Five effective techniques for using the top social media platform to increase small business success.
via Yahoo! Finance
In a 2014 year end review, Maria Contreras-Sweet, an Administrator with the Small Business Administration highlighted several interesting statistics about small businesses in the U.S. on the SBA's blog. One of the most astounding was the number of jobs that have been created by this sector. According to the post, 7 million of the 10.9 million jobs added back during recovery from the recession were created by startups and small enterprises. In addition, according to a report by Entrepreneur magazine more than 50 percent of the U.S. working population are employed by small businesses, which in total are said to number over 28 million entities across the country.
Data like this illustrates why small businesses have earned such a strong reputation for being the "backbone" of a thriving economy. Now for some not so astounding news: statistics also show that of the number of entrepreneurs who start new businesses in the U.S., 80 percent fail within the first 18 months. Why? Several reasons. A lack of market differentiation, a breakdown in leadership, unprofitable business models, and target audience disconnect are a few of the causes most commonly pointed out by experts. Therefore, one question businesses typically have whether starting out or after achieving a certain status is how to become a part of the successful 20 percent, and remain among the elite in the economy growth statistics for years to come.
There is never a guarantee that any business venture will prove successful; however, there are steps small businesses can take to increase their chances. These include developing a viable business model, putting the right leadership in place, and building strong relationships with potential customers. Active engagement on social media for marketing purposes has also been credited with helping a number of small businesses achieve higher growth. So much so that social media was even referenced in TIME magazine as "the most powerful tool that any business owner can use to engage customers and drive revenue growth."
It's no secret that social media invented an effective way for small businesses to achieve broader marketing reach without having to have a big brand marketing budget. This is true particularly when it comes to Twitter marketing. According to statistics, the site has over 284 million monthly active users, making it a viable platform to engage with potential customers. The following are five ways businesses can use Twitter to aid in their growth.
Maintain an active Twitter presence - Just because one opens an account on the social network, doesn't mean the job is done. Active daily posting is essential to making a business' presence known to prospects.
Work to increase followers - Not only do followers make great potential customers, they may also prove to be excellent cheerleaders. Many are helpful in retweeting marketing driven tweets for businesses. Also, according to information released by Twitter "85% of Twitter users say they feel more connected to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) after following them."
Get involved in user conversations - Connecting with Twitter users in the most effective way involves listening to what they have to say and conversing with them on their terms. Pushy sales pitches aren't so well received on social media.
Nurture potential customers - Many Twitter users are an open book, and get very personal in their posts. This information can be used to connect with potential customers and make them interested in what businesses have to offer.
Find a Twitter marketing tool that works - Twitter marketing tools can prove beneficial for businesses that don't have time to comb through the masses of conversations going on at any one moment and find prospects matched to their target audience specifications. One such platform is a software called SocialCentiv. Social media marketing expert Macy English recently discussed her company's tool, in a blog stating, "Our goal is to help save (businesses) time and run campaigns more effectively on Twitter." Small businesses can conduct a search for potential customers Tweeting certain keywords and use compelling offers or information to convert them into new customers and grow their business."
Businesses that have yet to implement Twitter marketing into their strategies may want to consider the aforementioned tips for achieving growth on the social network. For those that have already begun marketing on the social network, these may be beneficial for understanding whether there is room for improvement to yield further growth.
Macy English, SocialCenitv