New Media Communications Strategies For Small Business Awareness & Growth - Page 2
This excerpted and edited from the Tucson Citizen -
Small businesses use social media to grow
by Laura Petrecca on Feb. 16, 2012
Hamburger chain Smashburger has become a smash hit, growing from three Denver locations in 2007 to 150 outposts nationwide. And while its Angus-beef burgers and unique toppings have helped to propel its success, its secret sauce is social-media outreach.
Smashburger offers coupons and trivia contests for its 67,000 Facebook followers, replies to questions and complaints on its Twitter and Facebook profiles, and actively reaches out to bloggers who might write about the new Smashburger restaurants opening in their areas.
“The brand was really built on social media and PR strategies,” says Jeremy Morgan, senior vice president of marketing and consumer insights. “Social media is an opportunity for us to engage with consumers and have a conversation, which is different than paid media, when you’re just shouting through a bullhorn.”
“Everybody should take a look at it,” says Dan Galbraith, owner of marketing support company Solutionist and a National Small Business Association board member.
“Whether they chose to jump into social media or not is a question that only they can answer,” he says, but all firms should at least explore how social media could work for them. “There’s a lot of good information floating out there,” he says.
A time investment
It takes dedication to achieve social-media success.
“The common misconception about social media is that it’s free,” says Morgan. “Facebook and Twitter accounts are free, but for small business owners in particular, time comes at a premium.”
To keep from feeling overwhelmed, business owners should decide how much time they can dedicate to this burgeoning arena, says Galbraith. Some may need to hire social-media help.
Either way, business owners should first set goals, he says. For instance, an owner might want to increase store traffic by 20% by offering coupons via Facebook or another social-media site. Or a business-to-business company could plan to reconnect with 10 former clients and re-establish solid relationships in the next three months.
The goals should be clear-cut, but as many business owners have learned, the initial strategies might have to change.
While marketing experts advocate joining the social-media conversation, most say that doing it poorly — such as combining personal and professional updates or not posting information consistently — is worse than not doing it at all.Continued on the next page