Why is it so important for your small business to be social? Last week Valentine Belonwu, an active member here at BizSugar and blogger at Big Money Web was good enough to mention the BizSugar community as one of the top 92 social networking sites for 2010. (Thanks so much, Valentine. We appreciate it.)
But it got us to thinking about the importance of being social today. And being a social community ourselves, we turned to our members for some thoughts about the reasons small businesses must be social just to survive.
1. Be found.
There was a time when marketing and advertising was one way and only those with the largest budgets had the ability to spread their ideas and draw attention to their products and services. Today, as blogger Yonatan Maisel notes, getting found is a bit trickier like the popular children’s game Find Waldow. Being social by creating a blog and sharing it via social media (whether BizSugar or another platform) is one way to be found.
2. Stand out.
Once they know where you are, the key is to make sure you stand out from the crowd and don’t, as BizSugar member Laura Petrolino and the gang at “365 Days of Startups.com” remind us, “get lost.” Whether you create a social presence yourself or outsource the task to a partner or other small business person, staying engaged is no longer an option if you hope to stay top drawer in the mind of existing and potential customers and clients.
3. Build value.
Of course, the best way to stand out is to build value (or brand, if you prefer) creating a reason people return to you again and again. Being social is a great way to create value even before a customer or client has decided to buy your products or engage your services. Sharing valuable information, supporting others and commenting on the information they share is a great way to build your brand and we’ve posted and created some videos to suggest how to do it better.
4. Get attention
Of course, what’s the good of creating great value if you can’t attract attention or if the attention you attract isn’t from the right target audience, those who can get a benefit from the value you’ve created. One of the benefits of a social media site like BizSugar is that we create a niche audience or community of fellow small business leaders interested in small business news and tips, so, if you’re creating content or sharing information on these topics, you’ve come to the right place. But as BizSugar member and blogger John Paul Aguiar explains, it’s important to learn how to draw attention to the content and value you create and to target the right audience no matter what social network you interact within.
5. Build partnerships
Of course, being social is not just about finding a market for your product or service. It’s about building all kinds of advantageous relationships that may at one time or another help you in your business. Success is not simply a question of sales but of building the relationships that in one way or another can improve your business in terms of resources, partnerships and opportunities. Taken together, these qualities could be described as online marketing influence and being social is the best way to build it. Here from BizSugar member Walethia Aquil are 60 proven ways to do so.
Have any suggestions to add? Be social yourself. Share them in the comment section below.