Social media shouldn't be rocket science
By Sandy Winhofer
As intricate and complicated as social media can be for small business owners, it doesn't have to be rocket science. The average small business does have time to work with social media; we don't have to think of it as a nemesis or a waste of time. As sites such as Facebook have become more and more integral to our society and the way we communicate, it'd be rather impractical to turn a blind eye to the social network or the implications it may have for a small business.
Strategy matters, as always. Consider the recent trends and shifts in social media that will help you drive an effective strategy in 2013 that won't waste your time:
In short, social media is being seen by many users as the new face of customer service. As one in three users prefer to contact customer service through social media versus a physical telephone call, we can see the direction that we're going in terms of communication. It's relatively quick and painless for users to leave a comment on a Facebook wall to ask a question; furthermore, multiple users may get their questions asked at once or spark a conversation for the business to get involved in. Additionally, whereas many physical businesses cannot always be reached by phone, it may be seen as more advantageous to "leave a message" on Facebook or Twitter rather than utilize an answering machine.
Social media offers a channel for customers to reach out to you; small businesses need to make sure that the channel stays open. It's quite easy to waste time on the social network, but if you keep your focus on customer service, interacting with users and sharing your content, you'll be more likely to find success. As always, be mindful of your goals.
(Sandy Winhofer is director of the Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. Your Chamber appears on the first Sunday of each month.)