Facebook For Small Businesses

23 05 2012

Here’s a great post from Jason Mollica on the Social Fresh blog about how Facebook can help small businesses:

We’ve all heard that social media can help grow your business and brand, financially.

But say you are a Mom and Pop coffee shop in a small town.

Why would you want to use Facebook?

Why NOT?!
Small town businesses can use social media to grow their customer base. I work with these types of businesses and their owners often do not see the connection between social and more foot traffic.
Let’s be honest, there are still many businesses that recoil when they hear the words Facebook and Twitter.

These five tips can be effective when talking to any small business. What can social media do for them?

1. Helps a business re-think their marketing strategies

While advertising in a local newspaper is great, you are only reaching a small portion of your audience.
For example, you could spend upwards of $1,000 for just a half-page ad. Take the money you would spend in print and go global.
Granted small businesses may not have the money to hire a full-time social media manager. They could, however, be looking for a consultant to offer assistance.
Take Sweet Sixteen Cafe in Lockport, N.Y. They have a simple, but effective website and use their Facebook page to entice customers to come into the store.

2. Recommend a YouTube or Flickr page

I recently worked with a tourism group to allocate funds from unnecessary advertising into the purchase of a small HD video camera and a digital camera.
This allowed the group to take photos and video without spending thousands. It helped generate more business for the town and encouraged additional tourism dollars.
We established a YouTube page and will be putting more photos on Flickr. Giving potential visitors and customers an idea of who you are and what you stand for is key to personalizing the experience.
Who wouldn’t want to see a video of what your the area looks like during the holidays or showing a smiling customer enjoying something in your store?
If you keep at it, Youtube can also be a great search opportunity, helping potential customers find your business in a visual and engaging way.

3. Understanding the changing business climate can save money AND business

Not only do you need to understand what you are telling your clients, you need to understand their business.
We can tell prospective and current clients how the tools work, but if we don’t know how they will be effective for their business, what’s the point? In this economic climate, there is plenty of uncertainty.
We need to provide examples of certainty. The money saved now, can go a long way to turning a profit, as Lake Effect Ice Cream in Lockport, N.Y. has shown.

4. Give your business a personality

I have a small boutique inn as a client. You could read all the great amenities that they have on a website, but it has been Facebook that has allowed us to explain who they are and how they treat their customers.
Their followers regularly interact with them now, even telling them when they plan to come back. When a guest stays with them, they often mention how they feel part of the “Brookins experience” because of how the inn “talks” to them on Facebook. The return guest rate has gone up to nearly 95%.

5. Most importantly… it’s a perfect customer service tool

If that’s the one thing you can stress the most, do it. Businesses want to make sure their current customers are taken care of. Mom and Pop type-businesses aren’t any different. As a matter of fact, it probably means more.
Exceptional social media customer service, to go along with terrific in-person service, will go a long way to building social capital AND business success.
What are some tips you give small businesses for social success?

 Image source: BigStock.com Shopping carts and shoppers