It’s possible you have more knowledge about social media than you know. You likely have a Facebook page, LinkedIn, and/or a Twitter account. Perhaps you are on Google+ or whatever else is the hot social media flavor of the month, and undoubtedly, you have watched videos on YouTube or Vevo.
That said, being an unpremeditated participant on social media in a personal way is significantly different than actively and purposefully using it to grow your business, which should constitute your ultimate goal. The challenge accompanying this task can be extremely dangerous, because social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it offers a vast sea of possibilities and people to meet who can interact with your business, specifically people and opportunities you otherwise would not encounter in the physical, real, non-virtual world.
On the other hand, however, it is far too easy for many to become lost in the cosmic social media universe, or to spend too much time there, because being present in the limbo can often be more fun than working. Wasting time, marketing efforts, energy, and precious capital chasing leads that never materialize is one of the hazards of incorporating the use of social media.
Or, perhaps you fall at the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you believe that social media is not for you and/or your business, and you’re merely reading this article out of curiosity, but not much more. If that is the case, then you are missing a huge opportunity more so than those wasting all day tweeting, posting, and updating their Facebook statuses with nothing that will prove beneficial to their business. Instead, heed this advice: the most effective method to comprehend social media is to view it as a conversation. People (i.e. potential clients/customers) are already online, on these sites, and participating in conversations about everything imaginable. They are chatting about your industry, your products, your services, your competitors, maybe even your business.
You can perform proactively and contribute to these tête-à-têtes to help guide and influence them, or you can keep your head in the sand, convinced that your contribution makes no difference. Which sounds more accurate?
Now, do you have to become part of this social media insurgency? Does your business really need a Facebook business page? Of course not. It’s possible to survive adequately without jumping in. That said, however, does it not make a little sense to join the conversation and see where it leads or at least gage the trends? What about joining in social if for no other reason other than to be part of the online discussion with your own, current consumers? What about using it to build your brand, prospect, and make more sales? Do you see how powerful it might actually be for your industry?
Be cognoscente of the fact that studies prove the self-employed and small business owners were more likely to report new partnerships, with at least 59% noting a benefit. Furthermore, small businesses were twice more likely to find qualified leads than other types of businesses. 48% of self-employed and small business owners saw improved sales as a direct result of their social media efforts. Furthermore, the self-employed (59%) and small business owners (58%) were more likely than others to see reductions in marketing costs when using social media marketing. (Statistics from Social Media Examiner (04-2011)) Essentially, this study proves that time is a key success factor for social media marketers. Spend more time (wisely, of course) using social media, and you’re likely to see greater results.” How much time? It depends on your experience.
Efficient implementation of social media will increase more traffic, more relationships, and a better brand awareness.
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