Small Business Guide to Social Media

Small businesses owners can attest to the struggles and limitations that come with the territory: few financial resources, a lack of exposure, and not enough time in the day to get everything done. Taking on another responsibility isn’t something small business owners can afford to, but it isn’t something they can’t either.

But for many small business owners the thought of managing social media is overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

How Social Media Benefits Your Business

Of course managing social media for your small business takes some time and effort, but it’s worth it. With little to no financial investment required, it’s a marketing opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.

With social media:

  • You can easily interact with current clients.
  • You can connect with thousands of potential clients.
  • You have access to a global audience.
  • You can build your image and your professional brand.

Carving Out Time for Social Media 

Social networks are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While of course there are peak usage times, you can spend time on your networks when it’s convenient for you. With the ability to communicate in real-time or schedule communications in advance, you can have a presence anytime from anywhere.

And while it’s hard to carve out time, other small business owners are doing it.  According to an infographic by MarketMeSuite and Placester, 26% of small businesses are currently spending an hour or more on social media sites. While these numbers may be influenced by the fact that many small businesses are web based, the benefits of having a social media presence isn’t limited to web based businesses.

Social Media by the Numbers

Facebook alone has the potential to induce a 185% increase in website traffic. The more traffic that comes to your site, the more conversions you’ll likely experience. With this potential, small business owners can’t afford to leave money on the table by neglecting to have a social media presence.

The Social Media Pay Off

Rosalind Henshell, the Director of Big Thinking Online, makes the case that social media is a good investment for small businesses. With social media you gain highly targeted traffic and you get to really know your target audience.  However slowly or quickly you reap the benefits of a social media presence depends upon your marketing strategy, your messaging, the consistency of your presence and the audience you have positioned yourself in front of.

Remember the “Media” in Social Media

Like any other media opportunity, social media can bea brand booster. With social media you have access to avenues that give your business exposure. You also gain authentic real-time feedback and the opportunity to really engage, which are key factors of social media’s exponential success.

With social media:

  • You can create user-generated content. Anything you create and share has the ability to go viral.
  • You get and stay connected to customers and potential customers. They expect you to have a social media presence and when you don’t, it can be viewed as a red flag.
  • Your business can develop a competitive edge. Gain insight into your audience and their interests by reading what they broadcast.

How Do I Start? 

1. Start small. Commit to creating a social media presence for your small business on the social media platforms you are already comfortable using. Aim to interact at least once a week.

2. Be picky. Don’t bite off more than you can chew from the social platter. Consider what you’ll share and where. Aim to provide meaningful content to those who are in your network.

3. Develop a calendar. Think about meaningful pieces of information you can share with your network and draft a basic editorial calendar.  Assign each topic a date that you’ll broadcast it.

4. Team up with a social media expert.  We can help! Let Arzo Enterprises help you grow your virtual marketing. With a little guidance, you’ll have a social media strategy to execute in no time.

 

5 Reasons to Start a Business, Even in Rough Economy

Starting your own business has long been considered a risky proposition. Just the potential for failure and loss discourages many would-be entrepreneurs from giving it a go. Intimidated by oft-reported statistics like “50% of all businesses fail within the first two years,” even those with great ideas or lots of skill frequently decide to play it “safe.”

Perhaps in economies past you could legitimately argue that starting a business was just too big a gamble, but the tables have turned. Now becoming an entrepreneur is not only a safe and manageable career prospect, but it’s also the best (and perhaps only) way to get what you want professionally.

Here’s 5 reasons why it makes sense to start a business… even especially now!

1. Job Security Doesn’t Exist

Job security is a thing of the past. It used to be that you could safely commit to a well-trodden and clearly defined corporate career path. No longer. Not only has the corporate contract changed, but industries are evolving so quickly that jobs appear, change, or disappear practically overnight. All of this is true even in a good economy—so if you account for the economic downturn of these last few years, the stability of traditional employment weakens even further. So much so, actually, that scores of former employees have decided to become their own bosses to make their jobs more secure.

2. You Don’t Have to Bet the Farm

The risk for any experiment or new venture can never be mitigated completely, but it’s up to you to decide just how much to chance. You can put yourself in a risky position by keeping your genius idea to yourself, double-mortgaging the house (or racking up credit card debt), and launching the biggest version of your dream possible. Or you can play it safer by soliciting lots of feedback in advance of launching and finding small inexpensive ways to test your idea in the market. Neither path guarantees success, but the latter certainly insulates you from total devastation in the case of failure.

3. You Know How to Get More from Less

Several years of a significant recession has made us all experts in how to get more from less. We are more productive and thriftier than ever. Each dollar goes further and each minute matters more. This is the exact mindset that an entrepreneur needs to be successful. In the past corporate refugees could take years to figure this out. Now people are showing up to entrepreneurship prepared from the start.

