Source: Pete Gombert | E-Commerce Times
We made a compelling case, previously, that small businesses need to embrace the exploding social media now, or be left behind. (see Small Biz Social Media Revolution)
Now Pete Gombert at E-Commerce Times adds to the conversation –
There are online conversations happening right now about your industry, if not your specific business and brand. Listen to these conversations and learn about the audiences involved. Choose the best social media channels based on your research, and create your plan accordingly.
The new Main Street exists anywhere thumbs can hit keys or scroll across a touchscreen. So what does your online presence say about what you have to offer those virtually strolling by?
As the use of social media surges and online communities continue to grow, relationships between businesses and customers will continue to evolve dramatically. Customers regularly seek feedback on future purchases from their social circle. Conversations about your brand are readily accessible, and any business can develop a substantial online presence with time and expertise. The emergence of social media has leveled the playing field, and small businesses have unprecedented marketing opportunities within their grasp.
There is no denying social media’s direct influence on business. Nearly 50 percent of people who saw a brand’s name on Twitter went to a search engine to look for the product, according to a recent Performics report. An impressive 34 percent reported first hearing about or learning more about a product via a social network .
When you combine this impressive visibility with the limited investment involved, participation in social media offers a tremendous value — but is it right for your business?
Whether or not your business currently embraces social media, research makes a strong case for every business to evaluate social media opportunities, prepare a plan to capture those opportunities, engage your audience and measure results to make this outreach more and more effective.
The goal of any marketing or advertising campaign is to drive sales, usually by creating the opportunity for a one-on-one conversation between the business and your customer. Social media can make these conversations more accessible but not without adding a few complexities for small businesses looking to integrate these channels into marketing campaigns.