#1 Connecting With Customers – 10 Ways Small Business Can Use Social Media to Save Time

Social Media has become one of the greatest assets a small business has. Social Media gives small businesses the power to connect and educate their consumers free of charge, an ability that until recently was restricted to large corporations with a large PR budget. However, despite the power of Social Media, many small businesses have not yet taken advantage of this tool. Time is the most valuable asset small business owners have, and they are far from ready to ‘waste’ it on Social Media.

At 3wCommunications we understand how valuable your time is; we also understand the value of Social Media and what it can do for your company. In order to help you take advantage of the power of Social Media, we will be posting 10 articles on how small business can use Social Media to save time. Each article will lead into the next and ultimately provide a formula for how best to utilize Social Media in your business. The following is the first article from this series.

When most small business owners hear the words “Social Media,” their first thought is that it’s a waste of time. Facebook is the place you go to play Farmville while your boss isn’t looking. YouTube is where you head when you have five minutes to spare and need a good laugh so you watch the “Jackass” video a few more times. Twitter is where you end up when you want to commiserate about the Phillies’ latest trade decisions, or to catch up on Real Housewives or New Jersey gossip.

Is it possible that these sinkholes of productivity could actually save you time? Yes, and in this report we’re going to show you 10 ways to leverage Social Media to make your life better, complete your tasks more quickly, and have more time for the things that matter (like a Plants vs. Zombies marathon – just kidding!).

These days, business is all about relationships. We buy a car from the guy our neighbor’s brother recommended. We hire the contractor our mother’s accountant used. We go see the movies that everyone on Twitter talks about. So finding ways to take business relationships beyond transactional is a sure-fire way to cement yourself in the minds of your customers or clients.

Social Media – blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the like – are all ways to connect with people. And if you can use these tools to establish and enhance your relationships with your audience, you’ve got a leg up on your customers. Here are a few examples:

  • The yarn store owner who tweets her new customer to ask how the new sweater is coming along…
  • The car salesman who leaves a link for $10 off an oil change on a customer’s Facebook wall…
  • The homeschool curriculum vendor who records a short video showing how to set up a classroom in the home in a back bedroom…
  • The golf instructor who holds a Skype party during the Masters…

The possibilities are as vast as the world of Internet business. You will notice some commonalities between the ideas above:

    1. 1. They’re relevant. They are directly applicable to the niche or industry you’re in (the golf instructor, for instance, isn’t sending out oil change coupons; the yarn store owner isn’t hosting a Masters chat).

 

    1. 2. They’re personal. Each interaction connects with the audience in a manner beyond a simple “buy my stuff” way.

 

    1. 3. They’re useful. Each interaction provides value to the recipient. In some cases, it’s a dollar savings (the coupon); in others, it’s information (the video and the sweater inquiry). And even the Skype party is useful in terms of entertainment. The recipient is better off for having taken part in the interaction.

 

    1. 4. They’re free. They don’t cost anything to the small business owner.

 

    1. 5. They’re relatively low on the time-investment scale. A tweet or Facebook post takes seconds; the video, a bit longer, actually saves time in the long run as the vendor is answering a question he or she receives over and over again. The Skype party takes place during an event the golf instructor was going to watch anyway.

 

As you can see, Social Media provides ways to reach your customers on an intimate level quickly and inexpensively. People want to be treated as individuals, not as numbers, and Social Media provides a way to do that without spending your whole life on the phone.

Social Media also has the power to educate your customers with little cost to you, which is the subject of our 2nd article in this series, 10 Ways Small Business Can Use Social Media to Save Time.

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