Four Common Misconceptions on Social Media Marketing Among Small Business Owners

Marketing through Social media websites like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. is called social media marketing (SMM). It is gaining popularity these days and for many businesses, it has become a part of their marketing strategy. Despite the popularity, there are some misconceptions among small business owners on SMM and for this reason, many of them have not adopted it. In this article, we will discuss four common misconceptions on SMM among small business owners.

Misconception #1: Social media networking is only for teens
Most small business owners have a misconception that Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are meant for fun and entertainment and mostly used by teenagers only. It is true that when these websites started, initially they were mostly used by teens. But slowly, the scenario changed. People of all age groups are using social media websites today. According to State of Search, users aged 45 to 54 years are the fastest growing segment. 55% of the Internet users in this age group have an account on at least one social media website.

Misconception #2: SMM is easy
Registering on websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. is easy. But, it takes time and effort to maintain profiles and be active. You need to invest time and effort in
• Creating and updating content, videos, graphics, inform developments in industry/products/services, etc.
• Interacting with customers and providing solutions whenever there are queries from customers

Misconception #3: SMM delivers immediate results
Having a good profile in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and posting blogs regularly doesn’t mean you will get immediate results in the form of sales/leads. It may take few months before you see the results. For that, you have to be patient and interested in building relationship with customers by effective SMM campaign. Over time, you will see the results.

Misconception #4: Social media is meant only for marketing
Another misconception in some small business owners on SMM is that it is meant only for marketing products/services. Though broadly the purpose is the same, it is more than just marketing. Social media also helps small businesses in following ways
• Acquire new customer and retain existing customers – It is one of the best methods to reach out large number of target audiences with less efforts and within less time. By posting informational content, you can attract and acquire new customers and by updating the developments in business and products/services, you can keep your existing customers informed. This helps in building relationship with customers.
• Finding hires and partners for your business – Small businesses can also find people to hire for their businesses on social media sites. For example, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B businesses to find candidates and business partners.
• Search engine ranking – It is believed that Google and Bing search engines consider social signals – shares, retweets, G+ posts, etc. while ranking websites. Businesses that are active on social media websites have chances of ranking on search engine result pages.
• Customer service – According to Social Media Today, 53% of small businesses are using SMM as a two-way communication tool to serve their customers. It enables one-to-one dialogue/conversation with the customers. This leads to building customer loyalty and trust with your service.

It is a good time to have the presence on social media websites and leverage the benefits they offer. We suggest you to hire professionals for monitoring and maintaining profiles on these websites as it is not that easy as it looks.

Strategies to Help Your Small Business Succeed in Challenging Times

We have all discovered, again, the only constant is cultural change. Just look around and you will see state and presidential politics on messy display, financial institutions in chaos and Wall Street fluctuating.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last time that we see these ups and downs.

However, you may need different tactics and strategies to help your small business prosper as some small business owners have never been through a downturn.

The most important decision is to determine if you want to stay in business. I know there are lots of talking heads on TV and radio saying it’s time to put your dream on hold that your dream is no longer available, that you may want to consider finding a breadline.

How dare these multimillionaires, sometimes billionaires, tell you how to live your life. They have no experience, for the most part, of how an ordinary person wants to have their American dream.

Strategic Thinking to Help You Prosper:

First, commit to stay in business.

Once the decision is made to either start or stay in business, you will find yourself attracting all sorts of assistance.

Second, determine the niche for your business.

Remember, the smaller the niche, the higher the reward. To say you work with everyone is a misnomer. You may choose to work with left-handed people who live on the East Coast born after 1975. That is specific. You get the idea.

Third, have better and more positive thoughts.

Ignore the pundits who tell you to close your doors, sell your house, eat dog food and hunker down in your bed. That’s if you did not take their advice and sell your bed! Thoughts lead to action; action leads to results and results lead to success. Bad thoughts breed bad results, good thoughts breed good results. It’s that simple.

Fourth, focus on what you want.

Go for the big fish, not the guppies. If you want to make money, find the people with the money. It continues to surprise me that small business owners keep going back to an empty well. If you have tried with prospects and they have not hired you because they either can’t make up their minds, have no money or are unclear, believe them. Move forward.

