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Social Media has become one of the top promotional tools for growing your business, and knowing how to use it correctly is key to your success.

Gone are those days when you reached your targeted audience via yellow page advertisements, direct mail marketing or radio, newspaper and television ad campaigns.
As a small business owner, you now have a remarkable platform for self-promotion that will require relatively little investment. What it will cost, however, is your time. Knowing which platforms will work best for you (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, You Tube, Pinterest, Flickr or Tumblr etc.) will depend on your knowledge, need and capability.
Fifty-Eight percent of the population use social media as a means to uncomplicate their hectic lives. Seventy-three percent of the adult population use social networking sites and seventy-eight percent of them are between the ages of 30-49 …quite an audience to captivate and win over.

Can You Prove Successful?

Your success and reputation will be judged based on how you conduct yourself online, the pictures you upload, how you respond to comments (negative or otherwise), the accuracy of the information you provide, how timely you respond to questions and requests, and lastly, how calmly you handle complaints.

Are you a jokester in your personal life? Showing personality online is very acceptable and within in reason, of course. The public wants to see that human side of you as it makes you more approachable and real. There should be a balance though. Too much can make you seem unprofessional and lacking credibility.

Are you quick-tempered and abrasive? You need to leave that side of your attitude at home as it has no place on social media. Rash postings can be edited, but if they are published first, the harm is already done. Think before you respond and post.

Try Not To Do Too Much

If you are new to the social scene, get your feet wet one platform at a time. There is quite an audience out there to capture and embrace. Even though their interests differ, it is best not to overwhelm yourself trying to please and attract them all at once unless, you have the aid of an expert to do it for you.
It is easy to get pulled in and spend hours on one site. Using a time management Dashboard like HootSuite, Buffer and TweetDeck could prove extremely helpful from the on-start for scheduling updates, setting up alerts and browsing the total activity of all your platforms at once.

Appeal To The Masses

First impressions are the most important introduction you will ever make to either the person who sees your post on another feed, or visits your profile for the very first time. No matter how many platforms you participate in, it is important your profile is filled out in its entirety, does not contain any offensive cover/profile photos and consistent across the board.

Why You Need Social Media

  1.   Branding – Create an identity that will set you apart from your competition and people will warmly gravitate to you.
  2.   Show That You Are An Expert – Offering information, answering questions honestly and correctly, will earn you respect. Don’t sell yourself … share yourself … and they will come.
  3.  Word of mouth – Customers need to trust you before reaching out and they’ll trust their friends and loved ones opinion above all else, if you win them over first.
  4.  Build relationships with personality – Building relationships is easy when trust, honesty and sincerity is evident.
  5.  Compete with the “Big Boys” – This wasn’t possible a few decades ago. Large companies with major-league advertising and marketing budgets could never be competed with. The right kind of viral social media though could drive immense traffic to your website and keep them coming for a very long time.
  6.  Attract disgustingly awesome new traffic – For example, if one of your items becomes viral and makes it to the front page of Yahoo Buzz, which is a social news site, it could get you 100,000 to 1,000,000 viewers; from Digg 2,000 to 60,000; and from Reddit 2,500 to 30,000.
  7.  Increase your link-ability – One way to move up in the search engines is to have links from other sites pointed to yours. Natural links – or links that come naturally to your great post, awesome video, or amazing pictures, are the best kind for your business. They’ll not only bring in traffic, but should also help move you up further in the search engines.
  8. Improves your ranking on search engines – When you create a profile, it tells Google you’re worthy of mention, especially once the activity continues to build.
  9. It’s cheaper than the traditional means of marketing and advertising.
  10. You’re accessible – Being out there, available and easy to reach portrays you as a more trustworthy company.
  11. You could be the niche people are looking for – There are mega sites out there. You, however, have an opportunity to speak directly to those people looking for a new career opportunity or the wellness products you have to sell AND actually interested in the information you have to share.
  12. Another avenue for customers to find you – If you’re not high enough in the search engines, social media helps and has the potential to send you a host of new unique visitors.
  13. You get to explain yourself – People get squeamish when a negative comment is posted. Well, how would you handle it if it was handled in person? The response does not change when a different platform is used. This is another way they can reach you and you can explain yourself like a true and honest professional. You don’t want to ignore them as it’ll create more damage. What you want to do is man-up when you’re wrong and present yourself as a business owner who cares, who wants to make his/her customer happy, and like them, you’re human and can make good on your mistakes.
  14. You Get to Strut Your Stuff – And why not … your competitor’s are out there doing it? Why give them the opportunity to attract a potential team player/customer away from you.