Only a small percentage of small business owners believe their social media strategy delivers all they need. In my opinion, a trusted adviser should inform SMB customers about ways to leverage this online technology in their favor.
Reputation management is crucial when utilizing social media. Google Alerts is a service that allows you to receive updates about what is posted online about your products, personnel and company as well as your competitors. You can have updates delivered immediately, daily or weekly to allow you a chance to respond to any issues quickly.
Business owners should also monitor the sites that rate businesses and read all negative and positive comments. These sites include ResellerRatings, Ripoff Report and Angie’s List. You should attempt to satisfy any customers that write negative reviews or at least respond to their concerns.
Your goal is to create an interactive online community with two-way communication between the company and its customers. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are the most popular sites but many small businesses ranked Google+ the highest for being the most helpful in a recent industry study by Vocus.
StumbleUpon was ranked between YouTube and LinkedIn as far as being helpful, but it ranked low in the number of small business owner users. Foursquare and Pinterest are two more effective social sites for building community.
A blog is another useful tool but it requires a bigger time commitment than other options.
The business owner can decide whether to set up a landing page directed to a specific item or a home page. Careful analysis of results is necessary to determine if the strategy is reducing complaints, increasing traffic, raising community awareness and bringing in new customers.
Allocating traditional media resources to interactive media strategy is one way to deal with the cost. Many businesses decrease spending in print ads and direct mail.
You must let your customers know that a social media marketing strategy is effective with a solid plan, execution, evaluation and revision when necessary.