Tweet, Vine, Pin, Post. Update a blog. Like a Facebook status. Network via LinkedIn. There's myriad options for small business owners to connect with customers, peers and others via digital media.
Yet, these entrepreneurs also have to balance budgets, keep track of accounts receivable, manage payroll and sell their products and services.
With limited time and financial resources, it can be incredibly difficult to figure out the most efficient and effective ways to embrace the rapidly expanding digital world.
If a small business owner shuns social media, he or she could miss out on big marketing opportunities. But if too much time is spent seeding such sites, other important duties could fall by the wayside.
These are the challenges of many small businesses nationwide, including the four firms that are part of USA TODAY's Smart Small Business series. This six-week series addresses the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and provides advice on topics such as creating sustainable growth, using social media for marketing and finding financing that works.
The four Smart Small Business participants all have dived into the digital world already. Here's some of their outreach in that area:
--The Twitter feed for We Rub You's Korean BBQ sauces includes photos from tasting events and information on Korean cuisine. Co-founders Janet Chung and Ann Chung Mellman also use Twitter to directly engage with other foodie users.
--Bhakti Chai's Pinterest page is filled with images that reflect the Indian culture that inspired founder Brook Eddy to create the tea company. There are pictures of spices, yoga poses and Bollywood stars.
--The Web site for Jin+Ja, a beverage created by Reuben Canada, includes easy-to-access links to Jin+Ja's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles. Those sites are updated frequently and include information such as where to buy Jin+Ja and what other beverages mix well with it.
--The Facebook page for Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, run by the Giacomini family, provides details on the farm's more than 50-year history, as well as links to interesting news about cheese -- such as a recent article about "funky, innovative cheeses."
If done consistently and strategically, entrepreneurs can use digital media to bolster brand awareness, improve customer relations and boost sales, say marketing and small business experts. This year, average digital media usage among U.S. consumers is estimated at nearly 15 hours per week, according to researcher PQ Media. By 2017, it's expected to hit 19.30 hours per week. (continued...)
© 2013 USA TODAY under contract with YellowBrix. All rights reserved.
Enviro Equipment, Inc.:
Posted: 2013-10-10 @ 11:44am PT
It's actually a very good idea to have a 'presence' on each social media platform (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) because you never know where a potential customer or client will look you up on. For example, we never paid much attention to our Facebook page until we had two or three points mentioned that they researched us on Facebook before they ever called us.
Posted: 2013-10-10 @ 7:39am PT
Thank you for a compelling and succinct reason as to why all businesses but especially small businesses should not shun social media as a marketing and branding tool.