Tag Archives: special offer

Just how important is Social Media to business?

18 Feb

Nowadays most of us use social media in our personal lives.  It might be that we sit back and just see what our friends are up to, or we might post regular updates and photos.  Most people who actively choose not to use social media are at least aware of it.  But many small business owners haven’t thought about using social media for their business.  So how important is it?  Does a business that’s doing fine without it need to start making time to set up and maintain social media sites?  And does every new business need to get set up – and at what point?

I am a self confessed Facebook addict (at my baby shower one of the options on the sweepstake was “how long until photos of the baby are on Facebook?” – it was about an hour and a half after he was born) and use it for my personal life, my own business, and the Opportunity Plus South West pages.  I was running my business for quite a while before I set up my facebook page – I think I was concerned about hassling friends with constant updates about my business.  But when I did it the increase in sales was incredible.  Now I rely almost entirely on Facebook (much to my partner’s relief as I don’t ask him to update my website all the time – on Facebook I can do it myself).  It brings me customers from all over the country, it’s free and easy to manage by myself, and I’m always on Facebook anyway so it doesn’t feel like work.  I haven’t been using any other social media, but am starting to now – I can already feel myself becoming addicted to Pinterest, but Twitter is still a bit of a mystery.

Nowadays, when I want to buy someone a gift but I’m not sure what, I go to Facebook and ask for ideas through the Supermums Craft Fair.  Anyone who makes/sells something that fits my brief, comments with a link to their page/product and I check it out.  I rarely go to that person’s website – if they even have one.  If I know what I want I would usually start out looking on Amazon – again not even going to business websites.  If I need information or advice I might write it in my Facebook status or in a specific group rather than Googling it.  So if you ask me, being on social media is far more important than having an all singing all dancing website.  It’s also cheaper and easier.

Now, accepting that social media is important for business is one thing, but HOW important is it?  Building up a network of followers is great for spreading the word about your special offers and building brand awareness, but having thousands of likes isn’t necessarily everything it’s cracked up to be if those likes don’t translate into paying customers.  So, do spend time building a following on social media, but don’t let it eat into the time you need to spend doing your core business and actually making money.

Each social networking site works in a very different way and no business needs to use every kind of social media, but you need to think about the one that will work best for you and your business.  If you create lots of beautiful images through your work (for example if you have an arts and crafts business) then Pinterest could be for you, but if you offer a service based business you might be better off on Twitter.  Have a look at all the different options, see what your competitors use, ask your customers which sites they are already on, and have a go yourself and see what you find the most user-friendly.

Which social media sites do you use?  Which have you found most successful, or easiest to use?  Are there any you are determined to start using but need a nudge to get going on it?

Check out some of the interviews we have completed for the blog with businesses that use social media: Rocket & Co, Just for Tiny People, The Very Vintage Hire Company.

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