Some time ago, before I launched out into the exciting world of entrepreneurship myself, I found myself working for a company that seemed to have been frozen in time. The reason I say this is that the owner, an elderly gentleman, had never discovered the power of computers, and was attempting to run everything by hand, on paper, the way he always had.
Of course, while that system worked forty years ago, when he started his company, over the years, the world has sped up, and he could no longer keep up.
Now, you may find this funny. You, as an entrepreneur, probably use technology every day, to run your business, communicate with clients and staff, and even keep up to date on global financial news. However, many small business owners still aren't using social media to its full potential, or at all. Here are a few reasons why you should be using the power of social media to reach your potential clients, and a few of the best ways to do just that.
There's No Media like Social Media
Any entrepreneur worth his salt knows that advertising is the life blood of a business. Without it, no one knows who you are, or what you do. Even if they are looking for your exact product or service, it's unlikely they will find you. However, traditional advertising has drawbacks.
Print ads are great, but they only reach a limited number of subscribers or readers. Radio ads will only ever be heard by people listening at the exact moment that they air, and even if you have a website, you're banking on people actually finding it.
Social media, however, allows you to reach millions of people, around the globe, who can share your message with their friends. It allows you to link to your website, update clients on new products, and actively network, while building your client base. All of this while spending little or no money.
In short, social media marketing is the single best thing that has ever happened to the cash strapped entrepreneur. But how do you use it? Let's look at a few of the bigger social media networks out there, and how you can leverage them in your business.
Facebook may be the new kid on the block when it comes to social media, but it's also the most popular kid. Millions of people log on daily to keep up with family and friends, and yes, to do business.
If you are new to entrepreneurship, and strapped for cash, you can use Facebook to create groups or pages relating to your business, or find existing groups or pages to let people who are already interested in your field that you exist. Then there are the PPC campaigns Facebook offers — that differ from your ordinary campaign in that you can target your ads to your demographic — by age, gender, geographical area and even interests!
It's no wonder Facebook is a multibillion dollar business, and if you're not using this form of social media marketing to reach potential clients, you should be!
While Facebook, MySpace and other such social networks may be great for reaching the buying public, if you're an entrepreneur looking for B2B leads, you will want to be using a professional social media network like LinkedIn to reach your target audience.
Like Facebook, LinkedIn is a meeting place for people around the world, but while it has groups you can join, and you can search for members, it's all business, baby.
Use LinkedIn to find clients around the world, find out what's new in your field, and connect with other business people. Join groups in your area, or in your field of expertise, and build your professional network. After all, every entrepreneur knows there is some truth in the saying — it's not what you know, it's who you know!
Who would have thought a video sharing site like YouTube would become a marketing platform for entrepreneurs around the world? However, millions are using it for just that purpose.
Whether it's creating how to videos, or funny commercials with your branding on them, that are sure to be downloaded and shared, YouTube has taken social media marketing to the next level. If you want your marketing campaign to go viral, there's no better way than to create a video that people want to watch, and upload it to YouTube!
Of course, these are not the only social media marketing options out there. They are just a few of the options that put more than a quarter of the world's 6.5 billion population at your fingertips. As an entrepreneur, however, you simply cannot afford to ignore them.
Buy a book on social media marketing, or download one offline. Attend a seminar on how to make social media work for you, and then work out a marketing plan. The brilliance of social media marketing for the entrepreneur is in the fact that it is cheap, which a phenomenal reach and that whatever you do create will be online, forever.
This is definitely a bandwagon worth jumping on if you want to market the smart way!
As a successful, under-30 serial entrepreneur, Gary Whitehill's game-changing endeavors have been featured on television and in magazines and newspapers across the nation. Read more about Gary here.