Millions of active internet users are spending hours every day on reading blogs, disussing their problems via online communities, using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The number of channels which are part of social media (or WEB 2.0) continue to grow. All of these channels can be used for communicating a company's brand or products.
Social media is the digital "word-of-mouth" of the 21st century. Internet users can find advice on any decisions of life. For example, it is the 'wisdom of crowds' which can make a product hip or let it flop. Opinions about a product or company are voiced on channels of the social media network; bloggers might write an article about your company; a customer might publish a review on your WEB site about one of your products or a fan could set a social bookmark to your WEB site. All of these social activities can be positive or negative for the image of your company or product. One big difference to the original 'word-of-mouth': "The internet doesn't forget!" What's written is there to stay and visible to the world.
Facebook & Twitter
While there are various social networking sites which many business owners are members of, there are two which stand out from the crowd - Facebook and Twitter!
Facebook is still leading the social media trend and can't be ignored. Twitter proves to be important in the marketing efforts of small businesses despite the fact that you have to compress your message into 140 characters.
Facebook has many advantages. It's free, has a huge active community, uses the popular 'Like' button and allows highly targeted advertising. Twitter can support viral messaging and is the fastest communication channel on the WEB. Which to use should be decided on the nature of your company's requirements.
Social Media for Small Businesses?
When the first internet user writes something online about your company, then you are faced with dealing with the social media trend - if you like it or not!
We recommend to most small businesses to encourage social media conversation on the WEB.
There is so much potential for a small business to let others promote your company and products. Some monitoring of the activities is important and a plan how to deal with criticism. A social media campaign needs to be integrated with all other marketing activities. Therefore, a clear marketing plan should outline how to use social media and how to monitor it. Please note, social media can be encouraged by the company's WEB site.