Nowadays, it may seem obvious that the most successful businesses are always coupled with a vigorous online presence. If you like a product, the automatic post-analogue response is to look it up on the Internet. >But the truth is that many small businesses still struggle to understand the extent of influence that social media provides.
Why is the digital platform integral to your business – regardless of product or the size of your company – and how can you use it to your best advantage? Get started with some of these tips :
Branding, Reputation And Buzz
There’s no bigger and more varied platform than the Internet, a digital network that allows access to people of all kinds that you can’t necessarily find walking through your shop door.
Using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and having enthusiastic websites and posts link back “naturally” to your product helps promote your brand, as well as boosting your company’s reputation and buzz, which in turn generates more interest and traffic to your site.
What’s important is that you can manage this reputation and interest, rather than let others control the feedback on your product. A dedicated website which sells your product and provides information, explanation and feedback, or an active blog that provides interesting updates, gives your business a sense of reliability and accountability.
Trusted select testimonials from satisfied customers, for example, would be exceedingly helpful in convincing potential customers of your company’s quality of service and product.
You can actively use social media platforms to promote business events. It’s no good simply registering onto Facebook or making an account on Twitter. You should actively make events, write on your LinkedIn customer profile, tweet with a dedicated hashtag, and make use of GooglePlus events and communities.
This helps to generate potential viral interest and word of mouth, which, again, helps your business’s credibility, as people are more likely to trust and act upon the recommendations of the people they know.
Global Community, Customer Relations And Support
Having a website or blog allows your company to improve your service, generate further ideas and develop a dedicated global customer base. You can have competitions, polls and events, or cultivate a system where loyal customers get rewarded in some way.
Your audience can contribute critical feedback about your business and you, in turn, can provide reliable customer support, resolving issues quickly and effectively.
However, just because the Internet is vast doesn’t mean you necessarily have to cater to a wide variety of customers. There are many industry-specific communities out there that you can use to promote a niche product or get feedback from industry professionals.
Boosts Your Economy
Perhaps most importantly, the digital medium is a much more cost-effective advertising solution than traditional non-digital ones. You don’t have to spend a lot to create a fantastic website layout or generate viral support. After all, it’s up to you to provide the interesting product or service.
What the Internet does is simply to provide greater accessibility and garner more interest, which in turn brings your business more customers. It’s the ultimate and fairest platform for a small company to have the potential to be successful.
Hire Social Media Personnel
And with that, here’s something I would personally suggest you do if you’re not a digitally savvy person or you feel there’s a huge learning curve to using social media: hire someone who does know what they’re doing.
More and more graduates understand the importance of being media-savvy, and many of them study the actual degree. You don’t have to figure out all the gritty details on your own, but neither should you simply dismiss the potential in expanding your business socially and economically because of it.
Dedicating a part of your budget to making sure you have powerful web connections is of crucial importance now, and will be of even more value later. After all, you’re looking to provide your potential customers with a product or service they will want, right?
Giving them support, information and the ability to give feedback will only make your business more successful in the long run. So good luck! Since you’re reading this, you’re probably already halfway there.
Do you have any opinions about the digital medium as a powerful tool in enhancing the retail experience? Comment in the section below.
About the Author: Joey Phinn is a budding entrepreneur and a savvy long-time internet surfer who writes for K3 Retail.