Social media refers to interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks

How Social Media platforms impact on small retail businesses

Social media platforms have completely changed the way businesses can get in touch with their customers through social marketing. There is no other media channel which allows your business to access over 1 billion people instantly and initiate direct contact with them. Whatever the size of your business, you should consider social marketing via Facebook and other various social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

Facebook has provided a diverse platform where you can reach customers who are geographically and demographically placed for you to access in order to make online sales, discuss how they view the product and what improvements they would like to see, address their concerns and complaints quickly and promptly, and allow them to spread the word about your brand and company amongst their family and friends.

With the increased popularity of people shopping online through mobile devices, this new buying habit has created revenue opportunities for various small retail businesses. Facebook has provided an online market platform for both large and small businesses. Large companies are spending significant budgets on this social commerce and marketing trend, but this doesn’t mean that small businesses cannot benefit from this phenomenon. They too can leverage the new social marketing trend to generate increased revenues. Here are top 5 ways to benefit from Facebook as a small retail business:

1. Be more personal
Large companies might not be able to provide individual attention to every customer on their social media page. They might appoint other individuals to stay in touch with customers, but transparency and quality control in the way they handle customers can be uncertain and inconsistent. On the other hand, small retail businesses due to their size can pay attention to individual customers and be more personal with them by taking time out to address each and every concern they have. Effective dialogue and genuine engagement is what creates long-term and loyal customers and gives rise to a robust social marketing campaign. You can encourage and motivate customers to share their experiences and take the opportunity to resolve their issues in “real-time”, bringing you much closer to them as compared to a large corporation.

2. Keep customer service first
For many people a company Facebook page is a platform where they can voice their ideas and feelings about the company and its brand. Therefore, you wouldn’t like them to share any negative experiences since this page is being followed and “liked” by millions of people. In order to avoid such situations, it is best to stay on top of your customers. A proactive behaviour will help you resolve all queries within 12 hours and provide customers with a rapid solution to their issues, resulting in an effective social marketing approach. Large corporations have many other things to consider and might not be able to concentrate on what issues the customer is voicing. As a small retail business your company can provide a personal and individual service towards your customers which will make them feel valued and looked after.

3. Optimise your Facebook page
In order to run your company’s Facebook page it isn’t necessary for you to have significant IT knowledge. A simple review of your page and effective feedback from your customers will help you optimise your page. Also by concentrating on what you expect to generate from your Facebook page will keep you on a straight path. Differentiate between whether you are interested in boosting online sales or attracting “likes”.

If you are looking to boost online sales, then your Facebook page will act as an advertising platform for your business. This involves creating external website ads, which when clicked on, will direct the customer to your web page. On the other hand if you are interested in created a viable and robust online presence you might be looking to attract substantial “likes” from your Facebook page. This encourages interaction between customers and your company. It gives you greater opportunity to talk to them about your product, arrange polls/surveys and other activities that will keep them engaged.

Whatever your reasons might be to promote your company online through social marketing, creating a Facebook page is essential for any size and type of business. There are various ways this and other social media platforms can benefit your company, whether you have a geographically dispersed customer base or a local customer base; either way it can help you generate revenue and boost sales. A great example about how Twitter can help small retail business is www.timberclick.com who use it for the promotion of special offers and timber stock clearance.