Are You Connected?

This infographic from Go-Globe shows how much happens in 60 seconds on the Internet.

Social media is having an impact on the way we do business. It is changing the way we market, interact, network and communicate with others. It has evolved so quickly that people find it difficult to keep up. This has caused a lot of entrepreneurs to avoid it in their businesses. The running of a business does fall on the shoulders of the owner and it is often hard to take the time to learn and apply new tools.

What you need to consider is that you may be missing out on growing your business because you are not connected. Social communication today is vitally important. The growing trend is to connect with as many people as possible. The old saying, “it’s not what you know but who you know” fits well with this trend. It originally started with MySpace and then Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.com and Flickr came into existence. And the list keeps growing, with new tools and applications being added daily. There is more opportunity than ever before to reach a bigger audience/market with the use of technology. The world is truly a smaller place!

What has become a very interesting trend in the last few years is the social sharing of experiences. People are connecting on a different level. They can upload and download photos, videos, communicate with friends by placing messages on walls, and post bulletins. Communities and consumers are also taking advantage and creating forums where events, notices, meeting changes, and new promotions can be posted. More and more people are searching social media sites for answers. The opportunities for online marketing are endless.

Many businesses have incorporated and created a Facebook page. And why not? In May, according to Inside Facebook, there were 16.6 million Facebook users in Canada. Companies also use Twitter and “follow” others who use it.

Unfortunately, there seems to be some reluctance in many small Canadian companies to invest in technology. Ian MacFadden,  BDC vice-president noted that technology spending can help boost productivity by making companies more efficient.

Efficiency is time and time is money.  Demand is definitely there – consumers can find out just about anything online these days. They can check out events, blogs, tweets and even sale items on a minute, hourly and/or daily basis. Consumers have more power and knowledge and they do have the ability to affect the bottom line. As a business owner, are you doing all you can to connect with your clients?

Social connections within a community are very important because they bring the community together. Social media is going to continue to grow. What used to be calculated by ROI – return on investment, is now being called ROC – return on conversation.

Social media is bringing communities, business and people together. The business community needs to start sharing more experiences and using technology to reach their clients. People are very busy these days and it is important to provide them with what they need.

However, to be successful, your Social Media strategy needs to be integrated into the core of your business and with your overall marketing efforts.  Make sure you clearly define your goals first.  For example, are you looking to strengthen relationships, recruit, build a mailing list? Then do some research to see which tools will help you achieve your goals. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) has a lot of great information for business on social media.  Check out MEDT’s E-Business Advanced Topics.

Halton Region’s Small Business Centre is also here to help you with all your business questions.  One of the goals of the Centre is to empower small and medium-sized enterprises and give them the tools to achieve success. For more information about any of Halton Region’s other Small Business Centre resources and services, and how we can help direct you to the right resources, contact us at 1-866-4HALTON (42-5866), www.haltonsmallbusiness.ca, smallbusinesss@halton.ca or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.  And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @haltonecdev and Facebook at www.facebook.com/HaltonSBEC.

Are you using social media?  Share your story! Once a month we’ll enter all entries into a draw for a chance to win a voucher for one of our upcoming seminars (value $20.)

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