Enough About Google & Online Search – Lets Talk Social

After the Google revolution came the social networking craze with the amazing popularity of FaceBook. Small business owners knew they needed to “get on FaceBook” or risk being left out in the cold! But, what does that really mean? Is FaceBook an effective means of getting new customers?

Is simply having a FaceBook page enough? What should you do with it exactly? Facebook can represent a whole new and exciting way to engage with your customers, but it also represents yet another marketing medium that must be learned and mastered.

Of course, in the recent past, we’ve seen a whole new set of sites and services that are considered social networking. In addition to FaceBook, Pinterest, Four Square, Yelp, Angie’s list, Twitter etc. have all come online. There is likely no stopping this trend, and today’s darling will be tomorrow’s “MySpace”

facebook & social marketing

Forget about how the confusion of how to actually use each of these very different sites and services, how about the simple question of which ones should I even worry about?

What about good old email?

Many businesses have found that an up to date and accurate email list of their customers can be a huge asset. They spend a lot of resources developing newsletters and other materials that are sent out on a regular basis. The dirty little secret though, is that most of those emails go undelivered, unopened and unread. Even when the technology is easy to understand (everyone pretty much gets how to use email!). the usage of it for small business marketing gets complex.

email local

There are tools and data tracking that must be employed to use email effectively. To say nothing of the actual preparation of the newsletter and other materials. And, of course, that other big question : where the heck does this fit into the priority of all that you are or could be doing to market your business ? If you’re on FaceBook do you need an email list ? Are you better off pursuing twitter than email ?

The smartphone and its impact.

More than half the people in the United States have smartphones now, and this is increasing every year. In a short period of time, the “landline” will be totally replaced. Not only will traditional home phones be displaced,but it’s clear that some large percentage of desktop computer usage will be move to smartphones.

What does this mean to small businesses? It represents yet another way that customers will be finding you (or not!). They will be searching on smartphones for your business and services. This means that even if you’ve done your job well in helping them to find you (Google plus optimization, Search Engine Optimization etc), they may be looking at your traditional web site which looks horrible on the smaller screen of a smartphone.

Wouldn’t it be so much better to have a mobile version of your site that looks great on a smartphone and has a nice big push to call button? How do you get that site developed? How do you ensure that site shows up when people search on their phones, rather than your traditional one?

And then there’s text message marketing, and QR codes!

smartphones
qr codes

What are those crazy ink blot looking things you’re starting to see on posters, print ads, TV ads, coupons and other marketing material? (They’re QR codes). Do you need to be using them? 

What about text message marketing? The statistics surrounding the effectiveness of text marketing are staggering. Over 90% of texts are read within minutes. Imagine you’re the owner of a restaurant and it’s a slow evening due to the rain.

You walk over to your computer and in less than 5 minutes, you send a text out to 1000’s of your previous customers telling them of a rainy night free appetizer special. I think it’s clear that the evening would pick up! This is the kind of power that small businesses have today. Power, but unfortunately, a heavy dose of complexity.