Marketing your small business in the online world requires more than a simple website loaded with the right keywords. Those days (sadly) are gone. As the number of Internet users continues to grow, search engines are getting better at understanding what those users need and providing the results to meet those needs.
So in order to get your small business noticed, you have to up your content game and keep an eye on the trends in social media, the blogosphere, and on the feedback you get from your audience. You want to be the answer to your customer’s needs.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have evolved. They now provide a way to communicate directly with customers and gain insightful feedback for your business.
If you’re business is great, you’ll hear about it. And if it’s lousy, unfortunately you’ll hear about that too.
But this feedback is critical to your success. By having a direct line of communication with potential (and current) customers, you become more agile in how you position your services and products to your market.
But Facebook and Twitter are just tips of the social media iceberg. There are a number of platforms being used by millions of people that can be tools in your marketing toolbox:
Get Engaged…With Your Audience
It’s not enough to have a social media presence. You must also engage with your audience to build a deeper relationship with them and understand their needs.
Your business must strategically connect with your audience to position itself as a leader within your industry. Many Australian companies including Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Telstra are taking advantage of the power of customer engagement through social media and other online marketing strategies.
Provide Value Beyond Your Product or Service
As a business, your success depends on the bottom line. But the bottom line isn’t all there is to your success. Nowadays, in order to get your business noticed, you have to provide value beyond what you’re selling.
Content marketing is one way of doing this. By providing relevant and practical content (via articles, videos, webinars, etc.) you fulfill the needs of potential customers while capturing their attention and staying “top of mind.”
Macquarie Telecom, a leading Australian provider of web hosting services, supports charity funds for youth cancer across Australia as a way of giving back to their community.
The will to help out a cause which the company cares about often ends up defining it more than its products.
Get Ranked by Search Engines
All of these approaches eventually contribute to your overall rankings with the major search engines. Using social media and providing valuable content to your audience will help position you higher in the search engine results pages.
With higher rankings comes an increase in visibility. The more people actually see you, the more will likely click through to see what you have to offer.
If you’ve done your due diligence with regards to the various social media platforms, and have created valuable content that meets the needs of your ideal clients, you’ll be in a position to see a steady growth in your business.
Marketing for small businesses has changed as the Internet has continued to evolve. Social media has transformed the ability to communicate with current and potential customers, and allowed users to share information faster than ever.
For businesses, this has provided invaluable feedback to help them meet the needs of their customers better while developing deep and long-lasting relationships for success.
By using social media, creating content that’s relevant to your users, and providing value beyond your product, your business will see huge growth in a short amount of time. The playing field has been leveled by the online marketing revolution. Your small business can now be a big player.
Mary Ann Keeling is a social media manager and a business consultant for small and medium businesses who works from her home office in Brisbane, Australia. Her busy schedule is often interrupted by social network updates from her colleagues and friends. You can connect with her on Twitter @MaryAnnKeeling.
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