I blog a lot about the value of social media for marketing your small business—because I’ve seen myself how social media can help build awareness of your business and even connect you directly with new customers.
Marketing is the most-discussed way small businesses use social media, there are plenty of other things it’s good for, too.
- Learning about business and your industry. In a survey by TNS reported by MarketingProfs, nearly 80 percent of small and midsized business owners say the industry-specific news and articles they find on social media are valuable. Small business owners also frequently discover articles on business leadership and marketing through social media. And 67 percent say social media helps them learn “best practices” from other companies.
- Doing your research. Small and midsized businesses also use social media to make purchasing decisions. For instance, when making financial decisions or purchasing financial services, more than two-thirds of small business owners turn to social media. Seven in 10 small business owners use social media to find testimonials, reviews and opinions about products and services.
- Finding employees. Social media is a great way to let your personal and professional contacts know you’re looking to hire. Even if you’re placing an ad for the position, social media is a great adjunct to round out your search. What’s more, social media lets you tap into the underground network of people who aren’t actively searching for jobs…but are open to being wooed away from their current jobs to work for you.
- Staying on top of news and trends. I don’t know about you, but more and more I learn about hot news, pop culture and trends first through social media. For busy small business owners, it’s faster and easier to check your Twitter feed than to stay on top of a bunch of different news websites. Being in the loop with watercooler buzz can help you make connections or jump on the “next big thing” before someone else does.
- Getting the inside scoop on prospects. Nervous about making a big sales presentation to a potential client? There’s really no need to be—not with all the information you can dig up about the person, their bosses, their direct reports, their companies and their backgrounds on social media. A few Google searches and an hour or two on LinkedIn, and you’ll be able to sail into that meeting with a pretty clear idea of the problems the client, his or her team and his or her company is facing and what approach the person is likely to respond to. (You might even find out you went to college with her sister.)
These are just a few of the ways social media can help your business gain an advantage over your competitors. Can you think of more? Your SCORE mentor probably can. Don’t have a mentor? Visit www.score.org to get matched with one today.