When once Facebook was just for college kids and Twitter was deemed to be a passing phase, both have now become two of the biggest social media giants and marketing tools to date, along with a plethora of other outlets like LinkedIn, Yelp and Foursquare. And, when combined, these sites now have tremendous power to boost not only networking capabilities but even sales numbers as well. If you’ve considered social media for your small green business but haven’t yet taken the dive, I highly encourage you consider it. Here are a just a few of the top reasons.
Social Media Sites Provide Huge Exposure
There’s nowhere else you can put your business where it’s as likely to get so much exposure. In fact, according to the Social Media Marketing Report of 2011 by Social Media Examiner, 88% of marketers claimed that social media generated additional exposure to their business, and if you want to take that a step farther and see even more positive results, over half of the marketers also saw generated qualified leads. Your best bet for exposure is likely to be Facebook, as more people in the world use it on a daily basis than any other site, Google included. If you can build up your page with a loyal following, you can not only easily network but also get the word out in a very simple way that’s non-threatening and “non-markety,” – a big plus to today’s much over-marketed consumer.
Social Media is Free and Nearly as Green as You Can Get
When it comes to marketing, especially for a green company, the typical amount of paper and ink that goes into typical print ads, banners, flyers, business cards, etc., not to mention the transportation cost and carbon footprint associated with all of the above, can easily be enough to make them not appropriate options. And, they can also easily raise questions about your businesses’ true dedication to green. When focusing on an online social media marketing and networking plan, you completely eradicate the costs and economic resource drains associated with the typical marketing endeavors. The green network on social media sites is also particularly extensive, so to pass up on gaining friends and partners is not only a missed opportunity, it can be costly to your business.
Twitter Practically Does Your Networking for You
Twitter is, by far, one of my favorite networking tools. By creating a page and following people, others will naturally begin to follow you based on similar likes and dislikes. Twitter also gives you suggestions for whom to follow, based upon who you are and what you represent. In this sense, it truly does your networking for you. It’s also highly beneficial for getting your content seen by posting catchy tweets and hashtags that gets you clicks. Take, for example, the hashtag: #ijustatesomethingweirdandgreen. That hashtag is going to get you a whole lot more clicks to your latest article on a new salad you invented than an embedded link to: “try this healthy salad” that few will click.
Not Just for Marketing/Networking
Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can also help you make excellent choices in your hiring processes. There’s nothing better for a small green business than staffing it with the truest, greenest employees out there. Facebook will show, like almost nothing else, just where a person’s true passions lie. Find the people you believe in and who you know will believe in what you’re doing. It’ll boost your business in countless ways.
Especially Beneficial for the Small Businesses
According to the previously mentioned SMMMR, as I stated, 81% of marketers indicated that social media led to increased exposure. But, if you narrow that down to small businesses (comprised of between 2 and 100 employees), that number jumps all the way up to 89.2%. Not only that, small businesses saw more benefit for improved sales, more benefit from partnerships, saw more leads generated and noticed a reduction in marketing costs than the bigger businesses.
Social Media Saves you Precious Time
Let’s face it, when there are limited of “you” in your small business, saving and managing your time is of utmost importance. Sites like Yelp, We Follow and Twitter Search allow people to find you instead of you taking the time to find them. This is huge!
Keeping an eye on your competition has never been easier. See what content they’re writing, what their blogs are covering and what super fantastic daily-deal they’re promoting in just an instant.
People love to know that you care. A simple tweet back to someone or even re-tweeting a comment you agree with and/or find interesting can garner you a loyal follower for life. It takes seconds and the ripple effects are unlimited. It’s also a super fast way for your customers to get to know you. While you’d love to have everyone come to your shop or store and chat with you over a cup of coffee, you likely don’t have time for that. But, if you’re blogging and tweeting from your perspective, your customers gain that feeling that they know you and trust you.
Finally, you can keep up with customer support quickly and instantly. Respond to complaints in real time and fix whatever needs to be fixed as soon as the issue arises. This can not only save you a customer, it will give you a chance to show all of your followers how well you deal with problems.
By Tara Alley. Tara is a freelance writer who writes on a regular basis about the latest trends related to living more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyles. She is currently working alongside Air-n-Water, researching the green ways to use a portable air conditioner within office and home environments.