Social media is gaining in importance for small businesses and yet there is still more opportunity for them in this valuable marketing strategy.
A recent study shows that social media does not rank as high as e-mail and websites as a promotional tool for small business. The study was done by Constant Contact. Note that Facebook is ranked third.
Nonetheless, these businesses are leaving a lot on the table especially as many businesses believe that social media marketing can accomplish these goals, according to Michael Stelzner:
- Create greater exposure.
- Drive website traffic and opt-ins
- Develop new business partnerships.
- Improve search engine rankings.
- Generate qualified leads.
- Increase product and service sales.
- Help close business.
- Reduce marketing expenses according to seltzer.
How can small business as improve their use of social media in 2011? Start with these five steps:
1. Embrace it – – you can't afford to tiptoe into social media. Like any marketing strategy, you will benefit from wrapping your arms around it and going for it. Simple but powerful.
2. Dedicate the resources – – whether it's one person or a team member, someone needs to take the bull by the horns in both social media strategy and execution. Trust me, when it happens, a business can be successful as GolfTEC.
3. Focus on customers – –where are your customers online, what are their interests, what are their passions and what makes them happy and what makes them mad? Those are some of the basic questions to answer before you decide where to go online. Lisa Barone nails this idea in this recent post on picking the best social network for your brand.
4. Devise a strategy – – this can be as fundamental as these three steps: listening, participating and measuring. And focus, focus, focus on your tools, platforms and execution.
5. Determine your goals – – of course, this should be the first step and the ongoing step in your social media strategy. Start with goals above and use this Katie Paine checklist to keep on track.
So many brands in and out of golf are using social media successfully and gaining in their use as shown by this recent table all the of golf brands' participation online. And as this National Golf Foundation study indicates, more and more customers are heading online for reviews, ratings, news and purchases.
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