Small Business Saturday Blog

Big vs. Small: What Advantages Do Small Businesses Have On Social Media?

Monday, April 13 at 10:29Customer Service | Marketing | Social Media

There’s no denying that bigger businesses have bigger budgets to spend on marketing campaigns, and whilst this can seem like a daunting prospect for smaller businesses, there are actually three great advantages for small businesses when implementing social media strategies:

Personality Potential

Having just a few individuals working with your social media means that you can celebrate and promote each person at your company within your social media campaigns. This can be anything from photos and videos of employees using a product, to articles written by a team member or specific ‘Q&A’-like sessions.

A great reason for doing this is the boost in familiarity your customers feel towards your brand. Showing the ‘real people’ in your business will simultaneously increase the likelihood that customers will trust your brand, recommend it to others and return to it.

Larger companies tend to be more faceless because they have hundreds of people operating their social media in order to cope with the volume of traffic they receive on a daily basis. Most of their personable aspects involve simply a by-line under an article or a first name sign-off at the end of a tweet. Instead, small business can take advantage of their individuality and give their followers reliable, human personalities they can trust.

Individual Customer Interaction

In a similar line of thought to making the individual personalities in your business stand out, the way in which you interact with customers and respond to them online can also be an invaluable way to build your business reputation.

Larger companies who deal with complaints on Twitter or Facebook often reply with a generic “Hi xxxx, sorry to hear about that, please contact our Customer Services on…” This method becomes little more than a signposting exercise, which ushers the complaining customer behind closed doors to talk about their complaint quietly. This re-direction also implies that it’s ‘inappropriate’ to use social media for complaints, when in reality, it’s the first port of call for unhappy customers hoping to get a little bit of support from the crowd along the way.

As a small business, you can grit your teeth and deal with public complaints on social media head on. As long as you do this with respect and tact, you’ll be seen to be actively and transparently problem solving, and working with the customer rather than against them. The flip side of this coin also means that if you get positive reviews and testimonials, you can engage with customers in a public, positive way. The rule that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery is also true on Twitter, and re-tweeting a customer’s review or comment to your followers will also reinforce relationships as you build them.

Story Telling

Smaller companies also have a great opportunity to get creative with ‘story-telling’ on their social media. Whether this is an unusual description for a product or a video sampling an individual service, smaller companies can often take advantage of more focused group demographics in order to tailor content specifically for these target audiences.

Larger companies can often be restricted by the need for overarching, crowd-pleasing content that will navigate language barriers, cultural differences and politics. Whilst it’s always important to take these factors into account when creating organic content for your business, the flexibility of a small business communication means you can talk to customers on a more colloquial level, incorporating details from a specific region, age group or interest.

If you begin a campaign in which you ask customers to participate and get involved with the storytelling, as a small business you’re also likely to receive a more manageable amount of responses, which can lead to some engaging and unusual collaborative projects that are authentic and difficult for other businesses to replicate.

By Olivia at Shake Social

Overcoming a ‘NO’ in sales

Wednesday, February 11 at 17:31Customer Service | Sales

Overcoming a ‘no‘ in sales. Ok, we’ve all been there. We give it our all in what we think is an awesome sales pitch. We think the deal is done but then word comes back. The client wasn’t feeling it, so it’s a ‘no’.

All of a sudden every ounce of confidence you had in your sales strategy is out of the window. Questions float around your head… ‘Did I say something wrong?’, ‘Did I give the wrong impression…’, ‘Did they just HATE me?!’

Slow down.

Before you go off on a tangent and starting to pick your very existence to shreds, get your head around these tips that will help you to overcome a ‘no’!

It’s not about you, it’s to do with your offering

I can promise you, the main reason that a sale doesn’t go through is not to do with your appearance, way of talking or other personal attributes. It’s predominantly because they don’t need your offering enough at that precise moment in time. Maybe you haven’t tapped into their pain points in order to stress why they need it. But, a ‘no’ isn’t a no forever, so plan to revisit that customer in a few months or even a year’s time as their circumstances may have changed and what you are offering may suddenly become the right fit, or you will have improved your sales technique and be able to tap into why you’re product is right for them better than the first time you tried.

