3 Reasons Why Business Social Media Continues to be a Non-Negotiable Marketing Tool

3 Reasons Why Business Social Media Continues to be a Non-Negotiable Marketing Tool

Did you work for (or own) a business before social media arrived on the scene? It really wasn’t all that long ago. If you did, then you remember how businesses once relied upon other options – such as cold-calling, tradeshow booths, or printed ads – when it came to handling their marketing and communications.

Before business social media came about, brands handled their limited options as well as they could. However, most organizations suffered to some extent from the effects of their narrow reach, primarily in the forms of decreased lead generation and revenue.

Now, let’s fast-forward to more recent years. Many companies, regardless of size and industry, have either embraced – or at least begun to embrace – business social media as part of their overall marketing and brand communication strategies.

Business social media is no longer perceived as a “shiny object,” or a passing fad. Instead, social media communication and marketing have become “must-dos” for all brands that are serious about boosting their presence online.

In a recent article for Ironpaper, a company which helps organizations grow and thrive in a digital world, the author compiled a terrific list of social media statistics.

These stats include the following about business social media, helping further prove social media’s benefits for brands including it within their marketing and brand communication strategies:

  • 54% of B2B marketers have generated leads from social media. – CMO
  • 60% of all social media traffic to B2B websites comes from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. – SteamFeed
  • For online retailers, Pinterest (24.8%) and Facebook (24.2%) drive the highest share of social revenue. – AddShoppers
  • When people follow a brand on Twitter, 72% are more likely to make a future purchase from that brand. – Twitter

One of my favorite sayings is, “numbers don’t lie.” With percentages like these, it’s easy to see that the numbers are increasing favorably for brands. Wouldn’t you agree that now is a great time for brands to include business social media as a tool, along with their other marketing and communication strategies (if they haven’t already)?

Here are 3 main reasons why business social media is a non-negotiable component of your organization’s strategy for your marketing, brand communications, and online presence:

1) Business social media offers the same opportunity for brand visibility, no matter what your organization’s size.

Social media certainly helps level the playing field for brands of all sizes. Business social media offers every organization the exact same opportunity to build and maintain social media platforms. Each brand, regardless of size or revenue, is provided with the same amount of online space, along with the same options, to use relevant and effective keywords, verbiage, and/or advertising for reaching their audiences online.

Business social media platforms provide your organization with one of the most efficient marketing and communications methods by allowing you to easily showcase your brand and offerings online. Even better? Business social media is an effective way to increase your business’ online presence without breaking the bank. This is especially good news for smaller brands with limited marketing budgets.

2) Social media allows organizations to “hear” what people are saying about them online

Social media communication can be invaluable for brands using it to listen online, rather than just for broadcasting all the time. Listening allows your business to learn first-hand about those things which really matter to your audience and potential clients. This knowledge then gives you the chance to take appropriate action and “wow” them.

When brands remember that social media communication requires both engaging with and listening to their audience, they are more likely to gain their trust and loyalty. As brands focus on building real relationships with people, they may end up closing more business than they would have through sales alone.

3) Social media boosts your brand’s online presence, which in turn boosts your brand’s presence overall.

Without a doubt, business social media continues to help organizations bolster their online presence every day. Did you know that using social media also helps with your brand’s presence offline? Percentages vary (I’ve seen as high as 97% in a few places), but it’s definitely a large percentage of consumers who research potential purchases online before making their final buying decisions. They go online to learn more about your brand, what you offer, and how much value you provide over your competitors. If you want to attract these potential clients, then it’s important that you strengthen your online presence through building and maintaining your business social media platforms.

 

Is your business ready to add social media to its marketing mix and enhance your brand’s marketing and communication strategies? Feel free to leave a comment below – I would love to hear your thoughts.

Here We Grow! Cool Tools for Small Business Growth

After finally launching their startups off the ground, the next step that most entrepreneurs and small business/startup owners dream of is watching their new businesses grow.

Whether a startup grows into a larger SMB (small and medium-sized business) or into a larger enterprise depends upon many different factors.

And although some of the factors related to small business growth are truly random, successful growth requires strategy. One smart strategy for small business growth is finding the right tool or tools from the get go.

Small business growth and taking your business to the next level typically requires unique tools

There are plenty of tools available that you can start using as a fledgling company that will not only help you grow, but will also grow as you do.

Here are three types of tools you may consider when starting out:

1) CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Solutions

One of the first tools you should consider is a robust CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution. A good CRM helps you stay organized, keep track of your business interactions, housing all of your important client (and potential client) data, and keeping that valuable data up-to-date – all of which are important for small business growth.

Brian Sutter lists the key reasons why a CRM is essential for businesses in all stages of growth in his recent article for Entrepreneur as follows:

  • It maximizes financial opportunities by building relationships.
  • It allows businesses access to customer information.
  • It manages sales pipelines.
  • It manages sales representatives.
  • It analyzes performance and business metrics for spotting patterns and trends.

