As a small business owner, you simply can’t afford to be a one man island. With nearly 75% of adults in the United States using social networking sites, online interaction is key for obtaining new leads and business. Becoming a more social business seems obvious enough, but HOW do you exactly go about doing that? Here are three key pieces of advice to form new connections online and get a leg up on your competitors.
Embrace mobile technology
If you don’t think there’s value in mobile advertising, consider this. As of 2013, more than 55% of online shoppers were using their mobile device to make purchases instead of their PC or laptop. There’s a wealth of available information and big data out there concerning the shopping and spending habits of mobile users. Businesses are becoming more socially savvy and using this information to the gain competitive advantages. They’re offering specials based on proximity to their location, personalizing their marketing messages, and creating micro-content to fit the attention span of mobile users.
Listen and learn
Believe it or not, becoming a more social business is often much more about listening than speaking. Paying attention to industry trends can also spark great content ideas for your company blog and social media posts. Social listening gives you a direct connection to how your customers feel about your employees and service. You’re also able to avoid a PR nightmare by responding swiftly to any complaints or negative reviews. Perhaps most importantly, you’re able to pick up on what your customers need or want, and can tailor your marketing message to serve those purposes.
Engage in real-time marketing
In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Reggie Bradford, Oracle Senior Vice President of Product Development said,We’re entering an era of real-time marketing. If you’re not engaged in that conversation, you’re going to miss out“[pullquote]We’re entering an era of real-time marketing. If you’re not engaged in that conversation, you’re going to miss out[/pullquote].” Major sporting events, such as the World Cup, holidays, or even times of crisis are all examples of events when real-time marketing can benefit your business far more than any paid advertisement.
Bonus Tip: Split your online interactions between following an actual marketing strategy, and posting/responding on the fly. In either case, you should be aligning with your business goals and core values as a company. However, if you always follow a plan, you could miss out on some golden opportunities. On the flip side, if you only post when you have time and/or feel like it, you could very easily become inconsistent and drop off of people’s radar.