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5 REASONS YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS SOCIAL MEDIA When it comes to social media, staying on the sidelines is likely more expensive than jumping right in. We show you how. You’ve heard of Twitter. You likely have a personal Facebook page. And sometime late last year, you finally made the plunge to add your profile to LinkedIn. Bravo!

But before you go patting yourself on the back, allow me to ask you one question: Why has your company continued to ignore social media? I know... I know. There’s too much to learn. Takes too much time. Offers no tangible value. It’s not really beneficial for fishing companies. Wrong, wrong, wrong and more wrong. What if I told you the effective use of social media can give you enviable reach, is one of the best means to spy on your competitors and is one of the most effective means for connecting with customers? What if I also told you thousands of small companies that have made the social media plunge are now seeing a very real impact to their bottom line? I asked Laurie Driggs Fontenot, head of L’Acadian Communications, a brand-building firm specializing in outdoor and consumer PR and social media, to share her thoughts on this topic. She has seen numerous small companies reap the rewards of adopting social media as part of their marketing/PR efforts. What she shares here are five tips for why your company needs to join the fray. 1. It’s not as intimidating as you think: She says one of the main reasons small business owners refrain from adopting social media as a business platform is because of the perceived time commitment. Others are scared off by thoughts of having to hire someone to do social media effectively. “It really takes the amount of time that you have,” she says. “For a lot of small businesses, I’ll tell them to pick a day, maybe Monday, and think about what you have planned for the week. That way you can go ahead and have some posts (Facebook) or tweets (Twitter) ready to prevent you from scrambling. Then, each day at a predetermined time, you can take, say, 30 minutes and respond to questions from your fans (Facebook) or followers (Twitter).”

2. Social media has real value—and it’s free. Aside from social media basically amounting to free advertising, being an active participant in the medium also allows you to engage with customers, gives you an idea of what competitors are up to and makes it possible to collaborate with partners. “Too many people think, ‘So what, if someone ‘Likes’ my page? How is that going to help me?” I tell them it’s free. Take advantage of the contacts you already have and engage them. You can also link with partners who already have an audience. And...unlike a billboard, it’s very targeted, so if you don’t want to advertise, or don’t have the money to advertise, you can use social media.” 3. It’s great for enhancing a company’s image. Even if you’re a one-man shop with no money for marketing and little time for social media, setting up an account on any of these sites is easy and goes a long way in making you stick out from the crowd. “All you need is a logo and you’re good to go,” Fontenot says, adding that sites are great places for companies to post videos or share information regarding upcoming events. “Besides, if you have something to put out there and have folks talking about, you might as well share it.” 4. You have a receptive audience. Ever wonder why TV ads are so obnoxiously loud? Or why magazine ads are so annoying? Because they are largely annoying otherwise. With social media, you are interacting with folks who are prepared for and receptive to your messaging. “You don’t have to yell at them. They are looking for the information you provide.” 5. You can promote in your own way, at your own pace, in your own style. Despite what you’ve seen or heard as it relates to social media, no one has all the answers. So no matter when or where you make the plunge, you’re still able to take things at your own pace and promote in your own way. But whatever you decide to do, “Don’t overthink it. No one is an expert at social media. Have fun with it, embrace it.”

5 Reasons You Need Social Media  
5 Reasons You Need Social Media  

An Ebook from Ronell Smith on 5 Reason you need Social Media.