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5 Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

In a recent survey (Fall 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey) among 2,000 small business owners, 81% reported using social media to market their business. However, another study showed that even though the majority of small business owners use social media, the majority of them (67%) are still holding back on investing in this rising method, simply because they don’t know where to begin. Hopefully the following tips I’m about to share with you will give you the head start needed to market your business successfully in this new and exciting world of social media:

1) Show them the “real you” - Don’t use Facebook or twitter to talk only about your business and to share only professional tips and advice. People like to know the person they are dealing with; deepening that connection will help you market your business better. You’re an extreme adventurer? Photos from your last kayaking trip will go a long way with costumers. An aspiring chef? Photos and recipes of your latest delicacies will help people better relate to you and to you business. Be careful not to overdo it though, because it can turn from adoring to annoying in a hurry.

2) Choose one media and stick with it - Because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Find which media has the largest concentration of your target audience and invest in that one. Don’t try to overreach – many small businesses have limited resources, with time being one of them. Invest in the design of your page - it will show people that you are serious about your business.

3) Turn your page into a lead-generating machine - Be active, get as many names and emails as possible and build a base of clients that you can contact on a regular basis. On Facebook, for example, you can use iFrame to create a welcome tab encouraging people to “like” you and become fans; after they’ve done this you can offer valuable prizes in exchange for their names and emails. On twitter you can simply be active and add people to you “follow” list; most people don’t turn off their email notification that they get when someone follows them. This way they’ll see that you added them and most will add you back as well. Furthermore, monitor your friends and followers. It will help you get a better idea on their needs and build relationships better and faster.

4) Bring your company onto video - Short videos are probably the most effective way today to gain exposure and moving up the search results in Google or similar search engines. Create a YouTube page and link it with the other networks. Remember to keep things short though. Nobody will watch a 20 minute video about your product but most people will take 2 minutes to watch a short humorous video that achieves the same goal. Also, learn how video contents works - the right tagging, title and publishing method will take a long way in term of exposure. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a thumbnail of a video will catch the eye of potential costumer better.

5) Don’t withhold information - A lot of businesses are reluctant to share their “industry secrets”. By being different and actually going after the real problems that are plaguing costumers, you’ll gain the competitive edge that you need. Do this right and you’ll be shared and linked by many. You can start by writing down the most interesting and hard-to-answer questions relating to your business and create online content that provide solutions to each question. Do this on a regular basis to really see improvements in exposure.

Follow those tips and your social media adventure will start off on the right foot and will help raise your business to the next level.

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