Certainly, social media use has become more widespread with both consumers and small businesses. Despite the increased popularity of all sorts of social networking sites, many small business owners find that they just really can’t find a way to leverage their efforts into increased revenue. In fact, Forbes reported on a study that found 60 percent of small business owners didn’t believe they enjoyed good returns on their investment in social promotions. Common complaints include concerns over the time it takes to actually make connections or the fact that many connections don’t turn into customers.
How Real-Life Small Business Owners Have Grown Their Business with Social Media
What about the other 40 percent of small business owners who say they have enjoyed social media success? Perhaps the real-life experiences of some small businesses that used social media to grow their business can provide some helpful examples.
1. Emerson Hair Salon
This Seattle hair salon reports that 75 percent of their new business comes via social media and their online platform. First, the company committed to building a complete online platform right from the start. Their website and social media platforms are all linked. They also have links to profiles for all of the stylists and a convenient way to book appointments over the internet. The company also invites customers to share appointments with their own connections on Twitter and Facebook. Beyond that, they also try to spark conversations about all sorts of things that might interest their local customers.
What did this small business do differently than some of their competitors? Many small business owners think that they can profit from social media by simply setting up pages and posting business offers and specials. Emerson committed to creating a complete online platform that really encourages social media sharing and offers a convenient way to learn about the stylists and book appointments. They also encourage all sorts of conversations from hairstyles to local events to help keep their fans and followers engaged.
2. Herschel Supply Company
This company effectively leveraged social media to help build their brand and increase customer satisfaction. They used social tools to monitor popular social sites for any mentions of their brand and products. Staffers responded to comments and questions that they found online, if those social postings had been directly addressed to their company or not. This strategy helped them gain positive attention from customers and all of the connections that those customers have online.
Instead of passively waiting for fans or followers to find them on social sites, this company took a very proactive approach. They could respond to positive comments, and they also had a chance to turn some negative opinions around. Online tools that can help you monitor the web for brand mentions are affordable and easy to use. In addition, they can help your business really stand out as a company that cares.
3. Feather Your Nest
This tourist-town gift shop might not stand out from dozens of small enterprises in similar locations if they did not use the internet so well. However, the shop built an online platform that consists of typical social media sites, a business website, and sales pages on e-commerce sites. This allows people to learn about this shop who have never visited the relatively small town it is located in in.
More important, the online platform allows both past and new customers to make purchases from anywhere.
The shop’s owners say that their active social media presence has helped them connect with bloggers and even large newspapers. They get publicity that extends far beyond their street and front door. Beyond their own social pages, they court attention from online influencers to help spread news about their products and their shop. Besides just using traditional social media platforms, they extended their social presence to online sales platforms.
How Do Successful Small Businesses Use Social Media So Well?
If you think that you just need to set up social media pages, make routine posts, and then watch as your sales climb, you might suffer from some disappointment. You aren’t likely to attract many connections that way, and few of those connections will share your content or turn into new customers. If you have grown frustrated with your own company’s social media effectiveness, you might consider the example of these small businesses that have enjoyed more success.
These companies have used their internet platforms to make their online presence engaging and useful. They have worked to build their brand image in a positive light. In addition, they don’t mind testing different kinds of platforms and reaching out to online influencers who can help distribute their content to large audiences. Your business won’t be exactly the same of any of the companies that were highlighted above; but if you truly want to use social networking sites to grow your business, you can find a method that works for you.
How To Build A Successful Social Business From Scratch [Infographic]