Few elements of running a small business change as fast as social media. This crucial aspect can shift on a dime, and new trends, devices, sites and other bits of technology pop up on a daily basis.
Therefore, it is extremely important for companies to find ways to take advantage of these ample resources. For example, when crafting a financial plan, marketing can take up a significant portion of the company's budget. However, social media can mitigate some of these expenses, and lead to a cost-effective, affordable method to reach new customers and grow an organization.
Given the rapidly-changing social media environment – and the fact that 2014 is expected to be no different – small business owners may want to focus on a few key business and financial tips to save money and provide a boost to marketing.
A simple strategy is often the best one
The beauty of many social media sites, like the origins of Twitter, for instance, is simplicity. It is relatively easy to write something and post it to the masses, and even the most bare-bone and stripped-down strategies find some level of success on the web.
In 2014, simplicity is expected to remain a prominent trend in social media, according to Marla Tabaka in an article for Inc. magazine. David Ritter, director at Boston Consulting Group, explained to Tabaka about how this specific element will continue to play a role in the new year. Particularly, simplicity makes a difference when it comes to which platforms people – and small businesses – are using. Sites like Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat are popular because they are easy to use and offer little in the way of complexity.
Ritter further noted that a simple social media site is easier to adopt into a strategy, because people have shorter attention spans, require instant gratification and want to learn something that is easy. Better yet, the rise of on-the-go technology, such as mobile banking, has contributed to the trend of clean and concise social media. This is because people who use smartphones and tablets want something that is easy to use and read, and a complicated site doesn't provide that. A small business owner who can demonstrate his or her organization's core values in a quick burst could see strong returns on a social media strategy.
Cater to a more mobile audience
More people today are using sites like Yelp and Foursquare to share reviews, find local businesses and converse with friends. Therefore, these mobile social networks could be the perfect solution for a small business looking to upgrade its marketing strategy.
According to Mashable, all organizations should at least register on these sites and learn how they operate. A retail store, for example, could greatly benefit from the reviews on Yelp. Business accounts cost nothing, and they allow the company to answer questions, follow users and post information about the venture. On a similar note, Foursquare allows companies to offer promotions and other advertising. This could get additional people in through the doors and increase local awareness of the small business.
It is important to remember to connect social media together, Mashable explained. Sites like Yelp allow users to include a URL, so people can follow the link back to the company's actual website. This will increase the exposure. For instance, a Twitter account could include a link to a blog or user reviews, and so on. There is no shame in asking for customers to log onto Yelp and fill out a review, or check in via Foursquare to further promote the small business. All of these strategies, and many more, will help a company solidify its financial plan and grow in the future.