I would guess that most small business owners are reluctant to giving social media a try in their business. I don’t blame them. Why would anyone waste their business time on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace- sites that are geared towards networking with friends?
I say this with a little “tongue in cheek” because first of all, in any business, networking is the name of the game. It doesn’t matter if it’s offline or online. Second, social networking sites aren’t just for communicating with friends anymore.
For example, I have a friend who is a professional fitness trainer. Many of his clients are connected to him (as friends) on Facebook. Most of his updates on Facebook are oriented towards his business.
He’s not interested in telling people what he ate for breakfast (unless it’s part of his training) or what he did over the weekend. Instead, he posts clips of his latest workout videos for everyone to see. He then posts links back to his main website.
Whenever he posts a new article on his site, he has a short excerpt of it posted on Facebook. What this does is keep him at the “top of mind” position with most people. People, who see his posts on a regular basis, naturally perceive him as the only recognized fitness expert – the guy who must know a lot about Heath and Fitness.
The people that are connected to him then refer others who need a trainer his way. He doesn’t use Facebook as a way to sell directly, but rather to position himself as the go to expert for personal training in
I have another friend who works as a remodeler. He uses Facebook to post updates about his latest project to his network of contacts. Another person I know uses it to post real estate listings in her area.
Twitter is another great networking tool. Twitter is a cross between texting and blogging. You can post short updates that go out to your followers (customers) on a regular basis.
Zappos is one company that uses the Twitter to stay connected with their customer base. Most of their employees have an account and use it to communicate with their customers, letting them know about the latest updates or simply dealing with customer service issues.
The great part about Twitter is that it can be used on your mobile phone.
As a detailer, you can utilize networking sites like these to stay connected with your local customer base. Get them to follow you or become friends with them. You can get some video or pictures of recent work you’ve done and post it on these sites with links back to your main website. You can use it to post promotions you are running, or informative articles you have recently written.
Social media sites aren’t just for teenagers and college students anymore. They are now an effective way to promote your business.
For more information on how larger companies are using social media, click here.
Jonathan Taylor is the owner of Strategic Marketing Solutions. You can reach