 

Here are three popular CRMs that are scalable for growing small businesses:

 

1) Insightly offers affordable CRM solutions for the smallest of businesses all the way through the enterprise level. It is a cloud-based CRM, which means employees can add and access data from anywhere, including mobile devices.

2) NetSuite CRM software is unique in that it is the only cloud solution that delivers a real-time 360-degree view of your customer. As they state on their site: “From midsize to enterprise, businesses of every size are slashing their total cost of ownership, improving their finance team’s productivity and integrating their sales and finance processes. And they can now securely access their business applications from anywhere.

3) Salesforce is also top CRM pick among businesses of all sizes, mainly because it is versatile, intuitive, and easy to use. Salesforce comes with many options for expanding beyond the CRM’s core functionalities (i.e., contact management, lead generation, forecasting and reports). As your business grows, so will the practicality of this CRM.

2) E-Commerce Solutions

E-commerce has been a popular strategy for small business growth among retailers for quite some time now.

And without a doubt, the startups and small businesses that implement e-commerce into their sales and marketing strategies often experience faster growth than their more traditional brick and mortar counterparts.

Peter Roesler touches upon some reasons why small businesses need e-commerce in his recent article for Inc. He states the following:

Investing in ecommerce is important for all businesses, because consumers use all channels at their disposal when researching, selecting and buying a product. In-store browsers can become online shoppers and vice versa.

More benefits of e-commerce include elimination of geographical boundaries and zero issues with time zones. With online stores, small business owners only spend a fraction of the costs associated with starting up and maintaining their businesses compared to similar brick and mortar stores.

 

Here are three popular e-commerce solutions for small businesses that are anticipating or already in the process of rapid growth:

 

1) Magento provides flexible tools that meet your online business’ unique needs and allows you to run your store effectively and efficiently. Magento’s enterprise solutions are scalable, support your growth, and grow as you do.

2) Shopify offers a user-friendly, clean, and modern interface for its users and is known as one of the world’s most scalable platforms. They even offer e-commerce software for all business sizes: small, medium and even enterprise solutions. A large benefit Shopify offers online businesses is a fully responsive web platform. This is a must-have for the large numbers of people who now shop via their smartphones and other mobile devices.

3) WooCommerce is currently one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the web. This solution works when you already have a WordPress-powered website for your business; it is built to integrate seamlessly with your site. Through extensions, you can build and control the online storefront that is perfect for your business’ individual requirements.

3) Social Media Marketing Solutions

In November 2014, I wrote a post about popular social media tools that three well-known marketers use and recommend for their own businesses.

 

Here are three of the tools from this post which are useful for your startup – and they can keep up with you as you grow:

 

1) Buffer allows users to schedule and share posts to major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn – and most recently, Pinterest.

2) Google Alerts lets you monitor the web for content related to nearly any topic you choose.

3) Hootsuite lets an individual or an entire organization manage multiple social media profiles from one place. Hootsuite’s functions include scheduling social media content, reporting, and social engagement opportunities.

Over to you

Are you a small business or startup owner who is projecting large growth rates? What tools do you recommend for small business growth? I would love to hear your suggestions…please feel free to leave a comment below.

Social Listening Tools For Small Business Owners

Yay BooSocial listening is a hot topic for businesses of all sizes, as it should be. Small business owners in particular can benefit from social listening as they seek to grow their businesses. A variety of social listening tools are available, and many are free or inexpensive. These tools allow businesses to glean valuable information which will help them grow without much additional expense.

Small business owners can use social listening tools to find out what people are saying about them online. A good use of this knowledge includes taking the information they obtain and applying it to better serve current customers and to gain new ones. For example, let’s say some customers start complaining about a local restaurant on social media channels. The business owner who tunes in with social listening tools “hears” these complaints and is able to take swift action to resolve them. Time is of the essence and a quick resolution often becomes a customer service “win.”

Small business owners may also use social listening to monitor their competition. For example, a small retailer who is struggling with pricing may use social listening tools to see what clients are saying about his or her competitors’ prices. Social listening provides a competitive edge for the retailer, allowing him or her to offer the same or better prices.

The following social listening tools are affordable, easy to use and provide effective results for a small business owners:

  1. Social MentionThis social listening tool is super easy and provides a lot of information very quickly – for free. The user plugs in a keyword, and the tool does the search across 100+ social media networks.
  2. Topsy: This tool has a free search engine which looks a lot like Google. The search engine type capabilities provide accurate and robust results. Another useful feature is the ability for users to filter searches within time frames which range from the past hour, all the way through “everything.”
  3. Trackur: This social listening tool is not free, but prices start as low as $27/month for complete social media monitoring and management. They also offer a 10-day free trial for each of their four plans.

These particular tools offer small business owners an inexpensive way to get direct feedback about their businesses. Businesses who “listen” experience huge payoffs, no matter which social listening tools they choose; they have the opportunity to engage with their customers, improve the way they provide services, and do better business overall.

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