There's no question that small businesses can benefit from a solid social media strategy.
As social channels continue to grow exponentially (from the macro perspective, ie Facebook, to the micro perspective, ie Gentlemint, there are a number of excellent social sites marketers can increasingly tap into.
Statistics released by The Realtime Report revealed exactly how large social networks truly are. With millions of users all over the world, when utilized effectively, social media can help drive traffic to your business.
According to an infographic by Go-Gulf.com, people spend approximately 22% of their time on social networking sites, as well as 20% reading content and 21% searching. Small businesses can use this to their benefit by developing a good social marketing strategy.
Here are three steps you can take as a small business owner to take advantage of opportunities the social web offers:
Build a solid group of followers. You can create social media followers by promoting your brand pages in newsletters, on your website, in boiler plates, and in advertising.
Establish a clear content direction and voice. An article by Mashable pointed out how important it is to know what you're trying to accomplish and create content that supports that goal.
Update social sites regularly. Once your followers or friends see that you are a consistent publisher of good quality content, your page views and audience will increase.
As an aside, knowing when to post can make a big difference in your results. According to a Ragan study, the best time to post to social media sites is between 1pm to 4 pm EST.
Another important point: it's vital that your posts relate to your business or area of expertise, especially if you're just starting out. Positioning yourself, or your company, as a thought leader will go a long way in making your social site "sticky."
A recent article in the Ragan Report listed forty useful updates for your business page including:
Create and stage polls that add value to the page
Highlight relevant research
Industry-related news and blog posts
Lastly, it's important to know what works for your business. Utilize tools like Google Analytics to determine what posts are most engaging for your followers, as well as which ones are not driving interest. Tools such as Hootsuite can help you easily monitor and manage your social sites.
By implementing these social media steps, you can help drive brand awareness. According to LogicPath, utilizing social media can grow a potential customer base and increase sales. In addition, your business can receive feedback from customers, giving you insight into what you are doing right, or wrong.