5 Ways Social Media Can Help You Grow Your Small Business
The economic boom of India and investor-friendly policies adopted by the Central and state governments are encouraging more people into entrepreneurship. Indeed, the last three years have seen more businesses of all sizes open in this country than anytime earlier in history.
There are several contributory factors to this phenomenon. Firstly, single-window clearance for licenses and permits required to open a small business is the most significant encouraging factor.
This is combined with the possibility of getting investments for small business through crowdfunding or loans under the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank (Mudra Bank) on flexible terms. The third is the increasing preference among Indians for owning a business that opens doors to wealth, instead of the earlier trend of seeking stable jobs.
However, a small enterprise also comes with its plethora of problems.
Problems of Small Businesses
The main hurdle every small business encounters is a lack of funds. Though you may avail of a bank loan or crowdfunding, the money you get will be commensurate with the size of your business. There are hundreds of business ideas that are workable and indeed, profitable too. Every entrepreneur has to grapple with a lack of funds before and at least for a few months after launch.
Money problems faced by small businesses means:
- They are unable to spend on advertising and other promotions.
- Expanding into newer markets can prove challenging.
- Making profits tends to be slower due to limited investments.
- Difficulties in hiring the right talent at salaries matching skills and experience.
Despite, proper use of free social media can merely overcome a lot of these problems. In fact, social media can help grow your small business in several ways.
Social Media Rescue
To efficiently counter some teething problems your small business may encounter, UNLOCK potential of the social media. Here we refer mainly to free social media sites including Facebook Business, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also harness YouTube for some purposes. Here we examine five ways in which social media can help your small business to grow.
Advertising & Marketing
Advertising and marketing are the core functions of any small business. Without these, your business remains unknown, regardless of uniqueness or superior quality of your brand of products and services. Spending on conventional advertising through print, digital or electronic media costs a fortune. Hiring a marketing team also eats heavily into your seed money or investment.
You can overcome these hurdles by opening a Facebook Business page and creating a LinkedIn profile. A Facebook Business page allows for posting exciting information about your brand, and its products advertise for vacancies, look for franchise partners as well as bag orders. You should make your business page engaged to get maximum out of your FB page.
A LinkedIn profile is excellent to promote your business within your chosen industry and grab the attention of decision-makers to find customers. Instagram and Pinterest allow you to post pictures of your products or services and also share exciting videos. YouTube is an ideal platform where your small business can open a channel to keep consumers informed.
Listening to Customers
Listening to customers or getting their feedback about your brand offerings is vital for every small business. This is possible through Facebook Business or a regular Facebook page. Post images of your product and other content that speaks about its uses and salient features. Request your friends and relatives to like the page and seek ‘likes’ from their social circle too.
Once you have sufficient following on Facebook, people will post comments- either positive or adverse. You can learn a lot from this feedback to improve the existing brand offerings, whether it is a product or service.
Negative feedback keeps you alert. You can respond to it quickly and nip in the bud any adverse publicity that could ensue due to unsatisfied clients posting negative comments about your small business.
Twitter is an excellent platform to provide instant updates and information about your products and services to existing and targeted customers. Join groups and organizations relevant to your business by creating a Twitter account that bears the logo and brand of your small company.
You can Tweet any exciting information about your brand to followers and inform them immediately about promotions, price drops, availability at newer locations and other relevant stuff. Further, you can Tweet your comments about any policies or developments in your industry, which catches the attention of peers and customers.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos rightly states that word of mouth publicity is the best. Encourage your satisfied customers to post their testimonies about positive experiences with your brand on Facebook Business pages and LinkedIn profile. Potential customers can be wooed by merely deploying statements in the right manner.
Should you have adequate resources, create a YouTube channel and post these testimonies online. YouTube videos can also be embedded on your Facebook Business page and LinkedIn profile. Seeing, they say leads to belief. Hence people are more inclined to try a product or service that is spoken well about.
Social media provides one distinct advantage over starting your website: Creating a site in multiple languages costs a mini fortune. In stark contrast, Facebook operates in over 100 different words spoken in different parts of India and the world.
This means you can open a Facebook Business Page in English and add others in various languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam or even German, Spanish and French, among others.
Offering a social media page in the native language of your target customer creates that invisible yet much-desired bond with your brand. It helps reach out to a broader audience when compared to a website.
Additionally, you have the flexibility of adding content at ease in various languages on Facebook Business for maximum consumer outreach. Customers can also post comments and feedback in their native language, meaning you stand better chances of improving a product or service if merited.
Indubitably, social media opens magnificent vistas for every small business to grow. However, you need some skills to manage social media. Alternatively, you can hire a college student on a part-time basis to work as a social media manager for your small business.
This means, they work from home or elsewhere using their resources for your social media pages. Since students are rather deft in handling social media, the opportunity to earn while learning will tempt any youngster to take this legitimate job. Using these techniques and with some extra efforts, social media can help grow your small business.