It may surprise you, but social media is still a new and growing concept. Many businesses have been successful with social media, but there are many others that are still learning and wondering what to do next.
“Social media opens up new avenues to grow the business,” said Ed Abrams, Vice President of Marketing at IBM MidMarket Business. “It’s the same way the Internet was 1o years ago.”
Abrams said that today, social media is the number one place where customers are going to get information and to formulate their opinions. He also said that there’s plenty that small businesses can learn from big businesses when it comes to social media, and that small businesses ought to take the advice to heart.
“Small businesses can’t afford to make the same mistakes as big business,” Abrams said. ‘[Small businesses] don’t have the cash reserves to get through bad times, so they need to be consistent in performance.”
One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is not staying engaged on social media. Being successful is more than having a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but making the commitment to use them regularly to interact with customers.
Another thing that small businesses can also learn from big businesses is that social media is not out of their control, and will not spiral of out their control if its used properly. When social media is used properly, a business will listen and respond to dialogue as well as start conversations.
“It you just push messaging, that’s where it fails,” Abrams said. “You could end up getting stories that are the opposite of what you claim. It’s real time proof that what you’re saying is not the true experience.”
That’s backlash, when the social media community if refuting the claims you’re trying to make. Although not everyone will agree 100 percent of the time, it’s definitely hard to recover when a negative perception permeates through the community and isn’t isolated to one person.
Abrams also suggests opening up the social media responsibilities to more than one person.
“Depending on the culture inside of your team, you can help to fell empowered to share info,” he said. “This makes it easier to have a consistent strategy and to coordinate efforts.”
Social media is something that can build the overall brand, and Abrams said that a consistent, coordinated effort on social media will showcase a commitment to the brand. Social media allows the message and the brand to reach the marketplace with volume and impact, but in an cost-effective manner.
“That’s the absolute beauty of social media,” he said. “It doesn’t require a lot of capital and time in order to be successful. It levels the playing field in marketing and communications.”