Fifth, make sure you are going in the right direction.

Do you have a plan for your business? Do you have a business vision? If not, you will never knew if you are on the right path. Decide what you want out of your business. If you want money from your business, how much? If you want your business to allow you freedom, where and when? Be clear about what you want.

Sixth, Market, Market, Market.

Some small businesses and professionals easily fall off the marketing train when times are tough. This is the time for real marketing. What happens is when people are busy making money, they don’t market because they have all the business they want. Then, when there is a slide, they say they can’t afford to market. Well, you can’t afford not to market. You can market your business in numerous cost free or low cost ways.

a) Be personal with new prospects. Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings to get the lay of the land.

b) Partner with someone else. It can be a one-off or a bigger project.

c) Write articles to attract people to your website.

d) Write a book. You can easily write an e-book in less than thirty days.

e) Sign up for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

f) Hire an expert to provide an overview of your marketing plan.

Seventh, Change Your Attitude.

It’s all in the attitude! If you focus on and spend time with losers, you are one. Loser, that is. If you spend time with successful people, you to are a success, if by nothing else than association. Choose your circle of friends, associates and peers wisely. Remember, you are the sum of people you spend time with.

Put these new strategies in place for at least thirty days and you will see a movement towards prosperity for you and your small business.

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Hire A Consultant To Find the Right JV Marketing Partners For A Small Business

Small businesses can attain incredible rates of growth with the addition of the perfect joint venture partner however this can take a considerable amount of time and internal resources to pursue new partner opportunities. Small business owners may want to leverage hiring an expert business development consultant to do the research and the “meet and greets” required in developing a new potential business relationships. Make sure the consultant working with your business is in tune with the dynamics of your company and all your core business processes so they may serve your interests to the best of their ability. It may not be easy to hand over these responsibilities during the early stages of developing a joint venture business partner, but for many small business owners using outside support allows them to focus on continuing to service their existing customers, focus on proven lead generating channels and existing marketing activities. This way when the time is right you can meet with vetted businesses that are also seeking new partners and joint venture opportunities.

Finding the Right Partners

If an outside consultant is going to be successful in finding the right joint venture marketing partner for your small business it is critical that they really understand your business. This goes much further than just reading the website, reviewing product spec documents, and having a meeting or two with the executive team. It is best that they spend a day or two in your facility and meet with all of the team members that impact a successful business transaction as well as the individuals that are responsible for providing customer service. For a small business this can be handled in a day or two with several meetings. Not only will your outside consultant be fully prepared to represent your company to potential partners they should have a good understanding of the company culture and include that in their assessment of who might be the right partner for the business.

The biggest reason most businesses even larger firms reach out to professional business development consultants is there existing list of contacts. It is wise to hire a consultant that has recent work experience in your industry or desired geographical region. Having someone that can meet with your team and quickly start making calls to set up preliminary meetings to discuss a business opportunity that they think will fit well for both companies will lead to quickly closing a partnership and moving forward with the implementation phase of a new joint venture marketing partnership.

Compensating Business Development Consultants

Compensation for business development consultants will vary from person to person and what skills they bring to the table. Financial compensation for a consultant with high level business contacts at a specific company will differ greatly than a deal that is put together for a consultant to do research and additional legwork to identify and approach the right partners. The former may want to see a much higher revenue share for the deals that they close whereas the latter may be more inclined to be paid an hourly or on a fixed monthly rate with a smaller bonus for each closed deal. Each business is different and so it is highly recommended that before moving forward with a consultant for business development that the person in charge of the company’s finances, run some basic projections and financial numbers to determine what can be offered to a consultant that can quickly close new deals.

Business consultants can assist a small business grow quickly through establishing joint venture marketing partnerships with the right partners that fit the company culture and can deliver to their existing customer base. Most small business owners need to focus their time and energy on servicing existing business and marketing campaigns thus hiring an outside consultant for joint venture support is a great way to not add additional stress on a sales and executive team. Consider using outside business development support the next time your small business is looking to grow into a new market or geographical region and hire individuals that already know the area and can quickly put together a list of hot leads for potential partners.