Last updated: October 31, 2019

Remember the good old days of social media? Back in its heyday. Everyone was climbing on board. A new dot com would create a new social media platform, get a bunch of users, and then get bought up by another social media platform.

Twitter's homepage

Screen shot from Twitter’s homepage.

The “social” part of social media was blossoming. People would connect with and engage with almost anybody. Your social media stream was like a firehose. So much information. So many social media posts. So many friends.

Brands were engaging as well. You could follow and interact easily with your favorite band, product, celebrity, etc. The people and product pages that you liked would be displayed in your social media feed.
As a business owner, you were able to leverage that open environment. Social media was a fun, exciting, and essentially free marketing tool that could be used to promote your business.

You wanted to share an event with your followers? Easy. Post it to your page and it would magically appear in your follower’s social media feed.

You wanted to start a dialog with your followers? That was easy to. Post your question to your feed and you could connect with all off your followers.

Ahhh. To go back to a simpler time. Sounds familiar, right? (I hear it from my parents all the time.)
Well, a lot has changed since then.

Tik Tok hompage

Tik Tok homepage screenshot

Social media has transitions from that “Wild West” environment to a sophisticated business tool.
As a business owner, you need to understand that and to adapt; leverage the tools that are available and look for opportunities.

If you don’t, you won’t be in business for long.

Social Media is still relevant

As a small business owner, I recommend that you don’t discount social media as a method of marketing your business.

Yes, the platforms have changed, but people are still using social media. Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In are still there. Highly-used too.

According to a report from BroadbandSearch, 69% of Americans use social media to connect with one another. This is huge!

What is even more telling is when you look at the demographics. In the same report, social media use is broken down by age. For 18-29 year-olds using one social media network is a whopping 88%. For 30 to 49 year-olds, the usage rate is 78%.

You can’t ignore these numbers.

And as a business owner, you definitely need to pay attention. Looking at ways to include social media as part of your marketing plan is critical. You need to find ways to leverage social media an connect with new customers.

Making time for social media

It is easy to find excuses for not using social media [h] to promote your business.

I can hear them all now…

“I don’t have time.”

“This stuff is complex”

“I don’t have any followers on my business Page.”

“I can’t create cool images or graphics.”

And the list goes on. Every person who fails do embrace social media will have an excuse or two.

Imagine if you created excuses for the daily operations of your business. That’s right. You would be out of business in no time.

What you need to do is overcome these roadblocks to social media success. Make some time. Make an effort to understand what these social media platforms can do for you.

Social media can be a powerful business development tool. As such, you need to understand how social media fits into your marketing activities.

Baby Steps

So, you made the jump. You are diving into social media. Facebook, Instagram, Linked-In, SnapChat, Vine, YouTube, Tik Tok. It is a bit overwhelming.

As a small business, you need start slow. Pick one channel. It could be something new, or something you are already familiar with. Take some time and learn about it. Review the various features and come up with some ideas on how to leverage those features for your business.

Do some research online. There are plenty of “how to” website and videos that can provide you some insight on how to use your social media platform of choice. A little bit of research will go a long way as you start to implement your social media outreach plan.

And if you run into some roadblocks, don’t be daunted. Take a step back, re-group, and start moving forward again. You will be surprised what you can accomplish.

Getting Started

Ready to get started? Here are some great tools from American Express and their Shop Small Saturday program. American Express is a great resource for small businesses that are not overlooking social media as a way for connecting with customers.  Small businesses should take a serious look at these resources and see how they can be integrated into the your Shop Small marketing plan.  Social networks give small businesses the opportunity to engage with an expanding marketplace and capture new business.  Definitely worth it.

And, nothing beats a free set of tools.

Shop Small Saturday Graphic

Custom Graphic from American Express

More Social Media Tools

Here are some addition resources you may find interesting. Give them a try.

Social Media Toolkit from SEM Rush

Beginner’s Guide to Social Media from MOZ

 

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