Monday, March 9, 2015

Get on social media

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      to help you better manage your small business.

     Many of your current and future customers are living the digital life. Social media is the new go-to. Along with all the mobile options.

     People follow each other on Facebook. They tweet their friends. They text everything. They join LinkedIn, post on Instagram and Pinterest and much more. 

     All sorts of possibilities are open to you today. You have options that didn't exist 5 or 10 years ago, and more are coming at you. And going digital can mean re-thinking your business.

     Example: Tim is a baker who made a drastic transition. He closed his retail bakery, opting for a web-based operation. His website shows the goodies he offers. His cookies and pastries are now sold all over the country, delivered overnight if the customer orders before 2 p.m. His customers now find him on his Facebook page and other social media. These drive traffic to his website where they place their orders. Customers once drove several miles to get to his bake shop. Now they order online, and social media does the driving for them--along with UPS and Fedex.

     This bakery operation has used social media and a website to expand to a much bigger operation. There was a transition time, but the bakery is now much bigger than possible with just a storefront with a website. 

     Example: Joyce owns a long-established wellness center offering massages, yoga, and other specialties. She maintained an email list but did not use social media. She decided to take the plunge and started with a completely new website. The site was attractive, easy to navigate, and she emailed an announcement to her clients. After months of keeping up with the costs and maintenance of the site, Joyce took a second hard look. Less than 100 new viewers had actually used the site, and she could attribute very few sales to it. She decided it was time for a change. She left the website in place and reached out on social media with pictures she snapped herself and posted. The response, including referrals, was immediate. Within the first month on Facebook, Joyce added three new clients. Facebook was driving people to her website and viewership there quickly increased. Referrals showed up.

     Businesses once put up a website and that was that. Today, many of those stagnant websites are everywhere--costing time and money, but delivering little. 

     To make websites useful, businesses must drive traffic to them. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and more are doing a good job. They capture the attention of potential clients. Mobile does as well. Then, you can get the desired bump in website viewership and growth. 

     A website is a great tool for small business. But going digital is much more than setting up your website. Use all the social media you deem appropriate to realize your potential.