Social Media Matters to Mom and Pop Shops

May 3, 2012

Don't make it difficult for people to find, trust and engage your company. A solid social media campaign will help establish credibility and influence prospects before they pick up the phone.

In a recently released survey, Cisco found that 74% of consumers conduct research on the web before making a purchase in store. The findings underscore the importance of digital content marketing campaigns that can educate and ultimately influence customers.

One might assume that it is more critical for big companies with powerhouse brands to provide compelling content; however that is simply not true.

A report from Pew Internet Research found that 51% of consumers also turn to the web when seeking information on local businesses.

According to the same study, search engines were the most popular medium with 38% of users relying on them.

No matter what your products and/or services are, or where your company resides, it is critical to establish a strong web presence and a social media campaign.  Social media tools can be instrumental in boosting search engine rankings; growing business exponentially via referrals and establishing a company as the premier player in an industry.

Traditional ‘mom and pop’ owned businesses used to rely primarily on customer loyalty and word of mouth advertising to succeed.  The playing field is much different today.

For example, consider a private, small event planning company in McCordsville which has been successful based on referrals and advertising in local wedding publications.  Anyone planning an event is going to conduct a ton of research online, from the costs to rent Bozo the Clown to wedding dress boutiques.

Perhaps a bride-to-be searching online for an event planner might stumble upon the address and phone number on the company’s Google Place page.  When she calls for info, she’ll have a ton of questions ready to ask and a motive to ascertain whether or not the company is credible.

If, the other hand, the event planning company had a strong social media campaign, she may have seen that a friend ‘likes’ the company on her friend’s FaceBook page and could have clicked through to learn about the company.  Inherent trust would have been established because she already trusts her friend.

After clicking through to the company’s blog, she could have been extremely impressed with the variety of events the event planning company has created by viewing videos or seeing testimonials.  After perusing articles on everything from mood lighting to outdoor weddings, she would more than likely consider the company an expert in its industry.

A social media strategy is never a one-size-fits-all for any company, large or small.  The types of social media chosen will vary based on the needs and goals of the business.  Once those are defined, an assessment of each medium will help ascertain if it will support the over-arching social media campaign goals.

Is Twitter a good fit?  Will a YouTube channel drive traffic?  Does a blog make sense?  Only you can decide and yes, you’ll have a lot of homework up front.  More importantly, you’ll know exactly how everyone searching online feels before they ultimately buy, so make it easier on them to find, trust and engage your company.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit: swardraws

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