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Create Your Own Social Network

by Candrina
(British Columbia, Canada)

5 Reasons to Invest in Social Media

I often come across business owners who are trying to decide whether or not to jump onto the social media bandwagon. One of their major "pros" is always that it doesn't cost anything. While it's true that it costs little to no money to get started, there is a significant amount of time needed to get a good return on your social marketing efforts.

Why create your own social network? Because effectively using social media to develop business relationships and your brand can be a good time investment?

Take a look at the five big reasons why.

  1. Your business community: Build a network. I know, you face-to-face network like a pro and have a great pool of contacts. That's fantastic but -- let's face it -- there are lots of people you will never have the chance to meet in person. They may be based in another country, may be too shy to go to the in-person events, or may be too busy to get in the car.

    I have a group of people that I've never met but keep in touch with via Twitter or Facebook. I even walked into an event once and recognized one of my never-before-met Twitter friends! Social media can be a tool for growing even the best network.

  2. Reinforce your existing network: As your business grows and your contact list lengthens, it gets more difficult to stay in touch and keep a strong relationship going. Social media can really help with that. It allows quick messages to be sent or short comments to be offered without having to take the time for a full-on exchange.

    You stay in contact without the scheduling issues and time commitment. When you do meet up for a coffee or at a networking meeting, you can carry on the conversation at a meaningful level because you're both up to speed.

  3. Gauge what is important to your customers: Social media has a bad rap as the place people go to hear themselves talk.

    There is a lot of talking, that’s true. But the flip side of that is there's a lot of opportunity for listening. On social media, you can tune into what your customers are saying -- what they like, dislike, and wish they had.

    Programs like HootSuite give users the opportunity to set up information filters to make sense out of the chatter. With a little practice, social media can be a great tool in your research efforts.

  4. Show that you live your brand: For those people with lifestyle businesses, social media is very helpful in showing how they live their brand day-to-day.

    For instance, I have a client whose business includes an aromatherapy practice. Social media allows her to show her network how she uses essential oils in her daily life – what scent to use for a headache, which oil stained her cotton shirt, or how diffusing oils can calm a cranky baby. Best of all, she can do this relatively painlessly and without seeming pushy. People only follow her messages if they want to.

  5. Get grassroots information quickly: Are you wondering how the sales of the newest technology product is going? Check your online social networks. If there are people standing in line somewhere, you'll hear about it. If only 20 units got shipped, you'll hear about it. If it broke after two weeks of use, they will let you know.

    Social media moves information quickly. One warning? It moves all information quickly – true and false – so keep your "is this possible" filter on high alert to keep away the ridiculous!

Think social media might be for you? Give it a try! Keep your updates consistent, polite, and not too sales focused and you’ll do great.

Guest Author: Candrina Bailey
Pebble Road Marketing
Candrina Bailey teaches small business owners the nuts and bolts of how to market their products and services. Through Pebble Road Marketing, she empowers entrepreneurs to Do-It-Themselves, build confidence, learn how the professionals do it, and create success.

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