Is social media really useful to a small business?

To say social media (principally Facebook and Twitter) has had a revolutionary impact on marketing over the last few years is probably an understatement. If harnessed correctly it can not only offer direct access to a potential world wide consumer base but deliver valuable content, whilst engaging with your audience.

Many people seem to believe that just by having a social media page on a site such as Facebook, it’s enough simply to set up the page, and then recruit as many followers as possible as to give the impression of popularity.

The true value lies in what you do from here. The quality of communication and level of engagement with the audience is key in how your brand is received; this is definitely an issue of quality over quantity.

Too many messages or communications of poor quality will result in people either ignoring them, or ceasing to follow the page. It is important to focus on what will be of interest to the audience. These could be items such as informative blog links, or competitions offering the opportunity to win products from your site, or helping to name new products.

The more engaged your ‘fan base’ are with the page, the greater buzz around the page which will create a higher number of followers and in turn should have an impact on your underlying main goal which is to increase revenue and grow as a business.

Over the two months I have been working with one of my clients, their followers have increased by over 50%. What helped with that expansion was the use of Facebook advertising into their strategy which raised their visibility. With adverts you have the option of not only targeting specific demographic groups of people but also their active interests.

Two subsequent months after using Facebook adverts, my client’s revenue sourced from Facebook followers also doubled, so building a base and keeping them interested has commercial benefits too.

Clearly having a social media presence will have a positive effect on your overall business as well as helping mould your brand, through the engagement of a new customer base. The key is to build up a core base of followers, give them interesting, amusing and relevant content, which in turn is spread from the followers to their circuit of friends and contacts.

This is not a short term strategy – but involvement with your followers and some engagement of your audience can reap dividends in the longer term.

Richard Wood is a Qualified Google Advertising Professional with extensive experience of marketing e-commerce stores, both large and small. As MD of Gillissa, Richard’s expertise is in the provision of professional paid internet search advertising through Pay Per Click and other online media. Richard’s specialist knowledge includes Pay Per Click and managing advertising campaigns on Google, Yahoo & MSN across a range of Business to Business and Business to Consumer accounts, online product display strategy.