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The Not Overwhelming Guide to Social Media for Small Business

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Small businesses owners can attest to the struggles and limitations that come with the territory: few financial resources, a lack of exposure, and not enough time in the day to get everything done. Taking on another responsibility isn't something small business owners can afford to, but it isn't something they can't either.

But for many small business owners the thought of managing social media is overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.

How Social Media Benefits Your Business

Of course managing social media for your small business takes some time and effort, but it's worth it. With little to no financial investment required, it's a marketing opportunity you don't want to miss out on.

With social media:

  • You can easily interact with current clients.
  • You can connect with thousands of potential clients.
  • You have access to a global audience.
  • You can build your image and your professional brand.

Carving Out Time for Social Media

Social networks are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While of course there are peak usage times, you can spend time on your networks when it's convenient for you. With the ability to communicate in real-time or schedule communications in advance, you can have a presence anytime from anywhere.

And while it's hard to carve out time, other small business owners are doing it. According to an infographic by MarketMeSuite and Placester, 26% of small businesses are currently spending an hour or more on social media sites. While these numbers may be influenced by the fact that many small businesses are web based, the benefits of having a social media presence isn't limited to web based businesses.

Social Media by the Numbers

Facebook alone has the potential to induce a 185% increase in website traffic. The more traffic that comes to your site, the more conversions you'll likely experience. With this potential, small business owners can't afford to leave money on the table by neglecting to have a social media presence.

The Social Media Pay Off

Rosalind Henshell, the Director of Big Thinking Online, makes the case that social media is a good investmentfor small businesses. With social media you gain highly targeted traffic and you get to really know your target audience. However slowly or quickly you reap the benefits of a social media presence depends upon your marketing strategy, your messaging, the consistency of your presence and the audience you have positioned yourself in front of.

Remember the "Media" in Social Media

Like any other media opportunity, social media can bea brand booster. With social media you have access to avenues that give your business exposure. You also gain authentic real-time feedback and the opportunity to really engage, which are key factors of social media's exponential success.

With social media:

  • You can create user-generated content. Anything you create and share has the ability to go viral.
  • You get and stay connected to customers and potential customers. They expect you to have a social media presence and when you don't, it can be viewed as a red flag.
  • Your business can develop a competitive edge. Gain insight into your audience and their interests by reading what they broadcast.

How Do I Start?

1. Start small. Commit to creating a social media presence for your small business on the social media platforms you are already comfortable using. Aim to interact at least once a week.

2. Be picky. Don't bite off more than you can chew from the social platter. Consider what you'll share and where. Aim to provide meaningful content to those who are in your network.

3. Develop a calendar. Think about meaningful pieces of information you can share with your network and draft a basic editorial calendar. Assign each topic a date that you'll broadcast it.

4. Team up with a social media expert. We can help! Let us help you grow your virtual marketing. With a little guidance, you'll have a social media strategy to execute in no time.

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

(Article and images via Social Media Today)

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