate benefit in optimizing social media is keeping the fans and followers of your small business interested in your products and services, and ultimately, attracting new fans and followers, and transforming them into loyal customers.
A primary concern of most small businesses is cost; “How will this decision help or hurt my bottom line?” Socialty not only understands this, but can help guide you through the decision-making process, developing a plan that fits your needs and goals.
Let’s take a look at a couple of great examples of companies that use social media to expand their online presence, reported by MP Mueller, a blogger for The New York Times.
Mueller writes that a three-year-old luxury watch e-retailer named Melrose Jewelers rolled out its Facebook page, YouTube channel, and a blog to great success. “The company has seen a 71-percent increase in year-over-year sales (and collected more than 100,000 Facebook “likes”).” This result might be better than average for many social media ventures, but a couple of things stand out in this report.
First, the marketing director of Melrose Jewelers recognized an obvious divide between groups of its customers. Facebook is great for reaching younger, technologically inclined people. For older, more wary customers, the Facebook page and its posts and comments lent credibility to the business. Even those concerned with making a high-end purchase online can be affected by the positive discussions about the business via social media!
Second, the online jeweler also used a Facebook application it commissioned from a third-party programmer to promote some of its products. Through developing a quiz that users could take, it drove buyers toward a certain item based on answers. This kind of personal tailoring is still a huge attraction to consumers, no different than the traditional sales tactic of matching a customer to a product “just right for” that person.
Nellie Alkalp, a small business owner and blogger on Mashable.com, made a couple of points that are important to remember. Just having your social media presence established isn’t enough. In a lot of cases, stated Alkalp, “a neglected social media presence will reflect poorly on your business. It’s actually better to not have an account if you don’t have the time and resources to actively manage it and participate.”
Along the same line of thinking, Alkalp also wrote that social media isn’t free. That is to say that even if building a Facebook page or creating a YouTube video doesn’t cost your business, the time and effort to build up and then maintain it will take its toll on your resources. Whether you’re a one-woman LLC, a small chain of stores, or a large corporation, working on social media takes capable people, numerous hours per month, and in general requires planning and execution to succeed.
That’s where Socialty can help you. Whether you need to take those first steps onto the social media scene, or you possess established pages that aren’t utilized enough, we will work with you to reach your goals. By understanding your needs as a small business, developing a plan for your social media can make an insurmountable task suddenly seem less difficult. By building, then maintaining your social media presence, Socialty can make your professional life easier. The goal is to get your business to where you want it, with speed, professionalism, and flair.
Socialty Inc.’s motto is “Keep Social and Carry On!” Like the old verbiage from the British Government at the beginning of World War II, Keep Calm and Carry On, we wanted a tag line that would convey just that… We’ll keep our clients social (“Keep Social”): blogging, Tweeting, Facebook-ing, and keeping them current for search engines. Meanwhile, you can “Carry On” with making your business succeed. We will Facebook, Tweet and blog clear, concise and coherent posts for the world to view.
Over the years, the media has changed dramatically. But that doesn’t mean your business has to suffer dramatically! Get the service you need. Solve your social media problems. Maximize the ways social media can help your business. Contact Socialty today and get started!
Links to the blogs Referenced above: