Are you ready to start using social media to promote your small business?

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By Eric Springer, Contributing Blogger

A simple Google search for which social media sites, measurement recommendations, and tools to use will probably give you information overload. There are hundreds of social media platforms, bookmarking sites and tools to choose from. It can be overwhelming.

Implementing social media for your business can consume huge amounts of time if you just jump in blindly. The key is to have a plan. You need to know what you want to accomplish by using social media sites. Here area few possible ways to use popular social media sites to help your small business.

Are you an expert?
Are you just trying to establish your name out there as a Product XYZ expert? Then consider starting a blog. Blogging is a great way to write about issues, new industry trends, and other interesting topics that affect your customer and your business. Blogger and WordPress are two free and easy-to-use blog hosting sites to consider. Once you have your blog set up, set up a Twitter account and link it to your blog. By using Twitter and your blog together, you can drive traffic (readers and potential buyers) to your articles and feeds, establishing yourself as a subject matter expert and gaining trust.

Driving your B2B sales
Another great way to drive traffic to your blog and ultimately, your online or brick and mortar business, is to connect with potential customers on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great online community of businesspeople who network and share ideas and information. If your customers are generally other business owners, LinkedIn provides you with the networking opportunities to drive sales with a limited, small business budget.

How do you reach consumers?
Finally, if your business is primarily B2C, Facebook features the type of customer you are looking for. Granted, people who use Facebook can be business owners, too. But they also buy consumer products, and Facebook now features a lot of great applications that can be used to drive over 500 million potential B2C customers to your online store. In addition, apps such as Payvment can be added to your company’s Facebook page to quickly and easily set up a shopping cart within your page. Consumers can buy from you without ever leaving Facebook, and you have another storefront to showcase your products.

Don’t pigeon-hole your business
While I mention specific uses for blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, they are far from the only strategies you can use each social media site for. The key is to figure out what your goals are with each and how you can use them in a way that benefits your business.

Eric Springer is the Corporate Communications and Marketing Coordinator for AnswerNet, a leading teleservices company. AnswerNet recently was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately-held companies and has been ranked on the Inc. 500/5000 five times.

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