Ever went looking for a local business online, only to come up empty? Or you find their tiny website because you entered their url directly – but it never comes up in searches? That’s probably because so many small business owners feel like they’re too small for social media or SEO. They’re little, they’re local, so they feel the effort that has to go into social media and SEO to make it work is wasted. But if you’ve been reading the McDougall Interactive blog long enough, you know that it’s that kind of thinking that puts some small business owners in last place, while their competitors are thriving above and beyond what most small business owners expect.
How do these super successful small business owners do it?
They approach social media (and SEO) like the big players, and give it their all. Right now you may be thinking, wow, that sounds like a full time job all on its own. And it can be – some of McDougall Interactive’s clients hire us specifically to handle their social media campaigns. That shouldn’t stop you from exploring the benefits of social media on your own, however, even if you’re approaching it in a part time capacity.
What Can Social Media Do for the Small Business Owner?
Social media for the small business owner is the best way to spread your business footprint around the web. It lets you leave a figurative trail of bread crumbs around the Internet, leading people back to you. But that’s not all. Being present, and active, in the social media sphere is a great way to establish credibility and trustworthiness, building brand awareness through visibility, and showing customers and potential customers that you are readily available, even when no money is changing hands. Oh, and by default you can increase your search engine ranking when you participate in the social media sphere.
Being Everywhere vs. Being Everywhere THEY Are
The social media sphere is admittedly huge, which many small business owners find intimidating. And yes, the key to succeeding at social media is being everywhere, or at least trying to be everywhere. If you can handle that, great. If not, don’t try to be absolutely everywhere because that will mean that some of your social media profiles will stagnate. Your image will suffer as a result. Remember, the key to succeeding at social media when you’re a small business owner is to be ACTIVE. So identify where most of your customers and potential customers are hanging out, and then be there, too. Are they reading blogs? Write one! Are they on Facebook and Twitter? Focus your energy there. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Participate in the Conversation
The social media sphere is all about sharing and connecting with others. The small business owner who wants to make the most of social media needs to participate in the conversation – end of story. It’s how you spread your business’ footprint. When you respond to customer input and offer input in return, when you give away some content or information, when you share and help and communicate, you give customers and potential customers to keep up with you and to trust you. In other words, don’t just spam the social media sphere with your advertising message – talk to people.
Investigate the Power of Partnerships
You’re not alone out there, even though at first, your social media conversations may be a bit one-sided. One way you can create flow is to reach out to businesses that compliment your own. For example, if you’re a natural health products retailer, you might benefit from partnerships with wellness experts like reflexologists and acupuncturists. Once you’ve got a conversation going with some potential partners, you can do a little promotion of their brand – a few tweets or a mention on your Facebook page – and they’ll likely do the same out of courtesy.
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