Here are some statistics for Facebook usages by web audience.
- Facebook has more than 400 million active users
- Approximately 50% FB users visit Facebook every day
- More than 5 billion various types of web contents are shared through Facebook
- More than 1.5 million local businesses have an active Facebook fan page
- More than 20 million people become fans of a Facebook Fan Page each day
Small businesses often struggle with marketing and find it difficult to obtain new customers, while keeping their current customers. The key to any small business success is marketing and advertising. Direct selling began with advertisements using flyers and posters and evolved into emails, websites, and electronic ads on social networking sites. Targeting the appropriate customers is the best way to anticipate and meet the needs of those customers.
Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Myspace offer small businesses the opportunity to create profiles and pages, giving them the ablity to advertise their products and services.
This social networking system has become a basis of electronic advertising for small businesses. Facebook now allows small business owners to communicate to the masses. Businesses can post what they are doing, what events are taking place, what achievements or recognitions have been received by the small business, etc… News about the business or news articles pertaining to the small business can be copied and pasted onto the business profile or added to their status. Twitter updates allow clients and potential clients to view news or achievements posted within minutes of the publication. Small businesses can create "buzz" by indirectly advertising these achievements or by posting their activities.
Social networking enables small business owners to build relationships, keep customers, and receive referrals by marketing their products and services. The benefits of creating a profile on these social networking sites which contains all pertinent information that users need in order to evaluate the small business’ are great. Business profiles can include contact information, logos, pictures of the company, products, completed work, before and after pictures, etc. Business profiles target large audiences with a single click.
Many small business owners wonder whether they need to "tweet" to stay competitive. Most know what Twitter is, but many don’t personally use it. They assume that it is a great deal of work and they are really unsure of the benefits.
You don't have to tweet!
Using Twitter actively can be work if you are interacting with it frequently. You need to market your business to make the money you want to make. The marketing channels you choose are up to you. Pick a combination of marketing tools that works for you. The key to marketing is focus. Choose the marketing avenues you want to pursue and stick with them.
Twitter is powerful so use it even if you don’t tweet.
- has up-to-date information on your industry, and possibly your target market.
- can put you in touch with information sources on topics that are relevant to your business via the links shared by those you follow.
- is a collection of the latest thoughts by hundreds or thousands of people in similar industries, whom you can follow and learn from.
- is a goldmine of news which you can use or share in your own communications.
How to start:
- Set up a Twitter account. This will allow you to fully access all the features of the service. Decide whether you want to set the account up under your name or your business name. This needs to be thought through. If you set the Twitter account up using your business name and get followers but have few or no tweets, you might look silly if a prospect looked you up.
- Each week run your business’ keywords through the Twitter search to see what comes up. Click through to the sites that have been shared and save the page links for content you found useful.
- Find interesting people and browse their recent tweets. Follow those who post interesting tweets and then their tweets will come to your Twitter home page.
- Identify your competitors and gather ideas about what they are doing that appears to be working. Also take note of the things they are doing that isn't working. What are they tweeting? Do they have any followers? Are they following lots of people or businesses? Consider sending them a message asking them how Twitter is working for them.
- Check to see if your customers are active on Twitter, and follow them.
Put Twitter tweets on automatic pilot.
- Given the connectivity tools that exist today, if you blog you can tweet, because the blog becomes the tweet without you having to think about it. (The same is true for posting to a Facebook Company page, or your LinkedIn profile.)
- Choose a service that automates cross-posting of blog entries (www.tweetdeck is one example, but there are many.)
Twitter is useful, even if you use it solely as a research tool It allows very targeted research that is up to date.
Social marketing is a must today. I am by no means a social media expert, but a recent survey has shown that more than 60% of top global companies are using some type of social media marketing methods – using social media websites like MySpace, Facebook and Youtube to promote business. Information-sharing through things such as text, images, blogs (both audio and video), RSS, wikis and podcasts as well. social media marketing is the best word-of-mouth promotion you can have for your business. If top global companies are using social media marketing methods, these social media sites must offer a benefit. I believe that small business can benefit from social media marketing as well.
Here are some tips I've found:
- By adding different kinds of social media tools in your article pages like bookmarking links, you will allow visitors to bookmark their favorite portions of the website. This will enable people who have a genuine interest to come back again and again.
- Another tool to inform your visitors of changes that you make in your website is to add a RSS feed. This will allow people to know whenever you make changes in your article.
- Become a part of Facebook – one of the most popular social networking websites. Create a page in your name and connect with people of similar background and interests. In your profile, there will be a section on yourself. Write a bit about yourself and add a link to your website to drive traffic there. One major thing that you should remember while marketing in Facebook or any other social networking site is never to use a strong advertisement pitch. Use this website as a gateway to your main website.
- Create interesting videos relevant to your business. Don't create advertisements, just add links to your website before and after your video presentation.
- Also, you can create podcasts telling about your company. Podcasts can be more marketing-oriented than videos. Another thing you might consider is sharing photos of your products in websites like Photobucket. This works especially well for businesses like restaurants or hair salons. Remember to add links to your website.
- Create a blog including interesting articles that are related to your business. Update it regularly and allow people to e-mail the article to others by adding that sharing tool in the page.
- Finally, remember that with social media marketing, you may get hecklers. You can include negative comments in your blogs and websites, bt don’t forget to delete those that are too aggressive or offensive!