Social Networking For BusinessBy William H. Volpe III
For local businesses, nothing beats the power of social media marketing. Why spend time and money targeting a global audience when the people most interested in your own products or services are right in your own backyard?
The exposure your business gains from using social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter is powerful, indeed. The ability to target your specific local market and interact directly with the consumers in your area is certainly a plus. Even more important is the goodwill and trust that develops as consumers share recommendations with their friends.
Internet marketing on social networks is also good for your advertising budget. In most cases it’s free, and you can’t get more cost-effective than that. Target your own local community or speak to a world-wide customer base for less than it costs to run an ad in your local paper with limited distribution.
Social media marketing also allows you to easily connect with the fastest growing segment of today’s market – the mobile market. Eight out of ten people now have a mobile phone and 80 percent of those mobile users are constantly connected to their social networks.
You can use your social networks to build long-term campaigns and at the same time you can easily and instantly share your links, post a coupon, or make a surprise announcement. Running a Two-For-One Special this afternoon? Just send out a Tweet. Added a new entree to the dinner menu? Share a photo and invite all your Facebook followers. Adding a new line of jewelry at your boutique? Get those pictures on your Pinterest boards and let your followers know the minute it hits your store.
With Facebook and Twitter you have the opportunity to really connect with your market. Instead of addressing broad issues, which may or may not be relevant to your local audience, you can see their specific needs on a real-time basis. Answer their questions, offer feedback, and provide real information to develop personal relationships with the existing members of your community, attract new followers, and strengthen your brand.
Let’s face it, if you’re spending your ad budget on the Yellow Pages or newspaper advertising, you’re just wasting your money. Traditional forms of advertising are losing their effect. Today, when someone’s looking for a local service provider, restaurant, or entertainment venue, more often than not they ask their friends on Facebook and Twitter.
And here’s the real kicker, they listen to those recommendations. Nothing is more powerful than word-of-mouth advertising, which is exactly why social networking works. Nearly 1.5 million links are shared every day on Facebook alone. Each one of those links is a personal recommendation and consumers put much more faith in recommendations from friends and family members than they do in traditional forms of advertising.
More than 88 percent of internet marketers use social media marketing to promote their online businesses to the billions of people who log onto Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest every day. With numbers like that, your business can’t afford not to have a presence in the online social networks.
Get more from your business.