It’s becoming increasingly difficult to escape the Social Media phenomenon. Whether you’re using it to keep in touch with friends and relatives, for search, to find out what your favourite celebrity has been up to or for business; Social Media has indeed taken the world by storm. If you’re not using it for business then you don’t know what you’re missing out on. And no, I’m not talking about big businesses. In any case the ‘Coke’s’, ‘McDonalds’ and ‘Ford’s’ are all over Social Media – and they’re using it well. In this post I am talking to SME’s and small businesses.

When leveraged correctly, Social Media can be a valuable source for small businesses in terms of:

  • Lead Generation
  • Brand Awareness
  • Online Reputation Management
  • Customer Relations
  • Customer Retention

How your Small Business can start taking advantage of Social Media

Ignoring what people are saying about your small business online can be fatal. Up until recently Hello Peter was the best online channel to report/praise service in South Africa. Now there’s a plethora of other online avenue’s consumers can pursue to voice their likes and dislikes – and all this information is publicly available so don’t let it become a missed opportunity.

And even if they’re not talking about your business you should be staying abreast of what others in your industry are saying in Social Media. As a small business owner it has become your responsibility to use the nits of public information available to you so that you can:

  • Build long-standing relationships with your customers
  • Improve your service to them
  • Enhance your products and services

… Think about how easy market research has become for you because of Social Media.

Keep your Social Media Activities Simple

Finding the right way to execute your Social Media Strategy can be daunting especially with the big brands already pushing the limits of what’s possible. That said, many of the big companies that are actively engaged with Social Media Marketing often forget that it’s the simple gestures that work best.

What are ‘Simple Social Media Gestures’ you ask? Start by acknowledging customers that mention you. For example, did someone tweet about their experience at your restaurant? Perhaps they shared a story about your small business on Facebook. These actions take place in the public domain and must be addressed as an opportunity to connect with an existing customer or a prospect.

Make them feel special via Social Media platforms. It worked on me. A few months ago I booked a cheap flight from Johannesburg to Durban on Mango airlines. I mentioned the deal in a Tweet directed at Travelstart (a South African travel agency who are very active on Social Media). They responded saying “@russell_jarvis awesome stuff mate! Loving the mango and @Travelstart!” Needless to say I’ve used Travelstart the last 2 times I’ve flown. Check them out on Twitter – they’re a small business in South Africa doing some amazing things with Social Media.

As a small business your size is actually a huge advantage when it comes to Social Media Marketing. Strive to respond to every person that mentions you on Social Media channels. This is something large company’s battle to do.