How your small business can cash in on social marketing
The online world of marketing has seen a colossal shift in the way consumers share, communicate and connect. There are great ways for small business owners to benefit from this trend according to Toby Marshall, CEO of Lead Creation.
“There has been a huge increase in the usage and functions of peer-to-peer social networks and real-time technologies,” he says. “Now, 90 percent of people start their buying decisions on the web; they Google their purchases and they read peer reviews.”
Julie Sweet of Certificatesonline says: “Since the inception of social media my business has obtained leverage that was once perhaps never thought possible through new channels, certainly not at such a rapid rate. Social media and the network I have built via LinkedIn and Twitter mostly, has created a brand awareness about my business and also myself that has been wonderful. Through this vital and significantly important network, I have had press releases published, interviews conducted, blogs written and more. The doors that have opened because of my social network have been truly remarkable.”
Peter Taliangis of RealtyOne, adds: “As a real estate agent virtually all my new leads are coming from meeting people online via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Linkedin is my preferred source, because I am dealing with business people all the time.”
Jonathan Crossfield of ninefold, says: “Launching our new Australian cloud computing business, we knew most traditional online forms of advertising would take weeks, if not months, to gain traction. SEO is notoriously slow to produce sales and search engine advertising can be very costly in those first weeks while you optimise and analyse a campaign. We knew our business should go where our audience hangs out online, so we built social media into our marketing plan and, more specifically, our launch strategy.
“We announced our beta program on Twitter and other social networks and published a vibrant blog. This actually brought us our first traffic spike in the first half hour. Within the first hour, we had already hit our first target (number of beta sign-ups); a target we had allowed a week to achieve.
“Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t easy. It took a lot of planning, preparing of the ground and using the right people (influencers) to generate that traction, but the results far outweighed the effort, while giving us a kick start other online marketing just wouldn’t be able to provide: lots of conversions on day one.”
So what can SMEs proactively do this year to engage customers and prospects? Marshall predicts the creation of online tribes and Facebook advertising will have huge benefits for business.