According to Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics (Wiley, 2009), there are at least two reasons why social media is good for small businesses. First, as small businesses often have no budget to create their own websites, setting up accounts and fan pages on social networking sites (SNS) is a quicker, more practical way to reach potential clients. In a few minutes, without a centavo spent, you can already sell your goods online and promote your company without having to set up a website. Also, as SNS stick to templates, there’s not much room for customization. This means “it comes down to the product you’re selling versus the glitz and flash of your website.”
[related|post]Second, people are increasingly putting their trust on peers and family and less on traditional advertising for must-buy products and must-try services. And yes, a very good way to reach family and friends is through social media. However, online social networks are not the magic pill that could magically deliver sales. Qualman shares 10 things you must remember when using SNS for your business:
1. Don’t attempt to please everybody. Your business either deals with another business (business-to-business, or B2B), or serves consumers directly (B2C). You must therefore have a deep understanding of what your market wants, to help you streamline your online and offline efforts. Design your SNS strategy around what will ultimately benefit your clients and highlight your strengths as a company.
2. Be searchable. SNS are slowly replacing search engines as a tool for queries. Be on top of the search results list by putting your company name in the URL, in the headers of fan pages or groups. Make sure that your brand is listed in the right category. All your promos and posts must have relevant keywords for easy recognition among your followers.
3. Let customers know you have a fan page. If you have your own website, it must include links to your SNS accounts. You can use an interactive logo of the social media site on your “About Us” page, and on every shareable content uploaded on your website.