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Benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses

Many small businesses are increasingly focusing on the web when it comes to making their brand a success. It’s easy to see why when you take a look at the extreme success of various online businesses and take into account that almost every high street retailer also has a website which allows them to operate online in tandem with their brick and mortar store. Setting up a website gives you an edge. It allows customers to order goods from you from the comfort of their own home. This is the ultimate form of convenience, especially if you offer next day delivery options. A webstore also allows you to operate round the clock. You no longer have to work with strict opening and closing times, as you can leave an online store unmanned and operating twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Then you can open up your brand to a worldwide market of consumers with the simple addition of international shipping options! However, your brand’s online presence has the potential to reach so much further than a website alone. You can also incorporate other forms of media into your business strategies in order to make profit. For now, let’s focus on social media. Here are just a few of the benefits that it can bring to your venture.

Facebook

Facebook is perhaps the most popular form of social media. It has approximately 2.2 billion users active every single month. So, this may well be the best place to start if brand exposure is what you’re looking for. When setting up a profile for your business on social media, make sure to establish that you are a business at the start of the page setup. This will give you access to more appropriate profile editing options that can benefit you as a brand. Perhaps the main benefit of Facebook (besides exposure) is that you can add certain details to your page’s profile which help customers to receive the best possible customer service that you can provide. Your profile can detail your store’s physical location (including address and postcode) so that customers can make their way to your brick and mortar store without hassle. You can also add a contact number and contact email address so that they can contact you easily. Then there’s the instant messenger option that you can activate. This means that customers can easily contact you, you will receive a notification, and you can respond to them as quickly as possible. You can then use your feed to give customers updates and put out announcements, such as sales, new lines, and special events.

Instagram

Another extremely popular form of social media is Instagram. This app specialises in the visual, which is particularly beneficial for online companies who only have visual representations of their goods to sell to their customers until they receive the real deal in the post after purchase. For the strongest Instagram presence possible, you need plenty of followers. The more followers you have, the more likes you will have on your posts. If consumers see that other consumers like something, it becomes increasingly desirable and they’re likely to want to purchase the goods that everyone else likes. However, cultivating these followers and likes is a little difficult to start with when you haven’t yet established a presence. Perhaps the best way to get started is to buy likes on Instagram. This will give your brand a presence, which will in turn generate more attention and more legitimate followers and likes.

Twitter

While Twitter isn’t necessarily automatically associated with brands, it’s an online powerhouse that you should engage with regardless. Twitter’s main benefit for companies is convenient communication. Tweets are capped at 140 characters, so it can be used for short and sweet exchanges with your customers and potential customers. More complex and lengthy conversations can be taken to the inbox feature. It can also be used for short announcements and updates for your followers. However, you can also take a controversial approach which brings mass attention to your brand. Just take a look at Denny’s twitter feed. Their comedic tweets have resulted in the fast food chain amassing 479,000 followers.

If you haven’t started engaging with social media on a professional level yet, it’s about time that you get around to it. After all, some of the most accessed apps have the potential to bring a ridiculous number of potential customers your way and also allow you the resources to keep in touch with them and make further sales!

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Expanding Uncertainty in the U.S. Financial Sector, part 5

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act represents the most sweeping change in the regulation of the U.S. financial industry in over half a century. Contained with the act are 243 new rules that will be developed by 11 different government agencies1; fundamentally reshaping how business is done at financial and non-financial institutions. But do these regulations treat businesses fairly and equitably or do they establish an unfair environment that favors a select few?

StrategyDriven believes the answer to this question is the latter. Not only does the Dodd-Frank Act create an unfair advantage for some businesses, the advantages provided favor those companies responsible for the meltdown of the U.S. financial system.

The financial reform act directs absolute rather than scaled coverage in its implementation. Subsequently, small institutions will be subjected to the same regulatory rules as larger ones and those ‘too big to fail’ institutions responsible for our financial marketplace challenges. While the various audits and forms will inevitably have fewer $000s, the cost to perform these reviews and compile and submit these documents will be roughly the same. For small financial institutions, the high cost of compliance will be passed on to a relatively smaller customer base causing a disproportionally high increase their customers’ fees which will in-turn drive these individuals to the ‘too big to fail’ institutions… the very same institutions whose poor performance necessitated the legislation in the first place.


“Small banks, forced to use their limited resources to comply with burdensome new reporting requirements, will suffer, as will the communities they serve.” 2
 
Bob Corker
United States Senator – Tennessee (R)


StrategyDriven Recommended Practices

StrategyDriven believes the Dodd-Frank Act unduly penalizes small financial institutions not responsible for the financial meltdown of 2008. The full scope of the marketplace imbalance created will take years to be understood as the final details of the many new regulations will not be defined anytime soon. Thus, company leaders must remain vigilant in order to mitigate, transfer, or eliminate the evolving financial industry risks and costs facing their organizations. In this specific case, StrategyDriven suggests company leaders consider the following:

  • Follow the FDIC’s rule making process and understand how these new regulations are impacting financial institution partners; focusing on the changing costs of doing business with these organizations particularly if they are relatively small.
  • Consider whether the relatively higher cost associated with doing business with smaller banks is warranted given other beneficial factors such as community good will.
  • Provide financial advisory programs to employees; ensuring they are apprised of the costs and benefits of maintaining a relationship with both small and large financial institutions.

As always, we’ll provide our thoughts on how business leaders can best prepare for the implementation of the financial reform law and weather the storm in the long-term. We also hope you’ll share your thoughts, lessons learned, and recommended resources with us and the StrategyDriven audience.

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Sources

  1. “Summary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Enacted into Law on July 21, 2010,” Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, July 21, 2010 (http://www.davispolk.com/files/Publication/efb94428-9911-4472-b5dd-006e9c6185bb/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/efd835f6-2014-4a48-832d-00aa2a4e3fdd/070910_Financial_Reform_Summary.pdf)
  2. “Financial overhaul places regulatory burden on community banks,” Cumberland Business Journal, August 2, 2010 (http://ucbjournal.com/news.php?id=95)