Today, I was proud to support my client, Powers Martial Arts Centre and GB Promotions with their K1 Kickboxing Championship Show at the Mercure St Paul’s Hotel in Sheffield City Centre. It was a special event because Steel City Hub was sponsoring the main and last ISKA Title Fight of the night.
You might wonder what this event has to do with social media? Whilst I was there, I spoke to several business owners who, unlike Powers Martial Arts Centre, did not use social media to promote their businesses. Even if they were on Facebook, they didn’t maximise its free potential to help advertise their own businesses.
I asked how they advertised – there was a mix of paid advertising and word of mouth recommendations. Their answers to why they don’t really bother with social media include, “friends say it’s pointless,” “I haven’t got the time,” “I don’t know what I’m doing with it.”
I could sit and write all day about why small business owners benefit from using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest…there are many different social media platforms out there but at the end of the day, as we all know, word of mouth recommendations are the best way to get business. Agreed.
Here’s why, even if your business runs great on word of mouth recommendations, it’s so important to have a business presence on social media:
Your services are needed every day by potential customers and that makes your business important if you’re good at what you do. Someone, somewhere, especially local people to your business need your services. Example, I’ve just bought a new house and it’s pretty run down. I need a plasterer, an electrician, a plumber, a roofer and so many more skilled people to help me make it a home. Where do I turn? I post a ‘recommendation’ post on Facebook for everyone to see and my friends ‘tag’ business pages of people they’ve used. Brilliant – a word of mouth recommendation that I can find online. If you haven’t got a business page, you’ll miss that.
A social media business page (particularly Facebook) helps people find you because it’s a directory, it shows your business on a map, it gives all the details someone needs to make a decision on contacting you and it tells them how to contact you. It also lets them message you if they are shy to call.
People can leave ratings and recommendations on your business page that others will look at to make a decision about whether to contact your company. If I’m really pleased with the work my tradesperson has done, I want to post pictures of it on Facebook. If you haven’t got a business page to help share that great client recommendation and those images of your work, and you don’t comment i.e. “it was a pleasure,” showing that you’re a human too, you’re not reaching your potential. You’re not reaching my friends who might also need some work doing that you can offer. You’re missing an opportunity.
Social media helps you interact with your customers in a special way. If someone has a question, they can tweet you, they can message you on Facebook, they can ask online at any time of the day or night without having to wait till the next day to phone you. No one is saying that you have to respond straight away but these days, many people and potential customers are put off by the thought of having to phone someone as the first option. Give your customers options. Let them ask.
Social media advertising options are completely different to traditional advertising in newspapers and magazines. The amount of money you pay if you want to reach more people by creating a targeted advert is minimal in comparison to traditional methods of advertising. It’s really cheap to run an actual advert on Facebook that brings people to your business page. The best part is that you can target specific people. Say, for example, your best customers for your plumbing company are mothers who work and are making home improvements. You can actually create an advert for a few pounds a week targeting mothers who work and who are making home improvements at the moment…It’s not magic, it’s data. Facebook and other social networks collect a lot of data from all members.
There’s the list of why you need social media for your small business. It’s not an option anymore, it’s a must if you’re serious about your business and the customers you care about. You’re not doing anything cringeworthy or wrong by getting your business name out there. Someone needs you. You can help someone have a better life, even if it’s just repairing an old boiler, fitting a new stove, painting a wall, building an extension; if you are a real business, with a real desire to do the work you do for others, you are a great part of the community.
I would like to personally thank Paul Powers at Powers Martial Arts Centre for involving me in the K1 Kickboxing event today and helping me show the importance of social media for small businesses. Take a look at their social media accounts – you’ll see that they’re building more and more customers each week, posting lots of great photos and information for all to see. Make your time online worthwhile.