Social media provides many opportunities for small businesses to interact with existing and potential customers.
Small Irish Businesses can use Facebook and Twitter in many ways to benefit and enhance their business. Here are 10
1: For smaller business a good reputation is vital to a businesses success. Facebook and Twitter can be a tool used here. Smaller businesses should advertise their business in store and run competitions that draw a crowd to their page
2: Facebook has 1.2 billion users and twitter 700 million. Reaching every country. Unfortunately a lot of businesses think that Social Media can only be used effectively by larger businesses. This could not be further from the truth. There is a huge list of small businesses that have used Social Media effectively. A portion of that list can be seen here.
3: Links: This in my opinion is the best Facebook tool. You can put links on your Facebook page that lead straight to your website. This is very handy for companies who’s websites do not get enough traffic from potential customers.
4: Unlike traditional marketing tools Facebook and Twitter are a place where the small business can compete equally with the bigger business. For example Advertising on TV, newspapers and radio can be very expensive for a smaller lesser known business. However Social Media is a lot less expensive and easier to reach your target market.
5: Small businesses are often scared to use Twitter and Facebook. As long as Social Media is used properly and not abused, NO BUSINESS should be afraid of it. Here is a webpage that I found very interesting about small business using twitter.
6: Do not post everything you see on the businesses social media pages. Current and Potential customers are only interested in the important details. Do not post updates too often, it only annoys the customer. There has being many cases of customer Unliking pages because it fills their news-feed.Strong content is central to engaging with an online audience, what you say has to be of interest to your fans/followers.
7: Customer Service; Social Media has become the best and most accurate social media tool around. It is all done in real time. So if businesses manage their page right then customers should get a positive experience about the business. However there is a downside to this as well. When a customer posts on Facebook they expect feedback within 3 hours. If a business deletes or ignores a comment then customers will begin to talk about the business elsewhere (word of mouth and discussion groups/forums). The person in charge of social media needs to deal both positive and negative posts professionally and as quick as possible doing this will enhance the reputation of the business. Leading to better customer interaction.
8: Smaller Sports Club and Organizations have gained new members through Facebook. By posting meeting/training times up on the page potential members can easily view them. Two examples I found of these were Ballyphehane GAA Club and Togher Athletic Club. By regularly posting news and results on their page the members of the club have grown steadily since they joined Facebook. This is no coincidence. Here is a link to Togher and Ballyphehane GAA Facebook pages.
9: Listen. This sounds simple but yet many companies forget to do it. Listen to what people are saying about product/services. Respond to negative comments as well as the positive ones. This is what Social Media is for. Having an active Twitter account can be half the battle here.
10: Keeping Track. If something works once don’t just keep doing it. Things on social media can get old very quickly. Stay Original. Review your strategy and ideas every now and again. This should make sure you continue to get all the benefits out of Facebook and Twitter.