How To Use Social Media (for small businesses) – Part 1

Social Media Marketing is the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

According to Alexa.com there are over 6 million Nigerians on Facebook and 5million Nigerian Twitter Users. Going by these stats there really is no reason why you shouldnt be exploring Social Media for your business. Look at it this way. When you go online you check at least one social media network. Whether its Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Naijapals, 2Go. Whichever one you are addicted to. You always check in when you are online. People love social networking sites..we love to discuss, make friends, network and exchange ideas… now if you have a large following on one of these networks anything you put up will be seen by your friends/followers.

Below are a couple of tips that will be useful to Small Business Owners who hope to leverage Social Media for their business.
Now these are just the basics I haven’t even scratched the surface yet.
  • Use Inflencers: Who are influencers? These are people who others listen to on Social Media Networks, people whose opinions people take seriously. As such, if a person like this recommends a service people would be more willing to try it out or even find out what it is about. Identify Influencers and offer them incentives to tweet about your product or service.  Note: An influencer doesn’t necessarily have to have alot of followers, there are alot of people who have thousands of followers who are not necessarily influencers. Do your research, ask around
  • Be Persistent: Most businesses think Social Media Marketing is a one-off thing, you know the saying “out of sight is out of mind” also applies to business. If your product/service  isn’t buzzing how do you expect people to know its available? Now I am not saying you should spend all your money on Social Media Marketing but you can budget some money every month for Social Media Marketing. As a small business you don’t have that big a budget to do a TV ad, billboards and the likes. The next best thing to get word out about your business is the internet, even the BIG companies know the value of Social Media andinvest in it. For example the discount site dealdey.com  used Social Media Marketing for a whole year when they first started off and believe me they are reaping the benefits. Social media is more ROP (Returns on participation) than ROI (Returns on investment) the more you engage people, participate… the more people listen up and want to try it out one day.
  • Keep it Professional but also Social: Opening a social media account strictly for posting/tweeting about your business, is the easiest way to drive people away and get “unfollowed/unfriended”. You don’t want people to think you are a bot. Tweet at people, chat with them gist about other issues that don’t have to do with your business/brand. Ask questions. Post fun quotes, pictures stuff people will be willing to share. the more they share the more exposure you get. So many things can piss people off on social media networks, but what you should remember is to not impose anything on anyone, give them the chance to choose whether they want to try a thing or click a link…constantly tweeting or tagging people trying to get them to click a link or read a post might get you blocked/unfollowed or muted.
  • Employ A Competent Social  Media Manager:  Okay so you have identified some social media influencers to tweet about your business, but that is NOT enough. It is very important to get a dedicated Social Media Manager,  whose job it is to engage  and interact with the people that make up your network. The Social Media Manager handles your Social Media Accounts, letting people know about your brand, products & Services you offer, always available to answer inquiries and more importantly engaging and interacting and creating relationships with the people in your network. The biggest mistake most small businesses make is not having a Social Media Manager.  At the end of the day the good job the influencers might have done will not have any effect because there is no follow up. If you are too busy get someone to handle your social media accounts. You need to monitor what people are saying about your brand/product, business and address it the very moment it comes up, whether good or bad.
  • It’s not magic: Every company wants tons of followers, but hey guess what, it doesn’t happen overnight. Well unless you are giving out money or gifts or you get some celebrity endorsement. You have to be patient but with time your network will grow.
  • Ripple Effects: Social media marketing later leads to word of mouth marketing.  For example, Someone sees something on a site they frequent every day, maybe about a clothing store. You meet a friend who says they need a shoe or something …and you remember oh yeah “there is this person whose opinion I trust and was advertising this really cool clothing store with affordable stuff, I think I can get a number” and that is how it happens. Slowly but surely your network will grow.
  There is still a whole LOT to talk about but this is just the first of many other Social Media Marketing discussions to come.

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