My recent emphasis on social media for nonprofits is really an emphasis on best practices, guidelines, and why-bother-with-it for small businesses as well.
Small businesses face many of the same problems that nonprofits do:
- small staff
- not much money for marketing
- need to expand customer (for nonprofits, donor) base
Social media can help. Start exploring the possibilities of social media for your business. Here’s how:
- Assess your in-house talent. It may be that you have people on staff who know the basics of a few social media platforms.
- Assess your needs. What do you want to accomplish? What market are you trying to reach? Which social medium is most likely to reach your market with your message?
- Determine the tone and message points you wish to communicate.
- Make a marketing plan that starts with just one medium. When you are comfortable, add another medium.
- One step at a time, analyze, tweak, and take another step.
Involve your staff every step of the way. Social media, like pets, require care. Your staff, from the warehouse to the executive office, can contribute and enliven your online presence. Ultimately, social media may well affect how your company communicates internally as well as with the world.
I mean that in a good way.
The joy of social media is that you target your particular niche – runners, moms, local diners, geographically or product specific customers – and make yourself known to them, engage them in conversation, and build relationships that are likely to translate into sales.
The other benefit of social media for small business owners is that you can find out what people are saying about you right away. Build on compliments and deal with complaints quickly. In fact, you may find ways to attract more customers or develop new products by listening to the feedback you get.
The guidelines for getting started are in Ventureneer’s free ebook, Social Media for Your Nonprofit: Take Charge! Don’t be put off by the “nonprofit” in its title. The information and resources are useful to any organization starting out or fine tuning its online presence. The idea is to give you the tools to go beyond a website and email address.
Don’t delay. As the economy recovers, your business needs to be visible and generate good vibes. Start now. Read, listen, learn, and then get going.
Do you think social media can help your small business? What’s stopping you from using social media?