4. Satisfaction Matters 

One benefit of this otherwise devastating recession has been the shift in our collective definition of success. While we used to lust after big ticket items and sacrifice for far-off rewards, we now know that daily satisfaction reigns supreme. After all, things don’t necessarily bring happiness and future promises are never guaranteed. What really matters is how rewarding and fulfilling our daily life is. It’s a reality that entrepreneurs get to uniquely exploit. Because when you’re the boss you get to do the work you want on your terms. And if, at some point, your business no longer adds up to happiness, you have the power to make the necessary changes so that it does again.

5. And So Does Regret…

Of all the business-related angst I’ve witnessed, nothing seems more haunting than the experience of regret. That mournful curiosity about “what could have been”—if only you had done something differently and given your business venture a shot. It’s a feeling much worse than failure. That doesn’t mean that you need to pursue every idea you have, but you owe it to your future self to at least explore the possibility seriously. You won’t regret things that you decide not to do for a good reason, only the things you decide not to do for bad ones.

The truth is, the risks associated with entrepreneurship are all relative. And now that the rules of the game have changed so much, it’s not fair to write off the possibility of starting your own business just because it’s too “risky.” You actually may stand to lose a lot more if you don’t.

Is Social Media Worth Your Time?

As a small business owner there are a plethora of tasks that take priority over social media; satisfying customer needs, fulfilling contracts and winning new business. Taking all of that into consideration is small business social media really worth an investment of your time?

You may think of it as a luxury, as an expense on your time and effort which your growing business cannot sustain and you might be right. In this post we dig down and uncover whether or not small business social media warrants your investment.

There’s something for Everyone.

There is a social Media site to suit every purpose, whether you want it for networking, news, bookmarking, a specific industry or genre. Whatever you want to promote, or research there will be social media networks to suit your needs. This means that it never gets old or boring, and if a particular site no longer works for you, there will be another that is just perfect. You can spend your time and effort wherever you get the best results and either move on or stay put as you please.

Results improve with Time

With any Social media campaign, the more you give, the more you receive. As you build up your credibility, your followers will increase, traffic back to your website will grow and if managed correctly the number of tweets, shares and +1’s will increase, placing your content in front of more and more people with whom you can build relationships. A small portion of these will go on to become clients.

You can’t expect overnight success, but if you keep going you will see your results improve month on month.

You can get Targeted Traffic.

One common criticism of using small business social media to drive Traffic is that there can be a higher bounce rate as people landing on your page weren’t necessarily searching for the information that they see. While this may sometimes be true, you can get some very highly targeted visitors from niche social media sites. Think about where you are posting your links and what users of that site like to see. Also, your site will be put in front of a much wider audience, so that if they weren’t searching specifically for what you had to offer at that time, they have still been introduced to your site and as a result know what you do for in the future when they do want that service.

It’s a valuable source of Links.

Once your content is shared via Social Media, those links are there to stay. Even better, if people do visit your site and share that information with their friends, you’ll then have more links coming back into your site. Search Engines love links, and the more valuable links they see coming back to your site, then the higher up the Search Rankings you go. If a piece of content has been shared amongst the social media community, Retweeted and liked, you’re likely to notice more search engine referrals for it as well.

You get to know your Audience.

Social Media users are vocal about what they like, and what they don’t like. As you build more of a presence and post more content, you’ll get to know what content people like and what produces the best reaction so you can do more of it. Likewise, you will learn what types of articles or posts do better on Social Media sites versus search engines.

It Provides great Brand exposure.

Even if you don’t get referrals from your small business social media activities back to your website, by keeping up with your social media campaign you are giving your brand great exposure. If you find that you get a positive response on social media sites, but can’t translate this into referrals, then there’s nothing wrong with asking why. You can also search to see if people are sharing your information without your knowledge; monitoring your brand and reputation should be a key part of what you do.

The future of the internet is social.

Social Media won’t be going away any time soon. If we take the fact that Google is investing so much into the Google+ local network you know that social is going to play an even bigger part in online activity moving forward.

Over the last few years, social media has ballooned, and in years to come, although the popular sites and formats may change, being able to comment on articles, share opinions and reply to whoever you choose to are elements that we have all become used to and if one thing’s for certain, it is that the general public and Internet users will not be silenced!

In conclusion, utilising small business social media as part of a well structured campaign is definitely worth it! There are lots of huge positives, so if it isn’t working for you today just tweak your methods slightly, try again tomorrow and let us know how you get on by leaving a comment below or connecting with us on social media. Let Arzo Enterprises help you with all your social media needs.

 

Arzo Enterprises