Essential Social Media for Small Businesses
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” ~Oscar Wilde
"If your prospective client, customer, or patient cannot find you online, you don't exist," says online visibility expert Denise Wakeman. Search your business's name on Google or Yahoo.
Where are you today with your online visibility plan and what can social media do to help you?
As small business owners, most of us lack the funding it takes to become visible online overnight. We want to have a successful website, but we might not have the knowledge to maintain one. Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter can provide small business owners with the opportunity to become visible on the web without the high cost of hiring a web developer.
All businesses are different and all customers are different. To determine which social media tool is best for your business, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What do my Customers use?
Consider Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google +, but don't forget to ask your customers which tools they use. After all, it's about them, not you. Find out which social media platforms they use and try to connect with them there.
2. What tool is best suited to help me share information about my Business?
The social media tool I recommend depends on the type of product or service you offer and your ability to create content about it. For example, if you offer food, you probably want to use Facebook and Pinterest because each enables you to share pictures. If you are a consultant who’s in the business of sharing advice, you will have more credibility using LinkedIn or Twitter.
3. How can I make my Content Smartphone-Friendly?
Our world is moving to mobile and so I suggest considering Foursquare, Yelp, and Google Places to take advantage of this trend. You need to be visible to mobile device users near you. What if you own a restaurant and I'm in town just for the day? If your business doesn't show up on my phone, you don't exist.
Once you’ve chosen the social media tools that fit your business, use them to start conversations with your customers. Allow them to express themselves; listen and answer. People like to do business with people. They want to get to know the person behind the brand, and through social media, customers gain the ability to tell the world what they think about your brand.
Schedule half an hour every day to share information related to your business. Make sure to plan accordingly and measure your results. Check your own e-mail and use relevant information to share or create content. You will be surprised by how many people will appreciate it. After all, people love to be a part of the conversation.
Want to learn more? Rising Tide Capital will be hosting "Social Media for Your Small Business"
When: Thursday June 28, 2012, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: St. Paul's Lutheran Church Basement, 440 Hoboken Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
An entrepreneur himself, Luis De La Hoz is the founder of a tax preparation and financial service called Mar Mar Enterprises in New Brunswick. When he's not preparing tax returns, De La Hoz works tirelessly to help fellow entrepreneurs. He runs a consultancy focusing on Latino small businesses and helps the local Small Business Development Center reach out to Hispanic clientele. De La Hoz also works as a loan officer for the Intersect Fund, a New Brunswick-based nonprofit that lends to local low-income entrepreneurs. De La Hoz holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Manizales in Manizales, Colombia, and a certificate in Management from the University of the Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.