Social Media is fast emerging as the platform most people are resorting to for increasing their presence on the Web. It is one of the best means of promoting your business online and helps get the elusive clientele that you find difficult to reach out to in regular businesses. Most social media sites have overwhelmingly large memberships with one leading the group having no less than 1 billion as registered members and still growing. This vast throbbing database presents not just a ready clientele for your business; it can also provide a great means for conducting Research and Development activities that are so vital for sustaining any business today.
However, it is not just as simple as opening an account with a social media sites like Facebook and pose a question asking what anyone thinks about your product or service. Any such question just thrown wildly will meet the fate it deserves; it will most probably go unnoticed or ignored. You need to patiently monitor people and their likes and dislikes and seek their views and get feedback to know what they think. The great thing is that you do not need a huge capital outlay and can do it on a shoestring budget if your business is small and growing.
The primary step would be to make use of the social media to monitor and collect sufficient information about your company, the services or products and how the industry is faring in general and what the competitors are up to. Tune in to specific groups and listen in on their conversations to learn about the topics they end up discussing most. Based on what you learn, you can either modify the service or product to suit that specific need.
The great thing is that you need not be into online marketing and yet will be able to test the waters. Suppose yours is a regular store that specializes in footwear in a particular locality and the business is doing pretty well. However, you wish to conduct a campaign for research and development to find out what a particular segment of people or the most number of people prefer, that you wish to wish to target when you start marketing online.
For such specific purposes, you have free services that you can go to. One such service is SocialMention.com where you can create social media alerts that entitle you to get email alerts for your brand of products or services. If you do not mind spending a small amount there are other paid services like uberVu who can provide specific information about what sort of content grabs the attention of the people, and what factors influence such potential customers. They even suggest the content that is most relevant for your kind of activity and help optimize and schedule such content.
The other way is to directly plunge in, become an active participant in the social media site, and establish contacts that lead to building relationships. This way you will be able to connect directly with the potential customers and draw their attention to your products or services. You can create such followings on Twitter and Facebook and divert the traffic to your blogs through links. Once you have successfully diverted them, you can create your own database and start sending periodic newsletters and other promotional material. You can shoot out simple questionnaires that can glean the information that is vital for your business.