Make 2013 More Social for Your Small Business

Whether you have been using social media for some time now or would be considered a newbie, a new year offers a number of opportunities for the savvy small business owner.

With 2013 here, what will you differently from a year ago in order to better promote your small business?

For some who own businesses, getting more active in socially promoting their companies should be high on the list of importance over the next 12 months. Otherwise, they stand to lose ground to competitors, watch current and potential customers go elsewhere, and see a shrinking return on investment.

In order to better promote your company this year, remember to:

* Be more social – With all the “free” advertising that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and others can offer, you would be silly not to take advantage of them. If you have been lagging behind when it comes to social media for your company, start 2013 with a bang. Assuming you have an account or two (create them if your business does not), spend some time on them if you have been updating them here and there. Put relevant links of your Facebook, Twitter and other pages to articles, studies, photos and more that tie into your business and the overall industry. By doing so, you will be seen as a relevant source by consumers who visit your pages. Make sure to also engage with consumers who come to your social media pages with questions and concerns. Also make it a point to update the information regularly so that people know you do utilize these pages. Lastly, make sure you are always professional in the world of social media, even if customers are taking issue with you and/or your business;

* Promote more – Along with social media options, make sure you promote your small business whenever you get the chance. This can be done through simple promotional items like office calendars, a blurb photo album, mugs, pens, shirts, hats, banners, bumper stickers and more. You should make such items available when you are at community events, trade shows, and when your staff is meeting with clients and potential clients. The goal is always to get your name out there where people will not forget it;

* Market properly – Given the fact that many companies have had to cut back on their advertising/public budgets due to the tough economy, make sure you get the most for your dollar. In some cases, you may have had to pull back marketing your company due to smaller budgets, so make sure where you are marketing your business makes sense. It is important to record and analyze data to see which marketing efforts work and which do not, meaning the money could be better spent elsewhere;

* In-house promotion – Finally, put your employees and yourself to work promoting your business whenever possible. Given that you and your team know more about your company than anyone else, it only makes sense to speak highly of it. Make sure you tout your business to family and friends for starters. Simple tasks like handing out business cards to family and friends can help spread the word about your company and what it offers. Along with the publicity you get, you also end up saving money by not having to buy ads and other forms of advertising and marketing that can eat into your budget.

Becoming more social in 2013 should be one of the major goals for your small business over the next 12 months.

Without a social approach, you could wind up being deemed an anti-social business, something that is not good for a variety of reasons.