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The Social Explorer: Social Media & Small Businesses…

15 May

Social media savvy small businesses can benefit most from a sound social strategy…don’t get left behind!

Good use of social media by a small business can be even more beneficial than it is to a large corporation. The stand out difference could be that the smaller business has a focussed fan base – having targeted key blogs, emailing directly and taking time to advertise to the relevant end-user means that the smaller business will be more engaging in its social spaces. There’s an argument that a small business won’t have time or resource to implement a good and impactful social strategy. And when you consider that 75% of the largest companies have less than 3 people working on social media at any one time, is it any surprise that a smaller business could fail to justify investment of time and resource into this marketing tool?

Get the thumbs up from potential customers with your social media strategy...

So I’m here to say (for what it’s worth) that if you provide a product or service, part of your business plan should include a social media strategy! It’s free to use across pretty much all platforms and it gives you the chance to interact on a personal level with existing and potential customers. Now…its not particularly easy if you’re not social media savvy and you may be tempted to take on an intern or employ a social media specialist (perhaps not an option for a small business) so its important to learn the ropes first. Looking at businesses in your sector and their social spaces is extremely important, as well as ‘nerding up’ on the how to guides the likes of mashable and techcrunch will talk about. Once you know your Posts from your Tweets, its time to get yourself out there – create your profiles, set up a Twitter account and maybe even get yourself onto FourSquare.

I’ll be posting a step by step guide of how you can create your own profiles, administrate, communicate effectively and generally make the most out of social media. For now, if you’re a small business owner don’t forget that communication is king and if you’re not part of the ‘social revolution’ then your competition and customers will leave you behind…

– The Social Explorer

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The Social Explorer: The Future of Social Commerce…

11 May

The key to successful social commerce is to remember that ‘Quality is better than quantity’

Working in Social Media & e-commerce and we’re always looking for new ways to drive our Social strategy forward. There are a wealth of agencies, plug-ins, articles and social experts to guide you in the right (and often wrong) direction. So, I thought I’d join the endless list of people who tell you what they think the next big thing is…

1. Social Shopping. If used properly – and it hasn’t happened all too often yet – social shopping can be very effective. This is going beyond the simple ‘Like’ plugin that most companies have adopted, and more towards innovative solutions whereby customers can feel like they are actually shopping together. Away from the likes of Amazon and ebay, there is a big USA player making some interesting steps to integrating social networks to a shopping experience. This is buy.com – logged into Facebook, you can invite your online friends to shop with you on buy.com and chat with them in real-time. Though we may not quite be ready for this step, it feels like we’ll be seeing something very similar in a year or two and wondering why no-one had thought of it before…

Buy.com...2. F-Commerce. It can’t be denied, shopping on Facebook is an attractive proposition for retailers and consumers alike. It means that we can remain on our beloved Facebook for a few minutes longer, and for retailers, shopping becomes truly social and there’ll be more links shared than there are seasons of Big Brother. Now…doing this properly is key. Simply using a mobile feed to push your whole catalogue is not how it should be done (yes, we’re looking at you, ASOS) but the selection should be based on friends birthdays, your likes and other products relating the FB user. The lazy approach looks just that, and we’re looking at the more innovative retailers like Amazon, Levi’s Friend Store and Trip Advisor for tips on how to do this properly.

Amazon on Facebook...3. Group Buying. No we’re not talking crowd buying (Groupon, KGB deals etc etc) but more clubbing together with your Facebook / Twitter connections to purchase a single product or service for someone else. A classic example that comes to mind is the always-awkward leaving present at the office. So, you decide on that perfect oversized calculator for your spreadsheet loving (soon to be ex) colleague and you’ve spotted the perfect website to purchase it on. SO…the difficult part getting the cash to pay for it. What could be easier than sending out a link and letting your colleagues do the rest? Well ebay’s Group Gifts is a great example if what you want is on ebay, or head to somewhere like edivvy if it’s not. There isn’t a huge amount of choice at the moment but to me it’s a no brainer and something that should, and will grow.

Edivvy...

There are many more…and we’ll be giving you some more of our predictions in the coming weeks…

– The Social Explorer