Today marks a day that will no doubt signal even more revenue invested in social media marketing: A new report shows that more than 85% of small business owners believe social media marketing has a positive impact on their bottom line. This is a marked departure from the days when you had to convince these same people to make the move to social media marketing. Although just because they know social media marketing works does not mean they know how to use it. In fact, nearly as many small businesses report they are hesitant to invest in social media marketing because they either don’t know where to start or worry it will cost too much.
Good news and bad news.
With nearly everyone clamoring to get their ducks in a row when it comes to social media marketing, not everyone knows exactly where to begin, or how. There are a few things to bear in mind before you start allocating resources, and that’s the first thing to consider: resources. Coca-Cola has a very active and aggressive social media marketing plan, but they also have the resources available to mega-corporation to get it done. If you own a small to medium-sized business you likely don’t have that sort of money to throw around. It’s ok, there are plenty of things you can do that are well within your reach. A Facebook Fan Page is free and usually only requires a few hours a week to keep it fresh, stay in touch with visitors and promote events, sales, specials–whatever.
A Twitter account is also free to use and doesn’t require too much effort, but it does need to be updated multiple times during each day and it works best as a directional tool. Guiding people to web sites, blogs or destination links is the best use of the micro-blogging service for small or medium-sized businesses. You can also tweak your Twitter background so it provides information on all your available online locations; your physical address and contact information.
And if you are a business professional of any size you need a LinkedIn account right now. LinkedIn is the place where you can post your credentials, business information, services, background–anything which pertains to who you are and what you do. This is a MUST-HAVE for anyone in business today. And like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is also free, putting it within reach of anyone with an internet connection.
A report from SocialStrategy1 and Office Arrow found that 88 percent of small business owners believe social media marketing has current or future impacts on their businesses. Meanwhile, the remaining 12 percent are ignoring the channel.
The reasons for using social media content identified by the poll include improved brand awareness, lead generation and customer service among other things. However, some companies said they weren’t really sure why they use it despite seeing positive benefits from the service. This speaks to the rising need to set social marketing goals; as Brafton has reported, just 23 percent of businesses are happy with their social analytics and setting social success metrics was a topic at the recent SES Chicago conference.
In terms of the platforms most popular among the responding companies, Facebook led the pack with , used by 61 percent. Forty-eight percent said they use LinkedIn, and 37 percent are active on microblogging website Twitter.
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