2014 The Year of Technology in Business

Tom Egelhoff

Online shopping has been around for a number of years. Each Christmas we hear the reports of the increasing numbers of consumers heading to their iPhones to make their purchases rather than the brick and mortar storefront.
Armed with WiFi, smart phones, and Internet, consumers are more informed about products and services than ever before. Your customers are talking about your business and posting reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Yelp. They are researching your products and services long before they darken your door to make a purchase.

Product Research
My wife and I decided to buy an upright freezer. So I went to the Internet to do some looking. Why the Internet you ask? Because we weren’t looking for price, we were looking for dimensions that would fit the door opening of the room where it would be housed. I found the largest one that would fit through the door. Got the model number and headed out to my locally owned appliance dealer to make the purchase.

Word of Mouth
Social media has changed the very concept and delivery of word-of-mouth advertising in the past couple of years. It’s easier than ever for word to spread about your sales, your service or, in some cases, your lack of service. People are going to be talking about you on social media sites whether you embrace the concept or not.

Where To Post and How Often
If you are selling to everyone, then Facebook if probably the best bet for getting the word out. Check out how many businesses have a, “Follow Us On Facebook” decal in their windows. Over 1 billion regular users each month and the number 2 worldwide website after Google.

If you are posting helpful websites or other information to your customers then Twitter is probably best for you. Twitter has a 140 letters and spaces restriction so you need to be brief.

If you are selling to high-income folks then LinkedIn might be a good fit for you. This is the home for CEO’s, managers, and the top of the income food chain.

If you need to demo your products or to introduce new products use YouTube and embed the movie on your site. Do the same with your TV ads.

Join The Party
In my opinion, resistance to joining the social media party is a bad business decision. The numbers of your customers that are moving to social media is growing by the day. The most common complaint is, “I don’t have time to post stuff on the Internet.” Well, check out your competitors. I’m guessing they are somehow finding the time.

For my personal pages I use www.HootSuite.com to do all my posts. I can sit down Sunday night and schedule posts on all my social media pages for the whole week.

Some Final Thoughts
Using social media to grow your business is a no-brainer. It’s free advertising. It costs nothing to create a site and the reason there are so many people on social media is they’ve make it very easy to sign up and get started.

If you inform and educate people with social media it builds your credibility and your followers will share your expertise with their friends on social media. Take some time to get informed. Contact your industry association and see what they recommend. Talk to similar businesses around the country and see how they are using social media. Visit industry web sites and “like” their pages and see what they are posting. You can share their posts on your site. Get social and your business will grow.

Check out Tom’s Weekly Radio show at http://kmmsam.com Every Saturday Noon to 2 PM Mountain Time - Follow Tom on Facebook at facebook.com/smalltownmarketing and on Twitter @smalltownmarket

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