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Advertising Using social media

There's no doubt about it - small businesses are beginning to utilize social media tools and tactics with more frequency than ever before. A recent study by eMarketer reports that 260, 000 small businesses across the US and Canada are employing social media tactics. 51% of small businesses are using social media for professional social networking using tools like LinkedIn.com and 28% are involved in microblogging using tools like Twitter.

There are several things to think about before just jumping right into using these tools. The most important is your time. Viral marketing through social media really requires a dedicated amount of time each day and you have to understand the value of your time. Many of the available tools are free to use. But that does not mean they don't come at a cost, because they certainly do. The cost is human capital. Think of it as a pet. While the pet may cost a little or even nothing, caring for it takes a lot of time. The same is true for social media marketing and networking.

Before you start, make sure your strategy is clear! There is a lot of social media hype and peer pressure to use these technologies. Just make sure you clearly understand your key goals and objectives. For example, are you trying to build direct sales with customers, improve positioning of your product or service, or build your authority in a specific area? Answering these critical questions will help you move forward with your strategy.

Your first step should be to verify whether the audience you are trying to reach is already using social media. If your target market isn't using Twitter or Facebook, then why are you? You also need to do your homework on where the audience you are trying to reach already exists. Are they on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter? Are they joining groups or creating new ones? These are all key questions to understanding your audience and how to best engage them.

What are some of the immediate benefits that small businesses are finding with social media? Well, most small businesses will tell you that social networking can help foster stronger relationships with customers, enable a faster vehicle to answer customer questions, incorporate customer feedback, and build awareness for their expertise. However, many small businesses are still trying to understand how social media can ring the cash register.

FCA guides on use of social media for financial promotions  — Financial Reporter
While the FCA has made clear that it does not wish to curb the use of social media, it has suggested that firms make clear when they are advertising using social media platforms - for example, using the hashtag #ad on Twitter.

Popular Q&A

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What automotive manufacturers are currently using paid social media advertising? - Quora

* Increased exposure to the billions people using social media
* Increased sales
* Increased lead generation
* Build a loyal fan base
* Interact with your customers
* Adapt your marketing plan quickly
You can do all of the above at a fraction of the cost that it would take with traditional marketing methods.

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