Social media are currently the two words on everyone business owner’s lips,this new phenomenon is a modern and effective method of communication which brings together businesses, organisations, people, news and hobbies. The latest ground breaking news can be spread across the world in seconds and businesses can go from zero to hero within a matter of weeks. If utilised to its full potential, social media can be the most effective marketing tool for small businesses with minimal effort and expenditure.
Creating Brand Awareness
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are essential for creating brand awareness. Not only does your company name get exposed, you also have space for your logo. On Facebook you have an “info” section in which you can display your company description and contact details. This is great for creating brand awareness – essentially you’re getting a free advertising space where you can promote your business, website URL and contact details.
On Twitter you can expose your brand name to thousands of different people with little effort. Twitter is all about sharing content which you find interesting. If you share something which interests your followers you can significantly increase your credibility, gain new followers and consequently, increase traffic to your website. If your Tweet gets Re-Tweeted by another user all their followers are able to see your original Tweet and username, this exposes your brand to a whole new audience. Think creative when Tweeting, if you share one great piece of information it can exponentially increase your number of followers overnight.
As a small business the key to future success is growth – without growth the business will never take off and will wind up stagnant. Obviously growth entails hiring new members of staff (or hiring off-premise live operator receptionists) who can add substantial value to your team and commit to your business. Many online recruitment companies use live feeds on social media channels to advertise new vacancies to fans and followers, although a live job feed on your profile won’t be necessary for you (unless you’ve had a sudden growth spurt) you can still use social media to source a valuable new recruit.
Many internet-savvy job seekers will use social networking to source opening vacancies in their niche. These people are likely to be enthusiastic about the position you’ve advertised if they have sourced your company website, read the vacancy and applied.
You can also check a candidate’s profile before even inviting them for an interview. Often you’ll find what their interests are and who they’re engaging with. This can be a great way to find out just how involved and experienced they are within your niche. It’s no secret that CV’s are filled with exaggerations and false claims, if you’re suspicious that your candidate may be a fibber you can often seek confirmation from their social media profiles.
Engage With Potential and Existing Customers
Social profiles are an excellent place to engage with your customers and add some voice and personality to your company. If you have a blog on your website (if you haven’t then create one!) you can share your latest posts through Twitter and Facebook to drive traffic to your website and provide interesting content to your customers. Customers are more likely to engage with your company through a familiar channel such as Facebook. You can even make your promotions sound “non-salesy” and people are more likely to follow them up and share them.
It may be an idea to host Q&A sessions on your Facebook where people can enquire about certain products or services relating to your company, providing them with a quick and detailed response will increase the likelihood of them using your company – rather than receiving an inaccurate automated response via an online contact form.
If you initially struggle to gather interest for your social profiles, competitions are an efficient and ethical method of gaining interest and exposure for your small business. People like to share competitions, spread the word and be in with a chance of winning. You could host a competition with the theme of “like/follow our Facebook/Twitter profile to be in with a chance of winning X” this is a sure-fire way to increase your fan-base and kick-start your social media campaign.
Social media is definitely the future for small businesses, with user numbers continually increasing it’s one of the most efficient ways to increase brand awareness, read what people are saying about your business and attract new customers. Facebook and Twitter have been proved time and again to increase website traffic when used properly. If you’re reading this without a business social media profile behind you it’s time to switch the small business handbook for Facebook.
Written by Stephanie Staszko on behalf of Blue Octopus who are flat fee recruitment specialists . You can follow Steph on Twitter @StephStaz for more small business, recruitment and HR posts.