this post was taken from an article written for the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce’s Monthly Newsletter
So lately everyone is talking about 2 things, the recession and social media. While most may think they are unrelated, my opinion is they are. Most members of this chamber are small business owners and rely heavily on the income of their businesses to support their lifestyles and their families. A tight time for consumers has meant even tighter times for retailers and small business owners. The question then is how to draw more people to your store to maintain monthly sales and revenue. Advertising and marketing can be a tool to lean on during these times and, when used properly, should help you achieve this goal. As we all know, there are many ways to market yourself and your business and also advertise for new customers.
Utilizing different marketing/advertising outlets is vital in this economy. Whether you choose ads in local papers, special sales and promotions or radio/tv advertisements, everyone is searching for the right tools to drive more business. I would like to speak a bit about a tool not used by many in this chamber to help in your business promotion. Social media, (Facebook, Twitter, or a website blog), are great, inexpensive, and even fun tools, that can be used by all and will surely be beneficial for your business and your consumers. For this article, I would like to focus on one piece of social media in particular, “FACEBOOK”.
When Facebook first started years ago, it was strictly for college students and in order to join you had to have an “.edu” email address. Times have changed and of course these limitations have changed. With the change in rules and the huge influx of 40+ something’s (now the quickest growing demographic on the site), Facebook is primed for use by businesses looking to tap into their specific target audiences and achieve branding, lead generation and inexpensive and effective marketing strategies.
While there is an advertising platform available on Facebook (much like that on Google and Yahoo), my suggestion today comes in the form of working on branding and general increased exposure and consumer awareness of what you do, as well as what services your business can offer. By being part of the Chamber, each of you is making an effort to NETWORK your business to those you feel can use your service. Just think of Facebook another chamber, another networking outlet. Use it to connect to people you may have lost touch with, other people offering your services, or directly to your past clients.
People you may have lost touch with:
Using Facebook as a way to get back in touch is great. It’s always nice to see how your high school or college sweetheart turned out or to reconnect with you best friends from years ago. Finding a way to use these connections to generate SALES is where the benefit comes in. Be sure to expose every one of your “friends” to your business and your services. Make sure they have a full understanding of what you do and why they NEED you. Facebook is free but the revenue potential can be priceless (thanks MasterCard).
Other people offering your services:
It is extremely important to have a good grasp on the market for your service/industry. What are others charging for your goods? What are they doing to promote their business and advertise for it? What are some new technologies or special goods that your competitors are offering that you may not know about or may not be offering? Being on top of your “game” is vital to securing the business of consumers as opposed to losing their business to your competitors.
Marketing directly to your past clients:
I am sure I do not need to explain the benefits of Customer Loyalty, but for the sake of this article, let’s dive into it a bit. Positive Consumer Experience should be something that all businesses (especially small businesses) strive for in their day to day operations. Happy customers refer new customers. Keep a database of your client’s names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Connect to them on Facebook by creating a Group or Page for your business. Providing “fans” and “members” of your groups and pages with special coupons, advanced purchase options, etc will help generate more sales and help you present your business as a leader in your industry.
Now that you have this info, what to do next:
If you do not have a facebook account, get one. It is free and only takes a few minutes to get set up. If you have any questions about how to set it up, ask your kids or grandkids. Promise them you won’t snoop or spy on them and they should help you. If not, send me an email and I will assist you. Create your facebook profile, invite your friends (you can import a list of emails or just type in your friend’s names). Once your profile is created, develop a GROUP or PAGE for your business and invite all your friends to that. Again, for assistance just ask for help. Most kids will know how to do this.
All of these suggestions are good for business regardless of economic conditions but while so many are looking to cut back and save, knowing what all of your options are will help you make it through the rough spots and aid in lead generation and sales.
This has been the first installment of what I hope to be an ongoing series. Let’s call it “Tech Talk” for the time being. Consider it as a general forum for information about the internet and how it can be used to help improve your business and expand its reach in your market and industry. If you have any questions about the information in this article or internet in general, let me know and I can cover it my next “edition”.
CEO – UBE, Inc.
contact (@) ube-inc.com