Karla De Leon, Main Street Launch’s Assistant Vice President – Business & Economic Development, offers the following tip for small businesses.
For a lot of businesses that have been around for a while, managing a website and social media seems unnecessary. You’ve been in business just fine without it, so why start now?
Answer: Because you’re missing out on potential customers.
Most businesses are interested in acquiring new customers and increasing revenues. One common way businesses are missing out on new customers is by NOT maintaining and growing their online presence.
More and more people are looking to the internet to help them make decisions about where to eat, shop and play. If you aren’t online, they can’t find you. Think about people walking down the street. How often do you see people looking at their phones and rarely looking up? Relying on foot traffic is a thing of the past.
For many people, the idea of managing a website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Yelp is overwhelming. But the reality is you don’t have to do it all.
Choose the platforms where your customers spend the most time and go with that. If you have a women’s shoe store and your target customer is over the age of 40, then Snapchat is not where you want to spend your time. Snapchat is used heavily by people under the age of 25.
If you aren’t sure where you customers spend their time on social media, ask them. Next time someone walks into your business, have a conversation about where they spend their time online. Do they prefer Facebook? Are they Pinterest addicts? Is Instagram the one platform they look at? Ask them how they heard about your business. You might already have a Yelp page that you haven’t claimed. You’ll want to review it to make sure the information someone posted about your business is accurate.
An online presence is more than just being found online. It’s also part of your customer service.
Social media is about building relationships with your customers. It’s a great way to publicize your sales, events, specials and products, but it’s also a good way to get to know your customers. Have conversations. Respond to comments and concerns. Customers today like to know that you care. Social media is one way to show your customers you care.
For help developing your online presence and strategy, sign up for a free one-on-one consultation with an SBDC advisor.