Social media for small businesses

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Image by Randy Son Of Robert via Flickr

At FreshNetworks we work with a lot of large brands and organisations, helping them to use social media and online communities to engage their customers, stakeholders and other people. Small businesses often think that they don’t have the resources or the demand for a social media agency or to even need to engage their customers and other online. This is very often not true, in fact more often than not the opposite is the case.

Small businesses can benefit hugely from using social media to engage people online. It can help them to reach people in a very cost effective manner. It can let them have a presence online that is bigger than their size might suggest they are. And it can let them have a voice and share their opinions and knowledge on subjects relevant to their products and services.

We’ve written before about how any business can get started in social media, about the four steps any brand should do when they are getting started in social media:

  • Step One:  Do you know what people are saying about you? Buzz tracking, social media monitoring, the power of understanding who is talking about you where and why, and some great free tools for any brand to use
  • Step Two: What do you want to achieve? Working out your brand’s aims and objectives (and making these measurable) is the single most important factor in a successful social media strategy. Do this before you think about technology.
  • Step Three: Have a go and experiment with social media Once you have clear objectives that are measurable it’s time to get going. Try things out and experiment, but make sure you do them where you know you will have the greatest chance of achieving these aims and engaging the people you want to engage.
  • Step Four: Track and evaluate the success you are having When you are using social media tools it is essential that you are measuring and tracking your performance against these aims. Measurement is critical and assessing the benefit you are having will help you to refine and improve your strategy overall.

The same is true for small businesses, they should know what is being said about them, plan what they want to achieve and then experiment and measure success. Over the next week, we are going to discuss four different tools that small businesses can use. All of them free and all helping in different ways to meet different aims and objectives. From blogging to  Foursquare we’ll give real practical tips on social media for small businesses.

You can read all our posts on social media for small businesses here

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