Think about how many times you meet someone at a party who tells you they’re a mechanic, for instance. At that point in time your car may be smooth sailing with no problems whatsoever, but a year down the line they may be just the person you need to call because you’re in enough pain for it to make sense (i.e your car has broken down)! Build rapport with that customer during your initial meetings so that they will want to come back to you, and work on your technique in the meantime.

Use it as a lesson

To delve in a little further, what is the feedback telling you? If you haven’t gotten any, make sure to ask (in a non pushy and friendly way) for some feedback... the reasons the client didn’t take up your offer. Ask questions such as

‘What didn’t work for you?’
‘What did you specifically like?’
and ‘What could I have done to make it better for you?’

What is to learn from the results? By the way, you don’t need to agree with the feedback, just take it graciously and see what can be learnt from it. Don’t place blame on your customer, make excuses or get defensive. Look at how you can improve your sales strategy. Could you sharpen your message? Tune into their needs and pain points more? Make notes and use these as guidelines for future sales opportunities.

Remember, there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback!

No-one converts at 100%

Before you go putting yourself down or passing blame on to the customer, remember this. No-one converts at 100%. Not even the most successful sales people with the best sales strategy on the planet. Not even the Wolf of Wall Street himself!

Every sales journey has it’s ups and down, as with life, so don’t pressure yourself to close every sale. Work on improving your ability to tune in to your customers exact needs.

Has that cheered you up a bit?!

By Leigh Ashton

Leigh Ashton is the sales guru and co-founder of Sasudi.com, a new platform which gives small business owners the training they need to overcome their sales setbacks.


If you are a Small Business, You Need Social Media

Tuesday, February 03 at 15:59Customer Service | Social Media

Social media allows any small business to compete with larger enterprises. An entrepreneur can easily increase sales and profit margins by effectively using the social media channels.

The Competition is starting to get Ahead

It is easy to deal with the other guy when you can see him. Competition may not be in the neighbourhood or a few blocks away. In fact, a competitor for a small business maybe hundreds of miles away. Social media is allowing that competitor to establish brand awareness in your backyard. The social media platforms allow for networking content almost everywhere, attracting a multitude of new customers. Research has shown that 75% of all Americans online are influenced by private information coming from social media. They also are developing brand loyalty to what they have discovered. No less than one third of customers are saying that the social networks are how they discover new products.

More people are shopping and making transactions from their smart phone. They may be miles away from the store, but technology allows them to make a purchase. This means that a customer buying from your business is someone you will perhaps never physically meet, and lives in another part of the world. That is how powerful social media is in today’s commerce.

Why Not Use the Tools to Succeed?

You may be spending a lot of money on advertising, but you can be even more efficient by using the right tools. Social media permits you to cut your marketing and advertising budget substantially. You simply have to use the means provided online. A tool such as SocialCentiv will allow you to search Twitter for new customers. You can even use metrics such as your community to narrow down the search (This tool has a seven day free trial). You can easily integrate a social network into your e-commerce website when you use something like Pushup Social. Managing a number of social media accounts is a piece of cake when you have a dashboard such as Hootsuite. The more you look at all of the aids and the support the social media channels provide, using social media is not a problem and there’s a chance for strong profits.

Social Media can be local and Fun

You may not want to tour the globe to find customers and that is all right. There are local social media devices that can really help. You can register with Foursquare for location based searches, and the consumer boards like Yelp are able to provide great testimonials from your satisfied customers. You have a great opportunity also to connect with people and improve on the customer service that you are already providing. The same loyal customers you appreciate can actually help by referring their Facebook or Twitter followers to you. This is traditional word-of-mouth advertising multiplied by the hundreds. The phrase “Please Retweet” can send scores of referrals to your company. You spend a lot of time and effort trying to get the word out about your business and your products. The social media networks not only save money, but literally hours of time.

This can be fun. Social media relies a lot on relationships and the human touch. You may have developed that over the years, and you can strongly benefit from your personality on social media. All it takes is for you to decide what social media platforms you would like to be on and develop a strategy. There is no reason to be satisfied with just the status quo. The modern business world holds some amazing opportunities. You can profit from social media if you use it. Those who do are going to be very pleased with the amount of new business which comes flowing in.

By David Miller 

David is an educational researcher who has several years of experience in the field of teaching, online testing and training. He is associated with prestigious universities and many leading educational research organisations. Currently, he is pursuing research in online knowledgebase software and is also a contributing author with ProProfs.

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