The world of business has changed since generations past. Way back in the day, technology seemed to move at a leisurely pace, and the biggest advance over the course of decades was the manual credit card imprinter. Yes, littler more than a few signs in the storefront window advertising low prices with a friendly smile was just about all any small business owner needed to have a fair shot at success. These days, things are different. The aforementioned shifts in the technological landscape have not only brought us the Internet, but social media as well. And in these modern times, it is social media strategy that every entrepreneur needs to master when launching that startup.
To that end, here are some valuable tips and tricks that are crucial to success.
Eschew the hard sell
Social media is not designed for aggressive, old school advertising tactics. Banner ads no longer cut the mustard, and tactics many marketers felt were viable just a few years ago, such as disseminating keyword-stuffed online content, have fallen flat on their face. They simply aren't effective. This is due to the fact that social media users are more discerning than ever. They want useful, valuable content, and it is just this type of material that gets shared the most across social platforms. Entrepreneurs should concentrate on humanizing their brand in order to deliver this type of content. For example, a new health food startup can forgo text ads in favor of a video showing how their products are naturally sourced. Even featuring employees and customer testimonials will help put faces to the product or service.
Build a following/get the feedback
Part of utilizing social media in business practices isn't merely to share content - it's to take the temperature of that business' customer base. And there's no better way to do this than by building up a large following on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Marketing experts recommend forgoing expensive studies in favor of direct questions directly to followers. By having a large enough following, the average entrepreneur can get a nice cross-section of real-time data samples, thus pointing him or her in the right direction regarding where to take their operation.
Keep "99" in mind
Those who are interested in building their social media followings will want to keep the tactics of industry giants Coke and Dell in mind - and focus on the 99 rule. This states that 99 percent of a business owner's audience is not looking for his or her particular product or service at that particular time. That means entrepreneurs will have to experiment with other tactics to keep them interested. The power of storytelling has proven effective at holding an audience's interest, and this works on social media as well. Dell knows that folks tend to buy computers once every two years or so, and their marketing reflects that by keeping them interested without being cloying. On the other end, Coca Cola had much success featuring something as simple as a beverage bottler talking about his work. Again, it's the stories and the humanity that will keep the social media denizens coming back for more.
One thing every entrepreneur should keep in mind is that social media is alive and constantly evolving. This organism goes through phases, but its major trend is one of an upward trajectory. Whether it's Facebook, Pinterest, or some new site yet to be invented, social media is only going to play an even larger part in consumers' lives in the years to come. Entrepreneurs everywhere would do well to bear this in mind.
Peter Bowman is a professional blogger that provides tips and information on franchise opportunities and investments. He writes for Franchise Expo, the place to find the best franchise opportunities available.