How to Best Use Social Media for your Small Business

In the last few years, social media has exploded into our lives in a way that it would have been almost impossible to predict even a decade ago. If Facebook were a country it would be the third most populated country in the world, coming in above the United States with a staggering 400 million users.

Recently, television adverts have started to feature “Find us on Facebook” badges directing people to their company Facebook page, and there is no doubting social media’s ability to get more people involved with your company, building brand awareness and loyalty in the process.

But if you are a small business owner, just how relevant is social media going to be to your company and how can you best utilize it in your company?

Put Your Expectations Aside

The most important thing you can do before going into any Social Media campaign is to drop all your unreasonable expectations. Simply creating a Facebook Fan page will not skyrocket your business into the stratosphere overnight.

Creating buzz in an already noisy space can be challenging at times. High expectations can lead to discouragement early on, at a time when you should be allowing yourself a learning curve. Any form of digital marketing, including Social, takes a substantial investment in time and energy.

Build Brand Awareness Through Community

Brand awareness is a great benefit of a good Social Media strategy. Whether you are marketing to 1 or 1 million, you need to convey a message and work to create a community around it.

The biggest mistake people make early on with Facebook or Twitter is to constantly blast out there message, without engaging their target community at large.

Key players in your niche are actively seeking out fresh content,  if you build it they will come. Don’t assume you have to be “in your face” for people to notice you. Authentic social communities stand out in a world of copy cats and spam.

Consumer Intelligence Is Often Overlooked

While everybody else is out there gunning for thousands of fans and followers, you can be quietly gathering the next million dollar idea. Consumer intelligence is everywhere, but all businesses seem to notice are the actual consumers.

You might only have a core group of 100 fans on Facebook, but what does that sample size tell you about the whole? Watch for trends, segments, and techniques that drive better bottom line results. You’ll begin to see how key members of a community can really move the needle for you.

Don’t be afraid to launch side projects, and always be testing. Forget about gold for a second, those who have the data make the rules.

Social Media is a great tool to have in your digital marketing arsenal, but it’s not an end all be all solution.

Give yourself time to learn, and don’t be too disappointed when your first tweet doesn’t go viral overnight. There are lots of people out there just like you, and some have been doing this a lot longer.

The great thing is that Social Media is still free to use and relatively easy to understand. So drop the expectations, work toward building a community, and gather consumer intelligence FTW (for the win).