Does Social Media Really Affect the Bottom Line for Small Businesses?

How much of an impact social media marketing tactics can have on a small business is always an interesting topic of conversation. I believe it’s an incredible marketing tool, especially for those businesses with more of a niche target audience or a strong understanding of what demographic they want to reach out to in a specific community. Utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other relevant platforms can allow small-business owners to promote their offerings, build awareness and potentially drive traffic and influence decisions that will affect their bottom line.

According to The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, technology adoption rates in the U.S. have doubled in the past year from 12% to 24%. In fact, nearly one in five small business owners are integrating social media into their business processes with Facebook and LinkedIn leading the pack in terms of platform popularity.

One thing to remember, particularly with Facebook, is that people are no longer actively looking at company pages. Rather, they are waiting for the content to appear in front of them on their newsfeed. As such, small businesses need to make sure that they are updating followers regularly with relevant and compelling content without annoying them.

It’s also important to consider other platforms, like blogs, to personalize a small businesses product or brand. According to HubSpot.com, companies that blog have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has:

I’m keeping a close eye on location-based marketing tactics, particularly with Foursquare and the new Facebook Places as ways for businesses to see a real impact on their bottom dollar by driving traffic and influencing impulse buyers when incentives are provided. Check in on Foursquare somewhere near Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City, for example, and you are likely to get a “special nearby” button pop-up on your phone screen, letting you know about businesses in close proximity offering a clothing discount, free ice cream scoop, etc. This is an excellent way to convert foot traffic to sales, especially when considering the strategic targeting in terms of audience demographic that can be done through this platform. I’ll provide a commentary as these interesting marketing tactics continue to develop.

Does your business utilize social media marketing techniques? If so, what have you found to be most effective?

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