Social Media 101 – Where to Learn

Interested in learning about social media (SM)and how you can make it work to promote your business? It is the latest and greatest way to promote your business. Marketing professionals say it should not replace traditional marketing but rather compliment those avenues. Here are some ideas to get the training you need to begin or expand your social media campaign.

  • Check out your local business associations for guest speakers who specialize in social media. Many associations will allow you to attend as a guest if you are not a member. Most are reasonably priced and some are free.
  • Search on the internet for free webinars on SM. Many marketing firms have free webinars available on their website.
  • Connect with a local office of the Small Business Administration (SBA) for local counseling and training. The SBA has resources on their website for free online webinars. SCORE is one of the associations that partner with the SBA in providing small business owners resources to help them grow and manage their business.
  • SCORE is hosting a free webinar on June 21st at 1:00 EST on SEO Basics: Helping Your Customers Find Your Business Online.

Here is what the experts had to say during the recent National Small Business Association’s Social Media Forum.

Your focus should be on your goals for using social media in your business rather than the tools themselves. The recommended key goals should be used to develop and promote your company brand (perceived emotional corporate image as a whole) rather than any particular person.

  1. Awareness: Keep your clients informed of what your business is doing
  2. Amplification: Broadening Word of Mouth
  3. Engage: Allow easy participation by clients

Social Media can serve many purposes to a business owner. Not only can you engage your clients, making connections to develop relationships, but you can use social media to collect input, address concerns, provide customer service and attract new customers.

Five good reasons to use social media:

  1. Means to an end
  2. Great Promotional Tool
  3. Networking
  4. Learn about competition (didn’t think about this one, did you?)
  5. Market Research

Important Considerations:

  • Make your company brand on all your SM platforms uniform
  • Be perceived as adding valuable information to customers
  • Having good content is priority
  • Analyze audience on each platform; then target persona to appeal to that targeted audience
  • Use SM as business intelligence tool
  • SM connects businesses with virtual service providers outside local area – consider how you can benefit from this use
  • Where are your customers and where can they be found? This tells you which platforms you should use
  • Search for businesses in your industry to see who follows them to analyze each platform
  • Use social media to drive business to your website and to your door (SM should be a directional tool to find your business)

The experts discussed future developments within the SM industry:

  • Providing mobile and I-pad tools (time to think about whether your website is in the right format to be viewed on these devices)
  • Integration within large platforms rather than new platforms being developed
  • Twitter will be launching a small business platform in the next 12 to 24 months

Get informed and put social media to work for you. Connect with the big wide world out there and grow your business.

How do you use social media to grow your business? Share your story. I know you have one…My husband laughs at me for calling posts on Twitter as “Twits” rather than “Tweets”. But hey, I’m a numbers gal!

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