Why Facebook and Social Media are Valuable for Your Small Business

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So, you’ve finally started using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as marketing tools for your business. You’ve started interacting with customers online, are getting Facebook “likes” and are even getting new “Twitter followers” on a daily basis.

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But, are you truly seeing any results from all of your online efforts? Is all of the work really worth it?

According to new research and data from the University of Buffalo, Texas A&M University and Aalto University in Finland, social media can in fact make a difference. The new study, published in the journal Information Systems Research, shows that customers who are also Facebook fans of the business are more valuable than customers without any online interaction with the company.

And this means much more than simply getting customers in the door. These customers that also interact with a business through Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets also improve the company’s sales. In fact, the study’s lead author and assistant professor of marketing at Aalto University said these customers who interact with the business through social media contribute 5.6 percent more revenue than customers not active on social media. Additionally, these social medial-savvy customers visit the business five percent more than their non-social media counterparts.

The numbers don’t stop there. According to the social media marketing firm Syncapse, a Facebook fan is worth $174 to a brand. This amount is 28 percent higher than it was three years ago.

Syncapse reached this number thanks to a survey by research firm Hotspex, who collected data from more than 2,000 U.S. panelists earlier this year. The study compared Facebook fans and non-fans’ brand loyalty, media value, potential to recommend the brand to others and a number of other factors. The results were released earlier this week.

So now that we know social media has some influence as far as attracting customers, improving sales and getting them to return, there are a number of trends small business owners should know about and implement in order to have success with social media.

Be Specific

It seems like a new social network is introduced everyday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your business needs to be on every single one. A number of small business and social medial experts believe 2013 is the year small businesses focus on one or two social media sources that work best for their specific product or service.

By investing time in the platform you believe is best for your customers — whether it be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram — small businesses can maximize their social media marketing efforts and hopefully have the greatest chances of increasing clientele and profit.

According to Ben Bentzin, an expert in brand development, product marketing and social media at the University of Texas at Austin, business owners have to think about what their customers are using as far as social media.

“If you are selling insurance to senior citizens, social media [like Twitter] may not be that important,” Bentzin said. “But if you are selling to college students, you have to have that social media presence.”

Additional Social Media Strategies

Apart from focusing your social medial efforts toward one or two platforms tailored to your customers, small businesses can also improve their social media campaign by:

  • Encouraging interaction from customers

  • Investing in building online communities over time as opposed to a quick-fix solution

  • Contributing regularly to your chosen social media platforms

  • Keeping customers up-to-date on events or sales

Like any marketing technique, it is important to have a specific strategy and plan from the beginning. Experiment with different social media platforms to learn which is best for your business and start taking advantage of these online communities.

Do you know who your customers are?

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This is a guest post by Sandra Faleris of SmBizSuccessTeam. To read more from Sandra, visit her blog.

Used to be customer demographics led marketing departments’ strategies. Mass media filled the bill for just about any retail-oriented small business that had a decent-size advertising budget. Vertical publications used to be one of the few vehicles with which business-to-business companies could reach their targets.

It was a shotgun approach but didn’t require “keeping up with the Zuckerbergs, Brins, Pages or Hoffmans”. These days, social media and online advertising can more directly reach your target audience, depending on who they are.

Yet, there are still oodles of customers who are dying to spend their money with companies that answer their phones and offer the personal touch during their purchase.

Loyalty has slipped in place of value. Value means different things to different ages and walks of life. Some might think ‘speed and price’ equals value. Others might equate a long-winded sales approach as “top-notch customer service”. There are also those who want “quality over price” and, of course, those who want “quality and price”.

Now, more than ever before, it is important to know who your customers are and how they, specifically, define value. According to statistics gathered from Facebook by Advertising Age*, the largest group of Facebook users are between the ages of 21-24 yrs. (17.5% male, 16.6% female), followed by the 35-44 age group (15.3% male, 15.4% female). The smallest group of users was the 64+ (4.5% male, 4.8% female), followed by the 55-63 group (5.5% male, 7.2% female).

Text messaging and the use of cell phone statistics are similar to that of Facebook users. Young adults are the most avid text users by a wide margin. Cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day. (Source: www.pewinternet.org)

It is important to determine the age group of your current and prospective customers. Advertising, marketing and branding efforts need to match the media habits of your target audience to get the biggest bank for the buck.

Knowing who your customers are and what they expect will become increasingly important to the success of your business. So if you don’t know social media and your customers are over 50+ years of age, your strategy should remain with mass media, direct mail and promotions. This group’s definition of value is likely to be within the “quality plus price” category, which may mean they want severe discounting on quality goods/services.

If your customers are in the demographic groups that are in the highest ‘user’ groups for Facebook, mobile use and texting, then you better jump on the Internet and get educated. This groups’ idea of value is likely to be “speed and price”, so the use of mobile marketing and social media that catches them when they’re ready to buy, might be the best route.

The bottom line is that the more you know about the demographics and psychographics of your customer, the easier it will be to understand their idea of value which will help attract and garner a new stable of users.

It’s a long and ever-changing lesson on marketing in the 21st century, but worth the education.

The Best of Business Advice – From our Customers!​

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“Don’t think about great ideas, think about people’s needs.”

El Mau Nuñez

“Cash Flow is Not a Paycheck” – Allen Gardner

“Great service means repeat business.” – Carol Ann Harstad

“Get out of your office and meet your potential clients.” – Jennifer Unruh

“Don’t wait, it’ll never happen if you don’t start.” – WireSpeed Systems

“If it ain’t profitable, it’s a bad business” – Duncan Yip

“Take a holiday…” – Martin Grill

Those are valuable pieces of business advice from our customers on Facebook.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? Tell us, by dropping a comment here!

Cloud Software is to Desktop Software as…

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How do you think Cloud Software compares with Desktop Software?

Last week, we asked our Facebook fans and twitter followers to come up with their own analogies to describe this comparison.

Here are some of the interesting responses we’ve received so far:

On our Facebook wall:


“192.168.0.1 to 127.0.0.1″
Adam K Dean ‎ (This one got 6 likes on our wall)


“A tap is to a dried up riverbed”
Marty Neill


“A renault 4 is to a mercedes benz”
David Castillo


“Meditating is to yawning”
​ – Josh Ward


“Man Vs Cave man”
Arif Ali

As twitter @replies:

“as Asteroids were to Dinosaurs”@caps_phisto

“credit card is to cash”@alvarofelipe

“as smiley cookies are to regular cookies”@adamgolomb

“as wings are to boat anchors”@DortchOnIT

So, which is your favorite analogy from these? Can you come up with some of your own?

Gaining benefit from social media when you don’t even use social media

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Social customer care is great if you’re using a social channel. Problem is there are still plenty of people that only use traditional channels and get no advantage from the social channels.

At the CRM Evolution Conference I spoke with Ian Jacobs, a Senior Analyst on Customer Interaction for Ovum. Jacobs offered up a possible non-adhoc scenario to integrate social media into the knowledge management database as core corporate information.

The social channel handles things that aren’t in the company’s knowledge database. How do you get at that knowledge and then get it into the company, asked Jacobs. The trick is finding a method to validate the correctness. The technology to do just that is not fully baked, admitted Jacobs.

Ultimately, what Jacobs envisions is a series of automated tasks that use trust mechanisms, which then make that social input part of the company’s overall knowledge base.