Expanding SMEs with social media

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Beyond the huge number of people using social media platforms in different parts of the world, some businesses also use the channels to increase their profitability.

By adopting social media, small and medium scale enterprises anchor their medium-term goals on increase sales or patronage. Without this, using social media as an organisational tool would amount to waste of time and resources. For SMEs that run small budgets, they are particularly useful.

The first rule is to decide which platform to use. This puts time, budget and personnel into consideration in line with the demographics you are looking at. Also important is branding the social channels to make them fully reflect the company’s brand. There is the need to position the logo well, just as the profile needs to be ready before unveiling the platform for public interaction.

Again, there is the temptation to see social media use as negligible and leave it in the hands of an intern. This can turn out to be a great mistake. An organisation needs to have someone who understands its corporate philosophy to handle the job first until it begins to find its feet. This person will ensure that information posted is agreeable with what the organisation represents.

For a small and growing business, it might be important to have a social media handbook that documents what it needs posted, how it should be done and what should not be posted. This is a proactive way of ensuring that the organisation does not run into trouble on social media.

The social media audience is largely heterogeneous, in terms of composition, taste and attitude. The objective of putting a business in digital space is to reach the public. What happens next though is what count. How you react to what others comment on your page or channel is what some users are waiting to see. In this age where a tweet can form a headline, you do not want your company in an ugly spotlight for a simple slip.

Gathering followers on Twitter is not enough and having likes on Facebook is not all why you need social media. The numbers are useless without proper engagement and creative interaction. The key reasons for having followers should be to turn customers or friends on those platforms to volunteer marketers. Nothing sells faster than a compliment from a satisfied customer or one that believes in the organisation’s ability to deliver. They should know about your product or services given the kind of information you put out there.

If you sell shirts, they should be able to reel off the kind of shirts you sell because you have given them value for their time. This means that you should occasionally you give them tips on how to properly wash a stained shirt, identify a shirt made from good material, how to ensure your shirts last for years, how to iron your shirt properly and other related tips. In this way, your followers will see the additional benefit to spending time on your social media space and ultimately think highly of your firm.

Social media change what is in existence in terms of relationship between organisations and their customers. Unlike the boss and subordinate interaction that existed before, what exists now is that both are on the same terms and are colleagues. On Twitter, it is 140 characters for everyone, irrespective of social or economic status. Twitter intends to change this soon but equality will still be the rule.

Paying for visibility can also be good for sales figures. Facebook’s promoted posts are affordable irrespective of the budget of any organisation. Twitter also offers similar paid services where tweets and handles receive better prominence and better engagement prospect.

Social media’s result is not automatic. It takes efforts particularly given that it only complements what is in existence. It takes some level of skills to navigate the social media space without hurting ones brand.

Youtube.com, Keek.com and a number of other video services are platforms where such can promote your video content.

A small business into shoe production can run a series of videos on why it thinks its product is the best. If the business is in a particular sub-region, it is strategic to caption the video correctly.

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