5 Ways Small Businesses Can Adapt PLUS A Free Social Media eBook

Dec 19, 2012 | Marketing, Social Media

It shouldn’t be a surprise that 78% of small businesses believe that technology is the reason for their growth. Advancements in high-speed broadband, the application and integration of e-commerce, and the web itself are the primary reasons for this growth.

I believe that there are at leastfive quick and easy ways to adapt your business. (This is the part where I should be clear and say that I’m not promising that your business will flourish and that your numbers will never be in the red again. Ultimately, that’s up to you and who you employ, among other things.) What I am promising is that these 5 ways that you force your business to adapt will put you in the same playing field as some of the big boys of business.

Social Media

Getting your business on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest is the easiest way to set yourself up for success. The only hard part is keeping up with it. At 212 Media Studios, we have a team dedicated to this meticulous task.

In order to keep up with your business’s social media strategies, it will take some of your time and creativity. Many businesses get by with simple in-store promotions here and there or by simply interacting by answering questions from their customers. Others even go as far as addressing customer service issues. All of these are great ways to lift your brand’s online and offline presence because word of mouth, be it on the internet or in person, is an amazing thing.

Another way to interact via social media is to either use their offers and deals features or create some of your own (this is where your creativity really comes into play). Facebook has a dandy little tool called Offers that you can use. You should know that using the Offers feature on Facebook has a minimum cost of $5 to merchants but remains free for customers who redeem them. That small $5 investment, however, can put that Offer in your customers’ News Feeds.

Website Search

I don’t know how you surf the web, but if I do a search and run across a website that looks like it was made in 1997, I hit the back button before any hideous animated GIFs can even finish their animations.

We’ve said it before – your website should be a reflection of your business. If you’re proud of your business, make the investment to have a timeless website. Your willingness to adapt to the forward motion of the web’s advancements will show through with your website, too. Fifteen years ago, it was okay to have animated GIFs all over your website because it was new. Even just a few years ago, websites were tables consisting of rows and columns until the <div> tag was introduced. I’m constantly thinking of things I’d like to do on the next site redesign.

Also, don’t try to create it yourself using one of those “free” services. I used quotations because sometimes those websites can hurt instead of help. Get somebody who knows what they’re doing to create something that you can use for years. Don’t glamour it up with sparkles, animated GIFs, and text that goes on and on. (We have newspapers for that, remember?) To have somebody who knows what they’re doing is key because they’ll be doing the behind-the-scenes work that you don’t see on the final product of your website – the coding.

This brings me to my overall point with website searches. It’s important to have a correctly coded website because of search optimization. The cleaner your website’s coding, the easier it is for Google and other search engines to crawl and find your website. Most of those “free” services will clutter your coding with nonsensical junk that will only hinder and maybe even make the crawlers skip your site.

Search optimization can be just as, if not more, important than the website itself. Do it right.

Brick & Mortar Search

Like I said, word of mouth can be an amazing thing. The Yellow Pages and road-side billboards are still around, but they provide limited information. Neither of them will give your business what reviews can.

That’s why it’s important to use online services such as Google Places, Yelp, and Open Table.

All of these services allow your customers to rate, review, and even look at pictures of your business. This brings me to my next point…

Let People In

Eating out is usually tricky for me because I’m a very picky eater. I’ve lived in the same small town for probably around 95% of my life. I tell you that because I tend to eat at the same 8-10 restaurants. Those 8-10 places are a combination of sit-down and fast food restaurants, too. With a population of 13,559, we obviously have more than 8-10 places to eat. There are a lot of local places I have never been in. It’s not that I don’t like those places, it’s that I’ve pretty much been afraid to go into them because I don’t know what’s on their menu. Now, you might think, “Why doesn’t he just go in and check it out?” Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I think a lot of people of my generation do and even more people in the next do; we don’t just check things out. In fact, we hate talking on the phone to businesses. We prefer email and the ability to read reviews and look at the interior of a place before we go in it. Obviously, there are exceptions to this but it’s something I witness in 212 Media Studios’s studio as well.

Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It only proves my point that letting people into your business through digital photos on the medium that most people already use (mobile devices) will help your business gain the confidence needed to check your place of business out.

Get Rid of the Cash Register

Now that your business has high-speed broadband, it’s time to put it to good use. I just cannot understand why a place of business would have <i>any</i> type of Internet but not have the ability to accept credit and debit cards. Just as today’s generations don’t like to talk on the phone, they rarely visit ATM’s because swiping a plastic card is much easier than dealing with cash. Security is one reason, but the need to go to an ATM just isn’t there in most cases.

You may not realize it but your company loses opportunities when it only accepts one form of payment.

So ditch the cash register. (Or at least part of it.) Obviously, a place to put cash is a necessity but the days of using a calculator or the bulky register are over. Businesses are transitioning to a more digital checkout process, even using Apple’s iPad to do the grunt work of that dreaded math, credit card processing, and opening of the cash register. Apple CEO Tim Cook claims that 50% of Fortune 100 companies use the iPad for in-store checkout. Think about that; if you use an iPad for your checkout process you’re a step ahead of those other 50% of Fortune 100 companies.

Even if you’re a small snow plowing business or any other business that doesn’t have a brick and mortar location, you still have options for major opportunity. Our sister company, PayProTec, offers the ability to process credit and debit cards via PhoneSwipe.

And there you have it. Five quick and easy ways to adapt your small business to compete with the big boys. Again, I obviously can’t promise fantastic returns if you perform all five of these to a “T” but what this will do is put you on a level playing field.

That’s all a small business ever wants, isn’t it?

Josh Brown
Senior Graphic Ideator

View Josh's Profile

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