Dec 7, 2010

Five Reasons Why Social Media Is Right for Small Business

When it comes to social media, the one thing that small and midsize businesses want to know is this: Is it worth it?
Yes, it is. Here are five reasons why.
1. It helps you stay ahead of the competition
A recent study by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth found that America's fastest-growing private companies adopt social-media-marketing initiatives at much higher rates than other companies.
Vistaprint, a company specializing in small businesses, conducted another study—on small business marketing trends—and found that small businesses are likely to increase their use of online-marketing tactics in the coming year.
The takeaway: Small businesses that are embracing online tactics now will grow at a higher rate in the future. If they haven't already, your competitors will extend their marketing into social media in 2010, trends indicate. Those who adopt social media are poised for faster growth and increased sales. Are you?
2. It extends your reach
Facebook has 500 million followers, up 25% from less than a year ago.
The takeaway: Use social media to get your information in front of many people who are interested in what you have to say. Connecting with prospects is the first step to making a sale. How many quality prospects did you reach today?
3. It provides powerful search engine optimization
Search engines love activity. Social-media participation increases your online presence. Posting fresh content on your site and broadcasting the link on your social-media channels also improves your SEO.
The takeaway: When prospects do a search for your business, they will find proof of your activity in the form of multiple links to your site. Your site will rank higher than will a company that has the equivalent of an electronic brochure for a website. Or is your site the one that is the electronic brochure?
4. It engenders prospects' trust in your business
Prospects today turn to the Internet to get their information. Your absence is no longer simply missed; rather, it raises a red flag. Prospects trust businesses with an online presence.
The takeaway: Prospects equate an online absence with a business that has nothing to say and is disengaged with customers. Or they will wonder what you're hiding. When making a purchasing decision, customers turn to vendors they can find and trust. Are you claiming excellent customer service even as you make it difficult for customers to find you?
5. It respects compressed schedules
Social-media activity shows prospects who you are, what you do, and how and where you do it. Prospects can gather that information and get their answers all before the first conversation. They will see you as a trusted source of information, a critical factor when it comes time for them to make a decision.
The takeaway: People follow the path of least resistance. Use social media to give them that path. Do you still insist that prospects give up their time to meet you in order to gather information they can get online... from your competitors?



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