How does any small business justify spending 2 hours a day, blogging and updating Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin?
With an increasing trend for businesses to use social media networking to increase brand awareness and lead generation it may be a good use of time and a relatively low cost way to find new customers.
When PR and Social Media expert Nigel Morgan from West Berkshire’s Morgan PR, recently presented to an exclusive group of small business owners at a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) event, held in the historic surroundings of the Bear Hotel in Hungerford, those fortunate enough to attend, were introduced to the benefits of interacting on social media sites and regular blogging and how these are a cost efficient way of promoting their businesses.
With acquisition costs for new customers being one of the greatest expenditures for any business, finding a way to reduce these, is always welcome.
As Nigel frequently emphasises, “people buy people” and this is where social media is such a powerful tool.
Being a commercial photographer from Newbury, meeting local people face to face is important, so when I physically go networking, as I work the room, people frequently comment that they know me or, that they recognise me, even when it is very unlikely that we’ve met before.
It soon becomes clear that they know my face and often my name, and that can be directly attributed to one thing, my social media profile picture.
Once you recognise someone and can relate to them, you have begun the essential journey, called “building rapport”.
By this simple visual identification you have immediately overcome one of the greatest barriers to communicating with new people and can take advantage of this step on the ladder to getting to know more about the other person and conversationally introduce your business to them.
I believe your social media profile picture is vital in the way you present yourself on the various social media platforms, but it’s also essential that this image is congruent with your message; does the picture you use on Twitter really fit with the professional persona you present on Linkedin.
This is why I seriously advocate having different pictures for the various applications and having professional photographs taken can really enhance your business image.
The other important vehicle for promoting your business using the internet is by ‘blogging’ and Nigel explained how this can dramatically improve your website’s Google ranking when done regularly.
Blogging is just like publishing your own press releases, with the single most important difference that you are guaranteed publication. With clever support from your social media activities, your message can achieve far greater coverage than any traditional paper publication and if you happen to create a blog that captures the imagination of enough people it can become a massive viral entity, carrying your message beyond your wildest dreams.
Don’t forget, the visual impact of your blog can be enriched using an attention grabbing picture or video clip and remembering that originality is essential in attracting and keeping your readers attention, so always try to use new material and not rely too heavily on stock library pictures.
The 50 people who joined me at Nigel’s presentation will have left with many stimulating thoughts and some significant calls to action and I look forward to many more social media followers and the opportunity to read some exciting new blog posts.