Internet is a great Leveler. Whether it is an SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) or a large enterprise, everyone can include social media as an integral part of their marketing strategy. At that level there is parity with 0 followers on social media channels as does a SME. In short, be it a SME or any large enterprise, they get the same platform to start with.But alas! The irony is that most of the SMEs are unaware of the crucial benefits of online visibility. They fail to utilize the potential of web to the fullest and lose ground to the deep-pocketed conglomerates. Octane has compiled a few general business and marketing tips for SMEs to implement, which shall not hurt the SME pocket.
1.Websites are still important -In the day and age of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages, most SMEs don’t feel the need to invest in a web space. This is a big mistake as the Facebook page is in actuality a complimentary feature to the website. But the question is, does the presence solves it all? The answer is a big NO. A poorly designed and non-functional site is worse than having no site at all, it has to be updated at equal intervals, some interactive & interesting activities should gain your target audience’s attention.So, be careful and sensible while you invest.
**When you pick a web designer or a company to build your site, don’t forget to choose someone who understands the value of SEO (search engine optimization)
2.Google Places – Claim your place on Google places to let millions of online users know your location and drive down to you to buy from the site itself.Use Google Places to create your free listing. When potential customers search Maps for local information, they’ll find your business: your address, hours of operation, even photos of your storefront or products.
**Guess what?? This comes to you at a cost of NOTHING
3.Claim free Coupons -Google, Yahoo, Bing and a ton of other online start ups are becoming increasingly focused on newbie advertisers. For attracting them they have coupons offering 100$ of free Ad Words or so doing the rounds. Claim them now and experiment the technology for your company at the other company’s cost.
**Guess again?? This too comes for free
4.Social Reviews – nothing works better than word of mouth. To use word of mouth to your advantage, you need an effective social media strategy in place. A favorable review on social review sites increases the likelihood that you will see a spike in business. A place as such where you should make sure your business has a presence is:
MouthShut.com- Such Social Review sites not only help consumers come to a better shopping decision, they also provide invaluable insight to businesses and an opportunity for them to feel the pulse of their existing and potential customers. . A potential shopper can find reviews on every business or brand right from large corporations to small local businesses, all written by an average consumer like him, typically a drafted overview of a consumer’s word of mouth.
** keep a constant follow up on reviews, make sure that the good bit remains the same and work on the complaint areas.
5. 140 characters are enough – Micro blogs, eg. twitter – the who’s who in the glamor, fashion, business and the word of politics have their presence on twitter. If you aren’t on Twitter yet, you need to get a twitter handle asap. It is amazing to see how quickly your loyal fans will follow you and some may even tweet back. To reciprocate, you can tweet some channel specific deals or inside information that only your followers would know.
**Remember, every individual has a unique area of interest, focus on the same and lure your customers with some relevant offers.
6. Facebook Pages and Ads – the next best alternative to a website is a Facebook page. It’s an easy way to interact with your most active loyalists and it works wonders for local businesses. Follow it up with relevant content or else your page shall become stagnant. You shouldn’t just dive in, formulate a strategy first and possibly find an agency that can do that for you. Also once the page is up and running, supplement it with well-targeted Facebook Ads and see the return on investment tell the story for itself.
**A report says Facebook now has over 675 Million users world-wide growing at an impressive rate of 45% since last year.
7. Foursquare – Location goes social! If you have an offline presence like a store or an outlet, get on to Foursquare so that people can check-in! Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore.It will display to their network where they are and maybe inspire a spontaneous meeting at your place of business.
**It works on every platform of a Smart Phone and even if you don’t have an i-phone, you certainly don’t have an i-phone but you can still use foursquare via text message! 😉
8. Business Booster 2.0 – A best-in-class service by Octane, which allows you to boost your customer base through your website. It is a powerful plugin which allows you to attach a small form to your website and when someone visits that web-site, the API will be triggered and the form displayed. This form can help you capture user details such as email addresses, date of births, occupations, locations and other such useful data. Thus you get access to new leads and since the user provides all this willingly, it complies with the principles of permission marketing as well.
For details on Business Booster 2.0: http://www.octane.in/resources/business-booster/
**BINGO! You guessed it right – Business Booster is a free offering by Octane!!
As an SME ourselves, we know what it means to keep costs in check, sticking to budget limitations and dealing with lack of resources like time. But, putting a budget and time into some of these tools listed above will have an exponential impact on the success of your enterprise. This is in fact just the tip of the iceberg! There is a lot more that you can do for your small business with online marketing, ask us how.