Small businesses often lack the funds to use traditional marketing techniques and many have turned to social media. The media costs are much lower and there are minimal development costs. Some recent examples that I have heard of is a bakery Tweeting about the latest item out of the oven and gourmet food trucks Tweeting their location to devoted fans. In my neighborhood we have a local hair salon that has switched to digital marketing from expensive traditional marketing. For them word of mouth has traveled faster through social networks.
In the past many small businesses haven’t been comfortable using social media, but many may be warming up to the idea. A new survey conducted by online survey company Zoomerang Online Surveys polled small and midsize business owners about their biggest challenges for 2011 and their plans for 2012 revealed that only 33% of those surveyed are using social media, but 40% say they intend to use it next year.
But can social media make the cash register ring? Jeff Leach, business owner of Naked Pizza in New York said one of his exclusive-to-Twitter promotions brought in 15% of his day’s business and that was in 2009. Today he uses Facebook, Twitter, Flikr, Vimeo, YouTube and the LivNaked Blog, which is featured in the picture above.
And Kurt Walchle, president and CEO of Survival Straps says they launched their company without any cash for traditional advertising. In a Wall Street Journal feature this month Kurt says he did most social media himself for the first few years, but now has one employee dedicated to their social media presence. In their 6th year of business, they report nearly 50% of sales stemming from social media efforts. He claims social media helped them grow from a home-based business into a thriving company with more than 50 employees in only 5 years. How?
– Satisfied customers become ambassadors to spread the word through personal social media channels.
– Customers post reviews and pictures on their Facebook pages – people are more likely to purchase things that come from their friends and family.
– When people “like” the company’s Facebook page, they gain access to their personal world so whenever they post and these other people will see their posting on their own page. Survival Straps currently has over 190,000 Likes.
– They announce new products through Twitter and post customer-submitted stories and pictures on Facebook.
If you have the time, social media is ready to spread the word about your Hair Salon, Nakid Pizza or Survival Strap.