If you are a business with something to sell, using social media is a sweet spot for you.
A headline surfaced in US Today July 29 about a survey of 10,000 small business owners that found more than half plan to develop a social presence in the next three months. USA Today said:
At the same time, adoption of location-based services has grown rapidly — 32% of merchants familiar with Foursquare use it, compared with 25% in March. Twitter is gaining favor, too: 8% more merchants intend to use it now than in the first three months of the year. The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business says social technology adoption rates in the U.S. doubled in the past year, to 24% from 12%.
The survey was sponsored by MerchantsCircle and was conducted among businesses it had brought online so it suffers from a biased sample.
Still the findings do support a trend. There are signs social media is gaining so much traction among small businesses that it is influencing the investment patterns of the firms that invest in new technologies. At TechWeek in Chicago, investor Dave McClure of 500Startups chided young technology developers not to overlook that: “You can sell things on the Internet!”
Yes. You can sell things on the Internet.
So for your small business, social media is most importantly a customer acquisition technique. Building community is about connecting with the audience of your customers. They are not interested in pushing your “brand”, but if they like what you do and what you are selling to them, they will tell their friends and keep coming back.
Social media is way to keep that happy conversation going and spreading to new people. And social media is an inexpensive way to reward the loyalty of your customers.
Google+ has yet to say how it will interact with businesses like yours, but its presence has given a heads up to Facebook to clarify the tools it offers to business.
This week, Facebook created one page that offers downloads and tools as guidance for your social marketing technique. Check it out. If you’re not yet online it’s a great place to get started.
But if you’re already online and need to start thinking strategically, you can always contact the brain trust at 435 Digital.