Once upon a time, the companies with the biggest budgets and marketing departments captured the most attention. They used their superior resources to win the battle for customer “mind share.”
But that was then, and this is now. In the modern business world, we have a variety of new communication tools that have made traditional media all but obsolete. These tools also level the playing field between small businesses and their larger competitors. Social media marketing is a good example. Small businesses can (and should) use social networking websites to compete with and even surpass their larger competitors.
Consider These Usage Statistics
- According to their most recent quarterly report (Jan 2013), Facebook has 1.06 billion monthly active users. That’s an increase of 25% compared to the same time last year. They have more than 600 million daily active users — these are people who use Facebook every day. Talk about a robust user base!
- YouTube has about 1 billion unique monthly users.
- Twitter has half a billion total users, 200 million of whom use the site on a regular basis.
- Chalk up another 200 million users for LinkedIn.
Aside from their enormous user bases, what do these websites all have in common? They are free to use. Where else can you get free access to such a large and active user base? (That’s a rhetorical question.)
Bringing Down the Walls
The biggest benefit of using social media is that it removes the barrier between you and your audience. Most of the traditional marketing techniques have a “gatekeeper” of some kind. For instance, a press release must be approved by an editor before it can be published. Direct mail requires you to build or purchase a list. Magazine and television ads typically come with a price tag that most small businesses cannot afford. These are the barriers and gatekeepers that have kept small business owners on the sidelines for decades.
But it’s a brave new world. With a small budget and a lot of effort, the modern small business owner can outperform larger competitors online. It costs you nothing to set up a Facebook page for your business–or a LinkedIn profile, a twitter account, YouTube channel, etc. it costs nothing to connect with others who share the same passions as you, particularly those who are interested in your products and services. And it costs nothing to engage these individuals in a proactive way.
So what do you get for all of these low-cost and no-cost social networking strategies? You get to build a community of like-minded individuals who are interested in what your company offers. Relevant news you get to share your and information with an ever-growing audience of prospective customers. And you can’t put a price tag on that.
This is one of the big job search engines and do a search for “social media.” You’ll see that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of social media job postings online. There’s a good reason for this. Social networking has become one of the most effective tools for online marketing and brand development.
But you don’t have to hire a social media manager to grow your online presence. You can do most of it for yourself. While they do offer paid advertising, most of the big social networking websites are free to use. You can link your social media accounts to your company’s website, and vice versa. You can promote your most valuable and useful website content through your social media channels. And best of all, your fans and followers can also share your content with their own fans and followers.
About the Author
Brandon Cornett is a small business marketing specialist. He is also a widely published authority on Internet marketing strategies, having penned more than 1,000 tutorials (most of which are still online today). You can reach the author by visiting his website www.AustinSeoGuy.com