By Rhonda Campbell
As with so many “brand new” inventions, social media took off when it started. Some of those early social media sites, MySpace being king of them all, aren’t around today. But, that doesn’t change the fact that millions of people log into, read and share opinions, pictures and videos at the platforms.
Sheer numbers alone, makes social media almost irresistible for many small businesses. It’s easy to tell yourself that by simply creating a Facebook page, your company will reach 1 million or more people a week, if not a day. However, that’s generally not the experience many small business owners have.
In fact, more than a few small business owners are struggling to gain sales from social media interactions, this despite the fact that they might have increased the numbers of hours they’ve devoted to social media promotions. To stay ahead of the curve, even as they continue to test new social media customer engagement strategies and activities, some entrepreneurs are focusing more on building their own in-house databases.
They’re doing this because they understand the importance of owning contact data. They don’t want to rely on a huge social media company to exist in order for them to be able to stay in touch with their current and prospective customers.
It’s a smart move, considering how fast the social media and Internet world’s change, MySpace and Napster being two examples of how quickly an online company can diminish in influence. Steps you could take to strengthen your in-house social communication muscles vary, but include:
- Adding a newsletter subscription button to your websites/blogs
- Building email blasts communications using automated tools like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp and Zoho
- Sending your website and blog visitors holiday greetings (and including a link or button that allows them to share the message with their contacts, possibly helping you to grow your in-house database even more)
- Making it easy for website and blog visitors to sign up to receive alerts about specials, discounts and sales you’re running
- Bringing newsletter, company update, etc. “sign-up” forms with you when you speak publicly
These are a few steps you could take to start giving yourself the same in-house power that social media networks offer. It might prove a very smart move years from now, especially if social media networks begin to charge small businesses to send out announcements to their users or if social media networks get gobbled up by larger firms.
If you’re curious to see how other small business owners are faring when it comes to social media, check out this study referenced in USA Today. You might find some additional tips you could incorporate into your existing social media marketing strategy, tips that gain you new customers.