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What Social Media Can Do for Your Small Business

Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Tumblr, YouTube and Pinterest. We’re constantly being asked everyday to tweet, like, share, pin or reblog something for someone.

We see a kid on the news – not much older than your neighbor’s son, sell his “app” to Yahoo for $30 million. Everyone is on the social media band wagon but what does this really mean for your small business?

Now some of you may be thinking, I make most of my money offline not on the web and besides – just posting to one of these platforms can eat up valuable time so why bother? Two words – “visibility” and “reach”.

Did you know that 9 out of 10 people in the entire United States are on Facebook, that Twitter adds a million users each day and LinkedIn adds 2 new profiles every second?

This is a group of people, that as a business you just simply can’t afford to ignore anymore.

Social media is a fast, simple, inexpensive way to reach large numbers of potential prospects and a great way to keep in touch with existing customers.

You can’t beat it on price and if you can get your clients talking about you on the web – it’s as good as gold.

Now some of you may already know the value of building a good referral network. It can be the lifeline of your business. But your referral network most likely is bound by geography and you only have so much time in the day to meet new prospects in person. Plus we all know that you rarely close a sale or get a new client the first time you meet them – you have to nurture a potential lead.

This is where social media comes in. Social media allows you to nurture those relationships exponentially. It helps to keep you “top of mind” with your prospects and existing clients. That is why it is important to post content on your social media platforms strategically and consistently for your business.

Don’t forget that your current clients are just as important as prospects because typically the best referrals come from someone else. That is why a “tweet” or “like” or a “repin” is so valuable because it’s essentially an unsolicited endorsement of your product or service (aka viral marketing). Those followers are willing to show your work to their followers or friends and family. It’s free advertising and performs double duty.

It increases your reach beyond your local network because the internet spans the globe and it increases your visibility because your followers choose to follow you and when they share your social media content you are being introduced to a select and targeted group of prospects.

Why is this so important? Because the person who chooses to follow you most likely fits your ideal client profile in some way and most likely a certain segment of their friends/followers will have similar needs and tastes – which can generate viable leads.

Look at it this way – social media is like a virtual “power lunch”. Just look at the success of Angie’s List, Yelp and Foursquare. These are three successful review/social media platforms that focus on local and small businesses.

Ultimately, what you are trying to do is enter your prospects into your sales funnel leading them to your website or blog. This is where you want to build and maintain your relationship with them, provide them with even more great content (that’s related to your business) and at some point tell them about your products or services.

Conclusion
There are so many ways you can approach building and maintaining your relationship with your customers and prospects, once you get them to your site and that is a much broader topic that I won’t go into detail in this post.

Just remember. . .if you use social media strategically and consistently and make it a part of your overall marketing plan – you will get results.

Question?: How do you use social media in your small business, share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.

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