*** Congratulations to Marcie Hill of The Write Design Company ***
Are you really sure that you need social media for your business? With over 800 million users on Facebook and over 175 million registered handles on Twitter (according to their web sites), this probably seems like an odd question to ask. According to technology writer, Polly S. Traylor, you may just be wasting your time. Many small business owners jump onto social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, as a way to gain new clients and create buzz about their businesses. It’s also been called a “great free marketing tool.” Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs find that it is not free at all. While you may not be doling out cash, effective social media can take hours per day, something many smaller ventures cannot afford to spend.
You should also take a good look at your customers. Though there are a combined 975 million users on Facebook and Twitter, are any of those users YOUR customers? If you run a brick and mortar hardware store, then maybe not. Make sure you understand your customers’ social media habits before investing the time or money (if you hire a social media consultant or intern).
Has your business decided to take the social media plunge? If so, make sure you have a plan going in. One of the worst things you can do is create a bunch of business profiles, post once per day for a month and then stop posting. Instead, research the best sites for your business. If you have a technology company, then Twitter may be your best bet. If you have a coaching or consulting business, try an industry forum or answer questions on LinkedIn or Yahoo answers. Also, make sure you understand your goals going in. Are you there for customer engagement and to solve any customer service problems? Do you just want to generate leads? Or are you looking for something else entirely? Putting out a survey to understand how your customers want to interact with you via social media could help.
Learn more about social media and why it may or may not be the best for your small business. Since I know that most of you are already well-versed in social media strategy, I’d like to run a short contest. After viewing the article at Business on Main and thinking about your own social media efforts, explain in 300 words or less the following:
– Why social media is or is not important to your business
– Your goal with social media, if applicable (to engage customers, reply to customer service requests, share information, get leads, etc.)
– Your #1 piece of advice to a small business owner jumping into social media for the first time
Rules of The Business on Main/Entrepreneur Resources “Do I Need Social Media?” Contest
1. Post your “Do I Need Social Media?” story in the comments section of this post and on the MSN Business on Main article page. To get to the comments section, navigate to the gray bar under the article. Click on the current number of comments to expand the section and post away.
2. Identify your post on Business on Main with the words Entrepreneur Resources.
3. The winner will be selected by Entrepreneur Resources.
4. Contest ends midnight September 30, 2011, and the winner will be posted on October 1, 2011.
5. You must be at least 18 years of age and live in the United States.
6. A valid email address must be included in both the post here on Entrepreneur Resources and in the comment section on the Business on Main article.
Note: Prizes will be awarded in the form of a $100 Amazon.com gift card and will mailed out within 4 weeks of winner notification.
Disclaimer: My blog is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. The opinions, however, are all mine. 🙂