If you still haven't gotten involved in social media to promote your business, what's holding you back? Using it will help you fulfill your business resolutions to reach a larger market and improve your bottom line. Let me show you why 2012 is a great year to get busy with social media.
I'll be drawing my points from Jennifer Cario's article on Search Engine Guide. She makes a really excellent case for now being the right time to jump into social media to get the word out about what your business offers. “While I'm not going to lie and say it's the easiest it's ever been to get in the game, I can say more companies will find it easier to get involved today than they ever have before,” she notes.
So why does it make more sense to do it now? Let's start with your target market, or in other words, your customers. To reach them and let them know what you have to offer, you need to get your message to where they hang out. And it's increasingly clear that they hang out on social media sites, regardless of who you're trying to attract. Cario revealed some eye-popping figures: 86 percent of the entire US population engages in social media, according to research company Forrester. Facebook reported that one out of every 13 people on the planet have an account with them. “86% usage rates mean your customers ARE on social media, end of story,” Cario stated. And you need to be where your customers are.
If you've been holding back because you're dismissive of what social media can do, you need to rethink your position. Social media is rather like word of mouth, only it's done electronically – and no one doubts the power of word-of-mouth advertising. Users participating in social media constantly share things they find. And sharing is on the rise, according to this infographic. If your business can benefit from word of mouth, social media can help you get the word out.
Of course, it's one thing to get on social media, and it's another thing to actually find your target audience. You can bet that not everyone on Facebook will be interested in your business! But there's good news on that front. Social media, like any other form of media you can name, is becoming more diverse to appeal to specific niches.
“Whether you're a small online clothing boutique hawking your wares through Polyvore, a donut shop in Youngstown, Ohio pulling new customers from UrbanSpoon, an extreme fitness studio attracting new students from LivingSocial or an Etsy shop driving sales from Pinterest, the options online are almost limitless,” Cario explains. You can set up a presence on a big site like Facebook, but you really need to find out which social sites cater to your audience's special interests, and go where they are. For example, if I wanted to help a local yarn shop with its online presence, one of the first things I'd do is make sure they were on Ravelry, a social site for knitters and crocheters (and other fiber artists).
I hope I've convinced you that 2012 is the year you need to make a mark for yourself online with social media. Do it right, and it's a great way to grow your business. Good luck!
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